13 ways parents think they caused autism to kids
When two people find out they are going to have a baby life, as they know it, seemingly stands still. Whether or not your child is going to have autism tends to not cross one's mind. Seems no one thinks about autism until they have to sit in a doctor’s office and be told that a family member, a friend’s child, or their child is autistic. When you look at it from the other side it seems that once a parent has been told their child has autism all they can do is look for reasons why it’s their fault, especially at first.
With all the crazy theories about the cause of the autism that can be found, it’s no wonder that many parents are able to come up with a long list of reasons why they think their child’s autism is their fault. Some things people say are beyond preposterous. Let’s take a look.
The things that some parents believe causes autism
There are countless theories as to what some parents believe causes autism. Every parent spends at least some length of time investigating what could’ve caused their child’s autism. Sadly, most of us never receive an answer. Some still search though. Thing is, occasionally their search for the truth stops a little short of finding an acceptable answer. Here’s a compiled list of some of the most off the wall reasons parents think there child’s autism is their fault.
1 The parent’s sexual position during conception caused their child’s autism.
2 The use of technology by the mother during pregnancy caused their child’s autism.
3 The use of plastic products (i.e. forks, spoons) during pregnancy caused their child’s autism.
4 They cooked their child’s food (i.e. carrots, broccoli) when they were younger, instead of feeding it to them raw which caused their autism.
5 The mother using lipstick or hair dye during pregnancy caused their child’s autism.
6 Feeding their children gluten caused their child’s autism.
7 The mother smoked during pregnancy causing the child’s autism.
8 They gave birth to a genius child whose brains short circuited creating their autism.
9 The mother stood near a cooking microwave while pregnant leading to her having a child with autism.
10 The father stood by a cooking microwave prior to conception leading to their child’s autism.
11 Being bad parents caused their child to have autism.
12 Making the babies bottles with tap water caused the baby to become autistic.
13 The mother eating cheese while breastfeeding caused the child to have autism.
Do you know how many of those reasons are actual causes? None of them. Not one of those things are proven to cause autism. Now, you have to hand it to the gluten allergy though. That one does have the potential of being true. A lot of parents swear that it helps their child immensely. There are also some (like myself) who have tried it with their child(ren) and swear to its futility, absent the child having any intestinal issues. Aside from that none of those are true. I have to say though, even if one or two of those things could be true and relevant to your life and to your child’s autism it still wouldn’t make their diagnosis your fault. Your child is who your child was meant to be and there is nothing more beautiful than that.
The things that scientist and researchers know cause autism
Yes you read that right. The things that scientist and researchers know cause autism. We do know a few things about the origin of this disorder. For one, there are strong genetic links to autism. There were remarkable strides made here recently by researchers who found another copy number variant, or CNV, that is linked to autism. It’s called a CHD8 mutation. I wrote an article about it last year; you can read it here. Right now there are a little less than 200 copy number variants linked to autism currently, and we are finding more all the time. There are also genetic disorders that can have autism linked to them. Here are a few examples.
1 Fragile X Syndrome
2 Rett’s Syndrome
3 Tuberous Sclerosis
Let’s not forget that there are additionally a few toxic exposures that have been proven to have links to autism. For example there’s a study that says that autism rates are higher by up to 60% in children whose mother lived near a place where they sprayed crop pesticides. Furthermore, it is suggested that living near a highway increases the chances of a child being autistic as well.
You see, when a person finds out that their child has autism life as they know it seemingly stands still. You go on autopilot and sometimes you don’t have great recall of the events directly after finding out. You may go into a panic, you may cry, you might just go numb- but sometime after you will start looking for the cause of this in your life. I must beg you as a seasoned mother of a 11 year old little boy with autism; as the co-administrator of one of the largest autism support groups on Facebook; as the author of 5 books about autism; and as the aunt of two of the most beautiful nieces with autism that a person could ask for—pace yourself as you look and don’t believe everything that you read. If you aren’t careful you can let too much of the absurd in and not enough of the truth. Also, know that it won’t always be as hectic as it is in the beginning. One day you’ll even notice that whether or not your child has autism tends to not cross your mind as much as it did before. It just becomes part of your life as a family. Once that happens what caused it won’t matter anymore anyway.
Environmental Health Perspectives- Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study
About.com: What causes Autism?