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 âtypicalâ Down syndrome.Mike Allshouse
Advantages And Disadvantages Of An Aspergers Diagnosis
The advantages of having an accurate, reliable diagnosis of Aspergers are many. It can eliminate the worry that a person is severely mentally ill. It can support the idea that the person has genuine difficulties arising from a real, legitimate condition. Other people, once they are aware that the person has Aspergers are often able to be more accepting and supportive. A new, and more accurate, understanding of the person can lead to appreciation and respect for what the person is coping with.
Knowing someone has Aspergers opens up avenues to resources for help as well as access to programs to improve social inclusion and emotional management. Acceptance by friends and family members is more likely. An acceptable explanation to other people about the persons behavior is now available leading to the possibility of reconciliation with people who have had problems with the persons behavior.
In the workplace and in educational settings, a diagnosis of Aspergers can provide access to helpful resources and support that might otherwise not have been available. Employers are more likely to understand the ability and needs of an employee should that employee make the diagnosis known. Accommodations can be requested and a rationale can be provided based on a known diagnosis.
Are there disadvantages to a diagnosis of Aspergers? Yes, but the list is shorter than the list of advantages.
What Is Chronic Daily Headache Syndrome
Chronic daily headache refers to headaches of almost any type that occur very frequently, generally at least 15 days per month for a period of six months or more. Chronic migraine is diagnosed when headache occurs greater than 15 days per month and migraine or pain killer use occurs at least eight of those days.
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What Conclusions Can We Draw
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
A Few Differences Between Autism And Down Syndrome
Some of the main differences between Down syndrome and autism include:
- Intellectual disability
- Body language
Looks: People with Down syndrome look different. You can almost always tell at a glance. Meanwhile, autistic people look like everyone else.
Intellect: Almost all people with Down syndrome have an intellectual disability. Thus, things like counting change, reading large books, and understanding the world are harder. Meanwhile, autism doesnt lower your IQ. Autistic people can have any level of intelligence.
Body language: Down syndrome doesnt change body language. Autistic people tend to fidget and avoid eye contact. This helps them feel better, so dont tell them to stop.
Of course, you cant always tell. For example, if someone has mosaic Down syndrome, then some of their cells have Down syndrome and some dont. That means the signs might be subtler. Autistic people can also mask or hide their natural behavior. However, this is bad for their mental health.
These signs are there, whether theyre obvious or not. If someone is open about it, then it means they trust you with who they are.
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Brain Development And Asd
The development of the brain and how it functions is different in some way in children with DS-ASD than 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 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, and
- 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 is different in appearance in these children compared to those with 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.
Family And Health Factors
Some studies have identified that a history of autism spectrum disorder was present in the families of some of the children with Down syndrome who were diagnosed as autistic. Like other children, they are being affected by a genetic predisposition in their families.
Several studies note that many children with a dual-diagnosis had serious health problems that do not affect all children with Down syndrome. Children may be at increased risk of being diagnosed as autistic when they have experienced significant illnesses in early life including conditions such as infantile spasms, epilepsy, brain injury after complicated heart surgery, severe hearing or visual impairments and severe persistent infections. Not all children with Down syndrome who have these medical problems will become autistic but sometimes brain damage or serious sensory deprivation does lead to severe to profound levels of learning disability and autistic like profiles of development.
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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
At What Age Can Autism Be Diagnosed
There is now general agreement that an experienced professional can reliably diagnose autism by 3 years of age in the general child population. There is also evidence that some children may be identified earlier on screening tools, relying on early indicators such as differences in eye-contact, joint attention, pointing, imitation and play behaviors.
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Stability Across Time: From Age 2 To 5 Years
Eighteen children returned for a follow-up evaluation approximately 2 years later . The two children who were not observed at follow-up were dropped for the following reasons: one family withdrew due to time and scheduling constraints, and one child moved out of state and funds prohibited our travel to visit her family. Three other families expressed concern about the time commitment for the follow-up visit however, they allowed the clinical psychologist to travel to the childs school to conduct the evaluation. None of the three children evaluated at the school presented with significant symptoms of autism at follow-up.
