In many cases autism is not diagnosed in a child until they are somewhere between the ages of three or four years old.
Intervention treatment is always an option regardless of age at diagnosis, but new research by the UC Davis Mind Institute in Sacramento is showing evidence that infant detection and intervention might be a key to reversing autism symptoms.
The Mind Institute began searching for families with babies between the ages of 6 and 12 months for a direct intervention program. Dr. Sally Rogers is a psychologist at UC Davis Medical Center and she was the driving force behind the study.
“Babies who are developing autism need help figuring out that people are the most interesting things around," Rogers said.
Seven families embarked on a 12 week intervention that would focus on turning every day tasks, into opportunities for interaction and response.
The seven kids were all showing signs of autism, but they were still too young for the actual diagnosis.
“It wasn't spending three hours on the floor with your baby, doing these things. It was, here is an interesting way to get your baby's attention. How would we do that if we were dressing the baby or feeding the baby? Some of these babies really were changing their entire developmental profile within three to six months,” Rogers told FOX40.
Noah Hinson was one of the seven focal points of the intervention study program. Noah’s mom, Kristin, says she started to notice symptoms of autism in her son at 9 months and they were symptoms Kristen was all too familiar with - because her two older boys Justin and Simon have autism.
Justin diagnosed at age 3, Simon at age 15 months.
Some of the most common symptoms in young children: very little interaction or eye contact, repetitive behaviors with toys or other objects and not making age appropriate sounds or words.
Kristin says during the first few weeks of the study, she felt like Noah was getting backsliding, but then a breakthrough.
“I'm getting some prayers answered here, the light just started to go on. It's like he started waking up to the world around him," Hinson said.
That remarkable transformation continued until Noah was no longer showing any signs of autism.
Now, at 4 years old, Noah’s development in every way is on par with his peers.
Dr. Rogers credits the parents of these children with the success of the program, she says it was up to them to put the techniques they learn into play. Proving, Rogers says, it’s mom and dad and not therapists that are critical in an autistic child’s development.