The disorder Autism Spectrum , also known as autism is a disorder of development that is usually detected during the first three years of life . It is one of the disorders that usually worries parents whose children have not yet been born, since it lasts throughout their child’s life, and directly affects their way of socializing. One of the clearest symptoms of autism is trouble communicating , whether it’s pointing out your feelings or thoughts or simply talking to someone about any trivial topic.
The way a person with autism communicates is so different from that usually carried out by a person who does not suffer from it that their social relationships end up being complicated , or even non-existent, depending on the case. But there are many myths about it that, if overcome, would make the situation change completely; like, for example, understanding that just by communicating differently does not mean that you don’t communicate “well.” It should be our responsibility to adapt to the different needs of others .
In spite of everything, it is logical that those people who are going to be mothers or fathers, who are in the process of pregnancy, feel fear that their baby suffers from autism. Not because of the fact of being autism, but because of the fact of not being completely healthy, medically speaking ; the same happens with any other type of neurobiological disease, or even any physical malformation. Every father and every mother wants their child to have iron health, and that is why they begin to wonder from pregnancy if their child will have autism. One of the most important challenges in neuroscience right now, according to many experts, is trying to distinguish whether or not a fetus has autism in the pregnancy itself. Is it already possible to do it?
AUTISM: THAT GREAT UNKNOWN
The basic problem is that autism remains an unknown condition , about which little is known and, despite research, about which there are still many gaps to fill. Some time ago, the Royal Women’s Hospital, the University of Western Australia, Curtin University (Australia) and the University of Melbourne joined.for a study in this regard, which they later published in the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorder. What they were trying to find out from this study was whether there was any way to diagnose autism during pregnancy, based on the theory of over-masculinization of the brain and how the brains of men and women are different. The study was not conclusive, since no real differences were found between males and females, as well as no differences between males with autism and males without autism .
The University of Cambridge also embarked on the adventure of investigating high levels of testosterone in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women , to see if this had some kind of relationship with autism. They investigated more than 235 children, who followed their behavior from birth to age eight; what they apparently found was that the more testosterone in the amniotic fluid, the more likely the child was to engage in behaviors considered typical of a person with autism . They presented a lack of sociability , as well as some difficulties when communicating. But when the study ended, it was not conclusive.
Some began to wonder if it would be possible, through the amniocentesis test, to find out if a fetus was more or less likely to have autism. For now, this cannot be done ; What’s more, even finding out whether or not the fetus has Down Syndrome has a significant margin of error, and there are quite a few cases in which the tests were positive but, eventually, the pregnancy came to term and the baby did not have Down Syndrome. .
IT IS NOT YET POSSIBLE TO DETECT IT DURING PREGNANCY
To this day, the fact that autism continues to be a condition with so many taboos and so many unknowns leads us to not being able to clearly point out what the causes of it are. Without knowing the causes, and without being all nothing more than assumptions, it is impossible to detect autism during pregnancy, since you cannot yet see the behavior of the baby or its way of communicating. We must not forget that autism is a condition whose symptoms are behavioral, and that does not entail any type of physical symptoms; This is why it cannot be diagnosed efficiently until two or three years of age , when the child begins to truly relate to his environment.
There are no medical tests capable of detecting autism during pregnancy, and it is not expected that soon there may be; there is still much to learn about this disorder, which, along with schizophrenia, are two of the great unknown in psychology, neurology and psychiatry. You know how to alleviate it, how to get a person with autism to socialize; There are tools to ensure that your life is as normative as possible, but even so, there is not enough data to prevent it.
The fact that it cannot be prevented increases the ethical problem of detecting autism during pregnancy. Some have pointed out that, if it is finally possible to find out whether or not a fetus has autism, the next thing to consider is what the parents will do with that result. Will the diagnosis push them to opt for abortion, or, as some associations point out, will it simply allow them to become aware of what they will have to do to ensure that their child does not have problems adjusting?These ethical questions are already decisions of each person individually, and it must be each one who, with their circumstances in mind, decides what they want or not to do; As with abortion in general, it is a personal, intimate and non-transferable decision, of which no one should give an opinion or simply judge.