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  • Writer's pictureChristine McCarty


Research is essential. It feeds us information, helps us understand things we never thought we’d have to understand and most importantly, helps us find peace in how we tackle all that life throws at us. When it comes to research, autism spectrum disorder is no different. In fact, the more we know, the better equipped we are to help, support and advocate for our children.

As I stated in a previous blog, Addy’s Eyes, an early sign of autism can be seen in a child’s eyes. According to the National Institute for Health, “Beginning as young as 2 months of age, infants later diagnosed with autism show a steady decline in eye contact that might be the earliest marker yet for the disorder.” The study (found here) is fascinating as scientists have been researching ways to identify the condition at younger ages, since progression tends to be better with earlier intervention.

More recently, a study conducted by Washington State University found that an eye test (different than eye contact) could screen children for autism. The new technology measures the timing of pupil dilation or how fast the pupil reacts to changes in light. A neurotypical child’s pupil reacts almost immediately to changes in light where the study finds children with autism have delayed reactions.

The Washington State University study further discusses the importance of earlier diagnosis and how it impacts the child’s growth potential. “We know that when we intervene as early as ages 18 to 24 months it has a long-term impact on their outcomes,” Lynch said. “Intervening during that critical window could be the difference between a child acquiring verbal speech and staying nonverbal. Yet, after 20 years of trying we still have not changed the average age of diagnosis here in the U.S., which is four years old.” To read the full article/study click here.

Why am I bringing all this up? Personally, I believe that early recognition of autism helped Addy in the long-term as we were able to provide her therapy at a very young age. I feel that if we waited, we would not have seen the progress we see today. First, it takes acceptance of what our instincts tell us. Then we can use research as a guide for the ups, downs, twists, and turns life throws at us.

Much love,

Raising Addy

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