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Medicine

Early Brain Response To Words Predictive For Autism 182

Posted by samzenpus
from the assessing-the-situation dept.
vinces99 writes "The pattern of brain responses to words in 2-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder predicted the youngsters' linguistic, cognitive and adaptive skills at ages 4 and 6, according to a new study from the University of Washington's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. The findings are among the first to demonstrate that a brain marker can predict future abilities in children with autism."
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Early Brain Response To Words Predictive For Autism

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:21PM (#43868589)

    It's predictive OF cognitive ability FOR autistic children.

    • That slasheadline is completely askew to the article (and the original headline).
    • I don't buy this whole "autism spectrum disorder" thing in the new guidelines anyway. If you take their standards literally, then a very large percentage of people we would consider normal are actually autistic. Pardon me: suffering from "autism spectrum disorder".

      Sooner or later, if not checked, this ever-expanding list of "disorders" will eventually include literally everybody. When everybody has a "disorder", then who is normal?

      It's these BS "standards" that are unhealthy and need help.
      • by seebs (15766)

        Well, why would we expect anyone to be normal?

        Also, speaking only for myself and also all the people I have ever known who are autistic: "Autistic" as an adjective is fine, "suffering from autism spectrum disorder" is insulting.

      • by theedgeofoblivious (2474916) on Friday May 31, 2013 @02:24AM (#43869877)

        As an autistic person, I think that "person first" language is offensive. Saying "person suffering from autism spectrum disorder" implies that autism is not a fundamental part of who I am, but is instead something inhuman that should be removed from me.

        No, person-first language is something that parents insist on. These are the same type of parents who post YouTube videos about "what autism is like", when in reality, they've never experienced autism, but instead have only experienced interaction with an autistic person. Autistic people don't suffer from autism. They suffer from other people.

        As for whether autism is real, it absolutely is.

        I am not a child. I exhibited the symptoms of autism long before the world wide web existed, so I didn't and my parents didn't get a fad diagnosis. We didn't know what it was. Everyone just thought that I was a genius, because of teaching myself to read and do math and memorize large amounts of information and fix things, but most people didn't realize that I had severe sensory issues and overwhelming social cognitive deficits. This is not just normal what people call "shyness" or social anxiety. Throughout my life I have had major issues because, far from trying to handle social situations and failing, there have been a lot of times when I didn't realize that I was supposed to interact, and there have been many types of social interaction that I didn't even have concepts of. When I was very young I was considered absolutely brilliant, but I also did a lot of things completely incorrectly. For example, I attended the wrong classes for a significant part of a school year because I never communicated that I was in the wrong classes, so none of the teachers realized it. I didn't understand that people formed networks with each other or attempted to socialize outside of school. I attended high school and college and never asked anyone for a reference, not because of fear, but because I didn't know that anyone did, and didn't have any concept of why they would.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I have to post as AC for this as I have used mod. points on this article so here goes. I to have "Autism Spectrum Disorder." I still prefer to say that I have Aspergers syndrome, and avoidant personality disorder due to the Aspergers. I was born in an era before the internet, and no one had a clue what autism was outside of the extreme cases. I did not form many friendships due to that issue, and when I did I got burned all the time because I was different and did not know social norms. I did ok in sch
        • "As for whether autism is real, it absolutely is."

          Don't misunderstand my earlier comment. I wasn't suggesting that it isn't real. But have you read the new "mental health guidelines" for medical professionals? They have made the definition of "autism spectrum disorder" so loose as to include nearly everybody, at some point in their lives. I am very serious.

          To me, that represents a great deal of disrespect for those who genuinely suffer from it.

      • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Friday May 31, 2013 @06:22AM (#43870689)
        Actually, turning it from strictly binary to a spectrum is the road to a healthier approach, with the eventual destination being that they are not wrong, as 'disorder' implies, but merely different.
        • by Prune (557140)

          And my friend with cardiac insufficiency doesn't have a disorder but is merely different. After all, it is not a binary thing but one that is a matter of degree!

