- About ASF
- What is Autism?
- How Common is Autism?
- Signs and Symptoms of Autism
- Autism Diagnosis
- Following a Diagnosis
- Treatment Options
- Beware of Non-Evidence-Based Treatments
- Statement on Use of Medical Marijuana for People with Autism
- Autism and Vaccines
- Autism Science
- Autism Research Strategic Plan
- Research by Topic
- Research by Year
- Interviews with Scientists
- Science Journals
- Autism in the News
- Recommended Reading
- Year End Summaries
- Participate in Research
- NIH ACE Grants
- NIMH Resources
- Autism Research Glossary
- Quick Facts About Autism
- What We Fund
- Funding Calendar
- ASF Funded Research
- Where Are They Now?
- ASF Supported Findings
- Autism Sisters Project
- Baby Siblings Research Consortium
- Get Involved
- Resources for Grantees
- Resources for Families
- Sam’s Sibs Stick Together
- COVID-19 Resources
- Day of Learning
- Contact Us
Research by Topic: Family
This week, a new systematic review published by researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute looked at the existing evidence around caregiver (parent) mediated interventions and not child outcome, but family relationships and dynamics. While it isn’t the focus on the intervention, what effect does allowing parents to be involved and empowered on their child’s support on […]
This holiday weekend always triggers a reincarnation, a resurrection of the vaccine – autism hypothesis. Many of you have read about the measles epidemics that are hitting many areas of the country. But besides vaccines, there are other aspects of the immune system that may be linked to autism in some people. The include family […]
This week’s podcast combines two important post Mother’s Day topics – parents and eating. Two recent studies have shown the promise of using parent – delivered interventions to help improve food selectivity and food aversions in kids with autism. These two behaviors can be one of the most frustrating and challenging for parents and kids, […]
This podcast is dedicated to siblings of people with autism who are typically developing. They play an important and beneficial role in development of socialization of those with ASD. But sadly, they also have issues of their own, such as a high rate of issues like anxiety and depression. Those siblings may be genetic carries […]
When asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” in elementary school, Allyson Schwartzman had one answer – “an autism teacher”. Read about how Allyson made her dream a reality by becoming a special education teacher on the ASF blog.
On this week’s podcast, highlights from the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation 2018 International Family Conference in Dallas, TX. People with Phelan McDermid Syndrome, or PMS, suffer from seizures and intellectual disability, and about 70% have an ASD diagnosis. This syndrome is caused by mutations of the SHANK3 gene, which is present in about 1% of people […]
ASF is proud to announce continued support for the Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC), a network of over 33 research sites around the world studying the younger siblings of people with autism. The Baby Sibs database now tracks over 5,000 younger siblings, with and without autism. The database has been used to develop more sophisticated […]
Filed under: asf, baby siblings, Baby Siblings Research Consortium, Baby Sibs, Behavior, BSRC, collaboration, consortium, early diagnosis, Early Intervention, Family, featured, genes, intervention, research, science, sex difference, Siblings
Caregiver Burden as People with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder Transition into Adolescence and Adulthood in the United KingdomPublished September 8, 2015 in J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry
This study conducted an observational study of 192 families caring for a young person (aged 14 to 24 years) with a childhood diagnosis of ASD or ADHD (n = 101 and n = 91, respectively) in the United Kingdom. A modified stress-appraisal model was used to investigate the correlates of caregiver burden as a function of family background (parental education), primary stressors (symptoms), primary appraisal (need), and resources (use of services).
The results of this meta-analysis support an association between advancing maternal age and risk of autism. The association persisted after the effects of paternal age and other potential confounders had been considered, supporting an independent relation between higher maternal age and autism.
This study describes the services used by 152 children aged 24-60 months with autism, report family out-of-pocket expenses and productivity losses, and explore the relationship between family characteristics and costs.
Research published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that parents who have a child with autism are about a third less likely to choose to continue having children compared to parents who do not have a child with ASD. In the study, this “reproductive stoppage” did not occur until the child started showing symptoms or received a diagnosis of ASD. This led researchers to conclude that it was a conscious decision to stop having children, rather than another factor such as fertility problems.
A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that men who fathered children at age 50 or older were nearly twice as likely to have a grandchild with autism compared to men who had children at a younger age. The study focused on age-related aspects and sought to control any other variables, such as socioeconomic status.
Dr. Peter Gerhardt of the McCarton School joined us for a live chat. He answered several questions about employment, safety and sexual education in relation to teenagers and adults with autism.
Guest blogger Marcela De Vivo shares insight on some of the difficulties immigrant families face when getting help for their child with autism in this week’s ASF blog post.
Ad Campaign Uses New Approach to Promote Early Autism Recognition in African-American and Hispanic FamiliesPublished May 20, 2013 in The New York Times
ASF President Alison Singer is featured in this article on how parent advocates help advance autism research.
Bridges and Barriers to Successful Transitioning as Perceived by Adolescents and Young Adults With Asperger SyndromePublished March 28, 2013 in Journal of Pediatric Nursing
This thematic content analysis examined the expectations, and perceived facilitators of and barriers to transition to community as reported by adolescents and young adults with Asperger syndrome.
Recently published in JAMA Psychiatry, this study put forth a new autism risk factor: advanced grandpaternal age. Compared to men who had children between 20 and 24, men who fathered a child at 50+ were 1-2 times more likely to have a grandchild with autism. The findings suggest some autism risk factors can accumulate over generations.
