Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We are so blessed!




We are so blessed to know so many beautiful people.

Daddy taught home school kids at the National Archives in Atlanta. In the two years, we have come to know exceptional children and parents. Many, possibly even a majority of the parents have an education background, and have been or could be public school teachers. We also have another commonality, but nobody talks about it freely. It's not that it's a source of shame, it's just that it's a truth:

Our children are not labels.

God love these kids, they are spectacular. We got all types, Aspies, Dyslexia, and most are GIFTED, in one way or another. School isn't all about grades or sports or being popular, but about using your talents. It's cool. So are they! AND THEY ARE KIND, the best social skill of all.

We went to a play one of the students performed in.



See the young woman, bottom row, second from left? She had 4 parts in the rendition of Julius Cesar by this wonderful group of teens at the Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta, Georgia. It was one of the most memorable plays I have ever seen. She is 15 years old. She will be attending college this year.

She will be playing with the Indigo Girls next month. Did ya hear that? SHE WILL BE AN OPENING ACT FOR THE INDIGO GIRLS in July. They happen to be from Georgia, near where she is from. Her folks have an inside to the "thee-a-terrr" crowd because Dad was a thespian in college.

She's just one of the amazing people we know whose parents believed in them when others might have allowed them to be ostracized. Some kids are just too cool for school. She was just too smart and talented. She is an actress and a folk singer at age 15. Homeschool...ROCKS!!

She is the tiniest thing...but she has a big presence onstage. I've no doubt my Benibar will be just as amazing in his own time. How cool we got to know Miss E!

AND HERE THEY ARE!!!!!!!!!!

You are never too old to learn

Dyslexia is one of my child's differences. He is 17 years old and can't write his name. This is a story of a school in England that uses multisensory teaching for children with dyslexia. In it, I've come across a possible remedy to that.   Writing, it seems, is a motor learning, not visual as I have tried to teach it.

Recently, Ben was very ashamed to write his name for the ID he had to obtain for attending Tech school this summer. It took him 10 minutes, because he kept starting over again. He had to look at my representation that I wrote out for him to even begin. Maybe he had no "motor memory" of it, and had always depended on visual cues (i.e., he could not write it without copying from an example.)

He was so proud of this signature he made one day. I think it was a bit much, though, don't you? It was a much more gratifying one, though, I'm sure.  I copied it in reverse colors, to better see the detail.  Wouldn't it be cool to get one of those signature stamps?  I've just gotten an idea.......





Here is the film, brought to my attention by Sally Gardner, an author of children's stories who is dyslexic herself.  She has the MOST uplifting and informative tweets.  I wouldn't trade what she has taught me for the world. She loves our kids.  She sees their gifts, and not their differences.  Notice in the story how beautiful, yet gentle the kids are.  They have not been taught they are defective. They are grateful to those who teach them the way they learn.  The most important thing is that they do learn, and can grow to contribute, not be ashamed of themselves.

The beautiful boy who starts the piece, and learns multisensorily is thankful to his teacher.  I absolutely am in love with him. 

I wish I had been much more gentle to Ben.  I didn't know.


Find more videos like this on Dyslexic Advantage


Original Worlds-most-complicated-signature:
needed for signature stamp  ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sorry, this thang is cheaper than a psychiatrist.

What am I supposed to think when a person's first letters of correspondence  to me say FFS? (For &*@!'s sake...)Maybe I shouldn't have answered back wgasl, (who gives a &^%$ lady...).

Was I wrong?  You don't have to answer, it's a hypothetical question.

Who cares about a dumb old meshugana, anyway?

There...I feel better.


Meshugana- a term used to describe a crazy person, as in:
“Oy vey, I don’t want to kvetch, but I can’t believe I have to pick up the kids at Sarah, Rebecca, and Zachary’s houses and then go to the grocery store. Do they think I am some kind of meshugana? I’ll probably see that horrible Brian Goldberg there too. He is such a meeskite. Oh but when I squeeze my kids’ punims, it’s all OK.”

Low pan, high glass


Low pan, high glass.




Bear with me here. I have visions, or knowingness. (One woman described it as feeling it in your bones.) A few times in my life it's like the cloud in my mind lifts...and I know . I can't explain it.  When I was 17 I knew I would adopt a child.  Twenty years later, I did.  I knew he would start off slow, but end up very bright.  He started off borderline intellectually impaired, but 4 years later had gained 37 points IQ, hopping from the 8th percentile to the much higher 85th percentile from age 4 to age 8.

In my minds eye, I kept seeing him as the square flat pan, where a normal child was the round clear glass.  His "filling" would not be apparent, or visible, like a normal child. But still, he would be filled!!.  Even though he looked NOTHING like his peers while doing it, and didn't give similar, transparent feedback.

So I'm having him read some very encouraging messages from other square pans and trying to tell him the vision I had of him 9 years ago.  It  has never  gone away.

In my minds eye, I see the glass, and the pan, and a knowingness he is the pan.  I've never looked at this any deeper than that.  It's not like a dream, it's like a nagging thought.

"I've always wondered how much water the pan held. "

I fill it once with the clear glass filled to the rim with water.  It's still got plenty of room.  I fill it again, it is almost exactly double, with a little room to spare.

"Hmm...that's what I figured!"

So now you know.

It's not square peg, round hole.

It's round glass, square pan.  And the square pan holds twice as much.

