Kristien Hens

Published On


Page Range

pp. 141-156

Print Length

15 pages

11. Autism and Genetics

This chapter describes how autism is often called an innate, genetic and lifelong developmental disorder. Indeed, since the beginning of the history of autism as we know it, people have considered it a biological disorder. As a result, for the last forty years most autism research was on its causes, and autism still is primarily conceived of as a phenomenon rooted in genetics. The chapter explore the link between autism and genetics and the meaning of genetics. I argue that genes convey a certain image of stasis. I describe epigenetic mechanisms and the concept of epigenesis and challenge the idea that biology and genetics are necessarily fixed and argue that the gap between our biology or genetics and our experiences is not that wide. In this way, we may be able to look at autism as a truly developmental phenomenon.