Boys with autism in puberty especially, are difficult and present many challenges. Boys and autism is different than girls with autism syndrome in a few key ways.
The Autism Society of America defines autism as a developmental disability that usually shows up within a child’s first three years of life. This disorder affects the child’s ability to communicate and interact with other people. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism rates are 1 in every 150 children with 1 in 94 boys being affected with autism.
This means that boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. Research that was published in the May 19, 2009 issue of the journal “Molecular Psychiatry” backs this information and also states that autism may actually be caused by a variation within a specific gene.
What Causes Autism In Boys and Girls
There are a lot of different theories as to what actually causes autism. Some of the most common theories include:
- Some people believe that certain vaccines contribute to autism. However, there is little proof as to why boys would be more affected by these vaccines than girls are. There is also no solid scientific evidence to support this theory. Nevertheless, scientists still continue to study boys with autism.
- The prenatal culture and environment have also been thought of as potential risk factors. However, research hasn’t yet found a link between autism and exposure to pesticides, teratogens, folic acid, fetal testosterone or ultrasounds.
- There are some people within the autism field who question whether certain environmental factors increase the risk of autism. Two of the main items in question are lead and mercury. However, there hasn’t yet been any evidence to support a link between these environmental exposures and autism. One study did discover that while boys and girls are both at risk for autism, environmental influences may protect girls from fully expressing autistic traits. On the other hand, boys do not have that increased sensitivity to environmental expectations.
Why More Boys Are Affected By Autism – Autism In Boys
There is also a theory that more premature babies get autism. This is especially true of premature babies who have a birth weight of 3 pounds or less. Scientists also discovered that there is a link between autism and diet.
Two studies were conducted that discovered that milk and foods that contained gluten could also contribute to autism. Nevertheless, none of this accounts for the gender differences in autism. Now there is a autism risk gene that has been discovered though: CACNA1G. This gene is more common in boys than it is in girls.
However, it isn’t clear why the gene is more prevalent amongst boys. What is known is that according to this gene there is a lack of calcium that contributes to autism. The reason this is known is because this gene is responsible for regulating the flow of calcium in and out of the cells within the human body.
So, whenever there is a calcium imbalance or a lack of calcium, the result is that there will be too much stimulation of the neural connections. This is believed to cause autism and a variety of other developmental problems.
Gene Variants: CAVNA1G
It is believed that this gene really does play a role in causing autism to be more prevalent in boys than it is in girls. Whenever a wider definition is used so as to include other autistic disorders, this rate could actually be as high as 10:1.
According to research this gene is more likely to be present in the DNA of families that have two or more boys with autism but no daughters who have this disorder. In specific, researchers focused upon a certain chromosome within the gene. They examined the more than 1,000 families’ DNA finding that the gene or chromosome had a common variation.
This meant that inheriting the gene could increase a child’s risk of developing autism. However, they are uncertain as to how the gene variant works in order to increase the risk but they do plan to conduct further research in order to find out what exactly changes within the gene in order to cause it to enhance the risk of autism.
In Conclusion To Autism Boys Have
Dealing with the autism in our boys is the most important thing. There are many autism toys for boys, especially color books, crayons, markers, action figures and other toys that keep their imagination going 24/7.
While experts haven’t yet found one specific cause of autism, existing research does tend to support the theory that a lot of different contributing factors, all occurring simultaneously, are what actually causes this disorder. Since the number of children with autism has continued to grow since the 1980s, scientists continue to study the reasons for the increasing number of children who have this disorder.