NASET

Authors: National Association of Special Education Teachers

In 1970, only 1 child in 10,000 was diagnosed with autism. Today, according to the CDC, the number is 1 in 59. Expansion of the diagnosis to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the DSM-5 might explain some of the difference in the number of children diagnosed with the disorder. But the widened criteria does not explain such an immense increase. The cause or causes of autism spectrum disorder are still elusive. Currently, there are two camps in the autism world. One camp holds that the cause of autism is genetic. This group says that autism is a genetic condition, something like Down syndrome. However, despite decades of intensive research, no "autism gene" or combination of autism genes has yet been discovered. Nonetheless, this camp holds that autism is a condition that a child will have forever. It can be managed but it cannot be cured. The second camp argues that the causes of autism are mainly environmental, though some genetic factors may play a role. They believe that environmental triggers like pesticides, certain foods, allergens, vaccines, and even stress can trigger an immune reaction in the child's body which impacts the brain and can cause symptoms of autism. Read More

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