A possible early glimpse of autism’s impact on older siblings

Researchers looking at families with an autistic child say they don’t yet know whether the impacts are the result of having an autistic child in the family or if they might be part of a broader genetic predisposition.

A new study suggests a trend toward developing hyperactivity among typically developing elementary-school-aged siblings of autistic preschoolers and supports the notion that mothers of young, autistic children experience more depression and stress than mothers with typically developing children.

While the impact on older siblings was not statistically significant, the trend may indicate the presence of symptoms associated with broader observable autism characteristics seen in previous studies, says Laura Lee McIntyre, a professor and director of the University of Oregon’s school psychology program.The study was published in the March issue of the journal Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities.

Previous research projects have netted mixed findings, but many suggest that families dealing with autism — especially brothers and sisters of an autistic child — also experience symptoms similar to autism: widespread abnormalities of social interactions, communication and behavior.

via A possible early glimpse of autism’s impact on older siblings.

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