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The autism filter – and how it relates to an autistic child, and any challenging behaviour

The autism filter – and how it relates to an autistic child, and any challenging behaviour

It is sometimes tempting to think of autism like a face-mask or pair of glasses that an autistic individual puts on – as if their true self is beneath, and the face-mask or glasses sits atop.

But this would mean that the accessories (or their autism) can be cast away, which isn’t the case. An autist’s autism (or Asperger’s) was there since they developed in utero, and will be there until they die.

An autism shadow?

Sad child - to show that smacking children was de rigour in the 80s and 70sFor an autistic child, when we see challenging behaviour – such as impulsivity, irrationality and demand avoidance – it’s tempting to see all of these behaviours as choices. As if the child were able to add or remove their ‘autisticness’, and their ‘true self’ made poor decisions. On days when they appear ‘less autistic’ – e.g. more relaxed, aware of the effect of their behaviours, and less panicked about making choices – it may seem as if this is the real individual, and that autism is their alter-ego or shadow. Or that autism over-shadows them.

But in reality, what is happening is likely to be that on their ‘less autistic’ days, the autist is less stressed and anxious; feeling more in control; has more certainty in their day; and is exercising skill-sets that mean their capability to cope with life meets or exceeds their challenges.

When challenges exceed one’s emotional toolkit

Likewise, on their ‘more autistic days’, the challenges facing them – socially, emotionally and from a sensory perspective – are likely to be exceeding their emotional toolkit, and ‘life skillsets’.

Grandparent with an autistic child (stock shot)Therefore, could we say that autism can be seen as a filter or a frame through which our brain (that of an autistic individual), processes, sees and experiences the world around us? It is never separate from the ‘real’ us. It is the real us. 

How do we help the autistic child become unstuck?

This way of thinking may help us understand some challenging behaviour exhibited by an autistic child. The question should usually be (from family members or educators); what’s missing from their skill-sets? What’s causing their panic or confusion; what ‘outside’ demands could be reduced? And what self-care is needed to allow their brain to recalibrate and become ‘unstuck’?

Think like an autist…

child holds balloons to illustrate autism spectrum disorder blog postSometimes the answer is skewed, in that what seems appealing to an NT (neurotypical) mind causes conflict for an autist.

The sumptuous multiple choice breakfast buffet on holiday that’s too confusing; the funfair that stimulates too many senses; the birthday event that is populated by too many guests, even if they’re known and loved.

In an education setting

In an education setting, a favourite book may become an emotional barrier if the reading space is too noisy or busy; an eager and able mind may decide something is ‘too hard’ if too many people are watching; the apprehension about a photo being taken after an event may cause anxiety about the event itself; and the fear of failure, or of not meeting one’s own impossibly high standards, may mean a project isn’t completed, even if it involves a favourite character or subject.

A balancing act when you’re on the autistic spectrum

Life with a young autist, or AS a young autist, will always be a balancing act between challenges and coping mechanisms. Educators and parents need to become canny problem solvers and lateral thinkers, in order to spot the root cause of a frustrating or non-sensical (seeming) behaviour. Then, sometimes the puzzle is unlocked. (But trying to work out an autist’s train of thought as if they were an NT can often get in the way of finding the answers!)

You may also like to read this blog on re-framing how we think of autism…

If an autistic person were a tree: visualising autism & an autistic individual’s ‘being’

A little disclaimer – here at Spectra.blog we don’t claim to be experts about Autism Spectrum Disorders / Conditions; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences. We’d also love your feedback on our posts…

Talking Taki-Taki – discussing communication differences between autistic individuals and neurotypicals; and why NT’s find autists ‘different’ (Asperger’s / ASD /ASC)

Talking Taki-Taki – discussing communication differences between autistic individuals and neurotypicals; and why NT’s find autists ‘different’ (Asperger’s / ASD /ASC)

There is a mum in the school playground and she seems a little different – you could say she is quirky.

Image showing woman to illustrate autism articleThere are a few small visual differences – maybe she has cool, coloured hair, the odd piercing or tattoo, and isn’t following the fashion sense of most of the mums; there’s an air of quietness about her that makes her seem aloof. But that’s not unusual, right?

Lots of people have body adornments, and don’t follow the fashion pack; and may of us are introverted.

But it’s not just that there’s something slightly different about her appearance and body language, when compared to most of the other parents and the adults at the school.

