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Is Autism Is the Result of Bad Parenting

my 4 year old son's preschool teacher thinks he has autism. i also have a 3yr old ans she is fine. a little about him is that he doesn't interact with other kids. he doesn't talk like a typical 4yr old. part of me feels that it is me fault. is this true?

What can I do next?

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is autism the result of bad parenting? no no no no no.
I too have other children. I have 3 boys. They are 5, 7 and 14. Only my 7 year old has autism. Autism is geneticly linked, but the actual cause is unknown. It is known though that it is NOT the result of how someone parents at all. It's about the child. Just like diabetes, or any other disease is.

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It is not your fault at all. Dont even get the idea stuck in your head. You sound like a great parent seeing how you are asking and are concerned about your childs progess. I am an educational consultant with Discovery Toys and they have actually taken a special interest in children with autism. On my website there is information about autism for you to read to help you out. We also offer a special introductory pack of edcuational toys for autistic children that you might want to look in to. They have had great results with them. Discovery Toys are also great for children of all types and ages, they are educational and have a lifetime guarantee. Let me know if you have any questions about the products and if you would like to look in to getting your son the autism kit. My website is: www.discoverytoyslink.com/growsmart.

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NO, not your fault. There is lots of help out there for him. Kids with autism can dramatically improve and some can lose the diagnosis entirely. It takes a lot of therapy and money. First you need a diagnosis. Take him to a developmental pediatrician of a neuropsychologist for testing. Your local school district should also do the testing and it's free. He can also receive services thru the school district like speech and occupational therapy while at school. Some schools have applied behavior analysis which is vital for these kids. Go to a website called TACAnow.com. Their website is great and has tons of info on autism. It stands for Talk About Curing Autism Now. It talks about the special diets that they should be on and the doctors that take care of these children called DAN! doctors (Defeat Autism Now!). My 4 y/o daughter has High Functioning Autism and she has made tremendous progress. There is hope and don't let anyone tell you differently. Intense early intervention is the key. So, get started today. Boys are 4 times more likely to have autism than girls. You should have your 3 y/o tested as well as there seems to be a genetic component. She may not develop autism but may have delays in speech or sensory issues etc. There are often waiting lists for services so get started right away. I know it's devastating but there is so much you can do to help him. You have to be his advocate and his Mom. Remember, intense early intervention is vital to his success so really, get started today. Good luck.


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I work as a substitute teacher and let me tell you, bad parenting leads to many things, but not autism. And besides, who says you are a bad parent? A preschool teacher is not an expert, by any means. My son was 'diagnosed' by his preschool teacher on his first day, ever, of school. She did not take into consideration that he was in a room full of strangers and just didn't know the routine. He was afraid and intimidated, not autistic. We were lucky enough to have our pediatrician set us straight early on. My son is now in first grade and has been recommended by his teacher for a highly gifted program. He is socializing well with his peers. He does talk differently from his peers but he just gave a presentation on dinosaurs in front of a room full of parents; he didn't sound strange at all.

Look, if you son is autistic, truly autistic, you need to get him (and you) some help. But is he autistic, or just socially at a different place than the other kids? A kid who doesn't ask a friend to play ball is not the same as a kid who cannot verbalize his emotions. You know, there are so many autistic kids who cannot get the help they need because the system is overrun with 'spectrum disorders', and shy kids who get shoved in the autism box. I have worked with autistic kids, from non-verbal to high-functioning in the public school system. It makes me angry to see kids who are behind socially using up resources that kids who don't talk, kids who cannot even say "I love you" or "I'm tired" or "I want a cookie" should be getting. There is a huge special ed teacher shortage!

I think you should talk to your pediatrician right away. Start there. Your son may just need some speech therapy and a little help socializing. Our doctor told us to put our son in smaller social groups so that he wouldn't feel overwhelmed. We also spend a lot of time talking to him about his feelings, and positive ways to react to situations, like bullies and disappointments. He's really come a long way. Good luck, and whatever the diagnoses may be, remember that your son is as perfect as any child can be.

