Regional/ 2019 World Autism Day

What’s the cause of autism? | Updated: 2019-04-01 14:26

The cause of autism is not yet clear. Epidemiological research has identified many factors that may cause autism. However, none of them is the direct causative factor. One widely recognized factor is the interaction between gene mutation and an undesirable environment; de novo mutation may be the main cause of autism. But the concrete pathogenic factors and mechanisms have not been defined. Research shows that some factors such as senior parents, infection during pregnancy, improper dosing in early pregnancy and contact with chemical substances may increase the risk of autism.

Is autism caused by poor parenting skills?

No. Several decades ago when people did not have enough knowledge about autism, some people held that improper parenting methods, especially of the mother, caused autism. There was a ‘refrigerator mother theory’, which proposed that indifferent nurturing and a lack of maternal warmth may cause the disorder. This theory has been discarded by science. Research indicates that autism is a kind of cerebral developmental disorder, and has nothing to do with the nurturing methods of parents.


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