1.1 Birth to 12 months
Where parents are recalling their child’s first months, their memories may well be influenced by the child’s subsequent diagnosis. They may reinterpret particular behaviours that did not cause concern at the time. For this reason, a family’s home videos of their child’s first months are invaluable for retrospective research, as direct observations of the child can be made. In one such study, researchers applied an observational method (see Week 1) to extracts from home videos loaned by parents, exploring whether infants later diagnosed with autism showed as much interest in people as a typically developing (TD) control group of children (Maestro and Muratori, 2008). Infants aged 0–6 months who were later diagnosed were less likely than TD children to look, smile or make sounds to people. From 6–12 months the infants later diagnosed became more likely to look, smile and talk to objects than to other people, and although they did also show increased reactions to people, this remained at a lower level than the TD infants.