Medical Journal Retracts Autism Study

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Postby Martin the Warrior » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:45 am

I have a question, if the vaccine is not at fault then how come the Amish community has no autistic children, we must be doing something wrong. And I don't think it has to do with genes altogether.
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Postby vison » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:56 am

Martin the Warrior wrote:I have a question, if the vaccine is not at fault then how come the Amish community has no autistic children, we must be doing something wrong. And I don't think it has to do with genes altogether.


The Amish community "has no autistic children"? Where do you get that idea? How would you know? Are there data showing this?

Amish children don't watch TV, don't ride in automobiles. So it is just as logical for me to say that "they don't have autistic children" because they don't watch TV or ride in automobiles.

First, I don't know that Amish children are never autistic, and second, if that was so, there could be a dozen reasons. I don't know, and NEITHER DO YOU.



The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
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Postby Cenedril_Gildinaur » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:57 am

Martin the Warrior wrote:I have a question, if the vaccine is not at fault then how come the Amish community has no autistic children, we must be doing something wrong. And I don't think it has to do with genes altogether.


Well, if Dave's hypothesis is accurate, their lifestyle is not one where it flourishes and thus would be bred out.

Some of the characteristics of the autism spectrum may well be evolutionary adaptive traits that enable one to thrive in a more high-tech world, but when someone is unfortunate enough to get too much of these traits they cease to be a good thing and become a bad thing.

I was really annoyed when the new DSM came out. They combined Aspergers under the Autism spectrum, and they failed to include Einstein syndrome even though plenty of other new disorders were added.

Did you know it is now an official disorder if you are suspicious of authority?
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Postby Martin the Warrior » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:47 pm

You want proof here:

http://www.whale.to/vaccine/olmsted.html

You want more proof, I can always pictures of my brother before the vaccines and after.
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Postby Minardil » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:49 pm

Martin the Warrior wrote:I have a question, if the vaccine is not at fault then how come the Amish community has no autistic children, we must be doing something wrong. And I don't think it has to do with genes altogether.



Your question contains TWO fallacies. First, many members of the Amish community DO vaccinate their children. Second, according to Lancaster County health officials, incidences of Autism spectrum disorder among the Amish are about the same as other communities.

http://www.suite101.com/content/autism-among-the-amish-a157559


The idea that the Amish do not vaccinate their children is untrue,” says Dr. Kevin Strauss, MD, a pediatrician at the CSC. “We run a weekly vaccination clinic and it’s very busy.” He says Amish vaccinations rates are lower than the general population’s, but younger Amish are more likely to be vaccinated than older generations.

Strauss also sees plenty of Amish children showing symptoms of autism. “Autism isn’t a diagnosis - it’s a description of behavior. We see autistic behaviors along with seizure disorders or mental retardation or a genetic disorder, where the autism is part of a more complicated clinical spectrum.” Fragile X syndrome and Retts is also common among the clinic’s patients.



I live in Cumberland County, PA, about 45 minutes from Lancaster, and we have plenty of Old Order Amish and Mennonites here too. It is a common misconception amongst people who are unfamiliar with these communities that they eschew ALL modern technology. That isn't true. They stay away from modern labor-saving "conveniences", and the Old Order folk don't have electricity or phones in their homes. BUT while they don't own cars, they'll certainly RIDE in someone else's car to a construction site. Nor are they just farmers. I used to work with an Amish shop that built hydraulic machinery, but they didn't use electric tools in their shop, only pneumatic tools powered by a gas compressor.
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Postby Martin the Warrior » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:57 pm

I DO TO KNOW ABOUT THE AMISH/MENNONITES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My great grandfather was a mennonite and I have friends that go to Lancaster, PA every year, coupled with tons of books I have read on the subject. READ THE ARTICLE IN MY PREVIOUS POST!!!! I WILL NOT BE POSTING IN THIS THREAD AGAIN.
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Postby Minardil » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:03 pm

Martin the Warrior wrote:I DO TO KNOW ABOUT THE AMISH/MENNONITES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My great grandfather was a mennonite and I have friends that go to Lancaster, PA every year, coupled with tons of books I have read on the subject. READ THE ARTICLE IN MY PREVIOUS POST!!!! I WILL NOT BE POSTING IN THIS THREAD AGAIN.


