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Older parents at a higher risk for autism? – BLOG

 By Jonathan Slack, Autism Home Support Services

older parents increases chances of autismPrevious studies have shown that the risk of having an autistic child increases the older you are. A new study involving 5.7 million children between 1985 and 2004 in Denmark, Israel, Norway, Sweden and Australia has found new evidence to support previous studies that the risk of having a child with autism increases the older you are.

This study found:

  • The chances a child will be on the autism spectrum is increased by 66% when the parents are at least fifty years old.
  • When the male parent is in his 40s, the chances his newborn will one day be diagnosed with autism increases by 28%.
  • On the maternal side, having a child between the ages of forty and fifty increases the chance the child will be on the autism spectrum by 15%.

These type of studies are important because we do not yet understand what causes autism. The range of high and low functioning individuals with autism suggests the cause is a combination of many different factors. Learning about each factor will get us a little closer to solving the big question:  What causes autism? Hopefully that day will happen in my lifetime, but for now I’ll be happy with each little step of progress we make towards answering that ultimate question.


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