No, this doesn’t refer to glob­al warming. 

I’m talk­ing about two recent spec­u­la­tive reports on ‘causes of autism’ I picked up on line.

The first is that there might be a link between low lev­els of Vit­a­min D and autism. Appar­ent­ly there is a rela­tion­ship between Vit­a­min D and brain devel­op­ment. They’re def­i­nite­ly get­ting warmer with this one and it isn’t com­pli­cat­ed to rea­son it through.

Since sun­shine is a ready source of Vit­a­min D just think how many hours a day your infant or tod­dler spends in their day­care – 10 or more? And they go out­side how often in that time? — prob­a­bly not at all. 

Even chil­dren with ‘stay at home’ mums don’t go out­side very much – when did you last see a moth­er walk­ing her young chil­dren dur­ing the day in your neighbourhood? 

You might see an occa­sion­al jog­ging pushchair at the end of the day and you’ll cer­tain­ly see dog walk­ers, you just don’t see ‘baby walkers’!

The sec­ond report I read said that although chil­dren with autism don’t do well on IQ tests some­one has at last dis­cov­ered the type of test on which they can show their intelligence. 

That’s amaz­ing because I have long rec­og­nized that chil­dren with devel­op­men­tal delays seem to have high intel­li­gence and also learn quite quick­ly once you find the right avenue to teach them. 

Some chil­dren are diag­nosed as ‘high func­tion­ing autis­tic’. A friend’s diag­nosed 5‑year-old grand­son is a remark­able soul – a gift­ed pianist already, not to men­tion his oth­er tal­ents and abilities. 

Spark their curios­i­ty and all young chil­dren bring a con­sid­er­able enthu­si­asm and inten­si­ty to what­ev­er they are learn­ing but may burn out quite quick­ly after a short peri­od of time. How­ev­er, their lev­el of inten­si­ty when involved with a new or famil­iar sub­ject can often be way beyond what you might expect for their age. They need to learn in spurts with suf­fi­cient down time built into their days. 

Thus the bor­ing nature of so called ‘normal’ teach­ing makes it hard for such chil­dren to learn by con­ven­tion­al meth­ods. They don’t do well on rote mem­o­riza­tion and par­rot­ing back when asked to ‘perform’ (which is what most par­ents and grand­par­ents love them to do) but they do very well in real world sit­u­a­tions — and I don’t mean at daycare!

So we need to be very inven­tive when ‘teaching’ (and I’m using the term very loose­ly here) infants and tod­dlers well before there’s any pos­si­bil­i­ty of delays and a diag­no­sis of autism. Let’s not assume we all learn in the same manner.

Per­haps if we all start to be inven­tive and imag­i­na­tive in the ways we con­scious­ly ‘teach’ the youngest mem­bers of our soci­ety about their world AND we take them out­side in the sun­shine we will be tak­ing as many steps as we can in the sim­plest of ways to final­ly put autism ‘out in the cold’. 

It’s the envi­ron­ment stu­pid! – it’s final­ly get­ting warmer in the best pos­si­ble way.