I originally wrote this in October 2007 and stored it on a private blog all these years and finally shared it today on Pinky blog. May as well let the world what was going on in aspienado’s head during diagnosis.
I don’t usually have the morning news on, but this morning CBS is making a huge deal about early autism screening, with the shocking revelation that the numbers have rocketed up to a possible one in 150 people being affected with autism. I’m sitting here in mild amusement… and a bit of my own shock. The understanding is, as stated so succinctly in this very unhelpful online article at
“When it comes to understanding autism, more questions remain than answers. But the importance of early intervention is a certainty. Numerous studies have shown that appropriate behavioral interventions implemented early and aggressively in children diagnosed with autism or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can improve the daily and long-term functioning and intellectual development of these children.”
What that says to ME is– We’ve got to get these kids standardized as quickly as possible because neuro-diversity is NOT acceptable in our society of franchising and corporations and government audited public schools.
Part of the very controversial behavioral ‘treatment’ for this obviously devastating brain dysfunction is forcing children to perform and interact at the behest of punishments. If you are not familiar with this form of treatment, schools used it for years and some still are, and they encouraged parents to cooperate by using it at home. And it’s funny that ‘treatment’ is needed when they hardly know yet the outcomes of what they do to these kids.
Long-Term, Multimodal Treatment of a Child With Asperger’s Syndrome and Comorbid Disruptive Behavior Problems: A Case Illustration Brian T. Wymbs and Jessica A. Robb, State University of New York at Buffalo, Andrea M. Chronis, University of Maryland, College Park, Greta M. Massetti, Gregory A. Fabiano, Frances W. Arnold, Anne-Christina Brice, Elizabeth M. Gnagy, William E. Pelham Jr., Lisa Burrows-MacLean, and Martin T. Hoffman, State University of New York at Buffalo Despite Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) becoming a widely recognized disorder on the pervasive developmental spectrum, surprisingly few studies have assessed the utility of psychosocial and/or pharmacological treatments for children with AS. Further, studies have not examined the effects of treatment on disruptive behavior problems commonly exhibited by children with AS. This case study demonstrates the positive effects of an intensive, long-term, multimodal treatment targeting the symptoms and functional impairment of a school-age male with AS and comorbid disruptive behavior problems. Components of the comprehensive treatment included a behavioral summer treatment program, behavioral parent and teacher training, and medication. Results highlight the potential efficacy of treating the chronic functional impairments of AS and associated behavior problems with an intensive, long-term, multimodal treatment.
I grew up being abused and forced into a behavioral norm, without understanding one shred of it. It took most of my adult life and a sociology degree, heavily punctuated with psychology and anthropology, for me to understand the big picture of how I’m supposed to fit in and why I’m not forgiven for not fitting in. I had to learn to PRETEND to be someone else, and I was very miserable doing that. If you were to take a normal child and put them through this behavioral process and teach them to be someone they’re not, that would be considered brain washing, abuse, and torture in our society. But it’s *ok* to do that to neuro-diverse children. Put them on drugs and force them through a social system. Don’t adapt anything to the child.
The problem with catching higher functioning Austism Spectrum Disorder is that some kids can snap in and out of eye contact, verbal interaction, smiling, being social. I was weird, but I actually made it through the public school system WITHOUT ASSISTANCE. Yes, teachers were begging my parents to get me some help, yes, it was very hard for me to make friends and fit into the curriculum and figure out what was going on, but you know what? I’m *o*k*. The hardest thing I faced every day was other kids being mean to me, which lasted for years. The hardest thing a neuro-diverse person faces is an intolerant society that doesn’t allow for deviations from the ‘norm’. It doesn’t matter how smart a person might be, if they don’t smile and look at you on cue, something is ‘wrong’ with them. They might have the insight to solve a major world problem one day, but if they don’t chatter with other children and enjoy chaotic and noisy atmospheres during recess and parties and such, they need to be ‘fixed’. It’s BAD when an ASD child enjoys being alone or does weird things like rocking or hand twitching, even if that child actually understands the theory of the math or science they’re being taught better than the teacher. But you never know that if you don’t encourage the child to verbalize without adverse consequences. You can’t ~mold~ ASD children into being socially acceptable without causing long term damage on that their psyches.
