It is possible that children born at low birth weights have a variety of additional disabilities – language disorders, for example, or mental retardation – that may have masked an ASD diagnosis in the years before autism awareness increased.

Low-birthweight babies are at risk for all sorts of motor and cognitive delays, and researchers have just added autism to the list. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania finds that premature babies weighing less than 4.5 lbs. at birth are five times more likely than babies born at a normal weight to have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

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