While there is no ‘cure’ for autism, early intervention through a range of educational and behavioral programs can help children with this diagnosis reach their potential. Some medications may also help them function better. If your child's autism has an underlying genetic cause, there may be additional immediate health risks that require specialized care.

Management of Autism

Knowing the genetic cause for your child's autism can help your doctor to personalize the treatment and management plan based on what is known about the specific gene change. If the gene change tells us that your child’s autism may be also related to a heart problem, your doctor may not only suggest autism therapy but also include heart monitoring with a specialist to make sure your child is healthy. If the gene change is known to make a particular medication not as effective, then your doctor may consider finding a different type of medication that will likely work better for your child. Management can depend on a genetic cause.

Hayeems et al. Study

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto studied how care may change for children with developmental concerns after they were tested for a genetic cause. 73% of the tested children had new personalized medical management recommendations from their doctors. The recommendations are detailed below.

...were recommended for specialist consultations

  • Example: Developmental Pediatricians (doctors who have special training in child development and care for children with special needs)
  • Example: Child Neurologists doctors who focus on the brain, spine, and nerves, including seizures)
  • Example: Child Psychologists or Psychiatrists (doctors who focus on the human mind)

...were referred for medical imaging studies

  • Examples: echocardiograms of the heart, ultrasound of the kidney, MRI of the brain

...had specific surveillance protocols

  • Examples: periodic cardiovascular evaluations, developmental exams, hearing screening, hypertension evaluations, screening for cancers

...required follow-up with other family members

  • Example: testing parents and relatives for the same genetic change: if there is a genetic cause that can be passed on through the family, risk for siblings can be 25x greater than an an unrelated child

...were prescribed other laboratory tests

  • Example: urinalysis, thyroid testing, calcium testing