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NO!!!!!!!! since you work at a woman's & childrens medical center I'm sure there are many people to help you...It may be hard to ask for help and advice face to face but just do it you will feel so much better....Your guilt is a result of the fact that you may not be able to do anything to change it.Please don't blame yourself though it will not in any way help your child.Good Luck and God Bless

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is autism the result of bad parenting? no no no no no.
I too have other children. I have 3 boys. They are 5, 7 and 14. Only my 7 year old has autism. Autism is geneticly linked, but the actual cause is unknown. It is known though that it is NOT the result of how someone parents at all. It's about the child. Just like diabetes, or any other disease is.

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Dear T.,

Absolutely, positively no!!!!, autism is not caused by bad parenting. It isn't caused by any kind of parenting. It just IS. Your son's preschool teacher may be right, you need to track this clue down to the nitty gritty of what is truly happening with your son. Autism is caused by something wrong in the genes. I do not understand it yet, but they just recently found the causes of autism are in the person's genetic make up. You are lucky to be working where you are - they can find out what you need to do to help him learn to live a more comfortable life. Go for it. You are a goooood Mom. Sincerely, C. N.

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No one knows for sure what causes autism but it appears to be a combination of genetics and environment. There is one theory that it is from environmental contamination, another that says it is vaccines and another that says it is food intolerances.... Basically no one knows for sure. The best analogy I've heard is that genetics "loads the gun" and some environmental factor "pulls the trigger." But autism is a medical, neurological condition and has absolutely NOTHING to do with your skills as a parent. My son was diagnosed with autism about a year ago. He'll be 4 in September. There are tons of services available and lots of things you can do to help your son. Contact your local school district. They should have a program and more information to help you. My son is in a special needs preschool program through our local school district, in a autism classroom. He goes 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 220 days a year. He gets speech therapy, occupation therapy, therapy for social skills, gross & fine motor skills, self help skills and all sorts of stuff. And it is a free service. Finding out your child is autistic is devastating. Living with autism is challenging but lots of us are doing it and it isn't a death sentence.

Would you think you were a bad parent if your son was diabetic? Had cancer? No. Why would you think that bad parenting could cause autism?


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NO...my heart about broke when I read your post. I am going to assume that you are in Hawaii (due to the name of the medical center you work for). I have a very dear friend, who now lives here in the SF Bay Area, who has worked the system very well in Hawaii to get the services she needed for her son. I am sure Anne would be very glad to talk with you to make sure you get on the right track.


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NO, No, NO!!! it is not your fault! No one is sure what causes Autism. but it is something the child is born with and there is nothing you can do to cause it or prevent it. You should ask your preschool teacher if she knows of some resources for you and your son. Autism is very common and there should be support groups and informational resourses available to you where ever you live.

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autism is sooooo not the fault of yours. you cant as a parent cause this or prevent it from happening. sadnesss is normal but guilt should never cross your mind. diagnosis is key, from there your community has tons of resources for you to take advantage of in order for you to provide your child with the highest quality of life possible. i work with both childeren and adults with autism and it can be hard to understand their needs. . . but not impossible. if you need any advice or connections your entitled to please let me know. im sure your a great mom.

Autism is NEVER the parents fault! No one knows what the cause is. I would try to get him diagnosed quickly if that is the case. The sooner the intervention the better. There is so much help out there and the sooner you are able to take advantage of it, the easier things will be in the long run. If you don't know where to turn, the first place I would call is regional center, they will be a huge help, and they will come to you.

First of all, autism is not a result of bad parenting. It is a neurological condition which happens before birth. There is no known cause, and it happens so randomly that I seriously doubt you could have done anything to cause or prevent it.

Besides his interactions with other kids, does he show any other signs? Is his speech delayed, or does he just talk 'differently'? Does he fixate on specific things? Like my son is all about Legos or Mario (nintendo). It's pretty much all he talks about.

Does he have obsessive or repetitive behaviors? Like wanting to wash his hands often, having to do things in a certain order or only liking certain colors or textures? Does he get very upset at changes in his routine, or if asked to do something new?

This is about the age that autism is diagnosed. It has nothing to do with you or your parenting style. It is just a matter of the way a child's brain forms. An autistic childs brain forms tight clusters of neurons, whereas an average child's neurons are spaced more widely apart. This is just like urban vs. rural towns. In urban areas, you are packed tightly together, which means there is often a lot of gridlock. In rural areas there's a much smoother flow, and less "crashes".

