Blood test could help diagnose autism sooner than ever

It's going on in Houston and could identify autism years before standard testing would
December 18, 2013 4:56:33 PM PST
A ground-breaking trial happening in Houston could diagnose autism years earlier than standard testing.

Cameron Burns is three years old. Since he was two, his parents suspected he may have autism. But it's often hard to diagnose autism at such a young age.

"Wondering, I think sometimes is the hardest," said his mother, Dior Burns. "Not knowing for sure."

His parents took Cameron to Texas Children's Hospital for autism testing, and at the same time, Cameron was in a study of an experimental blood test -- a test that someday may allow families to diagnose autism early, even in babies.

Cameron was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder this week with the traditional testing methods. On Thursday, he took the blood test. Now they will compare the two. It's a way of testing the new blood test to see how accurate it is.

"It gets kids into early intervention sooner, which we know from the research, gets kids into therapy earlier on, they have the best long-term outcomes," said Robin Kochel, PhD, with Texas Children's Autism Center. "This is really something that overall will improve the quality of their lives."

Finding out has answered the Burns' questions.

"It certainly has explained some things for us," said Burns. "Things that we wondered about."

But Cameron's mother says had they known a year earlier, it would have helped and they tried to find the right therapy and treatments for him.

"At least this way we know what we're dealing with and what therapies need to be onboard, and things he needs accommodations for in school," said Burns.

Burns hopes that this blood test works and gives parents in the future an accurate way to diagnose autism much earlier. Autism is hard enough without months and years of wondering.

If you're interested in getting in to the study, you can call 832-824-3393. That number is for families concerned their child may have autism, but who have not yet been diagnosed.

Find Christi on Facebook at ABC13-Christi Myers or on Twitter at @ChristiMyers13

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