The Causes of Autism

A Quiet Online Library for Study and Education: Please Mind Your Volume, You're Talking Too Loudly

Mission Statements

  1. To arrive at objective truth regarding the causes of autism.
  2. To arrive at objective truth regarding treatments for autism, based upon factors that may cause autism.
  3. To retain objectivity, humility, and logic that both encompasses yet is beyond scientific research.
  4. To remember that science is limited by the researchers, funding, methodology, people, data analysis, confounding variables, study limitations, conflicts of interest, and other factors that may inhibit the arrival at truth.
  5. To hold and remember that truth is verifiable only by identity with it, and not by knowing about it (e.g., only a cat can tell you what it is to be a cat through its own subjective experience as a cat).
  6. To remember that truth is simple; and what is true withstands the test of time.

Library Rules

  1. Study quietly
  2. Do something fun with your day
  3. Be a light for someone
  4. Share
  5. Subscribe
  6. Read another research study…but quietly
  7. Make me a sandwich (no mayo)
  8. Share the findings of a study with someone (but not in the library)
  9. Make the best out of your life


adding research related to causes of autism

adding research related to treatments for autism

Assisting with Delv ai

something good

a human and an artificial intelligence coming together for other humans

Article summaries posted on this site are conducted with the assistance of an artificial intelligence: Delv AI. Delv AI will provide article summaries, as well as answer questions about a complicated research article. It is a useful tool in gaining a thorough understanding of research, and the Librarian uses Delv AI to gain an understanding of an article before adding it to this website. To find out more about Delv AI, please visit their site.

About The Librarian

The Librarian is busy with books and research. Shhh.

Artwork in this library or on social media sites run by the Librarian is owned by the Librarian.


While the studies in this library shed light on factors associated with autism, it could be a misinterpretation of the diagram, and of this library, to attribute any one of the factors as a single “cause” of autism.

Researchers are always cautious to not claim a research finding points to a ’cause’ of autism. As we can see, many are the factors are associated with an autism diagnosis. Please interpret the diagram not as a definitive tool explaining what the causes of autism are, but as a roadmap regarding what the causes of autism may be. [Admittedly, although considerable, it would’ve been foolish to call this library “The MAYBE Causes of Autism.”]


Scientific research papers will often mention previous research articles various times when that research has multiple findings. For example, a single study can find associations between multiple metals and autism, such as the study by Zhao et al. (2023).

The diagram you find on this site follows the same pattern, wherein studies with multiple findings will be found in multiple areas of the diagram.

The diagram is updated monthly, and will not display latest research added to the library after the last version was posted.

Many individuals want a definitive ‘this causes autism’ answer; however, this is tricky for various reasons:

  1. DSM Issues: The DSM criteria for autism is behavioral; it does not consider physiological factors associated with autism (oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysregulation, toxic metals, etc.).
  2. DSM Issues 2: The DSM criteria are a set of guidelines, a threshold, if you will, for diagnosing autism. However, it could be considered that an individual, young or old, may exhibit a small subset of symptoms of the autism DSM criteria [for example, diminished socio-emotional reciprocity] due to some personal exposure to a factor associated with autism, but not qualify for a diagnosis. Remember, ‘autism’ is just a label for a condition whose parameters (the DSM criteria) are set by humans based upon certain knowledge, and these parameters are subject to change.
    • Thus, could the numbers of people affected by the factors associated with autism be much larger than research, with its specific thresholds, is indicating?
  3. Causality Issues: A single factor may not always lead to an autism diagnosis. Multiple factors may not always lead to an autism diagnosis. Multiple factors may lead to an autism diagnosis in one child, but not in another; what protected the second child? Are there protective factors related to autism diagnosis? Are there genetic factors that could protect a child exposed to multiple factors? Are there environmental factors that could protect a child exposed to multiple factors? What about the interaction between environmental and genetic factors in protecting a child from multiple factors?
    • It is the very fact that a single factor may potentially explain an autism diagnosis in one child but not in another that could impede a causality argument; nevertheless, it may not undermine that single factor’s influence on the diagnosis of a single child. The factors to simultaneously consider are many…