Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is There a Risk of Autism in Siblings?

In the past couple years, there have been many proposals thrown to the public on autism and its onset. Some say it is a result of a child vaccine, others say it was the pregnant mother’s diet, and even more say it is a result of taking anti-depressants during pregnancy. While none of these have been dismissed yet, one thing has recently been shown to be true: if one child is diagnosed with autism, it is likely that a future brother or sister will be autistic as well. The largest study yet on children with an autistic sibling found that the average risk of a brother/sister also being diagnosed with autism was almost 19 percent. Children who had more than one sibling with autism had an even higher risk of being autistic: a significant 32 percent. Even though these results highlight genetics as a determining factor for autism likelihood, they still offer hints at environmental factors that could also explain autism in siblings, such as influences in the womb. If you are concerned about your child/children possibly being autistic, talk to the school counselor, or teacher. A key factor is catching this as early as possible. Research has found that if a parent detects the early signs of autism (i.e. abnormally large head circumference, missing crucial language development milestones, or lacking basic communication skills), there can be great benefits from taking advantage of therapies as soon as possible, which can help treat some of autism’s symptoms.

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