Recently I posted a response to a comment on the vaccine issue (recent scientific studies show no statistical link between immunizations and autism).  I hypothesised that there were many other factors that needed to be considered for the possible causes of the rising autism rates.  One I failed to mention was television.  Cable TV, VCRs, and specialized children’s programming became very popular about 1980, just the time autism rates began to increase.  A new study by Cornell University reports what appears to be a link between children younger than 3 years old watching TV and autism.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended that no child under 2 years old watch TV, this is the first study to link TV watching with a serious complication.  Growing Families International has also warned parents that TV can over-stimulate infants and toddlers who have trouble just focusing on their own hand, a single toy, or a sibling moving around the room, much less the crazy jumble of colors and rapidly changing images of most TV shows.

The findings seem to point to the 2 dimensional objects on TV causing the brain to have abnormal activity in the visual-processing centers (consistent with findings in most autistic children).  While it may be an easy babysitter, Teletubbies and Baby Einstein might not be helping your child that much after all.

Advertisements