And I would bet any one of you right now, that my poor little defective child will take care of me financially in my old age.  I don't know that, I'm waiting for the knowing. 

Crazy old fart, ain't I?


ABA: Can we 'train' someone to be somebody they're not?

http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/08/the-sissy-boy-experiment-why-gender-related-cases-call-for-scientists-humility/

Above, read of the stories of boys who were "successfully" trained to be something they weren't.  Success stories for the scientists.  David Breimer was raised as a girl (after being maimed in a circumcision accident) and fought it. Kirk  Andrew Murphy made the mistake of being born an effeminate boy.

The punitive behavioral therapies didn't work. Don't tell that to the psychologists who made themselves famous on the backs of these kids.  I even remember the Breimer boy.  He was used by feminists to prove sex differences were a social construct.  This study was renowned, dinner table discussion in many homes...

In science, in religion, in politics...there are good and bad people.

These are 2 children used to further scientific study of gender differences.  Looked upon as successfully normalized subjects in scientific experiments. These are also 2 young men who committed suicide at age 38.  You know, when most of us decide how we are going to live the second half of our lives.  Were the experiments to blame?  Who knows?

I wonder how many ABA kids will have stories to tell later down the line.

People, let kids be who they are.

If life had wanted them to be someone else, they would have been made otherwise.  (Claire Kinton)



Back to being no one

A brief interlude with science...that which would know all things knows little of kindness.  Logic is not a religion, it's a gift.

(I don't know if that makes any sense but it sounds good.  The cadence is perfect for the message.)



Why yes, I am nuts.  Why do you ask?

Interesting Einstein quote.


As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Autism, the gift of dyslexia in my world.

My son was given labels of  Semantic-Pragmatic disorder, which some feel is sometimes inter-related to autism/language difficulties.  That came from a neurologist.  A pediatrician said he was PDD, which is Pervasive Developmental Disorder, also considered autism, more of a mild form.  He was given a label of autism in the public schools, and received Special Ed Resource services...that is, he went to the regular classroom all but one "mod" per day which was typically spent in the resource room, received special testing accommodations, speech and OT services for 6 years if one includes 2 years of preschool. He was ostracized at school because his language was so delayed, it was difficult for the other kids to form a bond of conversation with him, he was echolalic until the 4th grade. By that time he had a reputation...and in 6th grade was considered "behaviorally disordered", although he attended regular classrooms except the period he spent in the Aspergers/Resource/BD room throughout middle school.

I was not a soccer mom.  He took ritalin every morning and noon, and we spent hours, typically 3 to 4 per night completing homework up until the 5th grade when he had a teacher who CHOSE him, rather than the feeling that the teacher he got lost the lottery...and she was aware of the pain in the ass homework was for him, and let him complete it at school. At recess.  It gave him something to do besides playing alone. We went from 3 or 4 hours a night to maybe 10 days the whole school year that homework was brought home.

We have a shrine in our minds to that teacher.  There is NOTHING, NOTHING like having been in someones shoes for understanding. We were blessed to be in that slipstream again with a psychiatrist who was ADHD himself, and had 2 children who were medicated to attend school.  Instead of telling Ben he was lazy or Mom was insane, he used to always tell Ben he was the HARDEST WORKER HE KNEW.  We also have a shrine to him in our memories.  Years later, when Ben was having teen problems he didn't care to discuss with Mom and Dad...we looked up Dr. Luke.  Problem solved.  Told Ben he would worry if he wasn't having those feelings, if you get me drift.

There are those with learning differences who survive school, and those who do not.

Please read the following 3 part story of a woman who did survive, and what she sees as her strengths

                                                                     Claire Kinton

http://community.cognibeat.com/2011/allthefinestpeoplepartone/.
http://community.cognibeat.com/2011/allthefinestpeopleparttwo/ 
http://community.cognibeat.com/2011/allthefinestpeoplepartthree/#.TgcvN8XV8Ek.twitter

Don't be fooled.  Your child may have a label of Autism, but it is his learning differences that will impact his schooling.  I could have been labeled autistic, but school was a breeze for me.  The social part was a little hard...but I guess I had compensatory strategies.  I just hung out with the other strange birds, and hung on tightly to who I was.  If people didn't like me, they could look 7 other ways, as Sarah used to say:

"North, South, East, West, up, down, and all around."

To hell with social stories.  They just teach you to be somebody you are not.

Just because your child has a label of autism, if he is mild, don't overlook the possibility that he  may not be autistic, but have a learning difference.  It seems the end product is the same. 

BUT, lookie here..

AUTISM is seen as a mental illness.  DYSLEXIA is seen as a mental difference.  Give your child the least damaging label.

I'm almost certain that the rise of "autism" labels will finally be attributed to the decline of  ADHD, BD, SID, NVLD, LD, Dylexia, Dyspraxia, and a million other labels.  Just like the decline of of children who previously were diagnosed as Intellectually Disabled were given the moniker of autism in the 90's.

Crazy, or different.  Hmm..I'll take different.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

why "science" needs new field workers

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/opinion/sunday/26ideas.html?_r=1

 Science runs forward better than it does backward.

Original, albeit highly criticised studies stand because

*scientist's are busy people and have their own work to do, their own grants to obtain in order to survive.

*some journals don't publish replication studies, the only form of self-correction for flawed studies. "Scientifically I think trying to replicate the claimed results is a waste of time" one says.  Yeah...so lets let it stay in the literature.  Okay...

