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What do you think caused it? ASD/ Autism

(63 Posts)
2006hildy Fri 12-Apr-13 23:03:15

Never mind all the claptrap written, papers published, media hysteria, ect. What do you personally think caused it? ASD/ Autism

I don't want to bash all the valuable work done out there already. But us MNetters have sorted out a lot already maybe we could help sort this question.

Mine is a dodgy combination of genes between me and DH. Even before we got the dx this was my honest gut instinct that DS1 got the best genes out of the two of us and ds2 got the worst. This sounds bad but I love him dearly.

Since then all kinds of things have gone through my head. I don't want to say too much as I don't want to influence your answers.

ouryve Fri 12-Apr-13 23:10:46

It's definitely genetic in my family. Every single male member on my mum's side has it, or traits, and the women haven't escaped totally. I have a lot of traits, myself. So does DH - typical computer geek. We clearly have the classic Silicon Valley combination of genes.

defineme Fri 12-Apr-13 23:16:06

Genes: dh's family has lots of members brushed by asd, people living perfectly normal lives that just happen to be a bit anxious/obsessive/socially inept and for some reason ds1 got it full force.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Fri 12-Apr-13 23:18:55

I'm going to go with
I don't care what caused it, if anything at all caused it. And I personally don't think there was anything that "caused" it.
For us it is part of what makes dd, dd.
Looking for a reason why doesn't change the fact that she has autism, and we can't take it away. I could guilt trip myself all year about whether I did something, or didnt do something, or passed something on, or.. etc etc. but it wouldn't l change anything, and it wouldn't make our lives any simpler.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 12-Apr-13 23:29:33

Genetics. My Dbro has Aspergers, I score 43 on the AQA online test, and would fit an Asperger's dx.

So the fact that 3/4 of my DC's definitely have and ASC, and the 4th is being mooted for Aspergers really doesn't surprise me.

For DS2 & DS3, who share the same father (but different to the older two), it is even LESS surprising, considering that their father was dxd with Autism when he was 12, and attended an SN Secondary...

It's the Autistic leading the Autistic in my house! grin

PolterGoose Sat 13-Apr-13 08:36:44

Genetics here too. Ds is like a mini-dp and I suspect dp could quite easily get an Aspergers dx, dp's mother displays traits. I have sensory problems, joint hypermobility and a fair few traits (score 45 on the AQ). On my side maternal grandmother was bipolar, maternal grandfather odd and reclusive, mother odd probably personality disordered.

Badvoc Sat 13-Apr-13 09:01:53


beautifulgirls Sat 13-Apr-13 09:14:16

100% genetic here, DD has a partial chromosomal deletion on a known autism susceptible site.

bigbluebus Sat 13-Apr-13 09:17:10

No history of ASD on either side of the family as far as we know, so not really sure.
However, it has crossed my mind, more than once, that it was possibly caused by the botched CVS test I had done when 10 weeks pregnant with DS, where the Consultant (who hadn't done many of these before and had a room full of people watching) actually had to go back in twice with the needle and take more placenta cells. The procedure is known to cause miscarriage and is linked with bits of limbs being missing, due to loss of oxygen, so I wonder if it could be responsible for that reason.
But DS is HF and copes well with life most of the time, and the test was necessary as DD has a chromosome disorder - so I don't give it more than a fleeting thought from time to time.
It definitely wasn't MMR though, as he only had that this week and he is 16 wink

FanjoForTheMammaries Sat 13-Apr-13 09:19:37

No idea. Possibly because I was ill a lot in pregnancy.

But could well be a chromosome disorder not discovered yet, DD has many issues.

Not a lot of ASD in either family

flowwithit Sat 13-Apr-13 10:15:44

I think its probably genetic too and i can see strong traits on both sides. My ds was ill a lot when he was little with infections and pneumonia and it was also around the time of mmr scare so he had single jabs but no booster. We were advised to give him the swine flu I didn't want to really but did because of his asthma then he had a bad reaction to it with fever etc. now they advise its not for under 20yrs because of narcolepsy angry

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 13-Apr-13 10:18:14

genetic. several members of my family have autistic traits. It's certainly come from me.

