How diagnosing autism before 2.5 years of age may significantly improve social symptoms

A 1-2 year study of 131 children with autism led to the determination that diagnosis early in life, before 2.5 years of age, may result in significant improvements in social symptoms.


According to the findings published in Autism, early diagnosis and intervention can be the most detrimental approach to improving the social symptoms of autism.

“We quantified Longitudinal changes in core autism spectrum disorder symptoms of 131 children diagnosed at 1.2–5 years of age using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule–Second Edition Calibrated Severity Scores over a 1-2 year period,” the journal article reads.

“We examined the prevalence and magnitude of Calibrated Severity Scores changes across children who were diagnosed at different ages.”

Around 65 percent of children diagnosed with autism before 2.5 years of age had seen improvements in autism instruments that measured the severity of its symptoms, compared to patients diagnosed after age 2.5.

The study concluded: “These findings reveal that autism spectrum disorder diagnosis before the age of 2.5 is associated with considerable improvement in social symptoms.”

“We suggest that greater brain plasticity and behavioral flexibility enable younger children to benefit more from autism spectrum disorder interventions even in community settings with heterogeneous services.”

The research was made possible by funding from the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology.

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