Autism More Common in US Than Previously Thought - page 2

washington (reuters) - autism is more common in the united states than anyone had estimated, affecting about one in every 150 children, the u.s. centers for disease control and prevention reported on... Read More

  1. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from hogan4736
    Certainly offensiveness (of any post) is subjective, however, the OP was talking about a personal account, and was slamming no one...

    I reread her post, and what she seems to be saying is not to blindly follow an "expert's" advice and do your own homework...
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. That's what subjective means...
  2. by   davb
    First of all, I would like to say Hi to everyone this is my first post.
    I wanted to say a few things about autism because of several people trying to diagnose one of my kids as being mildly autistic. I know these people are operating from knowledge they learned in a text that originated from studies. My son had problems with eye contact, was slow to learn speech, and is a little slow at responding to people when they talk to him.

    I listened to everything these people had to say. Then the conversation turned to the medication he needed to function normally. I basically told them he didn't need any and refused to let them try that until he was older (he was only about 5 when they "diagnosed him" - some said aspergers, high functioning autism, some said pervasive developmental disorder.)

    He lived with my ex-wife the majority of his life because we were divorced when he was one year old. He came to live with me early last year for a few months, improved tremendously and then she took him back around fathers day '06 (I didn't get custody that time)...in this first period of living with me he went from a classroom for kids with behavioral problems to a normal one with remedial reading classes (about 1.2 years behind grade level)

    He came to live with me again 3 months ago, and is doing great. They set a goal for him to be up to grade level in a year (that was a month and a half ago)....last teachers meeting a week or so ago he is on grade level in reading because of all the time we have put into reading since he came back... he is making friends, improving his social skills constantly, and much more confident.

    NO medication, no one telling him he has a problem, and good old fashioned reading and attention from someone who cares about him instead of being raised by the daycare at my ex-wife's place - - it works better than any psycho-active medication they could have put him on.

    Maybe he is a little different. But I won't tell him he has a problem like they do. He does just fine, and no one who knows him here with me has ever told me he should take a drug, they treat him like the normal little 8 year old he is now.

    Maybe he was mis-diagnosed. If someone gets paid to find a problem, they will try to find one...thats what they get paid for. They have to justify all that education. Naming someone with a different learning style and personality as having some sort of disease that is conveiniently treatable by several medications made by companies that helped fund their university's programs..."we can try this one, and if it doesn't work, we have twenty others we can try that have shown improvements"
    I will just try TEACHING him first. . . I wonder if they talk about that in their psychiatry curriculum...hmmm . Novel concept.
    Anyway, sorry to ramble on ...I am up too late. I tend to do that when I am tired.
    It is my first post too. Maybe my subsequent posts will be more structured and articulate. Have a nice day (or night)
    zzzzz
  3. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from PeachPie
    I have a cousin with severe Asberger's, and she's going to be under her parents' care for the rest of her life.
    I think there's a bit of confusion here; a person with Asperger's Syndrome is one who has what could otherwise be called "high-functioning autism". Asperger's is on the autism spectrum, but is never referred to as "severe". A person who is dx'd with Asperger's Syndrome is also never under her parents' care for the rest of her life, as you have stated. These are the people who do quite well on their own, being known mostly as "eccentric" or "odd", but still functioning in society, oftentimes enhancing it grandly with their intellect and insight.

    Your cousin either has Asperger's and will be able to adapt to life on her own with or without proper therapies and treatments, and education, or....she does not have Asperger's at all, but is actually "severely" autistic. The higher her level of functioning, obviously, the less need for educational interventions. But all people with Asperger's benefit from appropriate education and therapies.

    Hopefully her parents are more informed of her status than you.

    Additionally, there is much made about medications and overprescriptions. Actually, since there are no medications specifically for autism, NO ONE is prescribed meds because they are autistic. Meds are used to combat a variety of problems that are associated with autism, or are usually seen in autistic individuals. These can be for specific mental impairments frequently co-existing with autism, or for physical ones also frequently co-existing with autism. They are never "for" autism itself (or, if someone thinks they are, they are misusing them).

    Finally, regarding your sister and any others that people think of as "mildly autistic" and the families have fought against that labeling in favor of "different": if they are autistic, they ARE AUTISTIC, and being able to get by in the world is NOT the same thing as not having that disorder.

    People get by being known as "very focused, very geeky, very 'different' " but that doesn't mean they aren't also "very autistic". It just means that those people were denied the opportunities for therapies and education that could have made them LESS "geeky, overly-focused, and 'different' ". Hardly a kindness to them, I'd say.

