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To have these thoughts about Autism?

(88 Posts)
MrsCantSayAnything Fri 26-Oct-12 09:13:03

I know so many people now who have a child on the spectrum. About 6 children in DDs school that I know of because their parents have told me....so obviously there will be more whose parents I am not on chatting terms with....my best friends son is showing strong signs and my own nephew is being assessed.

There must be some reason for this? So many children being affected. Another friend of mine says she thinks her child is on the spectrum and talks about poisoning from mercury.

I haven't learned about why she thinks this...but I do notice that there has been a growth in cases...why? Is it due to some kind of Mercury thing or can it really be that the professionals are better at noticing the symptoms now? If that's the case then why didn't we have all these children on the spectrum in the past...or did we?

There are threads on here about ASD all the time....I just feel sad I guess....so many DC that I know are affected and I feel there must be something to blame.

Brentwoodlady Fri 26-Oct-12 09:23:47

I thought it was due to better awareness and better diagnosis.
Thinking back to when I was young there were a few that had classic asperger symptoms but it was unheard of then. We just thought they were odd at the time. I'm not sure of the more severe cases of autism.

iliketea Fri 26-Oct-12 09:27:31

I think it's just that diagnosis is improved. In the past, children who struggled with learning / behaviour were labelled as 'slow' or 'naughty' or whatever else. Thank goodness things have improves so at least some children get the help they need.

Pourquoimoi Fri 26-Oct-12 09:29:19

To be honest I think a lot of it is about diagnosis and people wanting a label to explain things.

In the past a lot of these children would just have been a bit 'odd', but these days people are more aware and try to understand further, hence the labelling and then knowing how I access appropriate help.

tabulahrasa Fri 26-Oct-12 09:30:44

There's no recognised rise of prevalence.

DowntonNappy Fri 26-Oct-12 09:30:47

It's not that more people are 'suffering' from it, it's just that more people are being officially diagnosed.

Back in the day, people on the spectrum were thought to be just 'slow' or 'odd'.

I recommend you watch the film "Temple Grandin". it shows how hard it was to get autism taken seriously back in the day. Temple's mother was told her daughter was suffering from Schizophrenia (sp?) and that it was caused by there being no bond between her and Temple as a baby.

There was an episode of embarrassing illnesses which discussed autism. Apparantly almost everyone is on the spectrum, however only certain people have enough traits to receive a diagnosis. Go on their website and you can do a quiz.

My dd is on the spectrum. She is high-functioning. Personally, i think it all goes on in the womb; we are born with the 'autism gene'. For some children, it is clear from birth. For others, it might not present itself until they're older. i.e. suddenly stop talking at 7 yo.

I think genes also play a part. My dd's father (my ex) had aspergers and his younger brother had severe autism.

Mrsjay Fri 26-Oct-12 09:30:58

I think as the others have said it is diagnoses and awareness that is the 'cause' of more children being ASD children were labelled as 'weird' 'slow' or ever the R word and autisim was only diagnosed with severe cases , and the spectrum seems to have widened ( if that makes sense)

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 26-Oct-12 09:32:50

I haven't read extensively and won't claim to know anything like as much as the parents of children with autism who are on MN,but I have read some articles.

I read that it could be to do with older father but before everyone jumps on me this was in the DM so I wasn't exactly convinced at how legitimate this article was in terms of research. Though it did worry me a bit because OH will be an "older father",I won't be an "older mother".

I think a lot of it is down to better diagnoses. Children who 20 years ago would have been described as "very very shy" and so on. It's now understood that this can be autism. I say can be because some children are just shy. And it must certainly be for the best that these children are being diagnosed. I'm sure there are older people who,if they were children now,would be diagnosed and may well have had a completely different life had that happened.

I sometimes wonder what kind of effect the good industry is having. We are all essentially being poisoned by it,preservatives,pesticides,added this and that. This is a relatively new thing so who knows what kind of effects it is having on us all. <I am not a mad hippy honest>

ReallyTired Fri 26-Oct-12 09:36:03

I think its a range of factors.