I DID read the article in your post, and the article I linked was written in response to that piece and specifically refuted the points in that article.

My boy is diagnosed with PDD-NOS, btw, and MY anectdotal testimony is that he was exhibiting his symptoms at about 12 months, well before he had his vaccinations at two years old.
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Postby vison » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:06 pm

Martin the Warrior wrote:You want proof here:

http://www.whale.to/vaccine/olmsted.html

You want more proof, I can always pictures of my brother before the vaccines and after.


These items are not proof.

I'm sorry about your brother, but it isn't doing him or you any good to go on and on about this.

Accept him for what he is, try to help him, try to help your parents, and stop clinging to fallacies.
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Postby SeverusSnape » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:28 pm

Martin the Warrior wrote:I DO TO KNOW ABOUT THE AMISH/MENNONITES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My great grandfather was a mennonite and I have friends that go to Lancaster, PA every year, coupled with tons of books I have read on the subject. READ THE ARTICLE IN MY PREVIOUS POST!!!! I WILL NOT BE POSTING IN THIS THREAD AGAIN.



Martin the Warrior. I realize that this issue is close to you and in your family. This is however a debate forum. I can see where no one said anything that would have been outside the norms of debate.

Posting in all caps is yelling. If you do not like what is said, then you do not have to reply at all.

My email is in my signature if you wish to discuss this further.

Thank you,

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Postby IrisBrandybuck » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:10 pm

I just want to poke my nose in and say that the conversation has been interesting. :) I've done a few articles on autistic kids/adults for the newspaper I work for and try to promote awareness whenever I can. My biggest kudos/hugs/best wishes, etc. to everyone who has a child who is autistic or works with the autistic.

On the upbringing thing: I have a friend who has two severely autistic children, now both in their 30s. When she was trying to find out what was "wrong" with her children (she now says their isn't anything wrong with them, they're just different...I like her outlook) she was told by some of the best doctors in the state (Pennsylvania--both Geisinger and UPMC) that she was a "cold" mother or "too loving" (same doctors even!) Finally someone put the pieces together and she said it was such a relief to have a name. It didn't make anything easier, but it still helped.

And I'll add that both of her children showed signs in infancy...the rigidness, the lack of response to their parents, etc. I understand that not all children manifest that early, or in that way, but it was an interesting piece of information to her. She's become quite an advocate in her own way.

Okay, anyway, I don't have any more to contribute, so I'll sit back and "listen" some more. :)
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Postby portia » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:27 am

It is not helpful to the effort to find a cause when people continue to blame a chemical in vaccines, long after that chemical has been removed.

IF there is any relationship between vaccines and autism, and the studies seem to indicate there is not, harping on one chemical only obscures others possibilities.
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Mon May 09, 2011 10:10 am

This was in our paper today.

Detailed study finds higher autism rate

CHICAGO (AP) — A study in South Korea suggests about 1 in 38 children have traits of autism, higher than a previous U.S. estimate of 1 in 100.

By casting a wider net and looking closely at mainstream children, the researchers expected to find a higher rate of autism characteristics. They were surprised at how high the rate was. They don’t think South Korea has more children with autism than the United States, but instead that autism often goes undiagnosed in many nations.

Two-thirds of the children with autism traits in the study were in the mainstream school population, hadn’t been diagnosed before and weren’t getting any special services. Many of those undiagnosed children likely have mild social impairments, rather than more severe autism.

“It doesn’t mean all of a sudden there are more new children with (autism spectrum disorders),” said coauthor Dr. Young-Shin Kim of the Yale Child Study Center. “They have been there all along, but were not counted in previous prevalence studies.”

