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Expatriate Healthcare News: Scientists develop autism test for one-year-olds

Expatriates may soon be able to find out if their child is at risk of autism, after international healthcare specialist developed a questionnaire that could indicate if a one-year-old is likely to develop the disorder.

Investigations at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found 31 per cent of the people they identified as having a notable chance of developing autism spectrum disorders (ASD) when they were 12 months old had a confirmed diagnosis by the time they reached the age of three.

Parents filled out a 63-page survey called the First Year Inventory (FYI), which was developed by the university's Department of Allied Health Sciences' Program for Early Autism, Research, Leadership and Service.

The investigation was produced by researchers Elizabeth Crais, PhD, J Steven Reznick, PhD, Linda Watson, EdD and Grace Baranek, PhD and authored by Lauren Turner-Brown, PhD.

Furthermore, the study, which was published in Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, found 85 per cent of all children identified as at risk of ASD as a result of the FYI test had a developmental concern or disability by the age of three.

Dr Baranek, who is an autism specialist, said: "These results indicate that an overwhelming majority of children who screen positive on the FYI indeed experience some delay in development by age three that may warrant early intervention."

Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities researcher Dr Turner-Brown added identifying that someone is likely to develop ASD conditions by the time they are one year old could enable a "substantial number of children and their families" with access to intervention services at a significantly earlier than would have otherwise happened.

"These findings are encouraging and suggest promise in the approach of using parent report of infant behaviours as a tool for identifying 12-month-olds who are at risk for an eventual diagnosis of ASD," she added.

According to the UK's National Autistic Society, around one per cent of all people have autism.

Men appear to be more likely to have ASD conditions than women, although it affects individuals from all social, cultural and religious backgrounds, the charity noted.

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