Recent statistics suggest, a child with an older sibling diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, has a high risk of being diagnosed on the spectrum as well. Researchers at The Missouri Autism Center at the Knights of Columbus Developmental Center felt this issue was of concern, and is now offering the Autism Siblings Clinic. The program, led by Rolanda Maxim, MD, medical director of the Missouri Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and associate professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at Saint Louis University School of medicine, is the first of its kind in the area [i].
The clinic offers autism assessments for children under the age of 4, who have an older biological sibling diagnosed on the spectrum. The children will be given the Red Flags for Communication scale (RFC), and if necessary, the ARISk Risk Assessment Test, developed by IntegraGen. The ARISk Test is a gender-specific, non-invasive cheek swab, which estimates the likelihood of autism in a child based on 65 genetic markers.
As scientific literature has shown, early diagnosis and therapy of autism spectrum disorders proves to be quite beneficial for the child. The purpose is to identify autism or any developmental delay as early as possible, so the child can receive early intervention and therapies, and therefore improve their future. “Our goal is to define a specific autistic pattern on a developmental screening test that could help identify infant siblings at risk for ASD and improve their outcomes through earlier diagnosis and treatment,” explains Dr. Maxim.
[i] “KSDK News” Missouri Autism Center study could determine sibling’s risk of autism. 13 Jun 2013. Web. <http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/384392/3/Study-could-determine-siblings-risk-of-autism>