I had a lady tell me i caused my son's autism?

Tammy - posted on 09/23/2011 ( 26 moms have responded )

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My little boy will be 3 in a few months and he has been diagnosed with mild to moderate autism and at this time he is nonverbal. I was in the store today and my son was having a tantrum and I explained to a lady that my son has autism and she was like saying, did i not pay him much attention when he was a baby? and I'm like, what does that have to do with autism! It's like she was accusing me of CAUSING my son's autism somehow like i didn't show him any affection or something and that was far from the truth. He was my first child and i had a lot more time to spend with him than my daughter, and she doesn't have autism. It's like give me a break! Have any of u moms ever heard of this? and what do u think caused your child's autism? I personally think my child's was caused from him being 8 weeks early and getting a lot more shots than a full term child and having jaundice really bad in the NICU, obviously i don't actually know what caused it, but that is what I believe, and also I was really stressed out during my pregnancy. His father was not there for me and he caused me to stress out a lot.

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Firebird - posted on 09/23/2011

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Was she a really old lady? Because back in the 50's or sometime around then, it was commonly believed that lack of maternal love and attention was the cause of Autism. Moms of Autistic kids were often referred to as "Refrigerator Mothers" the misconception being that kids with Autistic traits had to have been raised by cold and uncaring mothers. Which we know of course is absolute garbage. Back then though, people didn't know what else to blame.

Samantha - posted on 09/25/2011

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Again this is coming from the perspective of a special educator. My child does not have autism, however I have worked with many children and families who do.

As for causes the newest research out is that it is genetic. I have an uncle who has it, so if I ever have a son, he is more likely to have it than not having someone. Its not proven though, just newest research its heredity.

On another note, the dr. in England who made the claim it was caused from vaccines, paid parents to say that and his medical licence was revoked, it is not caused from vaccines.
It can however be caused from an environmental factor. If the precursor is there and the trigger is somehow hit, your child may be more at risk to get it. Not saying just because you have someone in your family with it, means your kids will get it no.

Not paying attention to your kids is an old theory....not the case.

Also usually high functioning autism is aspergers. To be categorized as Autism your IQ must be below average, with autism traits, to be Aspergers your IQ must be average to above average. Why most adults who have asperger's don't know it until adulthood.

User - posted on 09/25/2011

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You are not the jackass whisperer. Autism is caused by atypical development in the brain--not by bad parenting. Good parenting can help remediate it, but that lady in the supermarket is not your best source of parenting advice. Hang in there.

Pam - posted on 09/23/2011

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Ok...first of all consider the source of the comment. Two....what does it really matter what this person thinks? No offense, I'm just saying. So many people are quick to judge when they have no right to do so until they've walked ten miles in your shoes and have all the facts.

It also sounds to me like maybe some research on your part might be a good way to understand autism better. My daughter is autistic, ADHD, and ODD. All of which I am told have nothing to do with what this woman said or the issues you mentioned.

I have spoken with adults who are autistic but high functioning. In fact one of them didn't know they were autistic until they were in their mid 30's. He informed me that from his research, autism usually stems from the father's genetics. As it turns out, he teaches children with exceptionalities and is opening an autism support centre for both children and adults.

From personal experience, don't look at autism as a weakness but a strength. Until I learned about how my daughter perceives stimulation and learns from it...she went from being a C and D student to a straight A student earning school awards.

There is help out there for both you and your son, you just have to be persistant about finding it and applying it, so don't give up hope. Things will get better. Best of luck to you and your son.

