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Down Syndrome and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Look at What We Know - featured May 13, 2011

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Down Syndrome and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Look at What We Know

by George T. Capone, M.D; Kennedy Krieger Institute

During the past 10 years, I've evaluated hundreds of children with Down syndrome, each one with their own strengths and weaknesses, and certainly their own personality. I don't think I've met a parent who does not care deeply for their child at clinic; their love and dedication is obvious. But some of the families stand out in my mind. Sometimes parents bring their child with Down syndrome to clinic--not always for the first time--and they are deeply distraught about a change in their child's behavior or development. Sometimes they describe situations and isolated concerns that worry them such as their child has stopped learning new signs or using speech. He is happy playing by himself, seeming to need no one else to make the odd game (shaking a toy, lining things up) he is playing fun. When they call to him, he doesn’t' look at them. Maybe he isn't hearing well? He will only eat 3 or 4 foods. The suggestion of a new food, or even an old favorite, brings about a tantrum like no other. He is constantly staring at the lights and ceiling fans. Not just while they pass by, but obsessively. Getting him to stop staring at the lights is sometimes difficult and may result in a scene. He requires a certain order to things. Moving a chair to another spot in the room upsets him until it is returned to it's usual spot.

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Tags: Article Down Syndrome Autism 13 May 2011 Newsletter