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Living with Autism

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April 20, 2015

Causes of Autism?

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Here we go again. This week brought another speculation about what causes autism. 

According to a recent story in Journal of Medical Association, “Autism could be linked with mom’s diabetes during pregnancy.” Emphasis on could.

Older stories state antibiotics, cell phones, circumcision, genetics, food allergies, leaky gut, older fathers, older moms, pollution, climate change, vaccines, radiation, stress and Xanax COULD cause autism. Oh, and aliens, too. Yes, someone actually said aliens could cause autism. Craaaaaaazy.  

So, what does cause autism? Nobody knows. What I do know is that I was only 23 years old when I had my son, didn’t do drugs, didn't have diabetes, never heard of a cell phone, ate healthy, exercised, wasn’t exposed to radiation and was finishing my bachelor’s degree. 

And though the biological father (long gone) was an abusive creep, he wasn’t an older man or an alien. Well, maybe an alien...he often seemed like he was in outer space.

I don’t know what caused my son’s autism. It could be genetics. It could be environmental. Nobody knows what causes autism. We do know approximately 30-40% of autistic people have seizures, so it's probably rooted in neurological issues. Something deep in the brain. Something complex. Something that has researchers spinning their wheels every year trying to figure out what the heck causes autism. 

The quest to discover why someone is autistic is less critical than the search for needed supports and services to help someone with autism live a more productive life.

Ask not why someone is autistic. Ask, do they need help? Specific medical intervention? Wrap around family support? Sensory support? Nutritional therapy? Special education? Behavioral services? Dental exams? Nursing care? More efficacious medications? Assistive technology? A therapy dog?

In the end, it won’t matter much what caused autism. Causative factors are elusive. We can chase them for years. Meanwhile, an autistic person needs help. Today.

What matters most, right now, is finding what best improves the lives of autistic people. 

What will matter later is what you and I and others who COULD HELP, DID daily TO HELP individuals with autism.

Autism need not be a disorder that limits a person’s potential. With proper treatment and support, individuals with autism CAN live a higher quality life. Emphasis on can. 



Kim Oakley