Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Ugly Face of Acceptance

When you talk about autism on the internet you need to be prepared to deal with some unpleasantness.  As anyone who has participated in the debates surrounding autism would tell you, you have to be prepared to be called names and have your mother's integrity and your father's identity called into question.  That is par for the course and you have to expect some degree of unpleasantness if you want to participant.

But what I don't understand are those who feel it is acceptable to question a parent's motives or love for their child.  Especially when it comes from those people who claim to be all about acceptance of differences.

Take for example what Harold Doherty  wrote recently about how he does care for his child.  I don't know the circumstances of why he wrote what he did, but if you follow what he writes on his site, you would have no doubt that he is very committed to his child and cares deeply for him.  He should not have to defend himself against attacks that suggest that he doesn't care for his child.  And yet some person felt that they had the right to question that.

Or take the recent incident involving a post at Age of Autism that was written by Kim Stagliano.  Ms. Stagliano put up a picture of one of her daughters and suggested that it would be a more appropriate image of autism for Autism Speaks to use.  In this picture, her 15 year old daughter is standing in the infant toy aisle at Target and is transfixed by the toys.  It shows, in the words of Ms. Stagliano, "the pain of a stopped clock".

I think every parent out there whose child struggles with autism understands exactly what Ms. Stagliano meant by her statement.  We understand all to well the pain, the struggles, and the battles we have to fight in order to help our children overcome their disorder.  We have to push our children to work twice as hard as other children in the hopes that they will be able get a tenth as far.

The reason that we do is that we love our children very much and want the best for them.  We take joy in who they are and what they have managed to accomplish in spite of being limited by autism.  But sometimes, in spite of it all, our children do not manage to overcome autism and are, as Ms Stagliano said, stuck in time.

I firmly believe that almost every parent out there understands this idea and felt that way on at least several occasions.  If they say that they haven't then they are deceiving either you or themselves.

But then there are those who argue for "acceptance", such as Alan Griswold, who take exception to what Ms. Stagliano had to say.  I would not have had a problem if Mr. Griswold respectfully disagreed with Ms. Stagliano.   And actually, I wouldn't have had a problem if Mr. Griswold less than respectfully disagreed.  But he went much further than that when he not only disagreed but also insulted Ms. Stagliano and her daughter in his response.  Below are the main points of his post -
... would make an excellent choice for an Autism Speaks advertisement. All the essential ingredients are there:
A picture of a beautiful autistic child engaged in an interesting, meaningful and no doubt productive activity for her—clearly delighted to no end.
A hovering, disapproving parent describing the entire tableau as “pain,” bemoaning the family's autism fate to the entire world, and wishing for someone—anyone—to do something—anything—to bring this horrible ordeal to an end.
He finished by saying -
Now if we could only get Autism Speaks to sponsor some form of cure against the Ms. Staglianos of the world ... I might find myself supporting that organization's eradicating mission.
I had prepared some clever retorts to Mr. Griswold's statements, many of them involving profanity, but after thinking about it, I believe a more direct approach is appropriate.

First, perseverating on infant toys is not a productive or meaningful activity for a 15 year old.  To suggest that this is the case is both demeaning to her abilities and an insult to the person that she is.  Mr. Griswold looked at the picture and made a judgement that obsessing over toys that most of the world's population outgrows by the time that they are two is a meaningful activity for her.  I can't believe that someone who talks of acceptance and diversity and tolerance would degrade a young adult like that.

Second, if Mr. Griswold actually took his head out of his ass and took the time to understand what it is like to see your child have to struggle so much and how much we wish we could spare them their suffering, then he would not be able to say such things.  We don't attempt to treat our children's autism because we feel that they are defective or a burden but rather because we care for them and want the best possible life for them.

Lastly, as for the suggestion that Ms. Stagliano needs some sort of "cure" or to be "eradicated", well, if you think a mother's compassion and caring needs to be eradicated, then you really do have a problem.

