Autism is a very common disorder. Approximately one in 68 children are on the autism spectrum. However, very little is definitively known about the cause of autism. Autism has a genetic component, but it isn’t entirely clear what exact role genes play in autism. It has a tendency to run in families, and it is more likely for identical twins to both have autism than fraternal twins. While there is a clear genetic link, it is unclear to scientists exactly what genes are involved in autism.
The issue is that when scientists attempt to figure out which genes are linked to autism, there are too many to choose from. Out of 23 chromosomes, 20 may be important for autism. With so many genes potentially linked, it is difficult to narrow down which genes are specific to autism. Generally, scientists compare the genes of a person with a certain disorder to those of a family member without the disorder, then use the differences to understand where the genes have changed. It becomes more and more difficult to accomplish this the more genes that are options. However, scientists are working on systematically identifying these genes, which may open the door up to earlier detection and possibly a cure. However, there is a lot of debate in the community over whether or not a cure is something we should even seek. Though autism has its challenges, children with autism have a lot of gifts as well. As parents with autism, a cure is not our highest priority, but rather, a way to help our children navigate the world, and to create a world where our children are accepted.
At Normal Life Inc., we offer autism resources for parents. For support for your child with autism, visit our site today.