Which parent carries the autism genes

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Crystal72, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. Crystal72

    Crystal72 New Member

    I am sure some parents Might ask,where did our kids get the autism genes from?
    I am curious. Even though I have always feel my husband is the carrier cos people from his family have social issues, communication difficulties. But lately my focus seems to turn to me. Could it be me? I am the odd one out from my family that seems to have difficulties communicating feelings too.
    It's something that I have been wanting to find out.
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I dont know about all of the gene studies and how it is transmitted. Some things need both parents some, one etc. But more important to me is why you are concerned about this? Are you feeling guilty? Are you feeling you want to see if you need help with some of the challenges you see in yourself? It is fine to want to know if you are doing family planning and need advice (then please see a genetic counselor, because I dont know if they know if the genes are recessive or dominant or how they are passed on yet).
    It is typical to see things in our kids we that we wonder about. My kid is adopted and my mom says some of the things he does are exactly like I did them and that God paid me back even though I thought I would escape it thru adoption! I was a very picky eater and couldnt eat food with mixed textures. i hated the way our glasses smelled and couldn't drink out of them till I washed them AND if anything, one little speck fell in a drink or food I had to throw it ALL out, couldn't just pick it out and drink the rest. I still get a little on that depending on what it is (if a bug it all goes out!).

    Just wondering why you are thinking about it.
  3. Crystal72

    Crystal72 New Member

    Well, our family therapist who worked with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) did mentioned it seems like the genes comes from my husband and by observing them closely, I kinda agree cos he handles things and react to things just like ou boys. His father was like that and so as his nephew.
    my husband has a very hi tech challenging job that not many people understands but he wouldn't be able to operate simple thing like coffee maker.
    The reason why I asked is there are times I feel it might be me cos our gifted aspie does things the way I do them. We are pretty much isolated antisocial creature. But I never had problem blending in. When I see my aspie, I see myself in him. Stubborn, obstinate and stand as a leader.
    Guilty? Yes. Concerned? Not really probably curious
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I have often wondered this myself. In my case, MY social awkwardness and some of my "obsessions" are because I was brought up feeling very insecure (VERY dominant, critical mother who I also think has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)). My sons are both on the spectrum and I see them act like me sometimes but that is because kids do what they see and mine live with me. What is different with them is that they also have many Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) traits that I don't have or display. At our house, it is a very fine line between nature vs nurture, so to speak.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Awww, Everyone passes things on to their kids good and bad. I honestly dont think you should feel guilty even if it is you. I also dont think you can blame your hubby. I imagine your therapist just mentioned it out of interest and the fact that lots of us notice that in families. Especially can't feel guilty for something that you have no control over. on the other hand, things that my son does like me....tee hee...must totally be my fault! That's ok it happens in all families. What good and amazing things do your kids do like you? It is not so bad to be a "loner" One aspie I had in a class was alone one day and we encouraged her to join a group of little friends and she looked at me and said, "you know, just because I am alone doesn't mean I am lonely!"
    So, if you are feeling guilty or blame, my humble opinion is to try your best to let it go. You have enough on your plate and this is out of your hands. If you are just curious, it is kind of cool to look for some things in us that we see in our kids. Do you have things in yourself that you think you want to work on (we all do, dont we) and you could share the experience with you son? Like join some kind of social activity together and practice skills? I about died this summer when my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son met a new kid at our pool and he stuck his hand right out and shook the kids and said hi to him. Thought I was dreaming. haha. Interesting question for sure, but no guilt...it is a waste of time, smile.
  6. Crystal72

    Crystal72 New Member

    We might have the same mom.my insecurity is bad as well as anxiety. I care too much about how people judge me,I don't like to meet people that's why I am a antisocial creature.
    I collect perfumes and watches and I never use them. Crates and crates of perfumes lol
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son is on the spectrum and I've talked to many experts, some from Mayo Clinic. Although my son is adopted, we still learned a lot.
    Autism is not a female/male thing as far as who carries the gene, nor is it seen to be completely due to heredity. Both parents can contribute genes, one can, and it can skip a generation too. And it can also be caused by drug/alcohol abuse during mother's pregnancy or other birth traumas. Lead ingestion can cause autism. Nobody is 100% sure yet.

