Siblings of children with autism need earlier diagnosis

Miami, Fla. — Researchers at the University of Miami found that the lack of certain communication behaviors in children less than one year of age are indicative that they are likely to have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Moreover, Daniel Messinger, psychologist from the University of Miami, believes that additional offsprings from parents of children with ASD are also in risk of developing autism. According to Messinger:

“If you have one child with autism, it makes it more likely, one in five, that an additional child will develop the disorder.”

Messinger added that it is vital for children at risk to undergo earlier diagnosis, as it plays an important role in providing them early interventions. Numerous studies have already proven that even though autism is still without a cure, early interventions in children with ASD help them reach their full potential.

Nina Sanchez, mother to twins with autism, Chris and Alex, was anxious when she gave birth to another pair of twins, Emma and Tessa. Sanchez was worried that the girls would also have the same disorder as her two boys, so she enrolled them in a trial that studies younger siblings of children with ASD– to see if they were also on the autism spectrum. She was relieved to find out that her younger twins were not.

According to Messinger, they try to look for signs of autism from children as young as eight months, by observing their communication response.

The psychologists pointed out that one way to tell if a child is not at risk of developing autism is that if he is able to exhibit “initiating joint attention“, like sharing toys and making eye contact.

A student developmental psychologist in the University of Miami, Devon Gangi, said,

“Here, we’re looking at eye contact as well as the use of gestures, so we’re looking at things like pointing and showing an object to an examiner.”

The original article on the 7 news site can be read here

Contributed by Althea Estrella Violeta<