Share article:
Share article:

Researchers investigate siblings of autism children

A research project being carried out by the universities of Leuven and Ghent is looking for newborns who have a sibling diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to look into ways of diagnosing the condition earlier.

The siblings of autistic children are known to have a higher risk of ASD than the average child, but as the disorder has an important element of social interaction and communication, it cannot be detected in babies until they reach a later stage of development, after the age of three years and often even later than that.

The Leuven-Ghent project aims to look at autism siblings to examine if they show detectable signs of what could later turn out to be signposts of ASD.

An earlier diagnosis could help the family of such siblings, said Professor Ilse Noens of KULeuven. “At the moment it’s not possible to provide timely support for the family, and that leads to a great deal of uncertainty among parents and children themselves. That can lead to associated problems, such as behavioural problems or psychological complaints, and that’s what we want to avoid.”

The two universities want to study the siblings of ASD children in order to establish a screening and diagnostic protocol that can later be used by paediatricians and family organisations like Kind & Gezin in Flanders. At the outset, the team is looking for babies under the age of five months who have a siblings diagnosed with ASD. The children will be examined from time to time over a period of about three years.

Further information at the project website.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...