This study examined the relationship between maternal childhood abuse and autism in children in a large population-based sample. Maternal abuse was significantly associated with increased autism risk even after researchers controlled for perinatal risk factors, including gestational diabetes, smoking during pregnancy, preeclampsia, exposure to intimate partner violence and premature birth.
A mother with two sons with autism helps advance research on neuroligin-4 mutations.
Autism researchers and advocates are concerned about changes to the recruitment strategy of the National Childrens Study, which aims to enroll 100,000 pregnant women, monitor environmental exposures, and examine gene-environment interactions in the women and their children. The changes, which include forgoing door-to-door recruitment, may limit the generalizability of the findings.
Researchers at Virginia Tech examine M-CHAT performance in a very low socio-economic status setting and find it lacks internal consistency across ethnic and educational groups. Caregivers who reported a low maternal educational level or with minority status were more likely to mark items suggestive of autism compared to those with higher maternal education or non-minority status
Researchers examine parent-child dyads during structured and free play and find that that joint engagement lasts longer when parents engage their child at or slightly above the child’s current level of play. Parents of children with autism often find it difficult to estimate their child’s level, which can result in parents engaging at too high of a level and shortening the interaction.
Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Children With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities: Associations With Ethnicity, Child Comorbid Symptoms, and Parental StressPublished January 30, 2013 in Journal of Child Neurology
Families of children with ASD and other comorbid symptoms, including behavioral problems such as irritability and food allergies, were more likely to use complementary and alternative medicine, and they were more likely to use more types of modalities as compared to families of children with other developmental disabilities.
Earlier this week, Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform held a hearing on how the federal government can better respond to the dramatic rise in autism rates. Yet for all this concern, one large affected group is being routinely overlooked: the siblings.
New Supplement in Pediatrics: Improving Health Care for Children and Youth With Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental DisordersPublished November 1, 2012 in Pediatrics
Access full articles on interventions, sleep and GI problems, health care coverage and more.
Study finds that together, a large number of inherited, common genetic variations of very small effect can increase risk for autism. Suggests risk of inherited ASD is approximately 40% in simplex families and 60% in multiplex families.
The diversity in mutation rate of SNP’s is dominated by the age of the father at conception of the child. The effect is an increase of about two mutations per year.
These observations shed light on the importance of the father’s age on the risk of diseases such as schizophrenia and autism.
Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations that become more numerous with advancing paternal age, scientists reported on Wednesday, in the first study to quantify the effect as it builds each year. The age of mothers had no bearing on the risk for these disorders, the study found. Full article is here – http://www.autismsciencefoundation.org/sites/default/files/nature11396.pdf.
“The First Year Inventory is a parent-report measure designed to identify 12-month-old infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder. First Year Inventory taps behaviors that indicate risk in the developmental domains of sensory-regulatory and social-communication functioning. This longitudinal study is a follow-up of 699 children at 3 years of age from a community sample whose parents completed the First Year Inventory when their children were 12 months old. Parents of all 699 children completed the Social Responsiveness Scale-Preschool version and the Developmental Concerns Questionnaire to determine age 3 developmental outcomes. In addition, children deemed at risk for autism spectrum disorder based on liberal cut points on the First Year Inventory, Social Responsiveness Scale-Preschool, and/or Developmental Concerns Questionnaire were invited for in-person diagnostic evaluations. We found 9 children who had a confirmed diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder from the sample of 699. Receiver operating characteristic analyses determined that a two-domain cutoff score yielded optimal classification of children: 31% of those meeting algorithm cutoffs had autism spectrum disorder and 85% had a developmental disability or concern by age 3. These results suggest that the First Year Inventory is a promising tool for identifying 12-month-old infants who are at risk for an eventual diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.”
Results of this study show that while children of migrant parents are at an increased risk of low-functioning autism, they are at a decreased risk for high-functioning autism. Researchers call for further research to determine if environmental factors associated with migration influence the development of autism.
Researchers discuss the association between schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and ASD, and suggest the conditions share etiologic factors. Family history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder was associated with increased ASD risk across three data sets. Individuals with schizophrenic siblings were 12 times more likely to have autism compared to those with no family history of schizophrenia.
Maternal Periconceptional Folic Acid Intake and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Delay in the CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment) Case-control Study.Published May 30, 2012 in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Maternal periconceptional folic acid intake may reduce ASD risk in those with inefficient folate metabolism
“OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to describe the typical longitudinal developmental trajectories of social and communication functioning in children with autism and to determine the correlates of these trajectories.RESULTS: Six typical patterns of social, communication, and repetitive behavior functioning were identified. These trajectories displayed significant heterogeneity in developmental pathways, and children whose symptoms were least severe at first diagnosis tended to improve more rapidly than those severely affected. “
FMRP-associated genes are under greater purifying selection than the remainder of genes and suggest they are especially dosage-sensitive targets of cognitive disorders.
Researchers demonstrate that de-novo point mutations are overwhelmingly paternal in origin (4:1 bias) and positively correlated with paternal age, consistent with the modest increased risk for children of older fathers to develop ASD.
On average, families with a child who has autism earn 28% less than those of a child without a health limitation; nearly $18,000 less per year.