What is the BSRC?

The BSRC, or Baby Siblings Research Consortium, is a network of over 20 highly productive research groups in the United States, Canada, Israel and the United Kingdom. All share a common goal of understanding the very earliest behavioral and biological features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in order to improve early autism detection, diagnosis and treatment. 

They have joined together to address important research questions with high-impact, ‘real life’ implications. For example, together they have calculated the recurrence risk in infants with an older sibling with autism, and they have discovered new signs that can help families get a diagnosis even earlier. They have identified differences in brain structure and function that are seen before symptoms emerge. In addition, clinicians now have a better understanding of the needs and challenges in siblings who do not go on to be diagnosed with ASD and can more confidently say when an ASD diagnosis is stable. 

 

What can you do if you have communication concerns for your child?

What can you do if you have autism concerns for your child?

Parents may notice early differences in the communication abilities of their child, but many parents may wonder what is typical vs. what warrants concern.  Dr. Rebecca Landa, a speech and language pathologist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Maryland answers questions from Dr. AJ Schwictenberg about the importance of symbolic gestures or symbolic words in early life.  She also offers important advice about what families should do if children are not talking by 2 years of age and what to look out for.   

  

Within this video, Drs. Celine Saulnier and A.J. Schwichtenberg discuss what you can do if you have concerns that your child may have autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that emerges in the first few years of life. It consists of delays in social communication, interaction, and play skills, as well as the presence of atypical behaviors such as a need for sameness, fixation on objects or topics, sensory sensitivities, and/or repetitive motor behaviors. Some of the early signs of autism include limited vocalizations or delayed development of words and phrases, limited use of gestures and eye contact to request and interact, limited shared attention, and/or strong reactivity to changes in routine. If you have concerns about your child’s development, raise these concerns to your pediatrician and request that your child be screened for autism.

What are some of your intervention Choices?

Dr. Jessica Brian from Holland Bloorview Health in Canada, and one of the leading experts on naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions, describes some of the key features of effective interventions, why they are named differently, and what you should expect as a family when your child is receiving them.  

Should my child receive a genetic test?

Many families wonder if they should receive an evaluation of their child’s genes if their child has a diagnosis, where they can receive one, and what it means when they get the results back.  Dr. Shafali Jeste explains when a genetic test is helpful, what it can tell you, and why the results are meaningful to families whether or not there are any findings to share back.

Should my child receive AN EEG test?

Electroenceophalogram, or EEG, is a non-invasive way of measuring brain activity and is currently being studied as a way to understand the brains of people with autism at various ages.  Dr. Shafali Jeste is a researcher at CHLA that studies these brainwave patterns across different regions in children and adolescents with ASD and rare genetic disorders.  She explains why these findings are important and what families should know about them if a doctor recommends one.

Why are early motor skills Important?

Dr. Jana Iverson, an expert in early motor development at the University of Pittsburgh, discusses how fine and gross motor skills are critically important to early development given that they are the primary ways in which infants interact with their environment. She identifies which motor milestones to expect in the first year of life, which motor delays are commonly observed in young children with ASD, and how these delays might impact social, play, and language development. She also discusses effective treatment and intervention strategies.