Is Autism Hereditary? What is the link between Autism and Genetics?

This is the first of a sequence of posts that will discuss the causes of Autism. We will start with one of the questions parents often ask themselves “Is Autism Hereditary”?

Before I start I want to address this post with a word of caution, that everybody’s Autism is different. By different I mean they have slightly different symptoms, different signs of Sensory Processing Issues and different ways of functioning. No two people with Autism are the same and I suspect that it may also be very difficult to identify one specific cause.  The Autism Spectrum is a fairly new idea in the field of behavioural psychology, but one thing is clear; not all autistic children and adults behave in the same way; rather, they act according to their personal position on the spectrum, which may or may not change with time.

The Autism Spectrum encapsulates all kinds of subtypes, including Asperger’s, Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD-Nos) and Rett’s Disorder. People on the spectrum can be either high or low functioning which effects their ability to copy in the world.


IsAutismHerediatary IsAutismHereditary

The genetic root of Autism has been the subject of numerous studies and scientific curiosity, and has yielded many answers, which have helped the understanding of autism worldwide. And while it isn’t as simple as saying, that the only cause of Autism is genetics passed on by the parent’s or grandparents it is fair to say that Autism definitely has an element in some cases, which is hereditary.

Is Autism Hereditary

What is the link between Autism and Genetics?

Genetics is a complex field, and while new discoveries are being made every day, there is still much that remains to be found out. Autism is a complex condition and genes that trigger its onset are even more so. Within the study of a genetic cause to identify hereditary sources it had been found that no specific gene that the scientific community is aware of actually causes autism. Rather, it is a group of genes, many of which may or may not mutate or alter during early development to create the behaviour patterns, which make an autistic child different from their peers. It is estimated that 400 to 1,000 genes are involved in the in the neurological issues that are involved in Autism. Autism in children can result from gene mutation, recessive genomes being expressed, or even viruses damaging the genetic makeup of a foetus or infant. The Mount Sinai School of medicine offers a new blood test that looks at 30 genes that looks for mutations that are associated with Autism.

While the exact studies of genetics have failed to prove conclusively a hereditary cause of Autism, there have been other studies, which indirectly prove a link with genes carried by the parents. In recent research performed by Simon Baron-Cohen (professor at the Autism Research Institute in Cambridge), there seems to be a higher a probability that parents who are scientists and engineers are more likely to have children that are Autistic. This logical thinking that element that makes a good scientist seems to propagate down to their children in the form of Autism. Baron-Cohen had been known to illustrate that there are particularly high concentrations of Autism in children around such areas as Silicon Valley, which is renowned for being a hot spot of innovation.

Autism is a condition that comes with it the ability to think in a way that can analyse, understand and systemize complex problems. This is why the natural employment path for people with Autism is to work in a field that supports that mind-set such as engineering, science and increasingly computer science.

In the research performed by Baron-Cohen it was discovered that the fathers of Autistic children were more than twice as likely to be engineers as were fathers of non-autistic children. It appears that the gene responsible for systemizing seems to be passed down through the generations.

Similar studies carried out by Dr John Constantino indicated that the parents with more autistic type traits tend to attract each other somehow and are then subsequently likely to have a child that is autistic. In Silicon Valley this is particularly true with the geek mind-set being very much prominent and subsequently leading to like minded people attracting each other romantically. If a couple have two children that have Autism there is a 35% probability that the third child will have Autism too.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, it’s important not to get to hung up in causes. There are many potential ones and we will explore these in future posts. For parents, the potential hereditary nature of their child’s Autism is not a reason to give themselves a hard time.

Ok, over to you guys, we’d really like to know what you think, please leave us a comment below with your thoughts.


Mark Blakey

Mark Blakey is the founder of the Aspergers Test Site, after a successful career working in IT Mark wanted to share what he learned from his own diagnosis. He is the author of "Emotional Mastery for Adults with Aspergers" and "An Introduction to Aspergers Syndrome". Having received lots of questions from parents with autistic children, Mark went on to found Autism Parenting Magazine. The magazine has become an essential resource aimed at improving the quality of life for families effected by Autism. Its a monthly publication containing lots of helpful articles to help develop social skills, manage challenging behavior and improve communication.

  • Karen says:

    The more I discover about Aspergers/Autism the more I believe it is definitely hereditary.

    If you would like to do a study of a family, check out mine.

    • Bob Seaton says:

      My wife firmly believes I have Aspergers. I am 70 years old. I have been for ‘tick box’ tests but was not considered to have the condition. But in 70 years I have learnt social tricks to get me by, and so could ‘fool” the test.
      I cannot find any definite traits in my family history and so feel a fraud.
      Confusion reigns.

      Please tell me about your family and situation.
      Kind regards,

      • Don says:

        Bob, my son has aspergers, and l was diagnosed later in life with ADD. But l do uderstand where you are coming from, because l would get by with social tricks. Have you every check if you may have ADD? Also if your wife feels you have aspergers you may.want to talk to your Family doctor about your concerns. Hope this helped.

      • Jack Hough says:

        Bob Seaton, I’m 67. Its particularly useful for your wife, to find more information. It has been tough on our partners and we don’t see it.

    • Mustafa Al-Saedy says:

      well said above but i dont like shaddows cause ninjas can enter … i am a white ninja

  • Jodie S says:

    Aspergers is definitely hereditary. My father was Aspergers. I am Aspergers. Both my children are Aspergers.

  • Rachel says:

    I have believed that ASD is hereditary for several years, bearing in mind that my sisters middle child is on the spectrum, my third (living) child has Aspergers, I am definitely on the spectrum and I believe my father was. Where you relate to the third child being possibly affected, it would be good to see whether this is the third pregnancy or actual third child as my third child is affected but it was my fifth pregnancy? I’m sure some more very interesting facts will come from further studies as the years go by.