DiscoDonkey Sat 13-Apr-13 10:22:07

I would say genetic predisposition with other factors influencing it.

Dunno really, don't think about it much. It is what it is.

zzzzz Sat 13-Apr-13 10:35:57

I think with us damage during gestation/birth.

inappropriatelyemployed Sat 13-Apr-13 10:56:13

Genetic predisposition definitely, as has been established now I think by research (I know you said not to mention research!). Also DS was IUGR and had to be induced early so I wonder if that was an environmental trigger.

Mostly genetics I think, like you it seems dd2 get the best of both our genes and dd1 got the worst. Although weirdly dd1 has a much better immune system than dd2. I also fell down the stairs when I was pregnant with dd1, I've always wondered if that factored in it too.

DeafLeopard Sat 13-Apr-13 11:18:43

DH has some traits...but so do lots of people, so could be genetic.

I had HG in pregnancy so could be DS didn't get sufficient nutrients, but then I had it worse with DD and she is NT.

Prolonged second stage and forceps delivery - possible lack of oxygen or physical brain damage? DS was walking / talking at 11 months and then lost speech and missed milestones right after the MMR, I can understand why, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, people are still concerned about the vaccine.

this question has plagued me to be honest....I torment myself with it....ds was a challenging pregnancy and had a very traumatic first few months this added to the
should I have eaten meat...vaccinated...breastfed longer....talked to him more....never given him gluten or name it I have blamed myself for it and to some degree I still do this....I should be using/doing/saying/going to this that or the other and if I don't he won't reach his potential...the truth is I don't know and I probably never will. Now we know there is more evidence throughout the family but we didn't know that beforehand. My brain knows that it is most likely a combination of genetics and perhaps some environmental triggers through his early trauma but my heart says it was me.

I don't mean this post to offend anyone and as I say I know cognitively that my feelings are a bit wonky on this.

sickofsocalledexperts Sat 13-Apr-13 12:51:08


2006hildy Sat 13-Apr-13 14:29:18

this makes me feel better.

I have also tortured myself with all the things I could have done or did.

Things in the media such as horsemeat scandal (horse medicines altering chromosomes for example) remind me even if I did do things more carefully, things such as this, would have been out of my control.

so true what is done is done, can't change anything now even if he was damaged at birth and I do love ds dearly but often I do wonder hence my question.

Thank-you for helping me with my closure.

bee169 Sat 13-Apr-13 15:02:16


The more I read the more I see myself and the difficulties I have had. When DS got diagnosed I was in shock- the word autism was something I knew about because of the MMR scandal. Now I know more about autism and the spectrum I can see that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

chocjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 15:18:14

I really wish I knew. there is nobody with even traits in either side of the family. easy pregnancy, straightforward birth at full term.

DD had asd from birth, no doubt, but I believe the mmr made things worse for her.

we are currently waiting for microarray results though I don't keep my hopes too high as I know chances are that nothing gets flagged up.

Hereditary genetic. My ex h family all have autistic traits, he's a computer geek, poor communicator. My family are fairly NT, but my mum is a bit asocial, in a gentle, mild sort of way. She doesn't socialise outside the family much. And I have a physics degree.

signandsmile Sat 13-Apr-13 15:39:08

Genetic for us too... dh missed an adult asd diagnosis by one point on one area of the triad.

HotheadPaisan Sat 13-Apr-13 16:11:58

Genetics, without a doubt here. Think there are probably different causes too though.

CwtchesAndCuddles Sat 13-Apr-13 16:12:34

DH family have iffy genes! Dh would prob get a diagnosis is he wanted one (full on computer geke with lots of traits), and all of the children of dh cousins have a range of adhd / dyslexia / dyspraxia.

Ds is the most severe with ASD and severe learning difficulties but I'm sure that genetics played a huge part.

I'm was 40 having ds and do wonder if that may have also been a factor, along with HG in pregnancy.

autumnsmum Sat 13-Apr-13 17:37:15

Definitely genetic for my two on the spectrum .My dad is definitely aspergers my mother is very self centred .my dp definitely has ADHD

mrsbaffled Sat 13-Apr-13 20:28:39

Genetic. Without a doubt.