          Your approach is broken. ASD is a disorder, and there is virtually total consensus on that in the medical field. Many ASD persons may not feel it is a disorder, just as many people with other personality disorders, or alcoholism, etc., would deny they have a disorder. But not all; see, for example, this post http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?s [slashdot.org]

        • "Actually, turning it from strictly binary to a spectrum is the road to a healthier approach, with the eventual destination being that they are not wrong, as 'disorder' implies, but merely different."

          You missed the point. I have no problem at all with defining it as a "spectrum". But making the definition so loose as to diagnose nearly everybody as suffering from a "disorder" is NOT a "healthy approach". Which is what they did. Literally. Look it up. It has been in the press even.

    • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday May 31, 2013 @03:49AM (#43870199) Homepage Journal
      Saying X is "a predictor for" Y is common statistics jargon. Just type "a predictor for" into Google and you'll drown in hits.
  • by Shavano (2541114) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:55PM (#43868813)
    From the original article: The good news:

    “We’ve shown that the brain’s indicator of word learning in 2-year-olds already diagnosed with autism predicts their eventual skills on a broad set of cognitive and linguistic abilities and adaptive behaviors,” said lead author Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

    In other words, they can tell you a lot about your kid's future based on this one test.
    The bad news:

    “This is true four years after the initial test, and regardless of the type of autism treatment the children received,” she said.

    In other words, the autism treatments don't work.

    • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:13PM (#43868917)

      >>âoeThis is true four years after the initial test, and regardless of the type of autism treatment the children received,â she said.
      > In other words, the autism treatments don't work.

      This is incorrect thinking. Autism is NOT something to be "cured."

      It is a DIFFERENT way of THINKING. See the movie "Temple Grandin" if you want to understand how Asperger's / Austistic children see the world.

      Didn't we just see something like this on /. recently?
      http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/05/silicon-valley-coders-and-autism-and-asperbergers-maybe-its-a-new-kind-of-design-thinking/ [wired.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Fuck yourself. I have a nephew who will never lead an independent life because of autism and another who could live on his own but it would be a great difficulty for him and those around him. You or someone you know may have a form of autism that you find acceptable for every day life but everyone with autism isn't like that.
         
        You take a ton of offense at someone calling it a cure but you never consider what that cure might mean to others.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          But it's still not really a 'cure', just like making someone who previously enjoyed sports dislike sports is not a 'cure'. Sure, some people may want the 'treatment', but to say that a person objectively needs to be cured because they think differently is just arrogant.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 31, 2013 @12:31AM (#43869531)

            Treatment for autism isn't a cure because nobody knows how to cure the disorder, but many people with autism certainly would like to be cured instead of painstakingly learning methods that help them mitigate the problems caused by their "different way of thinking". With all the hype around Asperger's Syndrome and other high functioning autism spectrum disorders, it's easy to forget that the few who despite their affliction manage to shine don't make the lives of the many easier.

            The antics of Sheldon Cooper are funny on TV, but if you take away the exceptional mental performance, then the social impediment causes real world Sheldon Coopers a lot of suffering, not because the world doesn't want to adapt to autism, but because social interactions are actually necessary and important. Unless you can bring that fabled "beautiful mind" stuff to the table, who's going to afford the time and stress to deal with someone who needs everything spelt out to them because facial cues and other normal aspects of social interaction are an enigma to them? Autism may in some rare cases enable new insights, but it comes at a cost, and that cost is crippling more often than not.

            • by seebs (15766)

              I'm not sure how many "many" is. I've encountered exactly one, and she was a victim of severe ongoing emotional abuse. It's a lot like the large number of people who want to be "cured" of being gay because everyone around them is a dick to them about it.

              Take away the abuse, the problem goes away.

