Many parents see selves in children with disorders

By age 2, it was clear that the boy had a sensibility all his own, affectionate and distant at the same time, often more focused on patterns and objects than the people around him. Full Story
Lin

Valley Springs, CA

#1 Dec 25, 2007
I think I speak for many parents when I say that we are SO TIRED of writers skimming over the million dollar question --WHY is autism spectrum diagnosis skyrocketing?
Not many will argue that there is an obvious genetic factor in many cases, but it hardly holds true for all families.
This article is a thinly veiled attempt at blaming the parents.
Telling parents to "examine themselves" for the problem or look at how they've "passed on the behavior problem" is idiotic and cruel. We all all some degrees of mental health issues and or odd behavior. Not all who have these issues have autistic children. Researchers have also stated that they believe there is a strong environment compontent as well; a catalyst that might work in unision with a genetic predisposition.
How nice that you left that part out -- but that wouldn't have played into the parental blame angle on your article, so I can see why you left it out.
Autism researchers don't even have a clear pictures of the origin or causes of autism. Claiming that a little introspection will bring about answers is the kind of quackery we hoped we'd ditched back in the 60s.
Thank you so much, Chicago Tribune, for bringing back the refrigerator mother theory.
As is we don't have enough guilt already.
Lin -- mother of autistic 5-year-old girl
UNITED AUTISM FOUNDATION

Cherry Hill, NJ

#2 Dec 25, 2007
There is a new non-profit, the United Autism Foundation, www.uniaf.org which is speading its wings nationally through the first ever Autism Art Gallery Expo., for details and submission to this great project call UNIAF or email adam@uniaf.org
Mother and Daughter

United States

#3 Dec 26, 2007
The first post is indicative of how we process information differently. I do not mean that as criticism but as an observation.

While reading the story I realized how so much of it was true in my own personal experience with bi-polar - not autism.

My deceased father may have had a type of bi-polar. With a son who has been diagnosed with a type of bipolar 2 - I now see the behavior pattern in one of my father's brothers from when I was a child. There were four brothers and all of them (and the families) suffered. We were actually the lucky ones in that my father was reliable and dependable. I spoke to my father's cousin who told me the family had a history of "wild" behavior - including some women. At the time I knew nothing about this disease. Now I know - my son, a niece and a nephew all bi-polar. Now that we know about it I hope our grandchildren - if any have it - are diagnosed and treated at an early age - but according to this article it is not easy to diagnose in a child.

I have a daughter-in-law who is ADD (and a successful business person)- my grandson - her child - was diagnosed with ADHD several years ago.

MY best and long-time friend has a son with Fragile X and her daughter's son also has Fragile X - but much more severe than the son.

Unfortunately it IS a parent who is the carrier and I believe we should acknowledge this in our families. There is a multitude of genetic disorders/diseases and the more we know the better we are able to help our children and grandchildren. This is no different than the glaucoma I have inherited nor my blood type/ negative RH factor that most likely killed four of my grandmother's babies. ALL families have something - there is no disgrace with genetic traits. The disgrace would be hiding and ignoring the problem.

One of my friends did not have children because her father died from MS. Had I known about bi-polar I may not have had children. It is a horrible disease that can and does ruin people's lives and impacts entire families.
Simon Says

Downers Grove, IL

#4 Dec 26, 2007
I realize that what I am about to write will not be approved of by the masses but here goes.

Must every quirk of behavior that a child exhibits be considered some form of mental illness that requires medication?

Is the goal of society today to have all people act the same, feel the same, react the same, and think the same?

Why must we always find and make excuses for someone’s behavior?

We are becoming a prescription dependant society. Instead of working to correct what we see as a deficiency, we take a pill.

I am not saying that there are not cases where actual medicine is required. I just believe that we are overmedicating our children and ourselves because it is the easier way out of behavior problems. I believe that we are a lazy society that is always looking for the easy way out of life’s problems. We are always quick to blame others for our struggles. Finally, I believe we have the attention span of two year olds. If someone does something that outrages us just wait a little while and we’ll get over it. If it doesn’t impact us directly we don’t care.
Lin

Valley Springs, CA

#5 Dec 26, 2007
In response to Mother and Daughter, I am not disagreeing that there is a strong genetic component in autism. It's widely accepted in the medical community that there "is" a genetic component.
The part that annoyed me was that the writer conveniently left out the part that also points to an environmental trigger. They also have stated that there is no way autism could have increased at the degree it has WITHOUT an outside trigger. It's not biogically possible to go from 1 in 10,000 cases ten years ago, to 1 in 150 births now.
UC Davis MIND institute, as well as several other prominent autism research facilities have made this statement again and again, but the writer didn't mention it. It's a frightening part of the equation that he just, conveniently, left out.
I am all for people evaluating their own medical histories and piecing together whatever links they can find. Furthermore, I firmly believe that families with what would be considered a "large" number of autistic members (2 or more living relatives) should participate in genetic research to help find the cause of autism.
The biggest problem I had with this article (and this may indeed be may interpretation) is that is had a Dr. Phil/Montel Williams examine-yourself-tough-love "feel" to it that I just found, for lack of a better word, stupid.
Our culture loves to come up with quick and easy answers, and what better (and easier) answer to autism, than to ask already overwhelmed and guilt-ridden parents to try to find the answers in themselves.
I have several friends who also have children with autism. The one thing we all feel on a daily basis, is the sense that some people (not all) are silently blaming us for our child's condition.
I don't know if the author of this article intended it, but what he left out just made the whole thing read like a throw-back to the Refrigerator Mother era of autism.
I wish he had done better research. Autism is a stigmatized and misunderstood condition. To write anything less than something well-rounded and well-researched is simply not responsible.

