Autism Risk Factors: What you should know


The exact cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is unknown though experts believe that they have found certain factors that will increase the risk. Some evidence exists to show that ASD is developed especially before, during or after birth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that genetics affect the chances of developing ASD. Environmental factors also play a role.

Autism risk factors
Photo Credit: Jewel Autism Center


Genetics play a role in the development of autism. Genetics is one of the autism risk factors. If you have an immediate relative with ASD, you are more likely to develop it too.

Some medical diseases have been associated with ASD. They include genetic disorders such as fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis. The rates of ASD are higher in children with tuberous sclerosis than in those without, as reported by CDC.


The suspected risk factors that exist in the environment are heavy metals and other toxins. Prescription drugs such as thalidomide and valproic acid have also been linked to ASD. When a pregnant woman takes any of these drugs, the child may likely develop the condition.

As reported by the Autism society, researchers are looking for the relationship between ASD and some viral infections or metabolic imbalances.

CDC also reports that children born to older parents are also likely to develop ASD.


Being aware of the environmental factors that increase the risk of developing ASD, and staying away from them can reduce the likelihood of developing ASD though at times, you may not have any control over it. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.