New Research – If You Have One Child With Autism, Will You Have Another?

mother and child

As a parent, writer and general geek of any news and views related to children and families, I keep my eyes and ears open for interesting research that is hot off the press. Autism is one of those words that tends to get my attention. Perhaps it is because when it comes to child development, autism is one of the disorders which holds so many mysteries. The spectrum (range) of the disorder is challenging to understand.

Current statistics indicate that 1 in every 110 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

What causes autism is still unknown. However, it seems that researchers are acquiring more and more information about diagnosis, treatment and even who may have an increased risk in having a spectrum disorder.

Newest research is more about who may have an increased risk. Specifically, if one child in the family receives a diagnosis, what are the odds  that another child in the same family may also receive the diagnosis. The surprise? The odds of a second child in the same family receiving a diagnosis of autism is much higher than orginally thought.

Here's the scoop from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

In the international study, “Recurrence Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium Study,” published in the September 2011 issue of Pediatrics, researchers calculated the risk of recurrence among siblings is substantially higher than previously thought.

Study authors monitored 664 infants with an older biological brother or sister with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from early in life to 36 months. Although past studies estimated the ASD recurrence risk between 3 percent and 10 percent, this study found that the overall risk was 18.7 percent and even higher in families with more than one affected sibling, approximately 32 percent. Male infants experienced nearly three times the risk of female infants, 26 versus 9 percent.

Neither parental age, gender of the sibling, functioning level of the sibling, or birth order, was a significant predictor of ASD outcome. Study authors suggested that this knowledge can impact future genetic screening and family planning decisions.

If your child is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, does this research impact your consideration of having a second or third child?

Why or why not?

What do you think?

New Research – If You Have One Child With Autism, Will You Have Another?

Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child development programs as a teacher, then moved into creative administrative roles with science centers, symphony orchestras and arts programs. Owner of 170+ year old house, Jeannie loves living in small town America where walks to the park and ... More

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