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CDC Reports 1 In 88 Children Now Affected With Autism In the US 398

Posted by samzenpus
from the definitely-an-increase dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new government health report indicated that about one in 88 children in the United State has autism or a related disorder, the highest estimate to date, which represented an overall increase of 25 percent since the last analysis in 2006. The Centers for Disease Control reported on Thursday that the rate increased by 78 percent compared to the reported rate in 2002. From the article: '"The CDC’s new estimate of autism prevalence demands that we recognize autism as a public health emergency warranting immediate attention," Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson said in a new release. "More than ever, these numbers compel us to redouble our investment in the research that can reveal causes, validate effective treatments and guide the effective delivery of services to all our communities," she added.'"
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CDC Reports 1 In 88 Children Now Affected With Autism In the US

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  • True... (Score:5, Funny)

    by alendit (1454311) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:20PM (#39516903)

    And all of them are lurking on 4chan.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jhoegl (638955)
      I know you are trying to be funny, but autistic people are better people than those who lurk in 4chan.
      Therefore, I find your comment offensive.
  • Slashdot 1 in 2 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:20PM (#39516907)

    Whereas on slashdot the ratio is the prevelance is the far more alarming 1 in 2.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:23PM (#39516949)

      Whereas on slashdot the ratio is the prevelance is the far more alarming 1 in 2.

      No, it's 1.000073629 in 2.

      • And, I was just going to point out that the statistics were:

        1:150 (nationwide) in 2002,
        1:125 (nationwide) in 2004,
        1:110 (nationwide) in 2006,
        1:88 (in 14 states) in 2008.

        This isn't really telling us what the statistics are today, but I would extrapolate an 8.713%/year increase from the presented data, leading to a figure of 1:61 in 2012. When the 2006 data was presented, everyone called out "you can't extrapolate like that, the growth is over now", but the latest data presented actually shows an increase in

      • by Cazekiel (1417893)

        Whereas on slashdot the ratio is the prevelance is the far more alarming 1 in 2.

        No, it's 1.000073629 in 2.

        Divided by pi.

  • by trunicated (1272370) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:22PM (#39516925)

    Or are we changing how we mesure it? How we define "autism"? Maybe it's because autism is more acceptable, and doesn't require someone to be locked in a basement until a group of 1980s teens decide that they need to find a treasure in order to save their housing development.

    All kidding aside, I'd be interested to know how much the autism scale has changed over the years. I realize that highly functioning people with autism still count as having autism, but was that always the case?

    • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:25PM (#39516973)
      The article I read about this earlier today did actually credit better/more defined diagnosis criteria as a major part of the increase in diagnoses, but that roughly 50% of the increase is still unexplained. But yeah, years ago, just as with other mental diseases/development disorders, higher functioning sufferers were generally just considered slow or slightly odd, but otherwise normal.
      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        Which still warrants a different look. If we can now recognize what it is, and can do something about it that's better than just writing the situation off as a collection of unsolvable oddities that aren't worth investing much in.

        • by Nidi62 (1525137)
          I don't disagree. The rate of increase in diagnoses is much higher than what we would expect from a better understanding of the symptoms. There is definitely something else going on here that warrants further exploration. But at least we know it's NOT caused by mercury in vaccines :)
    • by pavon (30274) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:59PM (#39517275)

      Here is the actual study [cdc.gov] and is annoyingly light on details to help answer that question. The total number includes people diagnosed with Autistic Disorder, Aspergers, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder–Not Otherwise Specified. They have tables that slice and dice the data between gender, ethnicity, locality, IQ, and other factors, but nowhere in the paper do the say what the split between these categories is. The closest is a table that shows how many people were diagnosed before the age of 8.

      If the increase is largely in Aspergers, the I would expect that it is mostly due to increased diagnosis, since it didn't didn't even have an official diagnosis standard until the early 90's and didn't enter into mainstream awareness till about a decade later.

      Without this information I have no idea how to react. If we are seeing a huge increase in the number of people with low functioning Autism, that is a cause for alarm. If we are mostly seeing an increase in the number of people with Aspergers, then that's a good thing, because it means that more people with Aspergers are receiving information that can help them live their lives better, and there isn't much to be concerned about.

    • The figure is now much closer to the 1 in 75 that the UK is reporting, which means that it's much more likely to be honestly reported. The less than half figure that the US previously claimed never rang true - it's genetic, not magic, so the incidence rate aught to reflect the gene pool you have to work with. The US and UK are genetically very similar, so the incidence rate aught to be very similar.