How people interact with autistic individuals

There’s a difference in terms of HOW people interact with her. The fact that she is on the autistic spectrum, and the other neurotypical adults know she’s different even before she speaks, is apparently ‘to be expected’, and normal – human nature. It has been proven that neurotypical / NT (non-autistic or non-neurodiverse) people subconsciously know that an autistic individual is different, and respond accordingly, usually in a subconscious manner. (Read more in the Scientific Reports’ paper: ‘Neurotypical Peers are Less Willing to Interact with Those with Autism based on Thin Slice Judgments’.)

An unusual facial expression, a pause in the beat of conversation, a relaxed face instead of a forced smile, a perceived-aloof demeanour – any number of tiny subtle differences that a psychologist would notice (but that untrained eyes do not), mark this woman out as slightly different.

Intrinsic miscommunication

Two females talking _ to illustrate communication between NTs and autistics: ASC ASDBut the ostracision that autistic individuals (including those with Asperger Syndrome-type autistic profiles, like this woman) experience is not necessarily a conscious process – it happens intrinsically, like a sort of miscommunication at the most raw level.

If the woman does not know she has autism spectrum disorder / condition (ASD/ASC), or is ‘Aspie’, she may well develop low feelings affecting her confidence, and may experience feelings of loneliness, rejection and other issues like depression. She may even style her body differently, in terms of adornments or hair colour, just to pre-empt other people’s perceptions of her, or create a kind of barrier or field around her – again, this may be subconscious, almost like another level of autistic masking.

The in-crowd of alpha females

She is aware of the dismissive behaviour of many of her peers. In any case, she probably has no wish to fit it with the in-crowd of alpha females. But she’s spent years being a people pleaser, so probably keeps on trying to make the effort to be friendly at some level. (It should be noted of course that some of the ‘dismissive’ behaviour could itself be caused by THAT individual’s own insecurities, or social difficulties!)

Woman with eyes closed _ to illustrate article on communication between NTs and autisticsNot everyone blanks the autistic woman, of course. The mums that have taken the time to have a conversation know her a little better; and there are always the other quirky types that she fits in with – maybe they have OCD, anxiety, addictions or low-moods; somehow, they spot a fellow neurodiverse individual. Perhaps they’re just attuned to the more fragile mind? Perhaps they’re NT, but simply kind and open individuals who make an effort to include others socially?

NTs find autists ‘different’

Whatever the case, these dismissive interactions are generally subconscious. Put simply, NTs find autists and those with Asperger’s ‘different’, although they may not know why – communication is a two way thing, and these two individuals – autist and NT – are speaking different languages. It’s no one person’s fault if communication breakdowns ensue.

Yes, it’s agreed that autists experience communication difficulties; however there is a wide assumption that the communication difficulties in a group setting are the autist’s fault. Not true!

It takes two to tango, and it takes two to converse

Image to illustrate autism articleCurrent studies like this one: ‘Neurotypical Peers are Less Willing to Interact with Those with Autism based on Thin Slice Judgments’ – show that the issue is in fact between the two parties conversing. It takes two to tango, and it takes two to converse.

But to what extent do specific personality or neurology types make a difference? Is it fair to assume that most of the difficulties occur between autist and neurotypical individual? Or maybe just between autist and non-empathic (or impatient) neurotypical individual?

Talking Taki-Taki

What if a Japanese person met someone fluent in the little spoken Creole language, Taki-Taki, from South America? Would we automatically blame the South American for the difficulty in mutual communication? That would be foolish, as both individuals would struggle, based on what is known to them linguistically, and their communication abilities at that time.

The above report states that many aspects of social presentation are ‘atypical’ in individuals with ASD, including abnormal facial expressivity, irregular use of gaze, lower rates or unusual timing of expressive gestures, and unusual speech patterns.

Two men walking, to illustrate autism articleIt concludes: ‘The reluctance of ‘typically developing’ individuals to engage in social interactions with their ASD peers further limits the opportunities for individuals with ASD to practice their already fragile social skills. This can have a significant negative impact on the ability of socially aware and socially interested individuals with ASD to improve their social communication abilities.’

Our conclusion? Autists aren’t FAILING at communication. We don’t need to beat ourselves up for perceived social faux pas. We’re simply communicating in the way our autism allows us to communicate. Just as the NT individuals who don’t engage with us are doing what comes naturally to them. Importantly, IT’S NOT THE AUTIST’S FAULT. They’re not weird. Or rude. They just see the world a little differently, and communicate in subtly different ways.

A little disclaimer – here at Spectra.blog we don’t claim to be experts about Autism Spectrum Disorders / Conditions; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences. We’d also love your feedback on our posts!