  • richard says:

    My wife has Aspergers, her mother has AS, I am monitoring my daughter for AS albeit very mild, my wife’s brother has AS & possibly Narcissism, – his son has AS. Also my wife’s two sisters have AS (one possibly NS), possibly the third as well – this should be a clear case of hereditary. Bare in mind however that there is Autistic (& Narcissistic) traits in all of us, so, can we conclude that of course Autism is hereditary, maybe, but it’s just the level (severity) of which remains the mystery – is this nurture or nature?

  • Mark Wakefield says:

    My dad was an engineer. Mom probably had Aspergers,I theorize, looking back at some of her behavior.I was diagnosed with”some kind”of autism at age 3, and as an adult Aspergers at age 47.

  • Don says:

    My son has aspergers and my wife and we could see traits in her father and some of his brothers. My wife is an RN. When l was in middle school l excelled in science, then came high school. My theory is l was never diagnosed with AS, but later in life diagnosed with ADD. When l hit high school l started to self medicate with different illegal drugs. Of course l had may share of run ins with the law, but l believe if aspergers was diagnosed in the 60’s and 70’s like it l may have been given that diagnosis. Through the years l learned how to get by. But never did do well at social events. Never seemed to fit in. Now l see that in my son and l pray God continues to watch over him when his mother and l are no longer around.

  • rowan says:

    It has been suggested i have aspergers it fits same for my father.Life changing

  • Sarah says:

    I definitely feel there is a strong genetic component in Asperger’s/autism. My German(artist) husband has strong characteristics (after over 40 years of marriage I finally understand why he does and doesn’t do things and suffers so much when others are fine – he’s easily overwhelmed socially and has constant fears. He has major processing issues and must do everything by himself. His father and uncle were an architect and engineer, and their father was very bright but chose to be a postman and live a very simple life, wore the same clothes, ate the same food, and slept on newspapers. One of our two sons is extremely smart, especially linguistically, but has strong OCD, physical sensitivity, and perfectionism and can’t move on with his life. We hope to learn better ways of coping, although he must first admit there’s a problem. Oliver Sacks has helped me learn a lot about different neurology, especially in An Anthropologist on Mars.

  • Tim says:

    Without a doubt Autism / Aspergers has a genetic link, but this is only a predisposition that is effected by environmental triggers. Personally, my grandfather, father, uncle, brother, nephew, male cousins and myself (and apparently also my grandfather’s father) – all on my paternal side – are/were all on the spectrum but with different degrees of manifestation, and this suggests a Y chromosome link. My own AS has waxed and waned over the years according to circumstance, and really only became problematic in my mid-twenties after the death of my father. My young daughters at this stage show no signs of AS, but I do wonder if I had a son whether he would experience some of these family traits.

    • Shelley Blandford says:

      I have ASD, my birth mother had it, my son has it, my daughter has some traits. Just as many females have it as males, we just hide it, girls tend to internalize.

  • Michaela E says:

    Aspergers is definately hereditary my dad certainly had it, I know my sister, brother and I all have some traits of it. Both my children have it, and at least my 2 grandsons have it their sisters may have it but it is not obvious yet in them. I also believe I was married to an Asperger as my ex-husband had traits of it. I think you might also find that if children have both parents with Aspergers they are more likely to have Dysfracia as well lack of balance. My dad could ride a bike, my brother, sister and I can all ride bikes, but my children who I believe have two Asperger parents can not ride bikes. My four grandchildren who only have an Aspergers mother can ride bikes.

  • Aspergers is Hereditary my dad certainly had it my brother, sister and I have various Austic spectrum disorders. My two children both have Aspergers and at least two of my four grandchildren have Aspergers. I also believe I was married to an Asperger. I think it will be discovered if you have two Asperger parents your balance is affected my two children can not ride bikes yet all the rest of us can.

  • Sharon says:

    My Dad is on the spectrum, my son and I are Aspergers, my daughter is on the spectrum. We all are scientific, engineering and IT nutters and we are the same, but entirely different!! Mmmm I believe it’s hereditary ….

  • mary nelson says:

    Our son was “diagnosed” as High Functioning Asperger. My husband and I are in creative fields (not engineers) and have no family members that have ever shown signs or been diagnosed on the spectrum. If my husband and are are not on the spectrum – what is the cause?

  • JPDisme says:

    Mary Nelson- I think the artistic aspects of ASD are not really reflected in testing questions. I’m no Doctor, so I’ll speak only for myself.

    I have a terrible time understanding the social ‘rules’ of life and have developed all of the “tricks” that people talk about. I feel like I live in a foreign country most of the time because I don’t speak the language.

    Songwriting, for me, has been one of my ASD go-to ‘things’ and I was TERRIBLE at first. But it was a code that could be broken down into smaller parts, and I started to find the parts which worked and the sensation was… “yes, now I can feel what you feel!”

    Then I tried fiction writing and knew that my weakness would be writing characters and dialog. I went completely OCD into that task and wrote (no lie) 1.6 million words of mostly dialog and long paragraphs about what each character was thinking. Totally UNREADABLE to anyone but me, but the end result was the same to me… “this is what it feels like to be these people”

    The bottom-line was it took me 30 years of failed songwriting and fiction writing to realize all the different disconnections there were between myself and an “ordinary” person.

    So my “tricks” for understanding social situations may be different than other ASD candidates, but I was also raised in a house of engineers and as a teen I fought hard and rebelled against that… even though my songs and story-writing were ultimately heavy on technology and other “deep thoughts”

    Long message Mary, but trying to paint you a picture of an “artist” who feels he is on the high-functioning end of the ASD.

