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What’s The Difference Between Autism And Down Syndrome

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What Is The Difference Between Autism And Down Syndrome

Aspergers vs Autism

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

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.

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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Difference Between Autism And Down Syndrome

Autism vs Down Syndrome

Autism and Down syndrome are well known causes of mental retardation. There are other causes of mental retardation, as well. However, these two are important because Down syndrome represents the pure genetic end of the spectrum while autism represents the purely psychological end. Even though some studies have suggested a genetic link to autism, it remains very doubtful to this date. This article will talk about both autism and Down syndrome in detail highlighting the differences in clinical features, symptoms, causes, tests and investigation, prognosis, and the course of treatment they require.

Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders

The cause of autismand autism spectrum disorders is due to abnormal development of the nervous system. Autism first appears in childhood or infancy. There are three main symptoms of autism. They are poor social interactions, impairment of communication, and restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. Due to poor interactions, autistic children fail to make friends, play alone, and remain possessive. They find it difficult to speak and express feelings through body language. They develop a unique set of behaviors that they hardly ever change. They like to stack objects up, line up toys and adhere strictly to a daily routine. Autism symptoms become apparent around one to two years of age. Some children develop normally before regressing. During adulthood, the signs of autism are rather muted.

Down Syndrome

How Does Learning Disability Affect Autism

Autism vs. Down Syndrome: What

Surveys show that the incidence of autism increases as the severity of learning disability increases. In a recently published article looking at autistic spectrum disorders in the total population of individuals with learning disabilities in an area of The Netherlands they report the following figures. In a total group of 1436 children between 4 and 18 years, 9.3% of those with mild learning disabilities were diagnosed as having autistic spectrum disorder, 16.8% of those with moderate learning disabilities and some 43.4% of those with severe or profound learning disabilities. This study gives an overall incidence of 16.7% for the total group of children with learning disabilities or 26.1% . Similar figures have been reported from studies in Sweden and in the UK. These studies use IQ measures to group children by degree of learning disability as shown in the side box.

Most children with Down syndrome are within the range of mild to moderate learning disability – with about 10% in the severe/profound range. We might predict that the expected rates for autism and Down syndrome would be the same as those for the learning disabled population as a whole given above, but we will see below that they are probably significantly lower.

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Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder

The truth is that genetics do play a role in autism. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the next child to come along has about a 20% greater risk of developing autism than normal. When the first two children in a family have both been diagnosed with ASD, the third child has about a 32% greater risk of developing ASD.

Know The Signs Of A Dual Diagnosis Of Down Syndrome And Autism Spectrum Disorder

As a parent of a child with Down syndrome , navigating the healthcare system can be difficult and tiring, and finding the appropriate resources and interventions for your child can seem incredibly daunting. Now imagine your child has a dual-diagnosis. Did you know that 2-10% of individuals with Down syndrome also meet criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder ? What does that mean for families? With a dual-diagnosis of DS and ASD, families have more access to valuable resources and benefits for their child, such as medication and/or behavioral treatment like social skills training and Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy.

With this blog, parents will be able to better understand the differences and similarities between Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder, consider if their child meets the criteria for a dual-diagnosis, and determine appropriate next steps.

Down Syndrome Characteristics

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs when there are three copies of Chromosome 21. Physical attributes can include small mouth and nose, large tongue, almond-shaped eyes with skin that covers the inner eye, and stunted growth. Individuals with DS often experience physical challenges as well, such as vision and hearing impairments, and weight problems. DS can be detected during pregnancy through prenatal screening and diagnostic testing. According to the National Down Syndrome Society , common behaviors of children with DS include:

Autism Spectrum Disorder Characteristics

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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.

Asperger Therapies And Services

Baby and Toddler Milestones, Dr. Lisa Shulman

Find the following services near you using the Autism Speaks Resource Guide.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help address anxiety and other personal challenges.

Social skills training classes can help with conversational skills and understanding social cues.

Speech therapy can help with voice control.

Physical and occupational therapy can improve coordination.

Psychoactive medicines can help manage associated anxiety, depression and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder .

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What Treatments Are Effective For Autistic Children

To diagnose autism in children with a learning disability you need:
  • A detailed assessment of cognitive level and of receptive and expressive language abilities
  • A developmental history covering progress from infancy onwards, preferably obtained with a standardised interview such as the Autism Diagnostic Interview
  • Observations of the child in both structured and non-structured settings (again a standardised instrument such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule Generic can be very informative
  • Routine screening for medical/genetic conditions
  • Consideration of other relevant psychosocial factors
  • Guidelines from Patricia Howlin 2000

    Despite the fact that the number of children with autism in the general population is increasing and that people have been looking for effective treatments for more than 20 years, there is no evidence that any treatment can ‘cure’ the underlying cause of the social impairment. There is some evidence that educational and management strategies may help children to progress, to adapt to their difficulties and to reduce the incidence of behavior difficulties that they may show. The advice of Pat Howlin, based on many years of work in this field, is again a good starting point

    In order of priority, the key messages for families are

  • Develop a daily routine and a visual timetable to provide a structure, to allow the child to anticipate what is to be expected, and to reduce anxiety
  • As part of the daily routines, set clear expectations for behavior
  • What Is Cerebral Palsy

    Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition, meaning it involves the nervous system, and it begins with the brain. It manifests primarily as a disorder of movement and muscle tone, but it can have far-reaching complications and symptoms ranging from mild to severe and debilitating, depending on the individual.