      I would be far more interested in knowing why it has been dishonestly reported in the past and whether the now

      • by slew (2918)

        The US and UK are genetically very similar....

        [citation needed] Although culturally, US and UK may still be somewhat similar, and maybe initially (say 200 years ago), the genetics were similar, I don't think the "genetics" are that similar today.

        AFAIK, demographically, the UK is about (~90% white, ~5% black, ~5% asian), where the US is about (~60% white, ~15% hispanic/latino, ~15% black, ~5% asian)...

        Even if you just look at the "white" (majority) of the population, much of the "white" population in the US originates from multiple areas of europe (some

    • Was over at a friends house recently. He had on some kind of Mickey mouse adventure DVD for the baby. It was essentially demented. Mickey mouse traping around on an undefined saccharine adventure with shapeshifting companions, reaching into a sack of some kind to use tools on CG doors that lead to the next microplot with no connection to what came before or after.

      It was the closest I have ever seen film come to capturing the hazy stream of consciousness of a dream. I think it was over an hour long.

      If Disney and others have been mass producing DVDs like that for children for the last 15 years, I'd fully expect incidences of all kinds of mental pathology to be skyrocketing right about now.

      • Was over at a friends house recently. He had on some kind of Mickey mouse adventure DVD for the baby. It was essentially demented. Mickey mouse traping around on an undefined saccharine adventure with shapeshifting companions, reaching into a sack of some kind to use tools on CG doors that lead to the next microplot with no connection to what came before or after.

        It was the closest I have ever seen film come to capturing the hazy stream of consciousness of a dream. I think it was over an hour long.

        If Disney and others have been mass producing DVDs like that for children for the last 15 years, I'd fully expect incidences of all kinds of mental pathology to be skyrocketing right about now.

        The entire baby-boomer generation was raised by televisions showing hours of insane cartoons. I think we need to look elsewhere for an explanation.

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        You should see the Princess syndrome in Mexico!
      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        I want to see it.

        And I object to the other guy who said Baby Boomers watched insane cartoons. Tom & Jerry. Rocky & Bullwinkle. Mighty Mouse. Flintstones. The Jetsons. They made perfect sense storywise.

      • If Disney and others have been mass producing DVDs like that for children for the last 15 years, I'd fully expect incidences of all kinds of mental pathology to be skyrocketing right about now.

        My boys are both diagnosed (mostly non-verbal) Autistic - they feed on Pixar DVDs like they were crack, same super strong dopamine push high when they get it, same withdrawal symptoms when they don't, same "will do anything to get it" motivation.

        The only thing worse are Disney "Sneak Peek" trailers.

    • by Surt (22457)

      It's a combination of more aggressive measurement, and broadening of the definition (Autism used to be a peer of Asperger's for example, but is now the container diagnosis for both).

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Or are we changing how we mesure it? How we define "autism"?

      Add to the list of questions: who define "autism"?

    • by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @09:00PM (#39517865)

      Or are we changing how we measure it?

      Most probably, as the criteria for diagnostics have indeed changed over the years, but this is not the only problem. One issue is that the risk for autism increases the more a mother waits to have a kid. This is at least one of the reasons that kids with autism are appearing more and more frequently all over the country.

      Medicine/contraception has been getting better. Education is getting longer. And families are waiting longer and longer to procreate. This is in stark contrast with the opposite problem of mothers who are still giving birth way too young, or giving birth to babies with the alcohol-syndrome...

      Our society is now suffering from both types of problems, parents who wait too long and parents who do not wait at all, and an entrenched political system that seems to discourage and penalize middle-of-the-ground discussions over these topics.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:23PM (#39516947) Homepage

    It would be useful to know if there's more autism by some objective measure, or just more diagnosis. I've heard it pointed out that children who are diagnosed as autistic get a very large amount more attention, private tutoring, and such, in many school systems.

    • by Sad Loser (625938) *
      I think this is the key to it.
      In the UK having your child labelled as 'autistic' or 'autism spectrum'
      a) is more socially acceptable than just being labelled as 'slow' (yes I know this is wrong but this is just the way it is) whereas with autism they have a [poorly defined] disease, which is seen as 'an act of God'
      b) opens the door to a lot more state benefits (=money) and extra teaching at school (schools like having more teachers), as the child is counted as being 'disabled'.


