Are Parents in IT Rich Regions at Greater Risk of Having a Child Diagnosed With Autism?


We always provide the most relevant information on autism signs and the latest news in the autism community. In order for you to have the latest information hot off the press subscribe to our Autism Signs by Email, or by RSS Feed. Have a question? Something you would like to see discussed? Email us at crystal@eautismsigns.com and let us know. We read each and every email.

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A report released in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2011 says maybe. The study, done at the University of Cambridge, suggest that areas with an increased percentage of jobs in the information technology (IT) field saw a correlating increase in the percentage of children that had been diagnosed with autism. The purpose of the study was to test a prediction by Baren-Cohen (2006, 2008 hyper-systemizing theory) that autism spectrum conditions (ASC) are more likely in areas that attract people who are great systemizers. Engineering, physics, computing, and mathematics are all fields of study that attract those that are naturally hyper-systemizers.

The study looked at three regions in the Netherlands: Eindhoven, Haarlem, and Utrecht. The findings are interesting. Here is how the percentages broke down:

  • In Eindhoven, 30% of the jobs are IT related-the prevalence of children diagnosed with autism spectrum conditions was 229 per 10,000 children.
  • Only 16% of the jobs in Haarlem are IT, and 84 per 10,000 were diagnosed with ASC.
  • Lastly, 17% of employment in Ultrech are IT, and the rate of autism spectrum conditions was 57 per 10,000.

While this data would seem to point to an affirmation of the theory, the creators are quick to point out a few possible reasons these numbers could be skewered so vastly:

  1. There could be an over-diagnosis of autism in Eindhoven due to broader criteria used for diagnosing autism spectrum conditions.
  2. Due to possibly greater social structure, well coordinated clinical facilities, or media coverage concerning autism may have created increased awareness in the Eindhover area.
  3. Finally, the researchers suggest that there is possibly an under-diagnosis in the Haarlem and Utrecht areas.

There is already a followup study planned, and the researchers have stated that they would like to study other IT rich regions such as Silicon Valley, CA.  Thanks for reading, have a great day!

Here is an article about autism signs to be on the lookout for.

Do you think there is a link between the type of industry the parents work in and an increased risk for autism?  If so, what industries and why?

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Will A Questionnaire Confirm Or Deny Your Child Has Autism?


We always provide the most relevant information on autism signs and the latest news in the autism community. In order for you to have the latest information hot off the press subscribe to our Autism Signs by Email, or by RSS Feed. Have a question? Something you would like to see discussed? Email us at crystal@eautismsigns.com and let us know. We read each and every email.

A checklist (Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile Infant-Toddler Checklist ) created by Amy M. Wetherby & Barry M. Prizant in 2002 has got a lot of coverage and publicity lately. The questionnaire has been recommended for use at a child’s 12 month check-up in order to screen for autism and other developmental delays. The article, published in the American Journal of Pediatrics, states that the checklist should only take about five minutes and could easily be completed in the waiting area at the physician/pediatrician’s office.

As we have stated before, early diagnosis is vital. The earlier you can get your child the treatments and therapies that he/she needs, the better chance of improving their development. Too many times parents suspect something is wrong early on in the little one’s life, yet the child is in school before a test/screening/diagnosis is made. While knowing the child needs additional assistance at any age is a good thing, finding out earlier allows a better chance for therapies to take hold. A child’s mind is so fluid and sometimes neurological pathways can be “rewired” so that symptoms may be less severe or even completely dissipate.

Here is a sample of what you will find on the checklist:

Emotion and Eye Gaze

  • Do you know when your child is happy and when your child is upset?
  • When your child plays with toys, does he/she look at you to see if you are watching?
  • Does your child smile or laugh while looking at you?
  • When you look at and point to a toy across the room, does your child look at it?

Communication

  • Does your child let you know that he/she needs help or wants an object out of reach?
  • When you are not paying attention to your child, does he/she try to get your attention?
  • Does your child do things just to get you to laugh?
  • Does your child try to get you to notice interesting objects – just to get you to look at the objects, not to get you to do anything with them?

