Saturday, December 19, 2009

Autism's Trigger (Another Misnomer)

There are so many things out in the world about autism that are just plain wrong.  If autism is to gain any treatment inroads these wrong things have to be cleared away.  So let's start with something simple - the word trigger as it is used with respect to autism. 

The medical community likes to use the word trigger with the onset of autism.  The implication is that an event happened that innocently caused the autism onset, much like an icicle falling from a tree might trigger an avalanche.  The word is euphomistic and as such, it has magic.  It means that the onset of autism is a fluke of nature.  Whether it is an icicle falling or a man skiing in the wrong place, it was going to happen anyway.  Nothing is really to blame.  Nobody did anything to cause the child to be autistic.  It is a very safe word. 

The truth is that autism hits children like an incoming mortar round.  In some children, like my son, the damage is relatively mild.  (If you could ever call any case of autism mild)  In other children, they are disabled to the point where they can never care for themselves.  What I am implying is not politically correct.  I am implying that there is brain damage.  The word trigger implies a metamorphosis, like a pupae into a butterfly. 

Of course, I understand that there are genes that make it more likely that a child will develop autism.  For me that means that they are more likely to suffer the damage that causes autism.  And so I prefer the word stroke, even though the symptoms of a stroke are not the same as the symptoms of autism.  I prefer it because when the time comes and we understand how autism occurs, we can do something to prevent it. 

1 comment:

  1. If politically correct means not to be truthfull, what use has it to us parents? I think when it is true that the brain of an autist suffers under neurotoxins, then brain damage is only logical.
    Our world and bodies today are full of toxins and not only does they cause autism in us and other children.

    Best wishes!