*Authors of original studies can refuse to retract their work, citing it would be "premature".

Very good read.  Makes you think. 

Science is really, really a mix of good and bad, and it seldom separates the two.  It must charge into the future.  No growth is bad news...  Only time separates the wheat from the chaff, and sometimes even that never happens.  It is an industry, it feeds on new ideas.  Not necessarily correct ideas.  As long as it is an idea that pleases the benefactors, one gets paid.

Science, as a self correcting entity in theory, is beautiful. In reality...not so much.  Ideas built upon ideas that were deleterious to begin with, and it begins to look more like mush, not something solid.

Let the winnowing begin.  Please...

Why do we take the word of "experts" as gospel, when it could be they only are more adept at confusing people, and thus, allowed to continue.

Yah-teh-hay.........


I wish I had more sense of humor
Keeping the sadness at bay
Throwing the lightness on these things
Laughing it all away


Thanks, Joni, I needed that now...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dragon lady uses aut-dar to attempt to anihilate an evil book....

Dragon mom uses aut-dar to disempower Autism-man..

Autism Man says autistics suffer from too much testosterone, too little oxytocin, too many nerds hooking up, and a few other things.  Oh, and it's from a negative home environment probably, and he can show your kids pictures of trains with happy faces and they'll be empathetic.

Dragon mom thinks Autism Man has a savior-complex.  And Autie-phobia.  Why else would he try to equate them with evil?  BBBBut he didn't say that! You can qualify it any way you want...but what the world will understand is autism is evil, not positive zero-empathy, or whatever the hell it was.... 

C'mon.  You know how little people really pay attention.  We live in a world that is all autism all the time, but most people don't give a hoot, even those who are autistic but haven't been discovered yet.  It's a mighty big spectrum when another expert, Uta Frith, says we are all a little autistic.

Save us, Autism-man.  Emphasize the humanity, not the lack of empathy.  Save yourself, while you're at it.




What if Gayism was a spectrum?

Instead of a rainbow. A rainbow is a spectrum, but a spectrum is not necessarily a rainbow. I mean, they both have the common Lovaas treatment in psychiatry, but only one still gets it.  Out, damn effeminateness...out damn lack of social skills...I mean, the behaviors are fairly predictable early. And no matter what you do,it's kinda hard to change a child's behaviors.  They are what they are. 

It's got me thinking...(I can hear Ben saying "oh dear God!!")

Are some people severely gay? ( Are those people always the ones who show up for the gay pride parades?) Are others only mildly gay, with only tendencies...and can they pass in the heterosexual world like some auties can in the neurotypical world? Are there people on the gay spectrum who marry the opposite sex and have kids? Would they write books and give seminars on how they became successful in the normal world despite, or maybe because of their gayness? Would Simon-Baron-Cohen come up with an extreme feminine/masculine  hormone theory, and would severely gay children be sent to live in residential schools where they would be punished for their gayistic behaviors?

Why have gays survived the "mental illness " scourge, and not the auties?

Are we all on some type of spectrum and just not been discovered by science?  (Is curmudgeoness a mental illness?  If so, I'm severely so...)

Why do we punish kids for being different, for not fitting expectations, for not fitting the mold we create for them? ( Here kid, here's a box.  It's your job to get in it and LIKE it!  Be thankful to those who help you get in there!)

How lucky for the gays that they escaped the box made for them by the field of psychiatry.  Black men and all women stood together for civil rights.  Maybe gays and auties can stand together for psychological rights, the freedom to be different.  You know, in some ways, I can see that it is already here.

I had a gay cousin who married and had a child.  When he came out of the closet and divorced, his mother could not forgive him. He was the classic effeminate male.

 He became a counselor for parents of gay children, to help those parents accept their children.  He is gone, but his mother sees now the truth of who he was.

Will the parents of our children see the truth?  (Frankly, I think I'm bi-auty.  I go back and forth from being autistic and being typical. Autypical?  )

Maybe, as Ben says, I should keep my thoughts to myself...







 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Truly Creative Mind: Pearl S. Buck


"The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:


A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.

To him...
a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create - - - so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating."

-Pearl Buck-

The Psychiatrist Delusion

Monday, June 13, 2011

“I Am Who I Am Because of My Disabilities”:


“I Am Who I Am Because of My Disabilities”: Perspectives of a Resilient Post-Secondary Student by Jason Ford   (click on title to read whole passage)


At that point, I switched high schools. In the new one, I met my new councilor who helped me succeed. The teacher aides were also amazing; they were supportive, funny, understanding, and would give me candy when I asked… Ya, the candy doesn’t seem much looking back, but at the time the small kindness of it all meant a lot.

That year was amazing, in some respects anyways. I didn’t really like high school, but who does? In either case, with the support the school gave me and me finally figuring out that I wasn’t stupid, just different, I was able to achieve the grades I’ve always wanted.


It isn't the student who needs to change. Any teacher worth their salt doesn't just teach to the "easy" ones. That's why it's called a profession. It would be like a doctor only taking patients who weren't sick, and then congratulating himself on his part in their healthiness.

More words for the wise from St. Rags of the Platte, may he be blessed:

He was interviewed on t.v., who knows why...but there I am watching my daddy on the boob-tube.

"What would you say your secret to success is, Mr. B?"