There is less shame in having a child with autism because the refrigorator mother theory has been debunked.

Teachers are on the look out for children with autistic traits so they get offered help and diagnosis.

There are more women having their families later in life than the past.

The fact that society is multcultural makes it harder for people with mild autism. In the days when everyone had the same beliefs and they all went to church on Sunday, it made theory of mind easier.

There are fewer low level menial jobs than the past. In the past low level learning difficulties were less of an issue.

However there have always been "odd" people and certainly there were plenty of people with learning difficulties in the past. Prehaps in the past the village idiot or someone with autism was locked away in an asylum or some other kind of insitution.

fuzzpig Fri 26-Oct-12 09:41:32

Partly increasing awareness. Children who are struggling are now more likely to get help rather than being labelled thick or naughty.

It is incredibly difficult to get an official diagnosis so I think it is probably even more common than we think, but that's just my opinion.

There is also the fact that adults who are on the spectrum - often high functioning and possibly unaware of it as when we were children there was less awareness - are more likely to have relationships with similar people and so it could run in families that way.

I am expecting my dx with Aspergers next month smile

SummerRain Fri 26-Oct-12 09:41:34

Dp, his siblings and I all show asd traits. Non of us have a dx. Looking back there were lots of kids in my school who showed typical asd traits, none had a dx.

I hadn't even heard of autism til I was an adult, same goes for dyspraxia and many other conditions.

I think awareness has increased massively. As asd becomes more commonly spoken about and recognised more teachers and parents are aware of the signs and more children are dx as a result.

I was labeled lazy and stubborn, told I needed to concentrate. Dp was labeled as a trouble maker. Other friends of ours were labeled 'odd', 'difficylt', 'weird', etc... Yet looking back these were all asd traits.

MrsToddsShortcut Fri 26-Oct-12 09:41:45

I agree. My DD is currently being assessed and I went through an entire thought process whereby I wondered if I had 'done' something, or exposed her to something. Of course, I don't think this is the case, in fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I have at least two relatives who show classic ASD traits. However, they are adults in their 40's and would never have been diagnosed.

I can also think of children that I was at school with (and also adults that I knew as a child) who were probably ASD, but who were just written off as 'odd' or 'difficult' or just 'problem children' sad. I hate to think of them going through their lives with possibly very little understanding or support.

Bear in mind that routine recognition and diagnosis of ASD didn't start to happen until around 1990 (I think? Please correct me if I'm wrong!) so I'm pretty sure that this is something that's always been with us, and in significant numbers, just not recognised.

Salbertina Fri 26-Oct-12 09:42:05

RT- really interesting point about theory of mind and multiculturalism, had never thought of that. Reckon some truth in it though.

TwistyBraStrap Fri 26-Oct-12 09:42:31

DS has ASD. He was only diagnosed this week after a 2 year campaign by me and DH.

He's had it all his life. He was our first, and we just thought he was a bit slower to develop - now we have DD I can see just how slow he was.

I recognise a lot of the traits he has as being the same as some of the 'naughty' kids when I was at school. I'm so glad we are able to recognise that he needs help rather than assuming he is a naughty child.

I also agree with genes playing a part - BIL has ASD as well and DS's behaviour echoes his so much.

Iatemyskinnyperson Fri 26-Oct-12 09:46:41

I have a hunch it's down to toxins via plastics etc. ds2 has ASD, but as he is quite delayed developmentally& non-verbal at 5, it's more than 'odd'. I suppose he would have been called 'slow'

MrsCantSayAnything Fri 26-Oct-12 09:48:39

My friend is so worried about her DS.....he's only a toddler so it's hard to tell yet how affected he is (she has no DX yet) and I keep reading that there are people who have "cured" their toddlers...but they're often in the USA where they seem to have more thorough checks for infants.

