Study Shows Developmental Delays in Younger Siblings of Children With AutismA 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