    Brain damage or a disruption in normal brain development occurring in the womb during labor and delivery or shortly after birth causes cerebral palsy.

    The cause of the brain damage is not always known, but it may be genetic or due to difficulties during the delivery, lack of oxygen to the brain, maternal infection, a stroke in utero, or many other factors.

    This is a life-long disorder without a cure, but the effects are wide-ranging. The symptoms may be so mild that they are barely detectable in some but completely debilitating in others.

    Characteristic symptoms include either too much or too little muscle tone, rigid muscles, spastic muscles, poor muscle coordination, slow and writhing movements, delayed motor development, difficulty walking, difficulty swallowing, drooling, difficulty speaking, and seizures.

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    What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Previously Called Autism And Pervasive Developmental Disorders

    Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by the following:

    • Difficulties in social communication differences, including verbal and nonverbal communication.
    • Deficits in social interactions.
    • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities and sensory problems

    Many of those with ASD can have delayed or absence of language development, intellectual disabilities, poor motor coordination and attention weaknesses.

    At What Age Can Autism Be Diagnosed

    Know the Signs of a Dual Diagnosis of Down Syndrome and ...

    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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    A Few Differences Between Autism And Down Syndrome

    Some of the main differences between Down syndrome and autism include:

    • Looks
    • 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.

    What Is The Behavior Of Down Syndrome

    The most common mental health concerns include: general anxiety, repetitive and obsessive-compulsive behaviors oppositional, impulsive, and inattentive behaviors sleep related difficulties depression autism spectrum conditions and neuropsychological problems characterized by progressive loss of cognitive skills.

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    What Is The Outlook For People With Autism Spectrum Disorder

    In many cases, the symptoms of ASD become less pronounced as a child gets older. Parents of children with ASD may need to be flexible and ready to adjust treatment as needed for their child.

    People with ASD may go on to live typical lives, but there is often need for continued services and support as they age. The needs depend on the severity of the symptoms. For most, it’s a lifelong condition that may require ongoing supports.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Through research, there has been much that has been learned about autism spectrum disorder over the past 20 years. There is ongoing active research on the causes of ASD, early detection and diagnosis, prevention and treatments.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/29/2020.

    References

    How Has Our Understanding Of Asperger Syndrome Evolved

    Out Of Control Autistic Teenager

    1944: Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger described four strikingly similar young patients. They had normal to high intelligence. But they lacked social skills and had extremely narrow interests. The children also shared a tendency to be clumsy.

    1981: British psychiatrist Lorna Wing published a series of similar case studies. In it, she coined the term Asperger syndrome.

    1994: Asperger syndrome listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .

    2013: Asperger syndrome and other previously separate types of autism folded into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in DSM-5.

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    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

    Risk Factors For Social Withdrawal

    When children’s play and communication skills are developing very slowly due to learning disability, there is a risk that their development becomes arrested, or ‘stuck’.

    For example, a child may sit and just roll a car back and forward, or line up bricks or sit and flap an object because he or she does not know how to play more creatively. Progress will only be made if someone – parent or sibling or teacher – plays with the child and shows him or her how to play in more rewarding and advanced ways. Even if play is not more advanced, if someone plays with the child, taking turns in a simple activity such as rolling a ball or running balls down a runway, this will prevent the child developing the habit of engaging in a repetitive activity that does not lead to any learning or progress.

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    Edited By Jacob A Burack Jamie O Edgin And Leonard Abbeduto

    Subject:
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    date: 15 September 2021

    What Can We Do To Improve Diagnosis

    What is the difference between autism and Down syndrome ...

    At present, we can draw attention to the guidelines already available from experts in autism such as Pat Howlin – seebox. Her guidelines emphasize the need to consider the child’s level of cognitive and language functioning in order to be able to interpret behaviors in the context of the child’s current developmental level.

    In adapting these excellent guidelines to be specific for children with Down syndrome, I would want to be sure that anyone assessing the child was aware that possible symptoms considered ‘autistic’ such as ‘obsessional’ repetitive behaviors, sensitivity to sensory stimulation and a dislike of change are common and not usually associated with any social or emotional deficits.

    Degree of learning disability

    Severe = IQ 21-35

    Profound = IQ below 20

    I would highlight the need to take a medical history first to identify any reasons to suppose the child has additional brain damage and also to screen for any existing conditions such as severe hearing loss or hypothyroidism or any conditions causing pain which have not been detected.

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