Researchers released a new study that could lead to doctors diagnosing autism in children as young as 1 year.
Some say this would have a positive effect on kids.
By meeting 14-year-old Karrson Heumann, you wouldn’t know he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum.
If you saw him coding on his computer, you might think he is the next Bill Gates.
“Actually my whole summer after seventh grade, I actually worked on this for most of the summer,” said Heumann.
He has been programming since the fifth grade.
“A lot of misconceptions of autism is that people will often think that people with autism are all on the same area on the spectrum, when really, there’s a bunch of different kinds of autism. People with autism a lot of times they’ll just learn a little bit differently in different subjects,” said Heumann.
UCSD doctors are trying to help families like the Heumanns with identifying the disease earlier.
They surveyed 170 local pediatricians for behavioral indicators of autism.
Then they found genetic biomarkers, or fingerprints, in the patients’ blood and accurately predicted which children would develop autism.
“So the idea is to: let’s see if the blood holds some information that can be leveraged to develop a signature of autism,” said Dr. Tiziano Pramparo.
This research may one day have big impacts on the debate over vaccines.
“So our study, this study, as well as other studies, are showing that autism begins in prenatal life, probably in the second or third trimester,” said Dr. Eric Courchesne.
“Early diagnosis means that you get the social skills training and are able to walk your child maybe through what the expectations are coming up,” said Karen Heumann.
She was able to get her son the therapy he needed at 5 years old, but earlier detection would have allowed him to receive more treatment.