This presentation highlights the critical role of early diagnosis and intervention in attenuating the symptoms of autism. Data will be presented on early diagnostic indicators obtained through eye-tracking-based behavioral assays that quantify the social disabilities in autism. The results of these assays were used to generate "growth charts" of normative social engagement, and the deviations from the norm were taken as early indicators of risk. These methods yielded high sensitivity and specificity for the screening of infants. The ultimate goal of this effort is to develop objectified and quantified tools for the detection of autism in infancy, tools that might be deployed in primary care and pediatricians' offices. Effective screening of infants would be unethical without a clinical infrastructure providing access to family support and early intervention for those screened positive. Through collaboration with Dr. Amy Wetherby, we are now establishing tools and procedures for the full integration of primary care physicians and early intervention providers, with the goal of establishing a new system of health care delivery for infants and toddlers with autism spectrum disorders.
August 6 – 9, 2018
The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center
State College, Pennsylvania