Anyway, I was addressing the issue of how boys' brains develop in the womb and how their sequence of development makes them vulnerable to autism, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, learning disabilities, language processing disorders and dyslexia. Here are the high points:
The gender of your child is determined at conception by the father. The father offers either an X or a Y chromosome. If he offers an X, you have a female child because mothers only have X chromosomes. (At some point, I'll explain why having two Xs protects women's brains!)
Six weeks down the road, the stage of development is a "blastocyst". Imagine a human being the size of the flat part of a straight pin. Nature rocks.
It's at that time that male hormones flood the male brain. If you are carrying a female, her brain follows a predictable course, a "straight shot to daylight" if you will. Everyone starts out with a female brain...smart, huh?
Think about finding your way to a new restaurant. The directions are complex including taking a tough-to-spot exit off the freeway, a couple of "bear right" moves and four or five turns. The likelihood of you overshooting a street, having to make a U-turn, or heaven forbid, stopping to ask for directions, is pretty strong. Such is the case with the male brain. But, there's no such thing as turning around or stopping to check the GPS or call the restaurant. Once there's a mistake in the sequencing, the process continues to be thrown off. If there's an error early in the development, very significant problems can result or even miscarriage. The later the "mis-direct" occurs, the less severe the problems are likely to be. This complex sequence of brain changes is one of the reasons why boys are:
- 2 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls
- 2-3 times more likely to be diagnosed with dyslexia than girls
- 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls
- 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with a learning disability than girls
The special education rate for boys is twice that of girls. This can be a serious challenge for girls in special education classrooms with boys who struggle with ADHD and problems with social skills. It's easy to see just how many more men than women are in the prison system.
At some point, if you don't intervene, "brain doors" will start slamming shut and he won't benefit from interventions as much as he would have in his younger years. Don't think he'll outgrow it. Remember the question I ask parents to consider..."Can you live with the consequences?" I already know this answer and so do you.
Be bold. Get the answers...