If Autism is genetic, what are the options?

Let’s assume that autism is partly caused by gene, so what are the ways we can deal with it?
A recent study by Howard Hughes Medical Institute may provide some of the answers. The hunt for gene mutations that contribute to autism has proceeded slowly, largely because autism encompasses a spectrum of diseases. Just as its symptoms vary widely among individuals, so do the genetic mutations that cause them.

The study is interesting as it shows the causes for autistic behaviour could be that certain genes are:

  • missing
  • broken

When autism is caused by a missing gene, the only option may be to replace it using gene therapy. But when the cause is a broken on/off switch, there are other ways in which some of these genes can be activated. For instance, studies have shown that placing many autistic children in enriched learning environments helps them move past the disease. These environments can activate pathways in the brain that bypass the broken on/off switches.

By being able to characterize more about the genetic mutations at work in various forms of autism, we may be able to predict which kids need gene therapy, and which just need some form of training. One of the most exciting areas of investigation is trying to understand what these autism mutations are telling us about how genes are regulated in the context of learning. The more we can understand about the control of these genes, the more we can help a lot of different kids.
If you know which genes are affecting autism and which type they belong to, that raises new possibilities about how to treat some forms of autism. However, one thing you can do for now instead of waiting for the progress of the science in this area and to determine which type of genes are affecting your child, is to continue with the enrichments learning that you are giving your child.

Lovin' Someone With Autism Women'S V-Neck T-Shirt
Lovin’ someone with Autism Women’s V-Neck T-Shirt
A portion of the profits from Autism merchandise are donated to support Autism.

Lovin’ someone with Autism Women’s V-Neck T-Shirt

1 Comment

  1. Jo

    Hi. I just came across your website and am now exploring it. On this page, I quote: "For instance, studies have shown that placing many autistic children in enriched learning environments helps them move past the disease."

    Excuse me, but do allow me to correct the word "disease" here. Autism or ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] is a neurological disorder..  thus a condition and not a disease. The individual with ASD can never be cured [because he/she is not sick in the first place]. That being said, the individual can surely make numerous progress in various areas with the correct therapy especially in the early stage.

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