Pubdate: Mon, 16 Jul 2007
Source: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Copyright: 2007 Sun-Sentinel Company
Author: Bob Kanjian


Wow, I am pleased to see that the public is starting to question the
cause of autism as evidence by the Thursday letter, "Autism's causes."

As the father of an 8-year-old son with autism, I wonder every day
what caused my son's autism. With the lack of research on autism,
parents like me constantly worry that they may have genetically passed
this trait along to their children. This is hard to take for many
parents as they watch their children slip into another world devoid of
communication and social skills.

This is difficult enough without knowing that some of the public may
perceive this insidious disease as being caused by a parent's use of
drugs. It was only a couple of decades ago that it was commonly
believed that kids with autism had been neglected by their parents.
Fortunately, that insane thought was corrected with time.

Thankfully, I rest easy knowing that using marijuana or prescription
drugs by my wife and I was not the cause of our son's autism. I must
state that the notion that marijuana or prescription drug use is the
cause for autism is irresponsible. As a point of reference, cases of
autism have been found in every part of our world and from every
socio-economic stratus. The one commonality across the globe is that
the incidence of autism is growing at epidemic proportions everywhere.

Autism affects more children than cystic fibrosis, leukemia and cancer
combined, yet the funding for research is less than 1/60 of those
issues. We living with autism every day welcome your critical thinking
and suggest that you become involved with the Center for Autism and
Related Disabilities in Boca Raton at Florida Atlantic University or
the group Autism Speaks local chapter. The more than 1,000 kids and
adults with autism in Palm Beach County could use help from you and
everyone else to spread the word about the epidemic of autism.

Bob Kanjian,  West Palm Beach
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