Table of Contents
The rate of autism diagnosis in the United States has risen to approximately one in every 68 children. This has become a large problem around the globe, particularly in the Western parts of the world, and numbers have reached an almost epidemic state. Rather than appreciating that research into recognizing autism has led to the increase, more and more people are looking for the cause. This has led to a number of theories, some of which could be relevant, and some of which are just a little ridiculous.
What Causes Autism? Theories And Claims
One of the most well-known and highly publicized theories is that autism is caused by vaccines, particularly the MMR vaccine. News of this caused a furore around the world, with many parents suddenly refusing to vaccinate their children. Worst of all, those that had already had their children vaccinated were left feeling guilty that by trying to do the right thing they had in fact harmed their child.
Let's take a look at some of the stranger theories that "explain" what causes autism.
Wi-Fi and Cell Phones
Another theory that brought fear to many is that autism may be caused by using cell phones and Wi-Fi. It was believed that the radiofrequency waves may damage the brain, causing autism. However, to date there has been no proof that this is true.
There are two theories out there surrounding television and the increase in autism. One is that watching a lot of television when children are young can alter the structure of the brain causing autism. The second theory is based on high rates of autism in places that suffer a higher level of rainfall, and children tend to watch more television on rainy days, therefore it causes autism.
Unbelievably, animal rights organization PETA claimed during a campaign back in 2008 that autism was caused by drinking cow's milk! It is true that many autistic children suffer from gastrointestinal issues, and these can be aggravated by milk and dairy products, but there is certainly no proof that milk causes autism.
A term that has been tossed around for a while is "refrigerator mothers". This, and overall bad parenting, has been said to cause autism. This theory is almost as ridiculous as the cow's milk theory, and causes nothing but guilt and heartache in parents of autistic children to have this even suggested.