Emerging signs of autism spectrum disorder in infancy: Putative neural substrate

Mijna Hadders-Algra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by altered development of the social brain with prominent atypical features in the fronto-temporo-parietal cortex and cerebellum. Early signs of ASD emerge between 6 and 12 months: reduced social communication, slightly less advanced motor development, and repetitive behaviour. The fronto-temporo-parietal cortex and cerebellum play a prominent role in the development of social communication, whereas fronto-parietal-cerebellar networks are involved in the planning of movements, that is, movement selection. Atypical sensory responsivity, a core feature of ASD, may result in impaired development of social communication and motor skills and/or selection of atypical repetitive behaviour. In the first postnatal year, the brain areas involved are characterized by gradual dissolution of temporary structures: the fronto-temporo-parietal cortical subplate and cerebellar external granular layer. It is hypothesized that altered dissolution of the transient structures opens the window for the expression of early signs of ASD arising in the impaired developing permanent networks.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8-Jul-2022

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