Some Possible Early Signs Of Autism
"It appears that children with autism develop normally for six months, and then begin developing atypically," says Rutherford. "As typical children begin to accelerate in social development, the child with autism makes only minor gains."
During the first six months, both twins smiled, engaged in socially responsive vocalization, and showed a preference for family members over other people. By the age of one, however, the male twin showed less eye contact, less verbal communication, and less affection toward others than did his sister. His sleep patterns were also noticeably different from his sister's. By the age of two, the boy had developed a fixation on particular patterns and puzzles; at age three, a child psychologist noted the boy "did not offer comfort if others are in distress and will not come for comfort is he is hurt." The mother's diary tells of her son's facial expressions that ranged from limited to "spaced-out".
The twins are now 12 years old. Rutherford reports that the female twin is doing well, and read an early draft of Rutherford's research manuscript. The male twin "continues to struggle with language development, but is usually a happy child." The twins' mother has started a nation-wide organization that funds autism research.