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Autism – 1 out of 110 disaster or destiny.

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posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 06:47 PM
I read a report on Autism that states that 1 out of every 110 children today are autistic. There is no consensus on the cause for this overwhelming occurrence. It made me think that maybe these children are not defective as some may think.

If you believe in evolution then the first adaptations that appeared in the changing species would seem abnormal and defective. Yet these changes would have be pivotal in the survival and the adaptation of the species for the world and the environment to come.

Is it possible that so many children are experiencing autism as the first stage of adaptation to survive in our brave new world?

Like the fish suddenly being born with a leg could these children be the beginning of what is to come?

posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 07:12 PM
Actually they found the problem. I can't find the document but there is a G something in vaccines which is part of a twin pair (another G something) in the brain. If a vaccine is given at the wrong time then one G something overpowers the other G something and a brain storm erupts.

posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 07:17 PM
reply to post by Doctor G

That is a theory that many believe but there are just as many that don't believe that vaccines have anything to do with it at all.

posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 07:42 PM
Vaccines have nothing to do with it and there is a mountain of evidence refuting the claim that they do. See:

... and many more.

The reason that autism is diagnosed more and more is because the autism spectrum is being expanded. This means that the criteria for diagnosis are being adapted to be applicable to more and more people. The general trend in the developed world is the identify more and more dysfunctional behavior as symptoms of a disease. More dysfunctional behavior is being recognized, catagorized, classified, and ultimately explained as having some neurobiological basis. Once a dysfunctional behavior can be explained neurobiologically, people have a much easier time calling it a disease. So we are identifying more and more types of behaviors as disease related. Autism is the ADD of this decade. It is easy to classify kids as being on the autism spectrum when their behavior is suboptimal. I think that this fully explains why Autism is being identified with increasing frequency.

As for the evolutionary explanation, all signs - at least on the surface - suggest that Autism is not an advantagous trait. It is most commonly identified with dysfunctional socialization. So, it would seem that it would offer no advantage to its sufferers. In order for the evolutionary explanation to make sense, Autistic people would have to be more likely to pass on their genes than non-autistic people. Intution would suggest that the symptoms of autism would decrease someones chances of passing on their genes, if they would effect those chances at all. This makes me think the evolutonary explanation cannot be correct. I would be interested to hear in what way you propose that Autism could be understood as an adaptive advantage over non-Autistic people.

I used the term "dysfunctional" a lot in the above text to describe the behavior of autistic people. I mean no offence, that is simply the best term to express what I mean; I only mean to describe behavior which is not optimal according to societal norms.

[edit on 2/15/10 by OnceReturned]

posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 07:55 PM
reply to post by OnceReturned

The sudden appearance of a useless limb that may even be a disadvantage in survival would not be an advantage either.

I have no more information then the next person, however, it gives me pause when I see such large numbers of children being diagnosed with this condition as it appears to be a developing trend which would have to lead somewhere.

Maybe I am just hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel.

posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 08:01 PM

Originally posted by SpiritoftheNightSky
The sudden appearance of a useless limb that may even be a disadvantage in survival would not be an advantage either.

Are you referring the fish sprouting legs from the OP? The whole point is that the limbs aren't useless. They let the fish walk on land and access new resources and escape their water-bound pretators. Anything that is truly useless is a disadvantage(it requires calories to sustain without providing any utility to the organism) and would not be propagated by natural selection. Of course fish didn't just sprout legs, but this is a useful metaphore. In order for autism to be the "next step in evolution" it would have to be advantageous in the sense that it allows autistic people to more successfully pass on their genes.

posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 08:14 PM
reply to post by OnceReturned

I am thinking:

1 in in every 110 children born have a condition that is covers a wide spectrum of symptoms and is poorly understood. The number of children being diagnosed is increasing. If even half of those children have children do we have a clue as what to expect from their progeny?

I am not trying to make Autism appear desirable and I am not making light of it. I am not looking for a fight and I am surely not trying to suggest that I have any answers. I had a wild idea and just posted for some added thought. I am truly sorry if I hurt or offended anyone.

posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 08:31 PM
reply to post by SpiritoftheNightSky

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, or a fight. You proposed a theory and I'm interested, so I'm talking to you about it. Here is some stuff about the genetic side of autism:

Is Autism Genetic?

We know for sure that autism runs in families. Siblings of autistic people are more likely to be autistic, and twins are extremely likely to share autistic traits. This means there is almost certainly a genetic component to autism.
But that doesn't necessarily mean that a single gene is reponsible, or that genetics is the only risk factor for autism. In fact, most researchers believe that a combination of several genetic differences, PLUS some form of environmental "insult," may lead to autism.

