Issues reguarding autism and autistics

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Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby EnglishMQ » 23 Oct 2010, 15:18

O.K, I'm on another forum having an argument with a person about autism and we're getting no where, very slowly.

I figured LRR is the perfect place to find a hive of educated, argumentative and opinionated people to actually do a proper discussion on something which is now really on my mind.

-Is autism a "bad thing". When I say the word bad I mean, would a person live a better quality of life if they didn't have autism.

-Some 50 years ago Homosexuality was classed as a mental disorder before it became sociably acceptable, what makes the autistic minority any different to this? What makes autism different to any other minorities?

-A culture has apparently formed around autism that believes they are fine the way they are and they don't need any form of cure or repression. Should a cure be looked for in autism? What about a voluntary one?

I'm just curious what other people's thoughts are?
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Theremin » 23 Oct 2010, 15:29

As I understand it, autism and related conditions like aspergers have quite a few negative effects, usually something along the lines of social difficulties, trouble reading other people's emotions, that sort of thing.

Homosexuality doesn't have any negative mental effects like that, so they're not really comparable.

The difference is that homosexuality was only classified as a disorder. That doesn't mean it ever was one, or that autism isn't.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Bananafish » 23 Oct 2010, 16:31

-A culture has apparently formed around autism that believes they are fine the way they are and they don't need any form of cure or repression. Should a cure be looked for in autism? What about a voluntary one?


this is partly because nerds feel a need to explain away their social anxiety and latch onto a form of 'light' autism like Aspergers that they can conveniently self-diagnose. they probably also feel more special or smarter and like they're part of some kind of sub-culture or whatever. this is a really big oversimplification but holy shit you'd be surprised how many people on an average internet forum will say that they have aspergers because they get nervous in social situations.

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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Master Gunner » 23 Oct 2010, 16:33

What Theremin said. I've known people with a variety of disorders and lifestyle choices. I have friends who are gay, I have friends who have Tourettes, I have friends who are autistic. There is a very clear difference between them, and it is frankly insulting to both groups to say that the issues are the same.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 23 Oct 2010, 16:40

Autism isn't a bad thing, it's just "a" thing. I have Asperger's Syndrome, and whilst it's very annoying for me at times it's not making my life unlivable (though there are varying degrees of autism, the autistic spectrum, which can make day-to-day life harder or easier, I'm far up on the easy end).

Autism is definitely a disorder, in that there is a mental supercapability or incapability to do certain things, it is not genetic (though research is ongoing in that area) and it is not a conscious decision. It happens, there are negative effects to it. It is therefore a disorder. Besides discrimination, there are no negative effects to being homosexual.

A cure should be looked for in the case of every illness, if nothing else each cure for a disease we don't want to cure is more data and acquired knowledge to help us cure disease we do want to cure. I don't think it should be mandatory to cure autism if indeed a cure ever occurs. I have quite a few quirks and issues throughout my day-to-day life because of Asperger's, but it's part of who I am, it lets me do a lot of things others can't and do them very well, if I lost it I'd certainly be looking at a very different life. In this respect then, it's sort of like homosexuality, it can cause problems (discrimination, less so nowadays than earlier on) but you wouldn't dream of changing yourself because of them.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby goat » 23 Oct 2010, 16:54

I'll just leave this here...

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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Drinnik » 23 Oct 2010, 16:57

I'm dyspraxic, which comes under Neurodiversity and part of the Autism spectrum, and I work with people who have autistic spectrum disorders, plus my partner has Asperger's, so I've got a lot of experience in this and can safely say; Yes, people would have a better quality of life if they did not have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, however it depends on the severity of the condition.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, has some form of autism. Whether it be how they arrange books, fold clothes, get dressed, there is a little bit of autistic tendancies in everyone and it does not affect them severely. However, I do think there are a number of people who say, "Oh, I've got ADHD," or "I've got Asperger's," but have never been diagnosed nor spoken to a professional about it, they've noticed they've got one of the symptoms from a list on the internet and suddenly they've got the condition.

Also, I think a lot of American doctors are too quick to say someone has ADHD or Asperger's and shove pills down their throats, but I digress.

