Fourteen Amazing Women
A common misconception is that having a diagnosis means something is wrong. What if we considered it to mean something’s unique? Autism is a great example of this. Autism spectrum disorder is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior. The term “spectrum” in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity. Autism spectrum disorder includes conditions that were previously considered separate — autism, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and an unspecified form of pervasive developmental disorder. Some people still use the term “Asperger’s syndrome,” which is generally thought to be at the mild end of autism spectrum disorder.
Autism spectrum disorder has no single known cause. Given the complexity of the disorder, and the fact that symptoms and severity vary, there are probably many causes. Both genetics and environment may play a role. Genetically, there are several different genes that appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. For some children, autism spectrum disorder can be associated with a genetic disorder, such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome. For other children, genetic changes (mutations) may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder. Still other genes may affect brain development or the way that brain cells communicate, or they may determine the severity of symptoms. Some genetic mutations seem to be inherited, while others occur spontaneously.
Environmental factors may be playing a large role in the rise of autistic children. A great read on the effects life today has on our environment is the encyclical paper written by Pope Francis entitled “Laudato Si”. Researchers are currently exploring whether factors such as viral infections, medications or complications during pregnancy, or air pollutants play a role in triggering autism spectrum disorder. One of the greatest controversies in autism spectrum disorder centers on whether a link exists between the disorder and childhood vaccines. Despite extensive research, no reliable study has shown a link between autism spectrum disorder and any vaccines. In fact, the original study that ignited the debate years ago has been retracted due to poor design and questionable research methods.
As mentioned before, having a diagnosis of being autistic does not mean one is handicapped. It often means one is Handicapable. I tried to select just one or two women with such a diagnosis to write about during this month of featuring women who have made a difference and/or overcome struggles. It was too great a task. So instead here is a link to a wonderful article about fourteen such outstanding women. https://www.makers.com/blog/14-amazing-women-autism