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Is Autism And Down Syndrome The Same

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What Conclusions Can We Draw

Down Syndrome Answers: Is Down syndrome the same as autism?
ICD-10 criteria for a diagnosis of autism

A. Abnormal or impaired development is evident before the age of 3 years in at least one of the following areas:

receptive or expressive language as used in social communication

development of selective social attachments or of reciprocal social interaction

functional or symbolic play

B. A total of at least six symptoms from , and must be present, with at least two from and at least one from each of and :

Qualitative abnormalities in reciprocal social interaction are manifest in at least two of the following areas.

failure adequately to use eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gesture to regulate social interaction

failure to develop peer relationships that involve mutual interests, activities and emotions

lack of socio-emotional reciprocity as shown by an impaired or deviant response to other people’s emotions or lack of modulation of behavior according to social context or a weak integration of social, emotional, and communicative behaviors

lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people .

Qualitative abnormalities in communication are manifest in at least one of the following areas:

delay in, or total lack of, development of spoken language that is not accompanied by an attempt to compensate using gesture or mime as an alternative mode of communication

stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic use of words or phrases

Reprinted with permission

Brain Development And Autism Spectrum Disorder

The development of the brain and how it functions is different in some ways in children with DS-ASD than it is in their peers with Down syndrome. Characterizing and recording these differences in brain development through detailed evaluation of both groups of children will provide a better understanding of the situation and will point to possible treatments for children with DS-ASD.

A detailed analysis of the brain performed at autopsy or with magnetic resonance imaging in children with autism shows involvement of several different regions of the brain:

— The limbic system, which is important for regulating emotional response, mood, and memory

— The temporal lobes, which are important for hearing and normal processing of sounds

— The cerebellum, which coordinates motor movements and some cognitive operations

— The corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the cortex together

At Kennedy Krieger Institute, we have conducted MRI studies of 25 children with DS-ASD. The preliminary results support the notion that the cerebellum and corpus callosum are different in appearance in these children compared with those who have Down syndrome alone. We are presently evaluating other areas of the brain, including the limbic system and all major cortical subregions, to look for additional markers that will distinguish children with DS-ASD from their peers with Down syndrome alone.

Brain Chemistry and Autism Spectrum Disorder

How Do I Find Out?

Obtaining an Evaluation

Some Perspective On Autism

Autism used to be seen as a behavior disorder. In the past, people saw these differences and thought they should be punished.

Nowadays, we know that these things help autistic people feel comfortable. Fidgeting helps them stay calm. Enjoying their interests isnt wrong, and it can be fun to join them.

Besides, some parts of autism are good. I had several autistic friends in college. They were fun, creative, unique people who made me laugh. If I needed an opinion, then I knew I could count on them to tell the truth. Whatever I did, they didnt judge me for being different.

Above all, its important to respect who they are.

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Autism Vs Down Syndrome

Is Autism and Down Syndrome the same thing? And are they genetic or hereditary does it have to run in the family for it to be developed in a child ?

No. They are completely different.

do you know if its hereditary or genetic

Of course they are not the same thing. As far as down syndrome, individuals who have it carry an extra chromosome, I do not think autism can be diagnosed with genetic testing.

I’m not sure if they are considered “hereditary”. They both happen at birth and in the case of down syndrome at least are much more likely to happen in babies carried by older mothers. If you have any concerns I would talk with a doctor. Your OB will ask you if you have any history of it in your family.

no, not the same thing. Autism people can be taught and with the right intervention can grow up to function ok. Down syndrome cant be taught. Theyll only reach a certain maturity level and thats as far as they go. Down syndrome can be tested for while pregnant, although Im pretty sure its a percentage and likelihood. Autism is not diagnosed until a child is 2-3 years old. Although many parents see signs before that. There is a difference between just delayed as well. Im not a expert but my SS has autism so Im familiar. I dont know someone with Down syndrome.

OP – Down syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality. You will know by genetic testing before the baby is born. Those with Down syndrome can lead wonderful lives. And yes, they CAN be taught.

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General Themes Across Different Clinical Conditions

Dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and Autism

The second general issue is whether the language symptoms appear to be delayed or deviant relative to normal development. Although this issue has been most explicitly investigated for the condition of SLI, it is also intrinsic to the interpretive issues that apply to other conditions of language disorders. In the delayed scenario, the language impairments can seem to share many points of similarity with younger, typically developing children, as if the language system is chronologically guided such that by a certain age level typically developing children have acquired a set of particular language skills, whereas the language of children with language impairments reflects a less mature pattern very similar to younger children. In contrast, in the deviant scenario the language system of children with language impairments might not parallel that of younger children. Instead, the kinds of errors and limitations in language use and competency are inconsistent with what is known about any given level of typical language acquisition. The distinction between delayed and deviant bears on interpretation of the language impairment and possible etiological considerations: Are the linguistic systems of affected children fundamentally similar to unaffected children, or are the systems fundamentally different? Are underlying neurocognitive processes and mechanisms fundamentally similar or different? This issue will be highlighted when appropriate in the following review.