    • Aspgirlfriend says:

      Wow. Interesting hearing about your behavior and not being able to express your feelings Mary. I’m pretty sure my boyfriend of one year has Asperger’s. I’ve been a mental health nurse for 20 years-he is OCD, high anxiety driving and in crowds, and odd behaviors. But, I love how smart he is. I would love to hear more a out how you cannot express feelings or why you think your different than others and do you feel feelings-but just can’t express them. He will not believe that he has this and does not want to be labeled. He hasn’t had a girlfriend in 20 years only dates or friends.

  • Kathy Soriano says:

    I’m fairly new to this site, but recently took the Asperger’s test after having done some reading/research – I tested at a 41, and showed the test and results to my therapist – she agrees I’m likely an Aspie. I believe it’s hereditary – the whole thing started w/my questioning how/why my niece and nephew are severely Autistic, but no one else in the family is – or are we? I do have other disabilities…when I shared my research results w/my two younger brothers, they responded that they recognize many of the traits in themselves and in the children’s mother; then, my youngest bro and I were talking last month – he pointed out traits in all 5 of us kids and our parents! Our dad has a Master’s in Computer Science, mom was a brainiac, too – in fact, I’m the least ‘smart’ of the family, and recently found out my IQ is 131 – my parents didn’t know anything about disabilities, and thought, and taught me by default, that I was stupid….so, yes, I think it’s hereditary, but so, I think, is my Dylexia, my ADHD-Inattentive, and from the responses above, I just learned where the poor balance/poor major motor control came from -both parents had/have Aspie/ASD traits. Mom forced me to learn to walk at 16 months, but I don’t have great balance/coordination even today (54), I couldn’t ride a bike until about age 10, and always fell a lot, but I still need to know where the thought-process disorder fits in? Is that part of the Dylexia, or the Asperger’s, or do I keep looking? Oh, I also have Sleep Apnea….

  • Chris Higgins says:

    I was diagnosed in my late 40’s with AADD, and then revised to Aspergers. I have faired reasonably well in life, being a 6″ 100kg athletic teenager I was able to fit into peer group easily, especially with girls, I have an IQ of 140 so creating social tricks, especially mimicking was easy. My problems have been mainly anxiety and stress, to the point of mumbling and almost vomiting when trying to express individuality, and short term memory would some times be nonexistence, I was useless with reading & writing I couldn’t even read my own handwriting but math was 100%. I have also suffered digestive problems all my life and had a permanent headache since I was 17.
    Over the years of sit back and watching people and society I come to an understanding that social infrastructure is the problem not personality disorders or mental illness. Society is still run by Men for Men, this basically means that society is setup via competition, especially competition over ownership, economics, so that men can deem themselves winners, loser’s, better than, less than, rich & poor, etc.,etc. This type of social infrastructure is very animalistic and doesn’t provide use with time and support to under stand our personalities and predispositions, society should be organised through Human behaviour not competition over ownership!

    • Robert says:

      Congratulations!You are so right about society. Its all about stuff in life these days isnt it?
      If people took the time to get to know us instead of poking pills at us or use other methods to change us the world would be great.
      Re the headache. Try using yourself to heal. Is it on one side of your head more than the other? Mine is. Its referred to as chronic low grade migraine. How i fix it is I search around just where my head sits on my spine and there i find a very tender spot. Its about the size of the end of my finger. I hold my finger there and move it gently and in about a minute the headache starts to ease. Drinking lots of water helps too. Not just physical activity dehydrates you- thinking does too Ive found.
      As Im active on both levels headache is always lurking around.
      Question do you think your Asperger is hereditary?

  • Robert says:

    JPdisme and Kathy Soriano. Thank you for saying it how it is. To the others on this blog I relate to you all but you two have summed it up really well. To you especially Kathy I dont think you are so uncoordinated as you are probably thinking deeply about putting the world in order and just miss seeing the pothole. I’m a bit like that too.
    I make wooden models and just poor more and more detail into them like you JP did with the book. Im also an inventor too.
    I had an IQ test at school and the testers came back to my folks to ask if I would be allowed to do it again as they thought I had cheated as my score was so high.
    From that test and from one a few years ago it was suggested I should be an engineer. That comment has been passed as people in industry examine my models too.
    I have been tested as an Asperger just the last few months ago and it is such a relief to know why Im the way I am. I have tricks too for living in the ‘other world’. Like if I have to give a public address there is like a switch that turns on that gives me a different persona that gets me past the nervousness and the ‘silliness’ of talking in public.
    The more I study my Family I can see how we can start to see Autism etc is hereditary.
    I have a new Mantra now. Leave us alone because if you make us ‘normal’ then you wont have the things we now take for granted like light bulbs.
    When you look at how persistent we are at achieving, it looks a bit obsessive, but its that bloody mindedness that gets the result where others would give up.
    The comment Id like to make to that is this and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence about this, we are brilliant but not very good business people to go with it, so often others make the fortunes out of our thinking.
    I also know that Im generalising a little as the extremes of AS can be extraordinarily hard to be around but on the whole we are amazing.
    Im 62 and excited about being the way I am. I hope you are all rejoicing the same way.

  • Dawn says:

    Do any of you have a problem with gender? I am POSITIVE that my husband has AS – it has now come to light that he thinks he is female. He is so NOT female, but he says that he knew as a kid that he was “different”. I believe that AS is the reason for feeling different than the other kids. He doesn’t like sports/play sports-lack of coordination, he speaks loudly and when he speaks on the phone he paces the floor – especially if he is talking about cars-a subject that he is overly knowledgeable about-to the point of knowing what options came on which model of the cars; specifically Studebaker’s, even though they quit making them when he was 6 years old! His conversations are always one sided. Our 7 yr old grandson has just been diagnosed along with ADHD etc. My husband was finally diagnosed with ADD-after I finally convinced him to see a doctor. But he won’t even consider AS. I am losing my 26 year marriage to his refusal to even consider AS. My parents came over for dinner last week and while I was finishing the prep I realized my folks were alone in the living room- I went looking for hubby-he was in our bedroom folding clothes. I asked why he wasn’t talking to my parents and he says he doesn’t know what to talk about! After knowing them for 28 years! Socially he is very awkward unless talking about something that really interests him-then he can go on and on for hours. He did poorly in school-yet he has pages and pages of scientific-type mathimatical notations for engine compression etc. Can anyone help?

