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Mon Apr 1, 2013, 11:45 PM


April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day


As some of you know, my elder daughter is afflicted with autism. She was born March 31st, not quite an April Fool for us...so the choice of April 2 is painfully ironic. But any other day of the year would cause similar pain for someone else, I suppose.

There are many theories, but I have empirical evidence that the genetics of too many copies of "logic" genes is the prime reason for the condition. There are some that try to guilt us with "environmental triggers", "diet", "vaccines" and "heavy metal poisoning", but I give them as much credence as that old fraud Bettelheim's "refrigerator mother" theory. If it can be "cured", it wasn't autism.

In meiosis, the genes, by and for which we all exist to serve and mix and propagate, get wild and crazy. They turn each other on and off, add or delete copies, producing the incremental changes that lead to genetic drift, evolution, and birth defects. Sometimes they have help: genetic disruptors like chemicals, radiation, or disease. And sometimes there are social factors: the near genocide of the Ashkenazim, coupled with their desire to intermarry, collected and reinforced a number of genetic traits that make some individuals of that heritage prone to cancer, for example. Ditto the sickle cell anemia.

Another, more recent social factor has been feminism. The freedom granted to girls to study at the peak of their abilities as engineers, lawyers, scientists, and other highly logical endeavors, instead of being shuffled into the ranks of grade school teachers and nurses, or randomly-matched housewives and spouses, also meant that they would meet and most likely marry men of similarly constructed minds and genetics. The lesson here is that you can have too much of a good thing. Humans are not going to evolve into Vulcans by genetic drift... instead, they will produce a generation of children with autism.

The science is still in its formative stages, the cure is non-existent. There is only prevention, by genetic counselling, when a sufficient number of the relevant genes have been identified, on the foreseeable horizon.

While the species needs its logicians and scientists, it treats them with scorn...perhaps because of the shadow of autism that can be detected in the parents of the generation that has the fully-developed syndrome. The autistically afflicted are different in behavior and so many other things that the neurotypical can only, through long-term exposure, exercise of great patience and the gift of bottomless empathy, get a peek into such a differently-organized mind.

So while some may take the Jerry Lewis approach, I will instead take the scientific one: now that you are aware, you must take some preventative action!

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