So a friend sends me this research. You know, how to take this? I just don't know..... I'm trying to not take it personally. Kidding! Here's the gist:
"Earlier studies have shown a higher rate of psychiatric disorders in families of autistic children than in the general population," Daniels said.Back in the day, there was the "refrigerator mother" theory (more here). But it's never been quite established which came first. When you have an autistic child, you find yourself changing your life to make it better for your child. In my own case, my son, even as a baby, could not handle changes in his routine. He would be messed up for days. So, what did I do? I kept him in a rigid routine. It just made life easier. To the outside world though, I looked like an inflexible mom. "Oh, she's just obsessive because it's her first child and he's premature", blah, blah, blah.
The association between a child's autism and mental illness in the parent was strongest with schizophrenia, and was less powerful when the mother suffered from depression or personality disorders. There was little association between autism and parental addiction to alcohol or drugs or some other types of mental illness.
It was not clear if it was significant that having a mother, but not a father, with certain mental illnesses, raised the risk of autism.
In addition, I had a child two years after my first son. My other children don't have autism. And I have seen completely normal moms have three autistic children who all favor their fathers. It seems to me that there are many factors that can contribute to autism. Here are some:
Oh crap, there are too many. So here's a link to a website that lists some (and I by no means endorse or support any theories, treatments, etc.) Here's wikipedia on autism.
This research is an interesting addition to the body of autism theory. Like I've said before, I don't think there is any one cause. Autism is a complicated disorder with many contributing factors. All I do know, is that I hope the researchers press on. Autism impacts so many lives. Children and families struggle every day. We need a cure. Soon.