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Autism caused by parental neglect?

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Matthias

Well-Known Member
I read a book by an expert in childhood trauma. One child suffered early childhood emotional neglect and as he listed the symptoms it caused I kept thinking that's autism. The author then said the difference between early childhood emotional neglect and autism is that autism is believed to be genetic and that autistic people lack a theory of mind which the child he saw didn't lack. Other than not lacking a theory of mind, his symptoms were the same as autism.

Here's the thing. There's no genetic test for autism and lacking a theory of mind isn't part of the DSM-V criteria for autism. That means people neglected by cold, indifferent mothers are going to meet the criteria for autism and get diagnosed with it. Since it's possible to recover from childhood emotional neglect, which would result in a person no longer meeting the criteria for autism, they'll lose their diagnosis and be considered to have recovered from autism.

I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts about this since I recovered from my autism symptoms.

I can think of two possibilities:
1. People who were emotionally neglected are being misdiagnosed with autism since it causes the same symptoms
2. Emotional neglect (whether real or perceived) causes autism
 
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I read a book by an expert in childhood trauma. One child suffered early childhood emotional neglect and as he listed the symptoms it caused I kept thinking that's autism. The author then said the difference between early childhood emotional neglect and autism is that autism is believed to be genetic and that autistic people lack a theory of mind which the child he saw didn't lack. Other than not lacking a theory of mind, his symptoms were the same as autism.

Here's the thing. There's no genetic test for autism and lacking a theory of mind isn't part of the DSM-V criteria for autism. That means people neglected by cold, indifferent mothers are going to meet the criteria for autism and get diagnosed with it. Since it's possible to recover from childhood emotional neglect, which would result in a person no longer meeting the criteria for autism, they'll lose their diagnosis and be considered to have recovered from autism.

I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts about this since I recovered from my autism symptoms.

I can think of two possibilities:
1. People who were emotionally neglected are being misdiagnosed with autism since it causes the same symptoms
2. Emotional neglect (whether real or perceived) causes autism
What are you trying to sell me with this?
 
What's the name of the book, and who is the author?

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce D. Perry

Amazon description:
In this instant classic of developmental psychology, a renowned psychiatrist examines the effect that trauma can have on a child, reveals how PTSD impacts the developing mind, and outlines the path to recovery.
 
What are you trying to sell me with this?

Nothing. Like the boy in the book, I was emotionally neglected my entire childhood, had all the symptoms of autism, and don't believe I ever lacked a theory of mind. However, I was professionally diagnosed with autism although I no longer meet the criteria anymore. Do you think I was misdiagnosed or that parental neglect caused my autism?
 
Nothing. Like the boy in the book, I was emotionally neglected my entire childhood, had all the symptoms of autism, and don't believe I ever lacked a theory of mind. However, I was professionally diagnosed with autism although I no longer meet the criteria anymore. Do you think I was misdiagnosed or that parental neglect caused my autism?
Idk, I'm not a trained psychologist, are you?
 
No. The trained psychologist said I was autistic but that would mean I recovered from autism which many people here said they thought was impossible and that I must have been misdiagnosed.
Due to the subjective nature of an assessment, he could have been wrong.
I actually only know your side of your story, so I'll take leave of your thread and let you build your case.
 
Nothing. Like the boy in the book, I was emotionally neglected my entire childhood, had all the symptoms of autism, and don't believe I ever lacked a theory of mind. However, I was professionally diagnosed with autism although I no longer meet the criteria anymore. Do you think I was misdiagnosed or that parental neglect caused my autism?

I bought this book, and read it three times. The children that were studied in it, as I recall were not diagnosed with autism. They had many behavioural difficulties, but were not considered autistic, horribly traumatized yes. Several did not recover all that well, and many went on to live somewhat normal, everyday lives.

Parental neglect contributes to certain types of behavioural disorders and difficulties, that people can sometimes recover from in adulthood. But it does not cause autism.
 
I bought this book, and read it three times. The children that were studied in it, as I recall were not diagnosed with autism. They had many behavioural difficulties, but were not considered autistic, horribly traumatized yes. Several did not recover all that well, and many went on to live somewhat normal, everyday lives.

Parental neglect contributes to certain types of behavioural disorders and difficulties, that people can sometimes recover from in adulthood. But it does not cause autism.

I would imagine that if autism has a genetic and heritable aspect that it would be difficult to untangle to what extent neglect plays a role vs how much autism's impacts on attachment plays a role in increasing the rate of neglect by parents (not due to malice but just not having time left over) as well as feelings of neglect (even in cases where it might be debatable if it's occurred) by children.
 