Interested to read more? Find out about ‘social hangvers’ for autists at this blog…

The emotional cutlery drawer of spoons, and the ‘social hangover’ (ASD, ASC, Asperger’s)

Growing up aspie in 1970s and 1980s Britain (asd, asc)

Growing up aspie in 1970s and 1980s Britain (asd, asc)

Growing up as an aspie kid in the seventies and eighties in Britain sucked. But it sucked for everyone, in some respects. No one had heard of autism (outside of psychiatry circles) anyway. Of course, those of us that are aspie didn’t even know we had Asperger’s Syndrome, or any autism profile, back then. We just knew we felt different, and saw the world differently to our peers.

Family photo to illustrate editorial about how Growing up as an aspie kid in the seventies and eighties in Britain sucked.

The 70s and 80s were wonderful in many ways. But growing up as an aspie kid in the 70s & 80s sucked. (Stock shot).

If we could sum up the era of the 1970s and 1980s in one word it would be disrespect. Of course, there were benefits to growing up in this era – no technology to interfere with playing in the great outdoors, for example – however there was a happy slappy culture in UK homes that saw many parents dish out smacks willy nilly, and use unkind name calling.

At school, corporal punishment was no longer an issue (at this author’s 1980s comprehensive school at least – as corporal punishment was outlawed in UK state schools in 1986; my second year of high school.)

However, teachers weren’t immune to flinging wooden blackboard rubbers around with happy abandon, and they were verbally abusive on occasion.

 

 

Casual violence in schools and homes

Cassette tape to illustrate autism article about the 1980s

Some things are best consigned to history.

A lackadaisical approach to casual violence seeped through generations and families. As it was ‘ok’ to smack your kids at home, it was ok to do it at school. Boys hit boys, boys hit girls, and the school bus often witnessed ripples of slaps to the back of heads going down the aisles.

(Incidentally, modern research has, thankfully, found that smacking kids is detrimental.

The NHS reports that: “Researchers made the case that smacking in childhood could have the same long-term negative impact as traumatic life events, such as being sexually abused or parents getting divorced.”)

 

Autistic in the 1980s

Grandparent with an autistic child (stock shot)In my comprehensive (high) school, with 180 kids in my year, three or four kids would likely have been autistic. I can only recall one person in my peer group who may have had learning difficulties, and he was regularly tormented, and had legendary ‘meltdowns’, when school furniture would fly. I don’t remember him receiving any special support from educators, but perhaps he did.

Lorna Wing’s pioneering work in autism research

Psychiatrist and autism researcher Lorna Wing and her colleagues would go on to change the face of autism research. Ms Wing pioneered new changes to autism diagnostic criteria; in 1981 she published a paper called: ‘Asperger’s Syndrome: a Clinical Account’, however Asperger’s wasn’t included in medical diagnostic guidelines until the 1990s.

So, in the 1980s, in the average British household, few people had heard of autism spectrum conditions or disorders, or ASCs / ASDs. (The film Rainman didn’t hit cinemas until 1989, and it was probably the first time many people had any kind of awareness about autism spectrum conditions.)

In addition, in my educational circle at least, few people knew of dyslexia; and anyone perceived as being different, whether due to perceived sexuality, neurodiversity or otherwise, was subject to widespread disrespect.

Kind words, kind hands

Family life through the ages - stock shot for autism article

Family life through the ages

There was no talk of kind hands or kind words in the 1970s. Our parents were born in the years directly after the war. Many new parents in the 40s and 50s must have suffered terribly, if not directly by active service and the toll this took (especially in terms of the many fathers who didn’t return home), than by austerity. The post war years were stark for many families. Good food was presumably scarce in many homes, emotions were frayed, and money, for many families at least, must have been extremely tight. Respect for children was presumably low down on the list! So, it’s no wonder that by the time the post war babies became parents, familiar disrespectful habits were resurfacing.

It’s key to remember that autistic children experience difficulties with social communication, expressive language, impulse control, repetitive processes and sensory challenges. Being smacked surely only adds to their sense of confusion?

This disrespectful culture has changed

Thankfully, now many of the kids of the seventies and eighties are parents too, to a large degree this disrespectful culture has changed. It does of course depend on individual circumstances, socio-economic situations, as well as culture, geography and finances, but for the most part, today’s parents are seemingly more respectful. Smacking children is very much frowned upon in all circles.

