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Rolanda Maxim, MD

 

The Knights of Columbus Developmental Center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center is enrolling children between the ages of six and 12 months who have biological siblings diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for Early Detection of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children, a study to learn more about the early signs of autism in siblings of children with ASD.

In partnership with Saint Louis University School of Medicine, the study offers parents the opportunity to have younger siblings assessed for risk of ASD in infancy, paving the way for early intervention—which has been shown to significantly improve long-term outcomes for children with the condition.

Children who qualify for the study will receive a full developmental assessment and the option of being monitored for early signs of autism up to 36 months of age. Participants who fail the Red Flags for Communication scale (RFC) will be given the ARISk® Risk Assessment Test, a new gender-specific, genetic screening test that looks at 65 genetic markers associated with autism to predict—with a high degree of certainty—the risk that infant siblings of children with ASD will also develop the condition.

“Our goal is to define a specific autistic pattern on a developmental screening test that could help identify infant siblings at risk for ASD and improve their outcomes through earlier diagnosis and treatment,” says Rolanda Maxim, MD, division director of Developmental Pediatrics, medical director of the Missouri Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, associate professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at St. Louis University School of Medicine, and the study’s primary investigator, who notes that SSM Cardinal Glennon is collaborating with IntegraGen SA, developer of the ARISk Test, on the study.

 The study will also look at whether results of the clinical screening tests correlate with the results of the ARISk genetic screening test, which assesses at risk siblings in their infancy.   Until now, parents had to wait until children were 18 months old to have them screened with the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), which is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“We have conclusive evidence that early diagnosis, intervention and treatment improves the future of children with autism,” says Dr. Maxim. “So the availability of tools such as the ARISk Test, which permits us to identify children at risk as early as six months of age, makes this a very exciting time for those of us involved with early detection of ASD.” 

Dr. Maxim notes that the ARISk screening test is also available to children who are too old to qualify for the study. The ARISk screening may be provided by Dr. Maxim or private pediatricians, developmental pediatricians, child neurologists and autism clinicians. Dr. Maxim will expedite evaluation for early intervention services for any children who screen for higher than typical sibling risk on the ARISk Test.

For additional information or to enroll in the study, contact Sohail Nibras, research assistant, Knights of Columbus Development Center, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center at langrisa@slu.edu or at 314-577-5609.

For information about the ARISk Test, please visit www.arisktest.com.


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