I often wonder why son 2 has autism. There is no obvious genetic link as nobody else has the diagnosis on either side of the family, even though one or two family members might be considered to have some quirks. But don't we all?
I've got past the guilt of wondering if it was something that happened during pregnancy. I do believe that son 2 showed some signs of autism right from the earliest days, but it was a planned pregnancy, I was ultra-cautious and I wasn't even working at the time, so was as stress-free as one can be whilst looking after a toddler.
But I went into early labour with both my boys, so I was interested to read the new research on a possible link between neo-natal jaundice and autism. To summarize: a full-term baby born between October and March, who has suffered neo-natal jaundice and is not the mother's first child, is 67% more likely to develop autism.
Now let's look at my evidence. Son 2, born in March, was not full-term, but at just over 36 weeks he was only a few days short of being considered so. The only issues he had were jaundice and minor feeding problems. Unlike Son 1, born in October, who was a 34 week baby and spent 6 weeks in the neonatal unit where the jaundice was the least of his problems.
So, both boys fall into the risk category for month of birth and having suffered jaundice, but Son 1 was born earlier, was more sick and was my first pregnancy. You'd perhaps expect him to be more vulnerable but the antibodies would not have built up and according to the research that would have protected him.
Son 1 has, of course, had his own issues, some of which may have a root cause in his prematurity (there is research to support this too). But he does not have autism, in fact he is a very sociable young man now. Son 2, however, had all the risk factors and is severely autistic.
Perhaps there is something in all this research...