You Might Spot the Autism if You Just Look a Little Closer
How many times have parents of autistic children been told that their little boys and girls do not look like they could be on the spectrum? How many times have those parents replied that autism cannot be physically deciphered? The truth of the matter is, it does showcase itself physically, albeit in quite small but perceptible manners.
Here is the catch: known studies have looked at self-defining Caucasian boys only, in order to decipher whether or not a child can actually look autistic. Autism in itself is a genetic disorder that does not showcase itself as other mental conditions do. The brain may be wired differently, with processing mechanisms slightly warped so that a child on the spectrum will not think, feel or behave the way a neurotypical would. The chances of having more autistic children? Quite high, compared to other such disorders, actually.
What sets autistic children apart from others?
- Those explosive meltdowns that have parents wanting to crawl back into bed
- Extremely picky eating habits
- Quite exhausting potty training efforts
- Sleep? What sleep?
- Battles to brush teeth
- War waged when caring for hair
Other than the behavior, the late blooming, the sometimes nonverbal status or any of the factors not physically apparent, autistic children do indeed have specific features which could have one's radar going. It might be how some parents instinctively know their children are on the spectrum, particularly if they have other neurotypical children.
What are the biomarkers of autism?
A study published in the Journal of Molecular Autism looked at 65 spectrum and 41 typically developing boys between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. The 3dMD cranial System was used to acquire three-dimensional stereophotogrammetric images of the boys' faces, mapping 17 points such as the corner of the eye and the point of the nose, and then calculated the distances between each of the points. Sounds bizarre? You know it!
What exactly they found was that children with autism had wider eyes, and a "broader upper face," wider mouths and orbits, and a flattened nasal bridge. Technically, it is known in certain scientific spheres as the making of a "most beautiful face" which might account for why so many children on the spectrum are adorable to say the least. Development is believed to be embryonic, meaning from before these children are born.
The study also found that children with more severe autism traits, including behavioral problems, language difficulties, and repetitive behaviors, had distinct facial differences from other children with milder forms of autism. This makes it interesting. It also encourages researchers to pinpoint exactly when autism develops in a fetus and if there are any methods to stop it, or lessen the blow. As much as any parent loves his or her child, they want what's best and a life that could be lived to the fullest, albeit with high functioning autism, seems like just the ticket. This way, parents know that their children will one day hold a career, have a family and feel all those emotions that makes life such a treasure because they are given the opportunity.
Next time someone mentions that your child doesn't look autistic, maybe it would be polite to tell them to look closer.