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The Mother's Very Early Experience of Taking Care of a Child Later Diagnosed with Autism: A Follow-up Study in the Danish National Birth Cohort

Thursday, 2 May 2013: 09:00-13:00
Banquet Hall (Kursaal Centre)


Background: Many parents with a child later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder very early sense that their newborn child is not developing as expected. Some studies have confirmed this parents suspicion of deviant development down to one year of age but our knowledge about the development in the first year of life in relation to ASD is limited. 

Objectives: We have studied whether prospectively collected information from mothers regarding deviations in their child’s development during the first half year of life can predict the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) later in life. 

Methods: In the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) mothers were interviewed about their child’s development and behaviour when the child was 6 months of age. Children diagnosed with ASD in Danish paediatric and child psychiatric departments are registered in the Danish National Patient Register. Thus, it is possible to identify children with ASD in the DNBC. Analyses of the information in the interviews will provide information about deviations in early development related to ASD. 

Results: The study cohort consisted of 76,322 children; of which 973 children were diagnosed with ASD. Reports by mothers when the children were 6 months showed a statistically significant different pattern for breastfeeding and crying in children later diagnosed with ASD compared to the whole cohort. Also the mother’s subjective experience of finding it difficult to take care of the child was associated with ASD. 

Conclusions: The results indicate that mothers’ information about deviations in early regulation is associated with the child’s risk of later being diagnosed with ASD.

See more of: Epidemiology
See more of: Epidemiology
See more of: Prevalence, Risk factors & Intervention
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