Australian researchers are claiming a significant breakthrough in diagnosing and treating children with autism.

Using 3D face-scanning technology they’ve discovered a link between facial features and autism.

It may allow them to identify children earlier and start treatment.

The of 289 children found a link between masculine facial features and autism.

The study, carried out in collaboration with researchers from The University of Western Australia and Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, is the first of its kind using 3D photogrammetry to examine whether pre-pubescent boys and girls with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) displayed more masculine features compared to those without the condition.

Genetic factors are known to play a major role in ASD however there is growing evidence that hormonal factors also influence development of the condition.

A computer algorithm was used to generate a gender score for a sample of 3D facial images to create a scale ranging from very masculine to very feminine. The gender scores were based on an analysis for 11 facial features such as breadth of a person’s nose, distance between the outer corners of the eyes, upper lip height and width of the mouth and were compared between an autistic group and a control group.

They say the earlier the intervention the better the outcome!

“The average age for an autism diagnosis in Australia is four and half years old which is far too late,” Dr Gail Alvares from the Institute’s Autism Research Team says.

“Research shows early intervention is incredibly effective in improving developmental outcomes and our aim is to see children diagnosed as early as 12 months.”

Read more about the study HERE

What do you think of this new technology?

Share your comments below

  • It certainly is interesting, thanks for sharing.


  • a fascinating way to use technology


  • Australia maybe advanced in this research but it is a long way behind in USA in initial diagnosis.
    A relative of mine was a live-in Nanny to family over there for a year. They boy has autism and had been diagnosed by the age of two. He was having speech and other therapy before she arrived. He was unable to communicate verbally at all and was slow in other development stages. At 10 years of age he converses in abbreviated sentences. e,g, if a baby is crying and he wants to cuddle and comfort him / her, he would probably say “baby cry I hold”. His parents have been told he may or may not ever say full sentences. As a toddler he got very frustrated not being able to communicate. People would think he was throwing a tantrum. He was trying to make himself understood. They discovered one issue was he kept getting throat infections and high temperature which contributed to many visits to the Doctor. They elminated a couple of foods from his diet and the infections stopped. It was trial and error but they succeeded.


  • wow that is amazing considering that a doctor can’t diagnose a child with adhd for example, at 12 months of age, so this seems a little extreme. I think that they definately will benefit from more research for sure.


  • This is interesting. Might need a bit of caution at this stage, though.


  • Hopefully this helps the parents in some way. What an amazing result though.


  • Sounds amazing! Anything that can help the kids I think is great.


  • Um, not sure. My son has high functioning autism, not diagnosed until 10. I’m just not sure about this. Would need a much wider spread of people to be tested first I think.


  • Thats very much likely. Technology is so advanced now.


  • I find it hard to believe in it, I would be worried that too many will be labelled autistic too early just because of a few quirks in the face. It would be better if they spent the time in discovering the cause and how to prevent it happening in the first place.


  • One hopes they are correct in their findings. It would be awful to label someone autistic when they weren’t.


  • An awesome find to help those with the condition get the help they need earlier.


  • Early diagnosis and intervention is very important, but I wonder if this is so scientific proven to be right. On the other hand when this gives an indication to do more tests which then result in earlier intervention, then it could work positively.


  • It is good they have found this link and help treat it early.


  • Its great that they are trying to get these kids a head start as early as possible.


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