I have AS - could my children develop full-blown Autism?

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PatrickThomson
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02 Jun 2013, 9:51 am

Hi,

I was diagnosed with AS as a child about 20 years ago and I'm starting to get to a stage in life now where I could have children of my own. I accept and embrace the chance that my children would likely have mild-moderate AS. However, I am concerned that I might create a life with severe autism, and I would like to avoid inflicting that on someone if I could.

You may say to me now that I should love my unborn or unconceived child unconditionally before I know anything about them or what disability they might have. I agree with that sentiment, which is why I want to understand the chances before I reach the point of deciding to have children - I don't want to create a life I might not have the fortitude to care for.



neilson_wheels
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02 Jun 2013, 10:09 am

Hello, I think you have a very balanced approach to this.
I'm not sure if there are any figures for this, especially considering how recent AS has been a diagnosis.
Have you tried doing a scientific journal search or contacting your national Autism Society?



PatrickThomson
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02 Jun 2013, 11:32 am

Half an hour of googling suggests that because ASD has only been routinely diagnosed for less than a generation, there's only anecdotal evidence of inheritance. There's been literature linking it to genetic factors but no major studies or concrete numbers yet. Perhaps for my children's generation.



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02 Jun 2013, 11:46 am

Technically yes. It's a spectrum, and the same way that people with AS or autism can have close relatives with the BAP, the genes will work in individual ways in different people. There could also be autistic genes somewhere in your partner's family that they are unaware of which could compound the chance.

I am AS, I have one AS daughter and one autistic daughter, although she is "high functioning" (very verbal and intelligent) her traits are more severe than mine, some of them considerably so.

It is widely accepted now that ASCs are highly heritable, contrary to what you found on Google. I can provide links if you like.


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neilson_wheels
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02 Jun 2013, 11:50 am

If you don't mind me asking, is the father of your daughters on the spectrum?



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02 Jun 2013, 11:59 am

No, he's NT.


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naturalplastic
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02 Jun 2013, 12:16 pm

If you were neurotypical, and you married a neurotypical, you could still have children who were full blown low functioning autistics. Most autistics ARE born to NT parents. So why would you be exempt from the possibility?

Are you more likely than the average parent to have autistic kids because you have aspergers? Probably slightly more likely.



daydreamer84
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02 Jun 2013, 12:57 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
If you were neurotypical, and you married a neurotypical, you could still have children who were full blown low functioning autistics. Most autistics ARE born to NT parents. So why would you be exempt from the possibility?

Are you more likely than the average parent to have autistic kids because you have aspergers? Probably slightly more likely.


Your children are probably more likely to have autism of any kind than the average person's children but it;s still a low chance. Hypothetically say there's a 1% chance that an autistic child will be born to a normal couple in the general population - you might have a 2 or 3 or 4% chance. It's still a greatly increased chance, hypothetically (at-least double) but there;s still a 90 something percent chance that you'll not have an autistic child-most likely you still won't.



chlov
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02 Jun 2013, 1:25 pm

My father has many AS traits (but he's not diagnosed with AS).

My older brother has severe autism and I have AS, so I guess it could be possible?



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02 Jun 2013, 1:38 pm

daydreamer84 wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
If you were neurotypical, and you married a neurotypical, you could still have children who were full blown low functioning autistics. Most autistics ARE born to NT parents. So why would you be exempt from the possibility?

Are you more likely than the average parent to have autistic kids because you have aspergers? Probably slightly more likely.


Your children are probably more likely to have autism of any kind than the average person's children but it;s still a low chance. Hypothetically say there's a 1% chance that an autistic child will be born to a normal couple in the general population - you might have a 2 or 3 or 4% chance. It's still a greatly increased chance, hypothetically (at-least double) but there;s still a 90 something percent chance that you'll not have an autistic child-most likely you still won't.

I don't think we should try and put numbers on the heritability of autism. This isn't something we know very much about. We know it isn't certain. We know it isn't 50:50 (because autism isn't caused by a single dominant allele) and we know it isn't a 1/4 chance, but beyond that we don't really know. And that's assuming autism is solely genetic, which it isn't.

