Early warning sign for babies at risk of autism

(Photo: Lars Plougmann)

Some babies are at risk for autism because they have an older sibling that has the disorder. To find new ways to detect Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) earlier in life, researchers are exploring the subtleties of babies’ interactions with others and how they relate to the possibility and severity of future symptoms.

A new study helps us to understand the connection between early joint attention before one year and later ASD symptoms. Joint attention is an early form of communication that develops toward the end of the first year. It’s the act of making eye contact with another person to share an experience.

Previous studies have shown that low levels of initiating joint attention are linked to later autism symptoms in high-risk siblings. The current study reveals that joint attention without a positive affective component (a smile) in the first year is particularly important to this relationship.

Children’s impulsive behaviour is related to their brain connectivity

(Photo: Sinc)

Researchers from the University of Murcia have studied the changes in the brain that are associated with impulsiveness, a personality trait that causes difficulties in inhibiting a response in the face of a stimulus and leads to unplanned actions without considering the negative consequences. These patterns can serve as an indicator for predicting the risk of behavioural problems.

A new study headed by researchers from the University of Murcia analyses whether the connectivity of an infant’s brain is related to children’s impulsiveness.

“Impulsiveness is a risk factor for the development of serious behavioural problems,” Luis J. Fuentes, the main author of the study, explains to SINC. “Among the children with a typical development, we can observe individual differences in their interaction with the environment.”

 

Large twin study suggests that language delay due more to nature than nurture

(Photo: Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Western Australia)

A study of 473 sets of twins followed since birth found that compared to single-born children, 47 percent of 24-month-old identical twins had language delay compared to 31 percent of non-identical twins. Overall, twins had twice the rate of late language emergence of single-born children. None of the children had disabilities affecting language acquisition.

University of Kansas Distinguished Professor Mabel Rice, lead author, said that all of the language traits analyzed in the study—vocabulary, combining words and grammar—were significantly heritable with genes accounting for about 43 percent of the overall twins’ deficit.

Mothers of children with autism benefit from peer-led intervention

(Photo: U.S. Army)

Peer-led interventions that target parental well-being can significantly reduce stress, depression and anxiety in mothers of children with disabilities, according to new findings.

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from Vanderbilt University examined two treatment programs in a large number of primary caregivers of a child with a disability. Participants in both groups experienced improvements in mental health, sleep and overall life satisfaction and showed less dysfunctional parent-child interactions.

Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today – Washington Post

(Photo: FEMA Photo Gallery)

The Centers for Disease Control tells us that in recent years there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 and to 11 percent in 2011. The reasons for the rise are multiple, and include changes in diagnostic criteria, medication treatment and more awareness of the condition. In the following post, Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist and the founder of TimberNook, a nature-based development program designed to foster creativity and independent play outdoors in New England, suggests yet another reason more children are being diagnosed with ADHD, whether or not they really have it: the amount of time kids are forced to sit while they are in school.