Autism education has never been so accessible

Sad child - to show that smacking children was de rigour in the 80s and 70s

Smacking children was de rigour in the 80s and 70s

Today there is also a wealth of information available to us on parenting and neurodiversity, and of course, resources are just a click away online. Want to order a book on autistic traits in children, or go on a ‘Parenting the PDA child’ course? Google will sort that out for you in seconds. Autism education has never been so accessible.

Smacking kids, and the law

Smacking is currently not illegal in the UK, providing it amounts to ‘reasonable punishment’, according to section 58 of the Children Act 2004. However, Scotland and Wales are planning to ban smacking, at the time of writing.

So, in the 21st century, smacking children is a no-go; but even if it wasn’t frowned upon (or made illegal), today’s parents just don’t want to smack our kids (although sadly there are bound to be some exceptions). Why would we want to inflict violence on our children? We know from experience it serves no purpose. It’s invariably just a frustration-releasing exercise on the part of the parent.

Kind hands and words for autists

And for parents of autistic children, it’s important to teach them that kind hands and words are the way forward. Life is already frustrating enough for young autists, and their impulse control is often under-developed. The very many kind and empathetic kids around today, who are educated about showing and understanding their emotions, is testament to today’s more respectful familial society.

Moving forward

So what’s the next step? Certainly, for all generations to learn more about autism spectrum conditions. And, we believe, for the respect that we’ve mentioned to continue across the autism community. Currently there’s noticeable divisions between #actuallyautistic activists and educators, and self-styled warrior ‘autism parents’. The latter may seek cures for their children’s autism, and some speak of ‘loving the child, hating the autism’, as if the two were separate. You can even wear a t shirt emblazoned with phrases such as these!

(Read our views below!!)

‘I’m a haemorrhoid warrior!’ Why Autism T-shirts and ‘Autism Warrior’ garments are insidiously wrong

If autists could gain the respect that every neurodiverse individual deserves, the world would certainly be a better place, for ourselves and for future generations.

A little disclaimer – here at Spectra.blog we don’t claim to be experts about Autism Spectrum Disorders / Conditions; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences. We’d also love your feedback on our posts!

The emotional cutlery drawer of spoons, and the ‘social hangover’ (ASD, ASC, Asperger’s)

The emotional cutlery drawer of spoons, and the ‘social hangover’ (ASD, ASC, Asperger’s)

One of hardest difficulties to deal with when autistic can be the ‘social hangover’ – the after-effects of socialisation that deplete an autist’s energy. Let’s explore this concept further.

Image showing three spoons, to show the spoon theory, in an autism context.

The spoon theory was developed by Christine Miserandino.

The spoon theory

Firstly, it’s important to realise that ALL autists use many, many ‘spoons’ or energy units when they socialise; and that includes socialisation with their family.

Not heard of the spoon theory? It was developed quite by chance by Christine Miserandino, who has lupus, and uses ‘spoons’ to explain how to ration one’s energy. The spoon theory, a kind of disability metaphor, states that a person with a reduction in energy levels (emotional or physical), starts the day with a certain number of spoons.

Each spoon represents a burst of energy; so showering, getting dressed etc requires small numbers of spoons, as does conversing with close friends and family at home. Some activities, for example, meeting a group of friends or colleagues, being interviewed, chatting in a public place, require lots of spoons (for an autist, or autistic individual).

Autistic communication and social interaction issues

Therefore, autists often find that, due to their autistic challenges – e.g. social communication and social interaction issues, as well as sensory challenges – great chunks of their energy may be used up more quickly than that of their neurotypical peers and family members.

And what happens when an autist socialises – even with friends or family that they love and enjoy spending time with? They use up lots of spoons!

The spoon theory in practice

Let’s take an average day for a busy working autist Mum, and let’s say she has 12 spoons of (mainly emotional) energy that day, which was Christine Miserandino’s original proposition.

Get up and complete the morning duties and the school run. Two spoons.

Do a few hours at her part time job. Four spoons.

Do the school run and complete the afternoon family duties. Two spoons.

Cook tea and manage the child’s bedtime regime. Two spoons.

Converse with her family. Two spoons.

Image showing 16 spoons, to show the spoon theory, in an autism context. (ASD ASC)

Sixteen spoons? Which lucky autistic individual has 16 spoons at their disposal?

That’s all her energy used up.

But what if something unexpected happens – e.g a phone call from a relative that was emotionally draining; a long chat at the school gates with a fellow parent; an impromptu talk with the teacher; or a neighbour wanting to chat? These require spoons, and our theoretical autist Mum has none left. In an ideal world, she would realise her spoon allocation had ‘run over’ that day, and would plan for a quieter day the next day, to recalibrate. Maybe using self care tools like headphone-time listening to music, reading a book, having a nap, or whatever works for her.

