Progress Towards Early Detection of Autism

Dr Vincent Reid, Psychology, Lancaster University

Tuesday 18 December 2012, 1455-1520
Management School Building

Our understanding of the developing brain has advanced substantially over the past 15 years. This knowledge is on the verge of providing us with the basis for detecting autism during early infancy.

Current practice is to evaluate children for autism at around 36 months of age via labour intensive behavioural tests. But what are the potential benefits and drawbacks of early screening using brain-based measures of information processing abilities? How could it be implemented nationwide and would it ultimately be desirable?

This talk seeks to initially present our current understanding of early social cognition via cognitive neuroscience methods. Following this, a brief sketch of technical barriers will be outlined, together with how these issues can be overcome. Finally, the implications of early screening will be raised together with a proposed timetable for the realisation of universal screening for autism in early development.