"Well, to be successful, you've got to be yourself.  Don't try to be somebody you're not."


So profound from a bartender, eh?  Not really....just common sense. Common sense that isn't so common, unfortunately.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

LA times Korean Autism study.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-korea-autism-20110608,0,7819598.story

http://discussions.latimes.com/20/lanews/la-fg-korea-autism-20110608/10



First there was a write up on the study.  One of the posts in the comments was particularly interesting to me and I wanted to save it. 





mudfud1 at 10:37 AM June 8, 2011
I'm a physician-scientist and I've read the actual study manuscript as well as the papers that developed the questionnaires and tools used to diagnose autism.

The study has been designed and conducted quite well, but the conclusions that have been drawn are fundamentally flawed. To be sure the medical literate is littered with with flawed studies, but I'm troubled by the lack of critical thinking and analysis regarding this very important study; one that could have major public health implications.

As as example, if you look at the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) of the diagnostic questionnaire, it will show a high false positive rate when applied as a screening tool for a general populations (as opposed to a targeted population). The positive predictive value would be around 20% (the actual value would depend on the true prevalence), which means that 80% of the children diagnosed as "autism" are false positives.

It is unfortunate that such important points are not considered at all, and the data and conclusions are simply accepted as fact. The negative implication are not just for the kids incorrectly diagnosed as being autistic, but also for the children who truly have autism, because resources and funding will be diluted for the children who really need help.

Increase in Autism?? REAL REASON RIGHT HERE:

Mandated insurance coverage.

SOURCE :http://www.insurancequotes.com/health-insurance-autism/

****************************************************************************





The NEW 2011 State Initiatives Map!  

SOURCE:


(Click to enlarge)

GREEN - Twenty- Six States with enacted autism insurance reform laws

RED States - States with bills endorsed by Autism Speaks

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

Yellow States - States with autism insurance reform bills pending introduction or endorsement

  • Alabama
  • Ohio
  • Utah

BLUE States - States not currently pursuing autism insurance reform

  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Washington, DC
  • Wyoming

 

My little sister used to have an expression when something was woefully obvious.

"Well, duh!"

I can hear you saying it now, Teresa!

Michelle Dawson and Refrigerator Therapists in Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta: Part one





Michelle Dawson tweeted that she would give a talk at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta last month. I am very familiar with her work online, and like a lot of what she has to say. What would it hurt?

I arrived early, one can never be too certain what kind of traffic one is going to run into in Atlanta proper. Interestingly, I heard a group of 3 workers sashay out of the elevator and declare they were "not attending THAT meeting, NO WAY." You could tell they were the workers, and not the psychiatrists because there were 3 together, they didn't wear glasses or ponytails, their opinions were unguarded... and...well, their clothes didn't scream Neiman Marcus.

Because I am early, I figure I might as well stir up some trouble. There is a waiting room where parents are with their children waiting to be seen by the docs. I mess with their kids, give the parents hope, and see the glint in their eye that says these professionals could be full of shit.  All I want is for them to question.   One mother admits she likes her son better without drugs, another soaks up the idea that her kid might not be as serious as she's been led to believe. My work here is done. Both, I hope, are better advocates for their children. I have to admit, 2 out of 3 kids, I couldn't tell who was the autistic one in the family where 2 to 3 children accompanied the parents. Some kids just have "the look", you know, where they appear very unsettled in this world. Instead of treating behaviors, it'd be nice to treat the "too intense world". That paradigm shift would have to be useful...

Yesterday, I could remember 15 distinct personalities, but there could have been up to 20 people in the room. Three were self-confessed autistics, another I would guess was; one was a psychiatrist, one was an educator. Two seemed activist, as was one listening in, teleconference wise. Two came with Michelle, who is very diminutive, but has a big presence. One man from Atlanta was obviously responsible for Michelle being there, and his two children, one with autism, were also around the facility, though not in the room. He looked like a psychiatrist, but he was a computer person. I asked.

So far as I know...one psychiatrist. Not from the facility. He wanted to help the people who came to his practice with adult autism. He said so. He also had professional ties to the Marcus Autism Center. He was there to learn.

The Marcus Autism Center is behaviorally oriented, from my understanding.  Thus...the picture of Daniel in the Lion's den.

Before I look over my notes, I'd like to give my impressions of Michelle. Two or three times she spoke of things being hurtful to autistics "because they are human." That this would have to be expressed is sad. Really sad. Those were powerful words coming from her mouth, considering it's supposed to be HER who has zero empathy (ala Simon Baron-Cohen).

She very graciously took questions after the talk, but she had so much to cover that she asked they be held. I'm glad she did that. It allowed her thinking on the matter to seep in, not interrupted by divergent tracks. She described her reasoning,  why she felt the science on intervention was very, very poor in a way that most scientific fields would not allow without criticism and dismissal. The Shamans of Psychiatry (my words, not hers) were getting away with shoddy experimental designs that would not survive the rigours of science in other fields. (Why? )

Her talk was laser focused. She had one idea...shoddy science. She had done her homework, and from 1000 studies regarding the efficacy of ABA, given the reasoning she carefully elucidated beforehand, she came up with 6 reasonably careful studies. ONE, and only one, met all the criteria. One thousands studies, one of them admirable. So much for "all the research points to" in ABA.

