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  1. #11
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Temple Grandin talks about "autism genetics," which is just basically nerds. Basically, people are meeting each other and making babies together who never would have met or bred in a less mobile and technological society. So they're putting their recessive genes together a lot more often now than they used to, which could account for some of the increase in autism diagnoses. (My sense is that most of that increase is simply due to better, wider diagnostic criteria and a more accepting public, and that there have always been autistic people who were simply called retarded or just weird before, but I'm no expert.)

    I think if you're in the mindset that autism is necessarily a bogeyman that steals people's children, it can be alarming to think that two nerds breeding might result in an autistic child. IMO, though, autism is simply a different brain wiring that has a wide variety of outcomes, not all of them negative. Some have profound impairments, some only mild ones, and some have skills that are rarely seen in the "normal" population. But regardless, each and every autistic person is a person who deserves respect and can have a better life with good treatment.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  2. #12
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Thanks for explaining it.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    My husband's mother's father's side of the family has a lot of autistic traits and from what I've heard from my in-laws, it goes back quite a ways. Had my husband been in elementary school now, instead of in the seventies, I'd bet money he would have had an IEP for being on the spectrum.

    Add to that, my being pretty introverted and having quite a few HSP traits . . . It just isn't that surprising.

    Our daughters are considered neuro-typical. Our sons didn't have more than a few words until they were four, had major sleep problems (have it under control now thanks to melatonin supplements), had toilet training difficulties, they have some sensory issues (don't like loud noise, picky eaters, vertigo with high ceilings, etc), problems with obsessing/persisting and being impossible to distract/comfort.

    We have to make allowances for food and be aware of high ceilings, and handle loud noise problems. Yesterday for example, we visited my mom's church which has a contemporary worship service, so my son kept his hands over his ears until his arms got tired, then I put my hands over his ears until my arms got tired, then he took back over.

    I have to make sure the school works with them, but I don't have too much trouble with it now. Overall, it isn't much of a big deal. All kids have stuff you have to deal with. Mine have better analytical skills than a lot of kids their age and I really don't deal with a lot of sassiness or violence, etc with them.

    I think the cause of the increase in people with autism is a combination of nerd genetics and better diagnosis. I also think we're still at the beginning of learning about autism and eventually there will be more specific diagnoses and more proven and effective treatments. Probably also some pre-natal screening tools, as well, which I have mixed feelings about.

    I don't really think it was preventable for my husband and I to have kids on the spectrum -- outside of just a different roll of the dice. I am open to the idea that there are environmental factors, but I don't believe we've found them yet, if there are.

    What we know right now is that early diagnosis and intervention can help most kids make some improvements. I think early intervention, behavioral treatments, family support, and public awareness are a good place to spend resources until science and medicine catch up.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  4. #14
    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    This long overdue retraction of the MMR study actually has nothing to do with McCarthy, as the writer of this article and various lazy journalists would have you believe. The anti-MMR movement is entirely different from the general anti-mercury movement to which McCarthy and her charity belong. The former doesn't even exist in significant force anymore but still receives by far the most media attention, perhaps because it put forward the easiest to explain case ('MMR causes autism' vs. 'mercury causes autism and other developmental conditions, especially when in particular organic forms, in the presence of higher levels of particular hormones, antibiotics or certain other metals, and when interacting with certain genes, depending on the age and health status of the individual at the time, the acuteness/chronicity of exposure etcetera etcetera...'). Complexity is just a pain in the bum for journalists these days.

  5. #15
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    All very well said, cafe. Accepting and working with our son's autism-ey tendencies have made our lives a lot easier. I no longer think I need to fix him, just help him adjust and help adjust the world for him until he does. For us, that means using his tendency to repeat things to help him learn scripts to use in social situations, and stuff like that. As for sensory stuff, we have some of that as well. For example, he's afraid of automatic flushing toilets, or any very loud toilet (which most public toilets are, especially with the echoey rooms). So I hold his ears in public bathrooms so he can hold and aim his business.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  6. #16
    Senior Member mockingbird's Avatar
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    Cafe, I've dealt with so much of what you're describing with your children. Actually, about all of it minus the sleep problems. They get overly stimulated very easily too, especially my oldest. When noise or a crowded room upset him he will first cover his ears, and then if he finds no quick relief, he'll start biting himself Very hard and screaming. I have to hold him tight and give him deep pressure to "de-stim" him. You're right though, all children's have their own difficulties parents must deal with. It really doesn't help to be fearful about their dissabilities, you just have to love them as they are and give them what they need. Good for you for doing just that!

