April 28, 2011

What Should Really Be Done For Autistic Children?

bill-gates-1983.jpg
if only he had been diagnosed earlier


Though not my field, my recent experience (N=1) lead me to ask myself, and now you, a terrible question.

There are numerous modalitlies and medications and theories that are used to help autistic children.  You try to find a treatment program that suits the child and the family, and you begin; then ordinary life intrudes: missed appointments, effective medications aren't well tolerated; unforeseen consequences, etc.

So I wondered: given unlimited resources, unlimited access, the best "clinicians" available in the world-- what could be done?  I don't just mean rich parents; I mean someone like the president of the United States, with enough clout to be able to command the attention of anybody he wanted.   What's the best possible outcome? It seems like we should know what that is before we move to a general approach.

For ease of discussion, let's just take the simple(r) case of a high functioning Asperger's boy.  Bill, age 6, has social delay, speech and language delay, motor coordination problems but most major milestones hit appropriately, and no intellectual deficits. Struggles with empathy, with articulating emotions, acts out when frustrated.  Fails the Eyes Test.

Is there a theoretical maximum to improvement?  I can predict remission, "cure," in depression.  Is it possible to take Bill and make him into an adult who would not be detected as ASD on objective testing?  (Let's leave aside whether other people can tell there's "something about him.")

If the answer is yes-- that using the best of the best of all of the world's resources a child can eventually "lose the diagnosis"-- then the terrible question I asked is, does the treatment itself cause even worse damage?

Here are some of the structural problems of the treatment:

0. The diagnosis will make the parents want to try and help the child.
  This is axiomatic.  No parent with access to services will be told their kid has a diagnosis of "PDD" or Asperger's and say, "not interested, let's wait a few years and see how this goes."  Once a diagnosis is made, the psychiatric juggernaut is activated. 

1. The race against puberty.
  That's how long you have to teach meaningful coping strategies before the gigantic burden of sexuality and adolescence hits you in the face.  So let's agree that the majority of the work has to be done in childhood; parents won't wait.

2.  Do you tell the school?
  Remember, these parents do not need the school to access services, they can get them on their own.  Should they tell the school anyway?   We talk about stigma, but the more dangerous and pernicious force is the contextualization of all behavior.  Even if we predict "remission" by age 18, the existent diagnosis of ASD alters how they see him. If the kid fights another kid at recess, it could just be a fight, but it will be impossible for the school to see it as anything other than a manifestation of autism.  The y may not treat it differently this time, but the kid is always going to be operating from a defensive position.

3.  The treatment harms self-esteem.
  Sending a 6 year old to psychiatry and etc is fine, but as the kid gets older and understands the social interpretation of psychiatry, it is likely to be a blow to his self-esteem.  (True?)  And as the kids get older, they may make fun, or just  treat him differently.  Does treating autism lead to marginalization, poor self image, and... depression?

4. The treatment is necessarily ab-normalizing.  The best treatment probably includes different things, e.g. play therapy, social skills group, horseback riding-- again, I am positing access to the "dream" treatment plan.  All of those things take up time.  When does the kid get to watch Secret Of The Kells and play Legos instead of "you only have time for one, we have to get to Dr. Miller's by 4"?  At some inflection point the treatments are taking time, energy and interest away from ordinary activities.  Does he lose by not having them?

5.  Other parents.  Posit again that this treatment works, it makes the kid completely "normal" by age 16-- as defined as undetectable on objective testing.  He has, however, been long identified as in intensive treatment.  When the kid is 16, what parents are going to allow their daughter to go out with "the autistic kid?"  I wonder if parents would much sooner let their daughters out with the "odd" kid (who never got treatment) then the perfectly normal kid with a diagnosis. 

Etc.  Certainly at the low end of functioning services become more valuable, but at some higher end of the spectrum... does intervention cause (un)forseen consequences?

Neither is this a question about "too much of a good thing."  The question is: is the mere activation of the psychiatric infrastructure more harmful than helpful?  If Bill Gates had been diagnosed... then what?


 





Comments

I'll make you a deal.... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 4:09 PM | Posted by sardonic_sob: | Reply

I'll make you a deal.

Cut my daughter a check for 25% of what has been spent on these two children and leave us be. I figure that just half of what one of them got is fair. I also figure that I can use that money to provide her therapy and life assistance for the rest of her life.

I realize I am biased, but I think this is just as good a use of the money as using it to keep them alive and miserable for a few years before their inevitable miserable deaths of congenital heart failure.

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"This is axiomatic. No par... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 4:42 PM | Posted by MJ: | Reply

"This is axiomatic. No parent with access to services will be told their kid has a diagnosis of "PDD" or Asperger's and say, "not interested, let's wait a few years and see how this goes." "

You so don't know the autism world. There is an entire group of parents who do exactly that.

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MJ is quite correct. They a... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 4:44 PM | Posted, in reply to MJ's comment, by sardonic_sob: | Reply

MJ is quite correct. They are at least as if not more common than anti-vax nutjobs, and far more common than chelation therapy ultranutjobs.

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I'm someone who was never d... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 5:02 PM | Posted by pseudonymous: | Reply

I'm someone who was never diagnosed but I believe would have clearly been ASD/HFA - literally no ongoing friendships, no eye contact, obsessive/specific interests like recording license plate numbers on cars, highly formal speech, clumsy, extremely intelligent, other comorbid stuff like tics, etc etc

I believe I've made a significant amount of improvement since around age 20 when I "realized" that this was all abnormal and an unacceptable way to live, went around trying to self-diagnose and find treatment advice, etc. From 20-26 I made rather minor improvements, founded some friendships and a romantic relationship, but was generally still very dysfunctional. Since then I have made what I think are more dramatic improvements, and at 29 now I do not think I would merit a diagnosis

It's been a while since I looked at the research but I hadn't remembered reading about the alexithymia hypothesis, and find it quite compelling and fitting with my own experience. I'm sure most people mature and realize things about themselves as they age, but I have had many profound experiences of... self-revelation? Of realizing I am feeling or doing things with my "self" being only minimally aware of my actions or their underlying causes. For instance I didn't even realize people looked at each other in the eyes until reading about how autistics don't, and I still at times find myself having to make a conscious effort to do so

I have my own scattered, incomplete metaphysical thoughts on some of the reasons behind this and the nature of the self, but I wanted to say that while it's true I no longer have as much time for my obsessive impulses, those impulses are still there and I generally on reflection find them not to be enriching my life in a way I find worth the time

Truly connecting with another human being, falling in love, looking deeply into someone else's eyes and soul, deeply examining my own existence. None of these things I have any memory of being able to do before I made these changes, and playing with fucking legos is an empty robotic existence in comparison

What helped? Trying again and again and again to connect with people (and this required meeting a large number of new people, because I've found it's very difficult to "port back" social skills improvements onto existing/ongoing relationships - first impressions and all that); a real willingness to accept the way my actions appeared to others (this became easier as I got better socially, because I could "look down" on people worse off and extrapolate lessons from witnessing their interactions, which is generally easier than objectively assessing my own failures); and quite frankly hallucinogenic drugs (weed, salvia and especially psilocybin) that helped me examine my self from a different perspective and break through very rigid mental blocks

Throwing this out there because I intensely disagree with the psychiatric establishments view of mental disorders as something intrinsic or unchangeable, and put a lot more stock in self-examination and using drugs for perspective rather than to "correct imbalances", and encourage anyone on the autistic spectrum to try to dig themselves out. Conscious, "mindful" awareness of what your are doing wrong (which you can read on the interwebs), and then try try try to fix it. Fake it until you make it

I'm still nowhere near normal and wouldn't want to be, but I have a far richer existence than before and if I had accepted a diagnosis as "who I am" I don't think any of this would have been possible

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Regardless of how valid thi... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 5:04 PM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

Regardless of how valid this analysis this may be, can we at least admit that what you are really wondering about is whether Sasha Grey trying to be an artist will be more harmful to her as a person than if she just stayed with the normal developmental stages of porn? (i.e. amateur, barely legal, up and cummer, porn star, milf, granny tranny)

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Since autism is such an umb... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 5:26 PM | Posted by RC: | Reply

Since autism is such an umbrella term, these considerations need to be made on a case-by-case basis. But I do imagine it would be helpful to have an itemized list of considerations, such as those which TLP posted, that could facilitate an individualized treatment strategy.