The last way in which Ms. Dawson most impressed me was with a profound thought she put out there...almost a gauntlet thrown down:  We have before us  now a tremendous opportunity for study.  This is the FIRST generation that we have the chance to see the effectiveness of intervention.  Post participation in intervention studies, adults who received interventions in the past have not been followed.  If we begin now we can rectify that anomaly.  Why we haven't is unconscionable. 

To be continued...hopefully, from my notes.




Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is a learning disability a mental illness? Is autism?

Two experts weigh in. 

http://www.ldonline.org/experts/silver/current/#2
Expert Advice

Ask Dr. Silver

June 2011: This Month's Questions

Is a learning disability a form of "mental illness?"

Recently the disabilities specialist resigned at the college where I'm on the faculty; and, as opposed to hiring someone new for the position, the administration gave the responsibility to one of our counselors. He has claimed to the faculty that learning disabilities are a form of "mental illness."
I have read that learning disabilities are more like a difference than an illness. I asked him about this, and he claims that because learning disabilities are listed as learning disorders in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), that makes them mental illness. What do you think?
Learning disabilities are a neurologically-based disorder that is recognized in Federal Legislation (IDEA, ADA). It is not a mental illness.




***********************************************************






http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/200807/dear-abby-is-autism-mental-illness

In Practice
A Practicing Doctor's Views on Psychiatry and Contemporary Culture.

Dear Abby: Is Autism a Mental Illness?

Dear Abby: Is autism a mental Iillness?
Jeanne Phillips = the current Dear AbbyWhile we are on the question of disease labels I see that “Dear Abby” has been “corrected” by many readers who find her “way off base” for misclassifying autism. In a prior column, she had called it a “mental-health disorder.” Now she accepts that she was mistaken. Because autism is “genetically predetermined — biologically based” or “neurologically based,” it is not a mental health disorder.
Jeanne Phillips, writing under the pen name Abigail van Buren, quotes a Mayo Clinic doctor to the effect that autism “affects behavior, cognitive ability and social skills” and notes that the syndrome appears as a diagnosis in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. That list would seem to argue for the label Dear Abby had applied initially, mental health disorder.

No, Phillips now says. Autism is a “neurodevelopmental disorder.” But aren’t many mental illnesses neurodevelopmental disorders? Conditions that first appear in
childhood are especially likely to fit that description. Think of pervasive developmental disorder or early-onset schizophrenia. Those conditions stand at the core of child psychiatry — and they are likely to require the services that, within medicine, the mental health professions provide.

The same is true for autism. The primary treatments are behavioral and psychological; where medications play a role, they tend to be the ones that psychiatrists prescribe. Much of the finest research on autism was performed by psychiatrists, such as my beloved teacher, the late
Donald J. Cohen. His work serves as a model of integration, using the research methods of genetics and neuroscience and the therapeutic techniques of psychopharmacology, behaviorism, teacher training, and, yes, psychoanalysis, in a wiser mode.

Some of the impetus for the reclassifying autism is to spare affected families
shame, that is, the shame of having raised a child with mental illness. This reaction is understandable, given the history of autism in psychiatry, and particularly in psychoanalysis where the condition was once attributed to bad parenting. Autism can be heartbreaking for parents; certainly it is a neurodevelopmental disorder, and if that's what families prefer to call it, we should probably all join in. But then, the question arises, what is autism being distanced from? What do we make of families whose children suffer obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, and the rest? We might note that autism overlaps substantially with those very diseases.

So, yes, it is easy to see why families whose members are afflicted by autism might hope to recategorize the condition. But, Dear Abby, might you have replied that today an alternative and arguably yet more humane response would consist in embracing the “mental illness” label — and insisting that that isn’t shameful?

         

 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Excellente---website for pre-K, kindergarden, plus

Deserves it's own blogpage.

http://www.starfall.com/

Labor of love from someone.  I used this in my PMD classroom to teach 5th graders how to read.  Seems no one had thought of teaching them how to read before.  PMD was Profound Mental Disabilities.

One of my students proved herself to be of pretty high intellect, although Cerebral Palsy took her speech, her ability to take care of herself, and her vision away.  Her ears worked real good, though.  I still keep in contact with her and her mama.

Just some stuff

I have to quit being so angry, and become a part of the solution.  Pray for me....it'd be a whole new life.

Here are some interesting websites for kids who learn different.



http://www.visualaidsforlearning.com/products/index.htm
FREE visual aids for teaching/learning.

http://specialed.about.com/  Everything you need to know about special ed.

http://www.edhelper.com/Special_Education.htm  Subscription of $19.95 a year, but very good.

http://www.zacbrowser.com/  Set up by father of autistic son, autism friendly browser.  Totally free.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/misunderstoodminds/  Cool "experience firsthand" examples to show you just what your child/student may be dealing with.  WARNING may lead to empathy

http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech214.shtml Show is better than tell...ideas for teaching LD/ESL/autism.

http://ogvancouver.weebly.com/1/post/2011/06/sit-still-in-kindergarten.html  Orten Gillingham teacher who also is LD.Dora Cheung - Certified OG Tutor, Masters of Educ. Admin., Early Childhood Education, +15 yrs of teaching experience. Smart lady...

Why is our schools failing?

Okay, so we have all of our "hyperactive" children on medication to allow them to sit for hours in schools.  Even if they are only 2 years old.  Check.

Then, we lable kids who "learn outside the lines" as "evil" or "lacking empathy".  Check...future criminals, I'm sure.  Or in the case of my brother, future lawyers...same difference.