In the end, I think we need less acceptance and more compassion.  Autism is hard to deal with for everybody involved, regardless of whether you are a parent or the person living with autism.

But most of all, I think we need a cure for the "acceptance" of people like Alan Griswold.

28 comments:

  1. MJ: You and Kim Stagliano and others are fortunate that you did not live during the Bettelheim era as my parents did and have a psychoanalyst blame them for your daughters' autism. My mother still alive in her 80s is traumatized by this to this day.

    Alan Griswold, Clay Adams, Phil Gluyas, David Andrews and probably many other ND's are the 21st century Bruno Bettelheims. They can't accept the fact that anything could be wrong with an autistic person and find it insulting to have autism referred to as an affliction so they have to lash out in anger. Griswald probably can't handle or accept the autism of his offspring, so he has to embrace a cult called neurodiversity and embrace the propaganda of Michelle Dawson, Laurent Mottron and Morton Gernsbacher.

    It is a shame that though Bettleheim died nearly 20 years ago that he has been kept alive by neurodiversity.

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  2. It is probably a good thing that I did not live during the Bettelheim era. If a medical processional tried to tell me that my wife or I caused our children's autism, there would have been an issue. I have a hard enough time with the "its genetic, theres not much you can do" line that medical professionals like to give out now.

    Its funny that you commented on Clay Adams and the word "affliction" because he left a comment earlier today about how he didn't like that I used the word "afflicated" to describe autism.

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  3. Mitchell's main afflictions are his stupidity and tendency to whine. I'm amazed he didn't bring up again the half million Mottron got from AutSpks years ago. He seems to be perseverating on it.

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  4. You give an interesting reply to my post, but consider the following:

    “Mr. Griswold looked at the picture and made a judgement that obsessing over toys that most of the world's population outgrows by the time that they are two is a meaningful activity for her.”

    It's not really me making that judgment, it's Ms. Stagliano's daughter making that judgment (look at the picture). I know you and Ms. Stagliano and many others think that the activity is not meaningful; but based upon the photograph it seems that Ms. Stagliano's daughter would say otherwise, and I believe her voice deserves to be heard. To me, that's where acceptance begins.

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  5. MJ: I am still waiting for Clay Adams to stop attacking me and my family personally and for once offer any arguments to anything I say. He is incapable of refuting any of my arguments with anything but ad hominem responses. It saddens me that Clay still lacks the wit to even counter anything I say in a debate. He only wants to spread his hate and try to bring back the bettelheim era due to his own intoxication and bitterness of having had such an unhappy childhood and homelife.

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  6. @ Jonathan - You want a debate? Name the time and place. You're the one who's been avoiding it, not allowing me to post there. And again, despite the drivel John Best put out about me, I'm not a drinker, so no intoxication here. And it's been a year or more since I've had any weed.

    First thing we'll debate is what Bettelheim really said, because you really have no understanding there. Then let's get into what your theory of what caused your autism. I know you've said you don't believe it was mercury poisoning, so what was it?

    Looking forward to our debate, your place or mine?

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  7. I don't agree with "acceptance is not equal to wanting to cure your child's disabilities" but you know I do kind of agree that if a 15 year old finds the infant toy isle fascinating...as disheartening as it is, as disheartening as it is for me to watch my son try to regulate by putting his finger in his mouth oblivious the pool of drool collecting in front of him while he concentrates on the movie he is watching..... I just think it is sometimes not negative to look at it from their point of view. The finger sucking thing works for him (I am not sure what function staring at those toys serves for that teenager), it helps him regulate the emotions he feels while he is watching the movie (previously he would run from the room, start bawling on the climactic scenes, scream etc)....

    I mean he is 4 and too old to do this stuff and god knows what socially and developmentally inappropriate things he will be using to express himself in the future and how I will feel about it...I dont know, but sometimes, thats just who he is and I have to accept it and help him find a better way that is less stigmatizing if I can.

    Maybe some people who criticise moms like Kim forget that you can accept and also want to make better? I can't pass judgement, I dont know her family. This is just my opinion of some of my son's wierd behavior....I try to understand.

