So earlier this week the news was abuzz with the latest link to autism, older dads. Here's the NY Times link to the main story.
And I have joked in the past at how crazy it is all the different things that are linked to autism. I even wrote a humorous blog post about it a few months back that you can read HERE.
So people always assume that I am anti-research and/or against all these studies. I guess by my writings and my reaction to when these stories come out I guess I thought so too.
But yesterday a writer named KJ Dell'Atonia from the NY Times emailed me. She was writing an article about the difference between autism mother's reactions linking things like mom's weight and antidepressant use to autism vs autism dad's reactions to this older dad link. Her theory was that dads don't get bothered as much and she wanted a quote from me for her article.
You can read her article now. It's called "The Clock Ticks For Men As Well". I got the last quote in the article. The final word you could say. Here's what I was quoted as saying about the news linking father's maternal age to autism...
“I’m not bothered by it,” declared another father of an autistic son, also by e-mail, who prefers to be known by his blog name, Autism Daddy. “I think feeling guilty is ridiculous.”
And I love that quote, but I thought you'd like my complete take on this issue because I was truly surprised by some of my answers.
So here's what the NY Times writer asked me in her initial email. She wrote...
- I appreciate the research on causation & links mostly because it will work towards a cure for future generations. It might not help my son, but if they figure out what the links or causes are it may help future parents. And also sometimes the research finds similarities between autism and other neurological disorders (like Parkinson's or cerebral palsy) which may lead to possible medicine advancements for autism.
Do you see a difference in the way you and others feel about this research and the way mothers react to similar links between, say, antidepressant use or obesity?
- Many people, especially moms, get offended or frustrated with research like this because it makes them feel guilty about something they may have done during pregnancy for example. Bu if you were on antidepressants or obese while pregnant and had an autistic kid that's probably not the sole cause. No one is saying that. They are saying that your kid probably already had a predisposition to being autistic and obesity, antidepressants, or any number of other things or a combo of all those things came together to unfortunately make your kid autistic.