Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Autism is a DISORDER, NOT a "culture" or "shared language!"

Autism is a NOT a "culture." Autism Spectrum disorders are a SERIOUS neurological, biological disability that PRESENT SERIOUIS CHALLENGES in communication, socialization, understanding, perception, perspective, and other similar areas. Autistic individuals may have one or more learning disabilities. Other Autistic people have a cognitive disability ("Mental Retardation") in one or more basic skills (i.e. arithmetic, reading, writing, spelling, et cetera.

Disability is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities."

"Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects many parts of the brain; how this occurs is not understood. The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) also include the related conditions Asperger syndrome and PDD-NOS, which have fewer signs and symptoms."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

English 0990: Argument Essay

I have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis; therefore, I am an autistic person. “Autism is a neurological and biological disorder that affects movement, anxiety and stress management, communication, sensory, behavioural, occupational, and social skills. Autistic people have a different perspective and perception of the world. Non-autistic research scientists are studying how the brain of people on the autism spectrum differs from typical people. It is indeed an excellent idea, but the Obama administration needs to provide various resources for autistic individuals who already exist. In addition, too much genetic research can lead to pre-natal testing and abortion. Concerned medical professionals, educators, and parents of people on the autism spectrum want to improve their loved one(s) quality of life. Nonetheless, better options should exist. Parents are usually pro cure, and autistic people are usually anti cure.

Scott Michael Robertson, a scientist who happens to be autistic, is trying to refocus the autism spectrum research agenda. I am neither pro nor anti cure. Scott and non-autistic scientists should focus the scientific agenda on educating, accommodating, supporting, and treating the various issues that are present with the autism disorders.

The research agenda should focus on educating autistic people. For example, people on the autism spectrum should be taught skills to interact with people who do not have a neurological disability. One way of teaching autistic people skills to interact and function with others is to use the discrete-trial method of Applied Behavior Analysis.

The research agenda should focus on accommodating people on the autism spectrum. Accommodations are modifications in daily living, employment, and in other aspects of life to assist an individual on the autism spectrum to fully participate in society and improve quality of life. Accommodations should be a right, not a privilege. We must find ways to improve the quality of life for children and adults on the autism spectrum through research and funding into adaptive augmentative communication such as devices and laptops. Many individuals on the autism spectrum are efficient, reliable, and trustworthy employees. We need to find practical ways to accommodate autistic people to increase their productivity. For example, Joel Smith has a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder. He uses an alternative augmentative communication device or his speech synthesizer to communicate when he has difficulty with speech. Other examples of accommodations include but are not limited to: flexible working hours, use of e-mail, sign language interpreters, Braille, telecommuting, headphones with or without a compact disc player, assistance with filling out papers, part-time hours, name tags at meetings, and strict anti-harassment regulations.

The research agenda should focus on supporting people on the autism spectrum. The autism spectrum is diverse with people of varying levels of ability. If you have met one autistic person, then you have met one autistic person. The autism spectrum is a neurological, biological, and life-long disability with medical manifestations. While all individuals display a variety of traits and behaviours, they may have common characteristics in the areas of: communication, socialization, repetitive behavior, hypo and hypersensitive senses, and deeply focused and passionate interests.

For example, services such as: discrete-trial methodology of Applied Behavior Analysis, positive behavioral supports, speech, occupational, physical, music, other therapies, vocational and adult life skill programs, and other services are not being funded by the Obama administration.

The research agenda should focus on treating the various medical illnesses, conditions, and mental health (co-morbid) disorders that many people with autism have. Many individuals on the autism spectrum have gastrointestinal problems and co-morbid disorders that require either mainstream or biomedical treatments, or both. For example, some individuals are placed on a specific diet such as gluten and casein free. Other autistic people take natural supplements for anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders, and other disorders. Jake Crosby, an adult with autism, has done Methyl B-12 injections, and he reported benefiting greatly from them.

Biomedical treatments such as chelation in any form and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy are neither proven effective nor safe for treating autism spectrum disorders, co-morbid disorders, or gastrointestinal issues.

The TRUTH about two adults who are Autistic

Katie, 21, and her best friend Ari Ne’eman, 21, were both misdiagnosed with ADD/HD. Katie was diagnosed with PDD-NOS in 5th grade. She was re-diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder (AS) is high school.