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Robyn - posted on 11/15/2013

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Its pathetic in todays world that People still stigmatize and attribute blame I guess that's not discrimination which is illegal in Australia. My personal belief is that Autism is genetic and forms as the brain in its development. My child is 8 Has Autism spectrum disorder(DSM5) and has been loved and cherished since discovery. My brother to my mother who is now 41 has severe Autism and Echolalia, looking back down the path of my mothers side of the family some of her Aunties and uncles back in the UK has similar traits. My boss thinks that I have some traits but don't we all, My older sister is a super achiever and doesn't foster social skills/relationships unless essential and I work with people professionally everyday with Autism and mental health that come from as loving families as mine, so I do not thing the "Refridgerator Mother" really applies. Science and Education will prove false theory's wrong

[deleted account]

When my son was about 3 1/2 he went to a neurologist for the first time. He had speech problems, issues with food, and obsessive behaviors. The doctor asked me if I kept a clean house and I replied yes. He said there you go, there is the problem. You have caused your son to have these problems. Needless to say I was furious. Some doctor spent two minutes with me and blames me? Never went back to him and told my son's speech therapist what the doctor said. No one has a right to tell you that you caused your son's autism! Bet they would not last a day taking care of your son. Don't worry about what others think, think about your son because he needs you. So what if everyone in the store looks at you like you have three heads!

Janet - posted on 11/18/2011

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I feel I have to stick my two cents in here, but be warned, I've been told that I'm too positive...

1) No one really knows the actual cause of autism, but its very likely that its a mix of genetics, vaccines and environmental causes - which sums it up to "We really can't prevent it and it was nothing that we did to our children." Just keep repeating that mantra to yourself when you feel down about why this is happening to your child.

2) The "Refidgerator Mother" theory is common in people who are older, but its still hanging around with everyone else as well. Also, the immediate assumption of a "Rain Man"-like behavior when someone says they have a child with Autism. Why is this? Because no one ever told them different.

For me, I would take the opportunity to educate anyone who questions - whether or not it was a question that offended me or not. Not necessarily a snarky or mean handed type, but just friendly and helpful - Generally they form their "knowledge" in the form of a question. Take that and run with it, because the more people who are aware, the less awful looks we'll get when there is a behavoir outside the home.

I have cards that I give out, with information on Autism AND a link to go and learn more if they choose. A great site with lots of different kinds are here: http://www.squidoo.com/free-printable-au...

Education of yourself, and others, throughout your life with this - in tiny tidbits - can be helpful to you, your community, and ultimately, your child.

Charuj - posted on 11/18/2011

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I think you should just forget about it, she probably doesn't even know what Autism is!! It's not your fault and you probably have enough to deal with then worry about her, old people are like that! I suffer from Epilepsy and my Dr didn't tell me the med's I'm taking can cause my son's Autism. I fould out about it years later. It's his fault, they don't have enough brains to tell you something so important that's going to affect the rest of mine and my son's life. That's the NHS for you.

Melanie - posted on 10/28/2011

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I have "Mommy Cards" that are business cards I print that have snarky tidbits on autism for people who cant keep their mouths shut! Basically it says whats really going on - Autism! and what is their excuse for their behavior? and to "walk a mile in our shoes" the fronts say "I'm not bad - I have Autism" with the autism ribbon and "The kind words of a stranger to a struggling mom will help her, strengthen her, and empower her..."

Sharlene - posted on 10/27/2011

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Hi . My believe is that god gave us these beauiful babies / children for a reason. dont blame yourself at all.

Shelley - posted on 10/26/2011

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ahh "the refrigerator mom" My sons therapist told me about people who think that way its crazy.You did not cause it!

User - posted on 10/26/2011

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When my son was diagnosed at 17 months, I thought I CAUSED IT! I cried all day and all night. I asked his pedi if there was any way I could have, and he said absolutely NOT! It's his/her brain, not parenting! I'm sure lack of parenting might have influence his/her behavior, but it could have not caused it!

Lisa - posted on 10/26/2011

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funny that i have a 13 week old baby girl my son is 2 next month and i can already see a difference in their temprements kyle has never really liked interaction and would scream if u talked to him even at an early age it wasnt till he regressed at 13 months that i realised this wasnt a personality trait! hahaha i get comments all the time as im 23 have 3 children, some people think im a terrible mum who is on benefits and just pops kids out! but im a brill mum ( if i do say so myself!! haha) i work part time and my children other 2 children at the moment are fine! personally because of kyles traits even as a young baby i think babies are born with autism just shows itself at different stages in their lives and affects all kids differently. i wouldnt blame it on ur child bein early my cousin had a baby at 24 weeks pregnant! and her little girl is a little behind but apart from that no other problems :) older people dont seem to get things like we do my nan keeps saying to me how to they catch it!! hahaha bless her! i just laff it off i only get annoyed when his dads side try tell me there is nothing wrong with him! so i pullout his reports from peadiatricin to prove what difficulties he has! just cos they dont live with it and they may see him on a good day does not mean we r lying! lol do not let things bother u and above all do not worry about how or y ur son has autism just deal with the here and now much easier lol