    I would love an NT Khaled, but this is what I got, i want to cure his learning disability, but somethings I just have to accept. I love him and I think (from reading Kim's posts) that she loves her daughter too!

    It is very hard as a parent, you want to do EVERYTHING you can to improve their lives, and also accept that somethings that work for them, you cannot and should not take away from them, that maybe right now they are just not ready for that. Its a very difficult balance, and I get how it puts parents under the spotlight for criticism.

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  8. Clay I would happily debate you anytime, but there is no point in debating me since you can't do it without insulting me. My autism was caused by a brain dysfunction,probably a genetic predisposition, though I have no way of knowing for sure. I would love to know more about what causes autism. It was not by my domineering mother. It is irrelevant whatever Bettelheim said, because you are doing the same thing he is doing blaming the parent for the problems with autism and not the defect in the brain itself. That in itself makes you a 21st century Bettelheim along with Phil Gluyas and David Andrews. You have called me "turdball", buttwipe", etc. I don't allow that on my blog. By intoxication I phrased that badly. I meant you were intoxicated by your own anger and bitterness that you had such nonsupportive parents and you came from a broken home and had a mother by your own admission who was an alcoholic and adultress. So you use the Freudian defense mechanism of projecting your anger onto me.

    It is irrelevant that I don't allow you to post on my blog because you are so abusive. That ableist bigot Kim Wombles gives you "safe harbor" on her blog and allows you the opportunity to refute anything I say. However, you never do. You only mock and ridicule me and Ms. Wombles laughs at me.

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  9. I agree with Mr. Griswld. What is a meaningful activity, can only be determined by the person themself, unless that activity is dangerous (eg. feces smearing, self-harming). However, I do not think Ms. Stagliano purposefully dmiscredits her daughter's meaningful activity, or that the fact that she is sad at her daughter not being "normal" is a sign that she doesn't love her daughter. It is a sign of the ableist notions of normalcy and meaning inherent in our society.

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  10. This gets to me sometimes too. On some level, anyone who parents in anyway "outside the norm" gets persecuted as well. Since having an autistic child means just about everything is outside the norm, we get blasted even more. I always joke that if you want to know what it's like to be a target for a burning cross in your yard, just have a kid on a special diet. I have known parents to remove the junk from their normal kids diet and have to brace themselves for the onslaught of criticism.

    We do love our kids. If we have to do things differently than so be it. They are not in our shoes. I really think most people just don't think. Our societies brain problems extended a lot further than autism.

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  11. Clay,

    I think I have warned you this about calling people names here before. You can call me all the names that you like but you will be civil to other people leaving comments here, or I will start using that magic delete button.

    As for perseverating, you seem to be doing a good job of it as far as Jonathan is concerned. Why don't you stop trying for "pay-back” and leave the guy alone?

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  12. I don't think it is fair to say that Ms. Stagliano's daughter "chooses" to be obsessed with infant toys or that it has some higher meaning for her. But then again, I don't know her or her daughter personally, so I can't say for certain.

    But I think the larger issue here is that just because a person with autism does a particular action does not automatically imply that they want to do it or that it has some meaning to them. A large part of the dysfunction of autism involves fixations, obsessions, rigidities, and stims. While some of these actions might reach the level of being "productive" or "meaningful", I don't think that most do.

    From what I see looking from the outside in, many of these actions are forced by some sort of obsession or need for a certain type of sensory input. The person engaging in this actions might feel some sort of relief or release from the actions and they may help then calm down or regulate themselves. But that is hardly the same thing as being meaningful - the same way that I would not consider scratching an itch to be meaningful.

    You would not talk about the obsessions of OCD and say that they were productive for a person nor would you talk about the a person's depression and say that it was meaningful. The same can be said for almost every mental disorder that I can think of. Why are the forced actions of autism any different than other actions forced by mental health issues?

