Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Autism & Asperger's : "Cures" more expensive than the "disease."

There are some important insights to be gained for autistics and their loved ones from "The Fleecing of the Autism Community."

There is a great deal of grief and regret, but I shall pass that by with a respectful grimace, to the very core of the matter:

"You want to know how many research validated treatments there are for autism? Do you want to know how many treatments are considered well established empirically validated? I’ll tell you how many: NONE. How about “Probably efficacious?”


No single treatment or treatment approach has passed muster to be considered empirically validated according to Division 12 of the American Psychological Association."

I should add that we aspies our own selves do not generally feel sanguine about being seen through the lens of repeated "failure;" one obvious outcome of failed quests to "cure" us of what may well be our natural state.

My slightly aspie wife has raised, together with her ex, a truly well-mannered aspie son. I mean, in aspie terms, but nonetheless; he is well liked and has friends. How?

Simple. She did her best to understand what wants, wishes and needs he expressed, and met them, without any attention to whether or not those needs, wishes and desires were "appropriate" for his age.

She has, and continues to fight like a rabid bear on his behalf. He's never had a one-on-one aide, never needed one. He's never been chelated, exposed to aversive or drugged without his own consent. He's never been required to behave as if he were anyone other than himself. Partly, that's due to my wife's Special Ed background, but I think it's more that she doesn't expect anyone to be anything other than themselves.

I've seen Todd grow up from a gawky 9 year old to a gawky adolescent who outgrew his fencing club inside of two years. I lived through the Pokemon phase. I started the Magic, the Gathering phase, in self defense. I managed to generate a short, passing fascination in Legos and Connexx, but I think he outgrew me.

You can learn more about Todd at wampi.org/aspergers, but here's one delicious quotation.

"You lied to me. You said this was a game. But it is a test. I can tell, becauseyou are writing things down,” said during yet another developmental screening given by the kindergarten teacher, before entering kindergarten. He also had difficulties beginning kindergarten. "The teacher LIED. How can I trust her now? I need to know when things are going to happen, or what is changing. But now I won’t believe her. I am staying home."

The difference between Todd at that age and a "typical" aspie child is that Todd still felt safe enough to say that aloud. Had I dared say anything that "willful," I would have risked being subject to an adult temper tantrum for my presumption.

Of course, that didn't change what I thought.

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