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best photo caption ever.</p... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 5:35 PM | Posted by guest: | Reply

best photo caption ever.

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A lot of these points, espe... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 5:50 PM | Posted by justifiablyanon: | Reply

A lot of these points, especially 2-5, can be translated not just to autistic kids, but to everyone whose brain is wired a bit differently from the Model Normal Brain.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't diagnose and treat people who are suffering from mental disorders. But too often, once someone's got a Diagnosis-with-capital-D in their files, health professionals/teachers/etc. rampantly pathologize ALL behavior:

We talk about stigma, but the more dangerous and pernicious force is the contextualization of all behavior.

This. Exactly this. Sometimes behavior that troubles others IS reflective of a disordered psyche. But sometimes, extreme behavior (even in "crazy people") is an appropriate response.

One of the first things that you learn when you enter the realm of the Officially Crazy is that your perceptions, your thoughts, your experiences, are intrinsically not as valid as those of others. Because you are Crazy and they are Not Crazy. This is probably a good thing to learn if you are suffering from psychotic delusions or hallucinations, but it can become problematic if there's nothing egregiously wrong with you except a nice little dose of PTSD. Because yeah, maybe I get anxious. Maybe I flash back, maybe I get a bit hyperreactive to ordinary stimuli. But damn it, I still have a perfectly good voice and sometimes the things it says make sense.

And sometimes the things I have to say which make perfect sense aren't the things that others want to hear. It's so much easier to chalk it up to crazy and write it off. It even makes you feel a little bit good about yourself, doesn't it? "Oh, that poor thing, who can blame her after what she's been through? Look at how nice I am, overlooking this thing she said." And once enough people pull that stunt, even though you KNOW that your response was normal and doesn't need to be second-guessed (and you've learned not to trust yourself: you only know when you've double-checked with your therapist), you internalize that message: Your thoughts don't count. You are your own unreliable narrator. It's a bigger violation than any rape ever was. And that's why I keep my own personal Diagnosis well under wraps now, even to my closest friends and family.

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I can predict rem... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 6:48 PM | Posted by asdf: | Reply

I can predict remission, "cure," in depression

I don't recall ever seeing you respond to a reader, TLP, but having spent a good bit of dough on talk therapy for depression (no effect) and tried a couple of meds (harmful side effects only), is that for real? I know a few people who think meds have done them a lot of good, but they're still screwed up. They're not "cured".


Back on topic, what justifiablyanon says, above: Once you've got a diagnosis, everything you do is presumed pathological by anybody who knows about it. As information about you becomes increasingly permanent and pervasive, frankly, it doesn't seem like a good idea to have something like that in any official records anywhere. Yes, HIPAA has pretty strict stuff about Protected Health Information, but laws regarding access to the information can and will change to suit the desires of any industry that can afford to buy a few congressmen. That's a group that includes precisely nobody who can be relied on to act in your best interests, or even to give them a moment's thought. Databases are like a gun in a Chekov play, or a bottle in a drunk's liquor cabinet: Assume they'll be used.

In ten or twenty years we may regard a past psychiatric diagnosis as equivalent to having naked pictures of yourself on the internet: There's no way to take that stuff back. But it would actually be worse, because everybody understands that everybody's naked now and then, but very few people are "crazy". Or "in danger of harming themselves".

On the other hand: Sometimes, there's no option but to go to the professionals. If your child is seriously autistic, the child desperately needs help, and the diagnosis will be the least of his or her worries.

But the case TLP is talking about, a nerdy kid who's functional, don't ever let the goddamn professionals hear about it. They'll just screw him up and give him excuses to fail. You'll have some extra work to do, teaching him to work around the deficits he's got. Not a huge deal. He'll never be as "normal" as everybody else is, but nobody else is either. He can be happy and successful.

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Doc...doc...doc...... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 6:52 PM | Posted by Arctic Silver: | Reply

Doc...doc...doc...

we really need to talk.

My son is very much like Bill (you don't mention stims or other classic autistic behavior but I assume Bill has them too), so this is a subject close to my heart.

First of all...YES! Intervention at the higher end of the spectrum has consequences. No intervention has consequences as well. I've seen both.

While too much intervention may turn a potential Bill Gates into a Risperdal popper on disability, no intervention can be just as bad in terms of independence and functionality later in life. The secret is...how much intervention?

0: When the first diagnosis was made, naturally we hoped that therapy would help. Forget it. Unless you know for a fact they have tons of experience with autism, you're much better off taking your kid for a walk at the park.

1: Puberty is extremely important for autistics. In tech speak: the kernel gets recompiled. Big time.
If you want him to have a fighting chance, one of the parents will have to stay home and do the dirty work. Like Thomas Edison's mom did.
Or they are making so much money that they can afford a speech/occupational therapist for a babysitter like Catherine Maurice did.

2: You can get away with not telling the school... but chances are they WILL notice something is wrong and will browbeat you into getting services. Accept the classroom aide but spit the Ritalin. He may be of the 29% which do better on it, (study by 27.000 parents download the pdf, quite an eye opener) but do you really want to take that chance?

Now, some parents actually make a big deal out of it and have a big coming out event during parent evenings. Not my cup of tea. Tell the teachers if you must but the rest should be strictly "need to know basis". They will find out from the grapevine and treat the kid like a leper the first couple of years anyway.

3:Yes, it harms their self-esteem. Take him for a swim instead. Don't take him to the docs unless you really must. (Sorry doc.)

4: No, Bill does not lose by not going to Dr.M...he wins. Bills need a lot of downtime after school anyway, to prevent autistic meltdowns and keep them from shooting their brains out later in life. 4 hours outside for Bill with friends = 8 hours of occupational therapy.

5: One thing I learned about other parents. If Bill is good to their kid and has a minimum of manners, they'll give him a chance. And the best way to raise a sunny natured autistic is when the parents run a stable household with good routine, try to have a normal social life and don't overload him with treatment. Yes he'll be known as that kid but eventually it becomes part of the scenery.

PS. That's assuming mobbing is not a huge issue. Some of it depends on character and some of it depends on how Bill is raised. The more he's allowed or even encouraged to have a childhood like most kids do, (TV, Wii, Lego, etc.) the better his chances at eventually finding friends who like the same things.


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Aye, yes. I've been ... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 7:09 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Aye, yes.
I've been bashed with the crazy diagnosis stick, and one of the most disempowering and shocking things about it, is how people instantly don't even take you seriously, don't listen to you, dont view you as a person with rational thoughts that mean anything. If someone thinks you're nuts, they treat you like everything you are saying is potentially crazy.

Its strange to go into a doctors office and see that plastic smile with teeth nodding, eyes behind which are thinking "what a psycho biposchizonut"... it feels like having no voice, it feels like yelling into an abyss. No matter waht you say, no one listens.

Then you leave the office, go into the real world where no one knows/thinks/called you a biposchizonut and you have a voice again.

Very disempowering, strange.

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Ah yes, nothing like bill g... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 7:16 PM | Posted, in reply to guest's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Ah yes, nothing like bill gates giving a come hither stare while resting on a 1980s computer with prototypical windows.

