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Can High-Functioning Autism Be Inherited?

"Can autism (high functioning) be inherited? Our daughter was recently diagnosed, and now I'm thinking my husband may have the condition as well, they seem to have certain characteristics in common."

High-Functioning Autism (HFA) is a neurobiological disorder in which known areas of the brain are affected in ways researchers do not yet fully understand. HFA is considered to be inherited in a complex fashion (more complicated than disorders like color-blindness or Huntington’s disease).

The recurrence rate for the disorder in siblings of affected children is approximately 2% to 8% (much higher than the rate in the general population, but much lower than in single-gene diseases).

One study looked at extensive data in order to study some risk factors of autism (e.g., place of birth, parental place of birth, parental age, family history of psychiatric disorders, and paternal identity). Prevalence of autism among siblings of kids with Asperger’s was found to be 1.04%. The study found that (a) the risk of autism was associated with increasing paternal, but not maternal, age; and (b) the risk was twice as high if the mother had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. 
==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Another study showed a positive correlation between repetitive behaviors in autistic children and obsessive-compulsive behaviors in parents.

Yet another study examined the family psychiatric history of 58 subjects with Asperger’s diagnosed according to DSM criteria. Three (5%) had first-degree relatives with Asperger’s; thirty-five (60%) had a family history of depression; and out of 64 siblings, 4 (6.25%) were diagnosed with Asperger’s.

As one mother (and wife) stated, “My husband was only diagnosed after our daughter. ‘It’s so common’, our psychologist told us. We now think his brother and sister are on the autism spectrum too. All are so alike. It answers so many questions. Our psychologist thinks it goes back at least 5 generations from family history, and we agree.”

Scientists are getting closer to finding a genetic basis behind autism spectrum disorders. Rett’s syndrome is an autistic disorder for which the exact genetic cause is believed to have been found. In HFA, studies suggest problems in several chromosomal (genetic) regions, including areas on the chromosomes 2q, 7q and 15q. While the 7q region is considered the most promising area of study, research studies involving this chromosome in HFA have failed to observe its linkage to this region.

For reasons physicians do not know, there are far more boys "diagnosed" than girls (although there may be as many girls with HFA as boys, males get diagnosed with the disorder more often). Researchers have evaluated whether or not HFA represents an X-linked genetic disorder (i.e., one passed down generally from a mother to a son). Unfortunately, there have been cases of father to son transmission of the disorder, which means that the disease can't be X-linked.

In at least one case, two parents with HFA had a child that also had HFA, but did not have a severe case of the disorder, nor did the child have autism. In another case, identical twins both had HFA, but this is not always the case.

While some researchers support the idea that at least a portion of HFA isn’t genetic at all, there have been no specific findings associating the disorder with any environmental condition, including a lack of association of the disease with pregnancy characteristics and pregnancy complications.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does mother has HFA gives children also autism or only HFA?

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...