I've mentioned before that I've been on the alert for signs of autism in my kids, since we have multiple family members in various places on the spectrum. I admit when my first baby was a girl, I breathed a sigh of relief because I didn't feel like I had to be "as worried" about autism as I would be if I had a boy. Then, I had my son.
He recently turned 2, and I'm constantly monitoring the poor little dude for signs. I'm much more likely to think a quirk is a neurological issue. Yes, it's paranoid. But it turns out, my fear for my son is actually somewhat justified, since four times as many boys are on the spectrum than girls.
And now they know why.
As a series of articles on the genetics of autism was released, writer and psychotherapist Heather Turgeon pulled out the information that talked about the differences between girls and boys and autism. The study showed that girls were more likely to have as many as 15.5 "genetic hiccups" on average, while boys with autism diagnosed had an average of two.
Turgeon points out that these numbers show, again, the health and developmental weaknesses of boys compared to girls. That boys have always been more vulnerable to health issues, and that girls can take a lot more "damage" before showing signs of a disease. Additionally, the people behind one study pointed out that it's possible the mutations affect the X chromosome. Since girls have two of those X chromosomes, but boys only have the one, hits to that X could prove more damaging to boys.
Certainly there will be more research to come, as we get closer to understanding this befuddling and much-debated neurological condition. In the meantime, more scientific proof that boys are more vulnerable will surely help us all be more aware in our own homes.
What do you think about this new information about boys and autism?
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