MrsCantSayAnything Fri 26-Oct-12 09:51:06

I can remember one girl in my secondary who was a casebook Aspie and who was horribly bullied. I often think of how her life would have been so much better in a school today where kids would have maybe been told that she was different to them....I think about her a lot and even tried to find her on Facebook but no sign.

Iatemy what makes you think it's plastics?

akaemmafrost Fri 26-Oct-12 09:52:44

Yes those kids were the "thick" ones in the bottom streams, which is a big reason that I agree with none streaming of kids but that's a whole other discussion.

Ex DH clearly is on the spectrum but as there was no understanding back then it was simply "disciplined" out of him. He is of well above average intelligence and functions well in a highly paid job, however his personal and practical life is a mess and he only functions in that department when there is someone to pick up the slack, used to be his Mum, then me, various bosses and now his flatmate. It never lasts though sad.

So I think it's completely down to more awareness. Also smaller families, in huge families as was more common years ago, the "quirky" family member was protected or didn't stand out so much.

Lots of reasons really but NOT the reason often offered ie that kids are naughtier now and their parents just don't want to admit their poor parenting so seek to medicalise their children's behaviour. When I hear people say that it makes me wonder if we have moved on from The Refrigerator Mother theory at all!

EasilyBored Fri 26-Oct-12 09:52:58

I think that MN is a bit of a self selecting group with regard to SEN and disabilities; it's a great support system, so there are more people here who need that support, iyswim?

It's not a topic I know much about, but I would suspect (as a lay person), that it's to do with better identification of ASD traits?

dietstartstmoz Fri 26-Oct-12 09:53:48

I think the current diagnosis rate in the uk is 1 in 100 (not sure if this is higher now), in the USA its 1 child in every 88. DS2 has ASD and i would love to know what the cause is, if its ever possible. DS1 is NT and we are friends with 2 other families who have 2 boys who are exactly the same. I hope they are able to identify what the triggers are for ASD as you can drive yourself mad looking for a cause.

pigletmania Fri 26-Oct-12 09:54:01

I do agree, back in the day I think children would have been seen as weird, or odd or yes retarded. Awareness has improved

ReallyTired Fri 26-Oct-12 09:55:10

Autism is a condition that lasts for life. There is no cure for autism, children are just taught strageries for coping with life. Children can learn social skills and theory of mind through social stories and speech theraphy at an early age can help.

Temple Grandin suggests in her book that the rise of the amount of screen time families have makes it harder for children with autism to learn social skills.

More and more children are in some kind of childcare before the age of five which might lead to developmental issues being noticed more.

Ephiny Fri 26-Oct-12 09:56:11

Yes I think it's diagnosis. If I was a school-age child now I think I'd likely have an ASD diagnosis (my older brother actually was, but he has quite severe problems and even so wasn't diagnosed until mid-teens). I don't think the idea of 'the spectrum' even existed back then, or if it did, certainly most teachers/parents/GPs didn't know about it.

Things just weren't picked up in the same way. For example I went for years at primary school not speaking at all and it was just accepted as the way I was.

ProbablyDoingTheWrongThing Fri 26-Oct-12 09:56:33

I think they're the new super human !

I'd giveanything to be able to see things the way my son does, just for one day. What's so intruiging about the way the sun shines off sand ? Or the pattern on a drain cover ? or the patterns from waving your fingers in front of your eyes ? Why don't we notice these things ?

dottyspotty2 Fri 26-Oct-12 09:59:13

Probably more awareness we knew from when DS was 2 then the battle to DX began he had all sorts of DX and tests in between finally getting a DX of Autism in February of this year he was 18 in July. Some areas in the UK he would of been DX a long time ago but here they only got proper training 2 years ago school Dr, EP and most people knew he had it we found out after he was discharged from CAMHS and moved to adult services at 16 that the Dr he was under there refused to DX both ADHD and ASD despite it being very common for them to co-exist in children.

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