Autistic Kids and Risks For Siblings

Autistic Kids Siblings

- Siblings of kids who are autistic are at a higher risk then previously though for the disorder, a new study shows. The analysis of more than 600 three-year-olds with an older autistic sibling found that almost one in five or 19 percent of them had an autism spectrum disorder, which includes Asperger’s syndrome and similar conditions. Previous smaller or less diverse studies reported a prevalence of between 3 percent and 14 percent.

“We were all a bit surprised and taken aback about how high it is,” said lead author Sally Ozonoff, a psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor with the Mind Institute at the University of California at Davis

Autistic Kids Siblings

We know that the brain at young ages is more amenable to change,” said study author Wendy Stone, of the University of Washington Autism Center in Seattle. “When children are showing signs (of autism) even before the diagnosis is official, we need to start thinking about, how can we help parents within the course of their everyday activities to promote their child’s social and emotional development?” she told Reuters Health.

Keely Cheslack-Postava, an autism researcher from Columbia University in New York, said that the rate of autism in siblings may be higher now because the definition of who has an autism spectrum disorder has widened to include more kids.

Even so, she said, the one-in-five number “for an individual family is somewhat limited in terms of exactly what this information means,” she told Reuters Health. Stone and her colleagues said that it’s important that parents of an autistic child have access to genetic counseling if they’re thinking of having another kid, but added that it’s hard for doctors to evaluate each family’s individual risk of having another autistic child.

Autistic Kids Siblings - It is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood.

By: Pat Prescott
Published: Aug 15, 2021
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