Heritability of autistic mother to child

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StationEleven
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28 Sep 2016, 7:25 pm

Hi!

I'm an autistic woman. My partner is neurotypical. I am ambivalent about having children. My ambivalence is in part related to heritability of ASD and knowing how challenging that may be. I am not looking for condemnation or support in coming to a decision on this matter. Rather, I am curious to know the experience of those that have sought genetic counselling in considering this decision or who may be able to share such details that the counselor may have noted on its heritability when the mother is autistic and the partner NT.

Thank you,



kraftiekortie
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28 Sep 2016, 7:31 pm

Autism is not heritable in the sense that sickle cell anemia is heritable.

Sometimes, parents with autism have autistic kids---but many times, they don't.

I can understand your ambivalence. But there's definitely no guarantee that your child will be on the Spectrum.

Many autistic parents have children, and succeed quite well in raising them--whether the children are autistic or not.



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28 Sep 2016, 8:28 pm

StationEleven wrote:
Hi!

I'm an autistic woman. My partner is neurotypical. I am ambivalent about having children. My ambivalence is in part related to heritability of ASD and knowing how challenging that may be. I am not looking for condemnation or support in coming to a decision on this matter. Rather, I am curious to know the experience of those that have sought genetic counselling in considering this decision or who may be able to share such details that the counselor may have noted on its heritability when the mother is autistic and the partner NT.

Thank you,

I'm autistic and my son is too. There are challenges but I wouldn't trade him for the world. I think that, in a sense, it furthered the bond between us.



Joe90
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29 Sep 2016, 3:29 am

Most spectrum parents on WP seem to have one or more children that are on the spectrum, as though autism is some sort of contagious disease in the genes. :roll:

So that puts me off having a child, but I do want one. My partner is NT, and I'm on the mild end of the spectrum, and the rest of my family are all NTs so hopefully my baby will have a chance.


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kraftiekortie
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29 Sep 2016, 5:30 am

Even if a child happens to be born on the Spectrum, he/she definitely "has a chance."



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29 Sep 2016, 6:27 am

If the parents are more on the spectrum, the higher the chance the baby will be on the spectrum If they're both Autistic, It's very likely to be Autistic


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QuirkyCookie
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29 Sep 2016, 7:02 am

Both my father and I have Aspergers (he is unaware, but I am aware of his AS stuff, and my own as well). I grew up in a time when diagnosis was not available for anybody (we were just the "shy, oddball, weird kids" in the 1980s). My dad did not have a diagnosis (and still does not, he is 70 years old). But, he still was able to raise me just fine and I have turned fine :)

My mother is NT, and she has raised me just fine too, so, there have been no issues with that.

My spouse is NT and we do not have children at the minute but we are trying for kids. If we ever have children and they are born with anything (AS or whatever), I will welcome them like any other child and love them and treat them just the same, and teach them stuff like my parents did with me.

My grandparents are both NT and they had a child with disability (my aunt has an intellectual difference). So, there you go. There is no saying that NT parents have only NT kids, or that AS parents have only AS kids.

It happens, and it is OK. All you need is understanding of what the issue is, how to live with it in a practical sense (if you need special help devices etc) and then just go on with life :)

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Evam
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29 Sep 2016, 7:10 am

Richard Plomin (genetist) once said that ASD is one of the most heritable conditions. But with all what research has been finding out about epigenetics in the last years ... My guess is that stress during pregnancy and - less - in early babyhood plays a bigger role than "genetics". There are studies to support this: Baron-Cohen e.a. with elevated levels of steroids in the amniotic fluid of women in a huge Danish sample; a Swedisch studies on migrants, with women who migrated during pregnancy having still higher rates of autism than migrants, baby mice whose mothers had been taken away from time to time showed more autistic behavior.

In particular very high-functioning and adjusted people tend to be over-ambitious, dont see their bounderies, have trouble in coming up with adequate strategies to cope with stress, ruminate a lot, and dont see how straining this is for them. This idea would also more or less match one basic idea behind the reasearch on the Broader Phenotype of ASD: that academically successful people might be more prone to get autistic children (including lower functioning ones).

One woman on the spectrum with a child on the spectrum once said: sure, with all the stress I have had during pregnancy, how could this NOT have had an effect on my baby. I have also heard about one study that says that ASD in mothers is more "heritable" than ASD in fathers, which means that it might not depend that much on DNA after all.

I am convinced that people on the spectrum while seeing better the many tiny biologic differences between people and how they aggregate, are much worse than NTs at grasping where these differences approximately come from due to their context blindness. So they tend to overemphasize genetic determinism (in particular if the correspondent anxieties get in) or - if the current psychologic paradigma wants so (and if it is what they are accustomed to focus on and suits their ego defense best) - blame far too much on wrong parenting. One book that challenges the primitive view of heritability and DNA determinism: "The Gene: An Intimate History" by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

As for HFA and motherhood, I found this blog pretty good:
https://musingsofanaspie.com/aspergers-and-motherhood/
"This is a series of posts about being a mom with Asperger’s– a combination of reflections on how Asperger’s affected my parenting experience and advice that I wish someone has given me when I was struggling to make sense of being an unconventional mom. Hopefully some of what I learned the hard way will be useful to other moms in the same situation."



Joe90
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04 Oct 2016, 8:39 am

I have thought up some things as to why I don't want my child to have autism:-

1. My child might lash out at school, due to anxiety, and hitting other children, even though I know he is one of the most kind-hearted kids I've ever known

2. My child might not ever be able to give affection, or want me to give him affection, and might not be able to express his feelings to me

3. Watching my child scream and meltdown because of one minor change in his routine

4. My child behaving like a 2-year-old at the age of 10 in public and getting all those looks and accusations that his behaviour is due to me being a bad parent

5. The meltdowns getting me down, making me feel depressed, and getting me yelling things like "why the f**k can't I have a normal family life?! !!"

