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  1. #1
    Registered User paolo59's Avatar
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    Aspergers/Autism

    I am watching an incredibly interesting and enlightening program on C-Span, an interview with Temple Grandin. Does anyone have any experience with dealing with kids/adults who have aspergers or are autistic? I have a student this year who is mildly autistic. I have learned a whole lot about myself in regards with how I deal with him. He is incredibly bright, but can be a handful on occasion! LOL Just interested to hear from any of you who have experience in this area.
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  2. #2
    No longer in denial Nikonguy's Avatar
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    I've had several high school students that were diagnosed with those two disorders as young children. In all cases though, there were little or no signs of problems in the classroom.
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  3. #3
    Registered User paolo59's Avatar
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    It might seem a strange topic to post on this forum, but the discussion is absolutely fascinating. The little one I have causes no real disruption in the classroom either, but obviously needs special attention in some areas. And to be truthful, everything this Dr. Grandin is talking about could definately, and very productively be incorporated in how I deal with each and every kid in the classroom!
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    Registered User older2533's Avatar
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    I have a daughter who was diagnosed about 18 months ago with a disorder on the autism spectrum (PDD-NOS). She is what in previous generations would have simply been called a quirky kid. (And she is very quirky). She has made amazing progress in her language skills in those 18 months with help. Now, she is in a normal kindergarten (age appropriate) and simply gets pulled out for special services now and then, but she might get kicked out of these for being too normal.

    She's just a wonderful kid, and is getting to the point where it's becoming less and less noticeable to someone just introduced to her that there is anything "abnormal" about her.

    If you are a teacher, the one thing I would say is true about autism spectrum kids is they need to be taught things that other kids just pick up on their own. For instance, for my daughter, we discovered that she didn't know what the word "house" meant. Once we told her, she is smart enough to never forget it. This is true for almost all words for her. But most kids are never taught by anyone what the word "house" means. They just pick it up. I'm beginning to think this may generalize. Kids with mild autism may need to be taught (and can easily learn) all sorts of stuff that just comes naturally to the rest of us, especially with regards to social interactions.
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    My son has autism spectrum disorders. He is currently classified as PDD with Sensory Integration. "Autism/Aspergers" covers a broad number of symptoms that not all of those afflicted have. So there is set way of working with these kids. You have to be creative. In my sons case, "normal" parenting does not work in a lot of situations. My wife and I have had to do a lot of reading, work with a number of specialists (psychologists, OTs, neuro psych, etc.) and have had a good bit of success in helping him overcome the limitations that he has.

    The key is to be patient and willing to try different techniques which will vary based on the symptoms that you are dealing with. Your observation that the techniques could be applied to all your students is great. We parent both of our children (my daughter does not have the disorder) the same way and it works. In fact, we are probably better parents because of all of this.
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    Gotta love the autism spectrum. Our son was diagnosed PDD/ADD; both my wife and I are ADD. I've got some Asperger's traits, but not enough for an "official" diagnosis.
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  7. #7
    Registered User paolo59's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by older2533 View Post
    I have a daughter who was diagnosed about 18 months ago with a disorder on the autism spectrum (PDD-NOS). She is what in previous generations would have simply been called a quirky kid. (And she is very quirky). She has made amazing progress in her language skills in those 18 months with help. Now, she is in a normal kindergarten (age appropriate) and simply gets pulled out for special services now and then, but she might get kicked out of these for being too normal.

    She's just a wonderful kid, and is getting to the point where it's becoming less and less noticeable to someone just introduced to her that there is anything "abnormal" about her.

    If you are a teacher, the one thing I would say is true about autism spectrum kids is they need to be taught things that other kids just pick up on their own. For instance, for my daughter, we discovered that she didn't know what the word "house" meant. Once we told her, she is smart enough to never forget it. This is true for almost all words for her. But most kids are never taught by anyone what the word "house" means. They just pick it up. I'm beginning to think this may generalize. Kids with mild autism may need to be taught (and can easily learn) all sorts of stuff that just comes naturally to the rest of us, especially with regards to social interactions.
    The lady giving the interview stated specifically what you have mentioned. To learn "nouns" flash cards with the picture and the word are most helpful. Great stuff. For verbs/action words, the word itself, then the corresponding action, like "wave, or clap, smile, or jump." I have learned to be much more patient with the kid that I have. He's one of my favorite students. His whole face lights up when he "gets it!" LOL The other kids in the classroom love him.
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  8. #8
    Registered User paolo59's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GreenWave1 View Post
    My son has autism spectrum disorders. He is currently classified as PDD with Sensory Integration. "Autism/Aspergers" covers a broad number of symptoms that not all of those afflicted have. So there is set way of working with these kids. You have to be creative. In my sons case, "normal" parenting does not work in a lot of situations. My wife and I have had to do a lot of reading, work with a number of specialists (psychologists, OTs, neuro psych, etc.) and have had a good bit of success in helping him overcome the limitations that he has.