This simply means that your child may be different than others. My son (who just turned 10) still speaks like a 4 yr.old, and has some difficulty in his social skills and problem solving, but excels in math and logic. HE is also very sweet and loving, and many of his peers like him despite his 'differences'.

I would contact your local regional center (the school may know the number), and make an appointment to have him assessed. Just remember this is not the end of the world, and finding out early means that you can get him started on all sorts of early intervention that may do him a world of good.

If you ever want to chat, or have more questions, feel free to email me at ____@____.com

Hi T.,
My older son, age 12, has autism and it's NOT due to bad parenting. Autism has been on the rise for the past decade, partly due to better diagnosis by doctors. Similar to your son, my son lack social skills when interacting with other children. He has delayed speech, and poor eye contact, and some unusual behaviors. He was diagnosed at 3 1/2 years old.

Since your pre-school teacher has identified some of the characteristics, please have your son diagnosed by your doctor or a behavorist. He might be on the PDD spectrum.


Hi T.,

It is not bad parenting. Austism is something that occurs in and comes from the body. I also blammed myself for many milestones my 3 1/2 year old did not reach. His vocabulary is still very limited and he is fearful of the toilet. There are times when he hold his bowel movements for days. I also bought him pull ups with cars on them but he is still not comfortable being without a diaper.

ok first look up info on the internet about autisim. The main sign is that they wont look you in the eye and they are attracted to bright colors and shiny things. Also i read an article about a mother whos son was diagnos with autism. however this happened after she started giving him dairy. She stopped that and started him on soy and he was a different boy. After that she found out that other moms had the same issue it's worth trying. But no matter what it is not your fault. He could just be a shy boy.

No, no no! You are not responsible in any way, shape or form if your son has autism! Before having our 2 boys (6.5 years & almost 2 years) I spent about 15 years working w/kids w/disabilities....mostly in a school setting & 3/4 of them haivng autsim. At 4 years old, your son's speech should be intelligable to others. Does she make eye contact, stare off into space? These are just a couple of symptoms of autsim. The symptoms vary as does the degree of the disability. If you're at all concerned, take him to your doctor & then ask for a referrral to have him assessed. They will probably suggest you take him to your local Regional Center. Good luck!

Please read information on TACANOW website. It ws so much help to us.

If you are in Moreno valley -- try contacting Rainbow Springs -- they work with different situations and can possibly evaluate your child to see if he really does have autism and then what they can do to help or you can do to help.

My daughter was born deaf in one ear and they are working with us and speech etc.... She's been in the program for 6 months now and speaks so much better. She is 2-1/2.

My son has autism. He's high fuctioning. There are several types of autism. My son is still struggling with talking but since I put him in school he's improved so much. My advice is to get your son tested through the school district. It's free and you can get alot of questions answered. Please feel free to contact me if you need anything. This is not your fault. They still aren't sure what causes autism. Go to autismspeaks.org. There is alot of information and phone numbers for all kinds of help. Take care hon and let me know how it goes.

Autism is a neurological disorder. It is not caused due to bad or good parenting. I have a 10 year old with AS/HF Autism. I think I am a pretty darn good mommy. There must be some genetic links involved, because there are several boys in my family (my grandfather down through my Uncles and my cousins AND my son). Good parenting is what will make the difference in how you handle the situation. I don't belive that God would give anyone more then they can handle. I also think that my son is a major gift and blessing. His autism, while it makes lots of things more difficult, it is a major part of who he is. Just yesterday I told my boss (I work at an independent living center) that my son's diagnosis is part of what makes him the unique, amazing, loving, special person that he is. If you need to talk feel free to message me. If the school makes you feel like you are not doing a good job, look at different schools. You should also have the 4 year old evaluated by the school district. Our kids have rights, and it is our jobs to fight for them. Hope this helps!

NO NO NO NO NO! It is NOT your fault. You should take your son to his Dr. and let them know your concerns.

Autism is an actual developmental disorder NOT due to bad parenting. The preschool teach may or may not be correct. Austism can also present itself in one child and not the other.
Take a deep breath and do not stress out about something you do not know for sure. I would contact your pediatrician to have your son evaluated and sent to a specialist in child development.