    • Robert says:

      My very unprofessional opinion is that your husband is on the AS.
      I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a woman. That doesnt distract me from the fact that Im a man at all.
      Among the many things I ponder with my overactive mind this is just one.
      I have always been a loner and I get very passionate about current projects. At the moment its woodwork. At one point it was landscaping. Another it was gardening.
      I walk around while talking on the phone.. lol well as far as the cord would go. Now with mobile phones I can go to my workshop and walk around it while Im talking to someone about my passion.
      I was going to say that I havent left a room because the conversation was boring or i didnt like the person.. but on reflection I have done that many times.
      I often say things that are offensive and laugh about that. Its not until later and Im on my own and have time to think about it that I realise why the others werent laughing.
      I think its like the alcoholic or the like, until they are ready to admit to something they cant even be lassoed let alone dragged there to get help.
      I too am ADD/HD but the HD part is fortunately spasmodic.
      So while you know your husband has Aspergers accept that and allow yourself some slack and love him just the way he is.
      The fact he loves his cars doesnt make him weird, its his passion. He’s brilliant. Love him for what he is and be grateful his passion isnt other women (or men) and you have him there and hes loveable. You must think that or your marriage wouldnt have lasted this long.
      Lots of blessings to you both.

  • Sônia Netto says:

    According to a research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, ultrasound exposures at a critical time during pregnancy can be the cause of this increasing number of children with autism. Being so, engineers and exact science area researchers tend to admire, believe and enjoy new technologies more than people who work in the area of human sciences. Being so, couldn’t this be the reason why there’s a link between parents who are engineers with having autistic children?

    • Robert says:

      Sonia I’d like to believe that that research is a revelation however Im 62 and Ultrasound wasnt even a thought of back then so Im not convinced.
      Now to some other science: Some metals are melted by all sorts of mediums like bauxite to make aluminium by electricity, Coal burnt to make electricity, electricity to melt steel especially the second time around and ultrasound is used to transmit perhaps even this email. It could have been too much sub or a sun spot even.
      So while i at first disagreed with your question who knows what sort of thing zapped my Mum at a critical stage and I was born this way.
      BUT if I were born AS my sons are born AS and say my sons have 2 kids each there is a pretty good common multiplier going on here of the hereditary side of things dont you think?
      Sure keep an open mind for all sorts of possible causes of this but from where Im standing heredity is looking pretty real.

  • Robert says:

    Sonia Im not sure I should be writing this yet but I found your article from earlier on this blog and I have read it from top to bottom.
    It has caused me to have a second go at this. Right now I’m a little angry not just with you but Acadamia in general.
    Question: What is wrong with us having Apsergers?
    The common thread I see here is that everyone seems to think its hereditary.
    From what I have read on this blog there are untold talents aplenty.
    Why cant we just be left alone? Why cant we just be accepted as we are? AND why do we have to be put on this Autistic Spectrum?
    We are not a disease that is going to destroy humanity!
    All of us on this Spectrum are different to each other as well.
    Why do we have to be the ones changing or being ‘cured’?
    Has anyone got off their high horses and asked the people with Aspergers or as we are now on this Autistic Spectrum what is going on in our heads?
    Are we being difficult because no one is asking us what we need?
    Are we being pushed in directions we dont need to be?
    Are the powers that be like our doctors needing to have a rethink on us and give us some rein in our lives?
    Do teachers at our schools need to go back to school themselves and learn how to get the best out of our kids and us who on this autistic spectrum?
    Theres a lot of questions here and its about time someone asked them somewhere else besides here.
    There must be a researcher out there somewhere who is prepared to listen to us.

    • Linda says:

      Robert…my thoughts exactly! I’m 65, just recognized AS in myself during the last few months. In all my reading I kept asking, “Yeah, and what’s wrong with that?”. I also believe the so-called inappropriate things we supposedly say are often truth. Most NTs, in my experience, don’t want to hear truth. As someone else here said I agree that we are pretty amazing, and delightful if accepted and not tagged. Different, not deficient nor deficited.

      • bpolhamius says:

        Hello! So good to hear of yet another person discovering their Asperger’s in late life. I have the same feelings about it as you, and thank you for your comment.

    • Kitty says:

      Dear Robert;
      Unfortunately 99% of the population is ‘normal’ (neuro typical) and us Aspies don’t have our own planet.
      We are labeled, stigmatized, bullied and discriminated against. I have been going through hell for almost 8 years
      because my new boss has no empathy or comprehension. I have had to defend and explain myself,
      apologize and grovel at her feet to keep my job. I worked here quite happily for 21 years before ‘bitch face’ came along. I refuse to be bullied out of my job at my age but it is costing me my health and sanity.

