Autism is a disease you are most likely concerned about; you may have read or heard a good deal of information or misinformation.  At the bottom of this page is a link to a questionnaire that you can take to get an idea whether your child exhibits signs of autism.

What is autism?  Autism is a condition where the child to varying degrees retreats into his or her own world.  The child is shutting the rest of the world out – which is why the condition is called autism, auto meaning self.

What is the cause of autism?  There is currently no good theory that explains autism.  The autistic child seems to get stuck in endless feedback loops in which they engage in rocking, hand wringing and other seemingly self-stimulatory behavior.

What does not cause autism?  Well, so far, vaccines and the timing of their administration has not been shown to cause autism.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t, only that so far no linkage has been demonstrated.

Why do people believe that vaccines cause autism when there is no evidence to support it?  Because the human brain, your brain, has difficulty accepting null values to open questions.  In other words, people want answers, and so their brain will often fill in an answer no matter how preposterous the answer.   Enter the huckster who shows up at autism conferences with his tapes, cds and books to sell; this guy will tell you what you want to hear if he can make a buck.

Does therapy work?  It can help.  Sensory integration therapy, from what I can read, has shown some promise.  

What can be done?  Work to change your life to fit best around the reality of taking care of your autistic child for a long time.  This is something you can control.

What will cure autism?   I doubt that medicines will prove to be the solution because so many of our modern medicines come from herbs and plants, and to date no one in recorded history has produced an herb or plant that has shown consistent and reproducible success in helping autistic kids.  My own gut feeling is that the answer will lie in finding ways to stimulate the child in the right way with the right sequence to “put the train back on the tracks” so to speak.  Perhaps in the future we will be able to isolate nerve tracts in the brain that can be either interrupted or stimulated.

Here is an autism questionnaire.