Fabulous, fabulous.

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Ok, now that I simmered dow... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 7:37 PM | Posted by Arctic Silver: | Reply

Ok, now that I simmered down...

is the mere activation of the psychiatric infrastructure more harmful than helpful?

I would say more harmful than helpful. Unfortunately we had no option, it was too severe to hide and a diagnosis was the only way to get the one service which does help him. The only thing you can do after that is damage control.

Did it kill his chances of turning into a Bill Gates? Probably. But then again, no where in Wikipedia does it say that Bill Gates needed an aide in order to successfully attend school.

Btw my kid knows he has some kind of a disability but doesn't know exactly what. We never made an issue of it at home.

We were at the store the other day and he saw an obviously lower functioning autistic girl going by with her mom. He pulled my hand and told me "She's like me!"

Moral of the story:

* Even with out a diagnosis, they know. So might as well make use of the few good things about the psychiatric infrastructure.

* While we're here fighting about higher and lower, they've long accepted both under the same umbrella.

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I joke that if I'm not alre... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 9:27 PM | Posted by Daniel Reeders: | Reply

I joke that if I'm not already on the spectrum, I'm definitely on the on-ramp. So I wasn't the kid with autism, but to my peers and teachers and friends' parents, there was "something" about me, and I ended up with pretty much every negative consequence you attributed to psychiatric treatment. As a child, my mum sent me along to counselling with some very good therapists, and spent the whole time furiously hiding from them because it was invasive and unwelcome. But I came good eventually - when I left home, took control for myself, processed all that childhood weirdness, rebuilt my self-esteem. N=1, YMMV, etc.

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I have a question (and it a... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 9:55 PM | Posted by noob: | Reply

I have a question (and it admittedly may be a stupid one):

Alone mentioned play therapy. Has there been any research done on letting ASD kids (i suppose for arguments sake falling within the same standard deviation) play with each OTHER? i've heard of using animals, and yeah that goes along with the whole Temple Grandin hypothesis,...but if that's true, shouldn't they be able to empathize with each other? (again, before i get flamed, i admit my own lack of knowledge on the subject)

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also, Alone's question abou... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 9:57 PM | Posted by noob: | Reply

also, Alone's question about early treatment leading to even MORE dysfunction kind of reminds me of Brenda in Six Feet Under (although the portrayal of stereotyped psychoanalysis in that show has got its own problems). personally, even as an ADULT, one bad interaction with a psychiatrist has rippled throughout my entire life.

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Aspergers is a medical diso... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 10:05 PM | Posted by No Aspie Doctors: | Reply

Aspergers is a medical disorder: keep Aspire out of medicine!

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"Has there been any researc... (Below threshold)

April 28, 2011 10:38 PM | Posted, in reply to noob's comment, by MJ: | Reply

"Has there been any research done on letting ASD kids (i suppose for arguments sake falling within the same standard deviation) play with each OTHER?"

Children with autism ignore other children on the spectrum just as well as they ignore "typical" kids. If anything interacting with another child on the spectrum is be harder than a "typical" peer because neither side is able to facilitate the interaction.

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Insightful as this may be (... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2011 2:22 AM | Posted by Guy Fox: | Reply

Insightful as this may be (and it is), the problem seems to be that almost nobody understands that 'normal' refers to a measurement, not to a value (in the, er, normative sense, that is). If you can get people to think of normal the same way they think of mode, median, spread, average and other descriptive measures instead of a virtue in itself, I'll buy you a double rum.

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noob: In my experi... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2011 4:23 AM | Posted by Arctic Silver: | Reply

noob:

In my experience, one of the best things one can do for high functioning autistics is mainstream from the earliest age possible.

Depending on severity some will need a personal aide to go through with this but it's well worth it. Like the doc has said in the past, sometimes you have to fake it until you make it.

Placing a HFA of average or higher intelligence in special school won't do them any favors whatsoever. Actually, this applies to the higher end of any disability. If one must homeschool then social interaction with "average" peers must be No. 1 priority.

This may seem harsh when they are young but as a parent you can't afford to only think of the now. You must also consider what will happen after you are dead and gone. Connecting with other autistics isn't really that important until they are much older anyway.

So-called "normal" kids benefit as well, by developing higher social intelligence and tolerance. The smart ones will make it no matter what. Those who struggle and blame it on Bill will have struggled anyway.

And when some those so-called "normal" get their own bundle of autistic joy later on, maybe they won't fall apart quite as bad as some of us did at first.

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Alone's response: Agreed... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2011 9:37 AM | Posted by Alone: | Reply

Alone's response: Agreed. That's why I'm using the very general definition of normal as "not detectable on objective tests." Frankly, I don't even know what those tests are, but I have to assume there are some. I didn't include a psychiatric interview because I think a human can intuit that something is amiss, but I wanted to hypothesize a kid who was diagnosed on testing (scored well below the normal range), went through treatment, and then on further testing he scored well within the normal range.

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"I've been bashed with the ... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2011 11:08 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"I've been bashed with the crazy diagnosis stick, and one of the most disempowering and shocking things about it, is how people instantly don't even take you seriously, don't listen to you, dont view you as a person with rational thoughts that mean anything. If someone thinks you're nuts, they treat you like everything you are saying is potentially crazy.

Very disempowering, strange."

I had seen 12 psychiatrists over about 15 years. Except for two I don't think any of them looked at anything I said as something other than a symptom of some underlying pathology. And if I ever had a question about their treatment recommendations, or something they said that was either self-contradictory or contradicted something another doc said, I was treated as if I could not possibly understand their logic. Even the act of questioning seemed to be viewed by them as troubling. I don't get this from docs in other fields (who don't know of my depression), other professionals, or really anyone for that matter. So I stopped going three years ago.. thankfully have not had any problems since.

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Treatment ends at diagnosis... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2011 5:45 PM | Posted by Sfon: | Reply

Treatment ends at diagnosis. Once someone has been diagnosed, the "disease" will become the focus instead of the person. It works for syphilis, but this isn't syphilis. People are complex, difficult to help. Most simply don't have the intelligence to do it with or without psychiatric training, including most psychiatrists. A list is simple.

The ideal treatment for mild autism involves intelligent care with no diagnosis. No insurance would be needed in this fantasy superwealth/status-enabled treatment. Diagnosis is only needed for insurance and controlling schizophrenics. Any psychiatrist that relies on diagnosis for any other reason either cannot do their job, or refuses to.

Little stigma due to no labels other than "odd, needed X treatment". No time wasted treating lists instead of people. No drugging them up as a cop out and way of milking the system with all the useless maintenance appointments that go with it. Nothing done that isn't efficient and very specific to that person's needs. Maybe for them it'll take moving so they would have easy access to other kids, empathy lessons, and being told to get out and play with others.

Can the psychiatric machine, with its reliance on cop-outs for both doctors and patients, be a part of that? I suspect not.
Could the most intelligent psychiatrists be a part of that, ones who can deal with human problems on human terms? I suspect so.

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I think that dysfunctional ... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2011 7:10 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I think that dysfunctional people, attempting to pigeon hole kids who don't act in the same dysfunctional way that parents have come to expect, diagnosing and treating children, is child abuse. Frankly. we live in a world inhabited by crazy cats. Throw a newborn cat into the population, and that cat also turns crazy. But sometimes, just sometimes, a cat thrown into the loony bin of the population, doesn't turn crazy. And of course the population turns on that poor cat.

FWIW. Assbergers, ADD, Autism. Some of the greatest human beings ever had these so called "problems"

Just something to ponder. Good day!