    • Sue says:

      HI Robert,
      There definitely is now a new approach, saying that every person has ‘neurodiversity” and that Asperger’s/autism is just a variant of normal. I work as a counsellor for people with Asperger’s at a university, (and I have it myself, as does almost everyone in my family) and there are plenty of students there doing IT, gaming, engineering, and Industrial Design. I don’t treat anyone for autism, which I think in some ways is a ‘gift’, I help them look at their strengths and interests, and challenges, but help them cope if they have issues that go along with autism, like high levels of anxiety, depression, occasional meltdowns, low self-esteem. And in fact a lot of the students I see don’t have a diagnosis, but are quite obviously Asperger’s (sorry I’m still having trouble with thinking of me and other people as ‘autistic’ but I am working on it)


  • David says:

    My son and I have aspergers and possibly my other two older kids, seems to me to be a real genetic link. I also used to be a wiz at mathematics, computer programming and engineering

  • ECC says:

    This is so interesting! I have a long gone background in neurobiology and for quite some time I have been convinced that ASD is the result of Polygenic Heredity AND epigenetics…Is anyone looking at it with this approach?

    • Shayne McKenzie says:

      Yes! This is why there appears to be an hereditary link but scientists can’t find what genes it is due to. It is because it is due to epigenetics (also hereditary) and not genes. Our organisation has been researching Aspergers for over 8 years and has had an effective treatment for 6 years based on this understanding.

  • Kay says:

    It is hereditary without a doubt – my mothers has Aspergers, I have Aspergers, my youngest son and my daughter have it. My eldest son, now deceased, was diagnosed with Schizophrenia later in life, but in hindsight I think he may have had Aspergers that went undiagnosed because so little was known about it when he was born (1979) It is a shame that he didn’t get the help he needed earlier in life, it would have saved him a life time of heartache and pain – he died from an accidental drug overdose 18 months ago at the age of 32.

  • Mike Waud says:

    I only recently took the test for Aspies, I came out at 44!
    Like many Aspies, I am fortunate(!) to have a high IQ, but did not find this out till well in my 30’s. I had always been told at school that I was thick, so much so that I believed it. Science and maths were the only subjects I could make real progress with.
    Like many others, I used “tricks” to get by!
    I was never able to relate properly to my peer group, was thoroughly mocked/bullied, it is only more recently that I have started to understand ME!
    As regards the hereditary issue, I am not sure that it is really possible to separate nature from nurture.I believe the two to be inextricably linked, especially on this issue. Have any studies been done on offspring raised by non-birth, non-aspie parents, who developed aspies due to their parents being on the spectrum? Or vice-versa, if you see what I mean.

  • Joy says:

    Okay, I’m still not sure I understand this & open to thoughts of others… I’m 51 years old & have realized I’ve had social problems all my life. (My husband thinks I’m just fine & it’s everyone else’s problem for not understanding & getting to know me better – he’s partial. However, he’s very intelligent & has not experienced the same things to the degree I have).
    Took the test here, scored 36. In elementary school, test was done in class & the woman administering wanted to put me in a montessori-type school a couple of years, because way of thinking & learning, & not understanding social interactions. She was ADAMANT about it, believing I was high functioning Aspergers & they wanted to find out what degree of intelligence, & also so I could learn to cope better in public situations & school for my future. IQ tests were always average 110 – obviously, not higher intelligent.
    Parents wouldn’t have it – must be raised SAME as other children. I walked tip-toed until 6. Told by most everyone I thought differently & weird in whatever I communicated. Mother always said I was a different child – extremely sweet, quiet, & generous, always smiled & wanted to be happy (though I was not). I can be easily distracted or mislead, and to this day I still feel inner frustration if distracted from whatever I’m focusing on, and have developed my own coping skills with therapy. Inner family always thought I had emotional & small degree of mental problems. I have never agreed with that, even as a child, though admit I FEEL & CARE more than most others. I have always had a bit of social anxieties, been very sensitive, feel as though others do not understand (or care to), low self-confidence & self-esteem. My father called it apathy & thought I focused too much on self. My sister & brother have always said I am weak with no sense of who I am. Though I never agreed with them – took it on & inward since it was pointless disagreeing with them & taking up for myself. I’ve found more satisfying answers through years of therapy.
    I have not furthered my education passed high school, other than a few university classes. Suffered terribly in school and in all jobs, unable to progress. I’m VERY easily taken advantage of & mislead – too trusting in the past – which has now led to being very untrustful of others. At this age, I now feel fine that I don’t have any friends (just acquaintances), or close family members (except my husband).
    I’ve always thought this is just life & ALL people have different degrees of challenges in their lives. I have always thought EVERYONE was the same – in different ways, or capable of seeing the same way, if they would open their minds enough. I cannot understand why people look at me funny when I do speak or give my view on something. They look at me like I’m weird & they’re not sure if they want to talk to me or know my thoughts & opinion – especially at work. Hence, I do not hear from them again. I’ve always thought it was because MOST ALL people do not want to change or solve something that was not working. I thought “we’re all different personalities with different viewpoints” – although couldn’t understand WHY they couldn’t see the “obvious” of solving a problem, or maneuvering around it. I was always frustrated with how family & people were not innovative thinkers through the 70’s, 80’s, & 90’s, & was completely blocked by others if attempting forward movements in life & work.
    I like to solve problems, can solve by watching patterns whether in human behavior, communicating, computer, etc. – though not a number or date person. I have been told many times I’m a creative thinker (“which is good, but don’t make waves”, OR, “that’s fine, but MUST go through chain of command”… who end up using my ideas & problem solving skills about 3 months down the road, after changing the dialect to make it sound like it’s all THEIR ideas. THIS has happened too many times in life to count with family, friends, & the work place).
    Anyway, I haven’t yet been able to understand WHY Aspergers is a big thing, or HOW we are different. I don’t mean to offend anyone here – I REALLY don’t understand. Don’t most people have a degree of social phobia, or certain ways of doing things? Aren’t there certain things we ALL like & dislike? I’m obviously not understanding WHAT it is that makes us different from other people! Since my score is 36, perhaps the degree is not enough to understand what higher degrees are living with. I’ve always thought this is just life & ALL people have different degrees of challenges throughout their lives. So, what is it I’m missing about WHAT Aspergers is, WHY it is different, & HOW Aspies are different from others considered “normal”? If you were to ask me, I’ve always thought those of us who “think differently”, who focus & see things others don’t, & usually have innovative answers no one is asking for or want to hear – are the “normal” ones. I’ve always defined “normal” are those having an open mind, making decisions based on what is best for all involved, and not having harmful intent to anyone or anything else living. Not “normal” is someone who thinks they are so special they take advantage of others in any way, shape, or form they can get away with no matter if it causes harm – which is a good portion of the earth’s population. Thanks for reading all this & open to responses…..Signed, Confused

