Question: Why is Infant Reflex Integration important?

Answer: It delays or disrupts brain maturation.

In the research paper below the following biomarkers are used for predicting the development of ASD or Developmental Language Delay. They are tested in the period between 9 months and one year.
1. Head circumference
2. Head tilting reflex (head righting reflex)
The head-righting reflex is a postural response. This begins to develop as the baby lies prone at approximately 16 weeks, lifting the head, so that the face is in a vertical position. It continues to develop as the Infant Reflexes integrate (fade into the background).
Later the child is able to maintain the vertical head position in more positions.
If the head tilting reflex fails to develop is an indicator of persisting infant reflexes.

New method of screening children for autism spectrum disorders works at 9 months old

 Date:April 15, 2014            Source:Children's National Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have identified head circumference and head tilting reflex as two reliable biomarkers in the identification of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children that are between 9 and 12 months of age. ASD is identifiable as early as two years old, although most children are not identified until after the age of four. While a number of studies have reported that parents of children with ASD notice developmental problems in children before their first birthday, there has yet to be a screening tool to identify those children.
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FULL STORY
This study looked at the use of head circumference and head tilting reflex as two biomarkers that can be used during well-baby visits by primary care providers.
Researchers, including a team from Children’s National Health System, have identified head circumference and head tilting reflex as two reliable biomarkers in the identification of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children that are between 9 and 12 months of age.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ASD is identifiable as early as two years old, although most children are not identified until after the age of four. While a number of studies have reported that parents of children with ASD notice developmental problems in children before their first birthday, there has yet to be a screening tool to identify those children.
“While the ‘gold standard’ screening tool is the M-CHAT questionnaire, it must be read and completed by parents and then interpreted by a health care provider,” said lead author Carole A. Samango-Sprouse, EdD, and Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “What physicians are missing is a quick and effective screening measure that can easily be given to all infants regardless of background and identify ASD before 12 months. This screening is also helpful in identifying those babies who may not initially appear to be at risk and would otherwise be missed until much later in life.”
This study looked at the use of head circumference and head tilting reflex as two biomarkers that can be used during their well-baby visits by their primary care providers. Both screenings were given to nearly 1,000 patients at the four, six, and nine-month well-baby visits.
At the end of nine months, those infants with a head circumference above or equal to the 75th percentile, a head circumference that was in 10 percent discrepancy with the height of the baby, or those who failed the head tilting reflex test were considered at risk for ASD or a developmental language delay. These infants were then evaluated by a neuro developmental specialist and pediatric neurologist to differentiate between these disorders.
Of the 49 infants that displayed abnormal results, without previous diagnosis, 15 were identified at risk for ASD and 34 at risk for developmental language delay. Of the 15 children who were identified at risk for ASD between 9 and 12 months of age, 14 (93 percent) sustained the diagnosis when it was made clinically at the age of three.
“We will continue looking at the efficacy of the head circumference and head tilting reflex as a screening tool for these disorders,” said Andrea Gropman, MD, a contributor to the study and Division Chief of Neurogenetics at Children’s National. “As with all developmental delays, especially ASD, the sooner we can identify those children who are at risk, the sooner we can intervene and provide appropriate treatment. In other words, the sooner we identify these delays, the better the outcome for those affected.”
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Story Source:
Materials provided by Children’s National Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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Journal Reference:
1. C. A. Samango-Sprouse, E. J. Stapleton, F. Aliabadi, R. Graw, R. Vickers, K. Haskell, T. Sadeghin, R. Jameson, C. L. Parmele, A. L. Gropman. Identification of infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder and developmental language delay prior to 12 months. Autism, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/1362361314521329
________________________________________Children’s National Medical Center. “New method of screening children for autism spectrum disorders works at 9 months old.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415125548.htm>.

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