    The key is to be patient and willing to try different techniques which will vary based on the symptoms that you are dealing with. Your observation that the techniques could be applied to all your students is great. We parent both of our children (my daughter does not have the disorder) the same way and it works. In fact, we are probably better parents because of all of this.
    Dealing with this one particular student, I believe, has made me a better teacher! I'm still learning.
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  9. #9
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    I have worked with many children and adults as a vocational counselor within this spectrum. All are unique, it is a spectrum, and it is important to always work with their strengths and begin consideration of transition issues for post secondary activities very early in the process.
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    My older girl has Aspergers syndrome , lots of therapy for her, was so strange really she was pretty much just like any other baby until well not to long after she turned 4.
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    TERMINATRESS dungeonmistress's Avatar
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    my sister is severely autistic.
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  12. #12
    Cookie Monstress KimberleyRN's Avatar
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    We took care of a boy with Autism, he was quite severely affected. He got to be very big and had aggressive tendencies, he ended up needing to live in a special group home for his safety.

    It was very difficult to 'parent' him. Once, I was cooking grilled cheese and he reached right on the griddle and grabbed a sandwich (burning his fingers). I was standing there talking to a social worker at the time... even with 2 adults RIGHT THERE, he was able to get injured. It was nearly impossible to keep up with him.

    Once he shoved me out of frustration, while I was holding my baby daughter... her head hit the wall. Very dangerous.

    His main way of 'comforting' himself was to go into our dog's kennel and put a blanket over it... seemed very unconventional, but that was what he WANTED to do.

    I have so much respect for parents of children on the Autism Spectrum.

    We actually listed ONLY Autism on the list of 'things we could not comfortably address as adoptive parents.' We feel equipped to deal with emotional disorders, sexual abuse survivors, ADD, RAD, ODD, you name it... but, NOT Autism. That was a very exhausting ordeal for our entire family.
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    Registered User JolietKev's Avatar
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    I formerly worked for an agency that tested children (b-3) for all kinds of dev disorders. It was a vey difficult job, esp when I had to assess children with breathing and feeding dosorders. I was suprised to see how much autism runs in families. People try to blame shots, however I believe that there is a strong genetic factor that far surpasses vaccines. One family had three autistic children. I really felt bad for the family.
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    Cookie Monstress KimberleyRN's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JolietKev View Post
    I formerly worked for an agency that tested children (b-3) for all kinds of dev disorders. It was a vey difficult job, esp when I had to assess children with breathing and feeding dosorders. I was suprised to see how much autism runs in families. People try to blame shots, however I believe that there is a strong genetic factor that far surpasses vaccines. One family had three autistic children. I really felt bad for the family.
    I do think genetics plays a huge role. As for vaccines, I do not think the CAUSE autistic traits, however... I wonder if the children that were predisposed to have autistic traits get the vaccines all at once, if it triggers the traits to surface at that time?

    I am not sure. I am an advocate of spacing out the vaccines in infants though. Sometimes we give 4 injections in one visit. I understand it is inconvenient to come to the office 4 separate times, and pay 4 co-payments. I also understand that it is impossible to discern WHICH vaccine caused an adverse reaction if we give them all at the same time.

    If we are fortunate enough to adopt a child young enough to need ongoing vaccines, we will make the sacrifice to go for one injection per visit. Just makes sense to me to do this.
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    Just my nonprofessional observation, but I believe that it is genetic. I think the vaccine theory is not particularly well grounded or researched.
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    Originally Posted by hochspeyer View Post
    Just my nonprofessional observation, but I believe that it is genetic. I think the vaccine theory is not particularly well grounded or researched.
    Even if the vaccine has NO correlation to Autism spectrum disorders... it just makes sense to give ONE vaccine at a time. Heck, how on earth do parents know WHICH vaccine caused the severe reaction when they got 4 immunizations at a time?
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    TERMINATRESS dungeonmistress's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KimberleyRN View Post
    We took care of a boy with Autism, he was quite severely affected. He got to be very big and had aggressive tendencies, he ended up needing to live in a special group home for his safety.

    It was very difficult to 'parent' him. Once, I was cooking grilled cheese and he reached right on the griddle and grabbed a sandwich (burning his fingers). I was standing there talking to a social worker at the time... even with 2 adults RIGHT THERE, he was able to get injured. It was nearly impossible to keep up with him.