              Hint: I've met dozens of autistics. All of them had learned to do social interaction things at least somewhat. The ones who had the hardest time weren't "more autistic", they were victims of parents who didn't bothe

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 31, 2013 @02:00AM (#43869811)

            Ugh, you've clearly never met someone with severe autism. The GP, who you nitwits have modded troll, has, and so have I. Some of them can't speak at all, nor can they understand speech. They can't understand tone of voice or facial expressions either. For them, it's as if they are trapped in a world of inscrutable aliens. They're easily overwhelmed by human interaction or even non-human stimuli, and react by going into a semi-catatonic state of rocking back and forth, or worse, by hitting themselves or bashing their head against a wall. They are completely incapable of leading anything resembling a normal life, and become a burden to their loved ones. They absolutely need a cure, and it is nothing like your frankly insulting sports analogy.

            But the internet is full of socially awkward young men who self-diagnose as high-functioning autistics. This lets them explain away their awkwardness while pretending they have super intelligence. And so, without ever having met one of the millions of people with severe autism (how could they, since those people normally don't leave their caretaker's home?), they declare that autism is a good thing and shouldn't be cured. Fuck every last one of those twits.

            • ++

              mod parent up please!

            • Let's run with your 'inscrutable aliens' analogy. If you accidentally transported a human aboard a Tamarian ship, the human would undoubtedly suffer. Likely, it would be on about the same scale, especially if they didn't conveniently throw English words in. However, the solution isn't to try and force the human into the Tamarian mindset, but rather, to bridge communications both ways. Understanding how to communicate with autistics and how to get autistics to better communicate with others is the soluti
              • by Prune (557140)
                > Understanding how to communicate with autistics and how to get autistics to better communicate with others is the solution.

                By this logic:
                Understanding how to care about narcissists and how to get narcissists to better care about others is the solution.
                Understanding how to empathize with psychopaths and how to get psychopaths to better empathize with others is the solution.
                etc.
        • He's not saying that people with autism don't face problems, he's correctly identifying the issue at hand. The problem lies with how the world is structured for people who are different from them, and that the preferred means of coping with is typically to have them do their best job at emulating people who are different. It's like forcing left handed people to write right handed.
          • by Shavano (2541114)
            No, the problem is NOT how the world is structured. It is that autistic people are disabled with a brain disorder we can't fix, and the "treatments" are, to date, largely ineffective at helping them deal with their disability. But there are plenty of people who are out there selling snake oil to their desperate parents.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 31, 2013 @02:36AM (#43869913)

        I've seen the Temple Grandin movie, and it's spectacular. However, it is about a very high-functioning form of autism.

        My autistic cousin is not the high-functioning type. He can't speak, dress himself, or probably even use a toilet without assistance. He can't go out in public very often because he's prone to the kind of outbursts that would be excusable for a 2-year-old, but are likely to get a 30-year-old man like him arrested.

        His parents love him very much and are glad that they had him, regardless of his many challenges. However, he is an only child and they had him rather late in life. If won't be long before they're physically unable to care for him, or simply die. And what then?

        As a ward of the state, he will be much less useful to society than if he were "cured".

        What if we were talking about sociopaths? Would you say that it's just a different way of thinking that doesn't need to be cured? Perhaps you'd suggest that they have a useful place in society as politicians, completely ignoring the fact that some of them become serial killers (and that maybe society would be better off in general if we didn't have sociopathic leaders).

        dom

        • Mod parent up. +5
        • Quoting in full because it shouldn't linger at a score 0 and I have no mod points today.

          I've seen the Temple Grandin movie, and it's spectacular. However, it is about a very high-functioning form of autism. My autistic cousin is not the high-functioning type. He can't speak, dress himself, or probably even use a toilet without assistance. He can't go out in public very often because he's prone to the kind of outbursts that would be excusable for a 2-year-old, but are likely to get a 30-year-old man like him arrested. His parents love him very much and are glad that they had him, regardless of his many challenges. However, he is an only child and they had him rather late in life. If won't be long before they're physically unable to care for him, or simply die. And what then? As a ward of the state, he will be much less useful to society than if he were "cured". What if we were talking about sociopaths? Would you say that it's just a different way of thinking that doesn't need to be cured? Perhaps you'd suggest that they have a useful place in society as politicians, completely ignoring the fact that some of them become serial killers (and that maybe society would be better off in general if we didn't have sociopathic leaders). dom

        • by seebs (15766)

          Well, actually, yes, lots of people who appear to have the brain mechanics of "sociopaths" are, in fact, extremely useful to society. If we completely eradicated those traits, we'd lose a lot of very useful people. The question is whether they learn coping skills that allow them to adapt.