    So I don't think it is appropriate to look at a picture of a child who is fixated and make the judgement that it is a "productive" or "meaningful" or appropriate action for her. I believe that would be an example of disabilism.

    And at the same time, I am not saying that fixations are somehow wrong or a bad thing. My children have their fixations and, for the most part, we let them have them. The only time we step in is when the fixations are completely non-functional, harmful, or get in the way of them being able to do the things that they need to be able to do.

    For example, twin B had an obsession with flowers where she had to stop and pick every single flower that she saw. As she could not walk through any stores with flowers or past any place with planted flowers without having a meltdown, we had to quash that obsession.

    Where we somehow depriving her of a meaningful or productive action or helping her to overcome the limitations of her autism?

    The other part of the issue here is not that Ms. Stagliano is being somehow disapproving of her daughter but rather the pain that she feels that her daughter, who could be more, is limited by her autism. Her daughter is, meaningfully or not, stuck at a point where infant toys still fascinate her. I believe that Ms. Stagliano wants more for her daughter and is saddened that her daughter is "stuck". The pain of a stopped clock.

    In a similar fashion, my older daughters have limited expressive communication skills. Their ability to talk is (currently) stuck at about a two year old level. When they try to communicate and fail, I can see the frustration in their faces and in their actions. They want to be able to do more. It saddens me that they are stuck and I am actively doing everything possible to help them break past their limitation.

    Does that fact that I feel sad about their inability to communicate mean that I don't accept my daughters for who they are? Would Mr. Griswold say that I need to be "exterminated" because I want my daughters to be able to get past their limitations?

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  13. @ Jonathan - I think I can debate you without insulting you, but still can't guarantee that you would like what I say.

    Let's get the Bettelheim thing out of the way. It was his theory that a cold, unloving, distant and neglectful mother was the cause of autism in a child. I'm willing to stipulate that was all wrong, and nothing your mother said or did, OR failed to say or do, was the cause of your autism. You and I were both born autistic, to a greater or lesser extent, whether you accept that or not.

    What I have always said is that you learned your attitude about autism, that it is a "terrible affliction, in need of a cure" from her. That is all I've really said about your mother. I believe that you heard her talking about you, before you could speak, to your father, relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers, etc., and picked up from her that you were "sadly broken", and you were aware of her many attempts to "fix" you.

    This would naturally have a bad effect on your self-esteem, and set up some self-fulfilling prophecies about your future. You cannot claim that you developed your own attitude about autism, (which just happens to coincide with your mother's), because you heard all about it before you could speak.

    I don't believe that I ever called you "turdball" or "buttwipe", but will admit to otherwise insulting you in comments I knew you wouldn't publish. Those comments showed up precisely because of your refusal to publish other, more reasonable comments.

    Thank you for explaining what you meant about "intoxication". Honestly, I don't drink, although there was a short period while I was at Brooklyn Receiving Station when I drank with the guys, just to have some friends.

    But no, there's no intoxication of anger or bitterness either. My mother did go out drinking and screwing around a lot after my sisters left. But is it "adultery" when she was not married at the time? I was aged 10 to 15 then, when she was most negligent of me. That was mostly resolved when I left her, just before I turned 15, and lived with my Dad and stepmother. Uh, but he was "distant" in his own way. They're both dead, all water under the bridge.

    But trust me, I'm not "projecting anger" on you when I question how you are being supported. We know you were canned some 3 years ago, and have since been turned down for SSDI. Your mother must be supporting you, and I certainly don't fault her for that. You're very fortunate to have family you can still count on.

    So to bring it around full circle, to where we began, do you accept money from Handley or some other pro-cure organization for your blogging efforts? Your Mom may not be too quick with the spending money, or for Playboy subscriptions. ;-)

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  14. So to bring it around full circle, to where we began, do you accept money from Handley or some other pro-cure organization for your blogging efforts? Your Mom may not be too quick with the spending money, or for Playboy subscriptions.

