Spending more time with grandchildren has its own perks. A recent study has found an interesting link between grandparents and the early detection of symptoms in children.
Grandmothers are likely to detect signs of autism symptoms earlier than others as children spend more time with them.
“This finding is incredibly important, as these individuals have the potential to lower the age of diagnosis,” senior study author Joseph Buxbaum of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York said by email. “Early diagnosis means early intervention, which is critical for improving treatment outcomes.”
Even though autism is diagnosed in kids when they are as young as 2 years old, many of the youngsters are not formally diagnosed until they are 4 years old. Researchers say a diagnosis performed earlier is always better, as young brains are more adaptable to therapy and can respond at a faster rate.
As part of a recent study, an online survey was conducted for parents of autistic children and other family members.
Parents reported that almost one third of the time, another person who was close to the child noticed autism signs first.
Kids that were part of the study were almost four years old on average. It was also seen that kids who spent more time with their grandparents were diagnosed 5 months sooner than their peers.
“Around 50 percent of friends and family noticed something was wrong with the child before they were aware that the parents themselves suspected something,” lead study author Nachum Sicherman of Columbia University in New York said by email.
One in every 68 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disorders, as per the U.S. Centers for disease control and prevention.
ASD individuals have issues with their communicative, social and emotional behaviors.
Parents voting grandmothers as being the main identifier of autism symptoms in young kids was shown at 27 percent. Teachers took second place and were voted at a 24 percent margin.
Grandparents on both sides of the family tree were equal in their symptom detection skills and they had a greater potential for detection than the young parents.
“Delayed diagnosis tends to stem from a lack of ability on the part of parents to make clinicians aware of the child’s social signs of ASD,” Johnson said by email. It’s not unusual for grandparents who spend a lot of time with kids or provide childcare to detect difficulties that might lead to an autism diagnosis, said Dr. Thomas Frazier, director of the Center for Autism at Cleveland Clinic Children’s in Ohio.
“Parents need to be open to concerns from their family members, including their parents, regarding their children,” Frazier, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “The more eyes, the better, and this is especially true in situations where the child with possible difficulties is the older child with younger siblings.”