If somebody actually has the numbers, then I think they'd be useful.



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02 Jun 2013, 1:57 pm

My girlfriend, who is normal and wanted a baby, did a lot of research on this a couple of years ago. She was very disappointed when she found out that having at least one autistic parent greatly increases the chances of their child being autistic. Another factor is age. The older the parents, the greater the chances of conceiving a child with autism. Because of these two factors, we opted not to have children, though I would've liked to have had one of my own.

I did read one remark about loving your child regardless of their abilities and disabilities. I agree. But my first concern is for the welfare of that child. As tough as it is to make it today, I would want my child to have every advantage possible to compete and have a decent life.



TheSperg
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02 Jun 2013, 2:11 pm

This is one story, so keep in mind it's relative value.

I wasn't verbal until age 6, now 30 and through intense self study I can pass mostly as NT.

I have a three year old son, right now he is non-verbal and apparently severely autistic. However since I didn't communicate until age 6 I have no idea where he could end up.

I was kind of in denial and not wanting to face my past, when it all got brought back.



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02 Jun 2013, 2:15 pm

daydreamer84 wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
If you were neurotypical, and you married a neurotypical, you could still have children who were full blown low functioning autistics. Most autistics ARE born to NT parents. So why would you be exempt from the possibility?

Are you more likely than the average parent to have autistic kids because you have aspergers? Probably slightly more likely.


Your children are probably more likely to have autism of any kind than the average person's children but it;s still a low chance. Hypothetically say there's a 1% chance that an autistic child will be born to a normal couple in the general population - you might have a 2 or 3 or 4% chance. It's still a greatly increased chance, hypothetically (at-least double) but there;s still a 90 something percent chance that you'll not have an autistic child-most likely you still won't.


I don't know where you got your figures from but I would say that is wholly incorrect. If you consider, that (as you yourself said) an autistic child can be born to NT parents, and that many Aspies/auties have a strong likelihood of having a child on the spectrum, then I would say that makes it a lot more probably than the % you state.

I may be totally off-base here, but if you imagine what % of the world population is on the spectrum, and then add to that the % of autistic children born to NT parents, I think it would be a high risk for someone on the spectrum already.

I have been reading that autism is highly heritable because of the studies they have done on twins, and families exist with many members on the spectrum (mine included) and they are known as something like "multiplex" families (if I have that terminology correct). It is far from rare to read about families with many members on the spectrum.

And when you think how many thousands if not millions of undiagnosed Aspies and auties there are because of some countries being 3rd world or behind the times with diagnosing, there are a lot more on the spectrum than any current figures would suggest.


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02 Jun 2013, 4:43 pm

whirlingmind wrote:
daydreamer84 wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
If you were neurotypical, and you married a neurotypical, you could still have children who were full blown low functioning autistics. Most autistics ARE born to NT parents. So why would you be exempt from the possibility?

Are you more likely than the average parent to have autistic kids because you have aspergers? Probably slightly more likely.


Your children are probably more likely to have autism of any kind than the average person's children but it;s still a low chance. Hypothetically say there's a 1% chance that an autistic child will be born to a normal couple in the general population - you might have a 2 or 3 or 4% chance. It's still a greatly increased chance, hypothetically (at-least double) but there;s still a 90 something percent chance that you'll not have an autistic child-most likely you still won't.


I don't know where you got your figures from but I would say that is wholly incorrect. If you consider, that (as you yourself said) an autistic child can be born to NT parents, and that many Aspies/auties have a strong likelihood of having a child on the spectrum, then I would say that makes it a lot more probably than the % you state.

I may be totally off-base here, but if you imagine what % of the world population is on the spectrum, and then add to that the % of autistic children born to NT parents, I think it would be a high risk for someone on the spectrum already.

I have been reading that autism is highly heritable because of the studies they have done on twins, and families exist with many members on the spectrum (mine included) and they are known as something like "multiplex" families (if I have that terminology correct). It is far from rare to read about families with many members on the spectrum.

