I wonder what percentage of professionals are fully aware that there can often be genetical links for autism (and/or related issues with neurodivergent conditions) in families?
It is a serious question and one that holds complicated repercussions for families.
I found a study online (from 2011), in which it cited a figure for the ‘reoccurrence risk for autism in siblings’ found at 19%.
So that roughly translates to 1 in 5 chance that when you have one autistic child, you may in fact have another sibling with varying difficulties. I would dare to argue that the figure is likely to be much higher as many individuals are often still undiagnosed. Also, will the figure include the chances of having a different diagnosis such as ADHD or dyslexia for example?
Getting the needs assessed for siblings, shockingly, can be an even greater task for families despite this knowledge. It can be recorded as children copying behaviour, parenting issues or even that the parent is seeking difficulties that are not visible in siblings.
The whole situation lays in the balance of whether you have knowledgeable, trained professionals around who flag that there can be links in siblings and are willing to include the children on their own diagnostic pathway to just delve a little deeper.
We have been fortunate that the health professionals around our family have listened to parental reports and have insisted that assessments need to be done thoroughly. They have had enough training to consider that the risks are higher and that there are enough red flags to start creating a picture that we could possibly be a multiplex family.
So these are my thoughts.
If we had a system in place, whereby a checkbox is ticked when one sibling receives a diagnosis and another child is highlighted by anyone as having some extra challenges. Then we instantly move them into a support pathway as a family under a multiplex agency to meet the overall needs, they could be moved down if not needed, but it opens the process from the beginning.
A multiplex family plan could succeed our current social care processes of ‘child in need’ plan or a ‘team around the family,’ that is unless there are concerns that mean there are child protection issues.
‘Multiplex plans’ could be more specialist and appropriate than the set plans we currently use. We would would save money to the system by targeting support straight away and not paying to go through all the hoops to get there. It could enable collaborative, supportive relationships with the professionals who fully understand our family dynamics.
More importantly, THIS could prevent family breakdowns.
So over to you guys.
Do you have a multiplex family?
And if so, have the professionals working with your family been able to look at the needs of siblings objectively?
Would a multiplex family social care plan benefit your situation?