    Clay, we have already established that the person who is on the payroll of the pro-cure organizations is your idol Michelle Dawson. We have been over this time and time again, so if you are so concerned about me being on the payroll why are you so concerned about her? None of this crap about how she is on the dole and they are not paying her a salary. It is irrelevant whether or not they are paying her rent, they are taking her out to dinner, they are paying for her research activities, the only show your heroine has in her otherwise dull and dreary existence since she had to leave Canada post. She has no qualms or ethics about accepting money from an organization that she claims committs genocide. You've got no defense of that.

    You can insult me, my mother, my father all you want. You can make up your songs, fine. I am not even going to bother insulting you back, because I know how crazy it drives you when I point out your hypocrisy for claiming i am on Handley's payroll, when it is your buddy Dawson who is on the payroll of autism speaks. If she weren't, she would either be begging for Canada Post to give her back or job or contemplating suicide.

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  15. Let's drive Clay crazy even further by not just commenting on Dawson, but on his buddy Ari Ne'eman. Payback is great. If MJ wants to delete this post because he feels I am being vindicative fine.

    Your buddy Ne'eman is also on the panel of the IACC. He should be nothing but a sellout from your point of view. He sits in a room and discusses strategy on how autistics should be cured. They pay his travel expenses to Washington, they probaly pay for other perks too. the IACC was created out of the combating autism act, which is pro-cure. Ne'eman the sellout sits on the procure IACC. But no, Clay never comments on that. He just wants to claim I am on the payroll of autism speaks.

    I won't bother insulting Clay back or making up songs about him. I can just give him some payback by pointing out the truth, that he accuses me of being on the payroll of the procure organizations and that is the reason for my blog, when in fact it is his buddies Ne'eman and Dawson who are on the payroll of the procure organizations, that truth that he can't deal with will bother him much more than my insulting him back. Payback is certainly a bitch.

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  16. Jonathan said:
    "Clay, we have already established that the person who is on the payroll of the pro-cure organizations is your idol Michelle Dawson."

    I know that you regularly read TMOB, and so you should know that she is not my "idol". She and I are no longer on speaking terms, because of her vendetta against "members, supporters, and leaders" of ASAN. She blocked me and several others on Twitter, which I considered and told her was an irrational thing to do. I do, however, continue to wholeheartedly support her work.

    "None of this crap about how she is on the dole and they are not paying her a salary."

    It isn't crap, she IS on the dole, and is not paid for any of her work or research. If they did pay her, she would be ineligible for the assistance she receives. Please get that through your head.

    "It is irrelevant whether or not they are paying her rent, they are taking her out to dinner, they are paying for her research activities,"

    Your saying it's irrelevant doesn't make it so. I really doubt she goes out to dinner with anyone, but eats the simplest of foods at home. (She doesn't cook.)

    "the only show your heroine has in her otherwise dull and dreary existence since she had to leave Canada post."

    Now there's another pointless, gratuitous insult of a fellow autistic. Another stone you're throwing at her. How's your dull and dreary existence going?

    I haven't insulted your parents at all, ever. The only thing I've said about your mother is that you learned your attitude about autism from her, and that she probably has a dominant personality. Is that so bad?

    "when it is your buddy Dawson who is on the payroll of autism speaks."

    Again, she's not my buddy, and she's not on anyone's payroll. I'm sure the only money she gets is in the form of public assistance.

    "Let's drive Clay crazy even further by not just commenting on Dawson, but on his buddy Ari Ne'eman."

    Um, you should be aware that Ari isn't exactly my buddy either. Michelle's complaint against him and ASAN is not entirely without merit, as he did make some unwise statements about her, and about me too. You should know this, as Kent told all about it in a comment on your blog. (And that was the reason for his being expelled from ASAN Discussion.)

    "Your buddy Ne'eman is also on the panel of the IACC. He should be nothing but a sellout from your point of view. He sits in a room and discusses strategy on how autistics should be cured."

    Except he's not selling us out. He provides the neurodiversity POV that we need to focus on supports for autistics, rather than wasting money on research for cures. I don't think he gets paid for that job, but I hope he does for the one he most recently was appointed to. (I forget the name of it, National Disability Council?)