Many Autisms, Many Genes?

Even more confusing, many researchers believe that different autistic people can trace their autism to different causes. That's because, as a "spectrum disorder," autism can present with such very different symptoms.
Some people with autism have co-existing conditions such as epilepsy, mental illness (bi-polar disorder is fairly common among autistic people), gastrointestinal issues and sleep disorders. Others have no such conditions, but do present with sensory sensitivities. Yet others are hyperactive.

Dr. Lisa Croen, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, has conducted dozens of autism studies. She suggests that people think about autism as "many concentric circles" of symptoms. It's possible that many different genes are implicated in autism -- and that different sets of genes may be implicated for different autistic people.


posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 08:49 PM
My son (11) is autistic, so I've done a lot of reading on the subject. His is genetic for sure - many of my family and my husband's family display Aspergers and autistic traits now that we're aware of what they are. Let's just say that the majority of our families are "highly intelligent and a bit odd" as one neurologist put it. We have a high preponderance of engineers, computer programmers, accountants, scientists and electronics designers in both families. So, I have no opinion yet on vaccine induced autism, but I believe something enviromental is going on in the majority of cases.

My dad was a psychologist who worked with autistic children 30 years ago. Then autism mainly presented in "birth onset" form. The child had observable problems from birth and did not develop language or social skills. 1 in 5 cases were "regressive" in nature, where the child would develop normally until a certain age then start losing acquired language and skills. Today 1 in 5 are birth onset and the majority are regressive. (My son was birth onset)

There have been several studies looking at the result of the broadening definition of autism spectrum disorder and better training for doctors and parents. Most have concluded that around 60% of the increase comes from these non-medical reasons. That leaves ~40% increase that is unexplained.

I don't see this as an evolutionary triumph. Survival would be difficult for these children if they were unassisted. In truth, it is one of my biggest fears and my son is high functioning.

I attended a lecture by a man with autism who teaches music to children with autism. Afterward we had the chance to meet him and ask questions. We asked "what should we expect as our son grows older?". His answer was unexpected. He said that when he was a child autism affected 1 in 10,000 children. Now it's 1 in 165 (at the time). The edge of the wave of autism is about 12 years old (again, in 2007) so we don't know what to expect. It should be an interesting future.

posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 09:33 PM
I think that some of you are misunderstanding what I am saying.

The adaptation process takes place over several generations to millions of years. The process is usually the result of unnoticeable changes in our environment and it can be mutual, symbiotic, parasitic, etc.

It is easy to see that our environment is changing but our society is changing even faster; even the way we communicate. Surely adaptations will be made even if Autism has nothing to no with it.

I know it is a difficult to look at a picture held up to keyhole and recognize the Mona Lisa and I know that not everyone believes is evolution, but what if?

posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 09:44 PM
No, I get what you're saying. I'm reluctant to consider autism an advantageous evolutionary step due to the survivability factor. Most adaptations seem to be "survival of the fittest" or something that helps a species adapt and survive. Most kids I've met with autism would not survive without a nuerotypical helper.

However, austism to a small degree can be a, I hesitate to say it, good thing. Temple Grandin (famous autistic person who designs livestock processors) once wrote "without people with autism there would be no bridges". People with 'tendencies" rather than full blown autism do seem to congregate to certain specialties such as computer programming and engineering.

posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 10:29 PM
reply to post by Mountainmeg

There are symbiotic relationships between some species on our planet that do not appear advantageous, pleasant, logical or even rational. Some things are very hard to wrap our heads around and I guess if it were left up to us we would make a sheer mess of it all because we pay more attention to our sensibilities then we do to practicality.

Again I am not saying that Autism “is” a key to a future adaptation of our species. I am saying that it is not impossible. I think it is the numbers. I can’t see such a large number of children be affected without our world not being affected in kind.

posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 01:33 AM

Originally posted by OnceReturned
The reason that autism is diagnosed more and more is because the autism spectrum is being expanded. This means that the criteria for diagnosis are being adapted to be applicable to more and more people.

To the OP. This quote is critical in answering your question.

EVERYONE lays on the autism spectrum somewhere, however, not everyone is considered autistic.

I have a child, who is so very far along the spectrum, in my class. This child has NO advantage in our world. He has no social skills (i have had to work hard to get him to realise the difference between a smile and frown), he is incapable of the simplest of maths sums, before he was in my class he was incapable of reading and writing (he is 10).

To answer your question from an evolutionary perspective. No! Generally to achieve evolution, something mutates and this is for the better. There is no better in this case. This boy and [generally] everyone else considered autistic (not just on the scale) will struggle through life.

[edit on 16/2/2010 by SilentShadow]

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