How grandparents can be integral in spotting autism
Grannies have long been a vital source of support when it comes to new motherhood, but the latest study from New York shows they are also sharper at spotting the earliest signs of autism.
According to new research conducted at The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai, approximately 50 percent of friends and family members reported that they had suspected a child to have a serious condition before they were aware that either parent was concerned.
Maternal grandmothers and teachers were the two most common relationship categories to first raise those concerns.
The study of 477 parents of children with autism, published in the journal Autism, showed that when infants had frequent interaction with a grandmother, it reduced the age of ASD diagnosis by 5.18 months.
Frequent interaction with a grandfather reduced the age of diagnosis by 3.78 months.
“Many parents avoid seeking help to find a diagnosis for their child, even though they know something might be wrong,” says study co-author Nachum Sicherman, PhD, Carson Family Professor of Business at Columbia Business School.
“They often ignore signs of a larger problem and look the other way, making the role of close family members and friends vital to accelerating diagnosis and helping a child’s condition.”
Previous research found that parents’ behaviour affects the age of diagnosis, but a major finding of this study is that individuals other than parents play a key role in flagging a problem, often leading to earlier diagnosis.