Skip to main content

What are the Causes of Autism?

What are the Causes of Autism?

One of the first questions that every parent asks when the physician tells them that their child has autism is this: what causes autism?

Unfortunately, there’s not really an answer to this question. There are some thoughts on what could cause autism. First, it is believed that some of the causes are genetic. Medical experts believe that there are several genes that cause autism, but they’ve been unable to find them. It is now believed that some people are born with a predisposition for autism and then, when they have an environmental trigger, the condition develops.

Another thing to note is that this condition is more prevalent in boys than in girls.

There have been some studies that indicate there’s a connection to environmental factors and autism, such as pollution in the air. There are some small towns that have high cases of autism and the one thing those towns have in common is high pollution. This is typically due to a factory within the town that releases lots of chemicals and toxins into the air.

Many people believe that autism is caused by the thimerosal or mercury in vaccinations. This is perhaps due to autism first being diagnosed approximately the same time the vaccines were being given. There has been a good bit of research into this area and at this time, there is no clear evidence suggesting that vaccinating your child will cause them to become autistic. The risks of not being vaccinated are far greater.

There are some studies indicating that children who were diagnosed with autism had high levels of mercury in their system- and the fear was that it was due to the vaccinations. However, most of the vaccines these days do not contain mercury or thimerosal. If there is any thimerosal in a vaccine, it’s a very trace amount.

Two of the primary reasons for high levels of mercury in one’s system are being exposed to industrial emissions and eating a lot of fish. Researchers do believe that there may be a connection between pregnant women being exposed to mercury and the child having autism. Some studies are now testing mercury levels in pregnant women and then testing the baby after birth. Babies that show high levels of mercury will then be monitored for issues later in life.

Scroll to Continue

Another theory indicates that perhaps autism is the result of an underlying health issue. There are certain condition such as Fragile X syndrome and congenital rubella, that can make a child more likely to develop autism. Others believe that it’s due to a metabolic imbalance.

At one time, it was believed that autism was the result of emotional trauma early in life or perhaps even bad parenting. The doctors tried to blame mothers for not providing their children with enough attention and love. Of course, these theories have proven to be untrue.


When a child is diagnosed with autism, one of the first questions a parent asks is what caused it. As you can see, there are many theories out there. However, much more research is needed in order to find a definite answer. At this time, these theories are exactly that- theories. Hopefully someday doctors will begin to understand what causes a child to be autistic and they can work on finding ways to cure and/or prevent it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Related Articles