    People's misplaced pride in 'not labeling' a child means there are children who will always 'get by' instead of 'thrive' in normal society. I don't know that they'd thank you for that, if they truly knew the difference.
    Last edit by RNsRWe on Feb 13, '07
  4. by   CaLLaCoDe
    Quote from Calgon-take.me.away
    My daughter is 21 and a music therapy major at Mansfield University in PA.
    She was informed last week that due to "financial" and them feeling that music therapy was not a "profitable field" they are cutting the music therapy major at this university. Music therapy is one of the most important and effective ways of reaching an autistic child. They respond to the music, the rhythm, and it is a way that they can communicate that does not make them feel threatened. They are starting a writing campaign to try and make the Univeristy provost reconsider his decision. If anyone can make a differance, I know that we as nurses can. They need to hear from all that removing the music therapy major is such a large mistake. She has spent three years pursuing her degree and to have it taken from her is just not fair, SHe is a lovely, talented young woman and desires to give back what God has blessed her with by being a music therapist. You can contact me if you would like to help us in any way, be it financial or just lettting your voice be heard
    Music therapy is not a profitable field? Since when are institutes of learning concerned with future profit margins of its students? This is sounding like managed care in the health care industry: business solutions that eventually back fire with patients not receiving adequate care.

    I will write the university to voice my opinion in support of this valuable theraputic tool. Please post the address.
  5. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from RNsRWe
    I think there's a bit of confusion here; a person with Asperger's Syndrome is one who has what could otherwise be called "high-functioning autism". Asperger's is on the autism spectrum, but is never referred to as "severe". A person who is dx'd with Asperger's Syndrome is also never under her parents' care for the rest of her life, as you have stated. These are the people who do quite well on their own, being known mostly as "eccentric" or "odd", but still functioning in society, oftentimes enhancing it grandly with their intellect and insight.

    Your cousin either has Asperger's and will be able to adapt to life on her own with or without proper therapies and treatments, and education, or....she does not have Asperger's at all, but is actually "severely" autistic. The higher her level of functioning, obviously, the less need for educational interventions. But all people with Asperger's benefit from appropriate education and therapies.

    Hopefully her parents are more informed of her status than you.

    Additionally, there is much made about medications and overprescriptions. Actually, since there are no medications specifically for autism, NO ONE is prescribed meds because they are autistic. Meds are used to combat a variety of problems that are associated with autism, or are usually seen in autistic individuals. These can be for specific mental impairments frequently co-existing with autism, or for physical ones also frequently co-existing with autism. They are never "for" autism itself (or, if someone thinks they are, they are misusing them).

    Finally, regarding your sister and any others that people think of as "mildly autistic" and the families have fought against that labeling in favor of "different": if they are autistic, they ARE AUTISTIC, and being able to get by in the world is NOT the same thing as not having that disorder.

    People get by being known as "very focused, very geeky, very 'different' " but that doesn't mean they aren't also "very autistic". It just means that those people were denied the opportunities for therapies and education that could have made them LESS "geeky, overly-focused, and 'different' ". Hardly a kindness to them, I'd say.

    People's misplaced pride in 'not labeling' a child means there are children who will always 'get by' instead of 'thrive' in normal society. I don't know that they'd thank you for that, if they truly knew the difference.
    :yeahthat:
  6. by   hogan4736
    Quote from RNsRWe
    ...People get by being known as "very focused, very geeky, very 'different' " but that doesn't mean they aren't also "very autistic". It just means that those people were denied the opportunities for therapies and education that could have made them LESS "geeky, overly-focused, and 'different' ". Hardly a kindness to them, I'd say.

    People's misplaced pride in 'not labeling' a child means there are children who will always 'get by' instead of 'thrive' in normal society. I don't know that they'd thank you for that, if they truly knew the difference.

    Maybe my situation was unique, but the therapies and education of which you speak, in my experienced painted my son w/ a large brush...

    he was involved in early intervention, which is a great idea on paper. some aspects (speech therapy, 1 on 1 play therapy) were great...however the play group and the original classroom they targeted him for were detrimental...The play group and classroom consisted of kids that were of different levels on the spectrum...There was no benefit for my son to see the constant emotional outbursts exhibited by his peers...He began to mimic them...we pulled him out of the playgroup, and went to the neighborhood park daily, and enrolled him in a daycare (4 hours/week) w/ "normal" kids (I use that term lightly)...That is when we noticed improvements...

    Take your child's destiny into your own hands as a parent...My problem is that many parents BLINDLY follow the "experts'" advice...

    The expert that evaluated my son spent TWO HOURS with him...

    her diagnosis was without foundation, and lacked credibility as far as I was concerned...

