Autism (Psychological Disorders) by Heather Barnett Veague

By Heather Barnett Veague

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This means that the more genetic markers for autism a person has, the more severe the autistic behaviors appear. The Autism Genome Project is still in its early phases and scientists will continue to focus on identifying patterns of genes that predict autistic behavior. Recall that the prevalence of autism in the general population is approximately 1 percent. That means that out of every 100 babies born, approximately one will develop autism. However, for families with one autistic child, the risk that they will have another child with autism rises to 4 percent.

Twin studies compare concordance rates for monozygotic twins (MZ), or twins who share 100 percent of their genetic information, to the concordance rates for dizygotic twins (DZ) or twins who share 50 percent of their genetic material. indb 36 10/19/09 8:02:14 AM What Causes Autism? 37 her twin will develop it 100 percent of the time. Likewise, if a DZ twin develops a disorder that is 100 percent hereditary, there is a 50 percent chance that his or her twin will also have the disorder. Most psychiatric conditions are not 100 percent hereditary.

It was hard work for Kristen to talk to so many people, but she did it to ensure that her son could attend the best possible preschool. Ultimately, she settled on a Montessori school where the classroom was quiet, and children worked with materials that she thought would appeal to Sammy’s organized nature. Kirsten stayed with Sammy in his classroom on his first day of school. He immediately found a sorting task that he enjoyed. It seemed that he acclimated perfectly. Within a few weeks, however, Sammy began to show some startling behaviors.

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