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You Might Spot the Autism if You Just Look a Little Closer

autism look

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?

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.

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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.



Very interesting. My son's facial features are considered 'dysmorphic'. He definitely has all of these markers, but still looks relatively 'normal' compared with other types of dysmorphic facies. My only disagreement on this article was the suggestion that 'high-functioning' autism is somehow a ticket to success. Many people (myself included) have gone undiagnosed for so long. So much damage has been done. I am functionally/selectively mute when it comes to advocating for myself so I will likely never have an official diagnosis. I do have Dx of various anxiety disorders, panic attacks, depression, ADHD-PI. As a woman, it is even harder to get help. I can't work outside the home. I can't work from home of it includes making phone calls, and most home based jobs do. I sometimes babysit but I am mostly dependent upon my husband for basic needs. I can advocate for my kids, but when it comes to myself, I am lost. If diagnosed, I would probably be considered 'high-functioning'. But, to me, I do not feel like I function very well at all.
It's actually nice to see someone else has a deep unease about using the phone. I thought it was just me. I suspect I'm on the spectrum too. I have a 8 yr old son with PDD-NOS and ADHD, and during his diagnosis I recognized I had a lot of the autistic traits as well, which explained the reason behind the difficulties I had growing up in the 70s and 80s. This lead me to believe there was more of a genetic component to the disorder.
Hi Jamie! Thank you for the comment. You are right on one thing, a high-functioning Aspie doesn't always advocate for him/herself.. though I'm almost sure that I am on the spectrum as well, somewhere high on the spectrum. Hard to tell, but I don't care to have myself diagnosed.. personally, I have lived this long without a label, I will continue as such. Plus, I can blame my quirks on being a possible Aspie :P