Calling all Space Cadets...you are not "brilliant" with your head in the clouds...you are mentally ill.  (Ouch...that one hits really close to home.) Check.

Teachers come from the bottom of the barrell, in many cases, the lowest third of graduating classes...The bright ones want to make good money on Wall Street.  Check.

You know, I feel like a lobster who jumped out of the pot in time.  Slowly, slowly we have been demonizing, drugging, and boring our children while not taking into account the gifts that they are.

What is the next step?

Have we come to a tipping point?

Are we going to lose a generation of children because we have so tried to cut off their square edges so they will fit in round holes?

Children are to be seen and not heard.

Woe to the child who fits not the mold. Woe to the child who acts like a child.  Woe to the child born in the day of "zero tolerance" of childlike actions...we are all to be born with this "social understanding" and not taught by example. God, I'm glad I wasn't born to this generation.  Hard telling where I'd be.


What kind of example are we?

Our parents used to worry if we were on drugs.  Now we worry if our babies aren't. 

I can't quite put my finger on it........








Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tell me this ain't crazy....2 year olds on ritalin (don't look if you are offended by rather uncouth language)





Okay, he's autistic...now what?

I remember when Ben was little and first got the label.  I read every book the library had.  We lived in Topeka then, and they had the greatest library.  If you needed a book and they didn't have it, they asked you to fill out a form.  If they chose to purchase it, they would send you a notice, and allow you to check it out first.

We were as poor as we had ever been since we had gotten married.  They never refused me one book.  They went from 10 books on autism, to 30 or more, based on my recommendations.  None too soon, either, as kids who were "Aspergers" were also considered autistic just  the year after Ben was born and autism labels were going to be flying like hotcakes!

Now, I remember watching EVERY PENNY...Ben and I went out to eat once a month, at McDonald's, and some months we couldn't afford even that.

I was so sad that developmental preschool, and speech and OT that were paid for by my husbands insurance, amounted to about 2.5- 3 hours a day, tops . ABA was starting up then, and it was strongly suggested your child have 40 hours a week therapy, one-on-one, at a cost, then, of $60,000.

As an art teacher, Ben's speech pathologist told me how lucky Ben was to have a parent who could draw to help him pick up language.  I found that very confusing, and spent a few months in lala land, wanting to do something but not knowing what.

Then I heard the story of a mother, Catherine Maurice, who helped her kids to go from being labeled autistic to losing the label and being educated in the regular classroom. She wrote this book.


It was $45 at the time, but the library paid for it. It's still expensive.

See, the thing is, I have a degree in Special Education. When we covered "visual learners"who show up in Special Ed programs a lot, I was stupid enough to say...

"Gee, I hope I don't get any visual learners.  I just don't understand how to teach them."

We make plans, and God laughs. Just think, I could have been teaching your child!

Turns out like 90% of kids in special education LD classrooms---your dyslexics, autistics, learning disabled, ADHD,  whatever label you want to give them....like, 90% of them don't learn the way most kids do.

School is difficult, not because they aren't smart...but because the kind of smart they are isn't rewarded in school. If they have any self-esteem, they often go on to lead highly successful lives because they've learned their strengths and weaknesses, and learned that you can fail, and it doesn't kill you.

With the book, there was a checklist  consisting of 40pages (I'm trying to remember, could be way off) of 20-30 words per page.  This checklist started with the simplest words to present to your child either by a picture or by "showing" physically what the word meant.  You said the word, and if your child understood it, or was able to use it, you checked it off the list.

"On"---"Ben, book on table"--if he could do it, you checked it off, and moved on.

I did this every day for 1-2 hours a day for a year.   Saved  $60,000.

Would Ben have picked it up on his own eventually?  I don't know.  I had to do something.

I bet you are now doing something very similar, Mrs. C.

You are a natural.  Your kids are lucky to have you as a mama. You are brilliant!







Box? What Box?


http://www.iamlearningdisabled.com/box-what-box-i-dont-see-any-box/

I absolutely love this guy. He is a blogger on Daily Kos, which is how I became aware of him. This link refers to the title of this post.
His mother developed a school for him...Peter is very lucky in that he had parents who believed in him at a time when "different" children were often discarded. When his mother was told told he would never learn anything or have a normal life, and that she should send him away? She ignored the "experts," instead founding an amazing school for special children to properly educate her son.
(source: Squashedmom.com )


How many kids suffer because they learn different? How many PhD's parents were told as children they would never amount to anything? Anybody care to guess?? I believe in my son profoundly, and the more b*&^%$#@! I come across from experts, the more powerful my belief becomes. It's not that he's come so far...it's that I have!

Teaching Entreprenuers how to be Dyslexic to their advantage

You'll notice she  called them "right brain thinkers..." 

I'm jus' sayin'.....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Moving back to refrigerator mothers...Simon Baron Cohen

Has anyone ever heard this quote?

Maybe you can  tell me how it goes.  I found it in a newspaper, about the time I went to college.  I cut it out and kept it in my pocketbook for YEARS.

I've never been able to attribute it to anyone.  Last time I looked was about a year ago. 

Well, here goes....from a 35 year old memory.

Once unburdened of self defense,
The mind becomes open and receptive to love.
The militancy which marked one disappears. One begins to
Look as a child does, before he is told what to see.





