Autism’s Environmental Component: New Research Upends Scientific Orthodoxy Strangling Autism Progress
By Sallie Bernard, President, SafeMinds
New research has just come out which will hopefully drive a stake into a scientific theory that has strangled scientific progress in autism. The theory – that autism’s cause is almost entirely genetic – hasn’t matched the evidence for decades and has undermined promising avenues to prevention and effective treatments.
My son with autism is a happy young adult with a big engaging personality. But his left hand is permanently swollen and scarred. He bites his hand when he gets anxious,occasionally so hard that it bleeds. Sometimes we know what triggers the panic attacks. Often we have no idea. They simply arise within, from his biology. In very anxious episodes he may pound his head and cry, “my head hurts.” His gift of autism comes with a heavy price.
Bill was diagnosed with autism in 1992 when he was four and a half years old. After developing normally for 2 1/2 years, he regressed into a severe condition marked by loss of speech and motor skills, behavior dysregulation and altered sensory and mood states that finally became what is called autism.
A few years after his diagnosis, the scientific theory that autism was all genetic—inherited from family members due to rare gene mutations—emerged as a way to explain the mystery of autism. At the time, this view was a step forward from the previous theory of autism as an outcome of bad parenting. At least it attempted to view autism as biologically based rather than psychosocial, and many parent advocates became believers.
Read the full post at the Safeminds site.