Some parents take their child’s ASD diagnosis very personally, feeling both a sense of blame and a sense of shame when they receive the news. However, finding a cause for ASD and understanding its symptoms is a challenge that psychiatrists, developmental pediatricians, and other health care professionals are still working on. While researchers have hypothesized some possible contributions to ASD, more research is needed to understand the root cause of autism.
Stop debating the cause and look for the signs (Tiffany Cook)
Researchers have not identified any cause(s) for ASD; however, they have hypothesized that the presence of some influences – genetic, non-genetic and environment – may put a child at higher risk to develop autism. Some of these hypothesized influences are heredity, traumatic circumstances surrounding delivery (i.e., emergency C-sections), and the use of chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics as part of some of our farming practices. It is very important to remember that whether these influences put a child at higher risk to develop autism is a subject of heated debate among research scientists and medical professionals. Furthermore, it is significant to note that the presence of these influences in a child’s life or their exposure to them does not mean that the child is destined to develop autism.
Rather than debate the cause of ASD, which has not been clearly identified, it is more prudent to watch your child for symptoms of autism. These can include not making eye contact or responding to his/her name, not engaging in dramatic or pretend play when it is age-appropriate for him/her to do so, engaging in repetitive behaviors such as stacking and restacking cars, blocks or crayons, and delays in language development.
Vaccines don’t cause autism (Kereth Harris)
First off, vaccines do not cause autism. While this scare mongering has died down a little, there are still some people that have fallen victim to this very unfair campaign.
There is no one specific cause of ASD. There is evidence that genetics are involved, ranging from gene mutations to inherited genetics. There is currently a lot of research taking place about the impact on environmental factors triggering ASD.
The symptoms of autism can look different in every individual. Lack of responses to sounds and expressions as a baby can be an indicator, as can lack of gestures, playing make believe or limited language. It is however crucial if you are concerned, to seek professional advice from someone trained to diagnose ASD, as it is a complicated process.
No known cause for ASD (Lesley Scott)
To date there is no one known cause for ASD. It is accepted that people with autism usually have abnormal or different brain structures or functions. These differences will usually be apparent on a brain scan when compared to a neurotypical brain. Risk factors for autism include gender, family history, other disorders, extremely preterm birth, and parents’ ages.
Symptoms are extremely varied and depend not only on the child but also on the degree of severity of the disorder. In most cases though, symptoms will start being noticed before 2 years of age. Some children will show early signs such as lack of eye contact or response in infancy, while other children will appear to develop normally and then suddenly begin to show symptoms.
ASD involves a number of challenges (Amanda Whittington)
ASD involves challenges with communication, behavior, and social interactions. People with more severe ASD may engage in repetitive behaviors, known as stimming. Stimming involves movements such as hand flapping, spinning, head banging, or echolalia. Echolalia is the uncontrollable repeating or echoing of speech. Some people with ASD may have trouble understanding non-verbal communication, voice inflections, or other inferred types of communication. They may be preoccupied with certain topics or characters to the exclusion of other interests. There is no single understood cause for ASD.