In response to Simon -- I think you are right in a sense. Children are over-medicated and over-diagnosed. However, I am glad we live in a time where children who would have struggled and been miserable 50 years ago, can actually be diagnosed early and get real help.



reza santorini

Skokie, IL

#6 Dec 26, 2007
It wasn't so long ago that Bruno Bettleheim's word on autism was the final say so. Although the man was wrong, he was a genius and did help get a great school going. There has been progress and diagnosis is more complex than it was. It is called progress...and yes, more than one opinion is needed from more than one medical models.
Maria

Chicago, IL

#7 Dec 26, 2007
Simon Says wrote:
I realize that what I am about to write will not be approved of by the masses but here goes.
Must every quirk of behavior that a child exhibits be considered some form of mental illness that requires medication?
Is the goal of society today to have all people act the same, feel the same, react the same, and think the same?
Why must we always find and make excuses for someone’s behavior?
We are becoming a prescription dependant society. Instead of working to correct what we see as a deficiency, we take a pill.
I am not saying that there are not cases where actual medicine is required. I just believe that we are overmedicating our children and ourselves because it is the easier way out of behavior problems. I believe that we are a lazy society that is always looking for the easy way out of life’s problems. We are always quick to blame others for our struggles. Finally, I believe we have the attention span of two year olds. If someone does something that outrages us just wait a little while and we’ll get over it. If it doesn’t impact us directly we don’t care.
Thank God someone said it. Here here.
HumanSpirit

Fort White, FL

#8 Dec 31, 2007
There is a considerable jump in the diagnoses of Autism since 1992 with one out of 150 children being diagnosed today. When I add Autism along with other mental disorders like Bi-polar disorder, ADD/ADHD and Depression, to which the American Psychiatric Association admits to have "no valid test" for chemical imbalance, that peeks my interest in whats contributing to this so called, in my opinion, made to order diseases of the mind from the backroom laboratories of the pharmaceutical industries.

Of interest to me, is the infant from age 1 week using a Atypical anti-psychotic drug "Reglan" for gastroesophageal reflux disease for spitting up, a normal problem with new Born's.

I would have some seriousness questions as a parent, to a doctor, using this anti-psychotic drug on a infant that could cause a serious health problems that may not appear directly after use for some gastroesophageal reflux disease and as the replacement for the age old bibs, wash cloth and patting on the back of the infant.


Why, also, do doctors prescribe to woman "Reglan" to increase lactating for a nursing child if they know the drug can be passed to a child? Is this drug passed in nursing to a child?

It is noted that prolactin levels are increased with a drug like "Reglan" and that could effect the pituitary gland portion of the brain. Many doctors look for increased prolactin levels for a defective pituitary gland with a possible growth when prolactin levels are increased.

What happens when you give an infant an A Typical psychotic drug?

I don't think the compromising of an infants mind saturated in a psychotic drug for spitting up could have any good outcome when the child is a week or more old. Perhaps Autism happens and it is deliberately overlook! Any commits?

Notes:

GER, or gastroesophageal reflux, is a common condition in infants, which typically resolves between six and twelve months of age. Infants with GER often regurgitate or spit up and have difficulties feeding. An estimated two-thirds of all infants suffer from GER, though the pathological condition called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) affects only one in 300 babies.

GERD in infants can result in regurgitation and other more serious symptoms including poor weight gain, marked irritability, respiratory complications, and other serious symptoms.

When GER or GERD develop, parents are naturally concerned and often bring their child to the doctor on numerous occasions in hopes of finding a solution to this troubling condition. There are certain conservative treatments that are to be used before prescribing medications. Should these treatments prove ineffective, a doctor may prescribe a prokinetic agent like Reglan.

Evidence shows that Reglan can cause Tardive Dyskinesia, a serious and often irreversible movement disorder. Infants who are given Reglan appear to be at an even greater risk for this serious drug side effect.

Without a test for chemical imbalance, how does the pharmaceutical industry know which mental disease may be caused by a anti-psychotic drug given to a infant that may appear later in life?
Public Citizen

Malden, MA

#10 Oct 26, 2011
Well it lays in the vaccines. We just started getting clean vaccines in 2005 time frame. The vaccines were dirty.

Bioport of Michigan

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