While many of you might argue every child is born to a family that loves and supports them, some children on the other extreme are not so fortunate. Many get abandoned and their initial life begins in institutions.
As per a recent study, these abandoned children have a greater risk of developing aggregated behavioral symptoms that are seen to replicate in autism.
Further, the present study has demonstrated that children raised at institutional levels can be at a heightened risk of developing social behavioral symptoms that have an association with autism.
Interestingly, these behaviors were seen to significantly improve when the children in question were moved to a child-centered foster home.
The current study is part of a successful research collaboration between the University of Maryland, Boston Children’s Hospital and the University of Maryland. The researchers have successfully carried out parallel research between behavioral development and brain institutionalization.
Authorities state, “With more than 8 million young children being a part of institutions across the globe and rampant child abuse instances in the U.S. that get classified as neglect, the issues need to be immediately addressed.”
For the present study, a batch of 136 abandoned children right from childbirth was examined. Out of these, a few randomly picked children were assigned to either receive family-centered foster care or institutional care.
It was observed that young children with a history of being institutionalized were in need of further assessment.
Child caregivers were made to take an assessment of social communication. This method also referred to as SCQ, assessed communication and behavioral skills.
Any children whose results suggested signs of possible autism diagnostic were referred for further neurodevelopmental assessments required for diagnosis.
Further, the team of researchers observed that five children who were subjected to institutional care met the diagnostic criteria for ASD.
Interestingly, on the other hand, children who never had a history of being institutionalized did not meet the criteria.
The results showed early interventions are necessary to help improve autism behavioral symptoms.
Autism and Deprivation
Charles Nelson, senior author, says, “The data obtained makes it clear that any psychological deprivation symptoms have no role to play in the majority of the autism-related cases, especially to the children who are lucky to be born in caring families.”
He further explains, “Though the institutionalized autistic children resemble the general autistic children, the origin of their symptoms is seen to be comparatively different.”
“Nevertheless, irrespective of the causes and symptom triggers, both of these groups are seen to suffer from bouts of deprivation, just not of the same type.”
For instance, in an institutionalized population, deprivation is triggered due to their environment while on the other hand, autism itself is responsible for causing other kinds of deprived symptoms. This makes it harder for young children to understand and perceive social cues.”
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by social impairments and monotonous behaviors such as increased complexities with communication. These symptoms are identified during the initial 24 months of a child’s life.