Tag Archives: vaccines

The Discombobulating World of Autism Research

Photo Credits: Creating Brighter Futures _ Autism Research
Photo Credits: Creating Brighter Futures

It is my daily ritual to sift through various autism research, news and blogs articles to be posted on my social media accounts and, I couldn’t help but marvel at the degree of enthusiasm the medical community has placed in unraveling the cause, origins and what-have-you of Autism. Some even make “color” classifications due to the enormity of the whole spectrum. With one neuroimaging after another, truly the dissection level of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) comes incomparable.

Causes of autism have piled up over the years. First, there’s the “coldness” of a mother’s heart smothering the baby’s sensory impulses leading him to have autism all his life. Then comes the genetic factor only to be left for further research due to inconclusive evidence. Environmental elements have also been targeted like pollution, insecticides, GMO, and so on. Others focus pregnancy-related issues like C-section, drinking folate, and other observations. Recently, there’s also the issue of circumcision among male kids with autism.

Who doesn’t know the vaccine-autism controversy that will forever hound communities across the globe? It is a never-ending debate causing unnecessary rifts among advocates and communities. Even top personalities join in the fray to stress a point creating a fissure among the pro and anti vaxxers.

Far more than this, researchers from top universities across nations had continuously put their focus on dissecting the human brain to look for that teeny-weeny speck of difference between a child with autism and that of a so-called neurotypical kid. Recently, neural pathways of children with autism are being monitored under a microscope to help find answers on the why’s and why not of autism.

Yes, each day when I sift through these autism research articles I am becoming more discombobulated with the emerging causes being thrown my way. Sometimes, it feels a little bit crazy for me to laugh until my insides hurt so much from frustrations over these studies which, as always, are deemed “inconclusive” and needs further research – and each research pierces my heart particularly when kids with autism are always placed in a microscope only to be compared to neurotypicals.

I have no beef with all these autism research, studies, surveys, and so on.  To my understanding, there are parents and families out there who are still groping in the dark for answers and, perhaps, by reading through those explorations and investigations, they will find peace and acceptance in their midst.  So, I’m cool with that hence, I will continue to share them on people’s newsfeeds. This is in the hope that somewhere, somehow some families can heave a sigh of relief.

John making awesome apple pies
John making awesome apple pies

As for me, I have long accepted John as he is. He’ll be turning 18 soon and will technically be an adult. Instead of looking for answers that have eluded me for the last 15 years or so, I am more grounded to the belief that there is a much higher reason on why he has autism. Today, my main concern is ensconced on his future, as an adult – a thriving one at that. With this also comes that fervent hope for more services, workshops, and opportunities to open up for adults on the spectrum noting the fact that we, parents, won’t be around forever.

For now, I will allow myself to be discombobulated with all these autism research clippings. Some days, it just felt so great to have a good laugh until you can’t stop tears from flowing in your eyes.

The Evolution of Autism—and Why Acceptance is of Utmost Importance

Long before Autism was named as it is by Leo Kanner, there were endless accounts of children (as well as adults) exhibiting symptoms of the disorder. They used to be tagged as “possessed by the devil” or as children born to “ice-cold” mothers. There was also a time that it was put under schizophrenia’s umbrella until Hans Asperger came along. Asperger’s Syndrome, however, is but the teeniest tip of the autism iceberg. Over the years, the spectrum of autism disorders has evolved far-and-wide leading to variations of medical and technological terms.

If we care to check autism and its symptoms, it is right to assume that it has been the same throughout history. It is only our perception of the disorder as well as the countless researches that have been published made us look at it as “evolving.” From the theory of genetics comes the unending debate on vaccines, environmental factors, vitamin deficiencies, and pregnancy complications as the likely causes of such. Studies on rats, horses, and what-have-we have also been discussed perfunctorily throughout the course of autism’s evolution. Of course, this also leads to numerous treatments and therapies, parents vs. doctors views, educational choices, discipline, and so on, and so forth. With the Internet’s open resource, it seems there is no end on this finger-pointing debacle.

Apart from learning the what-and-why’s of Autism, however, acceptance is the very key to open a door that will encapsulate all these so-called “discoveries.” Like all other disabilities, autism acceptance has a long way to go. With 1 in every 68 kids having the said disorder, an invisible mania has blanketed people across the globe. The fear is understandable knowing that there is no known cure, but can also be debilitating to families who are already living, as what others say, “the nightmare.” Well, we are not. The first few months (at times, years) can prove to be challenging. Like other’s lives, we also receive a lot of blessings and key learning. Pure gratitude and tolerance are just two virtues that autism brings. So is being able to embrace life’s intricacies.

Today, the endless debate on vaccines, therapies, and treatments are not helping either. For everyone to move forward, it is imperative that we accept autism’s full impact on affected people’s lives. Whether high or low functioning, autism cases are growing in numbers. Yes, finding the root cause is noble. For now, however, accepting these individuals as unique persons like atypical ones is more important. Lest you forget, AUTISM is not a disease. These kids and adults who live on the spectrum are different, but no less.