5 Causes of Autism and Risk Factors Associated with It
The cause of Autism is the most common topic that is asked by parents, caregivers or any person in general. Till date, no specific cause or risk factor can be concretely attributed to Autism. However, several studies suggest a variety of factors and symptoms that may result in the development of Autism spectrum disorder in a person. A research was published that specified MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) as the cause of Autism in children. Due to this, several parents avoided or delayed vaccination shots for their children because of the fear of Autism disorder development in the child. However, further researches were conducted that completely ruled out any connection of Autism with vaccinations. In fact, the earlier study was retracted, which cleared out any association of Vaccines with Autism Spectrum disorder development.
Other factors can be attributed to the development of Autism that is Jaundice at the time of birth, fluctuating blood pressure while the child is in the mother’s womb, head injury during birth, diabetes, and infections to the mother during pregnancy, etc. Child behavior specialist and child counseling experts have been suggesting these as the reasons that can be attributed to Autism.
Factors that have been collectively and commonly attributed to the reason of Autism development in a child are genetic factors, environmental factors, and others.
- Genetic risk factor on Autism
Some specific types of Genes can be a reason behind the cause of Autism in a child. So, if both the parents or even one of them, carry those genes, then there is a high probability of them passing on to the child. Other than this, specific genetic changes may arise instantly in the early embryo/egg or sperm, which together form the embryo. It is important to note that these genes do not directly cause ASD. Rather, they increase the risk of development of the disorder.
- Environmental risk factor on Autism
The results of several research show that specific environmental factors may influence, reduce, or increase the risk of Autism in children who’ve been genetically predisposed.
Although intensive research has been carried out to find the exact cause of Autism, clear and concrete results are yet to be achieved. Also, experts have been continuously trying to find out the risk factors that can be closely attributed to ASD. Identifying and avoiding such risks can decrease the probability of the development of Autism in the child. Some of the risk factors that have commonly been shared by researchers across the world are specified below in detail.
Risk Factors Associated with Autism
- Being born in a family that consists of other Autistic members
Although Autism spectrum disorder is not contagious. However, it does run among the family members. Most likely, Twins have higher probabilities of sharing ASD as compared to other relatives within a family. Also, the symptoms and their severity may differ from one twin to another. For instance, there can be a case wherein one of the twins has difficulties in communication and social interaction, while the other twin who too has ASD may not have these challenges but some other challenges.
- Males are at a greater risk of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder
Although specific reasons cannot be attributed to this, however, studies suggest that Males are 4 times more likely of being Autistic as compared to females
- Exposure to some specified drugs after the child has been conceived
Some specific drugs, such as Thalidomide and Valproate, if taken by the mother while the child is in the womb, can raise the probability of development of Autism spectrum disorder in the child. This includes the consumption of alcohol by the mother while she is pregnant.
- Being born to old parents
Several studies have concluded that those who conceive at an older age have a much higher probability of giving birth to a child that has Autism Spectrum Disorder as compared to young parents. For this, too, no specific reasons can be attributed.
- Autism spectrum disorder development can be a result of spontaneous mutation
A lot of times, mutations happen. Several researchers have conducted studies, some of which are still ongoing. Most of the studies reflect that out of those who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ; several have a DNA having mutations. However, a particular cause or pattern cannot be yet attributed to these DNA mutations resulting in Autism.
- Premature birth and/or with low body weight
Several issues can lead to the premature birth of the child. This includes a lot of maternal issues that range from gestational diabetes, injury, to malnutrition. Such issues independently or collectively may lead to various issues and challenges, and among these, one such issue is Autism disorder.
Although some of the risks and causes of Autism cannot be completely analysed and caught before-hand however, there are several factors that can be taken care off and controlled as a precaution. For instance, pregnancies that have less than a year gap or children born to old parents can be some of the factors that can be taken care of in advance. Also, taking prenatal vitamins such as Zinc, Folic Acid, and before the time of conception, at conception, and lastly throughout the pregnancy decreases the risk of the development of Autism in the child.
If a child is diagnosed with Autism or the parent or caregiver sees any symptoms related to the disorder, it is best to visit a child development clinic and consult the child behavior specialist and child counseling experts. Also, only a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist can perform a diagnosis of the disorder. Unfortunately, even after taking all necessary precautions to rule out the risks and causes if a child still has Autism, starting the treatment as early as possible would be the best for them. With the help of treatments and guided therapies, much improvement can be witnessed in the child.
Akshay Sharma is a writer who loves sharing views on health and food topics. He is constantly in search of new articles and posts on topics related to health and its branches.