Can Things I Do (Or Not Do) As A Parent Cause Autism In My Child?

Dr. Geschwind answers the question: 'Can My Parenting Cause Autism In My Kid?'

ByDaniel Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Neurogenetics Program & Center for Autism Research, UCLA
October 15, 2008, 10:26 AM

Oct. 23, 2008 -- Question: Can things I do (or not do) as a parent cause autism in my child?

Answer: Autism is a biomedical disorder. We don't know if there are any things that a parent can do or not do, conclusively, will determine whether their child gets autism or not. In fact, there is no association with anything that a parent can do and their child ending up with autism. Most of the evidence right now points to there being a very strong genetic predisposition in most cases of autism, but not all.

However, it is important for parents to realize that early diagnosis of autism is important, because once a child is diagnosed, there is a lot that a parent can do to help their child attain the best possible outcome. There are many sources of early intervention. Early and active intervention and very intensive intervention has been shown to be effective and needs to be implemented as early as possible.