Thursday, June 16, 2022

Can Autism Be Diagnosed Before Birth

Don't Miss

Is There A Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Can autism be detected before birth?

An April 2015 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that mothers-to-be who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes by their 26th week of pregnancy are 63 percent more likely to have a child with autism. That means for every 1,000 women with gestational diabetes, seven of them may have a child with autism. Researchers speculate that in utero exposure to high blood sugar may affect a baby’s brain development and heighten the risk for developmental disorders.

Earlier studies also have shown a possible connection between high blood sugar during pregnancy and autism risk. The key factor may be how high blood sugar levels get. Interestingly, the JAMA study found that babies born to mothers who had type 2 diabetes before getting pregnant didn’t have a higher risk of autism, perhaps because the women were taking medication to control their blood sugar levels.

Gestational diabetes poses a number of problems for infants, including preterm labor, large birth-weight and an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. Moms-to-be have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, preeclampsia and type 2 diabetes, as well. “All expectant women should strive to keep their blood sugar under control, regardless of these study findings,” says Dr. Wilms Floet.

RELATED: We Cured Our Son’s Autism

How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosed

Different health care providers evaluate your child to help diagnose ASD. Providers include:

  • Developmental pediatrician. This is a pediatrician who has special training in child development and taking care of children with special needs.
  • Child neurologist. This is a doctor who treats the brain, spine and nerves in children.
  • Child psychiatrist or child psychologist. These are mental health professionals who have special training to take care of children with emotional or mental health problems.
  • Occupational therapist. This is a specialist who helps people learn to carry out everyday activities.
  • For children, this may be things like brushing teeth, getting dressed, putting on shoes or learning to use a pencil.
  • Physical therapist. This is a specialist who creates exercise programs to help build strength and help with movement.
  • Speech therapist. This is a specialist who helps people with speech and language problems. For children this may include helping with saying sounds or words correctly and completely. It can also include in helping children be understood and also understand others.

To evaluate your child, the providers may:

Your childs providers may use medical tests to see if your child has a medical condition with signs or symptoms that are similar to ASD. These include:

Slower Brain Responses To Sounds

Researchers analyzed nearly 140,000 ABR tests from babies born in the state of Florida between 2009 and 2015. The hearing test was performed in the hospital within the first week of birth, on average between one and two days after, unless it was postponed because of a medical condition.

The data were then checked against the Florida Department of Educations records of children with ASD. Of the 139,154 children in the data set, 321 were diagnosed with ASD by age 3 to age 5.

Researchers found newborns who were later diagnosed with ASD had slower brain responses to sounds during their ABR tests, suggesting a systematic difference between these kids who ended up having autism and those who don’t, Kohane says.

He says their findings are significant because they could:

  • Allow researchers to use the ABR as a prognostic test or a screen for autism spectrum disorder
  • Provide researchers a biomarker that can be measured to determine the effectiveness of interventions or other therapies
  • Give researchers a physiological difference that may offer insights into the cause of ASD, at least for some patients

Recommended Reading: What Is The Symbol For Autism

Can A Person Develop Autism After Early Childhood

Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

There is no official diagnosis called “late-onset autism.” In fact, the DSM-5, which lists and describes all developmental and mental disorders states that the onset of symptoms is in the early developmental period.

Still, there are plenty of articles out there about children who appear to regress after developing normally throughout their earliest years. And there are plenty of people who seem to develop autistic symptoms as teens or even adults.

So does regressive or late-onset autism actually exist? What do we know about it so far?

Early Signs Of Autism In Preschool Kids

Harnessing the power of machine learning for earlier ...

You may notice differences in your childs behaviors and communication right before they go to school. Some of these signs may mean that your kid is at risk for autism spectrum disorder. Here are some of the signs listed by CDC:

  • Speaking less than 15 words
  • Seeming confused by the function of everyday items
  • Not responding to their name when called
  • Not walking
  • Has repetitive behaviors like rocking back and forth

Most girls show symptoms in infancy or early childhood. But they may not be recognized.

Some studies suggest that certain symptoms are seen more commonly in boys than in girls. Repetitive behaviors, for instance, may appear more often in boys. They are easier to spot.

In addition, girls deal with ASD differently than boys. They may hide their symptoms or spend more energy on adapting to social norms.

They are more able to form friendships. This may cause ASD to not be determined early on.

You May Like: Dyslexia Autism

What This Means For You

This study provides another piece of the puzzle of potential factors that contribute to a diagnosis of autism. While the information may be beneficial, it is important to consult your healthcare provider as you make choices regarding your pregnancies. Ultimately, make decisions that are most beneficial to you and your family, and provide a loving environment for your child.

