What Causes Autism?

Not long ago, the answer to this question would have been “we have no idea.” Research is now delivering the answers. First and foremost, we now know that there is no one cause of autism just as there is no one type of autism. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes, or mutations, associated with autism. A small number of these are sufficient to cause autism by themselves. Most cases of autism, however, appear to be caused by a combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development.

In the presence of a genetic predisposition to autism, a number of nongenetic, or “environmental,” stresses appear to further increase a child’s risk. The clearest evidence of these autism risk factors involves events before and during birth. They include advanced parental age at time of conception (both mom and dad), maternal illness during pregnancy and certain difficulties during birth, particularly those involving periods of oxygen deprivation to the baby’s brain. It is important to keep in mind that these factors, by themselves, do not cause autism. Rather, in combination with genetic risk factors, they appear to modestly increase risk.

A growing body of research suggests that a woman can reduce her risk of having a child with autism by taking prenatal vitamins containing folic acid and/or eating a diet rich in folic acid (at least 600 mcg a day) during the months before and after conception.  

Increasingly, researchers are looking at the role of the immune system in autism. Autism Speaks is working to increase awareness and investigation of these and other issues, where further research has the potential to improve the lives of those who struggle with autism.

FOUR TELECONFERENCE VIDEOS

EVERY MOTHER SHOULD WATCH THESE 4 VIDEOS  
THIS IS AN AUDIO TRACK..
WITH FULL TEXT SLIDES OF THE CONVERSATION

THE 4 VIDEO PRESENTATIONS ON THE RIGHT ARE:  

ABOUT 2 MOTHERS, (WITH AN AUTISTIC CHILD, EACH). 

ONE OF THE MOTHERS  IS A CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST. (DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY-WITH HONOURS)  

DAYNA WORKS AS A CONSULTANT IN SCHOOLS FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM.. OVER 8 YEARS.

 

LINKS TO AUTISM WEBSITES

  

1. Autism Support Groups

It is very important for families dealing with autism to have an outlet, such as other parents who are going through the same thing. This site connects them to groups both online and in their area that can offer that type of support.

2. AutismNOW

AutismNOW should be the first place you look for the latest news, research and information on autism.

3. MyAutismTeam

MyAutismTeam is a social network for parents of kids with autism.

4. Care.com

Care.com is a great place to find a caregiver.

5. Dads 4 Special Kids

This is a group for fathers of special-needs children, who can share their stories with others who understand the challenges they’re facing.

6. Autism…Learn

This site allows people, including children, with autism to complete online activities geared toward helping them develop vital skills.

7. Autism on the Seas

Parents of special-needs children know how difficult it can be to plan a vacation. This site is dedicated to helping parents of children with autism map out their getaways, whether they’re cruises or camping trips.

8. Atypical Child

Atypical Child functions sort of like a Craigslist for parents of special needs children. You can list and buy gently used therapy equipment.

9. Bloom and Grow

Being a caregiver can be a rewarding, but also often a difficult and humbling task. This site shares products, strategies and tips for how to help your loved one and cope with the great demands that are put upon you each day.

10. Healing Thresholds

This site offers daily updates on autism news and research, including new therapies being used to address the disorder.

11. Make Friends With Autism

This group is dedicated to fostering more understanding of autism spectrum disorders and encouraging families to reach out to others with ASD.

12. Parent Coaching for Autism

Parents of both newly diagnosed children with autism and those who were diagnosed years ago can benefit from this site, sharing ideas for therapies, coping mechanisms and medical benefits through e-courses and newsletters.

13. Autism Blogs Directory

This site offers a comprehensive list of blogs that are written by and for families dealing with autism. It’s easy to get lost in reading their stories when you’re supposed to be working, so be careful!

14. Autism in Action

AiA specializes in offering how-to teaching programs that can help your child with virtually any task, from basic self-care to better communication.

15. Autism Calendar

This is a terrific resource that lists upcoming autism-related events in your local community. You can even add your own event to the calendar.

Adrienne is the proud mother of two girls, one of whom is autistic. She wrote this post to try and help other parents find the same relief she has found from a variety of online resources. She enjoys her life as a freelance writer and blogger, which gives her the time and flexibility to be a stay at home parent who can always whip up something for her daughters in her Xtrema cookware.

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