Adolescent Psychiatrist Questions Autism

Can autism be developed?

Is it possible for my child to "develop" autism, or would he have been born with it?

17 Answers

Theoretically a person is born with autism, but the symptoms may not be obvious for a while, particularly as there are varying degrees of autism. That is why it is referred to as a "spectrum" disorder. There are "high-functioning " forms where the symptoms can be quite subtle even into adulthood. There are also other conditions that can be confused with autism, such obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder. If you think it is interfering with his performance, ask your pediatrician for a referral to a child psychiatrist.
Autism has been linked to many factors and some studies show genetic predisposition. I can’t tell what is the reason your child has autism. He has to be fully evaluated and get treatment with ABA or other support as soon as possible. Early treatment starts - better outcome is when they grow up. Also, there are support groups for the parents of the children with autism, because it is very hard not only physically, but psychologically.

All the best
The entire cause of autism is not know. There does seem to be a genetic component. There are also other events that play a part. If more was known about the cause, we could probably be more specific with the treatment and
diagnosis. Most children do not develop problems with communication until greater than 1 year old so diagnosis is more common after 2 years old
Autism is present from birth, although the signs and symptoms are not always picked up or diagnosed that early. Autism should be able to be diagnosed by age three.
He would have been born with it.
No, they already have it.
Most children have certain characteristics that show up from early in life (babies) that would be concerning to a parent and pediatrician for autism. Most normally developing children don’t wake up one day with autism, but there can be situations where children develop a skill, and then lose that skill and other milestones (developmental regression). That would need a work-up by a pediatrician/developmental pediatrician or a pediatric neurologist.
It is my belief that a child has to be born with autism. 
This is a very good question. There is a lot of research going on about autism now. We simply don't have enough information on why it develops or what causes it or is it a genetic predisposition.

Jarret Patton MD FAAP
He is born with it.
He would have been born with it.
It is not generally 'noticed ' until there are developmental delays usually speech delay foremost. There are check lists on line that can guide you what/when to bring to the attention of your pediatrician.
We believe that autism is multifactorial, involving both environment and heredity. We strive to diagnose children with autism by age 2. If your child is older than 2 and is healthy and developmentally normal, you probably have nothing to worry about. Serious illnesses or trauma that involve the central nervous system may result in a clinical picture similar to autism after healing. This is not clear and certainly not common.
We don't really know yet
It is usually not possible to detect autism in a newborn. It is very difficult to detect in the first year. There are certain behaviors that can suggest autism in very young children. As children get older, their failure to communicate and interact with others is usually the clue that autism is present, and it was probably always there, only we're not smart enough to detect it. It is definitely not caused by your child's vaccines.
That is a very complicated question. We do not know what "causes" autism. There are multiple theories but nothing has been definitively proven. Please discuss with your pediatrician further
Perhaps 1/2 of all parents report normal development in the first year and up to 2 years prior to the loss of skills in language and social communication. This frightening experience is truly dramatic for some and for others it seems more gradual. Regardless, it appears that autism has followed a neurological insult due to inflammation. Even some genetic causes of autism are not apparent until into the 2nd year of life, as the genetic plan shifts into a more mature mode. So, whether genetic or inflammatory insult, it can often appear that autism develops over time.