National Public Radio recently ran a story that parents of children with autism may be interested in reading. The full story can be read online; it reported on a recent study indicating that autistic traits may run in families. According to the study, 11 percent of families with an autistic child have a second child with autism. And, perhaps more strikingly, a great number of families with an autistic child have a second child with certain autistic-like traits.
The study recommended that parents of an autistic child monitor other children they may have to keep a watchful eye for signs of the disorder. It noted that where a second child had less pronounced symptoms parents could be at risk of overlooking the disorder as a result of focusing their attention on the first child’s symptoms. Spotting the symptoms early on can help parents obtain the best possible care for the child.
We are becoming more adept as a nation at helping people with autism. More resources are being devoted to researching the disorder, and more and more experts are devoting their careers to better understanding its causes. Until we know how to prevent autism, however, we must continue using the many coping tools that are at our disposal. For instance, every parent of an autistic child should consider establishing a special needs trust in the child’s name to ensure the child is adequately provided for should anything happen to the parents. While creating a special needs trust is but one of many things for parents to consider, it is a relatively simple step that can provide a great peace of mind.