    "They pay his travel expenses to Washington, they probaly pay for other perks too."

    Why shouldn't they pay travel expenses? I know he's from Baltimore, which isn't very far from Washington, but he may have moved to Washington, I don't know. My personal differences with him are not enough to prevent me from supporting him. I look forward to his contributions to both committees. I think he'll represent us well.

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  17. Here is where I start getting angry at those that claim to follow Neurodiversity. Clay said it earlier, that considering autism as an afliction and wanting to cure it is wrong.

    Acceptance and accomodation is all nice and fine and dandy when it comes to children who have the capability to speak for themselves. But how DARE you say that you speak for MY child, who cannot speak for himself.

    I've said this before on other sites, but I strongly believe that this bears repeating.

    I should accept and accomodate the fact that my son smears shit all over himself and everything around him. He's just trying to express himself, right? I shouldn't try to stop that, because that's part of his autism!

    I should accept and accomodate the fact that I have to sleep by my front door and set alarms all over the house because my son is an insomniac and likes to wander. If he had a chance, he would roam out the front door and get lost in the wilderness, dying in the elements. But, he's just curious and wants to explore, right? I shouldn't try to stop that, because that's part of his autism!

    I should accept that he hits himself, bites himself, and I have to sometimes force him down to the floor to prevent him from hurting himself or others. But he just needs an outlet for his anger, right? I shouldn't try to stop that, because that's part of his autism!

    I should accept and accomodate the fact that when my wife and I are gone, then my son will more than likely be shoved into an insane asylum and drugged into oblivion by the very same people who gave him this brain damage. I shouldn't try to stop that, because that's part of his autism!

    Yeah, fuck you, Clay. You have no right to speak for my son or anyone like my son if you haven't experienced what they've gone through.

    MJ...sorry for the harsh language, but neurodiversity fuckwits sometimes bring out the asshole in me.

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  18. Hello friends -

    The personal debate aside, this is an important discussion. The problem, as I see it in my son, is not the fixation on things like infant toys per se, but rather, that such fixations are at the cost of any other activities.

    At what point do we decide that it is OK that a child not know how to read, write, or indeed, that they can nod their head for yes or no; in some part because instead of learning those things (or anything), they instead, perform the same repetitive tasks without end?

    @astrid:
    It is a sign of the ableist notions of normalcy and meaning inherent in our society.

    Nature is a cruel mistress and cares little for society. Some of our children lack the ability to survive without help with the most rudimentary tasks; while phrases like ableist are great for folks that can understand them, they are worse the useless for those that cannot.

    - pD

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  19. Clay clearly has a reading comprehension problem in that he did not understand my post. Michelle Dawson accepts money from the organization she claims is out to commit genocide on autistics. No different then if they were paying her a salary, or taking her out to dinner. Now maybe now that i have made it more simple Clay in spite of his limited intellect will now understand what i meant.

    Though I have criticized Michelle Dawson in the past I applaud her for her good common sense in realizing what a loser Clay is and writing him out of her life.

    My Socrates note: Congratulations for telling Clay where he can stick it! He never had any of the challenges your son/daughter has had so he knows nothing about what you go through. Clay is a vicious hatemonger who wants nothing more than your child to be crippled and sick.

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  20. Folks, please be civil.

    I think an exchange of thoughts and ideas, even if adversarial or harsh, is good thing. But I would ask you attack the ideas and not the person. People can have legitimate differences of opinion.

    I dislike Clay's ideas and dislike even more the manner in which he he presents them. However, he has a right to his opinions about autism - however misguided they may be - the same as everyone else.

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  21. MySocratesNote said...

    "Clay said it earlier, that considering autism as an affliction and wanting to cure it is wrong."

    What's "wrong" is being hysterical about it, and using your child as a guinea pig with every fool "treatment" that comes along, whether it's secretin, chelation, HBOT, Lupron, OSR-1, and many other unproven snake-oil treatments.