    • Melissa says:

      I became very interested in Aspergers, autism when my husband discovered that he very much fits this disorder. (We do not have the finances to have him evaluated at this time.) I began reading articles and took the online test myself, and I realize I may also be on the spectrum. That said: I can definitely relate to you in that I have always struggled hard with relating to others, greatly to my detriment. I am 28 years old, and I think I’ve had more than 20 jobs! I literally get overwhelmed when trying to organize all my past employer information into a resume. Remembering it all to fill in applications is also quite difficult. I don’t understand society in general: I give and give to an employer, as well as the people I’m closest to, but I don’t get anything in return. I’m never respected as a real person. I can’t get paid enough to really live on. I try and try, but people see my weakness and even turn me against myself! My husband worked his butt off for five years at a company who played him barely anything then discarded him because he was a natural leader, and his supervisor was a lazy heffer who felt “threatened” professionally. Forgive my lack of structure in this post. But yes: it is frustrating trying to fit yourself, a proverbial square peg, into a round, mass-produced hole. Especially when the shape-sorter itself picks you up and repeatedly smashes you against the ground. Sorry if anyone finds this excessive or incoherent.

  • Pat Valente says:

    I took the Asperger’s test at least 4 times, and the average score is 35. My mother carries the gene in our family, and I am the youngest of the 4 of us kids who have Asperger’s; one family member is a brilliant professor with the condition. I have moderate to above average intelligence and like to work with numbers, write letters and to some art, such as making simple jewelry and do some drawing or painting. I am not very good with telephone contact or inviting friends over to my place.

  • Pat Valente says:

    I would like to add I hold a two-year degree in art plus some accounting units, yet I am unable to obtain or hold gainful employment in my late fifties.

  • JD says:

    My Dad says he has a shade of Aspergers. My brother had “mental problems”. I scored 35 on the test and I’ve been worrying about my mental health for a while. I have a degree and have accomplished many unsuccessful, short burning creative projects. I have a strange personality and can’t get on with people in a mainstream working environment so I end up going round and round on projects which fail. Help?

  • Per says:

    My son was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was four. I spent the next fourteen years with my wife focusing on his social skills needs and during this time of watching him grow, I saw a lot of idiosyncrasies that I recognized from my own childhood. He is now in college and doing very well and I am immensely proud of him. I learnt not too long ago after taking this test that my own scores are within the Asperger’s spectrum and I know that I have never been within the mainstream. This made me wonder about my own father who was a highly decorated person in academia, but had all kinds of peculiarities. Most in his field described him with the wide brush as brilliant, but ‘eccentric’. Much of what I have learnt about Asperger’s leads me to believe that he was on the spectrum as well. He did live a successful life and accomplished a lot, but I can just imagine some of the personal struggles he must have had throughout his long life and nobody who understood him.

  • FRED says:


  • Jess says:

    In my family it would appear that it is hereditary and I also question if it is autoimmune.
    It is a disorder that can be traced back to my father’s father. My father was never diagnosed, but I have no doubt that he was Asperger’s. I am borderline Asperger’s, my son is Asperger’s, my brother is Asperger’s, my brother’s oldest son is Asperger’s and has ADD and dyslexia, his two son’s are autistic.
    I can tell by looking at a child’s eyes when they smile that they are either Asperger’s or Autistic…has anyone else noticed the sharp points at the corner of the eyes of an Autistic child?

  • Christian Hartleben says:

    I believe autism and other traits, long thought to have been genetic, are not the consequence of incorrect DNA sequences. Besides genetic inheritance, there is epigenetic inheritance. Epigenetics concerns the markers which attach to and cover areas of the surface of DNA, to enable or prevent specific genes from being transcribed at different times over the lifetime of a cell line, producing different kinds of tissues.

    A mother and a father each lay down a complementary set of epigenetic marks upon their DNA contribution. The older the parents, the more likely that the accumulation of toxins will have affected the process. If toxins interfere, the resulting developmental abnormalities may be minute or catastrophic. A mother or father’s missing epigenetic mark will have less consequence on her son or his daughter’s development; however the missing mark will have full consequence when it lands on grandchildren of corresponding sex.

    The more markers which fail to be inherited, the more severe the potential problems. Specific childhood cancers can be a consequence. For certain kinds of markers, once a family’s genetic line has lost that epigenetic information, their cells will never have means to restore themselves. The only remedy is for that gene to be replaced by someone marrying into the family.

    Toxins in your mother’s mother’s body, while she was gestating your mother, may have directly affected the epigenetic fitness of your mother’s eggs – and therefore, you. Epigenetics is a new and complicated field, but ultimately the findings must agree with the hard truths we know about the toxins that must be avoided to have a healthy pregnancy.

    With news like “Autism Risk Higher Near Pesticide-Treated Fields, Study Says (Lindsey Konkel, Environmental Health News | June 23, 2014) “, a family who has lived for generations and suffered near areas of heavy pesticide application can use the framework of epigenetics to examine the possibilities of non-genetic inheritance in their family history.