NoHaudinMaWheest Sat 13-Apr-13 22:18:34

Genetic here too. DH has traits at the least and probably Aspergers. I strongly suspect other members of Dh's family are on the spectrum too. Ds had brachycardia in labour and a ventouse delivery so I wonder if that triggered problems. Actually Dh was a forceps delivery after a difficult labour.
I know what you mean about inheriting the worst genes. Ds has AS (Dh's side), OCD (traits on both sides), dyslexia/dyscalculia (my side), hayfever/eczema (my side) and hypermobility which he seems to have developed off his own bat.

smokinaces Sat 13-Apr-13 22:26:19

I think genetic. Ds1 is very like me and my mum and many times I've been asked if I have aspergers. Is there an adult diagnosis BTW? Exdh nephew has aspergers too

Ds1 has aspergers, probably from me. Ds2 has hms, definitely from me.

PoshCat Sat 13-Apr-13 22:32:02

No family history here. I blame worrying obsessively about Downs Syndrome after a soft marker was found at my 20 week scan.
I also blame getting drunk over New Year after a "phantom period" then finding out I was pregnant a few days later.
I think my maternal age (old) plus a surprise, rapid and solo labour and birth probably didn't help. sad sad

insanityscratching Sat 13-Apr-13 22:58:31

Ds's autism came like a bolt from the blue as there is no autism in either of our families. At the time we felt we were "just unlucky" Then we had dd who also has autism so I imagine we have dodgy genes and mine and dh's siblings and cousins managed to avoid them.

Maryz Sat 13-Apr-13 23:04:08

Genetics here too for my family, I think. Though possibly some pregnancy related/adoption/attachment issues for ds1.

And I have a feeling that it is a dominant gene, and that is the reason for the huge increase in ASD in the last 30 years or so. Just a gut feeling - in the olden days, I suspect people on the spectrum would have been less likely to marry and have children, so therefore by the law of probability their genes wouldn't have continued.

Poshcat, I genuinely don't think you (or any of us) can blame ourselves. I really don't. Many people worry throughout pregnancy, many people get drunk, or eat badly or are stressed.

In DS2's case, I think it was hereditary. My dad has (undiagnosed and unmentioned but everyone knows) Asperger's and I score quite high on the criteria too.

I also think that as our society becomes more specialised, people with autistic traits are more likely to be able to find a role or niche that has reasonably high status / financial reward (computer programming would be one example). This makes them more attractive as reproductive partners.

LegoAcupuncture Sat 13-Apr-13 23:11:07

I used to think it was my fault for acing a c section which resulted in instant cord clamping and cord falling off at two days old.

Logically, I'd say genetic from DH side.

lisaloeb Sat 13-Apr-13 23:23:40

It may be genetic, my dad and sister have traits of ASD, with the lack of empathy her biological father showed to her he has possibly ASD.

I had a mismanaged birth which may not have helped things. She was oxygen deprived for around half an hour when she was born.

Cathycat Sat 13-Apr-13 23:32:52

I think a combination of genetic and environmental - does anyone else think this? I had ds2 quite shortly after ds1 (I notice that lots are second children) so is it to do with womb / body recovery? I had clexane in pregnancy, an unidentifiable stressful irritating rash in the latter quarter of pregnancy, a bad birth. My father is very aspergerish, and very like ds2, rambling on about his interest with little regard to his yawning listener, obsessions about certain areas and loads of other things! I am slightly obsessive and dh can be uncommunicative but think you know what he thinks lol! So we have aspects! But my dad is very obviously asd ish to me.

smokinaces Sat 13-Apr-13 23:33:16

See ds1 has aspergers. Yes he was a scheduled csection, but his cord took a month to come off. I also didn't drink/smoke/take painkillers.

Ds2 was a crash section. Oxygen starved at points. I didn't know I was pregnant for three months so i drank, smoked, popped aspirin etc. I did everything upside down with him as ds1 was only 19m when he was born. And he's got no ASD traits at all that we can see.

Some gentics. Some pot luck I guess.

Smooshy Sat 13-Apr-13 23:34:39

I think it's genetic. DH's son has Aspergers, as does his nephew. Another has Dyspraxia. A lot of DH's male relatives were seen as eccentric and unsociable. I am currently trying to make DS5's teachers see that there is something else there, querying Aspergers/Dyspraxia.

