Are women who were abused as children more likely to have autistic children

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Study: Women Abused As Kids More Likely To Have Children With Autism:

In an effort to bring more education and awareness to the site I found this article from TIME Magazine that states the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry has released a study that says women who were abused as children were more than likely to give birth to Autistic children.

Women who reported physical, emotional, or sexual abuse when they were young were more likely to have a child with autism compared to women who were not abused. The more severely the women were abused, the higher their chances of having a child with autism; compared to women who weren’t abused, those who endured the most serious mistreatment were 60% as likely to have an autistic child.

How? The researchers believe that some of the lifestyle circumstances associated with abuse, such as poor nutrition, could be responsible for some of the association. It’s also possible that abuse causes biological changes in a woman’s immune system, including disruption of the stress response, that could lead to harmful effects on a developing fetus. Studies have shown that autistic children showed abnormal stress responses, and it’s possible that a mother’s altered stress reaction could be passed on to her child. “Maternal inflammation affects the developing brain, and maternal inflammation and immune function have been hypothesized to be causes of autism,” the researchers write.

Now the study does not say that it believes that this is the only cause of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

I’d like to hear from parents of Autistic children and the survivors of abuse that have children about what you think of this study. Does it have any validity or is it just another stab in the dark when it comes to the mystery surrounding Autism? You are more than welcome to leave anonymous comments or e-mail us.

26 Comments

  1. I don’t know anything about autism. But perhaps a child with a slight level of autism born to a stable mother is not diagnosed/symptoms only go to a certain level while a mother who was abused isn’t as stable making it less likely for the child to cope and more likely to be diagnosed and included in such study Perhaps nurture vs nature to a small extent. Not saying that someone abused isn’t stable just that they would be less likely to be stable. Or maybe I should shut up and go to bed :0)

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  2. Unfortunately, I think this is just another “grasping at straws” theory about the root causes of autism. This study does not explain why autism rates are soaring at an alarming rate, since abuse has been prevalent among humans since the beginning of time. Other, more well known studies, link higher autism rates to agricultural areas with denser pesticide use. There is also a pronounced higher rate of autism among the children of US military personnel… (Military administered vaccinations? Chemical exposure?). Processed foods? Vaccinations? Fertility drugs? No one really knows.

    The fact of the matter is, we live in a culture that is quick to blame the mother for developmental disabilities in children, and this study may further perpetuate that thought process. For this reason, I loathe this type of medical study. As far as I’m concerned, the Journal of the American Medical Association should not go public with inconclusive and vague research. How many people participated in this study? Did they all live in a somewhat concentrated area, or was there a demographically diverse sampling of individuals? Was there access to proper medical care? There are way too many variables.

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    • I agree, they have actually admitted that the inability to identify autism a decade or so ago was the reason for the low diagnosis of autism. Now since they can identify it they are scrambling to find what causes it however the methods in which they are doing so are failing miserably.

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  3. I know many people who have autistic children that were not abused. There are also indications of autism resulting from having children too close together that the second born child would be autistic however my oldest son is autistic and his brother is not. They were born close together. Thus I agree with NewEnglandMom, it’s another attempt to grasp at straws. If you focus on a group you will find similarities if you look hard enough, it almost sounds as if they are taking two common things and basing BS studies on it.

    The reality of it is that autism is a neurological disorder, that has something to do with genetics not how a person was treated preconception.

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    • My dad and uncle were born 18 months apart. My dad showed ASD traits but was never tested – they didn’t even know what AS was in the 60s.

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  4. Got this one in an e-mail…

    As a parent of an autistic child, I can say that I have never been abused as a child. While it might be true that some women who were are at risk for having a special needs child, I think it’s just a guess. Autism is one of those mysteries that nobody will have an answer for. Either way, I still love my son and want the best for him.

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  5. Also from e-mail…

    I’m the mom of 3 severely autistic boys and I was not abused as a child. I think they are just taking stabs in the dark about certain things. I am missing genetics and that’s how my boys all ended up autistic. I have a “good” x and a “bad” x for lack of a better explanation and they all got the “bad” x. The missing genetics cause developmental delays/autism/mental retardation. I’m beginning to think it’s more of a genetic thing than people think. I would have never known had I not had genetic testing done. So just some input from a mom with autistic boys, hope it was useful

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  6. I might weigh anchor on this discussion too…My best friend is borderline ASD. An ex boyfriend of mine is full blown ASD. My best friend’s mum had a rough life growing up, she was adopted and her adoptive brother was angry and violent (he was adopted too). Her husband (my bestie’s dad) became addicted to speed which led to the breakdown of their marriage and the loss of their business. My bestie’s brother has anger management issues and ODD.