    Another fascinating insight of epigenetics is that sexuality and the development of gender identity are strongly influenced by a protein which is epigenetically vulnerable. Homosexuality is primarily not genetically inherited, but partial loss of that protein means there will be more diverse possibilities to form the developing fetus. Some percentage of homosexuality is a statistical inevitability without epigenetics (stochastic, but that’s a word I barely understand). With the removal of key epigenetic markers, the likelihood of alternate developmental pathways increases.

    “And so it goes,
    go round again;
    but now and then
    we wonder
    who the real… men… are…”
    – Joe Jackson, “Real Men”, from the album Night and Day (1982)

    PBS’ NOVA aired their epigenetics episode, “The Ghost In Your Genes”, in 2006, and so much has been discovered since. It is a shameful thing, in the year 2014, that scientists and educators have been unable or unwilling to explain to the people, how epigenetics seems to operate, and what that says about who we are and who we must become to form a loving and virtuous society.

    Too many self-important scientists still search for the elusive, damaged gene supposedly behind the disease they seek to treat. I think many of them will continue to bark up the wrong tree until they retire. When DNA is responsible, we are often capable of identifying the misspelled gene; but when the DNA is not responsible, when the inheritance is epigenetic, we continue to fund a search for genetic typos and deletions which don’t exist.

    Epigenetics is as a curse inflicted upon our human family tree. Are we “Real Men” and “Real Women” enough to embrace these merciless insights? Or will we remain ignorant, ever falling further from our epigenetic grace?

    My best wishes to you all,
    Christian Hartleben

  • How can I explain it to my autism psychologist that autism is hereditary as I was trying to explain to here I feel more Asperger’s than of Autism and if I have not got Autism and Asperger’s in the first place as they can not scan my mind I might as well be diagnosed with Bipolar type illness on the Bipolar Spectrum as I enjoy going out on a spending spree spending my money shopping and always get highs and lows just like Chase in America on youtube.

    I remember a time when I was hearing voices down the hallway at my old property that I had lived at saying EVP “Richardson” even the old house was hunted or I was hearing voices in my head saying this I look down the hallway and no lady was in the hallway I had thought that I had left the door open and a neighbour had walked in I could have written a book writing this.

    What about the lucid dreams that I had told the Autism Psychologist of the spiritual dreams where people on the Bipolar Spectrum had experiencing? and the thoughts of is this lucid dream is vivid could this be Bipolar 3 Disorder I would not want to wait till it go up to Bipolar 1 as this one is the more server form of the illness and I would have the suicide thoughts with Bipolar 1 than with not level 2 or 3.

    I had this dream of my higher self pulling my arms above my head and I had feel this in my lucid dream I try to control it and it and I can’t control this lucid dream the double of me was trying to hold my arms at the back of my head and was pulling on them. The next morning in bed I woken up with a bad arm and that was weird as I was dreaming of a double of me was doing this to me in my lucid dream it was horrible.

    I also dreamt of a lady devil looking down in my bedroom in my lucid dream she said “I am a Egyptian goddess and I am putting an evil spell on you it was so real and vivid I could not sleep back in my bedroom the next night.

    the voices and also an elucidations of a spider which has never appeared this was in my childhood days and they said Bipolar and other mental illness come and go’s.

    Richard Bealey
    Exeter UK

  • fil says:

    Pretty sure it runs in my family. My third child, second son, diagnosed as a teenager, fourth child, also a son, but much younger, being tested right now, me being tested (I am a woman so have managed to disguise it quite well and only when second son was suggested to have it did it occur to me that I have it too) as well.
    Made me think about my family. Think my second child (also a boy) probably has it to a degree, and my aunt (on my mother’s side) and her father’s brother had it.

  • Jai says:

    My father, my brother and I all have Asperger’s. My husband (11 years older than me) is considered slow (raised in 1960’s and 70’s so no definitive diagnosis but he is a firefighter and very good at it although has trouble with the math). We have 4 children-one with ADHD, 3 gifted (high IQ) which only 1 of those has Asperger’s. The other two doesn’t appear to have it. Yes, I believe that Asperger’s can be hereditary but also extremely environmental (family, society, etc.). I believe that doctors are very quick to find “reasons” why children act they way they do to appease parents’ lack of parenting. For instance, the differences between my son and a neighbor’s son (taking in to account no two people are the same) are very clear. Whereas I “discipline” and teach my son, she prefers to have everyone else “discipline” or teach her son. As long as someone else can do it, she’s happy. She didn’t even know what Asperger’s was until she found out my son had it. She uses excuses such as “his mental problems” and twirls her finger up by her head saying “woo, he’s crazy”.as to why he is the way he is but really? When she states, right in front her son, that she didn’t want a boy, she wanted all girls, I can see why the “other factors” come into play. No one in her family has Apserger’s. I have several in mine. Hereditary, yes. Environmental, definitely.

  • anonymous says:

    I have 2 daughters n one was diagnosed on the spectrum but the other one has been diagnosed with ADHD. I was also diagnosed with ADHD n bipolar 1 severe. My doctor was going to change my diagnosis to AS but the medication would be the same. My oldest is so much like me n a little more. I’m wondering whether my oldest actually has AS rather than ADHD. I know my uncle had it n a few cousins as well.

  • SuzyQueue says:

    My head hurts from reading but I can’t stop because each post I read describes or reads like it was written by someone in my strange, messed-up, broken family. My ex-husband and our two young adult sons all diagnosed with everything but Asperger’s and me with nothing to do on my 50th birthday but sit by myself and read about something that explains why I am, and have always been, a total misfit.