To learn more about autism and the different spectrums of the disorder please visit this website http://www.autismspeaks.org/whatisit/index.php

If he does have autism please make sure to get the support from family and friends. Regardless what happens he is still your baby and you will love him all the same. I have a girlfriend who lives in New York and her son is autistic. At first glance he appears to be a normal and happy boy. He just requires more attention and stimulation to help him catch up with the other kids.

God bless!

I am so happy to hear the responses you have gotten. Autism is DEFINITELY NOT the result of bad parenting--but I can see how you could feel that way. I have been on this journey for 4 years now--my son is almost 8. Believe me that there are many resources out there you just have to look. You have a lot of good advice here and your pediatrician should be your first stop. Then look online and get all the information you can. You know your child better than anyone else!

Depending on where you live, a Regional Center--mine is Harbor Regional Center-- you can request a psychological evaluation. A lot of the time hospitals and doctors do not go further than referrals and this place will give you everything you need even if he is not eligible for services.

Just remember the earlier you get treatment the better the outcome for your son to live a more independent and fulfilling life. It could be something else, but if it is autism I can tell you that my once shy and non-verbal 3 year old is now a happy and talkative 7 year old who has lots of typical friends.

Let me know if you need any other advice as far as services go because the school district really makes us parents do all the footwork.

Absolutely not! I have dealt with that feeling and the looks that teachers give and will give you every beginning of the school year and every new teacher that you deal with until they work with your child a month or so and realize there is something different - it is not just that you child chooses not to perform or associate with others, and that they have bad behavior issues. Their minds work differently. They see things completely differently than most people. Of course each circumstance is different but I have dealt with that feeling you have for many years now. My son will soon be 11 all you can do is be involved as much as possible. He will learn better from you. Homework will be difficult but it is the time where your child will get one on one with someone that cares about him. Just love him - teach him right from wrong, dont expect him to perform as other children at his age level. Just expect the best for him. Accomplishments for him will be well earned because they have to work so much harder than children without this that it makes reaching their personal goals mean so much more. My son has gone to school with the same children since kindergarten so they are very accepting of him. So he has many friends but they know he is different. They look out for him. He knows he is different and when he started to figure it out it was heart breaking.

My son begins middle school next year and I am really worried but we will work it out. I have been in your shoes and the frustration started in preschool but it will be fine and your son has a sibbling. If you get the feeling you should keep him back a grade to catch up maturity wise - I dont recommend it. Its not good for his self esteem and your sons happiness is most important. Depression is not good for kids with this "disorder".

My sons speech wasnt that of the normal 4 year old either. But you need to get him evaluated by a doctor and pshychiatrist. Speech Therapy is helpful. Medication helps but it also changes their expanded immagination. It helps keep their ideas focused, but their minds have so many things going on at one time. They can absorb everything going on around them but it may seem as though they are not paying attention. Use it to what you think is best if you use it not what the schools think is best.

Okay thats my 2 cents sorry its so long. I have just been there and feel constantly like Im not doing enough. Its helpful to know that others feel that way too.

NO!!!!!!!! Autism has nothing to do with what you have or haven't done as a parent. It's not because "You had an Advil one day while pregnant" or "because you slept on your tummy until they told you it was bad for the baby" or "because you didn't spend enough time with him after his sister was born". Autism is NO MORE the fault of a parent than ADHD or Down syndrome. Is it your fault if he falls because his shoe came untied? Is it the parents fault when a child is diagnosed with cancer?

The teacher is making a SOMEWHAT educated guess. If she is not certified to diagnose such conditions, then she is only stating an OPINION. Take him to the doctor and let the doctor decide what to do next. He may tell you he is absolutely fine, he may send you to a specialist. Take a breath, stop looking for how you’ve failed him as a mom, and make the appointment. I’m certain that you’re a WONDERFUL mom. If he is autistic, you’ll figure it out together.

Take care, and continue being a ROCKING GOOD MAMA! -J

no its not and don't let anyone tell you that it is.