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What I would do is raise th... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2011 11:13 PM | Posted by daedalus2u: | Reply

What I would do is raise their basal NO/NOx level and allow neurodevelopment to resume on a more normal pathway. There is more on this on my blog.

Mainstreaming is extremely important, both for the person with the ASD, but also for the NTs, so they can have sufficient exposure to ASDs to be able to recognize them as human beings. Otherwise they can't.

It is extremely important that this mainstreaming be done in a safe and non-bullying environment. There needs to be zero tolerance for bullying by NT children and by NT adults. Many NT adults are not able to appreciate that they are bullying ASD individuals. There is more on this on my blog too.

You have to appreciate that the bullying that ASD children experience is actually killing them and preventing their social development. Bullying and social ostracizing is as damaging to them as physical assault would be.

The “dream” treatment would be raising NO/NOx/RSNO levels and having them interact socially with developmental-age appropriate NT peers plus some that are younger and some that are older. But under extremely safe and protective conditions. A treatment analogous to what was used to rehabilitate the motherless monkeys that Harlow generated. They could be rehabilitated with “therapist” monkeys that were younger. My explanation is that exposure to the younger monkeys would re-entrained developmental pathways (high NO would facilitate this).

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"here needs to be zero tole... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 1:09 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"here needs to be zero tolerance for bullying by NT children and by NT adults."
There needs to be zero tolerance for only one thing: zero tolerance. How can be all not know this by now? How can anyone still think zero tolerance anything is a good idea? It makes me torn between hating humans for how selfishly they write rules for each other and feeling they are not even worth that.

"Bullying and social ostracizing is as damaging to them as physical assault would be."
The NTs might be damaged or even kill themselves over it but they can go screw themselves. They don't have a label to make them important, sadly.
As a non-NT in an abusive household, bullies were critical for me. The combined pressure was horrible for a long time, and due to my nature it made me a doubly easy target. But in the end some of the most important lessons I learned were from being bullied.

There are only two ways to do what you say:
1. Separate the ASD kids.
2. Don't separate them, but treat them as if they can do no wrong.

You cannot realistically implement anything else. It is not pleasant to admit, but true compassion doesn't shy away from important truths.

You don't want them to learn how to be human, which can only happen through struggle, failure, and the drive to hold oneself up to normal standards whenever possible. You want to protect them from learning. You are the enemy of not just ASD kids but of every child.

The most severe thing that happened to me as a child was not the sexual abuse, physical abuse, or the neglect. Those include periods of starvation, being beaten for crying until I stopped, and being hit so hard as to cause memory loss. No, it was the psychiatric abuse that fried my emotional wiring. My father wanted me drugged to make having an abused, mildy autistic kid more convenient and they were more than happy to oblige. Meanwhile, other adults like you were determined to protect me from reaching out for any opportunity to grow and learn. All while refusing to protect me from anything truly harmful.

Having been put on drugs when I was eight, I suspect that no amount of time off of them will allow my brain to rewire itself properly. I've been left feeling barely human or alive at all, horribly sick from depression on or off the drugs. You just want to throw drugs and fuzzy idealism at them. It is all about YOU feeling fuzzy and making money at the same time, it doesn't really have anything to do with them.

You are the one who doesn't see them as human. The bullies see them as weak, pitiful humans, and so are better than you.

Taking risks and struggling is necessary to grow and become a full human. Death is better than not being allowed to grow. It would have served me better than living this hollow existence, so ill that moving my limbs is often a struggle. Useless to everybody.

Encouraging kids to have high self-esteem while holding them back from earning it is a vile evil. It denies them the ability to lead an honest and meaningful life, just so adults don't have to feel uncomfortable by seeing a sad face. Shallow, narcissistic empathy.

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Foucault Foucault Foucault ... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 1:55 AM | Posted by noob: | Reply

Foucault Foucault Foucault

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Foucault Foucault Foucault.... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 1:59 AM | Posted by noob: | Reply

Foucault Foucault Foucault.

also: i empathize with the commenters recounting their personal experiences with stigma (although i haven't yet taken that eye test, so maybe that's just plain old narcissism).

improving your SAT score might get you into college, but that doesn't guarantee you'll ever get a job.

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Foucault indeed...though I ... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 5:18 AM | Posted by Arctic Silver: | Reply

Foucault indeed...though I must say the treatment of lepers was humane compared to how they treat the so-called "mad", "different" and disabled now.

daedalus2u: I understand what you mean but you can't wrap a kid in cotton and then just release them in the wild when they turn 18. I guess you could but I can tell you right away, it doesn't work.

While mobbing should not be tolerated, there's not much you can do, if someone calls your kid "retard" on the way home, without making things for him even worst.

Like Anon said above...
Taking risks and struggling is necessary to grow and become a full human.

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I thought about going into ... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 11:16 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I thought about going into therapy to get some help for my low mood and other thinking disorders, but then I realized that going into therapy would classify me as someone in need of therapy, ensuring enduring low self-esteem and mood.

Therapy was avoided.

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sorry for the double post. ... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 1:05 PM | Posted by noob: | Reply

sorry for the double post. i was thinking about this last night:

irrelevant of DSM criteria, what does the word "manic" mean to people here? when you envision a "manic" person, what springs to your mind? (other than "bad", of course). i'm starting to believe that DSM criteria doesn't really matter at all. it's the cultural criteria and stigma that informs [the contextualization of all behavior]. i don't think this is irrelevant, considering the DSM-V proposed revision (http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=94) which yeah, could basically be summarized as "deficits in normality"

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Anon 1:09 AM. I understand... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 1:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by daedalus2u: | Reply

Anon 1:09 AM. I understand what you are saying, I respectfully disagree with it. You are suggesting a false dichotomy. Either we have total segregation, or we tolerate abusive behavior. That false dichotomy doesn't work with racism, sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry or any other type of xenophobic behavior.

The root cause of xenophobia is the inability of the bigot to understand “the other” and to then relate to them as a fellow human being. The “fault” (and it is a fault), is with the bigot. I discuss the physiology of this on my blog:

http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2010/03/physiology-behind-xenophobia.html

The reason bigots treat the objects of their bigotry badly is because the bigot is unable to appreciate their victim as being an actual human being and so is worthy of being treated as a human being.

The context of my comment was in response to a request for a “perfect” solution. Of course if the parents, caretakers, teachers and other professionals are unable to implement the solution I suggested because of their own xenophobia toward children on the spectrum, that does not make my solution false or not achievable.

My solution will eventually end up with a society that doesn't have racists, bigots, homophobes, or other xenophobia in it. Your solution simply perpetuates the status quo.

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Arctic Silver, I appreciate... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 1:38 PM | Posted, in reply to Arctic Silver's comment, by daedaus2u: | Reply

Arctic Silver, I appreciate that children need to be prepared to deal with evil in the world and to also appreciate that most (essentially all) of that evil is perpetrated by adults.

Just as children with dark colored skin need to learn how to deal with the N word and the racists who use it, how gay children need to learn to deal with the F work and the homophobes who use it, so children who are ASD need to learn how to deal with bullies who use the R word.

It is unfortunate that many parents want their children to adopt the same bigoted and racist beliefs that they have. However, parental ability to generate xenophobia in their children is limited. If children are sufficiently exposed to “the other” during their formative years in the context where “the other” is treated as a fellow human being by everyone else, the child will learn that “the other” is not “the other”, but a fellow human being, just like one of us.

It is unfortunate that many parents want their children to grow up to be evil, racist, bigoted xenophobes. The “real victims” are the children who are being brought up to be xenophobic. Giving such parents a “pass” and considering bigotry to be just a “lifestyle” choice is not helping.