6. Watching his NT peers achieve their milestones while my child is delayed or unusually ahead, and worrying what he will and won't achieve and how it will affect his school life

7. Having to keep an eye on my child when in shops, in case he becomes a danger to himself, and having to see him anxious and on the verge of a meltdown because of the crowds and noise

8. My child might not be interested in playing with toys, just stacking things all day, so I will be missing out on buying him lots of wonderful toys at Christmas and birthdays, like dolls and stuff if she's a girl, and many more toys and games I'd love to see my child enjoy

9. When my child gets older, and realises that he's different and is an easy target for bullies, and fails to make friends and be happy

10. When my child reaches puberty, and may become aggressive during meltdowns, and I might feel it's all my fault and that I'm not doing all I can to help him.

I don't want family life to be this way. I want my child to be neurotypical; reaching all his milestones, enjoying getting new toys to play with, having 'normal' meltdowns as a toddler, enjoying cuddles and bedtime stories, only being bothered by big changes not minor changes...
So not saying NT kids make perfection, but there's still a line drawn, otherwise autism wouldn't exist.


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johnnyh
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04 Oct 2016, 8:47 am

My personal opinion is to not have children at all. But if you must, I recommend adoption so that it won't be passed on at the very least. That is all I can say.


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04 Oct 2016, 8:48 am

Joe90 wrote:
I have thought up some things as to why I don't want my child to have autism:-

1. My child might lash out at school, due to anxiety, and hitting other children, even though I know he is one of the most kind-hearted kids I've ever known

2. My child might not ever be able to give affection, or want me to give him affection, and might not express his feelings to me

3. Watching my child scream and meltdown because of one minor change in his routine

4. My child behaving like a 2-year-old at the age of 10 in public and getting all those looks and accusations that his behaviour is due to me being a bad parent

5. The meltdowns getting me down, making me feel depressed, and getting me yelling things like "why the f**k can't I have a normal family life?! ! !"

6. Watching his NT peers achieve their milestones while my child is delayed or unusually ahead, and worrying what he will and won't achieve and how it will affect his school life

7. Having to keep an eye on my child when in shops, in case he becomes a danger to himself, and having to see him anxious and on the verge of a meltdown because of the crowds and noise

8. My child might not be interested in playing with toys, just stacking things all day, so I will be missing out on buying him lots of wonderful toys at Christmas and birthdays, like dolls and stuff if she's a girl, and many more toys and games I'd love to see my child enjoy

9. When my child gets older, and realises that he's different and is an easy target for bullies, and fails to make friends and be happy

10. When my child reaches puberty, and may become aggressive during meltdowns, and I might feel it's all my fault and that I'm not doing all I can to help him.

I don't want family life to be this way. I want my child to be neurotypical; reaching all his milestones, enjoying getting new toys to play with, having 'normal' meltdowns as a toddler, enjoying cuddles and bedtime stories, only being bothered by big changes not minor changes...
So not saying NT kids make perfection, but there's still a line drawn, otherwise autism wouldn't exist.

Adoption would probably be a good thing for you. There is always a chance (as there is for anyone) that your child could have autism or another condition.

I would've loved my child equally whether he had a more debilitating condition than HFA or not.



kraftiekortie
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04 Oct 2016, 8:55 am

I don't think having autism should preclude anybody from having a child.

Every kid goes through difficulties--not just autistic kids.

If a child is severely autistic, it would be a tough go---but, as I read testimonials/case studies, I find that many parents, even of profoundly autistic children, always find a "silver lining." At the very least, the child has taught them to have a broadened perspective on things.



Twilightprincess
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04 Oct 2016, 9:00 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
I don't think having autism should preclude anybody from having a child.

Every kid goes through difficulties--not just autistic kids.

If a child is severely autistic, it would be a tough go---but, as I read testimonials/case studies, I find that many parents, even of profoundly autistic children, always find a "silver lining." At the very least, the child has taught them to have a broadened
perspective on things.

But if she feels as strongly against it as she does, she probably shouldn't have one. Some mothers resent the child if he or she isn't "perfect."



kraftiekortie
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04 Oct 2016, 9:08 am

You're probably right on this.

But this person should realize that no kid is "perfect." No human, really. I like Joe very much, by the way.

Everybody has some sort of "disorder" somewhere, I believe.



Last edited by kraftiekortie on 04 Oct 2016, 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

AnonymouslyAutistic
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04 Oct 2016, 9:14 am

I am Autistic, my mother is more severely affected than me. She married an Aspie and my Sister is more shy and more affected than me as well.

My mother's mother shows signs of Autism and so do 3 of her 4 daughters. "Mental Illness" - such as depression, dyslexia, "mental slowness", and dementia all run in my family.

Technically I am a genius but have the Autism diagnosis because my sensory symptoms can be debilitating. I have chosen not to have children but have no doubt they would be AS, especially with my husband.


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04 Oct 2016, 9:37 am

StationEleven wrote:
Hi!

I'm an autistic woman. My partner is neurotypical. I am ambivalent about having children. My ambivalence is in part related to heritability of ASD and knowing how challenging that may be. I am not looking for condemnation or support in coming to a decision on this matter. Rather, I am curious to know the experience of those that have sought genetic counselling in considering this decision or who may be able to share such details that the counselor may have noted on its heritability when the mother is autistic and the partner NT.

Thank you,


If a genetic counselor is telling you they can predict autism, based on genes, they are taking you for a ride. An exception is one type of autism that also includes other symptoms. I can't remember its name. Doh! Anyways, unless you have this specific syndrome in your family, there is no reputable genetic counseling for it.

http://blog.23andme.com/health-traits/a ... ociations/