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Calls to Action

High Risk Baby Siblings

Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC) Publications for 2007

Collective investigation into the early signs and symptoms of autism have resulted in major research discoveries which will lead to better treatments and a more thorough understanding of the causes of autism. In 2007, members of the BSRC were involved in more than 50 research publications or book chapters which directly related to work in infant sibs or toddlers at risk. These publications are listed below.

* indicates that more than one BSRC member worked on the project and was listed as author.

Journal Spotlights Autism Speaks-Funded Research

The January 2007 issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, dedicated to the “The Very Early Autism Phenotype,” includes 14 scientific manuscripts that describe ongoing research examining early signs of children later diagnosed with autism , and prospective studies on “at risk” infant siblings of children with autism. The research works to identify and ascertain early signs and behavioral impairments with the goal of identifying autism at the youngest age to make early intervention possible and effective.

New Findings

Recurrence Rate in Siblings (August 2011)

On August 15th, the BSRC published a paper in Pediatrics which reexamined the recurrence rate of autism in high risk families. It found that in families with one or more children on the autism spectrum, the chances that a baby sibling will develop autism are around 1 in 5, more than double previous estimates of 1 in 10 to 1 in 30. The rate was much higher among younger brothers (1 in 4) than among younger sisters (1 in 9).

How to Participate

In 2007, Autism Speaks established the Parents as Partners Family Resource Guide. This resource was designed to provide families affected with autism details on local caregivers, physicians, speech pathologists, respite workers or any other service that may be of benefit.

Early Signs and Symptoms

Preliminary results of studies conducted during the first year of life of children later diagnosed with autism indicate that these children show some behavioral abnormalities which may serve as early markers. They include poor eye contact, impairments in visual tracking to an object, atypical responsiveness to name, less social smiling and delayed expressive and receptive language. Please note that these are early markers and not diagnostic criteria.