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Date of last update: 9/9/2017.

Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: My stepson has autism will my child have it?

 shopgirl11 - Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:12 am

I am a stepmother to an autistic child. He is 12 years old and is very high functioning. He is in school in regular classes and doing very well. He always makes either the honor or merit role each semester. My husband and I have been talking about having a child and I really want to because I do not have any of my own. I have always wanted to be a mother. The only thing I am really worried about is will my child have autism? My husband has told me that his mother drank and did drugs while she was pregnant. She would just leave him in his crib and not work with him at all. He does a pretty good job with most things but he does have a speech problem that we continue to work on. My biggest fear is having another child with autism. I know no one can tell me 100% that the child will or will not have it. I know it is pretty much a genetic lotto. Is there any insight that you can offer me on this. I really wanted children, now I am really scared. I would be heart broken if I could not have children.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:20 pm

User avatar Hello
You are correct that nobody can predict this. We don't know how much is genetic, how much is environmental or interactive. But, as you have seen with your stepson, a diagnosis of autism does not have to be a serious problem for life and with today's knowledge about early intervention much can be done to avoid negative effects. Most autistic children grow up to be productive and happy adults especially with early diagnosis and treatment for social concerns.

This potential problem would not deter me from becoming a mother if that was my goal. 3-5 % of all babies are born with a birth defect - it's a chance we take. Just do everything you can to be healthy yourself, including taking a daily multiple vitamin containing at least 400 mcg folate or folic acid starting before you conceive. Stop any bad habits such as smoking, alcohol or drugs. These can all increase your odds for a healthy baby. But, if you do have a baby who presents a challenge in some way, that does not mean you won't love being the mom to that child. Great rewards come with children and none are immune from problems of one kind or another.

Best wishes.
 shopgirl11 - Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:54 pm


Thank you for the response I agree 100% what you said. I have really done some thinking about it. I have wanted to be a mother all of my life. To let something like this stop me is crazy. We have decided that we are going to try. I can't wait for this chapter is our lives!
 Debbie Miller, RN - Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:23 am

User avatar Good luck in your future plans!

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