“This study provided further evidence that these unusual feeding behaviors are the rule and not the exception for children with autism,” Penn State Children’s Hospital Keith Williams said in a statement.
Penn State psychiatry professor and lead researcher Susan Mayes noted such behaviors are common in 1-year-olds with autism and urges parents to talk to their child’s pediatrician about an autism screening.
Ultimately, the earlier autism is diagnosed, the sooner the family can consider beginning a treatment plan with a behavior analyst, she added. Research shows early treatment during preschool years can help children on the spectrum better understand necessary life skills.
According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 59 children in the United States has autism. While more people than ever before are being diagnosed with ASD, "it is unclear how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of ASD and better efforts in diagnosis," the CDC notes.
There is no known cure for autism, but steady treatment is known to be helpful.