      While I am glad that m
    • by jrumney (197329) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @08:40PM (#39517653) Homepage
      A friend's child who was diagnosed with autism was excluded from school at 5 years of age because the teachers couldn't cope with him. His parents had to fight very hard to get him back in with the support that he was supposed to have. So the idea that people are trying to get their kids diagnosed in order to get more attention is rather an offensive one for those having to deal with the lack of support every day.
      • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @09:18PM (#39518033) Homepage

        So the idea that people are trying to get their kids diagnosed in order to get more attention is rather an offensive one for those having to deal with the lack of support every day.

        Yes, exactly. In our community, about 1 in 10 parents of autistic children are "adequately served" by the school system, most of them are locked up in "closet classrooms," typically portable units on the back corner of the property with their own separate entry gate and unpaved path to "their rooms."

        Yes, we have contacted the Federal Office of Civil Rights, you see, if "some" special needs children are served in the normal building, and "some" normal children are served in the portables, then it doesn't meet their definition of discrimination. As you might guess, the portables are 90% special needs, and the main building is 95% "normal," which meets the Federal guidelines and therefore they will not come to investigate further on that basis...

  • 100% (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BradleyUffner (103496) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:23PM (#39516951) Homepage

    So once they all have it, it'll be normal right? Then we can stop overdiagnosing it and get back to life.

    • No, there are different degrees (and causes) of autism, ranging from "barely noticeable in everyday conversation to an untrained observer" to "unable to talk until age 50 [autismconnects.com], and even then only because of extensive therapy." If autistic characteristics were a good evolutionary fit for the majority of the human species, they would have become much more prevalent a long time ago.
      • by mrbester (200927)
        "barely noticeable in everyday conversation to an untrained observer" By that reasoning everybody is autistic, making BradleyUffner's oblique point. An "observation" that someone is autistic that requires "training" to spot when a lay person wouldn't even consider it a possibility is an example of over diagnosing. That someone may simply be deliberately insensitive because they're an asshole.
        • Re:100% (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @08:51PM (#39517765) Homepage Journal
          It's a lot more complicated than that. Everyday conversation is not the whole spectrum of human existence. A lot of clinically depressed people appear to be normal in short conversations—are you saying that they, too, are indistinguishable from 'everybody'? It's only because they work hard to fit in that they appear normal, not because there's no difference.
        • Re:100% (Score:5, Insightful)

          by catsidhe (454589) <catsidhe@gmai3.1415926l.com minus pi> on Thursday March 29, 2012 @08:53PM (#39517769) Homepage

          "barely noticeable in everyday conversation to an untrained observer"

          Whereas a trained observer may be able to spot it as they walk in the door, and it may be obvious to anyone given extended interaction (socially, professionally, family, whatever).

          And in everyday conversation, people see the best behaviour, the greatest effort to pass as Like Everyone Else. They don't, as a rule, see the anxiety attacks, the stimming, the meltdowns and shutdowns, the continual gnawing fear that you're doing it all wrong and no-one will tell you, the desperate desire to go hide somewhere quiet and dark and alone, the continual rehearsing of social interactions in your head.

          Just because you can't tell an Aspie when you pass one on the street, that doesn't mean they aren't suffering from it.

          Trust me on this.

  • If it's that normal, maybe it's not abnormal after all?

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:35PM (#39517055)

      There's a pretty active debate over how to classify it, and how it relates to "normal" functioning, and some of the major theories do at least hint in the direction that the picture of "normality" is complex.

      One model, which has a clearer division, is that there is a specific etiology, which would make "autism" a more conventional "disease" in a sense, in that some people have it and some don't, and there is a known cause.

      However another major model views the "autism spectrum" as something like the tail of a normal Bell-curve distribution for some cluster of traits. In that case, the dividing line between "normal" and "not normal" becomes a more subjective one having to do with how far in the tails you decide to put a cutoff, which probably involves some judgment of ability to function in society (which in turn depends on the society).

      Other models think that we're conflating several etiologies in this big basket, and that some may be discrete diseases while others are tail-of-a-Bell-curve traits.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JoeMerchant (803320)

        Having children diagnosed with Autism, and fairly far out on the spectrum, I wouldn't call it a dis-ability, they're "differently-abled."

