Children’s lack of response to their name is often used as an early indicator of autism spectrum disorder, but it may also be an indicator of attention disorders such as ADHD. The researchers looked at this skill over time in a group of children at high- and low-risk for ASD and ADHD (based on family history). They found that children at-risk of ASD and ADHD were more likely to fail to respond to their name at 12 months and 18 months than low-risk children. At 36 months, children at-risk of ASD were still more likely to fail to respond, but children at-risk of ADHD had the same likelihood as children without any risk factors. These results suggest that infant’s response to name may be an early indicator of both ASD and ADHD, but may only be an autism-specific indicator in older toddlers.

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