          Your cousin's situation sucks, but you're making a big leap when you assert that that is all "autism", and not some mix of autism, other cognitive disorders, or just plain mistakes made in raising him. Lots of autistic peop

          • it's the people trying to break them

            Who is trying to "break them", and how are they doing it? Trying to teach people to overcome or work around their difficulties is called "therapy" or "teaching". At worst sometimes they don't want the lessons at some particular time, but there are also kids that don't want to do their math homework. Big deal. You act as if Dr. Evil were pointing some mind control ray at these kids.

      • The problem is that that all depends on the level of autism. My sister works with children with severe autism. If they could be taught to function in the wider world, she would do so. Some of the children she works with cannot even be taught to use the bathroom. Other children where she works can be taught to a higher level of ability to function they are in other classes where she works.
        There is a reason it is called a "spectrum" because some people exhibit it in milder forms than others. I suspect that
        • by seebs (15766)

          The big concern is whether it's possible to make the most dysfunctional more functional without eliminating the entire category.

          Considering the number of places in the world that people still kill female babies because they want a boy, I would guess the answer is "probably not".

          • Considering the number of places in the world that people still kill female babies because they want a boy, I would guess the answer is "probably not".

            Let me know when somebody suggests killing autistic babies, and I'll help imprison them.

    • That the current methods don't work is disappointing; but(given how arduous, time-consuming, and expensive they are for the families and patients) having a robust early test whose results strongly suggest that they don't work does represent progress.

      Unless you go for the real lunatic fringe, who are shooting kids full of lupron, chelating them to hell and back, and who knows what else, most autism treatment is harmless enough; but very, very, time-intensive.

      • That the current methods don't work is disappointing

        The article certainly doesn't say that, and it's not true. The current methods are very time intensive and they don't work nearly as well as one would hope, but they do help. I've seen my nephew improve because of these treatments. Unfortunately he is still severely autistic and will never lead an independent, but for someone who has serious difficulties like him, even small things can help tremendously. Imagine not even being able to tell people what you want. He can at least do that now, albeit in rudimen

    • by F'Nok (226987) * on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:43PM (#43869067)

      Which is pretty much what many adult autistics have been saying for quite a while now.

      Autism itself isn't something you can cure, nor would most autistics want you to attempt to do so.

      The current interventionist 'treatments' are all based on the idea that autistics lack something that non-autistics possess and that they can attempt to change that with treatment.

      The reality is that autistics are simply wired differently, and many things that are intuitive to non-autistics are difficult for autistics. Trying to teach such people to see the world the way non-autistics do is like trying to teach colour blind people to understand the nuances of colours. It's misguided and of course is ineffective because it ignores the actual fundamental differences in autistics.

      Most autistics can learn to navigate the non-autistic world and the social expectations of it, but that skill does not come from trying to change them, but by teaching them how they vary from others so they can appropriate respond to those others in a way they will understand, and communicate these differences where they matter.

      What this all fails to address however, is if people communicate with these children in an autistic friendly way, and teach them directly about how others vary from them, do the outcomes change? From (admittedly anecdotal) reports I've seen, it does.
      The only way to improve these outcomes is to throw out the idea that we can fix autistics and start to accept the idea that it's natural variation and as acceptance and understanding of this grows, negative outcomes will reduce.

