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From: OldCoyote@webmail.co.za (Old Coyote)
Subject: Re: Scientists baffled by increase in autism
Date: 25 Oct 2002 22:16:17 -0700
NNTP-Posting-Date: 26 Oct 2002 05:16:17 GMT
"Tom" wrote in message news:
> 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.
That sounds to me like a test for a specific skill, or group of
> > 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.
I think most of the time is appropriate. I heard about a study recently,
where a researcher went to the UK and France, touring schools and interviewing
teachers and doctors. He claimed that the diagnoses of ADD (not PDD but
some stuff I've read recently seems to muddy the waters a little there) is
almost never made there, although it is made very occasionally. He said he has
never seen a real case. It seems to be very much about the convenience
of the parents and teachers involved. In fact the study claims the vast
majority of ADD diagnoses are initiated by teachers. I haven't got a link
for the study but I might be able to find one.
My own nephew was recently diagnosed as ADD, and placed on a progam
of chemical treatment. I argued about it. He is a very bright kid, and
I don't think the adults in question percieved that. Bright enough that
the stigma of being labelled and medicated only made things worse. On
the other hand, he's also bright enough to figure out that he isn't so
special and the world will more or less uncaringly roll right over him
if he steps too far out of line. So the problem is more or less self
correcting. Nevertheless, the diagnoses was as far out there as a report
on Roswell. I have personal experience with other such incidents as well.
I am fully of the opinion that the greatest part of the problem lies in
the attitudes of the physicians. They seem to be far too busy to spend
enough time to diagnose the situation, far too susceptible to trendy ideas,
& far too incautions when it comes to giving brain-chemistry altering
substances to children.
> > 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.
Oh I'm not questioning savant phenomena, I've seen it myself. I
know an autistic man who can tell you what he had for breakfast
on any given day, for instance. However that is not going to make
him rich. I believe most (almost all) savant abilities are like that,
I'm questioning the idea that there could be handicapped people
who are more successful than non-handicapped people, due to thier
handicap. The logic is obviously crooked, in the first place. That
usually points to some kind of moral or ethical problem I think.
> Here's an interesting link.
Yup, that was pretty interesting. I still don't buy Asperger's though.
In my opinion it is simply that there are many different kinds of
people, and that the range of acceptable behaviour is smaller
than the range of normal behaviour. There are many reasons for this,
like that the current ruleset promotes the kind of people who will
be successful in the modern environment.
The Asperger's thing is an interesting idea, but I don't think it's
interesting because it delineates (sp?) a unique form of mental
disability. I think it's interesting in that it reveals a little of
the point of view behind it.
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