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Aspergers - inherited?

(19 Posts)
Calico1 Tue 19-Aug-08 11:53:25

Hello
My nephew aged 7 has just been diagnosed with Aspergers. I have suspected this for a while and hope that the diagnosis will help my sister and her husband and his school cope with his behavior, however his grandfather seems to deny that there is anything wrong and says it is just bad behaviour. This is very difficult for my sister as the poor boy is virtually banned from visiting his grandparents.

The thing is that the grandfather shows very strong signs of having Aspergers himself - sticks to a very rigid daily routine (same meals, same walk to the same place each day, always goes on holiday to the same place - books the same room in the same hotel!) and gets angry out of proportion when anything disrupts this routine. Does anyone know about any research into the likelyhood of Aspergers being inherited? It might help to address the situation between grandfather and grandson - though not sure how to approach this tactfully...
Any thoughts welcome!

flyingmum Tue 19-Aug-08 12:11:00

I think it is. My father and certainly his brother have/had aspects of it. There is a good book called 'all cats have aspergers syndrome' which is pictorial and rather cute mainly for children but I found it very useful. There is a particularly pertinent line reading 'other people think they could do a better job at bringing him up' or something along those lines. It might help. Remember though if he is somewhat rigid in his thinking and possibly lacking some empathy then grandad is going to have problems coming to terms with his exhuberant grandson. Also if grandad is noise phobic (like my father and myself) having a bouncy boy around might be physcally painful and very sressful for him. However, my son has a fantastic relationship with his Grandpa - they are peas in a pod to a certain extent and seeing them both bumbling round the garden talking to themselves and occasionally chuntering to each other is very sweet!

Is a way forward via the granny? She might be able to broker situations where both parties can cope with each other. She also, once she understands the signs and symptoms, be able to see the links between the two and perhaps find a common ground or interest. Funnily enough my father (had three girls but whose style of parenting was to take us for long walks and talk about academic performance) used to take DS1 to the park to swing (DS1 loved and still does swinging). BUT he doesn't do it with DS2 who doesn't have any SEN. I think it is because DS2 is a runny about bouncy fellow who is very social and makes friends with everybody and anybody and that slightly freaks my dad out in that he doesn't know how to control or cope with that but he could cope with a boy just swinging for ages on a swing (nice and repetitive!)

Any way. I've whaffled on. Sorry.

Hope some of this might help.

Seuss Tue 19-Aug-08 12:23:33

It can take family members - especially older ones- time to get used to a diagnosis anyway. They don't see the day to day stuff so it is easier to put things down to 'naughtiness'. My ds1 has ASD and I've noticed 'traits' in various family members (on both sides!) Don't know if I would have noticed if I wasn't looking but I think there is definitely something in the 'inherited' argument. Perhaps pointing out that grandad does share some habits will make grandad realise that this isn't something to be terrified of or hidden.

It's great your sister has family like you on side - hope you can get through to the older folk!

cyberseraphim Tue 19-Aug-08 12:26:03

My brother is high functioning autistic - I know it's splitting hairs but I wouldn't say Aspegers as he has no desire to talk about obessions or to repeat knowledge. He is aloof and withdrawn. I think my DS1 is very similar but it's early days and I don't know much about what my brother was like as a young child as he is three years older than me. When I was old enough to notice, I realised he rarely spoke and that he had no friends and that this was unusual - but also that he had no desire for friends and did not seem to know what they were or why others had them.

Troutpout Tue 19-Aug-08 12:28:52

ooh yes
ds has a father and a grandpa and a cousin who i think all show signs.
Ds and his grandpa are like peas in a pod actually.
Yes ds and his grandpa get on well too. He seems to prefer ds rather than dd's company.She is very talkative..energetic and socially demanding...and i think this is all a bit too much for him (bit to much for me too sometimes!).He seems to enjoy ds's company quietly...or they have scientific discussions or build something together.
Both grandpa and grandma deny there is anything wrong with ds btw..we generally don't talk about it when we see them (which is about 3 times a year)

Hecate Tue 19-Aug-08 12:34:11

I 100% believe there is a genetic element to asd.

