Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Language Level and Cognitive Function Recognized As Affecting Autism Disorder Severity

In Diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorders Lack Reliability Pysch Central senior news editor Rick Naubert Ph.D., (article reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psych D) reports on a new study by Catherine Lord, Ph.D. and  colleagues that examined the relationship between autism diagnoses and behavioral appearances at 12 university sites.  The found that clinical distinctions among subtypes of autism spectrum disorders were not reliable and speculated that regional variations could be affected by availability of services for those with autistic disorder in some regions. Conversely greater stigmatization associated with autistic disorder could also affect the type of ASD disorder received

As I interpret the Psych Central report on the study the study authors are asserting that the results support the DSM5's new combined Autism Spectrum Disorder which although creating a combined autism spectrum disorder also divides the spectrum by severity and functioning levels:

"The authors point out that their study results have implications for revisions of current diagnostic frameworks.

“Results support the move from existing subgroupings of autism spectrum disorders to dimensional descriptions of core features of social affect and fixated, repetitive behaviors, together with characteristics such as language level and cognitive function,” they conclude." (Underlining added, HLD)

Neurodiversity activists, including Mottron and Dawson, will not be happy with any mention of cognitive functioning dimensions or levels in connection with autism disorders. It will be interesting to read their statements opposing the results and the suggested implications of the Lord study.

It is also interesting to note that association with the lower functioning end of the Autism Spectrum, the Autistic Disorder category which contains the vast majority, the 70% of autistics with intellectual disabilities, is considered to be so stigmatizing as to affect the type of autism spectrum diagnosis given by health care professionals.  


farmwifetwo said...

Cognitive function is unknown due to language delays. Was told that by the school board psychometrist. Buying into the IQ score = inability to learn is shortsighted at best. If I did that my son is in the 60's or 2/3yr old level - test is 2yrs old now. YET, in his ability to learn and do, his math is at a Gr 1, reading at Gr 5, self-help at age 6, use of the computer... better than his Mother's, writing skills Gr 1, comprehension is assumed to be gr 1/2 but still unknown, speech age 2/3.

What is his cognitive level?? The more language, speech, comprehension he learns, the higher it goes.

It is unknown if the severely autistic are only developmentally delayed or intellectually delayed. Assuming one's behaviour, one's lack of language makes one ID.... is very, very wrong.

But unfortunately, many people buy into it... My son deserves better than that from me and those in his sphere. Last night I mentioned to his Uncle he was coming home at Gr 7. The school has offered to teach him how to do self help and grocery shop. I told him I was more interested in having him and my husband teach him how to take apart an engine. His Uncle's comment "he'll grasp that quickly". And he will... like his great Grandfather, let him fiddle and he can figure out how something works. Took him about a minute last spring to figure out how the greenhouse seeder worked and then he started grabbing trays on either end and screwing with the electronic eye and making his cousin work faster. No, he wasn't stopped.... they put him to work since he wanted to help.

He's quite capable of learning and doing, if people would stop believing that autistic with verbal apraxia = why bother trying.

shelbinater said...

Hey, I was just curious. What do you think of NBC's show 'Parenthood?' Do you think it displays an accurate portrayal of autism?