Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flat Out Good Autism News

The word autism has almost become a synonym for controversy.

Parents are routinely mocked and demonized for seeking to cure or treat their own children. ABA, well documented as an effective intervention for autism by decades of study and numerous credible professional reviews is labeled as "unproven" by anti-ABA advocates. Terms such as low functioning/high functioning used in the professional literature are disparaged. Mentioning possible environmental contributors to autism rates is dismissed by some even though studies show that autism can sometimes occur in one but not both identical twins. Even referencing autistic disorders as .... disorders... generates controversy.

But surely there is one point on which we can all agree; that everyone wishes for the safety and well being of all autistic persons. And surely we can all be thankful when news reports tell us that that two autistic persons are now safe and sound after wandering away from their homes in Utah and Boston.

The Deseret News reports that a 22-year-old severely autistic woman, described as having the mental capacity of a 5 year old, who wandered away from home in Provo Utah Sunday night was found safe Tuesday morning in Salt Lake City. In Boston, earlier this week, the Herald reported that a 3-year-old autistic child was rescued from danger by police after drivers saw him riding his tricycle amid speeding traffic on a busy thoroughfare.

As a parent who has experienced the fear and guilt of realizing that my autistic son had wandered away from the safety of home while I was distracted those feelings are revived every time I learn of another autistic person who has wandered away or is missing. The feeling of relief I experienced when, after calling 911, I learned my son was safe at a nearby convenience store where I quickly retrieved him, also resurfaces when the stories have good endings as they did this week in Utah and Boston.


jypsy said...

"Terms such as low functioning/high functioning used in the professional literature are disparaged. "

"Terms such as high-functioning versus low-functioning children are derogatory and should be avoided."

--Lovaas, O.I. (1996).

Unknown said...


I am glad to see that you are starting to learn something from Lovaas even if it is a point on which he was wrong.

How about your friend Dr Laurent Mottron? Of course the good Dr.Mottron tends to prefer studying high functioning autistic persons, autistic savants and persons with Aspergers Syndrome.

I haven't seen him publish studies featuring low functioning severely autistic subjects.

Perceptual Processing among High-functioning Persons with Autism
Laurent Mottron 1 , Jacob A. Burack 2 , Johannes E. A. Stauder 3 & Philippe Robaey 4

Locally oriented perception with intact global processing among adolescents with high-functioning autism: evidence from multiple paradigms
Laurent Mottron 1,2 , Jacob A. Burack 1,3 , Grace Iarocci 4 , Sylvie Belleville 5,6 , and James T. Enns 7

A Psychosocial Study on Restricted Interests in High Functioning Persons with Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Céline Mercier

McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Laurent Mottron

Université de Montréal, Canada

Sylvie Belleville

Université de Montréal, Canada

jypsy said...

"How about your friend Dr Laurent Mottron?"

Dr. Mottron is not my "friend". I have never met the man, I have never corresponded with him and I wouldn't know him if I fell over him.

Unknown said...

When I called Dr. Mottron your "friend" I did not mean it literally.