        If all you care about is being able to sit in a room with 17 other kids their age, shut up and do what they're told - yeah, that's a problem, well into the disability range. Personally, I don't think that the ability to sit like a vegetable and follow basic instructions is the only thing of value that a person can offer to society.

        In my family, at least, this finding goes

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:25PM (#39516965)

    Autism isn't a new issue. It's been around for hundreds of thousands of years. It's just it wouldn't be diagnosed before.

    How many cases of appendicitis were there 10,000 years ago? Would be rational to look at existing reported cases and conclude that all of this just started in the modern era?

    I'm not saying autism isn't a problem. It's just one of many old problems.

    • This is an important point to remember.

      As an example: I was diagnosed with Asperger's in 2010 at the age of 37. Do I count in the statistics of 2010, or 1973?

      • That's a good question. The right answer is of course 1973 since you were born with it. However, the statistics they're talking about might easily put that on 2010.

        The issue with statistics is that you have to be somewhat educated to understand them in the first place. And as evidenced by most journalists reporting on statistics... it seems most people are pretty ignorant on the subject.

        Another issue that always makes me nuts on statistics is correlation and causation... they always confuse correlation with

      • by cdrudge (68377)

        For this study, neither since it's kids 2-17. If it was for people 2-40, it wouldn't matter since either date would be include in the age range. If it was for people diagnosed as autistic in 2010 with Aspergers, then yes since that was when you were diagnosed. If it was for people who had an ASD in 2009, no because you had not been diagnosed even though you might have had the disorder then.

      • The CDC stats are for 8 year olds - if you have comorbid dwarfisim and were attending 2nd grade in 2010, you might have fooled them well enough to get counted.

        • Which is a fair point, in this study.

          All too many reports, however, don't discriminate across age clades, and just count up total Autists, if they specify at all. And they detect massive rises in Autism diagnoses since <whenever>, and you can't tell if adult diagnoses are skewing the results or not.

          In this case, that they've accounted for the improvements in diagnosis rates is a positive sign... although I wonder how that "50%" number was arrived at:

          However Roithmayr [president of the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks] noted that better and broader diagnosis and higher awareness accounted for only a half of the rise in autism rates, and that the most recent numbers show that there is an autism epidemic in the United States that needs to be addressed.

          A lot of Autists simply don't trust Autism Speaks. Most of its money goes to advertising and research into eliminating Autism (which Autists interpret as eliminating the possibility of people like us in the future, at the expense of research into treatments for the disabling symptoms of Autism for people who exist now). There is only one Autist on any of its boards (being John Elder Robison on the Research board, where he is outnumbered fourty-nine to one), and they have produced videos where people talk about killing themselves and their Autistic child and that they only didn't because of the "normal" child at home, in front of that Autistic child. (Just because they may not be able to speak normally doesn't mean they can't understand what you're saying.) Autism Speaks tend, as far as we can see, to be advocating for the parents, not the autistic children (which isn't a problem per se, except that they misrepresent themselves as speaking for the Autists themselves, something which is overwhelmingly not true), and advocating for more resources based on a campaign of fear and loathing of the worst case scenario, and misrepresenting it as the typical case. It would be entirely in character for Autism Speaks to underplay the role of improved diagnosis and overplay the "OMFG EPIDEMIC!!1!", as this plays right into their story of Autism being this Thing which will steal your child in the night and you need to give money to Autism Speaks if you want your child back.

          That's not to say it's necessarily wrong, but I do not trust that unsupported statement from that source.

  • But when doing math, I do sit on the floor, rocking back and forth, whilst mumbling to myself.
  • by jc42 (318812) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:29PM (#39517011) Homepage Journal

    Doesn't it mostly depend on what definition is being used this month?

    One of the ongoing problems with both medical and economic statistics is that the definitions of what's being measured changes on a time scale of a year or four. This confounds attempts to measure changes over time, since the statistics for constant things are often changing.

    Here in the US, one of the ongoing examples is the changing definitions of "unemployment". This was made clear back during the Reagan years, when the military was changed from ignored to "employed". This lowered the unemployment rate by roughly 1% (and varied a lot by state). It also meant that unemployment rates before and after that change were incommensurable.

    This is an old, and ongoing story. Both the political and marketing people like to change definitions periodically, so they can use the resulting statistical "changes" in their propaganda.

