Whilst autism is becoming more common, the cause is generally unknown. In general, studies indicate that there is a genetic factor to autism and that environmental “triggers” may induce specific individuals to develop autistic symptoms; nevertheless, the extreme mechanism of the genetic and environmental causes of autism for any person is unidentified.
Secondary autism is defined as autism of a known source (induced by a known genetic anomaly or exposure). Idiopathic autism refers to autism that has no known cause.
Unknown and Known Causes of Autism
Although there are over a dozen known causes of autism, the majority are extremely rare genetic defects or prenatal risks. As a consequence, roughly 80% of the cases of autism are idiopathic.
To put it more simply, in the large majority of cases:
- A child is born to non-autistic parents.
- Autism is unrecognized in the family history of the child.
- The child was not born prematurely.
- The parents were not old
- The tests did not reveal any genetic anomalies that could have caused the child’s autism.
- During pregnancy, the mother was not subjected to any of the drugs associated with a higher risk of autism (valproic acid, thalidomide and rubella are known to cause autism in unborn children)
Genetics, Heredity and Autism
Autism is heritable; having one autistic child increases the probability that your next child will be autistic. This is something to consider when making plans for your family’s future.
While we do understand that genetic inheritance plays an important role in autism, we do not really know how or why. Autism appears to be determined by dozens of genes, and researchers are working. There is no genetic test available to assess whether a parent “conveys” autism or whether a child is prone to developing autism.
Autism may also be caused by a genetic mutation. Genetic mutation can arise for a number of reasons, some of which may or may not be linked to the genetics of the parents.
Since we know very little (so far) concerning genetics and autism, a diagnosis is unlikely to be able to make a clear path between a specific genetic abnormality and autism.
The simple truth is that most parents of autistic children will never have a definitive clarification, “why my child is autistic?” Whereas this can be incredibly stressful, the best part is that when it comes to handling action for your kid’s wellbeing, reasons don’t really count. Regardless of whether your kid’s autism was caused by a genetic mutation or heredity. Therapies like occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavioral therapy and stem cell therapy for autism are helpful and beneficial. Rather than wasting time and money looking for reasons, it is usually preferable to devote that time, money, and energy to assist your child in reaching their full potential.