What Do You Say?

I am about nine years into a relationship with a woman whose older brother and his wife have two children with autism both in their 20's. I once saw someone snap a photo with a digital camera on Christmas day at a family gathering. The young woman was as startled as if you had hit her in the face with a frying pan. The person taking the photograph had no idea that the flash would have such a painful effect on the young woman. I had no idea either. I knew nothing about Autism until I saw a number of TV programs made by the BBC featuring Louis Theroux called Tough Love depicting real families attempting to raise children with Autism and the decisions they faced. The parents knew what effect the flash camera would have on their daughter but did not have time to say "stop" before the picture was taken. The condition is something this couple rarely if ever talks about. I know things must be difficult for them and I am sure that I would feel isolated and overwhelmed by the extraordinary amount of work and responsibility if I were in a similar situation. The incident with the flash camera shocked and startled everyone especially the young autistic woman with extremely sensitive eyes but it was avoidable. The picture was taken by a family member who like me, obviously had little idea of the extraordinary challenges this family faces living with autism. I wish we could talk about it more freely but I do not know how to break the ice. Maybe I should just say "hey, did you see that BBC series by Louis Theroux called Tough Love about the families coping with autism". Even if it does not go over very well I am bound to make a blunder sooner or later.
will999 will999
61-65, M
2 Responses Jan 23, 2013

The exact cause of autism is not known yet..
but if you ask about genetic predisposition, I'll tell you that some people have this genetic predisposition to have autism, but doctors still looking for the genes that may cause autism..
As I know, People who live in wars can also have children with autism, due to the war pollutions like bombs and explosives.
another cause which I know that causes autism is Mercury. when people eat a lot of fish which is polluted with mercury can have children with autism. Mercury spreads in the oceans because of the Leaking of Oil tankers, but that is a little percentage.

'Thank you for sharing us your story..
Actually, autism is a hidden world, It has a lot of symptoms which we don't know about.. I mean everyday we discover a new symptom for autism..
what I'm going to say is this is the first time I hear about "flash camera effects autistics" and I am really surprised, just the way I got surprised when I knew Autistics don't have a dizzy response for all the spinning they get..

but if you wish to talk to the family member who has a little idea about autism, u can buy him a book about autism at first or watch a video or a tv show as you said..
you just have to know, it's important to tell people about something they should know about.. and it's not embarassing!

I am finding it difficult to talk to the parents. The person who took the picture already knows by now that suffers of autism do not cope extremely well with anything unexpected.
PS. I recently heard that the occurrence of Autism among the Amish in the USA is statistically well below the population as a whole. I find that interesting. This may help us learn something about the nature of the disability. It has been suggested that because the Amish tend to live in remote communities rather than main population centres their avoidance of childhood vaccination is higher than in the population as a whole. Is there any evidence to suggest that the disability of Autism is 'triggered' by childhood vaccination? Does anybody know?