I don't know how to deal with it in the “real world”. I have Asperger's. I can see the problem, see what has to change, but as for getting NTs to actually change? That is not something that I know how to do. I think I have a path that will eventually be successful, but no one will listen to me because I have Asperger's.

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[i]could basically be summa... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 2:04 PM | Posted by vet: | Reply

[i]could basically be summarized as "deficits in normality"[/i]

Your argument is tautological. Any disorder is by definition abnormal. A migraine is caused by abnormal neurovascular function. Mania is caused by abnormal neurobehavioral function. There are codified diagnostic markers (such as the DSM) to help practitioners make correct diagnoses. A person who suffers from migraines is abnormal. A person going through a manic episode is abnormal. Neither is 'bad'.

DSM criteria are important only because they can help the patient. Someone dxed with ASD showing hypersensitivity to a certain stimulus can be better treated one way, while another with the same diagnosis but with general hyposensitivity could benefit from a completely different treatment. I don't think outcomes would improve if everyone who was considered 'normality deficient' was slapped with such a broad diagnosis.

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Instead of normal use neuro... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 6:22 PM | Posted by Indemous: | Reply

Instead of normal use neurotypical. That's the accepted name in the autism community. C'mon, a little googling doesn't hurt anyone.

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If NT kid calls ASD kid a j... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 9:03 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

If NT kid calls ASD kid a jerk after being punched by said ASD kid, is the NT kid a bully? What if no-one saw the punch, and it left no mark? What if the NT kid punched back? Don't you remember what it was like to be a child? You cannot expect children to magically get along anymore than you can adults. And do I need to point out that adults often have a terrible time getting along? There is no simple rule for resolving conflict. The exact answer of who gets in trouble is not as important as both having the same rules.

Learning how to personally deal with conflict, even if others are looking out for you, is important. How many NT kids are more on the verge of breaking down than the average ASD? Why must they matter less? None must be unimportant, even if they do something mean and don't have a sympathy label.

A horrible thing to get from suffering is the belief that one's own suffering is more profound than everyone else's. This is an evil, poisonous mindset we like to shove on those with sensationalist problems. The only ones this is true for are dead, insane, or soon to be. Life hurts everybody badly, the only truly notable obstacle categories are "survivable" and "not survivable". Many, many do not survive, which is easy to forget in the developed world. One person's suffering does not invalidate the significance of another's even if it sounds worse. Sensationalism also does not equal severity.

NTs do not need the lesson that they matter less and are the enemy. ASDs do not need the lesson that they don't need to struggle like everyone else. Ugly, diabetic, unintelligent, poor, abused, crippled, et cetera must all struggle more for it. Society should take some of the burden, but each individual must also do what they can and struggle to meet the rest of society if they are to have any strength or dignity.

Life isn't fair. But the true victims of life's cruelty are everybody, and nobody is born with all the cards.

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"I don't know how to deal w... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 10:26 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"I don't know how to deal with it in the “real world”. I have Asperger's. I can see the problem, see what has to change, but as for getting NTs to actually change? That is not something that I know how to do. I think I have a path that will eventually be successful, but no one will listen to me because I have Asperger's."

You think changing others is easy for NTs? That is not an NT ability. Your average NT is not Socrates or Jesus, who themselves might or might not have been NT/ASD/PLPP. Why do you think so many NTs complain that their vote means so little? Because they cannot even convince others to vote a certain way on a yes/no question, so they whine that they don't have secret dictator power.

I didn't even suspect you had Asperger's until you said that, I envisioned you as some arrogant psychiatrist who saw ASD children as subhuman and NT children as the enemies of your precious little puppy people. If someone doesn't like your opinion, then believe it or not it might just be their reaction to your opinion.

It doesn't matter what label you have, you are what you do. Every thing you do is a part of who you are forever, and people have the right to judge you for it. If you talk like having Asperger's makes you hopelessly weak, then it is only fair for others to assume it does.

My first response to you was full of hatred, and I allowed my personal crap to erupt. It is something I do at times, a part of who I am that I am accountable for no matter what. My history might or might not make it understandable, but it doesn't make it excusable. It is our responsibility to live with who we are, because all those who deal with us have to.

---

"Instead of normal use neurotypical. That's the accepted name in the autism community. C'mon, a little googling doesn't hurt anyone."
"Neurotypical" mocks mentally normal people, a joke classifying normality as pathological in order to make a point. Insisting others use it is like insisting others use "pop" instead of "soda". If "pop" was a borderline insult. What about "assburgers"? Are you obligated to use it?

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What he said. My daughter i... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2011 11:01 PM | Posted, in reply to MJ's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

What he said. My daughter ignores everyone she doesn't want something from and wants exactly precisely the same in return.

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Listening and closely obser... (Below threshold)

May 1, 2011 4:53 AM | Posted by Arctic Silver: | Reply

Listening and closely observing is half the battle. If people think autistics don't have social needs they haven't looked close enough. Severe sensory issues can make it near impossible to show or fulfill those needs but it doesn't mean they aren't there.

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Did you read his post? He's... (Below threshold)

May 2, 2011 6:00 AM | Posted, in reply to MJ's comment, by Termm: | Reply

Did you read his post? He's not talking about the average parent of an autistic child, or even a rich one. He's talking about someone with nearly unlimited money and influence raising an autistic child. You really think with all of the world's medical resources at one's fingertips, they would "wait and see" what happens?

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"The question is: is the me... (Below threshold)

May 2, 2011 10:24 PM | Posted by My psych disorder made me do it: | Reply

"The question is: is the mere activation of the psychiatric infrastructure more harmful than helpful?"

I've wondered the same thing about ADHD. My mom taught in the public school system for years and once ADHD became big, she heard children who were misbehaving actually say, "I can't help it. I have ADHD." Now, maybe they did have ADHD, but if they've been taught they have no control over their behavior then how are they ever supposed to believe they can control themselves? I've noticed this in adults to with other psych diagnoses - I wouldn't have had that affair...it's just that my bipolar disorder was acting up.

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hit the nail on the head he... (Below threshold)

May 3, 2011 5:08 AM | Posted by will: | Reply

hit the nail on the head here

i consider myself lucky that i wasn't diagnosed as a child, i had to learn a lot of ways to deal with things myself. but i can do pretty much anything now... but then again, my asd specialist always tells me he wishes that i was diagnosed earlier. probably because a lot of damage was done (mentally) up until i was diagnosed, at almost 21.

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These psych patients who ha... (Below threshold)

May 3, 2011 9:32 AM | Posted, in reply to My psych disorder made me do it's comment, by reductio ad absurdum: | Reply

These psych patients who have the audacity to claim their 'disorder' results in negative behavior remind me of cancer patients who lose their hair during chemo. If both groups didn't label themselves as sick they wouldn't have any problems. ...Let the cognitive dissonance commence

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How to get a bunch of extre... (Below threshold)

May 3, 2011 9:42 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

How to get a bunch of extremely wanky commenters with overblown diction all overly interested in their own stories: talk about autism on the internet.

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I think you missed the poin... (Below threshold)

May 3, 2011 9:57 AM | Posted, in reply to reductio ad absurdum's comment, by kataclysm: | Reply

I think you missed the point... The original commenter was focusing on the fact that having a psych diagnosis, for some people, tends to result in a sort of learned helplessness ('Oh, of course I can't act any better/differently, because I have teh crazies.') It's not so much the negative behavior that's the upsetting part, it's the idea that the individual has absolutely no ability to modify/mitigate the behavior, and that furthermore, the individual is entitled to engage in whatever damn behavior they feel like without repercussion.

