I guess I should stretch this out into two posts to make me look like a more prolific writer and up my blog entry count...but nah. I love you guys. You get a twofer. :)
First up, this. Now, I got this from Autism Speaks, and I was VERY surprised as other stuff I have seen from Autism Speaks has been suspect. But this goes along with my blog posting about the root causes here, and helps confirm the truth of my diatribe about bad science when it comes to Autism here. 55 gene changes involved. That's astonishing, and interesting, and to overuse a word, really truly cool. Because it shows that when I talked about how they were just delving into the genetic research for this over a year ago, that research is now bearing fruit. And truly, the fact that they have located 55 gene changes involved, one can imagine the infinite variations possible. It fully explains why different people express autism in different ways. It explains why it is called, and accurately so, a SPECTRUM.
Oh how I love science.
The second article is this one, I came across it today on FB from an excellent source of Autism information, Rethinking Autism. Now before the title, Can People Really Outgrow Autism, gets you riled up (as it did me), read these two paragraphs in the article.
Among the many articles covering this study, I couldn’t find a single one featuring an autistic person commenting about the report. As you can see from how the researchers evaluated their 34 “optimal outcomers,” they don’t appear to have asked said optimals about how their internal function jibes with the external results or what they do to achieve those results. Because no one else seems to have bothered to ask autistic people these questions, I did. I polled the autistic community via social media, asking autistic adults what’s going on inside them when they appear outwardly typical and asking any readers if they felt they’d “grown out of” autism.
Their response was immediate and intense. “I don’t ‘look’ like I have it, but I do,” responded one autistic woman, who went on to describe how she’s learned over time about different expectations for behavior and tried to apply those. Others describe using pattern recognition to navigate socially, while still others report having an “optimal outcome”-like period in later childhood but then experiencing a trough of struggles in early adulthood as new responsibilities and expectations arose. They wrote to me about self-monitoring, about working hard to compensate in social situations but then experiencing crashing exhaustion afterward. They talked about self-selecting their social groups as adults as a way of feeling more socially at ease. The concepts that came up again and again and again were “compensating” and “coping.”
To which I (and my friends on various points on the Autism Spectrum that have commented on FB) can only say, EXACTLY. And which I feel I must add, even if this was a good study to start with, the fact that it only had 34 members would pretty much totally nullify the validity of the results.
So, there you go. Two interesting bits of Autism news to lead you to your Friday.
God bless you all,