Does this run in families?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2010
Does this run in families?
6
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 7:49am

I notice some of the members have multiple kids with AS. I was wondering if this runs in families. I have 3 kids. My youngest has AS. I think her older sister might have a touch of OCD. And I see AS symptoms in her dad too.

Laurie

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2008
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 10:13am

There is some tendency for it to run in families, but that doesn't explain the recent explosion in diagnosis, so some other factor must be at play.

In my own family, my mothers generation had no autism in it, my own generation was healthy, but of our children - I have 3 high on the spectrum, my cousin has a significantly autistic daughter, and a second cousin had two boys on the spectrum. It's scary.

The only family link I can think of is that my own father is a bit antisocial, although he doesn't really qualify as ASD, more of just a jerk.

For this reason, some people hesitate to have more children after having one diagnosed. It's not automatic that the next child will be on the spectrum, but there is a higher risk.

Andrea, mom to

Graham
Miles
Anson

Andrea, mom to

Graham
Miles
Anson
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2005
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 12:34pm

I second what the PP said. We didn't have autism in my family (myself, siblings, cousins, etc), but a few of my nieces/nephews are on the high functioning end of the spectrum. To my knowledge, there is no genetic or family component for their autism.

On the other hand, on dh side of the family, his mother probably had AS, dh is an undiagnosed Aspie, and two of my four kids have AS. The two that have AS are genetically miniature versions of their daddy in almost every way (physical appearance, growth patterns, thought processes, high IQ, great memory, food likes/dislikes, etc). There's definitely a family link there. My two kids who are not on the spectrum do not look or act like dh side of the family.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-03-2010
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 8:26pm
I think it does. I have no research to back that up other than the 5 other family members in my husband's family that are just like my son lol.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-15-2005
Tue, 10-05-2010 - 11:43pm

I think that the research favours the idea that most (I mean over 50%) of cases of autism are genetic. I read an article claiming that as more is understood about genetics, the figure will probably climb higher. The remainder of cases of autism may be randomly occurring or may be caused by environmental factors during a woman's pregnancy or in a child's infancy. There is still so much that is not understood about the disorder. 

From a personal perspective, I can say that my son (who has mild autism) is extremely similar to my husband (who I'm certain has Aspergers but has never been diagnosed). I have no doubt that there is a genetic link in our family. We also have 2 younger daughters. My middle child is almost 3 and seems to be developing typically. My youngest is only 2.5 months old so it's too early to tell with her though I'm thrilled that she's already making great eye contact, giving tons of social smiles, vocalizing, meeting milestones, and so on. I've enrolled her in the Infant Siblings research study. Of course autism is less common in girls than in boys so I've wondered if we had another child and it was a boy if he would be affected too. It wouldn't stop me from having another child if we decided we wanted a larger family, but I would be thinking about autism from the start so I could be sure to identify any issues early on and get some good supports and therapies in place immediately. 

I've also wondered about my father-in-law, who is an engineer like my husband (very analytical and logical) and is also very quiet and not very comfortable socially. My husband and I both come from quite small families so our kids are really the only children in the extended family at the moment and we don't have anyone else to compare notes with. 

Zoe

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2010
Wed, 10-06-2010 - 8:27am

I think this is all so interesting and look forward to more studies providing information on this. I wouldnt be surprised at all to find out if there is a genetic link. I think my daughters father shows signs of aspergers too. Such as he does not like change and is aftraid to try new things. So my daughter's aspergers might be genetic too.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2001
Thu, 10-07-2010 - 12:25am

This topic is very much on my mind today. I just returned from an evaluation for my third, and youngest child. My oldest son recieved a diagnosis of autism at age 3, 7 yrs ago. My daughter, age 7, got diagnosed PDD NOS over the summer, and seeing the writing on the wall with this genetics family thing, I decided to take my 2 yr old in. While she did not formally qualify for even PDD, we all saw some red flags and they told me to keep watch.

I drove home feeling very flat. The news was what I expected but it didn't hold the same emotional charge as when my first two were diagnosed. My husband struggled greatly and did not even want me to talk to him about it. He feels completely overwhlemed by the prospect of having three kids on the spectrum. It's as if we are sinking deeper and deeper.

I don't really feel that way. I just feel like my life, raising my kids, is somehow destined to be twice the normal load. But I've already accepted that with my first two, so it doesn't seem that big of a burden to parent my third in the same manner. They are all great kids that are making progress, and I have really come to terms with this being a part of my family. At least today.

I just look at these professionals sitting and evaluating and diagnosing people all day and I kind of wonder what's the point. I mean my two year old has such mild issues that she doesn't qualify for a diagnosis. Great, right? I said she's got many skills and is only missing a few peices of the social puzzle so I'd like to identify them and start working on them now, when she's little, when her brain is still plastic. The doctor said to me, it doesn't always work that way. It's like diagnosing dyslexia at 2. The child isn't developmentally ready to read or write so you can't treat or head off the problem that you know will develop. You can only be prepared. Fabulous. I can sit and wait for my daughter to develop problems and do nothing about it while she's young and malleable? I thought this was a pretty