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.
I said there were no signs of autism in my parents. However in the assessment report it says my stepdaughter has said my father has quite a few similar traits to me.
Once I started looking for traits or, more often, clusters of traits, I found a lot more evidence within my wider family.
Of course, many of them have a very narrow idea of what autism is, which means they instantly reject the idea. When, however we're looking for difficulties in socialising or interpersonal skills, the conversation loosens up. Likewise when we talk about reclusive behaviours or even terms such as "breakdown" or "bad nerves", which the older generation seem to use more readily.
Overall I find that, since the whole field of autism has developed and changed over the generations and previous generations framed some issues differently, there's actually a language barrier in this area. And it might all change again for future generations. But the underlying issues remain the same.
My father said when I asked him that he could see no signs of autism in me as a child. That being 44-62 years ago it's probable he was thinking of much narrower definitions of it that were around at that time.
Yes, over forty years ago the diagnosis rates were much, much lower too. When i went to school in the 60s/70s I doubt very much whether it was even on their radar at all. I personally don't remember hearing the term "autistic" back then.
Yeah - back in the day, they just bunged all the 'special' or disruptive kids into the remedial class - there was no effort to diagnose or help them, it was all about keeping them away from everyone else.
I only really heard the term autism being used when Rain Man was the big thing.
Never considered I was remotely autistc - they all flapped and rocked - according to tv.
Also, the big thing is it was pre-internet - so information was so much harder to come by so parents had to accept what their gp told them - right or wrong.
Exactly. It didn't cross my mind I might be autistic because, even after I first heard of autism, it seemed like something quite rare that would totally prevent the kind of functioning I saw in my family.
Our difficulties seemed to be more related to having the kind of personality that didn't fit with the mainstream and left us isolated and excluded for much of the time.
I went to primary school in the early 90s, not that long ago. When I first started I became mute and didn't talk (at home I was fine). The school bluntly phoned my mother and she was asked 'what's wrong with your child, did you know he can't talk?'. It upset her at the time but no support was put in place, I was just considered the weird kid who didn't talk at school. They decided to 'fix' me by putting a new child who joined the school (a known trouble maker from his previous school) next to me in every class to 'get me out of my shell'. It completely worked, so much so, my behaviour flipped on it's head. Instead of being the quiet kid who conformed I became loud and naughty and copied my new best friend - I went from one extreme to another. That was the only intervention put in place for me. For the next few years at each parent's evening I was described as a 'sheep'. Of course, that was all their doing and makes me laugh when I look back... Short-sighted idiots...
A dinner lady once slapped me across my face too... I was then made to stand in a room with other teachers and apologise TO HER for my actions. Can you imagine if that happened in 2019!! I'd be rich beyond my wildest dreams.
Yes, my sons both went to primary school in the 90s and both we and the school completely missed their (and our!) autism. With hindsight we feel really shocked at ourselves.
But we raised issues like socialising and all round development at parents evenings and were reassured that everything was fine. It wasn't.
My older son now tells me that there was loads of bullying which was completely ignored by the school (and not reported to us) and that the dinner ladies in particular knew what was going on and did nothing. I'm not surprised he's angry about it all.
Surely more was known in the 90s? I am looking back with incomprehension (although some of that is actually against myself).
Plus, of course, i can't believe it was EVER considered OK to describe someone as a "sheep" or to slap a pupil's face. What on earth!
Just shocking. Regardless of a disabilty bully is not on. I think some people think it's normal. Or will toughen you up. It's actually not okay to watch another kid get hit by a group of kids.
JennyButterfly said:Plus, of course, i can't believe it was EVER considered OK to describe someone as a "sheep" or to slap a pupil's face. What on earth!
It absolutely is not OK and if it were to happen to my children I'd be outraged. But because it happened to me I'm weirdly OK with, I've learnt to deal with a lot, even at that age. I remember it but it didn't scar me, when I think back I have no emotion attached to that memory. If anything it makes me smile, I was standing up for my younger brother at the time.
I remember a lot of bullying at primary school that was simply ignored. It usually only got dealt with when those who were being bullied had enough and hit back. I was bullied too, but again, I have no emotional attachment to those memories. I blanked it out. I don't even know if I was aware at the time I was being bullied.
I wasn't either. I remember a bully giving up because I gave them nothing. Just numb.
I remember a group of people who tried to bully me. They just said stuff and then shoved me a little. I soaked it up until I just went punisher mode and floored all of them which is why I call that experience, people trying to bully me.