Hi, I am wondering what peoples views are on whether autism/ASD is hereditary. My daughter, now 18, was diagnosed age 15. Her assessment came as a result of being an inpatient for a severe eating disorder. 6 months later my son was diagnosed at age 19. Neither my husband or myself have been diagnosed or assessed but I can't help wondering how we managed to bring our lovely children up for 15 years without picking up on the ASD. My daughter was always anxious but it appeared to be manageable. Retrospectively it clearly was not manageable and she ended up very ill.
Anyhow, I was wondering if the reason that we hadn't picked up on any ASD traits is because in our house eveybody's behaviors is perfectly typical. When we discussed how they played as children both my husband and me said to the psychologist 'but doesn't everyone play like that?'. In the tasks that they did for the ADOS they gave responses that we thought were typical responses. My husband has always been widely regarded as eccentric but he has been very fortunate in his employment in that everyone loves him for his eccentricity (including me). I myself am extremely introverted and hate social situations, avoiding them at all costs unless absolutely unavoidable. So I was wondering if the reason why both my children have ASD could be because either me or my husband (or both) unknowingly have it, and maybe that is why we haven't picked it up in our children. That is to say in our house ASD is normal and most others walking through our front door are in effect neuro atypical! I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.
Everything (science-based) I've read since starting my journey to diagnosis says 'Yes, ASD is genetic'.
Apparently it's even possible to do a brain scan to confirm ASD.
"Moreover, research at the King’s College Institute of Psychiatry has revealed that a 15-minute magnetic resonance imaging brain scan can identify ASD with 90 per cent accuracy (Wellyn 2012)"
Wylie, Philip. Very Late Diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder): How Seeking a Diagnosis in Adulthood Can Change Your Life (p. 66). Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Kindle Edition.
It is VERY common for adults to get diagnosed with ASD late in life following getting a diagnosis for one or more of their children.
When going through my own assessment my parents kept saying "We didn't spot anything odd..." and yeah, I can definitely see traits in my parents and grandparents now I know what I'm looking for...
Thank you for your replies. I thought as much. I also had an uncle who was diagnosed with schizophrenia back in the 1940's but there wasn't a diagnosis of autism in the 40's and having known him until he died when I was 43 I can say quite confidently that he had many ASD traits and struggled to talk to people. My cousin's grandson is severely impacted.
I don't intend to seek a diagnosis though because I have lived with myself quite happily for 54 years and have at this age accepted the things that old me back are not due to a lack of ability but a lack of/inability to put myself through a ridiculous amount of stress. In short I have been very lucky and am happy with myself now. I just wish I could pass this on to my lovely daughter who is still struggling massively. I also wish my son hadn't sought a diagnosis because it came in his second year at Uni and he now thinks he can't succeed in his chosen field of study because ASD will hold him back. I also think my husband has secretly decided that he has ASD but he also doesn't want to go through assessment. We both work in an Engineering R&D environment and I have read that there is a higher than average proportion of people with ASD work as Engineers and in R&D.
Original Prankster said:When going through my own assessment my parents kept saying "We didn't spot anything odd..." and yeah, I can definitely see traits in my parents and grandparents now I know what I'm looking for...
Exactly what my mum is saying. This is why I think the autism Relative questionnaire is flawed.
1. It relies on a parents interpretation of autism. What they notice as odd, strongly depends if they are "normal", or highly likely that they are autistic as pointed out.
So if ASD if hereditary, how would you expect an ASD parent to know about their child's behavior?
Would a qualified clinical psychologist make a wrong questionnaire to diagnose a person's history? A clinician spends years getting a qualification and learning how to form proper research questions. These questions should contain some rigor. I.e. the answers should either support or disprove a theory. Is this person autistic from birth? But the answer should not be open to interpretation unless that personal interpretation is being tested. I would make an assumption that after years of study, No. After years of training of how to formulate proper scientific questions, would it be possible that these questions are this poor?
Seriously? I have a theory. Those questions are used to identify family members with autism.
For example. if testing for color blindness. Why would you ask a family member who might also be colorblind too? If you ask an unknowing colorblind parent if their son could tell the colour. They might well answers yes. Even though it is clear that both are colorblind.
From the Relative Questionaire
12. Could s/he read appropriately for his/her age?
Diagnosed dyslexic at 20. And read with a stutter in class. And often skipped by the teacher. Mum said yes.
15. Did s/he have friends, rather than just acquaintances? Yes No
Apparently, my mum said I had a lot of friends and girlfriends. When asked how many in 40 years came by and said hello, invited me out and I talked about them. 4. Then she followed up by, "you chose not to have friends."
27. Did s/he make normal eye-contact?
My mother has very long periods of looking away. She thinks this is normal.
28. Did s/he have any unusual and repetitious movements?
My mum is often rubbing her arms and wiggling her legs. Stimming
In fact, the whole Relatives Questionaire form seems like a parent interview. And should not be interpreted as an indication that you are autistic or not. and perhaps this is the point.
I have also heard from people who were diagnosed late with autism, from this forum. About the RQ;
1. They could fill in the form themselves in sufficient detail.
2. The clinician ignored the form and gave a diagnosis on the probability of what it actually was they were seeing.
So I would take what is said on the RQ with a large pinch of salt. And so should a diagnosing clinician. Because it says more about the form filler than the subject.
Lastly, it could really reduce ASD waiting times.