Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Autism Blame From Refrigerator Moms to Stressed Out Moms and Dads

That deep well of autism knowledge, the New York Post, shouts the retro headline in tabloid size letters:  The parental stress behind autism.   Where once cold and distant mothers were blamed for causing their child's autism disorder now the blame is laid at the feet of both parents, stressed out moms and dads.  What would Bernard Rimland say? 

"Parents stressed out from hectic lives and neglected or volatile marriages are putting their kids' health at risk, too. Parental stress may be a major factor in many childhood problems, including even autism and asthma.

That's the conclusion of more than 20 separate studies, including several articles by the National Scientific Council for the Developing Child, a Harvard-based group of researchers from top universities: "The realization that stresses experienced by parents and other caregivers can affect a child's developing brain architecture and chemistry in a way that makes some children more susceptible to stress-related disorders later in life is startling news to most people."

Thank heavens they did the research and now all further autism causation research can be shut down and money saved.  It WAS those darn, evil parents of autistic children all along.  That 'll teach them for asking questions about autism and vaccine safety. 

Serves them right.


Unknown said...

I agree this is a quite absurd theory, like many others out there. I will say that my family's stress has caused me to temporarily distance myself from them, therefore making me seem more autistic-like. It is never easy dealing with the noise of overloaded parents.

M.J. said...

The link in your post "The parental stress behind autism" isn't pointing to the story.

farmwifetwo said...

I get very, very tired of these "questionaire" studies. Yes, parents with autism tend to be more stressed than other parents... but that doesn't make it true.

I've learned to ignore most of these things on any topic... unfortunately, most people believe whatever the media tells them.

Stranded said...

Oh so stress makes you autistic?

Is the new definition of autism just "really stressed out person".

So you are no longer born autistic but become autistic as a result of a bad home situation. I wonder how the neurodiverse movement will feel about this one.

I know people can become more stressed and that makes them behave in strange ways and people with autism are not immune to stress. But how can someone go from being NT to autistic because of just stress.

Half the population of Gaza should be autistic by now. Someone should look in to that.

Maybe they are implying that homes are so stressed it is causing "insititutional autism".

Þorgerður said...

Will Betelheims ghost never be quiet?

walking said...

The funny thing is my daughter became autistic while we were in grad school. Steve and I love being students and that was the lowest amount of stress I've ever had in my life. Three years later, when her brother was born, I was stressed out in my job, my husband was working hard in his job, and we were dealing with Pamela's autism. According to their theory, my son is the one who should be autistic . . . he is neurotypical . . . I still say it's the vaccines for my daughter (not any else's kid) . . . yes, my son is fully vaccinated because his immune system is fine.

jonathan said...

As a former veteran of the Bettelheim era (as were my parents from the parents' end of things) I would like to say this sort of thing is nothing new. Various members of the neurodiversity movement espouse their ideas on their blogs regularly, claiming that the reason for my problems is not due to a neurologic dysfunction but a domineering mother who taught me to hate myself

Adrianna said...

This reminds me of a post on Autism's Gadfly about ND as the new Bettleheim. Instead of refrigerator moms, we have a "refrigerator" society that is cold towards autistics and seeks to "preserve" the dominant NT culture at all costs.

Disorganized, emotionally unstable parents can aggrivate problems that are experiences by autistic children, but with all the support in the world, take away the dysfunction and you are still left with an autistic child that can only be accomodated so much before its ceases to be useful.

It's either a disability or it's not. I don't buy the social model, so I wish they would pick one.

Jenna said...

That is insane... I don't even understand how that can be published... it is completely unprovable, how would a research study even go into proving that? Seriously? I am so annoyed by this..

John Gale said...

Well from all my reading around this topic my conclusion is that no-one really knows what causes autism and, for the moment at least, anyone that claims to have a miracle cure or to have found a single cause for it is either foolish, publicity-hungry, a charlatan or possibly all three. It's probably an incredibly complex interaction between genes, biology and environment but there is still a huge amount of uncertainty around it. In the meantime I would definitely agree with the other comments that the best thing society can do is to accept people who are a bit different and make sure the appropriate help and support is in place for them and their families. But that's a lot harder than finding 'miracle cures' or simplistic causes.
Best Wishes,
John Gale

Anonymous said...

This illustrates two things:

1. Autism is way too borad a category

2. Until we get a realistic etiology, anything - anything! can cause symptoms of autism.Case in point: a person can't speak: is that autism? stroke? too much cheering at a sporting event? throat cancer? nothing to say? stressed parents/home life?

And one more thing: ASD is the Dx du jour. It sells grants and newspapers.

Anonymous said...

This goes to show how the medical community will exploit families to place blame where blame shouldn't be. We have a wonderful marriage, terrific relationship and we do not have stress that caused our childs autism. This is a CROCK of Sh--