  • by forkfail (228161) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:30PM (#39517017)

    ... will be to end all vaccinations, and not to clean up the poisons that our kids breath, the crap that's in our food, and all the other potentially genetically damaging stuff that we do.

    • ... will be to end all vaccinations, and not to clean up the poisons that our kids breath, the crap that's in our food, and all the other potentially genetically damaging stuff that we do.

      No, the vaccination thing is cooling off, but Al Gore might be making a case that it comes from increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

      Looking back at my highschool (early 1980s), I can clearly identify 3 cases (diagnosable by today's criteria) out of 210 graduating seniors - that's a little skewed though, we had roughly 90 dropouts, so the overall number in my class was about 1:100 (all guys), the class one year older than me had about 5.

      What's changed in the last 30 years is that all those cases

  • by Beeftopia (1846720) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:33PM (#39517041)

    I Had Asperger Syndrome. Briefly. [nytimes.com]
    By BENJAMIN NUGENT
    New York Times
    Published: January 31, 2012

    "FOR a brief, heady period in the history of autism spectrum diagnosis, in the late ’90s, I had Asperger syndrome.

    I exhibited a “qualified impairment in social interaction,” specifically “failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level” (I had few friends) and a “lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people” (I spent a lot of time by myself in my room reading novels and listening to music, and when I did hang out with other kids I often tried to speak like an E. M. Forster narrator, annoying them). I exhibited an “encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus” (I memorized poems and spent a lot of time playing the guitar and writing terrible poems and novels).

    The biggest single problem with the diagnostic criteria applied to me is this: You can be highly perceptive with regard to social interaction, as a child or adolescent, and still be a spectacular social failure. This is particularly true if you’re bad at sports or nervous or weird-looking.

    But my experience can’t be unique. Under the rules in place today, any nerd, any withdrawn, bookish kid, can have Asperger syndrome."

  • by florescent_beige (608235) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:33PM (#39517043) Journal
    General incompetence is increasing. People who are good at math get therapy until they aren't good at anything so they can be normal.
  • My suspicion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:48PM (#39517153) Homepage

    It just seems strange to me there are so many children on heavy hitter psych meds. It can't be a total coincidence that their parent's generation started the trend toward better living through pharmacology. With their parents taking Zoloft, Seroquel, Zyprexa and Abilify like candy it just seems oddly coincidental that there are so many autistic kids running around.

    • Re:My suspicion (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FrootLoops (1817694) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @08:16PM (#39517437)

      We evolved in a different environment with vastly different social structures. Is it so hard to believe that in today's society legitimate mental problems are rampant? Just a few thousand years ago humans were living in small tribes, hunting or gathering for food, and sleeping in caves. Today our communities are gigantic and our social interactions are largely anonymous. Mental work has replaced most physical work in developed nations. At the same time people are living far longer and having fewer or no children, changing the family dynamic. We've also learned to manipulate our emotions through music, substances, and entertainment. Social standards have changed, too. I can no longer show anger by punching you without consequences.

      With all of these huge recent changes in how we interact with each other and our world and in how we think, is it at all surprising that the kinks have yet to be worked out?

  • by Cazekiel (1417893) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @07:57PM (#39517257)

    My son is autistic, and I can't stand it when people involve the words 'disease' or 'cure' when speaking of it. Autism Speaks goes so far as to use the word 'eradication', so I don't bother with them whatsoever. They want a cure for something, in my own opinion, isn't curable. It's the way you're made. There are no cures for Down's out there right now, are there?

    And when it comes to the "OMG SO MANY AUTISTIC KIDS!" issue--I'm sure everyone here remembers the days back in grade-high school, where the special-needs kids were all dumped into one room. From Down's to ADHD, they resided in the basement where none of us "normal" kids ran the risk of running into them and giving us complexes. There were many, many children that were autistic, but they'd only get the colorful, cute euphemisms, like 'retards' or 'speds'. They were ALWAYS used with great care and kindness, of course. /sarcasm

    Nowadays, more people are eager to look into each case specifically, instead of throwing a blanket over any kid that falls behind or shows some sign of disability. Therefore, we're all freaking out about how there are so many sudden cases of autism--to me, it's always been here. I myself am in the spectrum, but back when I was little, I was brought to 'retardation' tests to examine my issues (where they discovered that my IQ was actually strangely high). I consider myself an undiagnosed case until I learn otherwise. If you look around yourself, think back to all the kids you went to school with, the more you might realize that autism's always been there... we just haven't met it with the same speculation, sensitivity and care until now. Are there environmental factors? Perhaps. But I think that only delays our understanding of autism itself: we're looking for outside reasons, when it's inborn, 'just the way you are'.

