Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I was thinking about responsibility and the desire to have more children. Is it irresponsible to have more children if you already have an autistic child? Or is it just crazy? A "friend of mine" and his wife are having this discussion as we speak. So naturally the question of how likely is it that they would have another child on the spectrum arises to the forefront of the discussion. There are some statistics out there, but the problem with these numbers is that they are impacted by the large number of those who practiced stoppage.

To further complicate matters, what if our friends had a girl who appeared to be developmentally typical? Is she in the clear, or could she be a carrier of the autism mutation(s)? Should the parents talk to their daughter as she gets older and advise her that this might be a problem when she starts to want children of her own?

At what point do the emotional, spiritual, and financial drawbacks of possibly having another autistic child tip the decision scale toward stoppage? And what about adoption? Adoption seems like it could fit the bill. But the younger the child, the more likely the chance s/he will have an undiscovered developmental delay. Does this ever end?

A good bit of me just wants to take our ball and go home. We've got it pretty good right now - I've certainly seen those who have it worse. It seems like the understanding husband hat and the conservative pragmatist hat may be mutally exclusive in this one.

Monday, June 27, 2005

So I've been thinking a lot about guilt and autism lately. Who's fault is it? If it's an X-chromosome disorder, does that get me off the hook? Should I care, and more importantly, should I even be asking the question?

When wearing my Dad hat, I find it's easy to try and place the blame elsewhere. It feels good to me to rid myself of guilt. But as I point my finger I remember the addage that those who point have three fingers pointing right back at them. What good is it for either my marriage or our son's well-being to think of ASD in these terms? And so I come back to feeling the question should remain right under the very rock that I overturned to get at it in the first place.

However, switching to my scientist sombrero, I think it's an important and essential question to ask. Determining maternal or paternal responsibility will help determine the mechanism, assuming, as I do, there is a genetic component to ASD.

So I'll be exploring the ins and outs and what-have-yous of both the current state of autism research and life as a parent of a child on the spectrum. If you enjoy this blog, great. If not, enjoy life elsewhere.