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Understanding autism
Understanding autism

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1.2 Multiplex families

Given the strong genetic influences in autism, it is not unusual to find families like Charlotte Moore’s or Jacqui Jackson’s, where more than one offspring has an ASC diagnosis. These are known as multiplex families.

Sometimes, when a child is being diagnosed, a parent, or even a grandparent, realises that they too are ‘on the spectrum’. You may recall from Week 3 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   that John Peters received a diagnosis at the same time as his grandsons were being assessed, which helped him to find an explanation for the problems he had struggled with all his life.

Knowing that there is more than one person with autism can make family life less difficult, as the whole family can more easily adjust to living in an ‘autism-friendly’ way. Jacqui Jackson comments on the loyalty that her three teenage daughters show to her sons:

The boys are their yardstick. If someone can't accept them, then that person's not worth bothering with. Rachel had a boyfriend who called them ‘spackers’ and she dumped him pretty quick. The lad she’s seeing at the moment loves Ben, in fact they fall out over him: ‘You come to see Ben, not me!’

(Moore, 2003)