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Signs & Symptoms

Autism’s core symptoms accompany a constellation of subtle signs that scientists are just beginning to unmask.

Features / Deep Dive
Owen leaving his home for a bike ride, followed by his therapists and teachers.

Owen’s odyssey: A year and a half after an autism diagnosis

by  /  25 November 2020
This is part 2 of Owen’s story. It tracks his early progress in treatment for autism. Part 1 described his difficult path to a diagnosis.
News
Young zebrafish with transparent skin showing green glowing beads in gut.

Zebrafish and ‘Smurf cakes’ link autism gene mutation to digestive woes

by  /  24 November 2020
Mutations in a top autism gene called SYNGAP1 slow the rate at which zebrafish digest food and pass waste, and may also disrupt gut function in people.
News
Researcher-provided images show experiment that tracks gaze.

Autistic people do not shift attention based on social cues

by  /  16 November 2020
A new eye-tracking study highlights how social cues shape attention differently in people with and without autism.
November 2020
Photograph shows young woman and older woman discussing paperwork.
News

‘Theory of mind’ does not fade with age among autistic adults

by  /  13 November 2020

Autistic people’s ability to understand another person’s thinking does not diminish with age, as it does for non-autistic people.

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News

Difficulty identifying emotions linked to poor mental health in autistic people

by  /  12 November 2020

Autistic people who have trouble identifying their emotions are also likely to have anxiety, depression and problems with social communication.

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A child with a young adult giving a test based on play.
News / Toolbox

Test measures autistic children’s language ability across wide age, skill range

by  /  4 November 2020

A new test can measure the language skills of autistic children of any verbal ability, at almost any age.

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October 2020
four images show pattern of eye movement
News

Social attention shifts differently over time for autistic adults

by  /  23 October 2020

Neurotypical adults change how they view social scenes over time in a way that autistic adults do not, reflecting different underlying mechanisms of social attention.

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four brain areas marked with flags: Cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, cerebellum
News

Brain structure changes in autism, explained

by  /  15 October 2020

Autistic people have distinct patterns of brain development, which sometimes result in differences in brain structure. Here’s what we know about those differences.

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Toddler vocalizing with parent.
News

Social motivation predicts language skills in autistic children

by  /  8 October 2020

The more children with autism tune in to and communicate with others as toddlers, the stronger their conversation skills are later in childhood.

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Parent reads to her child at night in a makeshift text with cozy lights.
News / Toolbox

Virtual lab visits enable remote assessments of child development

by  /  7 October 2020

A new telehealth test offers researchers a way to detect signs of atypical behavior from afar and could help more families participate in autism studies and clinical trials.

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A child wearing headphones looking into his locker with bullies lurking behind him.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Why it is imperative to ask autistic adolescents about bullying

by ,  /  6 October 2020

Being bullied puts adolescents with autism at increased risk of suicide. Identifying and preventing bullying may help prevent suicides.

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Toddler vocalizing next to parent.
News

Autistic toddlers do not tune in to sounds with others

by  /  2 October 2020

Unlike typical toddlers, those with autism tend not to share experiences involving sound — dancing to music with their parents, for example, or calling attention to the source of a sound.

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September 2020
Close-up of adult hand holding preemie baby hand.
News

Increasing delays in development may signal autism in preterm babies

by  /  28 September 2020

Extremely preterm babies later diagnosed with autism tend to show steep declines in development, a pattern that could flag them for intervention as early as 6 months of age.

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