NO - it's not you at all!!!- Get him diagnosed to make sure it's the correct diagnosis for your child, your sons preschool teacher who may mean well,is not someone who should be shelling out your childs diagnosis- You should be able to get testing started at your childs school.

My Sons story in a nut shell:
Joshua the oldest (22) was/is diagnosed with Autism - he is very high functioning, & I believe it's due to our parenting, we didn't baby his disability, let him spin, or feel sorry that this was a part of his life experience, and freak out about his future (envisioning that he would never be the CEO of a company and only have to be a janitor- Heck if that was in his cards I’d be happy that he could function as a janitor). He was tested in kindergarten, we kept him back for another year to finish his testing, they tried to give us another diagnosis (because he was high functioning), We were also part of a new Stanford testing group at the Lucile Packard children’s hospital, where they diagnosed him as autistic, they looked past his functionilbility and went straight for the characteristics & testing. (So thankful to Stanford’s role & our luck getting him tested there).
This diagnosis still did not guarantee his claim to services (it may be easier now) a good place to start is PHP (Parents helping parents - great for resources) and SARC (San Andreas Regional Center) the latter is for services. Joshua always tested with high scores, he always had flash cards, we always gave him extra homework, always expected more from him, we pushed him harder than we would have an average child (we would not have been doing him any favors if we didn’t). We knew that it would be a challenge going to school (on the bus & at school too), Kids are cruel, he used to pretend he was asleep on the bus (that’s the part I hated most, I just wish parents all together would instill respect for others in their family values), we explained peoples actions to him, especially the cruelty of people in general and telling him that they cannot help themselves & that their parents did not teach their kids to respect other peoples differences. Joshua worked hard, & put up with a lot, and let us knows not to worry, that he could handle it. (On the flip side he was also aware that in general most people are good, and have good intensions).
We fought tooth & nail for him all throughout his school years, getting services was huge battle (he was too high functioning, or so we were told) & we really didn't get services till he was like about 14 or 15, “The system talked about putting Joshua on meds, we never resorted to that, I cannot imagine doing that to him ever, he rarely ever takes an aspirin, We chose supplementation instead for him, not just any over the counter supplements either! This helped him immensely; he even said he felt more focused, now that’s huge! He graduated 8th grade a year after he should have (said he didn’t feel he was ready- we respected his wish), the School district tried to push him on as he had passed the Campbell requirements-and he was also on the principles Honor Roll- So we fought again, he went to 8th grade twice & on to high school – then onto his Post Secondary program (Campbell is the Best! Larry his teacher & assistants made everything perfect).
Josh is done with his post secondary program and was a direct hire @ Trader Joes on Prospect, was voted the best Facer at his store by his manager.. I tell his nutshell story, because Tina & I as parents, were kind of pioneers with this diagnosis, we survived & Joshua has become an even more amazing individual & because no matter what someone say's or if you feel that your child will never stack up to the "average" kid or person. I say, never give up, push your child past your own fears, focus on their strengths (Joshua is an artist- loves to draw).
My son has more heart, more strength, courage and compassion, than any one I know, he knows he is different, so are we all, celebrate your differences & be always be prepared to stand up & fight for your Childs rights as a human being.

no it's not ur fault b/c my sister has autism and we do everything we can 2 help her interact wit other people at skool and she chooses not 2. when she was little she would always get upset and cry and we woulndt know why. so we gave her a fork and then she was ok. the fork didnt work because she kept hiting herself with it so we switched her to spoons and she's had it since. my sister is 9 years old now and goes to a special school district where they help her cope and interact with other children and she's doing better than she was at first. so to all parents if your child has autism help them not ignore them.

Autisum is not at all a result of bad aprentsing - please don't you dare think that! It breaks my heart to hear people say things like that! The UC Davis Medical Center and The MIND institute are looking for causes and triggers of Autisum because so many children have it (1 in 166) and it can go undetected for so long! Many people are just now becoming aware of the symptoms and are now aware of the fact that it has such a broad range of symptoms that it is so hard to detct. I myself feel so dumb and hopless because I was a behavriol theropist for children with Autism and worked with these children daily, but I just am noticing symptoms of Asburgers in my own child... Autisum is not a result of bad parenting, it's just good at hiding for a long time.

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