    If you've spent money for those things, it's money wasted. All those things are based on a false theory of what autism is, and so they don't work.

    There are some autistics who have celiac disease, or difficulties digesting dairy, who can improve with a GFCF diet. I believe that the percentage of NTs with those problems is about the same. The difference is, if a child is non-verbal, he can't tell you he's in distress, and it comes out as "behaviors".


    Jonathan said:
    "Michelle Dawson accepts money from the organization she claims is out to commit genocide on autistics."

    Again, she receives no money, so she doesn't "accept money". She doesn't profit in any way for her work. So you're the only "sell-out" that I know of.

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  22. Again Clay with the reading comprehension problem. They pay for her research activities, something more valuable to her than food, shelter or clothing in her warped perception of reality. It is her great joy in life, so yes, she is accepting money from a pro cure organization, just the same as accepting a salary, you can't deal with that. it is killing you worse than my insulting your parents or you. payback is a bitch

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  23. She's doing the thing she's best at doing. She would be doing it with or without any grants from AutSpks, at a place that would be doing the same thing with or without that grant. If she receives no money, you can't say that she is "accepting MONEY" for her volunteer efforts.

    I think that half million covers only a small portion of their yearly budget. When was that grant given? I suspect it's been used up, unless it's given every year. It seems like you've been complaining about it for years.

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  24. I love this saying from Surf's Up I don't understand why everybody has to be so judgemental
    I understand why Mom's judgemental
    I think it's because she cares partially.
    I think it's also partially because everyone else is lookin' at her like
    hey Cody's just a bum, Cody's this, Cody's that, Cody's this.
    Cody's me bro' ...let me be me.
    When is that gonna start?


    This is exactly what I thought when people gave me a hard time for being obsessed with numbers, including my own mother.

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  25. Catatab is a fine one to talk. Someone who is so omniescent that she claims I do nothing to self improve myself when she knows nothing about me or has ever met me. Someone who claims that someone who clearly has the profound issues that Christian Weston Chandler has, has no desire to change when she has never met him and knows nothing about him. I keep saying I am not going to be responding to these people anymore and maybe end the thread, but this hypocritical statement cannot go unanswered.

    Chelsea, if anyone qualifies for being in the guiness book of world records for most judgemental person in the world, it would have to be you.

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  26. Let's put this Bettelheim business to rest once and for all, Mitchell. The people who are trying to bring back Bettelheim are the ones who are doing now what your mother tried to do - cure Autism as though it's a bad thing. Thinking of it as a bad thing as a whole is what brings up rubbish like the refridgerator mother theory of causation (which is Bettelheim type stuff). So it's laughable that you claim that people like Clay, me and whoever else of trying to bring it back when the people really responsible for it are people like you who refuse to pay attention to the date on the calendar - and make judgements that belong in the 1950's and not 2010.

    A point to MySocratesNote - what you should accept is that your child is Autistic. You CAN get improvement however. Not cure - improvement. I'll tell you what else you should accept. The responsibility to find out why he's an insomniac, why he wants to roam, why he hits himself, why he bites himself, and why he'll end up in an institution when he has no more carers available. And none of them is because he's Autistic.

    All of them are because YOU appear to believe they are because he's Autistic. Here's some speculation for you - insomnia is a result of stress. Find out what's stressing him, and concentrate on all aspects of the household. He wants space to roam, so take him somewhere where he can do that and there are no threats wherever he goes AND you can watch him all the time (or someone else can do that). Hitting himself could have a number of explanations, but the most likely would be stress as well. Biting falls into the same category although that could also be a yeast issue. As far as the institution goes - you can avoid that by treating these other issues and whatever else comes up NOW! Don't wait. The longer you wait, the less you'll be able to do.

    And waiting and doing nothing in the meantime loads the blame for a life of misery on one person.

    You.