      Disclaimer: I am an autistic adult, and I do not want or believe in any cures.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I would very much agree with you. Being somewhat autistic myself, the best treatment to fit in was simply learning a bit more about the differences between autistic and non autistic people.
        Everybody needs to adapt behavior whenever they are with people different than themselves, you don't act the same around your bos as you do around your friends. The same is true for autistic people (exception being those that really can't work alone). We can adapt our behavior to better fit in with no autistic people, but

      • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @11:44PM (#43869361)

        Autism itself isn't something you can cure, nor would most autistics want you to attempt to do so.

        In addition to the usual "I wouldn't be me anymore", I would add "I (literally) wouldn't know how to act - I've spent my whole life learning to adapt to the way I am".

        A year or two ago I asked a doctor whether there was any reason to even get it diagnosed in an adult, and his answer was that maybe it would help you get hooked up with a support group. As a (presumed) autistic adult, I found that to be a very strange notion... joining clubs isn't something that comes naturally for us, nor do most of us care to, once we've outgrown thinking we should try to be like everyone else.

        • by seebs (15766)

          I've found that it's extremely useful just to have a word for it, because people are a lot less annoying about "I'd rather use email than phone, I'm autistic" than they are about "I'd rather use email than phone".

        • I'm in the same boat as you. I'm a "presumed autistic adult." In my case presumed because my son was diagnosed with Asperger's/High Functioning Autism. As we read up on it, I realized I exhibit all the signs. All my life I felt like everyone else had gotten the Great Big Guide To Social Situations and nobody gave me a copy. I had to struggle to figure things out and make some pretty embarrassing mistakes along the way. The usual stereotype of Aspie's being anti-social is wrong. Aspie's WANT to be soc

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You are making the erroneous assumption that all autistic individuals are high functioning. This is not the case. Some people with autism need intensive interventions to simply function at a level where they can take care of themselves. High functioning individuals may also desire treatment in order to better integrate in society, but that is more a matter of choice since many of them can find their own place in society or develop coping mechanisms.

        • by F'Nok (226987) *

          You are making the deeply flawed assumption that just because I can communicate I must be 'high functioning'.

          Everything about functioning labels is wrong, it undervalues the functioning of people that can't communicate well, and under appreciates the functional challenges 'high functioning' people frequently have.
          There's a reason that these distinctions are removed from the DSM-5, because no matter how many times they tried, they actually couldn't find a consistent way to judge people as high or low functio

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            No, no, no, NO, NO!

            This entire thread is fucking disgusting. You haven't met people with severe autism. I have. I've worked in a classroom for them. They have a severe and debilitating disability, which they can overcome through special education and extreme effort, both on their part, and on the part of their caretakers. Pretending that they're happy the way they are and we should just ... what? let them live their lives incapable of human interaction? ... is just sick.

            Would you say we should let the

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by F'Nok (226987) *

              So yet again, someone that is not autistic is telling someone that is autistic that you know better about autism.
              That IS paternalism.

              I have yet to see a single case of "severe and debilitating disability" caused purely by autism.
              The people you are talking about usually have one of many severe debilitating conditions that are not autism in addition to being autistic, and yet people like you go around saying that their problem is they are autistic.

              If someone has an intellectual disability AND autism, then the

              • The people you are talking about usually have one of many severe debilitating conditions that are not autism in addition to being autistic, and yet people like you go around saying that their problem is they are autistic.

                You're trying to define away the idea that severe autism can be debilitating. Basically "if it's a fundamental problem, then it isn't part of autism". Yes autism, like almost everything else in DSM N, is very far from being well defined. However, by playing games with words and categories, you're making that worse. DSM N may suck, but one way to look at it is that it's a dictionary (yes, I know there are many ramifications beyond that). As such it provides a widely accepted definition for terms. By re-defi

                • by F'Nok (226987) *

                  You're trying to define away the idea that severe autism can be debilitating. Basically "if it's a fundamental problem, then it isn't part of autism". Yes autism, like almost everything else in DSM N, is very far from being well defined. However, by playing games with words and categories, you're making that worse. DSM N may suck, but one way to look at it is that it's a dictionary (yes, I know there are many ramifications beyond that). As such it provides a widely accepted definition for terms. By re-defin

                • by seebs (15766)

                  A tall person may well know a heck of a lot more about the experience of being tall than an endocrinologist, and might be better qualified to speak to the question of whether we should try to eliminate all tallness from our population because it's so debilitating.

