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Verified by Psychology Today

Early Detection

Examines a team of British scientists has devised a questionnaire that accurately diagnoses autistic kids just a year and a half old. Focus on play habits.

Some researchers claim that early intervention programs can reduce the profound social detachment that keeps autistic individuals psychologically sequestered from the rest of us. Trouble is, most autism isn't diagnosed until kids are at least three years old--long after early intervention might be most effective.

Now a team of British scientists has devised a questionnaire that accurately diagnoses autistic kids just a year and a half old. Remarkably simple, the quiz focuses on tots' play habits and their tendency to point (or not point) to items of interest.

When administered to 16,000 British kids at their 18-month checkup, the test correctly diagnosed all 10 kids later confirmed to be autistic, researchers report in the British Journal of Psychiatry. And while the test wrongly identified two kids as autistic, both turned out to have serious developmental disorders.