There are tons of information online on autism and related disabilities, but not everything you read about it is necessarily true. You can find several websites connecting the rising prevalence of autism in children to immunization or pesticides, but in reality the cause of autism is still elusive. The first step in understanding autism is to know that not everything you hear about autism is necessarily true.
Lifestyle Changes and Autism
One of the most commonly heard notion about autism is that it is a new disease caused by lifestyle changes. However, it is found that the earliest reports of autism in children date back to 1799. More than a disease, autism is a neurological disorder caused by some genetic anomaly. Though there are no conclusive proofs, lifestyle changes and food practices may be one of the many factors causing the rise in the number autism cases these days. Still, no direct evidence could be found to connect lifestyle changes as the sole cause of rising autism in children.
Immunization and Autism
Once there was also a widespread allegation that child immunization was the cause of autism in children. There was an extensively researched article published supporting this claim in 1998, but it was promptly invalidated and branded “fraudulent” by leading medical journals. The reason behind the publicity of such a study was that most of its test subjects started showing symptoms of autism after administering MMR vaccines, but the truth is that it is at the prescribed age for immunization that autism symptoms naturally manifest. Thus there is no conclusive proof that immunization has caused autism in these children.
Are All Autistic Children are Geniuses like in the Movie Rain Man?
There have been reports about autistic savants with exceptional intellect or mathematical skills. It is true that autism doesn’t necessarily come with mental retardation often most of them have higher than average IQ, but you cannot rule it out entirely. Since, autism is a spectrum disorder, the characteristics change from person to person. It is important to make early psychological assessments and seek assistance to train the child to cope with his or her environment.
Autism and Parenting
Once, there was a popular belief that autism was caused due to lack of proper parental care or emotional support. However, no scientific study could ascertain the cause of autism in children, and thus this theory too was promptly refuted and retracted. Autism is a genetic disorder, and has nothing to do with parenting. Yet, for children suffering from autism, parenting is highly important and all the more challenging duty for the parents.
Let us know if you feel we have missed something. Tell us from your experience the different theories that you hear about autism. Post your messages in the comments section below.