Gestures

  • Does your child pick up objects and give them to you?
  • Does your child show objects to you without giving you the object?
  • Does your child wave to greet people?
  • Does your child point to objects?
  • Does your child nod his/her head to indicate yes?

Sounds

  • Does your child use sounds or words to get attention or help?
  • Does your child string sounds together, such as uh, oh, mama, gaga, bye bye, bada?
  • About how many of the following consonant sounds does your child use: ma, na, ba, da, ga, wa, la, ya, sa, sha?

Words

  • When you call your child’s name, does he/she respond by looking or turning toward you?
  • About how many different words or phrases does your child understand without gestures? E.g., if you say “where’s your tummy,” “where’s Daddy”, “give me the ball,” or “come here” without showing or pointing, your child will respond appropriately.

Object use

  • Does your child show interest in playing with a variety of objects?
  • About how many of the following objects does your child use appropriately: cup, bottle, bowl, spoon, comb or brush, toothbrush, washcloth, ball, toy vehicle, toy telephone?
  • About how many blocks or rings does your child stack?
  • Does your child pretend to play with toys (e.g. feed a stuffed animal, put a doll to sleep, put an animal figure in a vehicle)?

Do you have any concerns about your child’s development (If “yes”, describe on back).

In answer to our title, the answer is no. A checklist will not tell you if your bundle of joy has autism or not. It is a screening tool only. What is will tell you is if your child warrants further testing.

For a view of the official checklist, you may look here.

Have you or someone you know used the autism checklist at the physician/pediatrician’s office?  How did your experience go?  Thanks for reading!

 


 


 

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Larger Brains Observed In Children with Autism


We always provide the most relevant information on autism signs and the latest news in the autism community. In order for you to have the latest information hot off the press subscribe to our Autism Signs by Email, or by RSS Feed. Have a question? Something you would like to see discussed? Email us at crystal@eautismsigns.com and let us know. We read each and every email.

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Since 2005 the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been studying the size difference in the brain of a child with autism versus a child without autism. According to the study, children with autism have brains that are approximately 10% larger (at age 2) than their peers who do not have autism. The increase was not in thickness of what we call the “gray matter”, but rather in the folds of the surface area of the brain.

The children with autism continued to have enlarged brains when followed up at ages 4 and 5 with more magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It was determined that the children with autism still had enlarged brains, but the rate at which the brain was enlarging had not increased. The hope is to find out when the change in the brain actually starts to begin, and this study suggest that it is around the child’s first birthday. However, a recent study shows that autism my be detectable as early as four months. A few red flags to watch for in your newborn to age one can be found in this autism signs article.

The earlier autism is detected, the better the prognosis for the child. With the right professional care and the right therapies great improvements can be made for those on the middle to light end of the autism spectrum.

Remember, every child develops differently. No two children reach the exact same developmental milestone at the exact same time. Please, as we have stated before, do not rely on a five minute checklist on your pediatrician’s clip board to determine if you should have further screening for autism. You know your little bundle of joy better than anyone else on the planet. If you suspect for half a second that anything, no matter how minor, may be amiss-complete your due diligence. Personally scour out all the information you can, then make an informed decision to go to your doctor or pediatrician armed with information/questions and ready to advocate for your little one. Getting early detection could make all the difference. Thanks for reading!

Information on the study being conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can be found here.

Would you like to have more studies such as this?  What type of information would you like to see covered in the future? Let us know!

 

 

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Is The Prevalence of Autism Really On The Rise?


We always provide the most relevant information on autism signs and the latest news in the autism community. In order for you to have the latest information hot off the press subscribe to our Autism Signs by Email, or by RSS Feed. Have a question? Something you would like to see discussed? Email us at crystal@eautismsigns.com and let us know. We read each and every email.

