There are numerous reports of children with autism learning how to do something, such as wave goodbye, and then losing that skill abruptly weeks or months later. But there is little information about the exact age at which a new skill develops or disappears.
That may be because children with the disorder, according to a study published 25 November in Development and Psychopathology.
The study asked parents of 244 children to recall whether and at what age their children gained or lost 15 interactive skills, including saying their first words and playing peek-a-boo.
Children with autism or autism-like traits are more likely than controls to have delays in skill development and tend to lose at least one skill as they go from infancy through early childhood, reports the study. Consequently, skill acquisition and loss in these children may best be viewed as a continuous process that begins with developmental delays and ends with disappearing skills, the researchers say.