Do Autistic Parents Have Autistic Children?

This would be a highly unusual situation to begin with. Although high functioning children with autism or Aspergers can grow to adulthood and lead fairly normal lives, their social limitations makes it difficult to find a mate, but not impossible. In the event that two adults with autism were to marry and have children, well, there really aren’t any statistics out on that subject at the moment.

As to whether or not autistic parents have autistic children, that is also difficult to answer because there does seem to be some genetic link. Enough research has not been completed to prove or deny that autism does have a genetic link, and therein lays the problem. It would seem that children born to parents with autism would have an increased rate of developing the disorder, but without proof that autism is genetic, no one can say for sure.

Additionally, because adults with autism don’t know they have it until they are tested later in life there is no known way of collecting information about the number of children on the spectrum born to these adults. The majority of children on the spectrum who were diagnosed within the last twelve years have not reached adulthood themselves. Research on the genetics of autism has to continue on without them to find an answer to this question until these children get married and have biological children of their own. Even then, they would have to agree to subject themselves to a barrage of questions and allow their children to be tested for the disorder in order to gain more information.

There have been no known cases thus far of two adults with autism marrying and having children themselves. Obviously, this would be a fascinating case study because two high functioning adults with autism somehow finding their way through the pits and perils and joys and highs of a relationship would be incredible. More often than not, you have one average adult being drawn to the person with autism and marrying them because the average person is able to understand the social awkwardness and help fill in the gaps. If there really was a genetic link between parents and autism, that would almost take a backseat to studying two adults with autism navigate relationship and hold it together. It’s not impossible, it’s just improbable.

High functioning adults with autism are sometimes harder to spot. They can be just as charming and loving, intelligent and funny and unique as anyone else. What sets them apart is that they won’t be able to understand the emotional level someone else is at over a situation, or they won’t be able to understand analogies given. The average adult married to a high functioning autistic adult will be quite puzzled by their partner’s behaviors but often find the behaviors eccentrically charming. There have been a few reported cases where a child was born to a couple and later found to have autism and then the couple was spurned on to test and discover that one of them had autism.

A recent Dateline segment featured one such couple, and they were quite happy. He had the autism and only found out after a child of theirs was diagnosed, suggesting the link. She always knew there was something particularly different about him but didn’t mind. It all worked out for them, and provided a case study for geneticists to look at at the same time.

You should be curious to know these questions and answers:
1). Do Autistic Kids Look Different?
2). Can Autistic People Live On Their Own?
3). Can Autistic People Go To College?
4). Can Autism Be Treated With Medication?

We would love to hear your stories especially from parents of children with autism. You can email your story to Thank you for your time. Have a blessed day! 🙂


