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Readers Respond: Is Genetic Autism in Your Family?

Responses: 19


Updated January 31, 2010

Does genetic autism run in your family? How far back does it go? Do you have siblings on the autism spectrum? Tell your story!


My mother's father strongly suspected. My father is suspected. Two of my brothers are suspected. One of my cousins has 2 kids with autism One of my brothers has a son with autism I have a son with autism.

Is Autism Genetic?

I am wondering how far back Asperger's might go in my family. My Great Grandmother was a moonshiner during the prohibition. My Grandmother was a severe alcoholic. My mother and a few siblings suffered from Bi-polar or depression including myself. Many have been diagnosed as Hyperactive or ADHD,and now I find out my daughter has been diagnosed with Asperger's. Could it go back that far?
—Guest Kris

sensory autism

its not in my family my boyfriend has sensory autism. he did all his treatments before we met but he has trouble going from hot to cold, i cant move to fast or it freaks him out, stuff like that. theres nothing wrong with him besides that. i love him very much and i feel sad when i can't help him when he has trouble getting used to something. we plan on being together for the rest of our lives and it just starting worrying me if our childern might not have just the sensory problem. no one in my family has experiance with this and i'm scared to talk to him bout it. i would like some advice
—Guest rachel

I think so !

Both my brother (10) and sister (13) have been diagnosed with Autism, same with two of my cousins (6&7), both of which are siblings. Mothers of both sets are sisters.
—Guest Brittnutt

Pretty sure its genetic here!

I have 5 boys, 4 have a diagnosis of autism, the fifth will probably be diagnosed soon also. My brother although not diagnosed would fit Aspergers to a T as would my father. Genetic - yep, most certainly here!
—Guest Genetic here

Middle of three generations

My dad was diagnosed in 1959. My son in 2001. Me in 2009. Have several maternal cousins with Aspie diagnoses too.

Genetic autism

I have two sons with high functioning autism. Broad autism phenotype seems to exist in their father, grandfather. ADHD, anxiety, depression on both sides of family.
—Guest Guest

It does

Me and my paternal grandmother both have high-functioning autism, my father has some minor autistic traits but not the diagnosis, and two of my grandmother's relatives (that I know of) had full-blown, non-verbal autism.
—Guest Sonja

It Sure Looks Like It!

I and one brother are professionally diagnosed with Asperger's. In My Opinion one brother has ADHD. IMO one brother has debilitating AS, and one very intelligent brother I speculate is very good at pretending to be normal. IMO one sister has AS, and one sister has AS and OCD. IMO one sister is bipolar and one sister is a "cat lady". IMO one son has debilitating AS, and one son has ADHD and one is endowed with Asperger's. My father and at least one uncle probably had AS. Several cousins sired by uncles appear to have AS; none of my paternal aunts' children seem to have AS. All I know about my grandfather is that he was an engineer. My wife may have some sort of ADHD; her mother was inscrutable, possibly AS, and her grandfather almost certainly had it. One of my nephews on my wife's side seems to have Asperger's. I cannot judge nieces and nephews on my side of the family because virtually all of my siblings are estranged from each other because they cannot stand each other's company.
—Guest Bill

autism in the family

As a child, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and I also had selective mutism. I think if I were a child today, my diagnosis would be somewhere on the autism spectrum. I also think my father possibly had an autism spectrum disorder. One of the reasons it took me so long to have my son diagnosed (HFA) was because his "problem" behaviors were actually behaviors that I have always had as well. To me, they were completely normal.

Autisn w half sibling

My husband has a 16year old boy with autism, and we have a 5year old neurotypical boy, and now a 2year old on the spectrum.,,Interestingly, they are half siblings..I Have yet to hear much about increased risk research w half siblings
—Guest melissa

no one else, thankfully

My son is 12 and very significantly affected by autism- with no explanation of origin. Neither of his older siblings and none of his multiple cousins have any kind of spectrum disorder, although possible undiagnosed add or adhd. We have watched the latest generation (children of cousins) who are boys very closely- and delayed and spread out vaccinations- and both are over two and developing typically. Whew- huge relief and evidence for us that in our case maybe autism is more environmental and less genetics. Of course his older sisters worry about their odds...even if it is primarily environmentally triggered, the environment isn't getting any cleaner.
—Guest guest

Definitely Runs in the Family!

My youngest son has Asperger's. My husband has one cousin with two sons, one diagnosed with Autism and one with Asperger's and another cousin who has one son with Asperger's. We suspect several more family members have it but are not yet formally diagnosed.
—Guest Wendy

Genetic link(s)?!?

Both my sons have ASD and I had to fight to get someone to see them as I do at home. I can draw a straight line between them and their father; he disagrees. However, to be fair, my grandfather could have been a poster child if they considered it back then. He could create these amazing intricate things from no plans and then couldn't work his own VCR when he finally got one. He had NO social skills whatsoever. So, regardless of where you fall in the ASD debate, I think we do need to consider the possibility that there is a genetic link or pre-disposition. I am waiting to see if others in the family get tested on both sides.
—Guest Sharon

Autism runs my family

I am the proud parent of three beautiful adult children. My youngest, Erin, will be 18 next week. She was diagnosed with sever autism/sever MR/nonverbal/self abusive and a host of secondary needs. I have a first cousin who also is autistic. There are always autism related conversations in our home and at family gatherings. My older children worry about the risks of having autistic children. We talk about what will happen when I can no longer care for my daughter. What will happen when we pass and how that will effect my older children. We discuss how certain family and friends have "disappeared" from our lives. Either they were uncomfortable or scared. How invitations to family gatherings never include my daughter's name and how that hurts and causes resentment with my older children. Blaming someone for her autism won't work for us or help her. Erin has become my focus and I stopped being me the day she was diagnosed. It is about what I can do to make it better for her.
—Guest Lisa62864

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