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Why Grandparents And Siblings Are Key For Early Autism Diagnosis

According to a new article on BabyCenter.com by Michelle Stein, grandparents and siblings are key for early autism diagnosis. 

Michelle Stein reports that early diagnosis plays an important role in the effectiveness of treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and usually, it’s the people closest to a child who first notice the signs. Certain family members, however, seem to be particularly instrumental for diagnoses.

New research published in the journal Autism reveals children who had frequent interaction with grandparents or who had older siblings were diagnosed sooner with ASD. What sets this study apart from others: it’s the first to take into account early observations by friends and family members, and not just the parents.

A total of 477 parents of children with autism were surveyed in addition to follow-up surveys of 196 friends and family who were referred by the parents.

“Many parents avoid seeking help to find a diagnosis for their child, even though they sense something might be wrong,” said Nachum Sicherman, a co-author of the study, in a news release. “They often ignore signs of a larger problem and look the other way, making the role of close family members and friends vital to accelerating diagnosis and helping a child’s condition.”

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According to Mayo Clinic:

More than 200,000 US cases per year
Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging rarely required
Autism spectrum disorder impacts the nervous system.
The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely. Common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors.
Early recognition, as well as behavioral, educational, and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning.
Ages affected
Genders affected
Very common

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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