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Study finds new risk factor for autism

Two weeks ago, we wrote a post about a television show on MTV that documented a young man with autism, among other people. The show sought to help viewers realize that a disability like autism does not define a person's character while also giving them a better understanding of the condition. Now, thanks to new research, New York residents may be able to gain an even greater understanding of autism.

Two recent studies found interesting factors that could increase the likelihood that a child will develop autism. The studies show that the life experiences -- not genetic makeup -- of both grandparents and parents are linked to the likelihood of a child developing autism.

One study that involved 40,000 people found that a child was more than 1.5 times more likely to have autism if his or her grandfather had a child later in life -- at age 50 or older. Researchers said grandfathers who had children in their early twenties were less likely to have a grandchild with autism.

The second study found that a child's risk of having autism was greater if his or her mother experienced abuse as a child. Researchers found that the more severely a mother was abused, the more likely her child would have autism.

As national awareness and knowledge of autism continue to grow, the more information we can gain, the better off we will all be. Understanding a disability like autism is often the best way to help parents and their children live with it successfully.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Previous Generations May Hold Clues To Autism," Shaun Heasley, March 27, 2013

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