There is no one way a child develops autism, though every way is in fact genetic. Even among those of us with Intense World Theory autism, there can be various pathways to the same basic outcome. And as with all things genetic, there are always environmental factors and effect genetic expression. But what you will not find are pure environmental factors.
There is also a lot of confusion about cause and correlation. It turns out there are many things associated with autism, but which are not actual causes. If you want to really understand the fallacy of correlation implying causation, enjoy this graph showing the correlation between increases in autism diagnosis and consumption of organic foods.
Here are five ways your child did not get autism:
- Refrigerator Mom
- Older Dad
- Air Pollution
Believe it or not, there are still people who believe in the Refrigerator Mom theory. There is no parenting style, no matter how bad, which could cause autism. If there is a correlation between “refrigerator” moms and autism, it may be that autistic moms have autistic children. To a neurotypical parent, autistic parenting may appear cold and rational, but quite frankly, cold and rational is better than most forms of parenting out there.
Speaking of correlations, the correlation between older dads and autism is almost certainly due to the same situation: the dad is on the spectrum, and people on the spectrum get married later than neurotypicals, so therefore autistic older dads have autistic children. Daniel is seven, and I am forty-six. I’m obviously an older dad. But being older didn’t result in Daniel being autistic; my being autistic resulted in Daniel being autistic.
Other than one repeatedly falsified study—a study which was subsequently proved to have been mostly made up—no research has shown a single connection between vaccines and autism. Of course, since autism is genetic, and since there is literally nothing in vaccines or resulting from getting vaccines which could possibly cause such a specific mutation spread throughout the body in every cell simultaneously, there is no way vaccines cause autism.
The rise in autism diagnosis has actually correlated with decreases in air pollution, so unless you want to argue that cleaner air causes autism, air pollution has nothing to do with autism.
Another correlation—increases in breast feeding rates have correlated with increases in autism diagnosis. Does this mean that autism rates were high until the wider availability of formula allowed women to stop breastfeeding, after which it dropped, and now it’s on the rise again because of more breastfeeding? Anyone who believes this could probably be convinced that organic foods causes autism, even though all food was organic before the 20th century. But somehow people have been convinced of this.
And while we’re at it, here are 8 more ways your child didn’t get autism.
People love to blame parents, and especially mothers, for why their child is autistic. But remember, unless the claimed cause can result in a mutation that affects brain structure and function, or affect the genes affected by that mutation, it didn’t cause autism.