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Psychopathology. 2005 Jan-Feb;38(1):26-31. Epub 2005 Feb 15.

Course of autism signs in the first year of life.

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Division of Child Neuropsychiatry, Scientific Institute Stella Maris, Pisa University, Pisa, Italy.


Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are thought to be present right from birth, even if a minority of children displays a normal course during infancy followed by a regression during the second year of life. However, established criteria are not yet available to differentiate these different courses of ASD, and data coming from different sources have not yet been organized into a clear definition. The aim of this study was to elucidate the time of onset, as well as type, frequency and stability of symptoms during the first year of life in ASD. The behavioral summarized evaluation scale, applied to 40 home movies of children later diagnosed as having ASD, showed that most of the subjects (87.5%) display symptoms within the first year of life, when only a small group (12.5%) is completely symptom free. A group of more rated symptoms was found, constituting a typical pattern characterized by being withdrawn, and displaying poor social initiative, hypoactivity, and lack of emotional modulation. The importance of these findings is discussed in relation to early diagnosis and treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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