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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Do We Now Know About Contributing Factors To Autism?; What Gifts Do Parents Think Are The Best?; The Cost of Raising A Child With Autism; Autism Brainstorm: An Autism Interactive Community

"Don't dis the ABILITY."  Jerry Komar, Editor Autism News and Views

Contributing Factors To Autism: What We Now Know

Within the last week, we've seen a study that suggests autism could be linked with mothers' obesity during pregnancy. Just a week earlier, news broke that the incidence of autism is actually 1 in 88, not 1 in 110. So these studies and more beg the next question: What do we NOW know about contributing factors to autism? We know the following with a high degree of certainty:
  • We now know that about 15-20% of children have a genetic mutation that causes autism.
  • We now know if parents have one child with autism, the risk of having a second child diagnosed with autism is almost 20% (U.C. Davis study)
  • We also found that environmental pollution may be a factor in autism.
  • We now know that both older fathers and mothers are a higher risk of having a child with autism. Studies from Harvard and Israel also suggest that infertility treatments are linked to a higher risk of autism.
  • Prematurity and low birthweight (babies weighing less than 41/2 pounds ) was found to be linked to autism. 5% had been diagnosed with autism by age 21.
  • Studies suggest that some medications increase the risk of autism. For example, a study published last year suggested children exposed prenatally to antidepressants had a higher risk of autism.
  • Pediatrics released a study this week that suggests obesity during pregnancy would increase the incidence of autism to a 1 in 53 chance. (Note: While this study suggests maternal obesity may be a risk factor for autism, keep in mind it's only one of many and may not even be a strong link).
(USA TODAY & Washington Post)

What Gifts Do Parents Believe Are The Best For Children With Autism?