Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Is a Blood Test for Autism Necessary?

I ran across an article about the Autism Genome Project. The article is from the middle of 2007. Dr. James Sutcliffe is one of the doctors working on DNA samples from families with two or more members with autism. At the time they were hoping to be able to come up with a blood test that could predict IF a child would have autism. The article talks about the families’ urgency in developing this test.

It reminds me of the mothers who come into our office. In the past few years we have had several mothers who come in who are pregnant and have been told their child will have Down Syndrome. They have been offered an abortion. We give them information. In at least a couple of instances the mother’s have called months later and did not have a baby with Down Syndrome. I guess that is my first concern. That in the effort to know we will in effect throw the baby out with the bath water.

My second concern is about getting rid of all of the people in the world who are different. I have realized now and in years past that my experience with my daughter with autism is different. I enjoy the differences. Yes we still have the bad times. The barking that went on for almost a year. The evenings spent holding her head so she could not slam it on the floor.

Anyway I did experience all of these things, but I also experienced joy. The joy of seeing her do things that took her years to do compared to other children. The fun of figuring out the way she thought about things. The joy of seeing her face light up.

I am the woman I am today because of her. My concern is that if we had a blood test for the possibility of autism, we would miss those things and become a further intolerant society. So what might be next? A blood test for people who might have asthma or how about diabetes……

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