The social hangover

And what if our Mum wanted to arrange some social time with a friend or family? Dinner perhaps, a little shopping spree, time at the park with the kids, a trip to a local attraction? It’s likely this would use up a massive part of her daily spoon allowance.

(Especially as there’s very likely to be background music, extra lighting, or noisy chatter thrown into the sensory melting pot.)

So, she’d have to plan for both a low-spoon day on the day of the social visit, and probably the next day too, to recalibrate.

If her spoon-management wasn’t up to speed, our autist would likely suffer from a ‘social hangover’, whereby she’d need downtime from most conversation and interaction, and probably sensory stimulation, until she recovered. (Otherwise autistic shutdown may ensue.)

The emotional cutlery drawer is finite

So, it is important for friends and family members of autists (kids and adults alike) to realise that, no matter how much they may want to see you or converse with you, the autist’s energy bank (or emotional cutlery drawer!) is finite.

Days out, family parties, Christmas events, visiting relatives and the like can be exhausting for autists. It’s important to plan one’s social calendar carefully in relation to the rest of the week, to limit social hangovers.

And imagine what a social hangover is like for an autistic child, who maybe can’t grasp their emotional cutlery draw needs, or explain or understand why they’re mentally exhausted? Family members of autistic children ideally need to factor in enough down time, so the child doesn’t get too run down or spoon-deficient.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

Please also read our ‘Aspie super power days blog, which details how autists may also be in a ‘spectrum within a spectrum’, e.g. with slow days, fast days and recovery days.

Aspie-superpower days – why autists may be on an ‘autistic spectrum within a spectrum’? We look at the different ‘autistic’ days…

 

 

 

If an autistic person were a tree: visualising autism & an autistic individual’s ‘being’

If an autistic person were a tree: visualising autism & an autistic individual’s ‘being’

A picture showing a tree to explain autism, asc, asd, Asperger's.

 

 

Here’s our musing on what autism is, and how to visualise it, in terms of an autistic individual’s ‘being’.

Far too many clinicians and family members are confused about what autism is, and what autism looks like.

Autism is a neuro-developmental condition, and if a person was a tree, we could visualise their autism as the trunk of the tree – autism runs through the tree like a stick of rock, and it was there from the first time the roots began to grow.

The big branches could be significant co-morbid conditions, such as Learning Disabilities, Fragile-X Syndrome and intellectual difficulties and disabilities. The smaller branches could be co-morbid conditions such as mental health challenges, anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, etc.

The foliage is the individual autist’s personality and traits, and their ability to ‘mask’, or blend into a neurotypical world.

Why use this analogy? Because old-fashioned autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-related terms like ‘high functioning autism’ confuse the issue – hence, it’s not uncommon to come across individuals saying unhelpful things of autistic individuals, such as: ‘He/she doesn’t LOOK autistic; or ACT autistic’.

Autism – running through the core

This is because, an autist without issues like Learning Disabilities, Fragile-X Syndrome and intellectual difficulties and disabilities; e.g. someone who has so-called ‘high functioning autism’, or Asperger Syndrome; may not have the co-morbid conditions that give away the autistic way in which he/she understands and experiences the world. (With thanks to follower Ethan, for his comments/input.)

But autism is there, running through their core.

If we consider autism like this, it answers the question of why autism cannot always be seen; e.g. when a family member queries that their relative could be autistic, or when a teacher can’t see any issues, because the ‘foliage’ is masking the child’s feelings.

Do you agree? We’d love to hear your thoughts…

Interested in finding out more? Why not read our blog on the diagnostic criteria for autism?

A little disclaimer – here at Spectra.blog we don’t claim to be experts about Autism Spectrum Conditions / Disorders; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences.

 

A balanced discussion: Are C-Sections Contributing to Autism Spectrum Disorders? (1) – there’s no conclusive evidence; and (2) let’s stop making women feel guilty!

A balanced discussion: Are C-Sections Contributing to Autism Spectrum Disorders? (1) – there’s no conclusive evidence; and (2) let’s stop making women feel guilty!

An American health website recently posed the question to its followers and readers – Are C-Sections Contributing to Autism? (Ref 1). A facet of this contentious story is that C-sections alter the microbiome in the child; microbiomes being microorganisms that, among other things, protect us against germs and produce compounds like vitamins.

