When a child is diagnosed with autism, the parents are understandably troubled. It’s common for parents to wonder how this happened and whether they could have done anything to prevent the condition. Researchers have found that autism has a genetic component, but it does not appear to be inherited. Investment leaders in the genetics field, like Jim Plante, find ways to fund vital research to discover the role genetics has in an enormous number of health issues.
About Autism Spectrum Disorder
Medically known as autism spectrum disorder, this condition first shows its symptoms in infancy or early childhood. The disorder is considered a spectrum because symptoms vary so greatly in severity.
Symptoms of the Disorder
The fundamental issues are difficulties with social connection and interpersonal communication. They may have trouble empathizing with others and do not pick up on nonverbal social cues. Unusual repetitive movements and a compelling need for order are symptoms in some individuals, and some have significant delays in verbal development. Most people with autism spectrum disorder have some level of intellectual disability, but that is certainly not true for everyone.
Potential Future Consequences
All of this causes challenges in going to school and even with family relationships. Later, the person with autism also may find it difficult to be hired for a job or to keep a job. Some individuals with autism have symptoms so severe that they cannot attend school or even work at a part-time job. Others, in contrast, have above-average intelligence and are able to do well in school and employment.
Known Risk Factors
Researchers and parents both want to know why the rate of the disorder has escalated so dramatically in the 21st Century. So far, there are no real answers, other than the genetic mutation that is not inherited from a parent. The main risk factors appear to be parents being older when the child is conceived, and pregnancy or birth complications. This cannot explain the substantial rise in rates of the condition, however. Research has confirmed that vaccinations do not cause autism, despite many people still believing reports that this is the case.