Years ago, a number of prominent psychologists put forth a theory that autism was caused by "Refrigerator Mother Syndrome", which is exactly as it sounds: a completely ludicrous and now utterly discredited theory that blamed autism on parents (especially mothers) who lacked maternal warmth. Bruno Bettelheim hypothesized that improper breastfeeding and other cold and distant behaviors that deprived the children of proper bonding. How awful must it have been to be a mother (or father) of an autistic child and to be told that your subconscious rejection was responsible! And this theory persisted until as recently as the 1960s.
Today, thank goodness, we know better. And science is learning more and more about the true nature of autism. We know that there is probably not one particular factor or cause, but rather a variety of genetic factors. We know that vaccines are probably not a factor. We know that only a lot more research will lead us to discover the true causes and possible cures for this ailment.
April is a great time to buy an Autism Awareness t-shirt to spread the word and promote awareness.
What causes autism? What we know, don’t know, and suspect
by ANDREW WHITEHOUSE, THE CONVERSATION 3 MAR 2016
10 Things People with Autism Want You to Know from the blog Autism Speaks
What we know now as compiled by Autism Speaks