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Environmental factors and link to autism

Updated on June 27, 2010

Environment concerns

Autism and the environment

The last time I heard the statistics of the number of children diagnosed with autism it was indicated at 1 in 110 which is very alarming and great cause for concern. When we were expecting our son we had no idea he would be predisposed to autism. Now that we realize his medical diagnosis and that he is on the autistic spectrum it has been an all consuming effort in trying to address his needs and provide him with the best care we can afford. My wife and I are always working together to assure our son that he will develop and have the same opportunities as his classmates.

I have often wondered what contributed to our son's predisposition to autism and why the number of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum is so high. It is really quite puzzling why an autism diagnosis is becoming far too common today. I believe there are a whole host of factors contributing to autism and I by no means have the expertise or knowledge to identify the cause but I have great concern for my son and I live with autism everyday trying my best to make our son's life more fulfilling and happy. It is frustrating to see our son have so many difficulties socially and no real meaningful friendships. He is quite alone and that makes me very sad because I have many responsibilities and it is not so easy to always be there for my son. I try my best but I need to rely on the school and my wife to help expose him to social situations that will help him grow and interact with others. When I was a kid I just hopped on my bicycle and rode to a friends house but given the times we live in today that is not advised and we can never let our son outside unsupervised. Someone has to be there watching him at every moment. It really is tiring but it is necessity.

I believe there has to be a link between the environment and the rise in autism. With the advent of chemicals we are exposed to daily in our everyday life one can certainly formulate a theory that this can be a cause of autism. Women who are pregnant are always taking great care during their pregnancy and are more aware. They have to be very careful in what they are exposed to as it can have a direct affect on the unborn child's development in the womb.      

I feel the household products we use can have an impact on the rise in autism due to the chemical content. The fish we eat can contribute to the rise with the levels of mercury ingested. The chemicals used in making our lawns look more attractive can be a reason. There are so many possibilities and I feel it is hard to really know the true reason. I have come to realize that it is important to find the cause and equally as important to support our son and help him every day in his development and give him the knowledge and the confidence to live his life the best he can.

With the recent developments in the Gulf with the massive BP oil spill it is very disturbing and very frightening to even try to visualize the impact and the toll it will have on the communities, the waterways, the underwater sea life, the bird and other wildlife and the health of all who are affected by this man made disaster. There are immediate concerns and long term concerns and I believe this disaster will have a major impact for generations to come and there will be many species of animals and sea life that will be affected. I am sick when I see all the birds covered in oil and all the death and destruction of the underwater sea life. It really is a tragedy that we are witnessing and soon will learn that the effects will unfold for decades to come.

No one will truly know what the exact cause of autism is but we all need to work to find a way to help autistic children learn confidence, build upon their strengths and talents and learn proper communication, behavioral and social skills so they can forge a life for themselves and learn to adapt.

Edward D. Iannielli III



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