DS2 has Austism and I do wonder if his difficult birth (his heart stopped and i had to have an emergency section) had a bearing on why he has it more severely than anyone else in the family. I did go through a phase of blaming myself - I had a stressful pregnancy (house move falling through, then moving 2 days before he was born and my brother committing suicide) and probably drank more than a couple of drinks at times. Even down to blaming it on the name I gave him at one point!

Jux Sun 14-Apr-13 00:00:37

Genetic. Autism has existed since long before any of the mooted environmental factors existed.

devilinside Sun 14-Apr-13 00:11:46

I am undergoing assessment for aspergers. Both my parents and sister are obviously aspie. DS diagnosed a year ago, DD and DP borderline. I think the reason rates are increasing is because aspies seek out one another (previously many would have remained unmarried) but now there is more opportunity to meet fellow geeks. I met DP online, I suspect that's common for people like us

DeafLeopard Sun 14-Apr-13 01:12:00

Really interesting concept about people with ASD historically unlikely to have children - whereas now more likely to.

So the early geeks brought us technology, made themselves into sought after partners due to wealth / social status; then someone invents internet dating so geeks can seek out each other and cut out the crap of unnecessary socialisation grin Darwinism in action.

jogalong Sun 14-Apr-13 11:08:33

No genetics here either. Mind you dh family could sometimes be described as "odd".
Had an elective section which i sometimes now wonder if contributed to sensory issues.
Have three children. Had gestational diabetes during all three pregnancies. Was on insulin on my first and third pregnancy but not on my second. I attended a different hospital for my second and they hadn't updated their guidelines and told me i didn't need insulin even though my levels were high. I had to control by diet alone. Im starting to wonder now three and a half years later if this affected ds. I prob will never know.

Academically I believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors, although no known genetic heritage (but both me and DH have unknown parts of our families). I think there must be some genetic predisposition lurking, added to which we had IUGR (probable placental problems), prematurity, and a very old mother.

Strongecoffeeismydrug Sun 14-Apr-13 13:09:34

DS is the only one with asd on either side of the family.
Can't even think of any relatives who even have traits so i really can't say I think it's genetic.
I just think its one of those things that I will never be able to answer (a bit like which came first the chicken or the egg) smile

TaggieCampbellBlack Sun 14-Apr-13 13:18:39


My side of the family is definitely predisposed towards ASD.

Although I've also spent the last 15 years blaming everything i did, from hyperemesis to weaning to sleeping to school.........

MissDuke Sun 14-Apr-13 13:53:51

I think genetics plays a huge part, but I don't think that explains the large increase, so I think there are environmental factors also.

marchduck Sun 14-Apr-13 14:57:25

I really don't know in our case; DD is the only one in both sides of the family to have ASD. DH and I have both done that online AQ thing and scored really low and our older DS doesn't seem to have any traits at all.
I worry that it was maybe triggered by something that I did. I was hospitalised with hyperemesis during both pregnancies, but started taking the anti-sickness medication earlier with DD. Both were induced at 10 days over, and her birth was more difficult. There may also be a predisposition to auto-immune difficulties, coming from DH's side.

BeeMom Sun 14-Apr-13 16:24:37

For my DCs, we know the cause - autism/autistic traits are very common in mitochondrial disease. I have the same disease as well, and when I look at myself critically, I can see traits in me as well...

I think that the rise in diagnosis is only partially related to an increase in incidence, but largely tied to the fact that those with lower "severity" or higher "function" are being formally recognized. When I was a child, someone diagnosed as autistic was "classically" autistic - little to no functional speech, severe repetitive behaviours, no chance at independence... however, since the clear need for and benefit from early intervention has been formally acknowledged, more children are being diagnosed - admittedly both a blessing and a curse.

AmberLeaf Mon 15-Apr-13 17:33:25

but started taking the anti-sickness medication earlier with DD

I also took anti sickness medication with my 3rd pregnancy (DS3 has an ASD DX) due to severe 'morning' sickness with my second pregnancy. But, my elder two also have traits (never been assessed though) so I don't think that had any effect (nor could I find any association online)

I do think it is genetic in my sons case, I also think a major explanation for the increase is down to more awareness and more assessment. Had we been assessed I'm sure both myself and my Dad would have been diagnosed. Other older family members on my/my Dads side sound as though they may also have been autistic.

