The non-profit Birth Defect Research for Children maintains a registry of thousands of children with birth defects. Through a questionnaire completed by parents, the organization is helping to link pre-conception and pre-natal exposures of parents with disabilities in their children. Autism is one condition they focus on. Parents of a child with autism can help identify pre-birth risk factors for autism by completing a registry questionnaire.
Autism parents may not think of autism or a developmental disability as a “birth defect”, and some parents may feel that the cause of their child’s autism happens from exposures after birth, i.e., in early childhood, or is due to genetics. However, the research from this registry is applicable to autism and to cases that might have a genetic or a childhood exposure component.
According to Birth Defects Research for Children and other sources, birth defects can be either structural or functional abnormalities. “Structural birth defects include abnormalities in the development of body parts including the skeleton and organs.” Conditions include cleft palate or spina bifida. Structural abnormalities are the ones that generally come to mind when we think of birth defects.
Issue: 11 Volume: 8