Every day you get to hear something new when it comes to possible causes of autism. The fact that there is so little solid information about it, people tend to float various theories which may leave us wondering. From pesticides, to dog shampoos and even airplane contrails, so many things have been suggested to be the reason for autism. How many of these hold true? Let’s take a look at it in detail and put the myths to rest.
There are certain things that, without any doubt, increase the risk of autism. These include hereditary factors, certain medications taken prenatally, and a few types of spontaneous genetic mutations that occur due to unknown reasons. However, none of the below listed things can lead to autism (as popularly believed):
- Autism is not contagious
Some people prefer to keep their children away from their autistic peers because they wrongly believe that autism is contagious. However, autism is not an infectious disease. It cannot be passed from one person to another through touch. Even if your child is constantly in contact with a child on the autism spectrum, there is no need to worry. Your child might try to copy the mannerisms of an autistic peer, but that does not mean he has become autistic too.
- Your baby will not become autistic if you let him “Cry it Out”
Parents may be worried that their decision to let their baby cry, rather than rushing to comfort him may lead to autism. This is not true. A child’s frustration cannot lead to autism. Depending upon the particular situation, it is possible that excessive tantrums could be related to as-yet-undiagnosed autism. Even infants with autism may be unusually sensitive to light, smell, sounds, or physical sensations. But there is no way that autism can be caused by tantrums or emotions.
- Poor Nutrition does not lead to Autism
Many parents of autistic children have switched to gluten and casein-free diets, and have had good results. This does not mean that wheat or dairy, or even French fries and soda are the cause behind autism. Research indicates that some children with autism have gastrointestinal issues that can cause discomfort, and removing the cause of that discomfort may help improve behavior, attentiveness, and mood. Thus, poor nutrition does not lead to autism.
- Watching TV does not cause autism
Some studies had indicated that watching too much TV lead to increased instances of autism. There is no evidence to support this idea that allowing your child to watch television could possibly cause autism. On the other hand, it might be a good idea to curb screen time in children who have already been diagnosed with autism. And as a rule, make sure you offer limited screen time to children in general and encourage other interactive pursuits.
- Cell Phones do not cause autism
There are several reports floating around which suggest that electromagnetic radiation (ER) created by cell phones and wi-fi networks are behind a rise in autism. This theory probably gained steam because mobile technology and autism increased at about the same rate over a similar period of time. Although some research supports the idea that ER has an impact on the brain, but no credible connection has been made between ER and autism. So parents, relax! Your cell phones are not causing autism.
Parents would do well to know that by far the most significant contributing factor to autism is genetics. In certain cases, autism may be inherited; in others, spontaneous mutations played a role. Where you live, what you eat, or even your parenting style is unlikely to cause autism in your child. Through everything, the most important thing is to let your child be who he is. Shower him with your love and support to help him achieve all that he can in life!