U.S. estimates are based on education and medical records, not the more timeconsuming survey conducted in South Korea.


This doesn't surprise me. Well, maybe the 1 in 38 is a bit surprising, but not that it is far more common, especially at the mild end of the spectrum, than previously thought.
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Postby Dave_LF » Mon May 09, 2011 10:17 am

I'm not sure it's a good idea to use the same word for both people who are profoundly disabled and for ones who evidently are so mildly affected that no one even realized there was a problem before the psychologists rolled into town.
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Postby hamlet » Mon May 09, 2011 10:20 am

Dave_LF wrote:I'm not sure it's a good idea to use the same word for both people who are profoundly disabled and for ones who evidently are so mildly affected that no one even realized there was a problem before the psychologists rolled into town.


I have a theory that the later would, probably, apply to at last 40% of the human population to some degree.
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Mon May 09, 2011 10:22 am

Autism is a spectrum disorder. There is such a HUGE range of ability/disability it would be difficult to say at which point there would be a 'cut-off'. HOWEVER.. there already are some distinctions... I have a chart somewhere that shows the co-morbid (overlap) in disorders. I'll post it here when I find it.

I think it is helpful because so often children with autism (even mild) are misdiagnosed as something else.. like ADHD and are given medication that is NOT helpful for Autism. Studying those with milder symptoms may also help us understand (and possibly treat) those with more severe symptoms.


Here we go, I posted it earlier in this thread, it's easiest to just quote myself. :)
RoseMorninStar wrote:There are several disorders 'on the spectrum'. Here is an excellent graph:
Image
If one thinks of Autism Spectrum disorders as the arc of an umbrella.. with the most severe impairment (Kanner's Classic Autism) on one end and the other disorders spread out across the top of the umbrella with PDD-NOS on the other side of the spectrum. All in one category.. but with varying degrees of impairment/severity.

You can see how some of the disorders overlap (are co-morbid). So when one speaks of being 'on the spectrum' there is Classic Kanners Autism and what is called 'non-autistic' PDDS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder Syndromes.) which include Aspergers Syndrome, PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-No Other Symptoms), Fragile X Syndrome, Rett's Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. There is some controversy as to whether Tourettes' syndrome should also be included 'on the spectrum'.
Image

Diagnositic Criteria for Autistic Disorder (Kanner's Classic Autism)
A. The criteria for diagnosis is that a person needs a total of six (or more) items in 3 categories, at least 2 from category one.. and at least one from category B & C. They are as follows:

(1.) Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least 2 of the following:

(a) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
(b) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level.
(c) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest.
(d) lack of social or emotional reciprocity.

2. Qualitative impairments in Communication as manifested by at least one of the following:
(a) delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communications such as gesture or mime)
(b) in individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
(c) stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language
(d) lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level.

3.Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
(a) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
(b) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
(c) stereotyped an repetitive mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
(d) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

B. Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years: (1) social interaction, (2) language as used in social communication, or (3) symbolic or imaginative play

C. The disturbance is not better accounted for by Rett's Disorder or Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.

The criteria for Aspergers is a bit different (if anyone is interested I'll post those) and PDD-NOS is when they do not fully meet the criteria of symptoms above or do not have the degree of impairment described in other specific Autism spectrum disorders.

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Postby RoseMorninStar » Mon May 09, 2011 10:54 am

hamlet wrote:
Dave_LF wrote:I'm not sure it's a good idea to use the same word for both people who are profoundly disabled and for ones who evidently are so mildly affected that no one even realized there was a problem before the psychologists rolled into town.