    Once he shoved me out of frustration, while I was holding my baby daughter... her head hit the wall. Very dangerous.

    His main way of 'comforting' himself was to go into our dog's kennel and put a blanket over it... seemed very unconventional, but that was what he WANTED to do.

    I have so much respect for parents of children on the Autism Spectrum.

    We actually listed ONLY Autism on the list of 'things we could not comfortably address as adoptive parents.' We feel equipped to deal with emotional disorders, sexual abuse survivors, ADD, RAD, ODD, you name it... but, NOT Autism. That was a very exhausting ordeal for our entire family.
    exhausting is a perfect descriptive. my family basically came apart. back when my parents thought there was something wrong with my sister, i'm not even certain there was a name for it yet. the older my sister got, the more violent she became. they tried different diets, removing sugars, different meds - you name it. no longer able to really keep her at home, she was placed in a facility and now lives in a house with others, and they have round the clock live-ins to watch/assist. when i saw her recently she was a lot more calm than i ever remember her being but god knows how many/what kind of drugs she was on. treatment and understanding of this condition have come a long way from when she was a violent kid 30 years ago. she was able to sit and have lunch at a very busy pier 39 restaurant without having an episode when i saw her.
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    DM my heart goes out to you. I have a small understanding of how difficult it is to live with someone on the autism spectrum...

    It is never easy to decide to 'put someone in a home'... but, sometimes it is the safest place for all involved.
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    WOW a thread after my own heart. I have a huge practice of autistic spectrum kids. The key word is spectrum. I like to believe, and treat everyone of them as if they are completely in the know with me. I am certain that there is a key, or learning style for most that is the key to opening doors on development. it is amazing to see kids make progress. The ceiling is not known. As for genetics, the genetic votes win. There is a large amount of data amassing including twin data, multiple affected family member data, and most recently a link to autoimmune disorders which of course are inherited most of the time.

    I have to share a story of a woman I met while traveling to my home airport after a meeting. She was heading home as well. She saw that I was reading a Pediatric Journal and asked if I was a Doc and Pediatrician. We started talking and she asked if I knew our developmental pediatrician. When i said I work with him all the time, i asked why her kids saw him. She related that her first son was diagnosed with autism when she was pregnant with her second son, and her second son was diagnosed as her husband was being diagnosed as well. This lead to the diagnosis of the Grandfather as well. She made a comment that has stuck. She said, "Autism saved my marriage". Now I have seen more than one family break up from autism and so was curious. She related that there are times he does things and she has to just think, "That is an autism give me". In the past those same things strained their marriage.

    Hats off to all of you who work with these kids. They are truly amazing. I recently examined a kid of mine I have taken care of for the last 11 yrs in the stair well of my office after he wouldn't enter an exam room and bolted. We had tried the car, too hot, the grass outside my office, too wet, the sidewalk outside, too hot, the stair well, just right. Sometimes you just have to take their lead and things will work out.
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    [QUOTE=KimberleyRN;404807531]I do think genetics plays a huge role. As for vaccines, I do not think the CAUSE autistic traits, however... I wonder if the children that were predisposed to have autistic traits get the vaccines all at once, if it triggers the traits to surface at that time?

    I am not sure. I am an advocate of spacing out the vaccines in infants though. Sometimes we give 4 injections in one visit. I understand it is inconvenient to come to the office 4 separate times, and pay 4 co-payments. I also understand that it is impossible to discern WHICH vaccine caused an adverse reaction if we give them all at the same time.

    If we are fortunate enough to adopt a child young enough to need ongoing vaccines, we will make the sacrifice to go for one injection per visit. Just makes sense to me to do this.[/QUOTE

    From what I have been able to glean, vaccines just might ought to be given over a somewhat longer period of time than what has presently been suggested. Little ones drop out of their mother's tummies and are forthwith shot up with every imagineable innoculation that is known to man. Honestly, if you have any questions regarding this issue, and without doubt, many parents do, check out C-Span Book Review, the lady, who is Autistic herself, is Dr. Temple Grandlin. I honestly have never heard one individual say so much, so incredibly forthright, and straight to the point. I was literally amazed. I learned a whole lot listening to a program, that I happened to come across. It was a three hour interview. I couldn't stop watching! That's saying a lot for any dumbass who has the t.v. control in their hand and the power to change the channel!!!!!
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    Originally Posted by tomdana View Post
    WOW a thread after my own heart. I have a huge practice of autistic spectrum kids. The key word is spectrum. I like to believe, and treat everyone of them as if they are completely in the know with me. I am certain that there is a key, or learning style for most that is the key to opening doors on development. it is amazing to see kids make progress. The ceiling is not known. As for genetics, the genetic votes win. There is a large amount of data amassing including twin data, multiple affected family member data, and most recently a link to autoimmune disorders which of course are inherited most of the time.

