Saturday, May 07, 2011

Autism and the Stigma of Intellectual Disability: Some CDC Facts

CDC:  Intelligence quotient (IQ) of children aged 8 years with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for whom psychometric test data were available,* by site and sex (IQ) score-Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 sites, United States, 2006

Last week some "autism" blog sites on the internet launched more personal attacks against me for daring to again correct the myth that ALL, or MOST, autistic persons are characterized by high intelligence.  I am not going to respond to the silly comments directly.  I will refer anyone who is interested in the subject and who  wishes to look at autism disorders realistically to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site which states that:

"A report published by CDC in 2009, shows that 30-51% (41% on average) of the children who had an ASD also had an Intellectual Disability (intelligence quotient <=70)."

The above information from the CDC is referring to ALL persons with ANY Autism Spectrum Disorder including those with Asperger's Disorder.  By definition Asperger's excludes diagnosis where the person has cognitive impairment.  For classic Autistic Disorder the average number of persons with an Intlellectual Disability or Cognitive  Impairment would obviously be much higher than the 41 % average for all persons with ANY Autism Spectrum Disorder.  

Perpetuating the myth that persons with autism disorders tend to be of high intelligence does not help the vast majority of those with classic Autistic Disorder who have Intellectual Disabilities.  It reflects a desire to disassociate autism from intellectual disability. Autism is seen as good or at least acceptable.  Intellectual Disability is seen as bad.

Perpetuating the myth of autism and high intelligence  stigmatizes those with autism and intellectual disability.  


Usethebrains Godgiveyou said...

I'm sure there is a rational reason why you are wrong. It just hasn't been dreamed up yet.

You aren't alone in the realization that high IQ "autists" like my son are taking more than their share of the spectrum analysis. I think those who have studied autism for years have been surprised by this change of events, and would prefer a less inclusive definition of autism, closing the goalposts a bit, so to speak.

Mommie that Gets It said...

Thanks for posting this and always keeping it real! I appreciate and respect your candor. All the best! :) Heather

Anonymous said...

It is very unfortunate that those with intellectual disabilities who are on the autism spectrum are given short shrift. While my children are lucky and are very high functioning with high IQs, it bothers me that alot of this discussion has been hijacked by the fortunate few among the autism community. It is very important that we as a community keep our eye on the ball. While we make the world accept our high functioning children it is very important to remember that they are not the majority on the autism spectrum and we need to prepare the world for all our children.