I will share new products that I find to help our families affected with Autism and news stories that I find interesting.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
One family, four children, two forms of autism
Jennifer Gallucci had been afraid to find out, but last month, she
finally got her answer: Her 2-year-old son, Jude, does not show any
signs of autism.
It was a small but important victory.
Gallucci and her husband, Bruno, who live in the tiny community of
Burgettstown in Washington County, already have two sons with different
forms of autism, as well as an older son with an ADHD diagnosis.
It's not that their lives would have been shattered by having another
child with autism, they said, but in a schedule already packed with
therapy sessions, visiting aides and special diets, the conclusion by a
psychologist at the Autism Center of Pittsburgh was a relief.
examination showed that Jude has a speech delay but otherwise is
"neurologically typical," Mrs. Gallucci said. The psychologist "said he
didn't see anything indicating autism, and I said, 'I like that. Let's
go home.' "
Her son Joe, 10, has moderate autism, and only began
to speak in full sentences this year. Her next youngest, 8-year-old
John, has Asperger's syndrome, a higher-functioning form of autism, and
also has some problems with aggression.
Because of that history,
it made sense for the Galluccis to enroll Jude at the University of
Pittsburgh's Infant Communication Lab, which is part of a national
network of centers studying children who have an older sibling with
In 2011, the Pitt center and several others published a
study that showed that nearly 20 percent of those younger children ended
up with autism themselves -- far higher than the estimated 1.1 percent
rate in the general population.
The study suggests that autism has
a strong inherited component, but it doesn't rule out the possibility
that some families might have experienced a common environmental
As with Jill Escher in California (see related story),
Mrs. Gallucci's mother took fertility drugs when she was pregnant with
Jennifer. But whether that has anything to do with her children's
autism, or whether her grandfathers being coal miners might explain it,
she doesn't know.
"Now all of a sudden autism is snowballing, and
what is it?" asked Mr. Gallucci, a plumber who is currently a
stay-at-home dad. "Is it toxicity in everything nowadays? Is it
vaccinations? Is it food, water? There are so many different variables
Even if the driving force for the Gallucci
family's autism is genetic, scientists do not yet have the ability to
pinpoint a specific set of genes that are at fault in most cases of the
disorder. Scott Selleck, a geneticist at Penn State University, said
there are many different forms of autism, and hundreds of genes have