I wouldn't criticize the mindset so harshly if I hadn't wasted a few years living it. Sure, some behaviors are genuinely uncontrollable (tics, for example). But there are a lot of behaviors that can be modified. It's the whole point of therapy and/or meds. And if you aren't going to put in the fucking work on your end to modify your behavior/thought patterns/whatever, if you just throw up your hands and say that 'no of course I can't stop putting my face in a blender because I have Putting-Your-Face-In-A-Blender Syndrome, and how are others so cruel to expect me to at least make a good-faith effort to not put my face in a blender or at least unplug the blender cord when I'm lucid', that isn't your disorder talking. What's talking is the same voice that keeps you smoking cigarettes after your first coronary, the same voice that tells you not to bother doing your PT exercises after your knee surgery. It's the voice of complacency and laziness and fear of change.

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so, what, given unlimited r... (Below threshold)

May 4, 2011 5:08 AM | Posted by noob: | Reply

so, what, given unlimited resources, say a magical treatment was developed (treatment X) which, on the most standardized and objective of tests, can "cure" ASD[s]. what does that say about quality of life and stigma?

ask any recovering alcoholic, they are only proud because they remember how much they fucked up their own life, when they were drinking. what if nobody had ever pointed out to them, "you've got a problem"? What if they never realized? like was pointed out, concrete diagnoses may confer a type of positive stereotype/identity as well as a negative/pessimistic one. especially with kids. "I have ADHD" may translate to "give ME attention." I heard a parent once say that "if schools just let kids play more, the reported cases of ADHD would half."

This issue spans domains of social problems and education. It's not as simple as, "Asperger's is CAUSED by _____" (which is also the reason there will never be a treatment X)

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Your points are well taken.... (Below threshold)

May 4, 2011 12:02 PM | Posted, in reply to kataclysm's comment, by reductio ad absurdum: | Reply

Your points are well taken. The fact remains, however, that there is still a pervasive and archaic belief that all psych disorders are a matter of character that one can overcome with diligent effort, when really the only thing that work for many people are medication and time.

Some people use their diagnosis as an excuse. More people use it to let people know they are suffering. It's not a good thing when our first reaction is to assume that anyone with a psychiatric illness is a responsibility shirking hypochondriac.

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Thanks, Kataclysm, for gett... (Below threshold)

May 4, 2011 9:19 PM | Posted, in reply to kataclysm's comment, by MyPsychDisorderMadeMeDoIt: | Reply

Thanks, Kataclysm, for getting what I was trying to say. Yes, it's the learned helplessness that worries me. I'm definitely not aruging these disorders don't exist or that they don't affect behavior. I just wondered how children (or even adults) who are consistently told they're ill and that begin to believe their illness is responsible for every bad thing they do or unpleasant emotion they have, ever learn they can handle things.

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I'd be way more interested ... (Below threshold)

May 4, 2011 10:36 PM | Posted, in reply to Arctic Silver's comment, by Sonya : | Reply

I'd be way more interested in your sons opinion than yours.

Doc... you're on the right track. Have you seen the Autism Speaks video? It's a bunch of horrifically shitty mothers whining that their kids are too hard to deal with. During one scene, the child actually *grabs the mother's face to make eye contact* which the MOTHER has been refusing to give! Who has the disorder?

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Hey "Sonya" I'm so... (Below threshold)

May 5, 2011 2:06 AM | Posted, in reply to Sonya 's comment, by Arctic Silver: | Reply

Hey "Sonya"

I'm sorry that life did not turn out to be the fairy story you thought it was going to be. I'm so sure I'm a much crappy parent than you'll ever be.

What matters are results.

Since you did everything right in your life, tell me, did it work for you? And please let us know how so that we may follow your shining example.

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Pseudonymous should write a... (Below threshold)

May 5, 2011 12:52 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

Pseudonymous should write a book. like Temple Grandon or whatever her name is.

justifyablyanon should write a book.

Anonymous apr 30 should write a book.

Then, they should make psychiatrists read these books.

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<a href="http://wildcat.ari... (Below threshold)

May 5, 2011 2:47 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

http://wildcat.arizona.edu/news/news-from-home/psychiatric-patient-deaths-at-parkland-investigated-1.2214114

Just saw this. Maybe Alone can comment on Parkland, and this problem of patients with psych problems having trouble getting medical conditions addressed in the ER.

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The comments reminded me of... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2011 8:34 PM | Posted by SentWest: | Reply

The comments reminded me of a question I've had for a while:

What's the difference between a high functioning autistic person and someone who is normal but eccentric, or normal but raised with funky social exposure?

Why treat one and not the other? Or, more importantly if the normal eccentric person doesn't need treatment, why does the high functioning autistic person?

I'm one of those normal people with a weird childhood who got put through the psychiatry wringer, and probably spent as much time dealing with that than any actual problem. At this point its difficult to crawl out from under the trail of paperwork and get doctor types to understand that I just happen to be a person with no real social skills and a very large vocabulary. Last time I checked, that does not confer upon one a diagnosis.

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"Why treat one and not the ... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2011 9:58 PM | Posted, in reply to SentWest's comment, by MJ: | Reply

"Why treat one and not the other? Or, more importantly if the normal eccentric person doesn't need treatment, why does the high functioning autistic person?"

Because there is a very large difference between high functioning autism and being just socially awkward or eccentric.

This is one of the biggest myths about autism and one of the most damaging to people with autism (IMHO). Any form of autism - even HFA - is much more disabling than just being awkward.

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MJ is right. While not easi... (Below threshold)

May 8, 2011 2:48 PM | Posted by Pardonymous: | Reply

MJ is right. While not easily seen at first glance there is a BIG difference between nerdy/eccentric and Asperger's or HFA.

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Euthanasia has come a long ... (Below threshold)

May 19, 2011 4:02 AM | Posted by Auguste Comte: | Reply

Euthanasia has come a long way in recent years.

Just sayin'.

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Euthanize them. We need to... (Below threshold)

May 26, 2011 4:26 PM | Posted by Jake: | Reply

Euthanize them. We need to stop saying that every life is sacred and precious when most people will ridicule the odd ones. They are different from the norm, and only someone with a first-hand experience of their life can understand and tolerate them. They can either be the poorly adapted, low-functioning person who lives in your basement and is a drain, or kill them in childhood and move on. It's not happy, but from where I'm sitting appears to be the best solution. We don't want them in this world, just end it before it gets worse.

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I used to work as a teacher... (Below threshold)

May 26, 2011 6:15 PM | Posted, in reply to Jake's comment, by Rookie: | Reply

I used to work as a teacher's aide with aspergers and ASD kids. They shared some traits, but to an individual they had their own personalities, strengths, weaknesses, ways of interacting with people... I know a couple Aspergers adults who're professionals and add an odd but valuable alternative perspective in the workplaces and organisations I see them in. All these people have value and we'd be worse off as a society without them. Diversity is a strength and alloys are stronger. We can shoulder the burden of the more severe cases for that value they add.

If we start euthanising folks for unusual traits, genetics or disabilities where do we stop? I would be long dead. Maybe we'd decide we should euthanise people with a severe lack of human empathy... get me?

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I don't like slippery slope... (Below threshold)

May 26, 2011 8:14 PM | Posted, in reply to Rookie's comment, by Jake: | Reply

I don't like slippery slope arguments. It's the same argument used to deny Homosexuals the right to marry. We have objective tests of mental and physical deficits, use those to decide which ones to euthanize. It's not a perfect solution, but it solves several problems. We don't spend our energy and physical resources taking care of people who can't give back or take care of themselves. We'd begin weeding out the genes responsible for the aforementioned disabilities. Prevent the afflicted from procreating which would save the gene pool as well as the children who wouldn't have capable parents. It's a messy proposition, but current methods for dealing with them aren't good either. Parents die inside as they spend decades taking care of perpetual infants or sticking them in veritable prisons for the rest of their lives. Quality of life matters more than the chemical processes of life; The former approach deprives the parents or quality and the later deprives the afflicted. And the inevitable shunning by their peers will cause endless pain for them. People won't necessarily mock them, but they won't be peers. So which is better, dragging an disabled person through the pain of existence or euthanizing him and starting again?