    I think the wisest tack to take is to help your child and not worry about the blame game. Neither of you would have deliberately given this to your child. You are blameless, both of you.

    Autism is not a psychiatric problem. It is not caused by bad parenting or lack of nurture, as they once thought years ago. In autism, the person's brain is wired differently so he/she sees the world in a unique way.
  8. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Kiddo and I both had a full DNA testing thing done. Hers is off on one unmapped area of a genome - no one knows what it's linked to or what it means. Mine came back within totally normal limits. However, Kiddo is mini-me; the only difference in diagnosis's is her bi-polar, which is still iffy but the only way her medications are covered.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    A couple different thoughts on this...

    Our kids are affected by more than just our genes. Who we are, how we react to things, how we interact with them... all of this and more has a significant impact on how they develop. So... if you're seeing certain traits, it may be genetic... or it may be environmental.

    Second, developmental disorders are not black-and-white. There is a whole range of things, some of which, in isolation, are considered "normal". Its about the specific traits plus the combination of traits and the severity of the traits... Therefore, ADHD traits can stand alone - or be a part of a number of other dxes. Ditto Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), etc. You might have some "traits" but never be considered for a diagnosis.

    We never wondered in our family where the ADHD came from... definitely both sides! But.. other traits, some are obvious and others are up for grabs, and still others... are probably throwbacks from generations past. Plus... we're seeing stuff that is definitely environmental - including the impact of school. Its certainly an interesting subject... !
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    The jury is still out, but from what I've read and experienced first-hand, I'd say the genes can be transmitted from either parent, with-a good dose of environmental factors thrown in.
    Having met my son's bmom and grandmother, I think they are both Aspies. However, the grandmother is divorced and neither she nor the bmom will say anything in detail about the ex-h, so there is a problem there. Also, the bio dad has many of the same traits difficult child has; excel at something, become a star, come crashing down. Inconsistent, no motivation. His father is an alcoholic and his parents are divorced.
    Sadly, I think difficult child got all the bad genes from both sides.
    Except for his looks. I've often said, if he weren't so cute, I would have killed him by now. :)
  11. keista

    keista New Member

    In my house, it's all me. When dxing son we realized that my Dad is an Aspie too. So, like MWM mentioned, it can skip a generation. I'm NOT on the spectrum but certainly have traits. Question is if those traits are genetic or learned behavior???? No way to tell now. husband has no Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in his family tree. HOWEVER, he was over 40 when son was born and new studies have said that older men run a higher risk of fathering a child on the Spectrum, so that may have been his contribution.
  12. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) wasn't diagnosis'd as a spectrum back then, either. It was pretty much "classic autism" or none at all. People also tended to be pretty closed-mouth on problems back then, and defiance was looked at as intentional, to be pushed out of a kid through hard physical labor or beaten out of them. Makes it difficult to really nail down family history issues.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    As to the curious part, there isn't really a way to know at this time. Chances are he gets some from you, some from dad and some is just him.

    As to the guilt, I had a lot of health problems as a kid and have more as an adult. I remember discussing thinking that maybe I shouldn't have kids because I wouldn't want them to have what I have - I was 15 or 16 and talking with my mom on one of the 90 min rides to the doctor office.

    She asked me if I would have wanted her not to have me if she had known of her health issues at the time she was first pregnant with me. It really made me think. In NO way have I EVER blamed my mom or dad for my health problems except for a few specific things that were caused by my bro's violence to me. the rest of the problems? Luck of the draw. No one gets a guarantee.

    Remembering that talk helped me not feel guilty as much or as often as I otherwise would have when my kids started showing problems.

    just one way to look at it. in my opinion blame never helped any of us, whether we are the parent or the child. Esp when it is NOT somethng that we can actually know came from one side or the other.