What Are Other Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder

A child with ASD may have challenges in communication, social and behavior skills, including:

Communication challenges

  • Has delayed speech and language skills. Some children with ASD cant speak at all or speak very little. About 40 in 100 children with ASD dont speak at all. Other children with ASD speak well.
  • Has trouble talking to other people, starting a conversation and sharing his needs using typical words or motions like pointing. A child with ASD may talk a lot about something he really likes rather than have a conversation with another person.
  • Doesnt understand jokes, teasing or sarcasm. Sarcasm means using bitter or teasing words to make fun of someone or something.
  • Mixes up pronouns
  • Repeats or echoes words or phrases
  • Seems unaware when people talk to him, but responds to other sounds
  • Talks in a flat, robot-like voice or talks in a sing-song or high-pitched voice

Social challenges

Behavior challenges

Other challenges or signs

  • Is hyperactive or has trouble sitting still or paying attention
  • Is impulsive
  • Isnt afraid of dangerous things but is very afraid of harmless things
  • Is violent
  • Has temper tantrums often or hurts himself, like by banging his head or biting himself
  • Has different eating or sleeping habits. Some children with ASD may eat just a few foods. Others may want to eat nonfoods, like dirt or rocks. This kind of eating problem is called pica.
  • May have a good memory, especially for numbers, letters, songs, TV jingles or a specific topic

Also Check: Are Stuttering And Autism Related

During Pregnancy: Prenatal Testing

Screening Tests

A screening test is a procedure or test that is done to see if a woman or her baby might have certain problems. A screening test does not provide a specific diagnosisthat requires a diagnostic test . A screening test can sometimes give an abnormal result even when there is nothing wrong with the mother or her baby. Less often, a screening test result can be normal and miss a problem that does exist. During pregnancy, women are usually offered these screening tests to check for birth defects or other problems for the woman or her baby. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about prenatal testing.

First Trimester Screening

First trimester screening is a combination of tests completed between weeks 11 and 13 of pregnancy. It is used to look for certain birth defects related to the babys heart or chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome. This screen includes a maternal blood test and an ultrasound.

  • Maternal Blood ScreenThe maternal blood screen is a simple blood test. It measures the levels of two proteins, human chorionic gonadotropin and pregnancy associated plasma protein A . If the protein levels are abnormally high or low, there could be a chromosomal disorder in the baby.
  • UltrasoundAn ultrasound creates pictures of the baby. The ultrasound for the first trimester screen looks for extra fluid behind the babys neck. If there is increased fluid found on the ultrasound, there could be a chromosomal disorder or heart defect in the baby.

Signs Of Autism In Teenagers And Adults

Can autism be detected before birth or while pregnant?

The characteristics of autism can affect you differently as you get older you may also recognise some of the signs of autism in children in yourself as an adult. Many people are diagnosed with autism as teenagers or adults based on noticing that they think and behave differently from most other people.

Signs of autism in teenagers

As you age and experience different environments, you might notice different signs of autism.

As an autistic teenager, you might:

As an autistic teenager, you might:

  • find eye contact uncomfortable, or struggle to know how much eye contact to use
  • do well when youre in your routine, but find it difficult when routines change changes might make you feel anxious, make it hard to concentrate, or mean you have to work harder on things itd normally be easy to do
  • struggle to imagine things that you havent experienced before for example, if youre going to a party for the first time, it might be hard for you to imagine what will happen and what youll be expected to do
  • find yourself making social mistakes without realising why for example, during conversations you might not realise there are things other people would rather not talk about, or dont think are important to talk about

As an autistic teenager, you might:

As an autistic teenager, you might:

As an autistic teenager, you might:

Signs of autism in adults

As an autistic adult, you might:

As an autistic adult, you might:

As an autistic adult, you might:

As an autistic adult, you might:

Don’t Miss: Dyslexia Vs Autism

Dont Hesitate To Act Now

If you are concerned about your childs development, please dont wait and see. If your child needs an autism diagnosis, it is best to take action early and create a plan to help support your child as they age. Know that you are not alone.For any questions regarding autism diagnosis or screening, contact us today.

Why Do Some Young People Get A Late Diagnosis

It is common for a young person to get a late diagnosis if they are high functioning or academically able. This also occurs more in girls than in boys, as girls are generally more adept at copying neuro-typical behaviours, including verbal and non-verbal communication in order to mask their autism.

Late diagnosis can happen because there is some ambiguity which makes it difficult to be sure a young person has autism, or because other conditions have presented as being their primary need e.g. challenging behaviour or ADHD. Typically, children are also often able to cope in a primary school environment but find the increasing demand of secondary school very stressful, leading to their difficulties becoming more apparent.

Don’t Miss: Is Nonny Autistic

Early Detection Early Intervention

It is comforting to believe that ASD prenatal testing is mostly about helping scientists discover more about genetic variations linked to autism, and identifying autism at the earliest opportunity to allow parents to plan ahead. The argument is convincing when you consider studies examining the effect of early autism intervention, especially with regards to brain plasticity . In this study, the authors concluded that early intervention enhancing social attention, should lead to alterations in brain activity.

