A Genetic Connection: Children with Autism and Their Younger Siblings

After years of research, by studying twins and families of children with autism, a genetic basis for autism remains irrefutable. According to the April 2007 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, younger siblings of autistic children seem to be at increased risk for developing autism spectrum disorder.  According to Dr. Wendy L. Stone, PhD. and her colleagues at Vanderbilt University, younger siblings of autistic children do not perform as well as other children on tests of social communication and development. Sixty-four younger siblings of autistic children were measured on non-verbal problem-solving, directing attention, understanding words and phrases, and other social-communicative interactions.  When compared with a control group of 42 children whose older siblings were not autistic, the results were clear: younger siblings of autistic children are at increased risk for developing autism spectrum disorders, or the broader autism phenotype.  These findings suggest that early intervention with these children can serve many purposes: in the long term, close monitoring will help researchers learn more about the way early autism develops.  And for the affected children and their families, early intervention and monitoring may help these at-risk children to achieve optimal results and lead fulfilling lives.

At Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices we have an early intervention program that serves children in all 5 boroughs of NYC. If you feel your child needs an evaluation due to a concern with her/his development. We can help. Our Early Intervention Program serves children diagnosed with autism and developmental disabilities, 36 months of age or younger at the time of referral. This program is based on a strong parent-professional partnership. Individualized services focus on learning readiness; language; play; family participation; daily routines relevant to eating, sleeping, and bathing; and other areas jointly identified by SKHOV professionals and parents. Through EI, children with developmental delays and autism receive education, therapeutic, service coordination and evaluation in the five boroughs of New York City. Programs are based on the child’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and are designed to involve the family in all aspects of the child’s program. Intensive applied behavior analysis is the method of therapy.

The Early Intervention Program (EIP) is a public program for children under the age of three who are either suspected of having or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. Potentially eligible children must be referred to the NYC Early Intervention Program, to receive EIP services. In NYC, call 3-1-1 to refer a child to Early Intervention or the Totline telephone number at: (800) 577-2229. EIP is funded by New York State and county governments. All EIP services are provided at no cost to parents. Health insurance may be used for approved services. A child’s eligibility for the program can be determined only by state-approved evaluators under contract, and all services must be authorized by the county.

For more information contact – Wilma Gutierrez
Tel: (718) 829-7744 ex.111 Fax: (718) 829-7745
Email: wgutierrez@skhov.org