I have not read the book, but the reviews from other psych professionals state how the book discusses the developmental disorders that come with such a traumatic upbringing. I could not find any links in my search between autism and developmental disorders stemming from neglect (not to say that they don't exist). There are disorders like PTSD that can have similar symptoms to autism. Perhaps a second opinion from a different psych professional is warranted.

I would be interested in knowing if a brain scan of one of these traumatized individuals is similar to an autistic brain.
 
I bought this book, and read it three times. The children that were studied in it, as I recall were not diagnosed with autism. They had many behavioural difficulties, but were not considered autistic, horribly traumatized yes. Several did not recover all that well, and many went on to live somewhat normal, everyday lives.

Parental neglect contributes to certain types of behavioural disorders and difficulties, that people can sometimes recover from in adulthood. But it does not cause autism.

I said one child had the same symptoms as autism (the boy on death row for murder). Dr. Perry didn't consider him autistic because his autism symptoms were caused by parental neglect and he didn't lack a theory of mind. However, many people who were neglected end up getting diagnosed with autism since the symptoms are the same.
 
I would imagine that if autism has a genetic and heritable aspect that it would be difficult to untangle to what extent neglect plays a role vs how much autism's impacts on attachment plays a role in increasing the rate of neglect by parents (not due to malice but just not having time left over) as well as feelings of neglect (even in cases where it might be debatable if it's occurred) by children.

Certainly it's something to consider, yet if a child is autistic it's likely one or both of the parents are as well. That would assume that it was not so much blatant or even outright neglect, rather it might be poor parenting at a critical time in a child's life.
 
I said one child had the same symptoms as autism (the boy on death row for murder). Dr. Perry didn't consider him autistic because his autism symptoms were caused by parental neglect and he didn't lack a theory of mind.

He had other symptoms that were psychotic in nature and those were the indicators that caused him to murder the young girl.
 
I have not read the book, but the reviews from other psych professionals state how the book discusses the developmental disorders that come with such a traumatic upbringing. I could not find any links in my search between autism and developmental disorders stemming from neglect (not to say that they don't exist). There are disorders like PTSD that can have similar symptoms to autism. Perhaps a second opinion from a different psych professional is warranted.

I would be interested in knowing if a brain scan of one of these traumatized individuals is similar to an autistic brain.

None of the children in the book were diagnosed with autism nor did the author consider any of them to be autistic. The point is that emotional neglect and the PTSD that results from it causes the same symptoms as autism which means some of them will end up being diagnosed with autism.

What that means is that some people on this forum who are correctly diagnosed with autism (according to DSM criteria) may be suffering from early childhood emotional neglect and may be able to recover from it and no longer have symptoms of autism.
 
He had other symptoms that were psychotic in nature and those were the indicators that caused him to murder the young girl.

Half of the school shooters in the US were autistic. Those other symptoms can co-occur with autism. I wonder how many of them were neglected by their parents. I'm guessing most, if not all, of them.
 
Half of the school shooters in the US were autistic. Those other symptoms can co-occur with autism.

I know that autism is bandied about by the media, when school shooters kill. Very often it's difficult to discover if they had in fact been diagnosed with ASD. Adam Lanza, Alexander Bissonnette to name some recent shooters.

It's obvious that they both had ASD, one verified and another assumed. Yet it was not their autism that caused that to happen. They had other difficulties, including neglect and bullying and were somewhat easily influenced by other shooters. Who they seemed to look up to. But there were other psychotic breaks that were unknown by those around them, unfortunately.

And yes they can be co-morbid with autism. But they are not part of autism. They are not connected.
 
For better or worse a genetic test for autism is likely only a matter of time. Over 120 variants/mutations are already associated with autism.
 
Certainly it's something to consider, yet if a child is autistic it's likely one or both of the parents are as well. That would assume that it was not so much blatant or even outright neglect, rather it might be poor parenting at a critical time in a child's life.

Well, additionally with undiagnosed adults they might also be manifesting other mental health issues that are relevant to how well they do, not to mention maladaptive behaviours learned. The stressors of life impacted by poor impulse control and executive function, or the anxiety and delayed initiative that often is adopted as a coping mechanism for poor impulse control; all of these little bits of damage the individual picks up as a result of their experiences that often serve to steer how one's life turns out. I'm thinking of especially in eras where little to no social safety net existed so that the difficulties created by a neurological differences that one couldn't have understood, and then the psychological consequences of dealing with that. Think of how meltdowns or burnout might have impacted one 'back in the day', and the stress of understanding that and having to keep your turds together anyways.

It seems likely that these things are likely to recur over generations almost making nature vs. nurture a chicken vs. egg question. How do you untangle your own developmental environment from that of your parent's circumstances as influenced by their development, which in turn...
 
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