    My son is almost nine, doesn't use the toilet exclusively, speaks almost exclusively in echolalia (and in my exact tone and inflection, as I was his main caregiver growing up), has odd, brain-numbing routines (he'll sing the same three words of a song for an hour straight while hitting the floor over and over again in specific patterns)... but he is damned smart, scarily so. I work on meeting him halfway; he does, deep down, have great understanding, and as long as I accommodate the things he can't help, it works out. To be honest, he's one of the easiest kids I've ever had to deal with, and I was a preschool teacher for over ten years.

    • by mrbester (200927)
      I'm hoping that one of the "issues" you had wasn't "doesn't play much with the other kids" as that is the usual bullshit trotted out without any examination of the other kids to attempt to discover _why_. As your IQ was tested high this could easily be that the so-called "normal" kids played games you thought were dumb and didn't enjoy so didn't participate. Or their conversation subjects didn't interest you. Or they were dickheads and you didn't like them. Don't be so eager to assume you're not "normal" (
      • by Cazekiel (1417893) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @09:53PM (#39518359)

        I was an absolute dork and not in the 'popular crowd', but no, that wasn't a factor (that I recall, at least). I was incredibly socially-awkward (or to be more accurate, socially-immature), but there were 2 or 3 girls that I'd play with on the playground that were as dorky as me, lol. If faced with bullying (which happened quite a bit), I'd end up getting really upset then do weird things, like picking the skin of my fingers and showing them, as if thinking "maybe they'll leave me alone if I show them this". I was easy to pick on, very sensitive and got taken advantage of by some of those 'friends', and when it came to recess and other "have fun" activities, I had a hard time containing myself. I'd put people off because I was loud, over-excitable, way-too-talkative, coming up with weird, imaginative scenarios that were all over the map, etc.... it happens NOW, as an adult. If I don't watch myself, I make people angry. What I do in those situations is take a cig break at work, escape to my car to relax, talk to myself and laugh at nothing if my emotions are overloading (I luckily work with people who accept me; I'm not that way every minute, but sometimes I really, really need to decompress and they get it, thank criminy).

        The main testing came from my not being able to follow instruction/directions. My mom thought I was being defiant, when it really just felt like another language was being spoken when it came to certain lessons. I could read from the age of 4, but if you had a book on tape, I may as well be out of the room. That wasn't an attention thing, as I see it: I could sit for an entire day with a bunch of books, reading every one and being able to relay every detail--but one paragraph on a tape recorder and--"Huh? What?" I'm STILL this way.

        I figured it all out once in college. Throughout my whole school history, I'd thought, "I'm bad at math and science." When I got to my first year in tech school and discovered I need not just Algebra I but II, I almost gave up. Then I was enrolled in a 'self taught' Algebra I course where I took the book home, studied each chap then went in to take tests in the computer lab. I didn't just pass, I aced it, while holding down two jobs at the same time. I went every night I could and accidentally fit BOTH I and II in one summer, as I'd thought we had to do the whole book when Alg. I was the first HALF of it. They let me finish the last month and a half with the second course--aced it. Two in one. I was half-elated that I'd discovered how I not only could do it, but find it ridiculously easy, half pissed-off that it hadn't been recognized earlier-on.

        Wow, I'm Lil' Ms. McWordy, huh? Lol. By the way, I've seen your sig before and want to marry it. Where'd you get it? Can I haz one?

    • by Jmc23 (2353706) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @09:02PM (#39517881) Journal
      You might want to also consider that while it isn't something that can be 'cured' it might be a different way of perceiving and as such other ways of perceiving can be learned. I grew out of the echolalia into a nice gutural robotic monotone when I went to school, but now talk normally. I can now switch between the different focuses and different ways of perceiving.
  • Problem with this... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tastecicles (1153671) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @08:34PM (#39517593)

    ...from my 37 years on this rock, I've seen the descriptor of ASD go from savant to a whole swathe of "abnormality", from minor zoneouts (such as I have frequently) to total withdrawal (which I have in times of extreme stress). All have been applied to me in passing although I've never had anything like an official diagnosis. I used to act out at school, not because I was ADHD (as false a diagnosis as MSbP), but because I was bored: I had already learned what the teachers were trying to teach me. Problem was, as is common today, the school teaches at the rate of the slowest kid in class. I could think faster than all those kids, even the teachers, combined. So according to them I was the one with the problem - in a way they were right. They were holding me back.