The same three children who met criteria on the ADOS-G and ADI-R at age 2 , also met criteria at age 4 years however, symptom presentation was more dramatic for two of the children . L.K. continued to present with significant developmental delay and was observed to use her eye gaze effectively to modulate social interactions, share affect and attention with adults, and demonstrate some nonverbal reciprocity within sensorimotor play. Her social development, consisting of responsive dyadic exchanges, appeared to be congruent with her cognitive maturity. Therefore, she once again did not receive a clinical diagnosis of autism.
Is It An Emergency
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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.
Im 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.
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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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.
Down’s Syndrome And Autistic Spectrum Disorder
This article provides an overview of Autistic Spectrum Disorder in Down’s Syndrome.
George T. Capone
During the past 10 years, I have evaluated hundreds of children with Down’s syndrome, each one with their own strengths and weaknesses, and certainly their own personality. I do not think I’ve met a parent who does not care deeply for their child at the clinic their love and dedication is obvious. But some of the families stand out in my mind. Sometimes parents bring their child with Down’s syndrome to the clinic – not always for the first time – and they are deeply distraught about a change in their child’s behavior or development. Sometimes they describe situations and isolated concerns that worry them such as their child has stopped learning new signs or using speech. He is happy playing by himself, seeming to need no one else to make the odd game he is playing fun. When they call to him, he does not look at them. Maybe he is not hearing well? He will only eat three or four foods. The suggestion of a new food, or even an old favorite, brings about a tantrum like no other. He is constantly staring at the lights and ceiling fans. Not just while they pass by, but obsessively. Getting him to stop staring at the lights is sometimes difficult and may result in a scene. He requires a certain order to things. Moving a chair to another spot in the room upsets him until it is returned to it’s usual spot.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Signs and symptoms
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Autism In Down Syndrome Is Not Typical Autism
An increasing number of children with Down syndrome are being diagnosed as also having autism or autistic spectrum disorder . Research is exploring the prevalence and the characteristics of autism and autistic spectrum disorders in people with Down syndrome, and informing more reliable diagnosis. More research is needed to better understand these dual diagnoses and to identify effective ways to support development and learning for these children.
Why Do Down Syndrome Babies Have To Wear A Helmet
Also called a cranial orthotic, helmet therapy is a type of treatment prescribed for infants to help correct an abnormal skull shape. About 75 percent of brain growth happens by age 2. To accommodate such rapid development, a babys skull is made up of soft plates that gradually harden and grow together.
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Are Autism And Down Syndrome The Same
Autism and Down syndrome are different syndromes that contain similarities and differences. Functionality in both syndromes is present in other situations, including relevant delays, differences in the degree of impairment, situations in which the intellectual disabilities play a leading role, as well as when examined in detail. Although autism and Down syndrome are often seen as the same diseases, the only difference between the two diseases is the mothers who have these children. The difference between autism and down syndrome continues to be the subject of various investigations.
Find Resources And Support
Your doctor or local hospital can refer you to community resources to help you learn what to expect and how to care for your baby who has Down syndrome.
You may also want to think about joining a support group. Talking and sharing with other parents of children with Down syndrome can help you manage difficult feelings. It can also help you know what kinds of challenges to expect, as well as help you to discover the joys other parents have experienced with their children.
Families of children who have Down syndrome may need other types of resources, such as:
- Financial assistance. Children with Down syndrome have special needs that may create more expenses for the family.
- Estate planning. Become familiar with tax issues and estate planning to ensure that your child will have proper care and necessary resources available if you die.
- Family counselling. This therapy involves regular sessions with a qualified counsellor who has experience working with families who have children with Down syndrome.
It’s also important to take time for yourself. Common frustrations and frequent highs and lows can all lead to exhaustion. Take good care of yourself so you have the energy to enjoy your child and attend to his or her needs. For more information, see the topic Caregiver Tips.
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