    I have to share a story of a woman I met while traveling to my home airport after a meeting. She was heading home as well. She saw that I was reading a Pediatric Journal and asked if I was a Doc and Pediatrician. We started talking and she asked if I knew our developmental pediatrician. When i said I work with him all the time, i asked why her kids saw him. She related that her first son was diagnosed with autism when she was pregnant with her second son, and her second son was diagnosed as her husband was being diagnosed as well. This lead to the diagnosis of the Grandfather as well. She made a comment that has stuck. She said, "Autism saved my marriage". Now I have seen more than one family break up from autism and so was curious. She related that there are times he does things and she has to just think, "That is an autism give me". In the past those same things strained their marriage.

    Hats off to all of you who work with these kids. They are truly amazing. I recently examined a kid of mine I have taken care of for the last 11 yrs in the stair well of my office after he wouldn't enter an exam room and bolted. We had tried the car, too hot, the grass outside my office, too wet, the sidewalk outside, too hot, the stair well, just right. Sometimes you just have to take their lead and things will work out.
    "Autism saved my marriage!" That is quite a quote! I am not sure what to make of that statement, but I think I understand to a point. It seems that although this "ailment" can produce no small amount of distraction, with the accompanying delays or impediments to academic progress, at the same time it seems to severely, and brutally, focus one's mind on specific issues, interests, or realities. LOL Has there ever existed any institution that has demanded more focused interest and brutal focus than marriage? We tend to "major in the minors," and can't see the "forest for the trees!" It seems that the "autistic" have a way of cutting through the clutter, no? Lord knows we need some new focus in today's world! I tend to think that the supposed "limited" can open a window or two to reality as it exists, and has always existed! I am going to learn a lot from this kid in my class!!!!!
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    Originally Posted by paolo59 View Post
    "Autism saved my marriage!" That is quite a quote! I am not sure what to make of that statement, but I think I understand to a point. It seems that although this "ailment" can produce no small amount of distraction, with the accompanying delays or impediments to academic progress, at the same time it seems to severely, and brutally, focus one's mind on specific issues, interests, or realities. LOL Has there ever existed any institution that has demanded more focused interest and brutal focus than marriage? We tend to "major in the minors," and can't see the "forest for the trees!" It seems that the "autistic" have a way of cutting through the clutter, no? Lord knows we need some new focus in today's world! I tend to think that the supposed "limited" can open a window or two to reality as it exists, and has always existed! I am going to learn a lot from this kid in my class!!!!!
    You have been touched. Not enough time right now though the common cold or strep give us between 12 and 25 new antigens per exposure. Shots come in close to this number at any given exposure. The immune system can handle it. There are studies done to show that a shot A can be given with shots B, C, and D before they are accepted as routine. If we look for a moment at who dies from vaccine preventable disease it is the youngest. Essentially all pertussis deaths come in the first 3 months of life with all those dying either not immunized, partially immunized (including not on time). If we could also take a step back to pre vaccine times and look at the devestation, it would be easier to accept that shots are actually helping us. I don't want to start a vaccine fight in an autism thread as i am thrilled that the autism-vaccine link has been denounced here, but wanted to add perspective to the number, and timing of shots.

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    I've heard so MUCH about it in recent years I am wondering if it hasn't become the new "popular" disease. Seems like every other kid is being diagnosed with something in that "spectrum" and I wonder if, like some other "popular" diseases over the years, it's not overdiagnosed and used to label kids whose behavior and temperaments are just naturally a little bit outside the range of ideal.

    In the 60's, I was diagnosed with "mild" ADD and given Ritalin, my sister was falsely diagnosed as borderline mentally retarded. More likely than not, I was simply an energetic boy and my sister was just a quiet girl. We both turned out okay.

