Commonly Asked Questions

What causes Autism? 

The truth is that currently there is no definite answer; however, many theories do exist.  There is definitely a genetic component, but more recent research illustrates that brain abnormalities and environmental toxins may play a larger role than previously thought.

  1. Genetic basis – The basis of this theory has been directly linked to the following conclusions:
    • Unequal sex distribution, with 4:1 male predominance
    • Increased prevalence in siblings of patients with ASD compared to the general population
    • High concordance rate among monozygotic twins (36 to 96 percent )
  2. Brain abnormalities play an important role.  It has been noted that there are alteration of brain development soon after conception. Brains of children with Autism tend to grow faster than usual, followed by normal or relatively slower growth in childhood.
  3. Environmental factors seem to be gaining more steam over the last few years, and this theory relates to a cascade of pathological events in the brain caused by environmental factors leading to the development of Autism.  It is still being debated whether prenatal, in utero vs postnatal exposure provides a higher risk.

Researchers are currently in the process of completing chromosomal studies and evaluating toxin levels in an attempt to find a more definitive cause.

Will my child live a long life?

Yes.  With proper support systems and treatment, children with Autism can live long, healthy and productive lives.  The key is early intervention.

Can my child attend a regular school?

Depending on your child’s level of functioning, it is very possible. There are some situations where children with Autism are more than capable of handling all academic work within a classroom; however, there might be some social obstacles such as how they relate to their peers and teachers. With guidance and support your child can attend a regular school.

In other cases, helping children with Autism reach their academic goals will require a bit more patience and persistence. Therefore, there is an option of helping your child reach those academic goals through other forms of learning (such as the use of visual schedules) to help your child better understand what is being asked of them. In this scenario, it is important that your child is placed in a classroom where there is extra support and guidance, so that your child may learn essential, fundamental skills which will help them tremendously in the future.

What is the most effective treatment for ASD?

Intensive Behavioural Intervention (I.B.I) has been clinically proven to help children with Autism. The instructions are very direct, precise and allow the opportunity for the child to learn what is being asked of them through physical, most-to-least intrusive prompting. IBI therapists are trained to know which level of prompting is necessary for each program. There are many services that are currently available for parents and caregivers: .Art Therapy, Dance Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Education, Speech Therapy are just some of the approaches that are currently being used.

Are Repetitive or Ritualistic movements harming the child?

If the Repetitive or Ritualistic movement is not allowing the child to explore his or her environment we can say that the movements are a hindrance to the child’s development. It is important that the child is given time to repeat those movements, but within context and faded out gradually. It is close to impossible to tell the child to stop those behaviours ‘over-night’.

In some severe cases, children might be aggressive towards others or self-injurious, in these situations, it is imperative that you seek intervention.

What about alternative therapies such as dietary changes (Gluten and Casein free diets) or chelation therapy?

Alternative therapies are difficult to assess.  There is no governing body that ensures standardization amongst these therapies.  Thus, parents and families should approach these therapies with extreme caution.  Understanding the possible side effects and adverse outcomes are essential before initiating any therapy. Please talk to your family physician/pediatrician before initiating any alternative therapies.