I have a theory that the later would, probably, apply to at last 40% of the human population to some degree.
If you've ever known someone with autism.. even mild autism, you would recognize it as something 'different'.. even if it was something you couldn't quite put your finger on. I believe that many of those with milder symptoms can learn to compensate for their 'disability' especially if it is recognized and treated early. I have worked with many of them.
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Postby portia » Mon May 09, 2011 10:55 am

I believe that intelligence, Autism, ADHD, physical co-ordination and almost every other characteristic one can think of reflects a spectrum from vanishingly mild to totally incapacitating. And that raises the question whether someone exhibiting "autism Characteristics" is properly classified on the autism spectrum. The characteristic may only look like autism, and really be some other characteristic or personality trait.
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Mon May 09, 2011 11:00 am

portia wrote:I believe that intelligence, Autism, ADHD, physical co-ordination and almost every other characteristic one can think of reflects a spectrum from vanishingly mild to totally incapacitating. And that raises the question whether someone exhibiting "autism Characteristics" is properly classified on the autism spectrum. The characteristic may only look like autism, and really be some other characteristic or personality trait.
I respectfully disagree. I know many such children and have worked with a range of these children. If you know what to look for you can spot it a mile away... whereas someone else might just label a child 'quirky'. The danger in saying that it is NOT autism or pooh-poohing it off as 'just a mild difference from 'normal' is that the child may not get the proper help needed to help them cope with their level of disability, whatever that may be.. and allow them to reach their potential.

There is a HUGE difference between someone who is 'shy' and someone who is even mildly autistic.
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Postby Dave_LF » Mon May 09, 2011 11:21 am

portia wrote:I believe that intelligence, Autism, ADHD, physical co-ordination and almost every other characteristic one can think of reflects a spectrum from vanishingly mild to totally incapacitating. And that raises the question whether someone exhibiting "autism Characteristics" is properly classified on the autism spectrum. The characteristic may only look like autism, and really be some other characteristic or personality trait.


Especially when the diagnostic criteria are 100% based on observation of inherently ambiguous behavior as opposed to something concretely neurobiological or genetic.

The problem I have is that until recently, the word "autism" was used only for people with a particular, severe disorder. Now it has become a catch-all for anyone on a "spectrum" that encompasses everything from what is now called classic autism to high-functioning individuals with somewhat atypical social behavior. No wonder cases are on the rise! It may well be that some umbrella term is necessary, but I don't think "autism" should be that term. All that does is stigmatize individuals who arguably don't have a disorder at all.

Further, we don't behave this way in other arenas. I've never been particularly good at sports. But no one's ever tried to tell me that means I occupy the high-functioning end of the physical handicap spectrum.
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Mon May 09, 2011 2:56 pm

Dave_LF wrote:
portia wrote:I believe that intelligence, Autism, ADHD, physical co-ordination and almost every other characteristic one can think of reflects a spectrum from vanishingly mild to totally incapacitating. And that raises the question whether someone exhibiting "autism Characteristics" is properly classified on the autism spectrum. The characteristic may only look like autism, and really be some other characteristic or personality trait.


Especially when the diagnostic criteria are 100% based on observation of inherently ambiguous behavior as opposed to something concretely neurobiological or genetic.

The problem I have is that until recently, the word "autism" was used only for people with a particular, severe disorder. Now it has become a catch-all for anyone on a "spectrum" that encompasses everything from what is now called classic autism to high-functioning individuals with somewhat atypical social behavior. No wonder cases are on the rise! It may well be that some umbrella term is necessary, but I don't think "autism" should be that term. All that does is stigmatize individuals who arguably don't have a disorder at all.

Further, we don't behave this way in other arenas. I've never been particularly good at sports. But no one's ever tried to tell me that means I occupy the high-functioning end of the physical handicap spectrum.
But we DO do.. if someone has dyslexia we work with that whether it is mild or severe. If someone has a lisp or stutters.. they often see a speech therapist. Yes, some people overcome it on their own, but a great many need help. Same with vision problems, for example... if someone has a mild vision impairment that doesn't mean they are not given glasses until their problem is severe. There is a difference between someone who is uncoordinated and someone with a limp.. or the inability to alternate/coordinate the two sides of their body (and therefore unable to navigate stairs). They could all benefit from some extra help, but for some it is necessary for them to function in society.