                  The problem with the "severe autism is horrible" thing is that it's not really a useful claim. It's more useful to look at individual cases, where in general we find that the "severe" problem isn't autism per se, except sometimes maybe it is. But!

                  T

                  • in general we find that the "severe" problem isn't autism per se, except sometimes maybe it is

                    The problem is that autism, like most things in the DSM, is not well defined. They're defined in terms of symptoms rather than causes, which is the opposite of how physical disorders are usually defined. It's a reflection of ignorance. Once upon a time physical problems were defined the same way, until the underlying physical causes were discovered.

                    There are many things associated with autism for unknown reasons. Intellectual handicaps may or may not be caused by the same mechanism but there is such a fre

                    • by F'Nok (226987) *

                      My point to F'Nok is that it's not desirable for him or any one person to re-define autism, however poor (vague) the DSM definition is. When the mechanisms are better understood the diagnostic categories will almost certainly change, and his theory that "low functioning" autism and intellectual disability are distinct co-morbidities may or may not turn out to be true. In the meantime re-defining words is counterproductive. The DSM is bad enough - let's not confuse it further.

                      I am not a 'him' by any definiti

            • by seebs (15766)

              No no no yourself.

              What's disgusting is that because you hate people and look down on them, you insist that the people who didn't get screwed over by your hostility don't count, and aren't "real". And you may say you don't hate people, but your massive disgust reaction, and total failure to read what people are saying, are exactly what a bigoted response looks like. Your brain has shut down because Disgusting Things.

              What makes you so sure we haven't met people with "severe" autism? Only your self-referential

          • You are making the deeply flawed assumption that just because I can communicate I must be 'high functioning'.

            It's not an assumption. Anyone who can communicate as well as you clearly is high functioning in at least one very important way. I would be thrilled if I could have a debate like this with my nephew.

            • by F'Nok (226987) *

              That is a very very narrow definition of 'high functioning', and it very NT-centric.

              "Oh you can communicate with NT people, you are so high functioning".
              It's a value judgement on the capacity of people different to the people making the judgement.

              If you knew how much difficulty I had with day-to-day tasks and the amount of external assistance I have relied on most of my life, you might start to question the idea that placing a functional label on me is at all useful, or accurate.

              My capacity to communicate i

              • "Oh you can communicate with NT people, you are so high functioning."

                No, that you can communicate with anybody, NT or not, means that you are higher functioning than somebody who cannot.

                Even if he had the other difficulties you mention, I would still love to be able to have a debate on this level with my nephew. It would be an enormous improvement on his current condition, and his difficulty in communicating frustrates him more than it does anyone else.

                You have not seen severe executive dysfunction until you've met me. Coupled with severe anxiety problems, and a long history of bad experiences due to misunderstandings and just making sure I have food in the pantry can sometimes be a gold star worthy task for me.

                According to your theory that many of the problems often associated with autism (e.g. mental disability) are actually co-m

            • by seebs (15766)

              So what you're saying is:

              Anyone who is autistic and can communicate is not entitled to an opinion on whether being autistic sucks.

              Think this through. Is that really a viable way to evaluate something? Keep in mind that vast numbers of autistics who "can't communicate" actually turn out to be able to once someone lets them.

              I know someone who worked with some autistic kids. Non-verbal, "severe" autism, all that. They got a computer in the classroom, and she discovered: One of the kids could quite consistently

              • Anyone who is autistic and can communicate is not entitled to an opinion on whether being autistic sucks.

                No, I said almost the exact opposite. Anyone who is autistic and can communicate can decide whether they want to be "treated" for their "condition".