Don't let them do it to us again.  We have the strength of our own hearts.  They are trying to tell us we are so evil that our children have no empathy.  Don't let them go there.  You don't have to be defensive, in fact, they are hoping you are, because it makes you look more guilty.

When modern voodoo has nothing better to do, or if they think they are losing a toe-hold in the "real science" world of made up ideas---they blame the mother.  Now, it's autism.  Later, it'll be something else.  For SBC to say children with autism have zero empathy is just another example of  making mother's monsters, so they, as mother surrogates, can do cool things like use ice picks on brains and dangerous drugs ON BABIES.  OH WAIT, THEY ALREADY DO THAT!!!!! Honest to God, a mother I spoke to was told to put her 2 year old on ritalin if her active child wanted to attend a catholic day care center. All the other parents were drugging their kids. So Sayeth A NUN!  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/27/978711/-The-demonization-of-childhood-or-America-lets-down-her-children?via=blog_695352

They have infiltrated even the catholic church.  I was born and raised a catholie, and I'd a bet my life a nun wouldn't got there, but one did.


                                                    Who would Jesus drug, sister?






Don't look Mrs. C-------------------------------------------------------------------------eff em.

Eff them and the horse they rode in on, as Saint Rags would say.  Do not be defensive.  Be dismissive.  They are full of Shinola.  An expert is only an expert if he finds someone to believe him.  You did nothing to make your child learn different.

"Lookie heah" (as Miss Deborah used to tell me) you got 2 eyes, two ears, two hands, two butt cheeks, two feet, two nostrils, two chins (if you're me) two elbows... well, you get the idea.  You even got 2 brains---a left side and a right side. Except for scientist....they only have a left side.  It's a pitiable condition, but I digress....

Now if you have a child who is left handed---it's no big deal.  If you have a child who has epilepsy--you treat it with medicine.  But kid's hands used to be tied behind their backs if they were left handed so they could learn the "correct way".  They were shamed and referred to as SINISTER, another word for evil.  Epilepsy...evidence that the child had allowed the devil in.  DEMON POSSESSION.  So kids who learn differently must be the new demon-possessed, and only drugs will help.

None of these things are from God, if you read your bible.  Because, well, they are based on FEAR.  These are children, for God's sake, not demons! They need your love and understanding.  Not drugs, not therapy...you have been fully equipped to raise a child on your own.  Society, especially medicine...and especially especially Psychiatry have no right to tell you how to do it right...and least of all to take your children from you as they perceive you must be doing it wrong.  Plus that, they are mean son's o' b*tches...drugs, shock, slaps, cutting brain tissue....ain't too many good hearted mothers going there...I've said it and I'll say it again...psychiatry is NOT a science, but egotistical bass-turds making up ideas, and then gossiping about them.  Shame, Shame Simon...without it, fear, you'd have no business.

Madness on the Couch , one story is a mother who allowed her child to be placed in an institution.  It's a good story. 


Blame the victim...a child.
Punish the mother by taking away her self respect, and her child.
The story ends well, she brought her child out of the institution against the advice of Psychiatrists, who wanted to put her on heavy sedation and send her up the river.  Her child is married now, with a child of her own, last I knew.

Not all psychiatrists are demons.  About half are, though.  Just a guesstimate. I can give names if you'd like...but then again, it's only my opinion. I have a deep seated anger at SBC, and it's because he says our kids lack empathy. 

He's lying. 

For the love of your  child, don't let him tell you what to see.
.








Do I have undiagnosed autism??

Do I care??





Somehow, getting rid of autism would equate to getting rid of red-necks like me.  Hmmm....

Autism and IQ Why did my son's double??

Get ready for "proof" of effectiveness of "therapies" as shown by increase in IQ.  Ben's went from 79 at age 4 to a guess of 140 now, if it followed the trajectory started then.

age 4    ------    IQ 79
age 8    ------    IQ 99
age 9    ------   IQ 115

These are all documented.  An increase of 36 points in 4 years.  In this time, his speech was still echolalic.  By the time he reached 5th grade, at age 11, we no longer accused him of  "t.v. talk".  He was able to communicate without scripted language, although he was very reticent to do so.

Now wouldn't you figure someone who only knew the meaning of nouns would probably only figure out the pictorial aspects of the test?

I'm not sure where his IQ is now, but in 7th grade when I asked the school psychiatrist to give him an IQ test, just so I could know for my own purposes, he advised against it.

"He would lose all his Special Ed services." he tells me.  Like the "behaviorally disordered classroom" and the need for ritalin?  Hmm....

But I backed off.  Wish I wouldn't have now.






http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17401607

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2007 Sep;16(6):405-10. Epub 2007 Mar 30.

Stability and change of IQ scores in preschool children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder.

Source

Department of Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, P.O. 85500, 3508 GA, Utrecht, The Netherlands. cdietz@umcutrecht.nl

Abstract

AIM:

To investigate cognitive development in preschool-age children diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD; N = 39) compared with that of children diagnosed with mental retardation (MR; N = 14) and normally developing children (NC; N = 36).

METHOD:

In a prospective longitudinal study, cognitive development was tested at age 24 months (T1; SD = 6 months) and 43 months (T2; SD = 5).