I do believe though, that some children are vaccine damaged.

rainbowsprite1 Mon 15-Apr-13 23:16:02

Genetics here, both myself and DH could be described as borderline & there is family history on DH's side of the family. Although I was interested to note a pp had Downs flagged up during pregnancy, we did too.

Not genetic here (well not in terms of autism). No autism or broader autism phenotype in a massive extended family.

Lots of immune issues/disorders in the family & ds1 regressed. We have video of him saying words and speech sounds that he cannot say now (13 years later). And video of him playing peekaboo, lifting arms to be picked up etc. He was very ill right before regression. He also fits the pattern, common apparently, in those who regressed of being very severely affected.

His younger brothers share some of the immune issues, we have kept them well away from any potential triggers and they are NT.

Rumours Tue 16-Apr-13 17:08:23

Genetics for us too, both my ds's have ASD, but both are so different. I can see traits in me too, I score 33 in the AQ online test and recently completed a maths degree. I look back now and don't know how I did it as life is so hectic. Ds2's dx came as I was finishing my studies.

MeAndMySpoon Thu 18-Apr-13 16:38:56

I think it has to be genetic, or to have a massive genetic component, because there is such a higher chance of having a subsequent child with ASD if your first child has it. Having said that, DS1 seems pretty NT (though since realising that DS2 almost certainly has autism, I've started to question everything and wonder if DS1 maybe has Asperger's- I think this sort of questioning can be quite destructive - does anyone else do this??).

S2 is coming up for his multi-disciplinary panel in a few weeks, but we've been observing and logging for ages now and his traits are only becoming more apparent. I think he was giving me cause to wonder before MMR at 13m - he is definitely very different to his brother! Part of my (obsessive?) questioning has been to wonder if either I, or DH are on the spectrum. I think we both could have certain traits. I'm really interested in the speculation above as to why there seems to be an explosion in ASD diagnosis! grin

MeAndMySpoon Thu 18-Apr-13 16:40:27

Damn, that should be DS2, not merely 'son 2', lest anyone think I label him as such! grin

lottieandmia Thu 18-Apr-13 16:47:11

My dd has classic ASD and quite severe learning difficulties.

Nobody in either my family or her dad's family has autism or learning difficulties and my feeling is that it was triggered by something. I had a look at a video of her recently in the months before she was 1 year old and was shocked to see that she could imitate at that time and waved bye bye and could also make an attempt at various words. Fast forward to 2.5 years and she had literally lost all her skills.

Sounds familiar lottie - like you I was shocked by how much ds1 was doing pre-regression. And the different speech sounds he could make.

WarmAndFuzzy Fri 19-Apr-13 01:30:20

With two on the spectrum (and I suspect DH, and have traits myself) I'd say definitely genetic.

lottieandmia Fri 19-Apr-13 14:04:41

saintly - I was very surprised how much I forgot what she could do at one time. I hadn't seen the video for about 10 years because my dad took it. My parents also commented on how 'normal' she looked then.

tabulahrasa Fri 19-Apr-13 14:24:17

Definitely genetic in DS's case, I have people on both my mum and my dad's side of the family that either would have been diagnosed if they were children today or have loads of traits and DP has two cousins (not siblings to each other) diagnosed with AS.

Poor DS just got done as far as genes go, lol.

Dodgy genes here too.. my own Grandfather was definitely autistic..why and how on earth he managed to be married is a mystery to us all..
I have 'traits' DD1 also got a lot (dx ADHD, dyspraxic and they offered her Aspergers too) and DS2 got a lot more plus learning dififculties.. all a matter of degrees here!

Merguez Fri 19-Apr-13 19:52:08

This is a really interesting thread. I am sure it is genetic and we have it on both sides of the family, although not diagnosed. But I have an uncle who I believe is ASD and DH has a first cousin. Interestingly they both have NT children. DS1 is borderline ASD, DS2 is NT.

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