I was not a mean child, but I learned to be mean to survive. I was not a stupid child, but I learned to dumb down so I wouldn’t intimidate others. I was not socially inept until I was judged. I can run intellectual circles around most of the people I went to school with, and can easily use logic to show that social diversity and cooperation is vital to societal health, but very few people I know care about stuff like that. I don’t shop for clothes or decorations for my home. I don’t yak on the phone and read popular magazines. I don’t worry about how I look or what people think of me. I don’t often visit at other people’s houses, and I even less invite people to my house. As an adult, I find that other adults either instinctively dislike me or take to my quirkiness and think it’s ‘cute’.
I realize I have problems interacting with others, and I’m working with a psychologist on that. The more I learn about my Asperger’s, the more comfortable I feel. The more comfortable I feel, the easier it is for me to interact. THAT IS THE KEY. I was made to feel uncomfortable about myself ever since I was a toddler. I never did anything ‘right’. The spotlight was on me being the odd one out everywhere I went. I was told I was embarrassing.
Imagine putting a ‘normal’ child through that. You know how they come out, they wind up in counseling as adults, coming to grips with the verbal abuse, it scars them for life and ruins their self esteem.
So why in the world are we spotlighting autism and spectrum disorders now like it’s some big panic attack? Oh, we must screen our children every 6 months to make sure they don’t have it. They need ‘early intervention’ so they can be ‘fixed’.
No. They need love and acceptance. They need to know that they’re ok. Would you tell a Down Syndrome child they don’t do anything right and they’re embarrassing? No? Then why in the world would you tell a kid with autism there is something ‘wrong’ with them? That’s quite a stigma to live with.
We KNOW there is something ‘wrong’ with us. It doesn’t need to be said over and over. It doesn’t need to become a national freak out. It doesn’t need to be something terrible that is ruining your hopes and dreams for your child.
Actually, I think the ‘normals’ are terrified that we are taking over… heh heh…
Just make it easy for your child to connect to you when they’re ready. Have YOUR behaviors in place. Be kind. Be thoughtful of your child’s discomfort. Don’t race the clock to reach a developmental goal. ENJOY your child for who they are. If you truly love your child unconditionally, your child will feel that. You don’t have to be rewarded back with behaviors that make YOU feel good. If you need that so badly, get a dog. If you are taking it personally that your child won’t look at you or hug you, you have your own self esteem problems, and those *will* get in the way of loving your child.
I learned to behave normally on my own. I’ve learned to reap natural rewards for doing that. I don’t feel I have to respond on cue or perform for people who are so shallow that they can’t get over someone not smiling at them. I nearly lost a job once because someone complained I wasn’t smiling. In my eyes, that was cruel. It’s cruel when someone can disrupt MY life so much over something so trivial. I could have just suffered a death in the family for all they knew. In my experience, the people who expect social responses on cue are the shallowest people on this earth, and when they have hard times, maybe they’ll figure out what it all means.
In the meantime, the nation is panicking over toddlers not smiling or making eye contact… GOOD GRIEF.
I just also want to mention that expecting children with neuro-diverse challenges to perform like ‘normals’ is actually requiring them to be BETTER than normal kids. Not only do they have to deal with their challenge and the stigma of being ‘broken’, but they have to perform for the public with that handicap and pass for normal. If you don’t have ASD, you have no idea how difficult it is to be forced to make eye contact when you’re coping with everything in your head being over stimulated and channeled around extra processing. What you might take for granted as simple instinctive social interaction has to consciously be logically explained and theoretically supported in the ASD neural network, even if it’s only a reduction to “I must do this so someone won’t hate me or punish me.”
But it’s all about pleasing the normals, isn’t it?
- Piano = Life
- An organization for Aspie awareness…