RESULTS:

Group IQ scores were stable between T1 and T2 as evidenced by high correlations (r = .81, P < .01) and consistency of average group scores. At the same time however, about a third of children with ASD showed an increase of cognitive scores of 15 points or more. This increase of IQ was correlated with lower scores at the early screening of autistic traits (ESAT) at T1, higher IQ level at T2 and higher expressive language skills at T2. Intensity of treatment was not related to IQ increase.

CONCLUSIONS:

High correlations between cognitive scores in preschool children with ASD suggest that measurements of cognitive function are valid at this age. We found indications of both stability and change of IQ scores. Findings suggest that some children with ASD show catch-up intellectual development. To the best of our knowledge, this increase in IQ scores cannot be attributed to treatment effects.  (emphasis mine)

PMID:
17401607
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Friday, June 3, 2011

Passionless Drone Speaks


http://passionlessdrone.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/the-fairytale-of-a-static-rate-of-autism-part-iii-%e2%80%93-prevalence-hookups-or-what-if-they-threw-an-autism-epidemic-and-nobody-cared/


http://passionlessdrone.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/the-interconnectedness-of-the-brain-behavior-and-immunology-and-the-difficult-to-overstate-flaccidity-of-the-correlation-is-not-causation-argument/


http://passionlessdrone.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/the-dangers-of-using-simplistic-rules-to-understand-complicated-processes-or-%e2%80%98the-poison-is-in-the-dose%e2%80%99-versus-reality/



I don't know if it is related at all, but I remember being particularly interested in this study, up to speaking with the author of the study.  It just disappeared, for all I know.


****************************************************************

A Comparative Study Evaluating the Dose-Responsiveness Effects of methylmercury and Thimerosal on Select Nervous, Immune and Enzyme Parameters
Deborah Keil, Ph. D. Medical Univeristy of South Carolina



Grant Abstract:

Infantile autism (IA) is a neurodevelopmental syndrome found in 1-5 cases of every 10,000 children with boys acquiring this syndrome 3-5 times more than girls. The spectrum of disorders of autism includes a range of impaired development of language and communication, unusual behaviors, and mental retardation. A diversity of pathophysiological effects also exist to include hyperserotoninemia, decreased T-cell proliferative function and activation, increased soluble IL-2 levels in serum, decreased CD8+ cells, decreased NK cells, development of anti-brain autoantibodies, decreased cerebellum volume and Purkinje cell number. Several studies indicate that the etiology of IA is multi-factorial and includes exposure to environmental chemicals. In particular, mercury exposure during infant and child development has been implicated in IA, especially in the case of vaccines containing mercury. Although mercury exposure from vaccines has been implicated in autism, this association has been criticized due to a lack of supportive experimental dose-response data. Thus, the proposed study will assess the possible role of methylmercury (MeHg) and thimerosal (TH) in contributing to the pathophysiology of IA using a mouse model to assess dose-responsive effects in cognitive and physiological parameters that encompass nervous, immune and enzyme pathways. This comparative approach will permit increased understanding of deficits due to MeHg or TH after acute exposure during early developmental stages and facilitate understanding of etiological causes of autism or other neurodevelopmental diseases. Furthermore, this study will also improve our understanding of the health effects attributed to different forms of mercury and contribute to the development of toxicological risk assessment models for detecting environmental contaminants that would adversely impact children's health.

Presentation abstracts from the study
Smythe J, Keil DE, EuDaly J, Griffin WC, and Peden-Adams MM. Assessment of postnatal exposure to thimerosal or methylmercy using a Morris water maze procedure in B6C3F1 mice. The Toxicologist. March, 2004 78(1-S).

Peden-Adams MM, EuDaly J, Heeseman L, Smythe J and Keil DE. Postnatal exposure to thimerosal alters immunological function in adult mice. The Toxicologist. March, 2004 78(1-S).

Peden-Adams MM, Adams C, Meyers K. EuDaly A, Smythe J, EuDaly J, and Keil DE. Varied exposure regimes to methyl mercury (MeHg) during postnatal development leads to different immune responses. The Toxicologist. March 2003 72(S-1): 376.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Can a skeptic's cynic be simple?

I'm thinking, yeah...I am.

Alison Krauss has a hauntingly beautiful voice and Yo-yo Ma...well....





Wikipedia states:
Simple Gifts" is a Shaker song written and composed in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett.
It has endured many inaccurate descriptions. Though often classified as an anonymous Shaker hymn or as a work song, it is better classified as a dance song




"Simple Gifts" was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. These are the lyrics to his one-verse song:
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.[2]
Several Shaker manuscripts indicate that this is a "Dancing Song" or a "Quick Dance." The references to "turning" in the last two lines have been identified as dance instructions.[1]

I need to dance more.  There is a freedom there, when we move our bodies freely, instead of within the confines of daily chores.  It's a way of saying thank you for having been given life and limb.

To me, this is the most gentle song on earth.  With the most gentle artists performing it.


When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.[2]


I don't think they are talking about dance.  Think of when the bible refers to a "stiff-necked people", who refuse to change.  This is a call to be in sync with the true rhythms of life, to change rather than hold on to ideas and thoughts and feelings as though they were a part of us. 

If we grow...we change.
If we change...we grow.

No longer stiff-necked, we can bow and bend and change and change some more.  Life is a living thing, instead of a veneration of obstinancy. 

Breathe...and listen with your soul.




Now...go out and slay some dragons! Start small ;)

Picture courtesy of http://brucemctague.com/slaying-dragons  not sure of copyright.