After following more than 1,500 children over six years, a USC-led study has helped to confirm that sensory symptoms are an early behavioral marker of autism. The findings showed that 3% of all children have elevated sensory traits that worsen as they grow from babies into school-aged children. Of those fitting the profile of this group, 82% were diagnosed with autism or showed elevated autistic traits by the time they reached 3-6 years old.

The data demonstrate the strong association between children’s early sensory trajectories and later sensory challenges impacting their developmental and behavioral outcomes. The results were published in Development and Psychopathology.

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