No One Knows What Causes Autism. There Are Just A Whole Lot Of Theories.
This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.
Me (6 months pregnant) & Joseph (Fall 2005). Norrin shortly after his autism diagnosis (Summer 2008).
When I was pregnant with Norrin, I had heard a little about autism but honestly didn’t give it much thought. I was very casual about my pregnancy. I gained way too much weight (a whopping 65 pounds), took my prenatal vitamins when I could (I had horrible morning sickness) and when I got the flu I consulted with my doctor and took the medicine she suggested. And at my baby shower, I even had a glass of red wine.
After Norrin was born, I was a laid back new mom. I let almost anyone hold him (so long as they washed their hands), I trusted my doctor when it came to the vaccines, and I was excited to return to work after maternity leave was over. I even went back to school and completed my Bachelor’s degree.
And then Norrin, a few months after his second birthday, was diagnosed with autism. In the weeks following his diagnosis, I tried to replay every moment of my pregnancy and every minute of his life after his birth. I was trying to figure out what I had done wrong. I blamed myself for Norrin’s autism.
I remember asking the doctor what caused Norrin’s autism. He told me no one knows for sure. Still, I went believing it was all my fault. It’s been a four years since Norrin’s diagnosis. I am in a better place. I no longer blame myself. I am not interested in curing Norrin. I have made peace with autism. And I know that there is no single known cause for autism.
Let me say that again. THERE IS NO KNOWN CAUSE FOR AUTISM.
But there are a whole lot of theories. And it seems as if every few months, a new theory pops up all over the news. The latest one being “women who had flu while they were pregnant were twice as likely to have a child later diagnosed with autism.”
And as soon as I saw the article pop up in my facebook feed I immediately thought about my pregnancy. And I may have even felt the teeny twinge of guilt. But I had to let the guilt go. Norrin’s autism isn’t my fault. And even if it was, I can’t go back and change the past. I can only look ahead. I can only think about how far he’s come.
If you’re new to the autism parenting world, or even if you’re expecting a baby, do not allow yourself to be consumed with all the possible causes of autism. There are way too many theories. In the four years since Norrin’s diagnosis, here are a few theories I’ve heard:
- Parental age
- The development of the brain
- Living near a highway
- Refrigerator mothers
- A parasite deficiency that “begins in the womb”
- Depression during pregnancy
- Drinking while pregnant causes autism
- Infectious Diseases (including Herpes)
- Yeast infections
- Brain injuries
- Leaky gut syndrome
- ______________ (Did I miss something? Let me know what you’ve heard.)
I’m not a doctor or scientist. I’m just a mom of a child with autism. And I don’t care what caused it, because I can’t change the fact that Norrin has autism. I’d love to focus on the families living with autism. I’d love to see special education services, schools and providers get just as much attention as the causes of autism. Because what I really care about is moving on so that Norrin can move forward.Add a Comment