Signs of Anxiety in Infancy May Foreshadow Autism
This article was written by Nicholette Zeliadt of Spectrum, the autism research site, and was excerpted with permission.
Fearfulness and shyness in babies and toddlers predict features of autism at age 7, according to a new study. But early problems with impulse control and hyperactivity do not augur autism features.
The findings suggest that autism and anxiety have similar roots in the brain, but autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) do not, says lead investigator Tony Charman, chair of clinical child psychology at King’s College London.
“It’s not saying there’s not an association between autism and ADHD, but the developmental origins are just less similar than those for autism and anxiety,” Charman says.
Autism often coincides with anxiety and ADHD: Up to about 80 percent of people with autism also meet the criteria for ADHD or anxiety. And the three conditions tend to run together in families, suggesting they share genetic roots.
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