Speech Therapy

Infant Head Circumference Could Determine Autism

The autism centre at the University of Washington has revealed a new sign that can determine autism even before a child exhibits signs of behavioural disorder. The research conducted suggests that abnormal infant head circumference could mean that the child is bound to develop autism.

Doctors suggest that the head size could be a helpful factor to start administering speech and behavioural therapies for the child.

Infant Head Circumference: A newborn who would have a perfectly normal head size at birth. But, by the time the newborn reaches the age of 6-9 months, there would be an abnormal increase in the head size indicating the onset of autism.

  • Researchers believe that, autism could trigger such an abnormal head growth and this could act as a very good bio-marker of autism. It is during this stage that the infant would actually begin to develop behavioural changes and a failure to exhibit those changes like babbling, pointing at objects et. indicates a fault.
  • A combination of abnormal head size and lack of behaviour would mean that the child is beginning to develop autism.

Microcephaly: Microcephaly means an abnormal head size and almost 20 percent of autistic children have microcephaly. Microcephaly could sometimes be difficult to detect.

  • Usually an infant’s head size is measured regularly until the age of 18 months after which the paediatricians do not consider the measurement a necessity or even if measured the readings would not be reliable.
  • Infant head circumference is generally measured from the brow to the back of the head and back to the brow again. Doctors suggest that a disproportionate growth of the head size in comparison with the head size at birth would suggest microcephaly. The study at the University indicates that almost 60 percent of the tested autistic children suffered from microcephaly.
  • The abnormal growth of the head could recede in the 2nd year, but this is when the symptoms of autism begin to worsen.

Infant head circumference could determine autism and could help in providing the right therapies to develop the behavioural act of the child.

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