There is a culture of Autistics, but it's mostly self diagnosed Autistic people. I find it insulting when someone says, "I have [Insert ASD here]" when they've never been diagnosed nor seen a doctor about it. The police organised for a specialist to diagnose me, my partner's doctor sent him for tests because a previous doctor wrongly diagnosed ADHD and both of us were sent reeling from the diagnosis, it sent us in a loop that took me weeks to get out of and caused me to suffer depression, something which is quite common after a diagnosis.

If these people genuinely, genuinely, had these conditions, they would not be so flippant about it.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby MowDownJoe » 23 Oct 2010, 20:41

Bananafish wrote:
-A culture has apparently formed around autism that believes they are fine the way they are and they don't need any form of cure or repression. Should a cure be looked for in autism? What about a voluntary one?


this is partly because nerds feel a need to explain away their social anxiety and latch onto a form of 'light' autism like Aspergers that they can conveniently self-diagnose. they probably also feel more special or smarter and like they're part of some kind of sub-culture or whatever. this is a really big oversimplification but holy shit you'd be surprised how many people on an average internet forum will say that they have aspergers because they get nervous in social situations.

"oh, well. I have autism, there's nothing I can do about it!" *plays WoW all day*

Heh... I'm the opposite. I was diagnosed with Asperger's, but I'm convinced it's a misdiagnosis and that I'm really nothing more than a socially inept nerd. (That "socially inept" part, however, depends on who I'm around? Other Magic-playing nerds like myself? You'll be lucky to get me to shut up. Some random nice girl? I'm a clam.)
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Juliamon » 23 Oct 2010, 20:52

A cure should absolutely be looked for, if not for the people with the disorder but for their parents and relatives and caretakers etc. I was diagnosed with Asperger's 10 years ago, and now that I'm old enough and gotten "better" enough (through lots and lots of therapy) to see what my mom had to (and STILL has to) go through because of me... well, I feel absolutely terrible. I'd do anything to give all those years of frustration and worry back to her.
I can't stand myself for all the things that make me different and I do everything I can to change those things. From my own perspective I can't see how anyone would want to have any form of ASD, and especially why they'd want to flaunt it as if it were a good thing. But again, that's just MY perspective. Since it manifests a little differently in everyone, it should be treated on a case-by-case basis. Just because I don't get any benefit from my mental quirks doesn't mean others are the same way (as already mentioned above by Lyinginbedmon).


I would especially like to be cured so that maybe I could learn how to make forum posts without my mind wandering in a dozen directions and making everything tl;dr. FFFFFFFUCK.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby TheRocket » 23 Oct 2010, 22:00

Juliamon, if I could give you a hug right now I would, and tell you that you are loved no matter the sum of frustrations your disorder causes. I doubt at the end of the day that is what your mother or anyone who loves you even thinks about.


Relating to autism.. has anyone else here seen The World of Jenks: Can't Make Me Be?
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Mad Madam Mimm » 24 Oct 2010, 00:17

Firstly, in regard to a cure, I would never ask anyone I loved to pop psychitaric medicine, although that's a personal mistrust of that entire brach of medicine. Therapy, I will accept, could be very helpful.

On a social level, in regards to the whole "culture of self-diagnosed autistics", it does seem to be the excuse of the moment, and I think that's very wrong. I think there's, fundamentally, a lack of education when it comes to mental disorders; I know it took kids in my clss about a year to figure out what autism meant and why it affected the actions of one of our classmates, becasue we had certainly never had it explained to us by teachers or parents.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby iamafish » 24 Oct 2010, 01:19

I think people confuse/exploit the fact that everyone is in some way Asbergers and make more of it that it actually is in their individual case, making it seem less significant for those who have much more serious cases, which can have a deeply detrimental effect on people's life, especially when interacting with other humans.

basically stop being dick people who haven't been medically diagnosed!
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Theremin » 24 Oct 2010, 02:44

Lyinginbedmon wrote:Autism isn't a bad thing, it's just "a" thing.


Are you saying that it's not morally bad? Because that makes sense.

If you're saying it's not a negative thing full stop, that makes less sense. In the sense that having a form of it will usually negatively impact your life, then yes, it is a 'bad' thing.

A person's not bad for having it, but I've never heard of anyone being pleased that they were diagnosed with it.

