Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Social networks ‘drive’ autism.

Dr Peter S Bearman has found that social networks are important in the diagnosis of autism, particularly in milder cases, and is also leading to diagnosis at an earlier age.

The team from Columbia University looked at over 300,000 children born in California in 1997-2003.

The researchers found that children living near a child already diagnosed with autism had a much higher chance of being diagnosed themselves in the following year.

According to Bearman “Parents learn about autism and its symptoms; learn about doctors who are able to diagnose it; and learn how to navigate the process of obtaining a diagnosis and services from parents who have already been through the process with their own child.”

The effect works within school district boundaries, but not across them, making the social network aspect clearer.

The increased chance of diagnosis due to the social network effect was 42% if the children live within 250m of each other, and 22% if in 250-500m.


April 11, 2010 - Posted by | Autism, Child Health, Learning, Peter S Bearman, Social networks, Success

1 Comment »

  1. The use of free public media has been a golden opportunity for many other causes as well. I am currently maintaining my blog at and have thankfully reached a wide audience that would have otherwise been impossible.

    Comment by autismcustodybattles | July 6, 2010 | Reply

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