Would Genetic Counseling predict the chances of having a child with Autism? And is it important for the wellbeing of your Autistic child?

For the first part of the question, the answer is “Yes”

So, the chances that the couple will have another child with Autism is dependent on the Genetic picture. So, if a family has one child with Autism, there is an overall risk percentage to have another child with Autism. In addition, Genetic Counselling is very important to detect many genetic conditions that are associated with Autism. These conditions can be tested for prenatally (before birth). This would give a family more information on the chances that the child would develop autism.Moreover, Genetic Counseling would give some treatment recommendations for a child with Autism

For the second part of the question, the answer is also “Yes”

There are many potential benefits for having genetic testing for your Autistic child. First, it is well known that a group of children with Autism may have other have genetic mutations that leads to other genetic disorders (Syndromes). The importance of detecting other genetic mutations and diagnosing these syndromes is to avoid putting the child at risk for other health concerns beyond Autism. For example, increased risk for a seizures disorder, infertility. This will help the family to start regularly monitoring the child for those problems.

Genetic counselling for Autistic Spectrum disorders involves:

(1) explaining the genetic aspects of the disease to parents; 

(2) clinical evaluation of the patient and assessment of family history

(3) discussing genetic testing options; 

(4) interpreting the results

(5) informing about medical treatments and prognosis and 

(6) reporting the recurrence risks to parents and eventually to the own patient. 

Griesi-Oliveira K, et al. Einstein (Sao Paulo). 2017. PMID: 28767925