    It's not mental illness, it's a defence mechanism.

    Back to the topic: ASD/ADHD/AS descriptors have become so diluted over the years, the terms could be applied to anybody. Have you checked out the standard mental health questionnaires? So full of leading questions, you couldn't say no to more than half of them - which is pretty much a guarantee that in any given situation, you could be assessed as having traits of some debilitating mental illness or other that would disqualify you from mixing in public. It's used in the UK on a regular basis to remove children from parents where in fact there is absolutely nothing wrong with the parents, yet one simple questionnaire that takes five minutes to answer ticks the boxes of psychotic, MSbP, NPD, ASPD, any number of "diagnoses" that immediately justifies the forced separation of families.

    What we have now is those diagnoses being publicly scrutinised as it's now emerged that the assessments have been carried out by persons unqualified to do so [dailymail.co.uk], while claiming that they are qualified. Roy Meadow, Andrew Kawalek, Bruno Bettelheim, David Southall (just some names off the top of my head and I have extensive files on those and more) - all frauds, and provably so. Dangerous ones at that. All have had their hand in removal of many thousands of children from their families on the basis of fabricated mental illness. Southall does not even have a degree, yet he is on the GMC roll as a practising psychologist with license to carry out drug experiments on children. Gentlemen and ladies, I bullshit ye not [freeforums.org].

  • I am extremely skeptical of the artificial compounds created in the last 40-50 years that get put in everything from clothing (fire retardants, colorants, softeners, plastics) to foods (too many artificially modified natural foods) to cleansers & cosmetics of all types with God only knows what chemicals in them.

    Homo Sapiens evolved over 5 million years of primate evolution and NONE of those ancestors until modern times almost no one came into contact with isolated elements or chemical compounds and only

  • by crossmr (957846) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @08:53PM (#39517771) Journal

    Every teen and young adult who has self-diagnosed themselves with "asperger's syndrome"?

  • Diet? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dryeo (100693) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @08:57PM (#39517839)

    My son is autistic. Didn't talk until 6 and still has lots of problems. The one thing that we did at 6 years old was to remove all diary from his diet. After this he calmed right down (used to take 2 strong men to handle a 5 year old), started talking, going to the bathroom on his own and various other improvements. The days he come home acting like his old self always turned out to be days when someone fed him diary.
    Diary is one food that the vast majority of people can not digest properly. Especially certain races (my wife is Native American) and I've never felt good when drinking milk. This raises the question, does diet make things such as autism worse? I'm not aware of any studies done on it but there are quite a few people who have reported good results from changing diet.
    The problem is the diary farmers have very good marketing and most people are convinced that milk is a vital part of the diet. They also have a powerful lobby.
    Wheat is another one that may be worth some studying.

    • Re:Diet? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Cazekiel (1417893) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:06PM (#39518459)

      First off, I'm sorry... I had a small giggle, imagining you feeding your child diaries. I know that's so not what you meant: dairy. Got it.

      Anyway, I don't doubt that dairy was a big issue for your autistic child. But people interpret the effect of taking the food item out as a 'cure', when it isn't. I don't know your son, but as MY son's also autistic, I know that if he was intolerant of a food his behavior would go haywire, too. That's because as a non-verbal autist, they can't say "my tummy hurts, Mom." Instead, they react strongly to the overwhelming, inner pain and over-stimulation and can't control themselves because of the stimulation. It's pain, they hate it, there goes the bookshelf/my good arm/etc.

  • by benengel (448238) on Thursday March 29, 2012 @10:03PM (#39518437) Homepage

    My mother has runs a special needs unit of about 3 classes in a normal government primary school in Western Sydney for about 5 years and has been a teacher of "normal" kids for about 30 years before that. She is convinced that the percentage of special needs kids (autism, downs etc) as compared to "normal" primary school kids is rising due to advances in medical technology. She feels that 30, 40 or 50 years ago a lot of the kids she teaches would have died due to complications at childbirth related to their conditions whereas with better medical technology today more survive. This judgement is just based on her experience only. Whether its true or not I don't know but she has been teaching kids for over 35 years.

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