Currently autism is confirmed in a child through the observation of her or his behaviour. This can mean that diagnosis and effective help can be delayed by several years. Researchers all over the world are looking for ways to identify the condition at an earlier age.
At ipAn we believe that the careful and sensitive observation of behaviour in young infants can provide early signs of autism – what we term ‘pre-autism’. We also believe that parents can unconsciously pick up these signs, giving rise to their feelings of concern.
However, a reliable and objective way of identifying the early risk of autism would be of tremendous benefit in leading to early treatment. For that reason we are sponsoring research into physiological markers that can alert parents and professionals to this developmental risk. For example, we are currently working with a researcher looking into possible links between temperament, heart rate variability and the risk of autism.