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Thread: Tactile defensiveness: why autistic children don't like to be hugged

  1. #1

    Tactile defensiveness: why autistic children don't like to be hugged

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20100211...d-d831572.html

    The US scientists, writing in the journal Neuron, studied mice with their own version of Fragile X. They discovered that in the affected animals the development of synapses was delayed in the sensory cortex.

    "There is a critical period during late development when the brain is very plastic and is changing rapidly," said study leader Dr Anis Contractor, from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "All the elements of this rapid development have to be co-ordinated so that the brain becomes wired correctly and therefore functions properly."

    People with the syndrome suffer from "tactile defensiveness" and become anxious and socially withdrawn, said Dr Contractor.

    She added: "They don't look in people's eyes, they won't hug their parents, and they are hypersensitive to touch and sound. All of this causes anxiety for family and friends as well as for the Fragile X patients themselves. Now we have the first understanding of what goes wrong in the brain."

    The research raises the possibility of intervening at the right time in a child's development to prevent the problem.

    <more>
    The touch aversion of children with fragile X is well known (Source). Of course, touch aversion is something that children with autism have also. This article suggests that fragile X is present in children with autism. But, only 2-6% of children diagnosed with autism show evidence of Fragile X while a third of children diagnosed with Fragile X show symptoms of autism (Source).

    http://www.fragilex.org/Hagerman.pdf

  2. #2
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Perhaps a little of topic, but maybe you will indulge me...

    I've always been fascinated by watching certain children believed to have autism repeat a sequenced pattern of hand/arm motions. Is there a known explanation for this?

    I have also noted (anecdotally) that the number of children associated with a diagnosis of autism seems to have greatly increased in recent years and seems to include children who interact with others to a much greater extent than the smaller numbers of earlier times.
    Last edited by Foolish Old; 02-14-2010 at 04:57 PM.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Foolish Old View Post
    Perhaps a little of topic, but maybe you will indulge me...

    I've always been fascinated by watching certain children believed to have autism repeat a sequenced pattern of hand/arm motions. Is there a known explanation for this?

    I have also noted (anecdotally) that the number of children associated with a diagnosis of autism seems to have greatly increased in recent years and seems to include children who interact with others to a much greater extent than the smaller numbers of earlier times.
    FO, the diagnosis of autism now includes Asperger's syndrome which is a mild form of autism, often associated with great abilities or intelligence in certain areas. There is some controversy whether the number of cases of autism has increased but I think most doctors acknowledge that there has been an increase in the number of severe autistic kids.

    In 2006, one large study finds a strong correlation between autism and fathers of advancing ages compared to young fathers (Source). Father is their thirties have 1.5x the risk of younger fathers. Fathers in their 40's have more than five times the risk of their kids developing autism.

    Many children with autism and other brain conditons do tend to engage in automatic and repetitive behaviors. I am not sure what the neurophysiological mechanism is for this but I have always thought that it is related to disinhibition of subcortical structures due to damage to the cortex. Very young children of course exhibit such movements as well.

    Wise.

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    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Thanks, Wise.

    Many of the effects of the increase in human life expectancy and the trend for more people to delay procreation is just starting to come to light. Been hearing a lot about older birth mothers having a higher percentage of children with Downs Syndrome. The biological clock appears to have some surprises left. For one - I'm amazed by both the early and late ages at which humans can breed.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

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