Autism is a common, and frequently misunderstood, disorder. Early intervention
is beneficial to children with autism, and parents are usually on the
front lines of recognizing the signs. Being aware of your child’s
risk factors can give you more insight into what to look for and when
to consult with your child’s pediatrician about his or her symptoms.
April is Autism Awareness Month, which will be honored by
hospitals and other organizations across the country with educational events, and
it offers the perfect opportunity to learn more about the risk factors
for autism. Here is a closer look at some of the things that make a child
more vulnerable to autism.
Although doctors do not yet understand the reason, boys are about five
times more likely to develop autism than girls. About
one in 42 boys will develop autism, with the condition affecting about one in 62 children
overall. Researchers are trying to uncover the reason that boys are more
likely to develop autism, and they suspect it could be linked to a missing
gene or DNA sequence on the X chromosome. Since girls get two X chromosomes,
the missing sequence could appear on their other chromosome, protecting
them from autism. Since boys only get one X chromosome, they do not have
a chance to get the missing sequence from anywhere else.
Families with one child with autism have a greater risk of having another
one develop the disorder. In many cases, families with one child with
autism may notice certain behaviors associated with the condition in their
other children, even if those children are not ultimately diagnosed.
Autism is more common in children of older parents, but researchers are
not sure why there is a link. Babies born to teen moms also have a heightened
risk of the condition. There also seems to be a greater risk of autism
in children born to parents with a wide age gap.
If you want to learn more about your child’s risk of autism, speak
to a pediatric specialist at
Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. The expert physicians at our hospital in Thousand Oaks can evaluate your
child and help you understand the signs of autism, so you’re prepared.
For a specialist referral, please call our hospital at (877) 888-5746.