According to a report released last week , children of premature birth are 2-3 times as likely to demonstrate characteristics of autism than normal births.
Researchers followed 988 US children born at least 3 months prematurely.
At age 2 the children were evaluated using a specific screening method- a checklist of about 28 behaviours.
Result: 21% of the subjects scored positive for possible autism. Compared to 6% of normal births.
To exclude these premature babies’ own developmental problems, researchers went further by excluding those who have vision, motor and hearing impairments.
Result: 16 % still scored positive for possible autism.