A child's future really may be written in his hands -not in the creases of his palms but in the relative lengths of his fingers. A report just published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology suggests that people with autism have ring fingers that are abnormally long compared with their index fingers.
Children with autism have trouble interacting with other people. Both their verbal and their gesture-based communication is poor, and they often have low intelligence. Early symptoms - a failure to point at things, follow the gaze of someone else, or engage in pretend play- are often obvious by the tender age of 18 months. About one child in 500 suffers from the condition.
Two British researchers, who have studied what fingers can indicate about everything from fertility to sexual preference, have observed 72 autistic children and 23 with Asperger's syndrome, a related condition in which the individual's intelligence is not affected.
The scientists photocopied the children's hands, and carefully measured the lengths of their fingers from the copies. They worked out the ratio of the length of the index finger to the length of the ring finger for each child, and compared it with those of their relatives.
The researchers found that autistic children had extremely long ring fingers compared with their index fingers. Children with Asperger's also had abnormal index-to-ring finger ratios, though less so than autistics. Even the unaffected relatives of the autistic children had ratios that differed significantly from the average lengths.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
1.- Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE? Write down the evidence from the text. No marks are given for only TRUE or FALSE.
A) Autistic children have index and ring fingers of the same length.
B) Autism in children cannot be perceived before the age of two.
2.- In your own words and based on the ideas from the text, answer the following questions.
A) Why are the British researchers studying fingers? Explain. PAR.1,3,5B) According to the text, what cannot autistic children do? PAR.2
II. USE OF ENGLISH
3.- Find the words in the text that mean.
A) lines (paragraph 1) > creasesB) the look (paragraph 2) > gazeC) relationship between two amounts (paragraph 4) > ratioD) standard (paragraph 5) > average
4.- Complete the following sentences. Use the appropriate form of the word in brackets when given.
A) The relative sizes of our fingers is fixed (fix) for life within three months of conception, and the relationship seems be governed (govern) by hormones.B) Although the reason is not yet understood, earlier studies have shown that finger-length ratios indicate the exposition to testosterone in utero.
Put in the correct order:
D) say / I / things / could / so / fingers / never imagine / that my / many / could