Parental Skills Imperative for Preventing Autism?

Sensitivity and patience is important for children

More autism evidence has been released that reinforces the importance of sensitive parenting while emphasizing the maternal role that influences whether or not children develop autism.

Conducted by The University of Miami, the study is titled “A Pilot Study of Maternal Sensitivity in the Context of Emergent Autism. Appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the autism research links maternal behavior and language to children with autism.

The autism study involved an 18-month assessment where researchers videotaped groups of mothers interacting with their individual children for five-minutes. Each mother was scored on a “maternal sensitivity scale” which demonstrated her approach to teaching as well as behavior. After 3 years, when the children were old enough to be evaluated, 12 of them from the high-risk group received an autism-spectrum diagnosis.

Jason K. Baker, a postdoctoral fellow at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the main researchers on the study commented; “Parenting may matter even more for children with developmental problems such as autism because certain things that tend to develop easily in children with typical neurological development, like social communication, don’t come as naturally for kids with autism, so these skills need to be taught.

While interaction with the mother encourages development in all facets, the cause of autism does not rely solely on this. Baker commented; “We know that parenting doesn’t cause autism. The message here is that parents can make a difference in helping their children fight against autism.”

For more information on this story, please check back. The International Center for Autism Research and Education (ICare4Autism) will continue to post on this topic, as new details are received.

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One Comment

  1. Melody Handley
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    You have got to be kidding! I am an Autism Mom who fights for her daughtet every day. The progress she has made is because of the hard work and nurturing my husband and I provide her with on a daily basis. Not listening to mainstream medicine who said put your child in a special ed class, get speech and OT and hope for the best. We started a private school for Autism in our community, and have done many “alternative” therapies which have benefitted her greatly. I take great offense to your article. I am close friends with many Autism Moms and they are all nurturing dedicated Moms. Saying they could have prevented their child from developing Autism by being more nurturing is a slap in the face. You should be ashamed!

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