Eye contact in infants

The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published a theory from autism researchers in their September issue, suggesting infants who don’t engage in gazing at other people’s faces could be exhibiting the first signs of autism spectrum disorder. Researchers studied 25 infants whose siblings were autistic against 25 infants with no history of autism in the family. Autism’s “signature” symptoms are a lack of social interaction and eye contact.

 

What the article does is expand upon known facts about autism. How extensive is uncertain, since I imagine more study will be needed before any indisputable conclusions are made. Even if this becomes fact, I doubt the earlier assessment would change other unproven, but popular, theories about autism’s causes. The still sizzling vaccine controversy wouldn’t be cooled because infants are given many immunizations in the first two years. What this story may do is speed up a diagnosis, or at least alert parents early on so they can keep an eye on their child. Of course, this could go out the window in a hurry if the biological possibilities I’ve discussed this year become reality soon.

This likely won’t be a major discovery, but a potentially supplemental one and something everyone can catch on to since it doesn’t require drastic shifts in observation or parenting. Earlier clues can also lead to earlier intervention methods, meaning a higher chance of making something out of nothing (as many autistic people are relegated to that category).

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Mike Peden
Mike Peden brings a rarely discussed perspective on autism news: he was diagnosed with the disability in 1991. His explorations on autism led to an Alliance for Community Media Hometown Video Award in 2008 in the Documentary - Public Awareness category, and he currently deciphers evolving trends in autism coverage.
Mike Peden

Mike Peden

Mike Peden brings a rarely discussed perspective on autism news: he was diagnosed with the disability in 1991. His explorations on autism led to an Alliance for Community Media Hometown Video Award in 2008 in the Documentary - Public Awareness category, and he currently deciphers evolving trends in autism coverage.

0 thoughts on “Eye contact in infants

  • September 6, 2010 at 11:16 pm
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    THis is interesting to me. Before I really knew what autism is. I noticed whenever I held my baby he would not gaze into my eyes he always looked away. I remember watching this documentry on mothers who used crack while pregnant and how they crack addicted babies would’nt make eye contact or gaze into the mothers eyes. Even though I have never used crack or drugs like that my baby reminded me of the documnetry I had seen because he would always look away. Years later I would learn my son has autism and he still would look away. Now my son is 12 and I still remember that day I knew something wasnt “right”.

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  • September 6, 2010 at 1:44 am
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    It might well be associated with a difference but how to be sure at this stage it is certainly related to autism?  It could be something else the babies share or don’t share, not necessarily mental. Its too much going looking to prove something. But… it would be neat if it was an indicator. 

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