Every moment that I’m not at work or feeding/playing with my children, I find myself reading about Autism. Wes and I both are obsessed. I realized yesterday, as we were at the Gateway Mall hanging out with the kids, that our every conversation is about autism: what we’ve read lately, who we’ve talked to lately about it, which new theories we’ve researched. I think it will be this way for a long, long time.
We watched a documentary called “Decoding Autism” on Friday night. They went through a variety of theories and tests on it.
I didn’t realize that when you have one kid on the spectrum your chances of having another are increased. Great. They talked a lot about whether it’s environmental or genetics. Autism affects 1 in 70 boys. Did you know that? That seems high. Why is it so high?
It’s a pretty controversial topic, where no one seems to listen to each other. Many doctors think it’s genetic*, (*Note that this gene finding only accounts for 15% of autistic children). Parents blame vaccines. Others say it’s pollution, toxins in our environment, and others say food allergies.
There are thousands of parents out there who firmly believe that their child was perfectly find and developing language normally but then got the MMR vaccine and regressed right after that. Doctors avidly dispute this, of course, and say it’s just a correlation because the age when kids receive the MMR is the same age where autism can finally be noticed. I just find it interesting that everyone is talking and no one is agreeing.
I’ll get into all the possible treatments another day, but some parents swear by restricting certain types of foods and that it has cured their children. Doctors say there is no evidence that this is the case. And they are right – because who would pay for a study about how taking out all additive foods can help with autism? KRAFT? I think not.
No, what they ARE spending money on are studies where the medical community benefits for being brilliant.
For example, they are studying brain patterns in little kids with older autistic siblings for early detection. They study electrical stimulation in these toddlers to see if they can identify Autism earlier.
The Institute of Health is funding a project on older kids 8-18 on the spectrum using Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
All this research and the fact that everything is still so debatable would be fascinating to me if it weren’t MY kid that had it.