A prenatal test detecting autism in a fetus could provide parents with enough time to shift expectations, appeal for all the support theyll need, and prepare themselves emotionally and financially. But preparing for a life of care will also bring up the inevitable question for some parents of whether it would be easier not to embark on the journey at all.

Looking at a study about the estimation of people with Down syndrome in Europe, a reduction of 27% was estimated, meaning approximately 417 000 people with Down Syndrome were living in Europebut without elective abortions there may have been an estimated 572 000.

Another review tells us that between 71 and 100% of women decide to terminate a pregnancy with fetal Down syndrome. In countries like Denmark and Iceland the statistics are close to 100%.

What Does Research On Autism Tell Us

From Autism Checklist to Treatment for Autism

A recent study focused on this question. Researchers looked at more than 1,200 toddlers who had at least two developmental evaluations between 12 and 36 months. Less than 2% of the toddlers initially thought to have autism were subsequently thought to have normal development. And on the flip side, 24% initially thought to not have autism were then later diagnosed as having it. So while the picture is not always clear at first, once the diagnosis is made, it usually sticks.

At what age can the diagnosis be reliably made? At 12 to 13 months the diagnostic stability of the autism diagnosis meaning the degree to which it was certain and stuck was about 50%. This went up to 80% by 14 months, and 83% by 16 months. This makes sense if you think about the development of a toddler. At 12 months, they are just starting to say words, respond to commands, and interact with others. So a child who isnt reliably doing those things would be cut some slack. But by 18 months, all those skills should be solidly in place, raising alarm bells about a child who doesnt have them.

Don’t Miss: Is Freddie Highmore Autistic

What Are The Signs Of Autism In Babies

Autism doesnt change a babys physical appearance. The condition does affect how babies communicate and how they relate to the world around them.

Autism is described as a spectrum condition because signs, symptoms, and abilities can vary widely. If you notice any of these developmental differences, its important to talk with your childs doctor or healthcare professional about them.

What Do The Findings Mean

This therapy represents a new way of providing support to infants showing early developmental difficulties.

Many therapies for autism try to improve development by working with children directly to shape more typical behaviours.

This finding provides strong evidence for a new model of how we provide clinical support to children with developmental differences.

Rather than waiting until a diagnosis to start therapy typically at two years of age at the earliest we need to identify developmental differences as early as possible. Then we need to provide developmental supports that nurture each childs strengths.

At its most basic, this is a change of clinical support from wait and see to identify and act.

Read more:Treating suspected autism at 12 months of age improves children’s language skills

The finding also emphasises the importance of providing supports to children based on functional difficulties, rather than the presence or absence of a diagnosis. This approach is consistent with Australias National Disability Insurance Scheme.

You May Like: Adhd And Dyslexia Comorbidity

Autisms Genetic Risk Factors

Research tells us that autism tends to run in families. Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child will develop autism. If a parent carries one or more of these gene changes, they may get passed to a child . Other times, these genetic changes arise spontaneously in an early embryo or the sperm and/or egg that combine to create the embryo. Again, the majority of these gene changes do not cause autism by themselves. They simply increase risk for the disorder

Autistic Traits And Diagnosis

Diagnosed with autism… (aged 33!)

Autistic traits meaning things that autistic people often do, think, and feel are often shared by people who dont have autism too. This doesnt mean that everyone is a little bit autistic, or that autistic people dont need support.

To be diagnosed with autism, a person has to have a lot of autistic traits from birth, and those traits need to have a big effect on their life. In order to be diagnosed with autism, those traits must cause what a healthcare professional would call clinically significant difficulties in their day-to-day life. This means that they have difficulties with day-to-day life due to their autistic traits and need to use their own ways of overcoming those difficulties, or the people in their life need to help them to overcome them, or both.

Being in a supportive environment makes a big difference to an autistic persons wellbeing and quality of life.

Psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy are often used to treat depression, anxiety, and sleep problems, both in people who have autism and people who dont.

Psychological therapies can help to manage conditions linked with autism, like anxiety, but psychological therapies arent a treatment for autism itself. Therapy techniques might need to be adapted to work for an autistic person.

Challenges in daily living

Possible therapies include:

Finding the right therapies

Also Check: Puzzle Symbol For Autism

Diagnosis Of Down Syndrome After Birth

A diagnosis of Down syndrome after birth is often based initially on physical signs of the syndrome.

But because individuals with Down syndrome may not have these symptoms, and because many of these symptoms are common in the general population, the health care provider will take a sample of the baby’s blood to confirm the diagnosis. The blood sample is analyzed to determine the number of the baby’s chromosomes.11

More articles

Popular Articles