    Think about it, and don't make the same mistake Mitchell's mother did and be sucked in by society that says Autism is 100 percent bad and has no redeeming qualities. She didn't fight that, and that's why Mitchell's such a ball of hate. I hope you fight to make the best for your son that you can, and you can. At the root think about sensory overload and sensory sensitivity. You'll go a long way to solving a number of issues.

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  27. Phil,

    I think you may be mistaken about a few things.

    First and foremost, it is the attitude that autism is untreatable and incurable that directly to people putting their children into institutions and writing them off as hopeless. We know better now, autism IS treatable and children with autism should be treated. But you claim that it is the desire to treat autism that is bring back Bettelheim? And then you continue on with we should disassociate all of the "bad" with autism from autism, because that isn't autism, and treat that? What?

    So which is it -

    autism should be treated

    or

    autism should not be treated

    or

    all of the "bad" stuff that us Bettelheim disciples treat isn't in fact autism and should be treated but the "good" stuff in autism we should leave alone?

    The first one makes sense, the second is why people put their children into institutions, and the third is nothing more than the tortured screams of logic being tied up into a pretzel.

    Second, this -

    "The responsibility to find out why he's an insomniac, why he wants to roam, why he hits himself, why he bites himself, and why he'll end up in an institution when he has no more carers available. And none of them is because he's Autistic."

    Is just wrong. All of these things are seem frequently in children with autism, mine included. From my experiences, I would have to say that they are part of the autism - that whatever causes the behaviors of autism also causes these behaviors. You can't simply wave a magic wand and declare that anything negative is not because of autism.

    For example, the sleep issues are not likely due to "stress", they are likely due to disruptions of circadian rhythms. When these rhythms are thrown off, many of the other processes in the body that rely on them are also thrown off, especially sleep. Which is why melatonin helps correct the sleep issues in many of our children.

    My opinion is based on the medical research done on the subject, observing my own children with autism who have major issues with sleep, and the medical opinion of my children's doctor. What is yours based on?

    Third - the idea that autism has redeeming qualities is wrong. People have good qualities and bad qualities but a disorder is not a person and a person is not a disorder. Autism can no more have "good" qualities than can the flu virus. But that is not the same as saying that people who have autism are "bad". In fact, people with autism have many good qualities and these good qualities far outweight the bad ones of autism. But those qualities belong to the person, not the disorder.

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  28. MJ, let's get this clear as well. The issue is NOT treatment. It's cure. The two are not the same. The curebies are the Bettelheim mob because seeking to cure is what has Autistics ending up in institutions - because time and energy is being wasted when it should be used on - as you rightly state - treatment.

    So the third one is right as is the first - and calling it a proverbial pretzel actually shows that you don't really understand what is required.

    Second - it ISN'T Autism, and you are making the same mistake as MySocratesNote. You are ASSUMING it's all Autism. Sorry, what you are seeing in common is issues that are co-existing and developing seperate to Autism. The reason why they are common is because the Autism (in effect) is not being treated with respect. Sensory sensitivity is the big one there - it doesn't take much. Now I take your point about insomnia, that happens in NT's as well which supports my point. And stress can affect circadian rhythms.

    Finally - you're wrong. The mathematical skills in Autistics and the "slow" processes allow for accuracy beyond what NT's are capable of particularly nowadays. If for the sake of argument you cured Autism those skills would be lost. There is the potential (and this is only possible on the Autistic Spectrum) for savant type behaviour - just as long as the sensory issues are dealt with early. Are you saying there's something wrong with quality over quantity? If you are then you are contributing to a lot of the sensory issues which I believe is truly behind the rising prevalence of Autism. Adjustment makes the Autistic Spectrum a condition as it is from birth - not a disorder. And it IS part of the person just like skin colour et al. Think about that, MJ, and thanks for the prompt response.

    PS - One who is not on the Spectrum such as yourself can learn a lot from medical books. But you don't really know unless you are on the Spectrum yourself. I am. Analysing myself carries just as much weight and that is my source. Me - as a proud Aspie who is working to adjust knowing what the benefits are and fighting the society that seeks to prevent me from doing so.

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