A new University of Miami study shows that one in three children who have an older sibling with an Autism Related Disorder (ASD) have higher levels of autism-related behaviors or lower levels of developmental progress.
“It is clear that the younger siblings of a child with an ASD may face challenges even if they are not themselves identified with an ASD,” said Dr. Daniel Messinger.
“We found that the majority of these high-risk siblings appear to be developing normally. However, a higher than expected proportion of the children face challenges related to higher levels of autism-related behaviors or lower levels of verbal and non-verbal developmental functioning.”
Examples of a child’s autism-related behaviors ─ which are not as severe as those of children diagnosed with an ASD ─ include lower levels of back-and-forth play with others and lower levels of pointing to express interest in what is going on around them.
Overall, the majority of high-risk siblings are developing typically at 3 years of age, but there is a “substantial minority” affected by subtler forms of ASD-related problems or lower levels of developmental functioning, the researcher notes.
The study will be presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) this month.
Source: University of Miami