    What do others think: is Autism the new ADD?
    Last edited by DaddyR; 11-02-2009 at 07:32 AM.
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    I think I'm a little offended, do you know how many tests and doctors it took for us to get a diagnosis? Autism is not an arbitrary diagnosis, it can and does have sever repercussions on the child and families involved. ADD I will be the first to admit can be a catch all diagnosis for any kid with hyper tenancies and or behavior problems but that does not mean that it does not a real problem. 3 years it took us to get a diagnosis and once we got one we went to another doctor and then another for reevaluations. The fact autism is even outside the "rainman" zone is pretty new knowledge it is not the new ADD, we just understand it better now, we now know not all kids with autism are severely effected, not all have a low IQ and not all are locked within their own little worlds. The spectrum has broadened not because diagnosis are being tossed around randomly but because we have found it IS more common that previously thought.
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    I recently saw a documentary that showed a family with six Autistic kids. Some were higher functioning than others. You would think that after two children with Autism they would have realized that their gene mixture might have a few flaws.
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    Didn't mean to offer offense, just asked an honest question.

    Having personally been a victim of Politically-Correct diagnosing and drugging in the past, I was wondering if this was something that was being used to give kids a diagnosis that they didn't desereve in order to satisfy paranoid parents who actually need reassurance more than their kids need drugs. It happens. Happened. Will continue to happen. That doesn't mean YOUR kid doesn't really have something wrong with him or her, and need to take all of the drugs, therapy and /or shock treatments you can afford.
    Last edited by DaddyR; 11-02-2009 at 10:53 AM.
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    I have a pretty good amount of experience in this area. Worked with kids, parents, school systems, testified in court a lot, you name it, from the treatment side, assessment side and now more from the programming side. Lots of good stories...and good kids.
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    Originally Posted by DaddyR View Post
    What do others think: is Autism the new ADD?
    no - asperger's syndrome falls into that category imo. and those kids need socialization and activity, not smothering and drug therapy.

    autism is autism and quite easily (now) diagnosed; language skills are almost always delayed or impaired but there can be other symptoms too. i'm one of the lucky ones who didn't go down the rabbit hole - no speech or babytalk til age 3, and then spoke in complete sentences (thankfully). i retain behavior patterns from this experience though.

    Dr. Grandin's books have been invaluble to me as i've aged and found strategies to deal with the lingering consequences of autism - something i had to figure out without professional help. i have to tell an employer about this or i come out looking like rainman sometimes. most people would never see this in me, and i've worked in fields that were a bit anti-social with just a touch of drug and alchohol abuse(kitchens and photography, yee-haw!).

    Dr. Grandin's contribution to society will be better appreciated when the HBO movie about her comes out this winter. like many people noticed - she was more relaxed and human-acting than ever before, and i was happy to find that she had found some solace in small doses of prozac.

    really glad that the OP started this thread and that so many people responded. if you enjoy great conversation that covers alot of bases (even diet and health), and is more than a soundbite's length, you can stream it on the booktv website, or watch it again next saturday morning. peace.

    http://www.booktv.org/Program/10695/...e+Grandin.aspx

    ps - i was the one who emailed her about vaccines - she agrees with the majority of posters here, but her reaction to the question was really funny (to my way of thinking). Nanu Nanu.
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    Originally Posted by DaddyR View Post
    I've heard so MUCH about it in recent years I am wondering if it hasn't become the new "popular" disease. Seems like every other kid is being diagnosed with something in that "spectrum" and I wonder if, like some other "popular" diseases over the years, it's not overdiagnosed and used to label kids whose behavior and temperaments are just naturally a little bit outside the range of ideal.

    In the 60's, I was diagnosed with "mild" ADD and given Ritalin, my sister was falsely diagnosed as borderline mentally retarded. More likely than not, I was simply an energetic boy and my sister was just a quiet girl. We both turned out okay.

    What do others think: is Autism the new ADD?
    DaddyR,

    My daughter is diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and I had (have?) the same question you have: To what extent are we simply putting a name on something that's been around all along. That is, to what extent is the autism spectrum "real" and to what extent is it simply labeling personal idiosyncrasies a disorder?

    So my conclusions in the 18 months since my daughter's diagnosis is that you are both correct and incorrect. In the past, my daughter would not have been diagnosed with anything - she would have simply been thought of as a somewhat language delayed quirky kid. But I'm also convinced that these delays and quirks have enough in common with delays and quirks in other kids that grouping them together and giving these characteristics a name or a diagnosis is warranted. The help she is getting seems to actually be very effective and seems to agree with the theory behind the diagnosis.

    But I actually wish more people were willing to ask blunt questions like "How do I know this autism spectrum stuff isn't all a bunch of bullsh*t?" Given the increase in the fraction of children getting some kind of autism related diagnosis, it would be strange not to ask that question.
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    Wish I could jump in here, but it's hard for me doing what I do to talk in a forum like this. I would like to say that I think this is an excellent discussion and the way folks have added input is admirable to say the least.
    To become more well rounded and well....less round.
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