Pollution and Autism

Posted by Rebecca Black on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 Under: Autism Parents
A few days ago, a study presented in Environmental Health Perspectives journal (reported here) offered a potential glimpse into a linked between pollution and autism. The study, headed by Dr.Deborah Cory-Slechta of University of Rochester Medcical Center, found changes in the brains of mice exposed as babies to fine air particle pollution. These changes correlate to the brain diferences found in people with autism.

As many of us know, the search for the "cause" of autism is a primary source of hope, and at the same time, frustration for autism parents. For many, the search for cause is moot except as preventative. For most of us, our search is toward developing and understanding new strategies, new diets, new therapies that will improve the quality of life for our children.

As a parent of and advocate for people on the autism spectrum, I find myself often wondering where best to focus the attention and resources slowly being brought to bear on our particular issues. For instance, do we continue to follow the medical model of "disease" or "disorder" for people on the autism spectrum? That is certainly the direction of many reaearchers, whose trials are designed to find a root cause for the prevention of autism. The same approach is often taken in the medical pharmaceutical field where the search for a drug or combination of drugs to ease "symptoms" is paramount.

I'm not necessarily arguing against a medical model. But I'd like to see the national dialogue and conversation move away from blame and finger-pointing as to root causes, and more towards support and recognition of some pretty amazing people who are autistic. I'd like to see more late-diagnosed celebrities owning their Aspergers. And I'd really like to see the body of parents -- who are becoming legion in the universal tendency towards judgment of other parents -- becoming primary movers of more loving policies and attitudes toward children on the autism spectrum.

As the Church, what are we undertaking as an effort to assist in the lives of people on the autism spectrum? How are we acknowledging their special gifts, learning from their many talents, and liting them up to leadership positions within the Church? I would not be part of the Church if I wholly condemned it, but I am deeply saddened by feeling all too often that we are missing the boat in this opportunity to be pointing the way for the secular world.

Like everyone else, I'd like to know a lot more about what caused my child to be the way he is. But eve more than that, I want to know that the world will treasure his unique wit, his loving ways and his amazing intelligence. I'd like to know that his sensitive nature will not be confounded by discrimination.

Above all else, I want to know that the Church values him as much as God does.

In : Autism Parents 

Tags: autism parents pollution christianity