                I know someone who worked with some autistic kids. Non-verbal, "severe" autism, all that. They got a computer in the classroom, and she discovered: One of the kids could quite consistently enter "y" or "n" to answer questions. He had never demonstrated any ability to communicate before, and suddenly she could get clear information from him. So she showed this to the supervisor of the class, who said it was just chance events, and the kid couldn't communicate, and stop wasting my time.

                You're citing one example of an incompetent teacher. My nephew exhibited similar types of behavior and was encouraged to use it and any other type of communication he was capable of.

            • by seebs (15766)

              I was talking with a friend, who points out that there are people whose disconnect from their nervous system is severe enough that they have trouble controlling bowel movements, who can write clearly about it.

              The assumption that anyone who can communicate is "high functioning" in a way that prevents them from having relevant opinions is just your attempt to split all the people whose humanity you'd have to acknowledge out from the people you're saying shouldn't exist and don't have opinions.

              Seriously. Just.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        My son is an aspy - who is very, very bright. He is seeing an Occupational Therapist who had these wise words ... "the positive thing about your son's empathy is he doesn't give a shit about what anyone thinks about him". The conversation was around my son's "lack" of empathy.

        The only issue I have with his lack of empathy is his engagement of others. If he doesn't like you, he may just king-hit you if you annoy him ... regardless of how big you are. His much bigger brother has been the victim quite a fe

        • My son is an aspy - who is very, very bright. He is seeing an Occupational Therapist who had these wise words ... "the positive thing about your son's empathy is he doesn't give a shit about what anyone thinks about him". The conversation was around my son's "lack" of empathy.

          I wonder how autism correlates (or, I would guess, anti-correlates) with socially mediated behavior like religion, affiliation with a political party, love of sports, substance abuse, etc.

      • So, basically, this is a spiritual continuation of "let's teach those fiendish left-handed kids to be right-handed instead."

        Thank you for your insightful post. I had no idea what autism really was about up until now.
      • Autism itself isn't something you can cure, nor would most autistics want you to attempt to do so.

        Since you're making clear and expressive posts here, you are obviously a very high functioning autistic person. Since you can say you don't want it, it's obvious that it would be beyond unethical to "cure" you (assuming there was a cure). Nor can I see any reason that it would be necessary or even desirable. That is not even close to the same situation as with low functioning autistic people.

        • by F'Nok (226987) *

          The distinction between high and low functioning autism is at best misleading, and in most cases simply wrong.

          It also frequently ignores gender difference in autistic expression (I am female) and conflates co-morbid conditions with autism.

          Someone that is intellectually disabled and autistic will likely have serious problems with day to day functioning, just like any non-autistic with an intellectual disability.

          In every case I have seen where (typically by parents) autism has been blamed as the case, they ne

        • by seebs (15766)

          And again, you assert that we aren't entitled to opinions if we can talk.

          Problem is: If there's a "cure", we'll be cured before we even exist. No one's gonna wait and find out whether we can talk before they murder us.

      • That's great for you. What about those who suffer from autism to such a degree that they cannot even be taught to use a toilet? Should they be left in that condition because you have learned to cope with your differences? What you are suggesting is that we should just give up on those that cannot be taught to function in society, so as to avoid threatening the comfortable world you have built for yourself. The fact of the matter is that while the deleterious effects of autism can be ameliorated by proper tr
    • In other words, the autism treatments don't work.

      Only if your thinking is purely binary.

  • by caspy7 (117545)

    Are there any brain scans to confirm autism in mildly-autistic adults?

    • There's an on-line "Autism Quotient" test that you should be able to find with a search engine.

      Like other self-administered tests, I wouldn't consider it diagnostic, but perhaps is has some use as "suggestive".

      • Here's the test from Wired.com: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aqtest.html

        I scored a 36 where "eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher." For comparison purposes, my wife (who is not on the spectrum) took the test and scored a 10.

    • Are there any brain scans to confirm autism in mildly-autistic adults?

      Let me ask a question in all serious, why does it matter if the person you're concerned about can or cannot be officially called autistic?

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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