Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Facial characteristics of autism

"The one common denominator for all of the young children is that early intervention does work, and it seems to improve the prognosis." — Temple Grandin

LAST OCTOBER I included some new research in a post about subtle facial characteristics that can help identify autism spectrum in children before behaviors become extreme enough for diagnosis. The earlier identification and intervention take place, the better the potential outcome for both child and family.

Science Daily had this to say on October 20, 2011: 

The face and brain develop in coordination, with each influencing the other, beginning in the embryo and continuing through adolescence. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found distinct differences between the facial characteristics of children with autism compared to those of typically developing children. This knowledge could help researchers understand the origins of autism.

Here's part of the study originally published in Molecular Autism:

There is no clear answer about whether autism is caused by genetics or by environmental influences," said Kristina Aldridge, lead author and assistant professor of anatomy in the MU School of Medicine and the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. "If we can identify when these facial changes occur, we could pinpoint when autism may begin to develop in a child.

Aldridge and colleagues found these differences:

Children with autism have a broader upper face, including wider eyes.

Children with autism have a shorter middle region of the face, including the cheeks and nose.

Children with autism have a broader or wider mouth and philtrum – the divot below the nose, above the top lip.

I found more photos on CBS News from the study. 

Here two good websites to assist with early identification:



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