Now, they are both on the Autism Spectrum (Asperger’s). They work VERY hard to manage their Autistic challenges and related conditions (if applicable). Because they work hard to fit in with neurologically typical people, they are non-distinguishable from their peers in community employment, educational, and public settings. Nonetheless, they are STILL Autistic.

When “medical professionals” like Jenny McCarthy sell the promise of “cures” and “recovery”, they are not only lying to themselves, but also to the many parents of people on the Autism Spectrum and Autistic adults who believe quackery.

Ari and I have been through all that is offered by the best and the worst of our Autism Spectrum disability.

We are now viewing the worst SCAM ever. I pray that Ari, the Autistic community, and I will NOT have to view Autism "advocacy" (fraud) for much longer.

The Phony Autism Spectrum "wars" and other information

I'm trying to understand why people spend so much time, effort, and energy attacking my friend, Ari Ne'eman. Ari Ne’eman is a successful, intelligent, articulate, hard-working young adult who is Autistic. He has an Asperger's disorder diagnosis - NO functioning labels attached. Ari and I disagree on specific aspects of treatments, education, and intervention for individuals on the Autism Spectrum to improve his or her quality of life, other issues such as the research agenda, to cure or not cure, and other autism related issues. However, Ari's desire to create positive change that will support, educate, and accommodate individuals with Autism Spectrum disorders is genuine and well intentioned.

However, his detractors are making his agenda VERY difficult and STRESSFUL. They have created a very hostile environment in forums, chat rooms, list serves, and other online public places. These detractors use abusive language, threats including death, profanity, and other creative, disrespectful means to get their point across. Does the Autism Spectrum (Autistic) community need this? The obvious answer is “No.” However, some individuals specifically target certain individuals they presume as “dangerous.”

I am a strong supporter of respectful language. Terminology or phrases such as: disease, brain damage or dead, train wreck, dysfunctional, broken, not fully human or there, emotionless, vegetable, and other similar descriptions are not only offensive but also NOT accurate words to describe people with Autism Spectrum disorders. Autism forums, chat rooms, and similar places online are created for parents of children and adults with various Autism disorder diagnoses for support, suggestions, and similar reasons. Autism online places have been created for everyone - parents, adults on the Autism Spectrum, educators, friends, scientists, medical professionals, and other people in the Autism or Autistic community.

I do NOT have the right to speak on behalf of other people with Autism Spectrum Disorders. For example, I cannot tell Harold Doherty, a parent of an adolescent with an Autistic Disorder diagnosis, assessed with profound developmental delays, to stop supporting research for a cure. People who converse online in forums, chat rooms, et cetera are NOT qualified to diagnose anyone on the Autism Spectrum. Without certification in an educational background such as: Psychology, special education, or other related field, people are NOT qualified to even suspect neurological disabilities.

All people with Autism Spectrum disorder diagnoses are Autistic. That is NOT debatable. For example, Scott Robertson, John Elder-Robison, and Katie Miller have Asperger’s Disorder diagnoses (NO functioning labels attached). They are Autistic. Dora Raymaker, Michelle Dawson, Amanda Baggs, and Alex Bain have Autistic Disorder diagnoses (NO functioning labels attached). They are Autistic.

I have an Asperger’s Disorder diagnosis (NO functioning labels attached). I am Autistic. However, I do not smear feces. I have been mildly self-injurious before. I am not aggressive. I can read, write (with MAJOR exceptions), and type. I CANNOT write a lot neatly due to motor control, low muscle tone, and grip issues. In a literal sense, I am able to speak. I will not describe my challenges with speech production - mild Apraxia, stuttering, and related issues here. I will not detail my significant speech delays and difficulties during childhood here.

As adult Autistic, I can only speak for MYSELF. If a cure will be found in my lifetime, I would NOT take it. I (emphasize Katie) do not want to be cured. I have learned to accept and embrace (still working on) my Autism Disorder. I do not have a strong emotional viewpoint on being Autistic. I neither hate nor love my Autism. I do NOT celebrate the disabling traits of my Autism Spectrum diagnosis. I celebrate my talents, abilities, and strengths. I celebrate my hyperlexia that includes ability to read extremely rapidly, above grade level, and decipher most vocabulary from contextual clues. In addition, I celebrate my positive traits related to my personality, Autism Spectrum diagnosis, and other positive traits.