I have a family member with mild PDD-NOS and I know at least a dozen people with various types of autism.. from severe to mild, and I can tell you.. none of them are 'typical'. That doesn't mean their isn't impairment and that would benefit from therapy. The person I have known with the mildest autism had mild social issues.. but they took things extremely literally. If you don't think that creates problems, you'd be wrong. Or someone who is pedantic and gets 'stuck' and cannot move on in their thinking.. or echolalia and repeats everything. When someone is very literal.. and a literal learner.. for example.. you can teach them numbers from 1-100 but they do not see the pattern that follows from 101-200. They need to be taught those numbers ALL OVER as if they were new and not following a pattern. This is not just a mild difference from 'normal'. These are children who often fall through the cracks and do not reach their potential because people think they are 'just slow' or slightly mentally retarded. You can usually tell because these children cannot look someone in the face.. it is too difficult for them.. they do not play with objects in a normal fashion.

Children with autism often do NOT understand facial cues .. they do not understand anger, sarcasm, or even happiness or understand if they have done something well. They need to be taught things that most children learn through observation and recognizing patterns. They often have difficulty applying something they learned in one situation to another. For example, if you tell an autistic child that they may not play in grandma's purse.. they cannot extend that thinking to the idea of another purse. They are VERY literal.. they see it as only THAT purse. If the person gets a different purse, you need to teach them over again. That is typical even of someone with mild autism. They benefit a great deal from early intervention.
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Postby Lagniappe » Mon May 09, 2011 5:58 pm

I am not surprised by studies that suggest those with some form of autism are more prevalent that previously thought. Having worked with children for years, I have had many pass through my classroom who I am pretty sure could have been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum but were too near the high functioning end to be considered "severe" enough by the system to suggest testing. And, as a teacher, I am not allowed to say things like, "I think your child shows many of the characteristics of a high functioning autistic child. You might want to consult your doctor." Teachers work closely with hundreds of children over a long career. We have a pretty good idea of what typical developmentally appropriate behavior entails - more so than most parents who may only have one child. After a few years, you can spot the outliers pretty darn quick. Veteran teachers would make great diagnosticians... without all those expensive tests. LOL!
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Postby Dave_LF » Tue May 10, 2011 5:35 am

I don't really dispute any of that Rose, but I think ASD has joined ADHD on the list of catch-all diagnoses for troublesome children, and I think that arrangement does a disservice both to the misdiagnosed individuals and to the ones who genuinely do have problems.

And again, I wish they would call it "socialization spectrum disorder" or something in order to draw a clear semantic distinction between the high-functioning individuals and the disabled ones.
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Postby Minardil » Tue May 10, 2011 6:44 am

And again, I wish they would call it "socialization spectrum disorder" or something in order to draw a clear semantic distinction between the high-functioning individuals and the disabled ones.


Well, the problem with trying to draw "clear distinctions" is that Autism Spectrum Disorder is, well, a continuum, a SPECTRUM of severity from mild to profound. There ISN'T a clear dividing point. It's not like salsa, with a couple easily quantified varieties like Mild, Medium, Hot, and Five Alarm Extra Spicy.

My boy Liam is on the spectrum, officially his diagnosis is PDD-NOS. He has speech development issues (but a MASSIVE vocabulary for a 10 year old), socialization issues, sensory input issues, and some areas of other developmental delay. But he is a very pleasant and surprisingly bright little boy. Always happy and cheerful, though he sits at the window watching the other kids playing, and wonders why he doesn't have any friends (except for me of course). That sort of breaks my heart. Adults love him, but kids find his quirks hard to take.
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Postby portia » Tue May 10, 2011 7:26 am

Just a passing thought:

Wouldn't we be better off if we could all appreciate-or even use--these differences among us, rather than feeling we have to "correct," "socialize," "intervene" in such cases. That is a pipe dream, I know, but I still think we would be better off encouraging society to be more accepting, rather than trying to fit squarish pegs in round holes. Square holes are good, too.

