Doctors are erroneously diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in many 18-month-old toddlers who were born extremely premature, a small new study suggests. Later testing showed that a high proportion of the toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at that age were not autistic, the researchers found. Instead, the youngsters simply had a cognitive or language delay, both of which are common in children who were preterm babies, the researchers said. Part of the problem, the researchers suggested, is that children who were premature may be undergoing testing for autism too early in life.
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