Friday, July 16, 2010

Utah Study Misrepresents Autism Disorders, Report Includes Only Top 10% Highest Functioning Autistic Study Subjects

Wow, talk about your blatant misrepresentation of autism disorders.  A Utah study has followed the lives of 400 persons with autism since the 1980's in an effort to understand their quality of life as adults.  Except that well ... the study only reported on the top 40, or top 10% highest functioning members of the study group:

"Last year’s study – written by researchers at the U., Carmen B. Pingree Center for Children with Autism in Salt Lake City, McGill University in Canada, Los Angeles Medical School and Yale University School of Medicine – offered a rare glimpse into the lives of adults with autism, an understudied population. But it was limited in scope to 41 of the higher functioning participants from the original 1980s study."

Apart from ignoring those autistic subjects who were lower functioning the study only mentions that 20 of the subjects are now dead.  20 seems to me to be a fairly signficant number and a full study of the causes of their deaths as they relate to their autism disorders might be a subject worth elaborating on.  Of course those 20 might have been lower functioning persons with actual, honest to goodness Autistic Disorder and Intellectual Disability not the "good" autistics featured in movies and major media interviews.

Sadly there is nothing unique about the Utah based study.  When it comes to the autism "spectrum" academics often join hands with the mainstream media, and with Hollywood,  to portray the so called spectrum as composed entirely of higher functioning persons with autism.


Mrs. Ed said...

I would like to know more about this too. I have a 40 year old brother with autism and a 5 year old son with it. If we knew more about the helath issues they will face later, we can look for them earlier to treat them. Do they not get how important this is? I get frustrated and feel that the autism automatically gets them written off when it comes to health matters.

dining room table said...

Autism is not new to us. I think this is a good topic to be discussed. I want to know more about that study. It is fun to see that there are many people are trying to help family with autistic child.