I have known a lot of people who did not "fit in" or "function in society." They were all interesting people with things to contribute to their own happiness and to society.
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Postby Dave_LF » Tue May 10, 2011 7:44 am

Minardil wrote:Well, the problem with trying to draw "clear distinctions" is that Autism Spectrum Disorder is, well, a continuum, a SPECTRUM of severity from mild to profound. There ISN'T a clear dividing point. It's not like salsa, with a couple easily quantified varieties like Mild, Medium, Hot, and Five Alarm Extra Spicy.


Most natural phenomena are continuous. The job of language is to sort continua into discrete categories, and these categories are useful and meaningful even if they can't capture all cases. For example, no one disputes that the words "red" and "blue" are useful, even though color obviously occurs along a continuous spectrum and there are plenty of particular colors that are can't be precisely classified because they're right at the boundary between two words.
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Postby vison » Tue May 10, 2011 7:50 am

portia wrote:Just a passing thought:

Wouldn't we be better off if we could all appreciate-or even use--these differences among us, rather than feeling we have to "correct," "socialize," "intervene" in such cases. That is a pipe dream, I know, but I still think we would be better off encouraging society to be more accepting, rather than trying to fit squarish pegs in round holes. Square holes are good, too.

I have known a lot of people who did not "fit in" or "function in society." They were all interesting people with things to contribute to their own happiness and to society.


Up to a point, that's true. But then you get to that point.

If the person involved is happy and content, then that's fine. But in many cases that's not so. I actually think society is more "accepting" now than it was when I was a kid. I knew kids then who were obviously (thinking back) on the austistic spectrum, and they were regarded as "just retarded" or "weird" and one of them committed suicide in high school and another one went on to be the village idiot. Only, of course, he's not an idiot, he's quite clever and lives his own strange life. He once bombed the local power station and remains proud of that, since it was apparently done with great genius and no one could ever really prove he did it.

I know such things are not the fate of all persons on the autistic spectrum. But I also know that while some eccentricities are socially acceptable, others aren't. And if those eccentricities are keeping the person from getting along in daily life, then there is no harm in rounding off those square corners.

I grew up near a family who were and are all very obviously on the autistic spectrum. (Although we all just thought of them as strange, peculiar and crazy - and the theory was that it was because they were English . . . .) Some of them function very well, and since I've known them all my life their little oddities don't trouble me. However, 2 of them have married similar people and one of them now has 2 autistic children, one VERY severe. Pretty well hopeless, in fact, even in this day and age. Tragic. I knew him when he was about 18 months and he seemed like a regular baby although he didn't try to talk at all - that was the "best" he ever was. His mum and dad refused to see that there was anything out of the ordinary about him. Had they done things differently, would he have done better? I can't say, but at any rate, they didn't try.

Social "success" is awfully important to human beings. If rounding off those square corners means that the kid will not be shunned or teased or bullied, I'm all for it.
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Postby IrisBrandybuck » Tue May 10, 2011 8:11 am

And it's possible, vision, that had they tried it might not have done much for him. Unfortunately, at the extreme end of the spectrum, your options are limited...although things are better now than they were even 10-2- years ago.

That's interesting...the entire family? Wow!
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Thu May 12, 2011 10:56 am

vison wrote:
I grew up near a family who were and are all very obviously on the autistic spectrum. (Although we all just thought of them as strange, peculiar and crazy - and the theory was that it was because they were English . . . .) Some of them function very well, and since I've known them all my life their little oddities don't trouble me. However, 2 of them have married similar people and one of them now has 2 autistic children, one VERY severe. Pretty well hopeless, in fact, even in this day and age. Tragic. I knew him when he was about 18 months and he seemed like a regular baby although he didn't try to talk at all - that was the "best" he ever was. His mum and dad refused to see that there was anything out of the ordinary about him. Had they done things differently, would he have done better? I can't say, but at any rate, they didn't try.

