Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Something has been bothering me since our visit with Santa at the Easter Seals. We went and the boys played in the sensory gym for over and hour. The event lasted 3 hours. In all that time, we only saw ONE girl there to see Santa. All the rest were boys.

As a teacher, I work with children with autism, sensory issues, mental illness, ADD, ADHD...and while some are girls, overwhelmingly the majority are boys. What is happening to our boys? What are so many more boys diagnosed with autism than girls?

I understand that there is a genetic link. I have to ponder though: what about the life we are living now has changed, and how is it changing our kids, particularly our boys?

A while back I read the book The Out of Sync Child, especially when I was trying to learn more about my own boys' SPD. It surmised that because kids no longer "worked the field" and got muscular input, or heavy work, sensory issues have started to become more prevalent.

So is it t.v. and video games? Our society has certainly moved to a digital age...people send notes on facebook rather than send Christmas Cards and tweet when they are traveling, sick, or even cooking dinner.

Is it our food? Toxins, pesticides, plastics, high fructose corn much more now than before. Is it what we are eating? Are preservatives, and additives, and chemicals neurologically damaging?

I realize my children were preemies, and a product of infertility treatments. Higher order multiples, IVF, IUI, and an increase in prematurity and the maternal death rate in the US all make me wonder. Is it the way babies are being born, the environment, (NICU) or a combination of both?

Whatever it is, it scares me. It scares me that we are losing boys to the great unseen: that your baby may appear totally "normal" and instead may end up with a host of health concerns. I thought I did it all right: I breastfed, much longer than most. I fed them healthy foods. I sang to them, and wore them and we started therapy asap. But I am scared that the epidemic is more than that: that we are losing our boys to something we have not yet put our finger on. I am scared for what it means for future generations, as well as our generation, if we can't pinpoint what exactly it is.


Alana said...

We actually had a similar conversation at work a few weeks 95% of the ADD/ADHD and autistic children we teach are male. It is a definite change in the last few decades. I agree with you, it is scary that we cannot pinpoint the causing factors.

Catching up...your Santa pics are super adorable! I can't believe how grown up your little guys are looking.

Hugs and Merry Christmas to you and the family!

Sarah Dee said...

I think about this a lot. Even taking out ADD/ADHD and autism, just looking at the special needs pre-school classes, most are boys.

Some of it (IMHO) is that the demads we place on our children are not fair or even apprpriate. My neighbor sends her 4 y/o typically developing son to TUMPS and they want to try all sorts of SPD interventions w/ him because he can't meet the not-appropriate demands placed on him.

The sensory demands our children need to have on their bodies (starting from NICU) don't meet what they get.

Also, I see so many kids get the autism label that would have been just a little 'quirky' even 5 years ago. Girls are more social than boys. So if a boy has social issues past that, and add in a little sensory defensiveness you have the perfect reciepe for autism.

But, that's just my 2 cents. And, thse two things don't explain it all.

*stepping off soap box

tbonegrl said...

Sarah, all but 2 of the kids in their SN preschool are boys. It's not just autism and ADD and ADHD. You are so right!