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Symptoms Of Autism And Mental Retardation

Autism: Autistic infants show less attention to social stimuli, smile and look at others less often, and respond less to their own name. They have less eye contact and do not have the ability to use simple movements to express themselves, such as pointing at things. They make a repetitive movement, such as hand flapping, head rolling, or body rocking and they intended and appears to follow rules, such as arranging objects in stacks or lines. They also have very limited focus, interest, or activity, such as preoccupation with a single television program, toy or game.

18 month old boy with autism, obsessively stacking cans

Mental Retardation: Patients with mental retardation have delay in oral language development, deficits in memory skills, difficulty in learning social rules, difficulty with problem-solving skills, delays in the development of adaptive behaviors such as self-help or self-care skills and lack of social inhibition.

What Types Of Communication Difficulties Can Look Like Adhd

People with Down syndrome may have many barriers to effective communication. The receptive language skills of children with Down syndrome are often much stronger than their expressive language skills . Parents often comment, He knows what he wants to tell us, he just cant seem to put the words together or we cant make out what he is saying. Classroom participation is thus more difficult, as well. A child may express his or her frustration by acting out or by inattention.

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How Common Is Add In Children With Down Syndrome

The frequency of ADHD in children with Down syndrome is not known with certainty. However, ADHD-like symptoms are more common in young children with Down syndrome than they are in children from the general population. Compounding symptoms such as stereotypy , anxiety or extreme irritability in the presence of ADHD-like symptoms may indicate another disorder such as autism, bipolar disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.

Uncomplicated ADHD is common in younger children with Down syndrome. However, many school age children with ADHD frequently have other behavioral conditions including oppositional defiant disorder, disruptive behavior disorder or obsessive compulsive traits.

Meet An Athlete Ambassador


Charlotte is our youngest granddaughter who was born just a year ago. In such a short time she has brought so much joy and happiness to our family. Her ever-present smile can light up a room! We have become immersed in the Down Syndrome world and we are amazed at the great work others have done before us to make a better world for children like Charlotte. We joined TeamNDSS in conjunction with the Marine Corps Marathon because we want to pay it forward so that all DS children can reap the benefits of NDSS.

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The Significance Of Shared Symptoms Of Language Disorders

There are two possible approaches to investigation, both of which require an understanding of language symptoms within and across conditions. These approaches are described as top-down versus bottom-up. Although an ideal program of investigation would include both approaches, in converging investigations of language symptoms and etiological factors, individual studies are usually constrained to one approach. In Smith and Morris , the two approaches to genetics studies are described in terms of how to define the starting point of investigation: a top-down approach would focus on precise specification of the language phenotype to search for genes affecting specific language disorders a bottom-up approach would focus on the language phenotypes in known genetic syndromes as models of gene effects. Fisher’s paper in this issue illustrates how a fortuitous bottom-up approach led to a gene discovery that in turn now guides molecular investigations of the symptoms.

Brain Chemistry And Asd

The neurochemistry of autism is far from clear, and very likely involves several different chemical systems of the brain. This information provides the basis for medication trials to impact the way the brain works in order to elicit a change in behavior. An analysis of neurochemistry in children with ASD alone has consistently identified involvement of at least two systems.

  • Dopamine: regulates movement, posture, attention and reward behaviors
  • Serotonin: regulates mood, aggression, sleep and feeding behaviors

Additionally, Opiates, which regulate mood, reward, responses to stress and perception of pain may also be involved in some children.

Detailed studies of brain chemistry in children with DS-ASD have not yet been done. However, our clinical experience in using medications that modulate dopamine, serotonin or both systems has been favorable in some children with DS-ASD.

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Causes And Risk Factors

We do not know all of the causes of ASD. However, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASD. There may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have an ASD, including environmental, biologic and genetic factors.

  • Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop ASD.4, 19
  • Children who have a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk of also having ASD. 5-10
  • Individuals with certain genetic or chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis, can have a greater chance of having ASD. 11-14, 20
  • When taken during pregnancy, the prescription drugs valproic acid and thalidomide have been linked with a higher risk of ASD.15-16
  • There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASD occurs before, during, and immediately after birth. 17
  • Children born to older parents are at greater risk for having ASD. 18

ASD continues to be an important public health concern. Like the many families living with ASD, CDC wants to find out what causes the disorder. Understanding the factors that make a person more likely to develop ASD will help us learn more about the causes. We are currently working on one of the largest U.S. studies to date, called Study to Explore Early Development . SEED is looking at many possible risk factors for ASD, including genetic, environmental, pregnancy, and behavioral factors.