A smiling baby - investigating the link and causative factors between babies, deliveries, C sections and autism

It follows then, according to supporters of the ‘C-Section and autism theory’, at least, that disrupted gut flora may act as a trigger for autism spectrum conditions (ASCs). The individual behind the recent discussions surrounding this debate is natural-birth pioneer, Dr. Michel Odent; he’s said to believe that the following factors may be partly responsible for rising autism diagnosis rates by ‘triggering a genetic predisposition for autism’:

|The use of synthetic oxytocin to induce labour
Changing environmental conditions in the womb
The increasing trend of elective C-sections

 

 

Baby deliveries and autism

There are certainly some robust-looking studies supporting Dr Odent’s theories. One Swedish, 2015 study (ref 2) aimed to investigate the association between the mode of baby deliveries and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and utilised data from 1982-2010; the full cohort consisted of 2,697,315 children, and it was found that, in this study at least, children born by C-section were approximately 20% more likely to be diagnosed as having ASD. (The average percentage of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum conditions is usually quoted as being around 1 – 2.5%).

HOWEVER – the Swedish study did state, in a rather confusingly worded manner, that C-Sections have not been conclusively shown to be causative of autism. Instead, the researchers made a nod to genetic or environmental factors, stating: ‘The association [that the study children born by C-section were approximately 20% more likely to be diagnosed as having ASD] is due to familial confounding by genetic and/or environmental factors.’

LET’S MAKE IT CLEAR – WE’RE NOT NAYSAYING THESE AUTISM THEORIES!

Showing a young child's sandy toes. To illustrate a discussion on whether autism and delivery methodology - are C-sections linked to autism?But, as with any story, there are many theorists and theories. If you want to read more, the UK’s Guardian asked ‘How long can humanity survive now?’ in a 2017 feature with Dr Odent, now retired.

The feature, putting forward opposing views to Dr Odent’s, cited ASD specialist Paul Wang as stating: “A foetus with developmental issues may have low muscle tone that can interfere with moving into proper position for natural delivery. In this and other ways, the foetus plays a crucial role in initiating and advancing natural labour.”

The Guardian also pointed out that the difficulties associated with autism – e.g. motor planning, hypo or hyper sensory differences, and communication impairments – may make it difficult for the ALREADY AUTISTIC BABY in the womb to engage in the birth process in the ‘standard’ way.

“Suggesting that inducing labour or delivering a baby via caesarean may lead to autism is irresponsible…”

Dr Carole Buckley, the Royal College of General Practitioners’ clinical representative on autism, was disturbed by Dr Odent’s hypothesis linking C-Sections to autism in his book: ‘The Birth of Homo, The Marine Chimpanzee’, telling the Guardian: “There is no evidence to support the claims in the book, and it is extremely unhelpful of Dr Odent to make them. Suggesting that inducing labour or delivering a baby via caesarean may lead to autism is irresponsible. It will only increase anxiety and feelings of guilt or inadequacy that women often feel when they need intervention to give birth to their babies.”

We have to agree with Dr Carole Buckley’s views on autism and C-Sections…

A child and a dog. To illustrate debate on the Causes of autism - links with c sections?

A further note to consider within this discussion is the link proposed by some individuals that ‘toxic exposures’ to the mother while her baby is in utero have been cited as a risk for autism spectrum conditions on numerous occasions.

This includes the ASC profile ‘Asperger Syndrome’.

These ‘toxic risks’ include air pollutants and also overload or regulation [or metabolism of] metals, such as zinc and copper.

However, while there’s plenty of useful information online and in print to help us form our own decisions and make choices, the most likely outcome does seem to be this one, as proposed by Craig Newschaffer, director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University: “There could conceivably be some biological mechanism [‘causing’ autism] that might be activated by a range of different complications – people have suggested inflammation, or hormone pathways.” In other words – this is a multifactorial issue.

Craig Newschaffer also told the New York Times that while it’s very important for the public to be aware that there are environmental risk factors in the development of autism, “Pointing a finger at mom is not the endgame of this kind of research. The endgame isn’t going to be about individual decision making, but more about informing policy.”

References:
Ref 1 – Dr Mercola: Are C-Sections Contributing to Autism?
Ref 2 – ‘Association Between Obstetric Mode of Delivery and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Population-Based Sibling Design Study, Eileen A. Curran et al. 
JAMA Psychiatry:2015;72(9):935-942. 

Interested in finding out more? Why not read our blog on the diagnostic criteria for autism?

A little disclaimer – here at Spectra.blog we don’t claim to be experts about Autism Spectrum Conditions / Disorders; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences.