Subject: Re: Scientists baffled by increase in autism
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 14:06:21 -0700
NNTP-Posting-Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 16:03:40 CDT
"Old Coyote" wrote in message
> "Tom" wrote in message
> > From "The Child with Special Needs", by Stanley Greenspan and Serena
> > Weider:
> > "The traditional pessimistic prognosis for PDD (Pervasive Developmental
> > Disorder, which includes autism as a sub-category) is based on
> > with children whose treatment programs tend to be mechanical and
> > structured, rather than based on individual differences, relationships,
> > affect, and emotional cuing. Approaches that do not pull the child
> > spontaneous, joyful relationship patterns may intensify rather than
> > remediate the difficulty. We have observed even with older children
> > PDD-type patterns that as more spontaneous affect based on emotionally
> > robust gestural or verbal interactions get going, perseveration and
> > idiosyncratic behavior decrease and relatedness increases."
> > "In a review of over 200 cases, many from leading diagnostic centers,
> > than 90 percent did not directly observe parent-child interactions.
> > this interaction reveals the child's capacity for relating and
> > and is the venue in which the child is most likely to perform at his
> > highest level. Tests tend to emphasize how the child relates to the
> > administering the test and to highly structured tasks that may require
> > motor-planning (attentional) skills that the child does not have. This
> > relationship and the tasks are foreign, perhaps even frightening, and
> > the child is apt to function at a lower level. As a result, the
> > often supports a more global picture of the child, rather than a
> > that builds on how the child relates to, and uses his unique abilities
> > with, his most treasured caregivers. Under these circumstances it is
> > surprising that many children are inaccurately diagnosed with autistic
> > spectrum disorder."
> Indeed. In my humble opinion, a lot of diagnoses of this type are not
> based on a child's state, but rather on thier level of conformance.
In most performance tests of human beings, there is a vital element called
"rapport" that must be established for a test to be most reliably accurate.
"Rapport" happens when the tester has engaged the testee such that the
testee wants to do his or her best and is alert and appropriately
attentive. Trying to achieve this with a small child in an unfamiliar
environment with a stranger is extremely difficult.
> Or, more to the point, the cost they incur on thier environments aka
> thier caregivers & teachers. I think there may be a syndrome involved,
> which probably is related to the intelligence level of the child in
> question & thier emotional landscape, but I do believe that the diagnoses
> of PDD is probably incorrect most of the time.
I wouldn't go so far as to say "most of the time", nor that the tests are
completely wrong even a good part of the time. I do think they are
inaccurate in that they overstate the symptoms. In borderline cases,
that's enough to tip the scales in favor of seeing a serious problem where
there may be only a minor one.
> As for Aspergers, I doubt it entirely. 2/3 of my family have been
> social workers for a long time, and I have had the pleasure to
> volunteer at many functions. It seems very unlikely that any talent
> of a broad enough scope to be profitable could routinely appear in
> people who are otherwise obviously handicapped.
I don't think there's any serious doubt about the existence of savant
abilities in cognitively disabled people.
Here's an interesting link.