  • SuzyQueue says:

    Test score = 45
    Don’t know if that is good or bad
    Wish I had gotten an even number … never have liked odd numbers

    • Jackie says:

      Funny you should say you don’t like odd numbers as I hate them and will try my hardest to avoid them. I scored 47. The only time I use odd numbers is in art. I’m an artist and in art even numbers are a no no and for some reason this doesn’t bother me as it balances a piece of work out. My son hasn’t been formally diagnosed with aspergers but he thinks that’s what he’s got and I tend to agree although I also think he had ADHD too. I have often felt like a round leg in a square hole and would love to know how I could get tested myself as I think I have aspergers. Does anyone know how to go about it?

    • Tony G says:

      But you did get a number with three factors (3x3x5), not a prime number, “proving” that not everyone “on the spectrum” is the same!

  • Gillian Welsh says:

    I want to know how we can definitely know that we suffer from autism or if it is something else. My son 35 has just been evaluated as having autism spectrum disorder aspergers but when I read the letter that came explaining who they have come to the conclusion was like reading about myself. Never fit in as a child either at home school or anywhere else. Never having a good relationship as I don’t like to much touchy feely. Get things I have to do because I can’t explain to anyone how I would like it. Lonely at times but stuck as cannot go into company easily. I don’t want to ask to be tested myself because I do feel they will think i only want testing because my son has it. Is there anything I can do to find out about myself.

  • Tulip says:

    My brother-in-low has few traits of Asperger, but was officially diagnosed with it. My husband and I don’t. except my brother-in-law, there is no one else in their family or my family that has Asperger or Autism. If we have a child, do you think he/she has a higher chance of having Asperger/Autism?


    • G Lohmann says:

      I tested 45 on the AS test. Have known basically since the diagnosis became more clear in the early 90’s that I have it. IQ has tested 160-220. I have been highly successful, and because of my intelligence have learned many coping systems. I am bothered by symptoms to this day, and daily try to control utilizing multiple therapies. I believe, as does my daughter, that she also has it. I am pretty well convinced it is X linked dominant. If I had sons, they would not have it. To reiterate symptomatology would be a waste of everyones time. We all know what they are.

  • Tony G says:

    So many comments… sorry if this is a repeat of someone else’s. The article did make sense after mentioning Dr Baron-Cohen’s work, but suggesting that “many [genes] may or may not mutate or alter during early development” is the main cause of autism is frankly bad science. Genes don’t just mutate in the first few years of a young life, it can happen at any time. If a gene is recessive it could be paired a dominant “normal” gene in the parents’ bodies, and have little effect. But when eggs and sperm are formed they each have only one of the genes. Sometimes the “autism-risk” genes pair up when sperm meets egg and form a child. And we know that several genes could contribute to autism, and not all need to be paired to do that. Don’t blame the child for everything: parents–including me–have their “accidents”, too.

  • Parry says:

    I can realte to this article relating to autism being hereditary my cousin has a son with regressed autism who is around 4 yrs older than my son who also has regressed autism as well as downs syndrome both my brothers have children with autism one being a girl and the other brothers son who also has autism plus my own daughter has pdd and now my granddaughter who has high functioning autism with adhd running along side it

  • The Cat says:

    Oh, yeah, Autism and Asperger’s are definitely hereditary, whether by genetics, nutrition, or environment, but there is a higher than normal incidence of autism in the children of autistic adults. Point: my mother was Aspie, with a high-functioning autistic brother and an Aspie brother. I have 3 siblings, and myself, who are on the spectrum (I scored a 44), and I have 4 children who have been tested and are on the spectrum as well. There is a question as to whether my elder daughter is, because her doc said “Girls don’t have autism” as if it were a fact and not popular disbelief. I’m trying to find a legit doctor who doesn’t base diagnoses on gender. My brother has one child on the spectrum (Aspies, both) and my other 2 AS siblings have no children. There is no question whether autism is hereditary. Because I don’t have any familiarity with my grandparents’ siblings, and because autism was exceptionally difficult to diagnose for their generation, I don’t know whether the rest if the relatives have any history of the condition.
    Side note, to that guy who thinks that epigenetics are a thing: my grandmother was 26 when she gave birth to her oldest, Aspie son, and 29 when the second was born. She had 3 daughters, the last of which was my mother, at 42. All three showed traits of autism, and only one was diagnosed (at age 40). To say the least, I sincerely doubt that epigenetics plays a role in autism or ASD. However, diet and health do have quite an impact, and a parent who chooses not to take care of his/her body before having a child, is asking for problems overall. Not just autism, which is being massively over-diagnosed, but other, actually more serious, problems and issues.

    Yes, autism is massively over-diagnosed, some people who score below the minimum, but their parents really want that child to be diagnosed as autistic, so the doctors just diagnose the child, even though they aren’t. And the children most likely to be under-diagnosed are female. Those girls with autism or Asperger’s, get diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ODD, ADD, ADHD, and a whole alphabet soup of literally “anything except autism”.

    Okay, tirade over. You may rejoin your regularly scheduled programming.

  • Mollie says:

    My father in law has Aspergers, and brother in law is severely autistic. My husband is fine, but would our children still be in the pool for autism?

  • Ken says:

    Very interesting read, and even more interesting comments. We are currently going through the process of of having our son (8) tested for Autism. In the process we have discovered that I(46) am also Autistic which explains a lot about who I am and how I behave especially socially. Quite an eye opener to be honest.

  • MorganSecret says:

    Definitely. My son was diagnosed with highly functioning Aspergers’ and subsequently transpired his father is on the spectrum.

  • Denise M says:

    “Scientists suspect Autism has genetic component”…and in other news, water is wet! Us aspies could have told them that long ago. They should also look at parents in medicine as well. Since they only started diagnosing it in the 90s when it was included in the DSMV, all of us born before that time (especially women), went without a diagnosis. So all these parents in Silicon Valley are probably undiagnosed. They really need more Asperger folks working on these things instead of NT scientists that can’t see an aspie if one was right in front of them!

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