  1. Nope! This is not entirely accurate! I would disagree, because I have experience in this first hand. I completely believe there are way more autistic adults having autistic children! Whether or not they have gone on to be diagnosed themselves is the key! And I feel if the study included ADHD and Autism and Sensory Dysfunction and also possibly dyslexic ( like more of a study of the learning challenged) then we would see the pattern show up clearly! We have a genetic predisposion and then an environmental(s) trigger(s) and the huge issues of these nonfunctioning immune systems or improper working immune responses for whatever reasons! As has been stated ” the switch” seems to be turned on in autism! It happened in our home two times! And, yes I know I have Autism ( not on paper, but the PMD said he could see Sensory, and probably high functioning autistic) . I am now in peace with and finally feel no longer “lost” and it is all because of my two special kids! My husband, most likely it seems, falls alongside other family members on his side with ADHD and Sensory and then somewhere on the Autistic tendencies on the spectrum! Also, I can pick out others in social daily contact! My husband and I laugh about the Sensory, or social skills lacking in other special needs families we come across. Because, only, that they seem so very uncomfortable that we do not hide or deny our kids autism or that we do things DIFFERENT. What we see are examples , would be lack of eye contact and very poor book skills, and empathy lacking, and huge social skills dysfunctions! So, what we have constant (more often then not!) ran across is parents that want to stay “hidden” or in denial and refuse diagnosis of the child. Then the public DOES NOT LOOK AT THEM TOO and so they just do not speak of it! There are the parents that expect the system to do it all and to FIX THEIR BROKEN KID. They want the school to do it alone, while they do nothing at home. Although, some will try in small amounts they give up at the first CRASH! Some, get very excited at the $$$ and the kid becomes a profit system for them to get attention and financial support because they have BROKEN kids! We seem to have caused huge conflict and chaos by accepting our ANGELS from God and I feel it is my job to support and advocate for them! But, I also do the medical, school, therapy, all that every day at home for both of them. Each day (365 and 24/7) I am hands on their school work, I basically home school on top of regular school. I have attended all therapy and doctor visits and can tell you their entire medical history as well as any treating doctor or medical file could. We refuse to just let our kids sit in the system and not realize their potentials! We will accept whatever they can accomplish, and only hope for happiness and personal growth to their best each day! Sometimes we see huge, huge accomplishments and we are blown away. We also, often fall backwards and have to try again! The system hopes we do not contact other families and that we stay spinning lost! If we do not share information, these kids wait for support and answers! They wait while each family trudges thru the journey of special needs! I have tons of answers as many families do! But, each day I meet a new family with a new DX child and they are spinning out of control and WASTING PRECIOUS TIME! We set up all these high paid agencies to work with the govt. and the drug comp. and the schools. Where is the agency to put all the families, NOT BY JUST ONE COUNTY, in a community group to get this done!,,,,,,,,,,, It is the kids that MATTER! The school systems do not, and will not have the funds! The doctor’s see your child for five min. And do not have, and did not read a complete and accurate file previous to your visit! Do, not believe that the doctor has the information of current, and take the records with you and be totally prepared. Same goes for he school systems! Know an IEP front and back and be prepared to advocate! Ps, I have seen HELL and I have also seen tons of miracles and then huge almost deadly mistakes in the medical field! Some kids do not fit the system!, Plain and simple! So, we have to have OUR GENERATION change that system!,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  2. i am totally fried. I am trying to get my autistic son in a blended class. I had him in k-garden school all summer with regular kids and he does fine. I do not want him in a broom closet with the school hags. I am trying different medicines for his ADHT but am having trouble zeroing in on the right med for him. I am not certain if this thing is genetic, but if it is it has to come from my wife’s side there are no autistic people on my side. After reading this blog my wife very well may be high functioning aspergers. But I was actually attracted to that, at least in the beginning. What I am discovering there are all kinds of people out there making a paycheck that are supposed to help you ….this autism agency or that therapist. I am finding a lot of consultants and arm chair quarterbacks out there and practically zero doers. I am finding out the hard way that the public school people living off my tax dollars actually don’t do very much. At least most of them, their is the occasional exception….

    1. What part of the country do you and your children live?
      I have a dear friend who is an advocate in Los Angeles for children with autism, for getting the education and services they deserve. Please comment basic if you’d like resources in your area. Best wishes

  3. And yet, if you were to ask an autistic adult where they got their autism from, 80% would answer with a family member. Nathan Selove, an autistic advocate for neurodiversity, will tell you his autism comes from his father, who is also autistic. As I began to look into criteria for autism, I saw a lot of traits and symptoms of not only myself, but my father and even a bit of my brother. My mother and I talked it over and came to the conclusion that my father likely had Asperger’s syndrome, which is now part of Autism Spectrum Disorder. It’s pretty annoying to see articles like this not go to their best chance at accurate information. Since not enough studies have been done, it’s time to actually talk to autistic people. There are plenty of us struggling to be heard, but no one will listen.

  4. I think it’s genetic. I have ASD. My first child was with someone with ASD, she has ADHD. My 2nd child has many ASD traits but hasn’t been tested. My youngest has ASD. My grandson has ADHD like his mother and his sister has ASD.

  5. It is definitely partly genetic. I am an autistic daughter of two parents who would almost certainly have been diagnosed with ASD if they were born today, and traits suggestive of ASD have been observed in my family tree going back to the 1800’s. That just seems like a lot of coincidences to be explained by chance. Personally, I believe that there are probably a lot of autistic parents out there, but most are not aware that they are autistic because diagnostic standards were so different in the recent past. As the current generation of autistic children matures, we will probably learn much more about the heritability of ASD.

  6. My non autistic daughter is engaged to a very wonderful young man who happens to have very high functioning autism. I was curious about how I could be supportive to them and any grandchildren I may eventually get to have. I guess it will remain a mystery for now.

    1. Hi. I am also with a man with quite high functioning autism. but I am honestly worried on the chances that our kids will be the same.

  7. One of my parents is autistic, the other is at the very least broader autism phenotype, and then somehow I’m not. Who wants a DNA sample? 😉

  8. Hi, just so you know, starting this article with “this would be a highly unusual situation … autism/ Aspergers make it difficult to find a mate” sounds very ableist/ biased of you. Maybe edit it

    1. Lol, yeah, wtf. My husband and I are both high-functioning, and we didn’t find it hard at all. Also we’re expecting a child, so there’s your supposed “first known case” =P

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