    I resent the implication that he may not be thriving, or was denied opportunities...

    we worked daily on eye contact, clear speech, appropriate play, discipline...

    we as parents are quite capable of making our own opportunities for our children...

    I was "diagnosed" w/ Asperger's as an adult...I was a loner as a kid, made little eye contact, etc...my mother was a teacher and worked w/ me daily on reading, social interactions, etc...

    if I had a dime for every "expert" (co-workers, friends, family, docs) that ENCOURAGED me to worry that my son was speech delayed, I'd be a rich man...I knew in my heart my son was fine, and he is living proof 3 years later...

    I am thankful for early intervention, and I truly believe it gave him the push he needed, but it's me that will see him through to the finish line, not an "expert" of which you speak
  7. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from hogan4736
    Maybe my situation was unique, but the therapies and education of which you speak, in my experienced painted my son w/ a large brush...

    he was involved in early intervention, which is a great idea on paper. some aspects (speech therapy, 1 on 1 play therapy) were great...however the play group and the original classroom they targeted him for were detrimental...The play group and classroom consisted of kids that were of different levels on the spectrum...There was no benefit for my son to see the constant emotional outbursts exhibited by his peers...He began to mimic them...we pulled him out of the playgroup, and went to the neighborhood park daily, and enrolled him in a daycare (4 hours/week) w/ "normal" kids (I use that term lightly)...That is when we noticed improvements...

    Take your child's destiny into your own hands as a parent...My problem is that many parents BLINDLY follow the "experts'" advice...

    The expert that evaluated my son spent TWO HOURS with him...

    her diagnosis was without foundation, and lacked credibility as far as I was concerned...

    I resent the implication that he may not be thriving, or was denied opportunities...

    we worked daily on eye contact, clear speech, appropriate play, discipline...

    we as parents are quite capable of making our own opportunities for our children...

    I was "diagnosed" w/ Asperger's as an adult...I was a loner as a kid, made little eye contact, etc...my mother was a teacher and worked w/ me daily on reading, social interactions, etc...

    if I had a dime for every "expert" (co-workers, friends, family, docs) that ENCOURAGED me to worry that my son was speech delayed, I'd be a rich man...I knew in my heart my son was fine, and he is living proof 3 years later...

    I am thankful for early intervention, and I truly believe it gave him the push he needed, but it's me that will see him through to the finish line, not an "expert" of which you speak

    If you'll re-read my post, which you quoted, you'll see I spoke of no experts, period. I did say, essentially, that ignoring a problem will not make it go away, or any less of a problem if it is not addressed.

    You HAVE addressed your son's problems. You have utilized appropriate education and therapies, tailoring them to your son's needs. This is entirely what I meant; nowhere did I say that only government or school district authorities were the only ones who could do this.

    My concern was for those children whose parents felt that their children "being different" was fine in and of itself, even though they were autistic. Being different IS fine; having a disabling condition (if the degree of autism is, in fact, disabling) that is ignored is not.

    I give you many kudos for monitoring your child's progress closely: upon seeing that the classroom playgroup he had was inappropriate you changed his "program" and simply did integrated playtime (with typically-developing kids). Obviously, he benefits from your knowledge base of the disorder. Unfortunately, there are too many children who do not. Additionally, the level or severity of the delays makes all the difference in whether your approach will work or not: clearly your child was high enough on the spectrum (I'm even assuming ON the spectrum, I cannot know this) that it was sufficient. Again, unfortunately, there are too many children who require far more interventions and don't get them because the parents refuse to accept that Johnny really COULD grow more emotionally and socially. And should.

