For years now, it has seemed like every time a study came out about the "cause" of autism, it lay blame on mom. Well, how's this for a change? Researchers at the University of Texas decided to look at dads and their affect on kids with autism -- specifically how dad's job is linked to their child's risk of being diagnosed as somewhere on the spectrum.
Got a partner who works in a health care? Married to an engineer or a financial worker?
Then there's an increased chance your child may have autism!
UT Health researchers found dads worked in engineering were twice as likely as dads who work in non-technical fields to have a kid on the autism spectrum. That number increases to four times as likely for dads in finance, and six times as likely if dad is in the health care industry. Mom's job wasn't shown to be linked with the spectrum disorder ... unless she's in a technical field AND Dad is too.
So what does this mean? You should run out and divorce your doctor husband before he gets you pregnant? Tell your engineering boyfriend he's got to find a new gig, maybe as a plumber or an artist?
Of course not!
Correlation, as they always say, doesn't equal causation. There are plenty of engineers who have kids who aren't on the spectrum. There are plenty of writers who have kids who are.
It's not dad's job that is CAUSING his kid to be on the spectrum. So let Dad keep his job! But if you're seeing certain behaviors in your child that you've heard are linked to autism, and you have a partner in one of these fields, well, it might be worth bringing it up to your doctor.
The more information you can supply your doctor, the faster you may get a diagnosis. And, of course, the faster you get a diagnosis, the faster you can get your child the services and therapies they need.
That's what parents really want, in the end, isn't it? Being able to better serve autistic children and adults?
We're glad to see researchers looking more at dad's potential role in autism diagnosis ... and not just because moms bear the brunt a lot but because it's another piece of the puzzle that will help families.
Does this ring true for your family? What does Dad do for a living?
Image via photologue_np/Flickr