The causation of autism may not be completely agreed upon among scientists, but based on a new study, kids’ facial characteristics might help researchers understand the origins of autism. Children with autism are found to have distinct differences in facial characteristics than other children. Dr. Kristina Aldridge, assistant professor of anatomy at the University of Missouri School of Medicine states that it is unclear whether autism is caused by genetics or environmental influences. During the study, researchers compared facial features of 64 boys with autism opposite to 41 developing boys, all between the ages of 8-12 using a 3-D camera system. In the study, children with severe autism traits such as behavioral problems, language difficulties and repetitive behaviors, had distinct features than those with milder autism traits. By finding out such differences, researchers are more likely to know the point in time facial changes occur, therefore identifying when autism may begin to develop in a child. To read about the specific differences identified, click the link below.