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It's not a question of merc... (Below threshold)

May 26, 2011 10:26 PM | Posted by HP: | Reply

It's not a question of mercy for somebody who will get made fun of for life. It's a utilitarian question.

On the far end of the scale where the severe autistics are, you have people who require constant time, effort, and attention to be cared for, and will never be able to contribute back into society. They are, essentially, pets. And not everybody can afford the burden of such an expensive pet.

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I can't believe that suppos... (Below threshold)

May 27, 2011 3:38 AM | Posted by Pardonymous: | Reply

I can't believe that supposedly "normal" people still think this is a good idea.

"They" tried to clean out the gene pool too. (I feel a little puke in my mouth just writing that.)

Forget it. There will always be disabilities, it's a genetic constant. And no, it's not up to us to decide who is good enough to live or die.

Once you start that crap you are left with a bunch of blond messed up people who are ruled by a dark haired, mentally challenged midget.

And life still sucks.

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Were you guys made fun of a... (Below threshold)

May 27, 2011 3:45 AM | Posted by Washington: | Reply

Were you guys made fun of a lot in school or something that you see nonexistence as the better alternative to it? Can an autistic kid who is apparently so far gone and completely useless to everyone else that he needs to be murdered even tell he's being "made fun of?" Does it mean anything to him? Or does it not matter, since euthanasia is the way to go because it will make the parents feel better, since they're "dying inside" otherwise and we can't have that. Murdering their kid should turn things around there.

Can you guys even see how full of shit you are here?

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No, they can't. It is xeno... (Below threshold)

May 27, 2011 12:16 PM | Posted by daedalus2u: | Reply

No, they can't. It is xenophobia.

http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/2010/03/physiology-behind-xenophobia.html

Bigots and racists are unable to perceive that the objects of their bigotry are human beings. They consider them to be non-human objects, or even monstrous objects that should be destroyed.

This is the cognitive defect that leads to bigotry, racism and all forms of xenophobia. It is the inability to understand “the other” and to then appreciate that they are human and have human traits such as the capacity to feel. Because the bigots don't perceive them to be human, they can't imagine that they have any human-type characteristics such as the ability to love, to be loved, to contribute.

This is the mindset that leads to autistic children being bullied, which causes those children such distress that it becomes “merciful” to put them out of the misery that bullying caused by killing them. What is shocking is that the bigoted bullies don't see anything wrong with this train of “thinking”.

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"Can an autistic kid who is... (Below threshold)

May 27, 2011 3:55 PM | Posted, in reply to Washington's comment, by Jake: | Reply

"Can an autistic kid who is apparently so far gone and completely useless to everyone else that he needs to be murdered even tell he's being 'made fun of?'"

Lets keep those in vegetative states alive for 10+ years too. They can't tell that they're vegetative, so what does it matter if we don't pull the plug? People do this more often than you might think. They keep their loved ones chemical processes going because they can't bare the guilt of "murdering" them. There are times to let go. I'm not suggesting that anyone who scores below an IQ of 80 should be hauled off to the incinerator, but there are some people born with devastatingly debilitating problems that killing them would be better than prolonging their life.

I

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daedalus2u, can you please ... (Below threshold)

May 27, 2011 5:12 PM | Posted, in reply to daedalus2u's comment, by Jake: | Reply

daedalus2u, can you please leave your Ad hominems at the door?

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Excuse me? You talk about ... (Below threshold)

May 27, 2011 7:01 PM | Posted, in reply to Jake's comment, by daedalus2u: | Reply

Excuse me? You talk about killing people because they are different, I explain to Washington where those feelings come from (on a blog by a psychiatrist no less) and you accuse me of ad hominem? That injury you feel, that is narcissistic injury because you know what I said is true and that it applies to you.

Read the blog on xenophobia that I linked to. That is where your feelings of hatred for autistic people are coming from. They are your feelings, you are the only one who can deal with them. You can spend your energy hating people who are different than you are, or you can do something more productive with that energy.

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You're confusing pragmatism... (Below threshold)

May 27, 2011 7:25 PM | Posted, in reply to daedalus2u's comment, by Jake: | Reply

You're confusing pragmatism for hatred. I don't hate non-functioning people, but that isn't good enough for you is it? The solution of killing those who are a drain on public resources as well as the emotional faculties of people around them is not xenophobia. Can I convince you of this, or is my proposal of euthanasia synonymous with xenophobia in your mind? If the later, then I have no more to say.

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I think your confusing tunn... (Below threshold)

May 27, 2011 11:24 PM | Posted, in reply to Jake's comment, by Russell: | Reply

I think your confusing tunnel-visioned utilitarianism for pragmatism...

If utility were the only valued aspect of humanity, works of art wouldn't sell for millions of dollars. Theatre, music and other artistic expressions would not be value. But they are.

"Well Russell, those are stupid priorities for unpragmatic people" you say?

No Jake, those are priorities which do not set with you well simply because they are not in line with your own...

Hey, I'm pretty sure I just defined xenophobia!

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"No Jake, those are priorit... (Below threshold)

May 28, 2011 2:41 AM | Posted, in reply to Russell's comment, by Jake: | Reply

"No Jake, those are priorities which do not set with you well simply because they are not in line with your own...

Hey, I'm pretty sure I just defined xenophobia!"

No, you didn't. By your definition those who don't appreciate my values are xenophobic.

And my reasoning for advocating euthanasia isn't entirely utilitarian (though in part it is). Tell me the quality of life someone has who is a near vegetable. they sit in bed wearing a diaper and can barely walk. I don't know about you, but I've spelled out in my living will that I want to die as opposed to living like that for the rest of my life. Have some empathy, imagine the activities of someone with severe or profound mental retardation. Now think about what makes your life worth living. I'm betting that you won't find any overlaps between the good things in your life and the life of a person with an IQ below 35.

You think it's compassionate to keep them alive, I think it's torture.

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"they sit in bed wearing a ... (Below threshold)

May 28, 2011 6:10 AM | Posted, in reply to Jake's comment, by Z. Constantine: | Reply

"they sit in bed wearing a diaper and can barely walk... You think it's compassionate to keep them alive, I think it's torture."

There are physically-healthy people who pay good money wear a diaper (look up "paraphilic infantilism") - to say nothing of being tortured...

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You are saying that you can... (Below threshold)

May 28, 2011 11:58 AM | Posted by daedalus2u: | Reply

You are saying that you can't imagine anyone living such a life would want to stay alive. This is precisely the point I am trying to make. You can't imagine what these people are thinking and feeling, so you substitute your own fantasy of what they are thinking. That is pure projection.

That you are unable to imagine people in such conditions having a life they consider worth living is about your imagination, not about them.

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There you go putting words ... (Below threshold)

May 28, 2011 12:03 PM | Posted, in reply to daedalus2u's comment, by Jake: | Reply

There you go putting words in my mouth again. I CAN imagine them feeling, but it's not happy. And you don't know either,, but you're going to assume that a sub-35 IQ person who can't verbalize is happy and I'm assuming they're not. So lets say it's in both of our imaginations. So if I'm right, living is torture and if I'm wrong living has some value. I choose a different side to err on.

@Z

People also choose to kill themselves. What's your point?

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"What's your point?"<... (Below threshold)

May 28, 2011 11:50 PM | Posted, in reply to Jake's comment, by Z. Constantine: | Reply

"What's your point?"