And when you think how many thousands if not millions of undiagnosed Aspies and auties there are because of some countries being 3rd world or behind the times with diagnosing, there are a lot more on the spectrum than any current figures would suggest.


Well, like I said it was only a guess , what we think it might be based on the current figures of people with ASD in the general population (no more than 2% ) in the highest estimates. I don't think there would be that many more when you add undiagnosed who actually have it. So in my personal opinion the rate in the population is close to what current figures show. There's no point arguing this as it's speculation. Now for the research done on Schizophrenia which is also highly heritable, the % chance with a parent s with Schizophrenia will have a child with Schizophrenia is still low in terms of pure numbers - still under 10%. This I can find a source for if you'd like because I took neurophychology of abnormal development and looked at the heritability of schizophrenia in depth. There's still a greater chance the person will have a normal child than a schizophrenic child even though the disorder is highly heritable because the % of people in the whole population that have it is low.



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02 Jun 2013, 6:21 pm

PatrickThomson wrote:
Hi,

I was diagnosed with AS as a child about 20 years ago and I'm starting to get to a stage in life now where I could have children of my own. I accept and embrace the chance that my children would likely have mild-moderate AS. However, I am concerned that I might create a life with severe autism, and I would like to avoid inflicting that on someone if I could.

You may say to me now that I should love my unborn or unconceived child unconditionally before I know anything about them or what disability they might have. I agree with that sentiment, which is why I want to understand the chances before I reach the point of deciding to have children - I don't want to create a life I might not have the fortitude to care for.
Something I routinely tell people who are worried they may have an autistic child: If you're not ready to have a disabled child, you're not ready for any child at all. I don't mean you have to be totally prepared; just that you have to be willing to learn and adjust and find a way to make a life for a disabled child. This is because any child could be born with a disability, or could become disabled, and if you make the choice to become a parent, that's part of what you're signing up for--the risk that the child could need different care, or more care, than other children, and that you're going to find a way to give them what they need.

Your chances of having an autistic child are higher if you are autistic yourself. But your chances of raising an autistic child properly are probably also higher. It's not that we're particularly good parents; just that we speak the same language as autistic kids and know at least a little what it's like, and at the same time have a lot of experience connecting with people who are different from ourselves, and so can often bridge the gap to a child which is autistic, but expresses it differently.

If you are truly worried that you might not be able to raise a disabled child, it's probably better to wait.


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02 Jun 2013, 6:40 pm

Callista wrote:
PatrickThomson wrote:
Hi,

I was diagnosed with AS as a child about 20 years ago and I'm starting to get to a stage in life now where I could have children of my own. I accept and embrace the chance that my children would likely have mild-moderate AS. However, I am concerned that I might create a life with severe autism, and I would like to avoid inflicting that on someone if I could.

You may say to me now that I should love my unborn or unconceived child unconditionally before I know anything about them or what disability they might have. I agree with that sentiment, which is why I want to understand the chances before I reach the point of deciding to have children - I don't want to create a life I might not have the fortitude to care for.
Something I routinely tell people who are worried they may have an autistic child: If you're not ready to have a disabled child, you're not ready for any child at all. I don't mean you have to be totally prepared; just that you have to be willing to learn and adjust and find a way to make a life for a disabled child. This is because any child could be born with a disability, or could become disabled, and if you make the choice to become a parent, that's part of what you're signing up for--the risk that the child could need different care, or more care, than other children, and that you're going to find a way to give them what they need.

Your chances of having an autistic child are higher if you are autistic yourself. But your chances of raising an autistic child properly are probably also higher.

If you are truly worried that you might not be able to raise a disabled child, it's probably better to wait.


I agree with this too....... fully. I was just saying seaturtleisland is right about population numbers as a whole but you definitely have an increased chance and I think anyone who goes into having a child thinking" I wouldn't be able to handle a child if they have X or I wouldn't want a child if my child had X" shouldn't have a child.