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 Study shows a mother’s sensitivity level can affect autistic kids’ language development

By Darcy Clinton

According to a 2007 report published by the Centers for Disease Control, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the United States is 1 in 110 children or almost 1 in 94 if your child is a boy.

Researchers Daniel Messinger, an associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, and Jason K. Baker, a postdoctoral fellow at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, are working on research they hope will empower parents to provide the best care possible for children with an autism spectrum disorder.

Weston resident Gabi Brecher has two children, Sharon, 6 and Dylan, 5. Dylan received an autism diagnosis when he was 20 months old.

“There’s so much information to sort through and figure out when you are looking for answers,” she said “Every child and family has different needs. As parents, we always want to do what’s best for our children and help those around us see our child as a person, not a diagnosis.

Promising New Research Baker and Messinger conducted a study of 33 children between the ages of 18 and 36 months to determine how a mother’s sensitivity may promote language development in toddlers with emergent autism spectrum disorders. Baker said their findings indicated that children whose mothers showed more sensitive teaching behavior early on did much better in the area of language development.

Read in Full:  http://www.southflorida.com/sfparenting/sfe-sfp-autistic,0,5437400.story

 

Association of Autistic-Like and Internalizing Traits During Childhood: A Longitudinal Twin Study

Victoria Hallett, M.Sc., Angelica Ronald, Ph.D., Fruhling Rijsdijk, Ph.D., and Francesca Happé, Ph.D.

Objective: Children with autism spectrum disorders often experience severeanxiety and depression, yet the explanation for this associationremains unclear. The authors examined the longitudinal relationshipbetween autistic-like and internalizing traits across middleto late childhood in a population-representative twin sample.

Method: Participants were approximately 6,000 twin pairs born in Englandand Wales from 1994 to 1996. Parental reports of autistic-likeand internalizing traits were analyzed at ages 7 and 8 (timepoint1) and again at age 12 (timepoint 2). The direction and etiologyof the associations between these traits were examined withina cross-lagged design.

Results: Findings revealed an asymmetric bidirectional association betweenautistic-like and internalizing traits over time. Autistic-liketraits at age 7 made a modest but significant contribution tothe presence of internalizing traits at age 12. Earlier internalizingtraits also influenced the development of later autistic-liketraits, although this association was approximately one-halfthe magnitude. While both traits were moderately to highly heritable,they were largely independent with regard to their genetic influences.Stronger associations were found between the modest shared environmentalinfluences on each trait. Of note, it was autistic-like communicationdifficulties, rather than social deficits, that made a significantcontribution to later internalizing traits.

Conclusions: The association between autistic-like and internalizing traitswas attributable to reciprocal processes occurring across childhood,suggesting that these traits may serve to exacerbate each otherover time. Autistic-like communication difficulties had themost notable impact. This association must now be explored withinsamples of children with diagnosed autism spectrum disordersand internalizing disorders, since this may help to inform thebest timing and targeting of clinical intervention.

Am J Psychiatry 2010; 167:809-817(published online May 17, 2010; doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09070990)

Source:  http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/short/167/7/809?rss=1



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