EASE – Early Autism Sweden
EASE aims to identify signs of autism in the first years of life. The project is a collaboration between KIND and the DIVE-lab (Department of Psychology, Uppsala University).
Most younger siblings of children with autism develop typically, but research shows that around 10-20% of the younger siblings themselves later receive a diagnosis. In the study, we follow infant siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder from 5 months of age until they turn three years old. We meet the siblings at repeated occasions during infancy and assess them using many different methods. The child's behavior is documented in a child-friendly manner, including recordings of sound, image, gaze behavior, and several measures of brain activity. We also map the child's language, ability to solve problems, and how the child interacts and communicates. By using modern eye-tracking technology, we can study what the child pays attention to (and does not pay attention to) when looking events and objects in the environment, including other other people.
When the child turns three years old, it undergoes a thorough clinical evaluation, which tells us which children fulfilled the criteria for a diagnosis. With this information, we can investigate what characterized their early development, and thus identify new objective early markers of autism.
Recruitment of children to the study took place between 2011-2022, follow-up will continue until 2024.