Calico1 Tue 19-Aug-08 12:48:06

Thanks for all that - very encouraging. From a distance it is much easier to see the behaviour links but harder for those closer to the issues I think! I an treading a fine line between interfering and helping but I think I'll forward your thoughts to my sis.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Tue 19-Aug-08 13:10:33

There are two main types (genetically) of autism

One type is caused by the effect of many different genes acting in combination. In this type there tends to be a high incidence of what they call the Broader Autism Phenotype in families- ie lots of family members have autistic features/tendencies.

There is a second type which is believed to be caused by a variety of single genes. In these cases the broader autism phenotype is not seen within the family. This single gene autism is more likely to be linked to regression.

nikos Tue 19-Aug-08 13:17:27

I think there is evidence for a genetic link but we have no one in the family who has had it except for ds so there are other causes. I think 5-10% of ASD's are said to be genetic (read that last night in a Baron-Cohen book)

nikos Tue 19-Aug-08 13:18:14

Sorry cross posted with Jimjams

cyberseraphim Tue 19-Aug-08 13:29:01

Professor Gillberg who Dxd DS1 discussed genetic factors with us and also mentioned birth injury causition. A genetic link can be non familial and caused by sporadic and spontaneous mutation of genetic material. Most experts agree spontaneous mutation must be a factor given that autism often presents in a family with no prior history.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Tue 19-Aug-08 13:33:13

At IMFAR they were saying that many of the single genes could have an environmental trigger as well. So you have a particular single gene, then a later environmental trigger and bam -autism.

LOts of interesting stuff about the immune system abnormalities as well.

Of course makes working on 'causes' hard as you're dealing with so many different sub groups.

Our family has no autism anywhere at all, but an awful lot of auto-immune conditions. Particularly type 1 diabetes and MS. DS1 had a very odd immune response right before he regressed.

cyberseraphim Tue 19-Aug-08 13:39:58

Most agree that 'autism' is a 'movable feast' diagnosis which now covers a wide range of abilities and disorders. When the outcome cannot be defined, defining absolute causition will always raise difficulties. It does seem that if a cause is found - Fragile X, Anglemans' etc the disorder moves off the spectrum into its own category. Is there a cultural belief that 'autism' is by definition not capable of being understood ?

bullet123 Tue 19-Aug-08 19:59:11

Both Ds1 and myself are on the spectrum. My dad has a lot of Aspergers traits and my mum has some. My DH is not on the spectrum, but has a few traits.

msdemeanor Tue 19-Aug-08 21:26:34

Definitely inherited in my ds's case (my dad and brother are on the spectrum). Specialists agree that it is often inherited.

Glitterknickaz Tue 19-Aug-08 22:20:56

I strongly believe my DH has non diagnosed ASD. Ds1 has a dx of Aspergers and ds2 a dx of asd.

Buckets Wed 20-Aug-08 10:16:14

Oh yes. DS has dx'd AS and we've always thought my dad was at least a carrier since we first saw a documentary about AS years ago! They are so similar that we now think he is properly AS, it is now his joke whenever my mum moans at him 'must be my Aspergers'grin.
We have also started looking at DH's dad in a new light since the DX. He is vastly different from those two but it would explain a lot of his odd social skills, insecurity and panicky behaviour. I swear I saw him handflap too when DS knocked Nana over.

coppertop Wed 20-Aug-08 10:53:20

There are so many AS/ASD traits on both sides of the family that it's probably a miracle that we only have 2 chldren with ASD and not 3.

It would probably be easier to list the relatives that don't have traits.

Buckets Wed 20-Aug-08 15:47:49

Calico1, Send your sisterthis article, it's lovely.

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