Babet - posted on 10/25/2011

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Before when my son (now 6) who was 2 1/2 years old at the time was seeing a nose, ear, throat specialist. He had not been diagnosed with autism until 3 yrs. We thought he had a hearing issue, turns out all was fine. He says to me "maybe you are not spending enough time and not working enough with your child"! I couldn't believe what he had said to me, I will never go back to that specialist again! Turns out it was Autism, but from time to time you will get people who are not educated and have no idea about what causes Autism.

Beth - posted on 10/03/2011

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u didn't do antyhing wrong autism is hereditary I went rhough alot of that when my son was growning up I just laughed at other peoples reactions and that caught them off guard and made me laugh people are cruel especially when they have no clue what is going on or why u have to ignore the ignorance in other people

[deleted account]

When autism was first categorized in the middle of the 20th century, it was thought by medical professionals to be caused by moms who did not respond properly to their children - they were often called "refrigerator moms." This theory was discredited decades ago - perhaps the 1970s - so I'm guessing this was an older lady?

Marissa - posted on 09/30/2011

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I've got 3 kids on the spectrum, I must have done something really bad to have them according to that lady. IMO, I did something good to have been given my amazing boys.

Eva - posted on 09/30/2011

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Please remember Tammy that there are uneducated morons around us unfortunately. Perhaps she didn't have a chance to read about it, if she reads at all...Do not get upset by this...Some primitive and mean person !

Samantha - posted on 09/29/2011

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@Annie you are right. She did not do anything wrong to cause his autism. It is a horrible thing for anyone to imply that.

Annie - posted on 09/29/2011

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I had a lot of stress when I was pregnant with my son, Jamey (3, also has autism) and I was induced 3 weeks early. I also had gestational diabetes and drank drinks with Aspartame, those are some of the things I think caused/triggered his autism! As for that woman, people are so quick to judge/blame, but you did not cause his autism!

Jenny - posted on 09/28/2011

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It's hard to block out the judgement of others, especially with remarks like that! Don't take it to heart, she is ignorant of autism. Carry on being. Good mum an get empathy from those that know that. Hang in there and know that you are not alone.

Rita - posted on 09/26/2011

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Back in the day, the late 1980's and early 1990's(not so long ago) that was the norm. If you ever get the chance, google "Refirgerator Mom' with reference to Autism. It is the thought of HOW the disorder came about. I have a child from that generation, and it was a brutal time for autism, as I was constantly blamed for my son's violent temper tantrums in the grocery store. I had no choice but to bring him in with me. I cowered to this philosopathy, and always blamed myself. My son reeived a set of vaccines that have caused soooooo many other children brain injury. I attribute that to my son's condition. He is 20 and functions on a K level. Prior to the set of shots, he was completely developmentally on target, at 3 years old.

Firebird - posted on 09/24/2011

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Yea, I figured she was old. Like I said, that was the thinking back then. She simply hasn't come up to date on Autism studies. Don't let it bother you. It's not her fault that doctors were ignorant of Autism when she was young, this is what she was basically taught. She must not have known many Autistic people, so she never saw any reason to keep up with the studies.

Tammy - posted on 09/24/2011

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@ Joanna, yes, she was a really old lady, that's why i didn't cuss her out!

Jane - posted on 09/24/2011

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Ignore her. It doesn't matter what she thinks. You know you spent plenty of time with him. It is just that his brain is not developing the way most people's do. Find out as much as you can about how his brain DOES work, and then help him make the most of his special talents.

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