    Gender? Well that is a whole other ballgame. I still remember laughing my head off at my former science teacher and football coach father in law when he called and TOLD me that it had BETTER be a girl this time. When I stopped laughing I told him to think back on biology class - I had NO control over that one!!! He sputtered a while, we didn't get on well then and he daughter NOT like his son's much younger wife telling him who to take his "order" too, but stepmil was on the other phone and was laughing as hard as I was.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree.
  15. keista

    keista New Member

    True, but once you are familiar with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), it's pretty easy to spot (or at least suspect). That's why we only saw it in my Dad (and my uncle) once son was being diagnosed. While possible for it to be on husband's side, I highly doubt it. I've met several of his 'resurrected' family members, and it's just not there. Genetically speaking that definitely came from my side. Fortunately 'smarts' did as well.
  16. buddy

    buddy New Member

    oh for sure, we call it Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) radar, smile
  17. ready2run

    ready2run New Member

    chances are you guys could both have it to some degree. i have learned through our kids that i probably have aspergers but i will probably never be diagnosed. i have a diagnosis of anxiety disorder and ptsd which i know now are probably not right. my husband is pretty much a difficult child. argues like a difficult child. hides in the basement, isn't too responsible and gets freaking out alot and can't handle even little changes. i don't think i would have started a relationship with him if i hadn't had some of the aspie trates that make it hard for me to read people. no need to feel guilty. you can't change your genetics.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    My kids reckon I see autism under every rock. I say, with reason - my kids taught me how to recognise it!

    Temple Grandin has said that she believes autistic kids have in large measure, what in small measure would produce genius. People on the spectrum have (apparently) a higher correlation with parents or other family members with high IQ. Trying to measure the IQ of someone on the spectrum is difficult, you often get major underestimates (especially when they're younger). difficult child 3 'failed' his first IQ test. So did difficult child 1. When tested a few years later, they scored much higher. From well below average, to way above. Which shows the shortcomings in the testing procedures.

    When I look at our families, husband's & mine - I see spectrum issues on both sides. I come from a large family, husband's family is small but has a lot of very close relatives (cross cousins - genetically siblings) and when I cast my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) radar over the families, I can pick out the spectrum people on both sides. And it's by no means bad - my father in law was a mechanical genius, albeit with dyslexia. His abilities kept him alive, as well as a lot of other people, during WWII. My own father was also inventive, but his workshop clearly showed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It was not the usual man's shed, it was spotless with every tool lined up on the wall, a shape painted on the wall behind it to indicate the way round it was to be hung as well as where. And this was a workshop in everyday use. I was only allowed to use tools if I put them back exactly as he wanted them.

    Other family members I believe are on the spectrum - a cousin of mine (now deceased) who was a musical genius, a world-renowned classical composer. My eldest sister remembers seeing him sitting at the dining table at the age of 15, writing an orchestral score from music playing somewhere in his head. Line by line, bar by bar. The whole page at a time. Interestingly, in his middle age he began a program of work with autistic kids, reaching them through music.
    Cousins of my kids are IT nerds but prefer to avoid the crowds at family gatherings. One nephew always was mechanically capable to extremes - every Christmas and birthday, all he wanted was a ball of string. Because with a ball of string, he could make anything he ever wanted. High IQ is sporadic but obvious through the family where it occurs and tends to cluster in family groups. So my musical cousin's family, for example, are all very bright - I don't know his kids well but I hear how they're going. His sisters I have known all my life. His parents were amazing, but my uncle died when I was young. My aunt travelled the world studying art and writing audiovisual presentations on everything she saw. She founded an organisation reading books onto tape for visually impaired people.

    I suspect I've got Aspie tendencies, we're sure husband has. We look at our kids and can even see Aspie tendencies in easy child, but she channels it well into her job.

    Autism is not necessarily bad news. We have taught our own kids to see it as a gift. It brings difficulties too, but you can't have everything perfect. High IQ is similar - I grew up fitting in well with adults, but far less so with other kids. At the time we put it down to my being a child in a family of adults. But I read constantly (look up hyperlexia - it has my picture there, along with difficult child 3's) and in reading, I absorbed words and their meanings at a high level. Kids don't like to hang out with someone who sounds like they swallowed a thesaurus. I understood what I read; difficult child 3 did not, not fully. Not well. Reading helped my understanding. difficult child 3 has needed more help than reading alone can provide.