What Is The Difference Between Autism And Down Syndrome

I Have a Message for All My Sons Labels

In children with autism, it seems that these children have difficulty in communicating with their parents. Autistic children seem to be physically close to normal, but children with Downs syndrome are more likely to have physical characteristics that the disease gave them. While autistic children carry a clear trait of nature and degree of disability, the family never has a clear knowledge of the capacity and potential of the child. Therefore, anticipation of the family cannot be realistic and leads to frustration. But the facts are clearer in children with Downs syndrome, so the family is clearly aware of the situation. Compared to other types of barriers, children with Downs syndrome have a lower stress and a more positive picture of their children

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What Is The Cause Of Down Syndrome

1. The cause of Down syndrome is unknown.

  • In a process called non-disjunction, the two copies of chromosome 21 fail to separate during formation of the egg, resulting in an egg with two copies of the chromosome. When this egg is fertilized, the resulting baby ends up with three copies of chromosome 21 in each of its cells. The cause of this non-disjunction remains unknown.

2. The chance of having a baby with Down syndrome increases with the mothers age however, about half of babies born with Down syndrome are born to mothers under 35 years old simply because more young women are having babies.

3. Down syndrome has nothing to do with race, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, or anything the mother or father did during pregnancy.

4. There is NO correlation between incest and Down syndrome.

5. Between two and four percent of the time, a person is born with Mosaic translocation Down syndrome whereby some but not all of the cells have an extra copy of the 21st chromosome and the other cells are not affected. Translocation happens when a piece of chromosome 21 becomes attached to another chromosome during cell division.

In the case of hereditary Translocation Down syndrome , an extra chromosome 21 is inherited from one of the parents.

How Common Is It

Over the past 25 years, some dozen papers have reported cases of children and adults with Down syndrome and autism. There have also been some surveys in the UK and Sweden which suggest that about 5-7% of children with Down syndrome have autistic spectrum disorders. A recent study of a sample of young children in the USA found 2 children in a group of 20, giving a 10% incidence. These all suggest that the rate is considerably lower than the 16.7% that would be expected for children with IQs across the mild/moderate/severe range. In fact, it could be argued that children with Down syndrome have some inbuilt social strengths that reduce the likelihood of having autism despite their delayed language and intellectual development.

My wife Denise and I are parents of five children, three of whom have Down syndrome. Our middle child, Charlie , has dual diagnosis of Down syndrome/Autism. He clearly functions and learns at a different level than his siblings, who have “typical” Down syndrome.Mike Allshouse

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What Is The Population Of People With Down Syndrome

1. The Centers for Disease Control in 2011 estimated the frequency of Down syndrome in the US is 1 in 691 live births

2. The estimate that 90% of pregnant women in the U.S. who get a diagnosis of Down syndrome through amniocentesis choose to terminate IS INACCURATE.

  • This statistic is based on studies done that merged findings from the U.S., UK and Europe in the mid- to late 1990s. The numbers do not represent the attitudes of the US population then or today.
  • A more targeted 2012 review of just United States data and termination rates following a prenatal diagnosis for Down syndrome estimates termination rates from 1995 2011 were about 67%.

3. Surprisingly, The population of people in the US with Down syndrome is currently unknown. What we do know is:

Srs Scores In Ds: Comparisons To The Normative Sample

Sibling with autism and down syndrome

Group-wise, participants showed elevated overall SRS scores, indicated by the mean total T-score of 60.57 , which is just above the normal range and into the clinically significant mild-to-moderate category of ASD symptomatology. Further, a one-sample t-test comparing participants T-scores to the mean value from the normative sample was significant, t=6.16, p=< .001.

An examination of SRS T-scores by subscale revealed that the mean T-scores for Autistic Mannerisms and Social Cognition were beyond the normal range cutoff of T=60. The mean scores for the other subscales were just below this cutoff, with the range of scores spanning above and below 60 for every subscale. See Figure for the distribution of T-scores into each clinical category by subscale. One-sample t-tests comparing participants subscale T-scores to the mean value from the normative sample were all statistically significant such that, for each subscale, the mean score of study participants was significantly higher than that of the normative sample .

Figure 1

Percentage of participants falling into the normal, mild-to-moderate, and severe categories on the Social Responsiveness Scale .

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