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Last month (May 2011), in The American Journal of Psychiatry, a report was released on a recent study done in South Korea concerning the prevalence of autism. The study suggested a rate of 2.64% of 7-12 year old population was somewhere on the autism spectrum. According to that percentage, 1 in 38 children have autism. This is a far cry from the rate of 1 in 110 (the average of 1 in 80 and 1 in 240) that the CDC quotes in the United States. However, going deeper into the study the fog begins to lift a little about why these numbers vary so greatly.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) uses health records and educational records to come to their estimate of 1 in 110. They rely on those that are already diagnosed or under some type of supervision for being on the autism spectrum. The study done in South Korea done a screening of all willing participants in the stated age group in the Ilsan district of Goyang City. A total of almost 37,000 children (including around 300 that were already on the disability register) participated in the study. Yet, lets think about something for a minute.

Have you ever bought a new car? You go to the car lot, get hassled by the slick sleazy salesman that tells you whatever you want to hear, and you pick your new ride. Its a nice car/truck/SUV that you haven’t observed many people in your town driving. You pull off the lot, and before you get home you have spotted 12 just like it, 4 of which were the same color. Back to autism, maybe they saw more cases because they were looking. Most of us agree that there is definitely a lot more children being labeled as “autistic” than there used to be, but this could simply be a case of greater awareness both from the public as well as medical practitioners.

Regardless of the numbers or percentages, early detection is important. If you are concerned that your child may have autism, take a look at some of our previous articles that detail some of the things you should be looking for. Also, we are going to throw in a couple links, one to the CDC and another to a copy of the study we used for reference. Have a great day, and thanks for reading.

Do you think there is a rise in the number of cases of autism?  Do you think it is awareness, or an actual increase?  We would love to hear from you!

Further reading:

 

Disclosure: If you purchase the book, we will make a small percentage from the sale.  This is used to cover hosting cost, and to donate to worthy autism foundations.  Thanks.

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Autism Signs: Should All Children Be Screened for Autism?


We always provide the most relevant information on autism signs and the latest news in the autism community. In order for you to have the latest information hot off the press subscribe to our Autism Signs by Email, or by RSS Feed. Have a question? Something you would like to see discussed? Email us at crystal@eautismsigns.com and let us know. We read each and every email.


A report released recently by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested that all children should be screened for autism. It stated that health practitioners should make autism screening part of the normal check up routine for children that are 18 and 24 months old. Now, mind you, they want this screening regardless of there being any symptoms or signs of autism present in the child.

I would just like to throw out an opinion (everybody has got one, right?) on this issue. No, all children should not be screened for autism. First of all, as we have stated before, no one knows a child like the caregiver-a parent, guardian, daycare worker, anyone who observes the child in normal activity on a daily basis. There is not a test out there (yet, although genetic testing is looking more and more promising) that will tell you if your child has autism by observing the child for anywhere between 15 minutes and two hours. YOU know your child.  A checklist or questionnaire is not going to be a realistic picture of your child.  Routine screening is only going to cause more panic, misdiagnosis, and unnecessary worry.

If you are concerned that your child may have autism, look at some of our previous post. Find your child’s age group and read what signs of autism you should be looking for. Lots of researchers get off track by treating autism like a disease. A disease can be screened for, detected, and treated. Even though the disease may affect different parts of the body, or only one specific area, it still behaves the same way. Such is not true with autism. EACH case is different. Each child has his/her (boys are four times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with autism) own very unique space on the autism spectrum. Just like no two individuals are exactly alike, no two cases of autism are identical.

Watch your child. Does your child only stack or line up toys? Does he/see have no fear of strangers? Do they avoid eye contact? These are just a few of the signs of autism. These have to be present in addition to your child lacking social interacting skills in order for you to even concern yourself about autism. Read our article on misdiagnosis of autism for more detail.

If your child is displaying some of the signs of autism, please have them screened by a health professional. Early intervention can sometimes make all the difference in the world, and the earlier it gets started, the better the prognosis for your little one. Thanks for reading, and here are a few links to the autism signs articles:

 

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