    I, too, have personal knowledge on this subject, if it wasn't already apparent. And I thank G-D every day that my child HAS had the incredible benefits of therapies and schooling that he has. By this I mean countless grueling hours at home, in public, and at school working with his needs and integrating him into everyday life in the world. It truly has made all the difference in his and our lives.
  8. by   Quickbeam
    My concern was for those children whose parents felt that their children "being different" was fine in and of itself, even though they were autistic. Being different IS fine; having a disabling condition (if the degree of autism is, in fact, disabling) that is ignored is not.
    Thanks. You said this very well.
  9. by   Lynnmabel
    I have a step-son with Asperger's Syndrome. I first met him when he was five. He was a vocal, fairly normal, rambunctious little boy. Over the years he has been on more medications than I can count. Medications that change often and abruptly. He's been hospitalized several times for reactions to medications that he continues to be prescribed. He's gone downhill in the last ten years so much that it's tragic. I can certainly see where one can say that the light at the end of the tunnel of autism is not drugs, it's love and attention and some effort on the parents part to change the behaviors. My step-son now has so many side effects to his medications that he cannot function normally. How is this better than having Asperger's Syndrome? Certainly there are better ways we should be encouraging parents to treat these conditions.
  10. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from Lynnmabel
    I have a step-son with Asperger's Syndrome. I first met him when he was five. He was a vocal, fairly normal, rambunctious little boy. Over the years he has been on more medications than I can count. Medications that change often and abruptly. He's been hospitalized several times for reactions to medications that he continues to be prescribed. He's gone downhill in the last ten years so much that it's tragic. I can certainly see where one can say that the light at the end of the tunnel of autism is not drugs, it's love and attention and some effort on the parents part to change the behaviors. My step-son now has so many side effects to his medications that he cannot function normally. How is this better than having Asperger's Syndrome? Certainly there are better ways we should be encouraging parents to treat these conditions.
    As another posted pointed out, there are not any medications prescribed specifically for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Clearly your stepson was having symptoms that someone- his parents and/or his healthcare provider- thought needed to be addressed with medication. It isn't for any of us to say how this is ''better'' or ''worse'' than having Asperger's. In the first place, how would we know? In the second, it isn't a legitimate question, given that the medications weren't prescribed for the Asperger's, but for whatever symptoms he was manifesting. A more legitimate question would be how are these medications better than whatever those symptoms were, but it's a question that can only be answered by people who have the information and authority needed to draw those conclusions.
  11. by   sodiumH20taffy
    Autistic children are not prescribed meds as a general rule. They respond to behavior, occupational and music therapy so that is an effective route to go. "She turned out to be just fine." How is this measurable? Being quiet and solo is not something that autism advocates find to be the problem. It's a fear of labeling that prevents the child from getting the help they need to navigate a confusing world. I think we are on the same side of the discussion and dislike the idea of a forced cure which doesn't exist.
  12. by   grace90
    Quote from sodiumH20taffy
    Autistic children are not prescribed meds as a general rule. They respond to behavior, occupational and music therapy so that is an effective route to go. "She turned out to be just fine." How is this measurable? Being quiet and solo is not something that autism advocates find to be the problem. It's a fear of labeling that prevents the child from getting the help they need to navigate a confusing world. I think we are on the same side of the discussion and dislike the idea of a forced cure which doesn't exist.
    I've been keeping an eye on this thread but haven't posted til now.
    The reason autism is referred to as autism *spectrum* disorder is that there is so many varying degrees of severity.
    My son is severely autistic and moderately developmentally delayed. He is completely non-verbal, not toilet trained, functions at roughly an 18 mo old level and has many behavior problems. He has in fact been put on medications, not for the autism itself, but for the behaviors that have come along with it. Late last year his behaviors got so bad we were pulling our hair out trying to manage. Imagine the temper tantrums of a small toddler put into the body of a strong 60 lb school age child, that is stronger than I am.
    We switched to a different pedi psych doc and changed his meds and he is much much more manageable now. He does very much respond to occupational and music therapy, in fact he :heartbeat LOVES:heartbeat music, mostly jazz, classical and rap/hip hop .
    He was diagnosed at 2.5 years, and then we had to fight the school system to get him into the right programumpiron: . For him the label was the ticket to getting him the help he needed.
    Could it be over or wrongly diagnosed at times? Sure. But in our case, not so. Are meds always the answer? No, of course not, and they're only part of the equation for us.
    BTW, I also was saddened to read the post mentioning the music therapy program being discontinued - music therapy may not bring in the big bucks, but it certainly makes a difference for individuals not only with autism, but other developmental disorders, children with illnesses and Alzheimer's pt's (heck, it's good for everybody!).
  13. by   RNsRWe
    Thanks for your post, grace. It's a nice response to the too-oft-used blanket response of "it's not happening as much as people say, it's misdiagnosed". Or worse, that somehow parents of autistic kids are milking the system to get their kids "better" schooling and programs.

    Yep, I've heard that one. Like I dreamed when I was pregnant, "Gosh, I HOPE I have an autistic kid so he can go to private schools and get lots of behavioral and social therapies at the expense of the school district, State and our own pockets!"

    I happen to be in a good school district, and hardly have to fight at all. I do, however, advocate for others as necessary. What kills me is when budget proposals go out each year, and expenses loom large and the general population of our district looks to the parents of the special needs kids as the problem! As though we want extras for 'our' kids at the expense of 'their' kids. As if demanding that my kid keeps a teacher so he can learn to read before another kid gets a new band uniform is a bad priority. Yeah, that's it. And anytime the budget goes up, it's Special Ed that gets picked over (and over) again, looking for that wasteful spending like speech and OT. Heaven forbid the "regular" kids give up one of their many "extras" so the special ed kids can get the basics.

    Sigh.

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