Lyinginbedmon wrote:I have quite a few quirks and issues throughout my day-to-day life because of Asperger's, but it's part of who I am, it lets me do a lot of things others can't and do them very well, if I lost it I'd certainly be looking at a very different life. In this respect then, it's sort of like homosexuality, it can cause problems (discrimination, less so nowadays than earlier on) but you wouldn't dream of changing yourself because of them.


Would you change, if you could?

I don't mean to be rude, and if I'm being a cunt please tell me, but I just wondering.

I understand that Autism et al. can have somewhat positive side effects, in that you're better at certain things because your brain works differently, but is there really a point for you where the positives outweigh the negatives?

I understand how because of the fact that you've lived with these things, you're attached to them, for lack of a better word. You've learned to live with them, and come to terms with them. And that's great.

But to me, it would seem like at this point, if the negatives truly outweighed the positives for you, you wouldn't be inclined to accept that.

Mainly because it's easier to go "Yeah, I'm fine, it's just a part of me." than "There are bits of me that makes my life difficult and I dislike that.".

I get how you wouldn't want to think the second one, because that's effectively self-hatred, given that you'd be disliking a part of yourself that can't be changed. Far better to rationalise it and make yourself feel better.

However, I can accept that this may not apply to you, given that your case is so relatively mild that it's possible the positives do outweigh the negatives.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Dutch guy » 24 Oct 2010, 03:01

I would think Autism Spectrum Disorders would classify as a mental disorder, since it is an affliction that measurably alters the functioning of the brain compared to a "normal" one. This would not be the case for homosexuality, since the brain functions normally and no difference in brainfunction can be measured.

Autism does not have to be a bad thing, but it CAN be. Since the range and severity of ADS is so big it affects people differently. The state of mind behind all the disabilities is also very important. Someone who is very aware of what he can and can't do can focus very much on the stuff he can't do and get miserable, lonely and depressed. For those people a cure or even just medication that alleviates some problems can be good thing. Then there are the people who can live with their disabilities and their shortcomings and look past it, be happy, and live a good life. Why would they want to stuff themselves full of chemicals to solve a problem that is not really a problem to them?

Communicating with people with a mental disorder, be it Down's syndrome, ADS or any other one of gazillion afflictions, is very hard for someone who has never done it before. It requires being very flexible in what you expect from a conversation, and it's not always possible to keep it on track all the time. A conversation can be very frustrating when you aren't used to the weird ways things can go. I believe it's an acquired skill to be able to talk with someone who can be talking about 30 different subjects in 15 minutes and still have a good conversation :P

@Juliamon, have you tried talking to your mother about it? I'm pretty sure she won't feel the same way :wink:
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 24 Oct 2010, 03:20

I wouldn't take a cure for it.

Sure, there are parts where it makes things really annoyingly hard, like when I'm 6 minutes late for a lecture instead of 5 and can't enter the room until the unwitting lecturer asks me to, or when someone else sits in my seat oblivious to my issues and I have to try and ask them to pick another without resorting to the approach of "I'm autistic, move".

But it also gives me a lot of boons. My brain hungers for so much information and puts it together in so many unusual and wonderful ways because it's wired differently. On a day without caffeine, the building blocks of the universe are open to it's hypotheses and wonderment. I wouldn't give that up for all the tea in asia, and I think the upsides I get outweigh the downsides.

But that's my view of it, and there are many, a spectrum if you will.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby empath » 24 Oct 2010, 04:32

Drinnik wrote:Also, I think a lot of...doctors are too quick to...shove pills down (patients') throats, but I digress.


Fixed that for ya, and yeah while it is a digression, it's also quite valid.




I was diagnosed with dyslexia in 1987. I have a tendency to 'word my swaps', especially if rushed or stressed, and it happens much more in type than written or orally, but in the (wow) intervening decades I've self-adapted to compensate for the tendency to Spoonerize. I guess I was lucky in that the neurologist probably didn't HAVE any pharmaceuticals available (yet) to prescribe to me. My (rather mild) disability has had an effect on who I've become: a MAJOR Grammar Nazi as a consequence of having to recheck and proofread all my posts, I'm not the most 'quick respondent' due to that required review, I tend to avoid IRC, messenger, and similar media without the ability to check your statements - my fellow Minecrafters will attest to my relative silence for in-game chat, I'm not very good at multitasking, but I have a reflexive ability to 'self-correct' my typing: I'll mios^h^hspell something and feel the mistake without looking, backspace over it and re-type correctly...killed my grade in Typing class in high school due to the resultant slow speed, but it results in much cleaner prose. :)