If a sub-35 IQ individual is capable of experiencing happiness, killing that individual under any pretext of "improving quality of life" for the individual is a sham - maybe that sub-35 IQ idiot *likes* crapping himself (hell, it can be fun).

Let's just call your argument exactly what it is: the desire to improve the quality of life for those who are not sub-35 IQ individuals by removing the burden of the developmentally disabled with little regard (beyond, perhaps, a painless death) for the developmentally disabled.

... and you know what? I'm all for it, but let's start the euthanasia with the real burden on society first - know what I'm saying?

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first of all, the justifica... (Below threshold)

May 29, 2011 12:29 AM | Posted, in reply to Z. Constantine's comment, by Jake: | Reply

first of all, the justification isn't improving the quality of life, it's decreasing suffering.

"maybe that sub-35 IQ idiot *likes* crapping himself (hell, it can be fun)."

Maybe they want to die, why not assume that?

"and you know what? I'm all for it, but let's start the euthanasia with the real burden on society first - know what I'm saying?" No, I don't know. Please enlighten me.

Lets call your argument what it is: the assumption that everything is OK so that you don't have to choose between 2 bad options. Ie. moral cowardice.

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What's a quality life? A l... (Below threshold)

May 29, 2011 1:05 AM | Posted by Washington: | Reply

What's a quality life? A lifetime spent working in a tedious office/factory job, working yourself everyday to death so you can somebody own the car or house your paying on and "contribute to society?" If decreasing suffering is the goal, why not just euthanize the whole race. We could just live and see what happens, but why bother, somebody might get made fun of or be a burden on someone at some point.

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Euthanize your grandpa Jake... (Below threshold)

May 29, 2011 1:07 AM | Posted by Washington: | Reply

Euthanize your grandpa Jake, he's just being a burden on your parents and all his friends are dead. Don't listen to him cry out while you've got the pillow over his face, he's suffering and doesn't even know it.

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We wouldn't euthanize peopl... (Below threshold)

May 29, 2011 12:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Washington's comment, by Jake: | Reply

We wouldn't euthanize people who could just kill themselves. And to be honest who would want to deprive all of the depressed people of the chance to blow their own brains out? It's empowering!

And my grandfather (the only one I ever knew) died of a heart attack. My grandmother had Parkinson's. My mother ended her suffering in end stages. I know she hated to do it, but she doesn't have any regrets. I know you were being flippant, but some people are faced with these choices, and while hard to make it is the right one.

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"Please enlighten me."... (Below threshold)

May 29, 2011 5:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Jake's comment, by Z. Constantine: | Reply

"Please enlighten me."

Look up "Action T4" to see whose ideas you're regurgitating, Jake.

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Look up "Reductio ad Hitler... (Below threshold)

May 29, 2011 8:30 PM | Posted, in reply to Z. Constantine's comment, by Jake: | Reply

Look up "Reductio ad Hitlerum" and then form a real argument.

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I'm replying to you because... (Below threshold)

May 30, 2011 3:06 AM | Posted, in reply to Jake's comment, by Z. Constantine: | Reply

I'm replying to you because it amuses me, Jake.

I have no argument with you - I already stated that I agree with you (though perhaps you still haven't learned the truth about the international zionist conspiracy to sap and impure all of our precious bodily fluids).

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This is an old tactic. You... (Below threshold)

May 30, 2011 3:59 AM | Posted, in reply to Z. Constantine's comment, by Jake: | Reply

This is an old tactic. You make fallacious arguments in hopes that your opponent with concede. When your opponent continues to rebut, you claim that you were only trolling for your own amusement. This allows you to save face (in a faceless forum) while simultaneously belittling my intelligence, for I was gullible enough to respond to your trolling and you were clever enough to manipulate me for your own amusement. It's been done.

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I'm not being disingenuous ... (Below threshold)

May 30, 2011 3:28 PM | Posted by Z. Constantine: | Reply

I'm not being disingenuous when I say that I agree with you, Jake.

I disagree with your methods, however, as - following your line of reasoning - you're hardly doing what you set out to do ("minimize suffering", right?) by advocating euthanasia and challenging all comers in the comment thread to TLP's post.

Providing that you're not just a stereotypical troll yourself, why don't you join the antinatalist movement and find ways to voice your sanctimoniously-humane ideals in ways which the rest of us need not suffer through experiencing?

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So science is going to be a... (Below threshold)

June 1, 2011 12:47 PM | Posted by Frank Tsu: | Reply

So science is going to be able to tell fro sure which parts of our molecular biology are triggering the conditions.
http://www.dailyrx.com/news-article/autistic-brain-mysteries-being-uncovered-13828.html
When the markers are identifiable will pre-treatment be a norm or acceptable as post diagnostic treatment currently? Will the diagnosed positive stigma carry on with the patient life long?

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I've worked with kids with ... (Below threshold)

June 2, 2011 5:33 AM | Posted by Rachel: | Reply

I've worked with kids with AS, and I'm married to someone with AS strongly in the family (one doctor even described my husband as "subclinical" meaning he probably would have been diagnosed as a child if that diagnosis had existed then, but he is too functional to be diagnosed now). With all the escapist forms of entertainment available and all the ways we discourage trial-and-error, real-world oriented socialization in American culture, I often find myself wondering how much of AS is actually an anthropological phenomenon. After all, a kid who is never taught socially acceptable behavior, and doesn't learn well the way his teachers teach, but who is neurologically normal is going to have a lot in common with an AS child.

And as you pointed out about therapies, there is going to be something different about a child who memorized social mores by rote rather than learning how to create a social environment in concert with others in the context of a relationship. It's the social version of book smarts vs. street smarts--two totally different animals.

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I am not a doctor. I don't ... (Below threshold)

June 4, 2011 2:19 PM | Posted by kill Dr. Pill: | Reply

I am not a doctor. I don't know what can be done to a kid with it. To stop is from happening, that is having a sick child, the answer is simple: Don't allow vaccination on your kid. That will prevent your kid from getting sick.

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Wow, I don't know what to s... (Below threshold)

August 12, 2011 12:52 AM | Posted, in reply to pseudonymous's comment, by Nicki: | Reply

Wow, I don't know what to say to you pseudonymous, except thank you. I hope other people like me read your comment, and recognise that they're not alone. Much of what you've said resonated with me (except for the eye contact - although I don't like staring into someone's eyes, it freaks me out).

The labelling probably does more harm than good, in my experience. My family took me to a child psychiatrist when I was a toddler (30-odd years ago), thinking I was autistic. The psych said I wasn't, but my family still treated me like I was "abnormal". Most people who don't know about that history treat me like a normal person (what is "normal", anyway?). A few don't.

Maybe I'm an undiagnosed autistic, or maybe I act out around my family because how they treat me, I don't know. All I know is that I understood exactly where you're coming from, it seems your experiences are similar to mine (notably the drugs, although I stopped smoking pot because it re-activated the panic attacks I started having when I changed High Schools).

Congratulations on your growth, and I wish you all the best.

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Temple Grandin (so cool!) w... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2012 10:07 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Temple Grandin (so cool!) wrote an article that compliments this one, here's the web address:

http://www.autismtoday.com/articles/Genius_May_Be_Abnormality.htm

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Newton probably had somethi... (Below threshold)

October 12, 2012 9:01 PM | Posted by Simon: | Reply

Newton probably had something like asperger as well..

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Wonderful blog! Do you have... (Below threshold)

December 23, 2012 9:25 PM | Posted by KevinTran: | Reply

Wonderful blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers? I'm hoping to start my own site soon but I'm a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I'm completely overwhelmed ... Any ideas? Cheers!

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Gaming net site you may occ... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 4:53 PM | Posted by Garnett: | Reply

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