Because us parents of children need another thing to bludgeon ourselves about, with regards to how it’s entirely our fault as to how our children have Autism…

My job has me online all day – being the manager of a team of software developers, I have time now and again to flip through interesting-looking articles when they appear on my Twitter timeline – so I do get to catch the latest study that points to a cause of Autism.  This week’s latest revelation: it’s my fault (because of my job).


Apparently, according to a new study out of the University of Texas, children who have fathers in technical fields are more likely to have Autism.

This is the latest in the long stream of ideas as to what makes one more likely to have children with Autism.  Prior factors have included: father’s BMI at conception, mother’s BMI at conception, mother’s weight, father’s age, mother’s contraction of the flu during pregnancy…

Do you see a trend here?

Basically, there’s really a hell of uncertainty about what is an indicator of risk for such things… but it’s just more unclear to me that no one has any idea as to what might be a real correlation, and what is just coincidence.  In the interim, these kinds of findings – or, perhaps more accurately, the way the media reports them – are just stirring up far more fear, uncertainty and doubt about what is important to be looking at.

For instance, as one commenter on an article about the UT study mentions… there just might be a lot of undiagnosed men with extremely-high-functioning Autism in technical fields.  Since we all suspect that there is a strong genetic causation, this could probably be a reasonable explanation for the statistical outcome of the research, but shouldn’t be looked at as a “warning sign”.  (Hell, I think most of my single coworkers would be in trouble then…)

Personally, I’d almost rather that research results be kept under wraps until there’s something meaningful or actionable that comes out of them, so there’s not this constant background hum of “here’s today’s reason that Mom/Dad is responsible for their child’s Autism”.  This world – and our lives – could do with a little more peace, quiet and certainty in it.

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