[Source: Science Daily]
infant girls at risk for autism pay more attention to social cues in faces than infant boys, according to a Yale School of Medicine study — the first one known to prospectively examine sex-related social differences in at-risk infants.
This difference in observational skills could help protect female siblings of children with autism from developing the disorder themselves, according to lead author Katarzyna Chawarska, associate professor in the Yale Child Study Center and in the Department of Pediatrics. The findings are published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
Chawarska and her colleagues measured spontaneous social attention conducted a prospective study to measure social attention in 101 infants between the ages of 6 and 12 months who have older siblings with autism. The team also studied 61 infants with no risk of autism. Chawarska said high-risk siblings are about 15 to 20 times more likely to have autism than those without history of autism in the family.