If a 'cure' had been available back in the '80s, I really don't know - it would depend on the side effects (any drug - right down to caffeine - causes changes to your systemS, plural, and the Law of Unintended Consequences always applies); on one hand, I'd have gotten better grades in school, and probably not flunked out of college and consequently be in a better financial situation today, but on the other hand, the attention I've had to devote to 'proofreading' has given me a (belated with regards to my academic career) love of narrative fiction, and...still...there's that Law of Unintended Consequences again...

As for "Is autism 'bad'"? Well, in some respects; it's not as bad as say, being born missing a limb, and the effects it has result in a DIFFERENT perception of things. But problems do occur in situations where those perceptions have to interact with other peoples', but then, the same sort of thing DOES happen with something as simple as differing cultural backgrounds (viz "'handegg' vs. football")


And don't forget, human beings are ADAPTABLE entities; often the less severe cases of dysfunction are compensated for (myself, and many others - heck, guy loses his hand in an industrial accident; given enough time and determination, he CAN learn to write as well with his 'off hand' despite his ingrained neurology)

So, in closing, I apologize for not really answering any of the questions posed! :oops:
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Lord Chrusher » 24 Oct 2010, 04:54

I am also dyslexic. Though a combination of extra schooling and technology I have managed to follow my dreams. I do not think drugs could have fixed my problem with out changing who I am. I think pharmaceuticals are a like sledge hammers. While in some cases they are useful most of the time they cause more trouble than they solve.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Theremin » 24 Oct 2010, 05:12

I feel like I ought to pop up for a minute just to defend drugs.

The sledgehammer analogy isn't wholly innaccurate. Compared to one-on-one therapy, extra schooling, and proper support, medication is a blunt force when it comes to treating disorders like dyslexia and autism.

However, the thing about therapy is this: it takes a lot of time, energy, resources, and often money.

For a huge number of people, adults and children, therapy isn't an attainable solution, for any number of personal reasons. In lots of cases, the patients outweigh the therapists to such a degree that one-on-one treatment is impractical.

In those cases, any solution, even a blunt force, is better than no solution at all.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Drinnik » 24 Oct 2010, 05:25

Except one of the biggest drugs used to control ADHD, Aderol, I think, has you have to sign a disclaimer before taking it because it can seriously damage your heart.

With my dyspraxia, yeah, I think it has helped me with certain parts of my life. I'm certainly more creative than most and, I do not say this to brag, simply stating what I was told by the psychiatric nurse who diagnosed me, I have an IQ that places me in the top 10% of people my age range nationally and my problem solving, long term memor and verbal reasoning IQ places me in the top 1% of people in my age range nationally. The condition has focused me and I'm smart because of it. My brother and I have had an identical education, same primary school (with the same teachers for 2 years) and same secondar school (with a lot of the same teachers) and I am smarter than him, and my brother is not stupid (well, he's a squaddie :P). He was regional chess champion when he was 7 years old, beating players who had played for 40-50 years, so he's not thick.

My point being, if I did not have dyspraxia, my mind wouldn't be wired in a way to absorb the information as freely, at least that's what the therapist said.

But there's the pay off, I have appaling short term memory. I'm incredibly uncomfortable in new social situations, I find it difficult to talk to people who I don't relate to, I freeze when trying to do something complex, only for a second, but sometimes a second is too long, I stumble over words, I misspell things all the time, I transpose letters when writing, I get cramps in my hand and can't write with a pen for more than a sentance at a time because of the cramps in my hand, I find it difficult to empathise with some people, I've got poor spatial awareness and bump into things, knock things over, put myself in danger (occasionally), I get frustrated when I can't do things I see other people do easily and I am far too easily distracted.

I do not consider having dyspraxia to be a benefit to my life. I'll admit, it's made somethings easier for me, but the trade off with the little things is too much and I'd much rather not be dyspraxic.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby sleepingzombieXD » 24 Oct 2010, 05:57

I workm as a perosnal assistant to a person with autism. In short yes and no, its like two sides of a coin.
A autistik person is not someone that you can classefy, like every other person. In a basic level autism makes the autistik have difficulties in social life. A benefit is that a autistik person may devote themself to know everything about one specifik subject, becoming experts.