    My ex’s parents are dairy farmers. I don’t know about his parents’ upbringing but only that they use farming chemicals and that maybe he was exposed to them while in utero. None of his other siblings have ASD.

    While it might not be abuse that could cause ASD, it might be a parent’s chemical exposure – drugs, farm chemicals, industrial, cleaning etc. Just my two bob, though.

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  7. Another one from e-mail…

    My nephew is autistic and my sister who is 10 years younger than me was far from abused,and my best friends son is autistic. They both have 2 children a boy and a girl,one “normal” child and one autistic. I think its just one of those things just like any other medical condition,it just happens.

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  8. I’m not so sure about this one…I was sexually assaulted when I was 4 years old by a neighbour. I have two beautiful non-ASD children. My sister (not abused as she was born after we moved) has a gorgeous boy with ASD. Everyone wants to get to the bottom of autism & either cure it or find a good prevention or embryo test so I think lots of hope is put on strange connections.

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  9. I was severely abused by my biio parents AND disaster (that was an auto type true, but I meantfoster) parents (6 different sets) finally got saved at age of 15. I have 2 children neither of which are autistic. I also don’t believe abusers become abusers. I have been tested by my children and have never even spanked and my husband while doesn’t agree, he respects my wishes n never spanks either. I say this because I hate that”excuse”. I just read an article about a teen mom who sexually abused her 2 month old baby because she wanted to know what it was like being on the other side. I look at my children n wonder how someone could do what happened to me. My daughter often asks what happened to my leg. (i have permanent cigar burns on my legs) and I tell her mommyy got hurt by bad people. I hate excuses fire things. U do things because you want n things happen because it is gods will.

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    • I never got that either…anyone who has experienced abuse should know how horrible it is & therefore be the last person to inflict that on anyone else, much less their own children! When I hear that used as an excuse I always think that this person must be a special kind of monster who deserves a special kind of punishment (more painful).

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  10. Oh goody! More mommy-blaming bullshit, this time at the expense of innocent victims of child abuse! Fuck this society, seriously.

    All of these studies focus on the mother, and very rarely on the father. Way back when Freud was still around, mental retardation was blamed on mothers being too “cold.” So now it’s mothers who have been abused in the past. Uh, sure, okay. Let’s completely ignore genes from both parents that may cause autism in children, because it’s not nearly as fun to blame dads for their children’s problems!

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    • I don’t why they blame the mothers, maybe it’s because they carry the baby in their body for ±9 months? And that anything that happens to the mother during that time can impact on the baby? Or maybe it is more fun to blame mothers than fathers.

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      • You are aware that one study of autistic children states that the mutated gene came from the father, not to mention many hereditary diseases are from the father’s genetic make up as opposed to the mother’s. Biology is interesting, you should look into it rather than assume that mother’s are automatically responsible because they “carried them for 9 months”, remember the father or sperm donor if you wish carried and gave birth to the child first.

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          • I’m just pointing out what Randall’s saying is as ridiculous as that claim. I know the vaccine/autism coincidence is just a coincidence, not a cause and effect thing 🙂

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          • I hate them too, Trench. They say “Oh we’ll let our children build up natural immunity”. Meanwhile the kid’s legs are twisted from polio or they die from measles or diphtheria. Not to mention babies who are too young for shots can catch these horrible diseases from unvaxxed kids.

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          • Aww that’s sweet 🙂 But writing for BB, it’s like being married to everyone here 🙂

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          • I suppose Malevolent April and Mr Aussie will share me with you.

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          • Which was about as ridiculous as your claim which is why it was dripping with sarcasm. When they come up with a valid thesis, I will have more faith until then I mock these theories that people pull out of their ass. In one manner it is almost as if they create these studies to persuade us into changing the way to live and deviate from the norm, That is just my consensus on the subject.

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          • That was my point….They can point fingers all they want and say it’s due to what ever anomaly that they dream up however, it never actually comes up with a valid reason. They all get discredited.

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        • I can somewhat credit this theory, I’m on the spectrum but my half brother and sister (same mum) are about as far off it as two people can get. Also considering the incidence of ASD in males to females (higher in males than females), in children born to parents with ASD (higher incidence in ASD fathers than ASD mothers), and the prevalence of co-morbid disorders commonly recognized as being genetic both in the parents and offspring if could be widely hypothesized that the y chromosome has at least some small part in wether a child is autistic or not.

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