Autism unlocked

New research is helping experts diagnose this brain disorder earlier than ever

By Bryn Nelson, 18:38 PM March 31, 2014

This is the first of a two-part series on autism spectrum disorders.

Laura Shumaker first realized that Matthew was different from other toddlers when he was about a year old. During a group play date, other kids stayed busy exploring a variety of toys — and each other. Her son instead peered at the wheels of one toy the whole time. Although he had begun to talk like other 1-year-olds by then, Matthew mysteriously stopped soon thereafter.

Over the next few years, instead of answering questions,...

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