My point is that it evens out, the body compensates in useful and unuseful ways.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 24 Oct 2010, 06:00

sleepingzombieXD wrote:I workm as a perosnal assistant to a person with autism. In short yes and no, its like two sides of a coin.
A autistik person is not someone that you can classefy, like every other person. In a basic level autism makes the autistik have difficulties in social life. A benefit is that a autistik person may devote themself to know everything about one specifik subject, becoming experts.

My point is that it evens out, the body compensates in useful and unuseful ways.

:? What worries me here is your spelling ability, if you're a personal assistant...
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby MowDownJoe » 24 Oct 2010, 06:51

Theremin wrote:I feel like I ought to pop up for a minute just to defend drugs.

The sledgehammer analogy isn't wholly innaccurate. Compared to one-on-one therapy, extra schooling, and proper support, medication is a blunt force when it comes to treating disorders like dyslexia and autism.

However, the thing about therapy is this: it takes a lot of time, energy, resources, and often money.

For a huge number of people, adults and children, therapy isn't an attainable solution, for any number of personal reasons. In lots of cases, the patients outweigh the therapists to such a degree that one-on-one treatment is impractical.

In those cases, any solution, even a blunt force, is better than no solution at all.


Meanwhile, and my family can attest to this, medication can often make things worse.
Like I mentioned, I was diagnosed with Asperger's at a young age. Around that same time, Ritalin was starting to be prescribed en masse. So, of course, I ended up on mind-altering drugs. I was shuffled around from one drug to the next for who knows how long.
Then one year, after coming home from yet another summer camp my folks shipped me off to to get me out of their hair, I suffered severe stomach pains and had to be rushed to the hospital. We would soon learn that those stomach pains were because I had developed Crohn's disease over that summer. Unsure of how the medicine for the Crohn's would react with the mind-altering drugs (and having had an incident where I threatened to commit suicide which coincided with an article saying that some of the drugs that I was on at the time being linked to suicide), they pulled me off the mind-altering drugs. After the whole incident, my folks pretty much agreed that I was behaving better without the mind-altering meds than with them. And I, myself, felt better.
So... yeah, that's my experiences with psychiatric medication.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby 2stepz » 24 Oct 2010, 07:08

Lyinginbedmon wrote:
sleepingzombieXD wrote:I workm as a perosnal assistant to a person with autism. In short yes and no, its like two sides of a coin.
A autistik person is not someone that you can classefy, like every other person. In a basic level autism makes the autistik have difficulties in social life. A benefit is that a autistik person may devote themself to know everything about one specifik subject, becoming experts.

My point is that it evens out, the body compensates in useful and unuseful ways.

:? What worries me here is your spelling ability, if you're a personal assistant...


Lying - from watching this user's posts, I believe that English is not his/her first language... thought that may ease your mind a bit.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby Theremin » 24 Oct 2010, 07:15

Lyinginbedmon wrote:
sleepingzombieXD wrote:I workm as a perosnal assistant to a person with autism. In short yes and no, its like two sides of a coin.
A autistik person is not someone that you can classefy, like every other person. In a basic level autism makes the autistik have difficulties in social life. A benefit is that a autistik person may devote themself to know everything about one specifik subject, becoming experts.

My point is that it evens out, the body compensates in useful and unuseful ways.

:? What worries me here is your spelling ability, if you're a personal assistant...

Mind ya business.
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Re: Issues reguarding autism and autistics

Postby korri » 24 Oct 2010, 08:00

I think the mild forms of Apergers that people are able to live with and work through don't need a "cure" in the sense of medication or something else. If therapy is working, and they can live with it and actually experience good things, they don't need too much a cure in teh traditional sense.

I think the more severe cases, where people can't function at all without help or a 24/7 caregiver deserve at least some information about the cause of autism. I have a friend who's daughter will scream at the top of her lungs unless she is physically touching her. It puts a lot of strain and pain on the entire family. The mom can't work, and its extremely trying on the older sibling. I think that family deserves some help and if it requires medication of some sort, and it works to make their lives a littler easier, then I think its ok.
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