An explanation may have been found as to why autistic children act and think differently from their peers.
Researchers at the University of California Lost Angeles have shown that the connections between brain regions that are important for language and social skills grow much more slowly in boys with autism than in non-autistic children.
Xue Hua, lead author on the project, stated: "Because the brain of a child with autism develops more slowly [...] these children may have an especially difficult time struggling to establish personal identity, develop social interactions and refine emotional skills."
This discovery may help explain some of the symptoms of autism and improve future treatments.
Recent research has also implicated several new candidate genes and genomic variants as contributors to autism.
While the gene alterations are individually very rate, they mostly appear to disrupt genes that play important functional roles in brain development and nerve signalling.
Find out about Barchester's support for adults and children with a wide range of Autistic spectrum conditions.