Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Autism speaks....more so now that in years gone by.

I have a nephew who is Autistic.
To be specific, he is on the spectrum - "highly functioning with Asperger like traits".

These days, who doesn't know someone who has a child with Autism?

It seems that in the past 10 to 12 years, there has been a surge in diagnosis of children who have Autistic related conditions of some sort - and they fortunately - aren't always as severe of a case, or rather they are more atypical than what they were say even 20 years ago.

Why is that?
I have my own theory on it --and it's not something I've yet seen discussed anywhere, lest not publicly.

I'd always believed that Autism is a genetic disorder, similar to Fragile X Syndrome - and I still think that in a percentage of cases, this is still true. There is a risk of siblings being born with autism, and typically seen more so in males. But I think there is more to this than meets the eye with regards to the huge increase and range of the spectrum that is being seen in the more recent times.

I also don't agree with the immunization theory; unfortunately, I think that is something that parents who are challenged by coming to grip with the diagnosis hang on to. It's very difficult to accept that your child isn't "perfect" or "normal" by everyone else's standards, so it's easier to blame something for that. I understand and can respect that, but don't necessarily subscribe to the theory.

I also don't agree with Miss Jenny McCarthy's suggestion that Autism can be "cured" with food. Either a person is autistic - or they aren't. Any child with a diet filled with sugar or unhealthy food is going to exhibit poor behavior; a child with a disability is no different. It's always a good decision as a parent to feed your children the best possible foods, balanced and nutritious - and you will definitely see a difference in their attention spans, hyperactivity, weight, and overall highs and lows in personality. But I don't believe that alone can eliminate a legitimate condition though it certainly doesn't hurt, and aids in the big picture. But I digress....

What I'd like to know, is if a study has been done on the parents of Autistic children - and the medicines they've taken over the years/months/weeks, prior to - and during - pregnancy. In this same 10 - 15 year span, the pharmeceutical companies have taken over the world, and most prevalently in regards to anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicines. In these days, it seems that everyone is on some semblence of mood altering medication; why wouldn't anyone think that there may be a possibility of that impacting an unborn child. How would anyone know whether it had impacts or not, however many years or months prior to conception? How long does it stay in a person's system; what if they took them early in a pregnancy prior to confirmation of being pregnant? Does it impact a man's sperm, as other drugs such as steroids can?

I can tell you this much: I personally know more than 4 people with children diagnosed on the Autistic spectrum....and I know first hand that they all have taken some form of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant prior to pregnancy.

Is it any coincidence that Autistic children often have anxiety, depression, obssessive compulsive and bi-polar disorders that go hand in hand with Autism? I don't think so. If a person took a mood altering drug prior to pregnancy, it certainly makes sense to me that the unborn may suffer damage from that. But that's just my humble opinion - and certainly there is no scientific proof to back that up.

Then again, would there be any? Is that something that the pharmeceutical companies would want out? Think of all the potential drugs that might not get they win two fold. They diagnose the mood altering meds for the adults -- and then they get the children. It's win-win for them.

(Wait, I did say I wasn't a conspiracy theorist, didn't I?)

What do you think? Do you know anyone who has children on the Spectrum? Have you ever thought about what causes it? I'd love to know other opinions that are out there.

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