Friday 16 October 2015

Autism in blind children: 30 times greater prevalence?

An intriguing paper by Rubin Jure and colleagues [1] cropped up on my autism research radar recently. Detailing the results of a study looking at how autism "affected 19 of 38 unselected children at a school for the blind in Cordoba, Argentina", the authors highlight some potentially interesting factors that may be applicable to autism in the general population.

Building on previous work looking at the manifestation of autism in blind* children [2] (*hopefully that is the correct terminology to use), the Jure paper provides scope for much greater research inspection in this area. That autism was detected at "≥30 times greater prevalence than in sighted children" is quite a startling point made, as authors talk about "a distinct pathogenesis" being involved, potentially providing further evidence for the plurality of autism: the autisms.

One further point stands out from the Jure paper: "Autism "recovery," had occurred in 4 verbal children." I know this takes us into some potentially 'choppy' waters with regards to the idea of optimal outcome (OO) being a facet of at least some autism (see here for example) but I'm intrigued at the possible implications here. Particularly so when other research [3] had suggested that "subjects with blindness plus autism have greater neurological impairment (as suggested by the presence of lower intellectual level and cerebral palsy), and more severe visual impairment than the subjects with blindness only" coupled to the idea that language skills might be key to membership of that OO grouping [4] (see here)...

Music: Coldplay - Paradise.


[1] Jure R. et al. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Blind Children: Very High Prevalence, Potentially Better Outlook. J Autism Dev Disord. 2015 Sep 25.

[2] Hobson RP. et al. Autism and congenital blindness. J Autism Dev Disord. 1999 Feb;29(1):45-56.

[3] Mukaddes NM. et al. Autism in visually impaired individuals. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2007 Feb;61(1):39-44.

[4] Mukaddes NM. et al. Characteristics of children who lost the diagnosis of autism: a sample from Istanbul, Turkey. Autism Res Treat. 2014;2014:472120.

---------- Jure R, Pogonza R, & Rapin I (2015). Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Blind Children: Very High Prevalence, Potentially Better Outlook. Journal of autism and developmental disorders PMID: 26408327

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