Social "success" is awfully important to human beings. If rounding off those square corners means that the kid will not be shunned or teased or bullied, I'm all for it.
I don't have time to reply in full at the moment, but the part of vison's post that I bolded is my concern. If it is not recognized it cannot be addressed. Unless you know someone or have worked with people who are even MILD on the spectrum, it's hard for a person to understand how this affects their lives.. not just socially.. but physically, mentally, and it affects those around them.

portia wrote:portia said:

Just a passing thought:

Wouldn't we be better off if we could all appreciate-or even use--these differences among us, rather than feeling we have to "correct," "socialize," "intervene" in such cases. That is a pipe dream, I know, but I still think we would be better off encouraging society to be more accepting, rather than trying to fit squarish pegs in round holes. Square holes are good, too.
This is a wonderful sentiment, and it would be wonderful if we could be like this, but the thing is.. these people are FRUSTRATED. One person explained it to me that it was like living in a foreign country where everyone spoke another language.. all the signs were in another language.. a language they could never hope to understand. They feel isolated and alien. We would not leave a blind or deaf person alone to just 'figure it out' on their own. For those who are on the mild end of the spectrum, it is that much more frustrating because most often they go undiagnosed and they struggle when they could have so much more potential.. and they do not understand why they are struggling. They often do not have that discernment to see what makes them different. It is also frustrating for those around them because people often think their behaviors are intentional. A little early intervention in many of these cases would go a long way.

One thing I was disappointed about in the article is that it makes a point that there are more children on the autism spectrum than previously thought, but it doesn't say whether they feel this is an increase from the past or just better diagnostics alone. I DO feel that better diagnostics certainly accounts for a percentage, but I also think Autism spectrum disorders are on the rise, and to shove it under the rug as 'normal' is not helpful.
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Postby IrisBrandybuck » Thu May 12, 2011 11:08 am

Thanks, Rose...I missed that particular track in my thought process train. :) I see where, if you live with it, it's "normal." An imperfect analogy would be...when I was growing up, I had a blind grandmother. I was so used to it, I didn't know until I was in my teens that blindness is considered a disability. I just saw it as being part of who she was.

Now, I have a new question. Once upon a time, people with autism were considered "retarded." Now we have a name for what is different for them. Do you think that there will come a day when the different levels on the spectrum will each be classified on their own? For example, "retardedness" is now separated into autism, down syndrome, etc. each with it's own characteristics and uniqueness...these people aren't "retarded" they're different, with different abilities and limitations based on their condition. Could Autism itself one day be further classified? I'm just thinking out loud here about a future we can't see...
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Thu May 12, 2011 11:23 am

I really must be going.. so I'll make this short. Iris, take a look at the graph I posted on May 9.. figure 2 is probably most helpful for your question. Autism spectrum disorders are broken down into categories, and certainly they do not all have levels of retardation. In fact, those with Aspergers have higher than average IQ's.

As for your Grandmother.. good for her. I don't know if she was blind from birth, but I would hope she learned ways of coping with her abilities and disabilities when from a patient person who understood she was blind. If, for example, there were a blind student and no one understood she was blind.. it would be rough going for her if people did not acknowledge that. In fact, when I was growing up I remember a girl who was 'different', she was teased & picked on.. teachers had a hard time with her. At the end of second grade it was found that she was completely deaf. They had been treating (expecting her to be) as if she were a 'normal' child. While I am sure someone who is deaf can learn to compensate, as she must have been doing on her own.. it's much easier--that child would have much more potential-- if the deafness is recognized and that child has someone help her who has training in that area.

Perhaps your Grandmother became blind later in life? At that point she would at least have an understanding of HOW things worked, etc,. etc.. and I am sure people around her compensated by, for example, not moving things she needed to use in her daily life.

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