You would think that any problem at all can be easily fixed with just a pill. Now they are even using drugs to deal with behavioral problems (ritalin, for example). The moral implications of that are simply offensive to me. Put a person on drugs just to make other people more comfortable around him?
Drugs may “work” as far as people observing from the outside can tell, but the person under such “treatment” may be miserable. Okay, his outward behavior is more socially acceptible, but his own perceptions, ideals, passions, and beliefs haven’t changed. All the doctor did was add drug addiction to the list of his problems, and the chemical assault on the patient is not for the patient’s benefit, but to make other people more comfortable around him.
What many of us who have sensory/perception/social issues need are coping skills, not drugs! I learned, for example, that I could “tame” the wildly disruptive effects of flourescent light just by wearing colored sunglasses that filtered out a lot of the light spectrum that was bothering me. The bigger problem was learning, as a child, that – surprise, it’s not normal for letters in a book to float up off the page and throw shadows on the paper! How do I report something to the doctor as abnormal if I don’t know what “normal” is? Same thing with the way I think. Why am I supposed to assume that people don’t really mean what they say? Words have meaning. But when they are used carelessly (which is “normal”) by people who don’t mean what their words convey, what the hell am I supposed to do with that? “Robin, I didn’t mean it literally!” Well then what the hell did you mean? Anyway… by simply treating certain expressions as “new vocabulary words,” I have been able to work around even that problem much of the time. It’s simply a coping skill that I am learning to master.
Music helped me a lot with my auditory issues. I still have great difficulty understanding a word of it if two or more people are talking at the same time. I have learned that most people can “filter out” background noise – even another person’s speech – and tune in only what they need to hear. Amazing to me, ordinary for “normal” people. Again, how the heck does a kid know what normal is? But the treatment has been learning a new set of coping skills, not taking another drug! In middle school choir learned to sing the alto part while the sopranos were singing their part at the same time. I discovered I could distinguish my part from theirs not only by the notes, but by taking note of how it related to the soprano part. Relative pitch! Now I can’t learn my part in choir any other way. I have to hear all four parts to know where mine “fits in.” Oh, that’s not normal? I guess it isn’t, because everyone else in the choir wants to hear their part played separately.
The point is this: Treatment for issues like mine (not just Asperger’s syndrome, but perhaps anywhere on the autism spectrum and perhaps even for other disabilities) should be aimed first at learning adaptive skills rather than burying the mind and senses under a chemical blanket, especially if the latter is only aimed at making other people comfortable instead of treating the patient. That’s just nuts. And it ain’t – or shouldn’t be – normal.
Do you think people need to take pills to deal with Autism?