    Ivy, I haven't come across this specifc genetic study you mention. Lately actually, I've been so fed up with all the theories out there that even total strangers bring up to me all the time that I've stopped looking into what studies are being done.

    I suppose my husband and I fit the bill of being nerd types, but then, I've come across many parents of autistic children who aren't. But then, on the other hand, I and their teachers highly suspected that some of them were actually mentally retarded but were misdiagnosed. I remember that when I was having my children evaluated by the school board, much of the evaluation depended on a questionnare that I had to answer about my kid's behaviour. There was one question that went something like, "Does the child have any exceptional abilities. (to rule out mental retardation)". I'm sure that any parent not wanting their child to be labeled retarted and bear the stigma that goes along with that diagnosis, would answer yes to that question.

    I don't know what autism is, honestly, even though I've dealt with it for years. I suspect it is caused by a combination of different factors. I think overdignosis is only a part of it, but an important part to look at. Unless we can get this diagnosed more accurately in the first place, we're just feeling around in the dark. I think that the fact autism has been in the spotlight so much has helped awareness in some ways, but in other ways, it has left a big open door for people to come in and obfuscate the whole problem.

  7. #17
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    I hear people talk about overdiagnosis. Does anyone know of a child who has been diagnosed where it seems to be misplaced? I just remember how HARD it was for my friend to get the doctors to admit that her son had autism. They kept saying they didn't want to "label" him and giving a vague sort of diagnosis yet because he wasn't labeled, my friend couldn't get access to the services she needed. He's clearly autistic that's not the point, the point is that doctors don't seem to commit to this diagnosis easily.

    Her whole life became easier once he was finally diagnosed.

  8. #18
    Senior Member durentu's Avatar
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    For you parents who have discarded "normal" and have taken the time to understand your children's reality: I'm grateful you exist to give others hope. I, however, wasn't so fortunate.

    Self diagnosed Aspie, IQ 146-165. pattern thinker, auditory learner. I'll expand on my perception of what grandin says about "difficulties with english"

    I don't have difficulties with the language in so much as it's a stupid language. It doesn't fit my thoughts at all. When writing, I have major difficulties condensing my thoughts to fit English. And when reading, it's very difficult to decode what the words actually mean. In short, the English language is insufficient and slapdash. To find precision and fine granularity in english is almost a complete waste of time. But it's a mandatory skill being in an english speaking country. This is why people like me find math/physics, circuits, music much more fitting.

    Most people think in words. I think in networks.

    How the heck to you condense this into english that is accurate and yet brief enough not to be as long as an encyclopedia?



    Or better yet, one of my mind maps

    2shared - download habituation.png

    networks like these flash in my head one after another. It's not painful, it's just how I think. And as I form ideas I link networks across each other and draw links and interesting things. But because my brain work this way, I'm not handicapped, the language is too narrow.

    This is the language difficulty of the pattern thinking aspie like myself. When english is the output, there is a translation difficulty from this complexity into english language and rhetoric. When the input is english, there are incomplete and fuzzy links everywhere and thus requires guesswork or tons of questions to get a satisfying mental thought. Some of the questions are completely bizarre and unrelated only because the person being asked is unaware of the far reaching links that I'm trying to clarify or clean up.

    Insights into the pattern thinking mind is rare so I write it here in hope to help someone.

  9. #19
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    The increase in autism per capita is staggering. 1 in 110 or 1 percent of the total population. What's changed in the past twenty years?

    Or is it just the next evolutionary leap?

  10. #20
    Senior Member mockingbird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    I hear people talk about overdiagnosis. Does anyone know of a child who has been diagnosed where it seems to be misplaced? I just remember how HARD it was for my friend to get the doctors to admit that her son had autism. They kept saying they didn't want to "label" him and giving a vague sort of diagnosis yet because he wasn't labeled, my friend couldn't get access to the services she needed. He's clearly autistic that's not the point, the point is that doctors don't seem to commit to this diagnosis easily.

    Her whole life became easier once he was finally diagnosed.
    Yes, I am thinking specifically of some twin boys in one of my kid's classes. The class was a special one for autistic kids only, but it was clear to not only me, but to their current and past teachers that they were mentally retarded. As a result, not only were they not getting the actual care that they needed, but monopolized the attention of the teachers so much that it was difficult for them to give the kids who actually belonged there the attention they needed.

    So much of the final diagnosis relies on the parent's report of their child's behaviour. Unfortunately, some parents lie. Doctors can't see autism with a brain scan or biological test. So much of the diagnostic process is subjective.

    I don't know what the solution is to the problem of overdiagnosis and misdiagnosis. But you are right, the labels aren't about limiting children, it's about getting them the specialized cate that they need.

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