    I explained to my computer nerd autistic son, how to think about himself as an autistic. I said that computers come in different forms. The two main ones he knew at the time - easy child, or Mac. When a document comes off the printer, we can't tell if it was written on a easy child or a Mac. If you wanted to, you could take that document and re-work it, re-typing and re-formatting on whatever computer you have handy. You could make it look identical. But if you did the original on a easy child, and you re-work it on a Mac - t he instructions for each kind of computer are very different. A easy child needs different software, different code, to tell it how to do what the Mac has done with its own software. You can't automatically plug in easy child software to a Mac, or vice versa, unless those computers have already been modified to recognise it and use it.

    And the moral of the story - some people have Mac brains, while others have easy child brains. Not good, not bad. Just needing different operating instructions. What we each have to do, is discover what operating instructions help us function at our optimum.

    difficult child 1 currently works with his hands. His first job working with timber, had him assigned to the finishing booth. He was asked to check and assess the sanding done by senior apprentices - difficult child 1's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) led him to be able to run his hands over a piece of furniture and quickly find the still-rough patches needing more attention; patches that had slipped the notice of others. He enjoys being able to use his gifts to produce a better product.

    So how come my kids are on the spectrum?

    I don't know for sure, I can't say. But I know it's complex, it's not just this person or that who has passed down one gene. It is much more complicated because there are so many good things wrapped up with the autism. Sometimes passing on the good package leads to some more difficult stuff coming across too; but the good stuff is also there and can still be passed on further, with or without difficult stuff. I do not call it bad stuff.

    Genetics is very complex most of the time, and of course there is the environmental factor. However, I am certain difficult child 3 was autistic from birth. I can look back and see the signs from day 1. It was less obvious with the others. With me - I have vivid memories which go back (in fragments only, in the earliest memories) to infancy. This is supposed to be impossible, but I have vividly remembered images coupled with smells, sensations etc which I should not have been able to remember. I also remember remembering them, if you know what I mean. I remember the feel of the table leg in the kitchen as I clung to it while learning to walk, the look of the underside of the kitchen table, the longing to be tall enough to see over the edge to what was on the table. I remember family pets that died when I was a baby. I remember the feel of our dog's fur, the dark colour of him, the smell of him, the feel of his tongue on my face. The ridges inside his ears when I stuck my fingers in there. The difficulty I had trying to get a grip on his tongue. The way the dog just sat there and let me do all this. If he'd been a cat, he would have purred! A bush tick took him when I was two years old.

    A brain like this is one of the gifts you get on the spectrum. But if it's not properly understood or valued, it can be seen as a curse. When all sensory input comes in so vividly, in such detail, you ned to learn how to self-censor. For some kids, difficult child 1 was a classic example, learning this skill is difficult because it requires value judgement and they fear that when they select for one thing, they are automatically selecting against everything else. it's like choosing just one chocolate out of a box of glorious hand-made delicacies - you want a chocolate, but selecting strawberry fudge creme means leaving behind the almond nougat and the violet creams. The grief is almost too much to bear!

    difficult child 1 used to find sensory input would overload him. What would seem to be a quiet classroom for most kids would, for difficult child 1, be unbearably distracting. Kids might be quietly working, but they would be sniffing, scraping chairs occasionally, other chairs creaking, pencils scratching on paper, another kid might cough or clear his throat, the teacher might then interrupt to say, "Don't forget to turn the page over when you finish that side." Outside the wind blows, a bird sings, a branch taps on a window. Someone walking past can be felt as vibration through the floor. A building site down the road can also be felt, as well as heard, even if the sound is very muffled.
    The only way he could cope with this was to mentally clamp down and shut out all input. This also meant he shut out important stuff.

    I remember when he was in his late teens studying for his final high school exams (at home by then) he locked himself into our sleepout and read his books. After a couple of hours he came in to the kitchen. "I need a break," he told me. "I'm concentrating so hard tat the silence in my head is deafening. It's distracting me."

    I'm sorry Crystal, but this is the best answer I can come up with for you. It may be the most complete answer you will ever get - we never can know for sure, and perhaps it doesn't matter. Shouldn't matter.

    I hope this helps.

    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011