Autism fact: Boys are diagnosed with Autism four times more often than girls.
It even showed on our Steps for Autism race team shirts, and we didn’t think about it until we saw the sign on the race route. 9 boys and 3 girls. 25% girl names.
D1’s shirt says “I’m running for Calcifer, Eli, Logan, Gabe, Elle, Annalise, Chase, Angela, Titus, James, Brenden, & MYSELF”. Mine is the same but I have his name on it. I spent 3/4 of that race just trying to keep him in view, because he is so FAST! I finally caught him near the end because he was walking. We finished together.
Discover Magazine states that there is a genetic explanation for why more males than females are diagnosed.
“According to a team of geneticists in the U.S. and Switzerland, it all boils down to what’s called the “female protective model.” This suggests that girls have a higher tolerance for harmful genetic mutations and therefore require a larger number of them than boys to reach the diagnostic threshold of a developmental disorder. With identical genetic mutations, then, a boy could show symptoms of ASD while a girl could show none.”
The fact that most of the families that we know that have kids on the spectrum are boys just continues to back up what the statistics clearly show: Boys are much more frequently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder because more boys than girls develop it. A genetic link between boys and Autism also indicates that the trigger may be hardcoded into their DNA.
That’s not exactly what many people want to believe. They want a source to point a finger at. They want a CAUSE. A reason. Something that can be blamed is something which can be used to prevent what is an unbelievable tragedy for some families. And yet, it’s not that simple.
Genetics may hold some of the answer, a small part, but there are others too.
My son was born with Autism not because he is male, but because his biological mother took an anticonvulsive medication throughout her pregnancy. In just the past three years, valproic acid (trade name Depakote, among others) has been proven to cause a high prevalence of Autism in children who were exposed to it in utero.
It wasn’t the MMR he had at 18 months. He was showing developmental delays long before then. It wasn’t lack of mothering, or attachment because he was my sling baby from the time I brought him home from the hospital when he was 8 days old until his sling split when he was 20 months old. He has been well-loved. His brain was wired this way from before birth.
Vaccinations? Of course, that is possible too, but again– not across the board. If that were the case, every child who had ever had the MMR vaccination would have Autism. I would have Autism. All of my children would have Autism. As would my husband. There are many possible causes, many possible triggers, and there isn’t any one thing that fits all cases.
From finding a cause to finding a cure, and raising awareness to raising Spectrum kids, it takes a village to do this.
Parenting is tough; raising a child on the Autism Spectrum is tougher.
Raising neurotypical kids to accept others who are different from them, don’t play like them (even if they desperately want to), or talk like them is a paramount task indeed.
Raise them to love well. Teach them to love others no matter what. Even when it’s hard.