Is it an assumption to say LFA means unintelligent?

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10 Nov 2011, 3:33 pm

Robdemanc wrote:
I have wondered about this because usually LFA means comminication is very difficult between the child and others. So how can doctors say they lack intelligence. They shoud really say they lack the ability to demonstrate intelligence.

I often wonder what life is like for LFA and wonder if really they can think very sophisticatedly about things but cannot show this to others.

Do people agree?

While some individuals with LFA might be mentally retarded, I don't think all of them are, or at least I don't think all of them were innately so.

I think some of them have sever processing deficits that effectively isolate them from the outside world in that their brains are unable to make sense of what they see, hear, touch, etc. The world would seem like a jumbled mess to them, and this can stunt intellectual development. Others might be able to fully understand the world around them, however might suffer from a severe sense of apathy caused possibly by white matter abnormalities that inhibit their ability to properly execute intentions. They would be trapped in a state of rumination and need a lot of prompting to switch from one task to the next or possibly even execute a task.

Yet another individuals may simply have uneven development. There's a boy on youtube who is non-verbal but he does seem to make an effort to communicate from time to time and he seems to have average life skills. Yet I know of another individual who had delayed language acquisition and would have been considered low functioning when he was younger but is actually rather intelligent though he still has some life skills delays. For example, if he runs out of ketchup, he might not know what to do about it. If he runs out of mustard, he might know to buy to the market and buy more.


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10 Nov 2011, 6:09 pm

Janissy wrote:
I am a believer in neuroplasticity. I think the mental effort required to organize one's wishes into something communicable can actually rewire the brain. Going from not knowing why the terrible feeling is there and flailing around to knowing the feeling can be removed by water and flailing towards the sink (communication by behaviour) to pointing to a picture of a water glass to typing "want water" all require increasing degrees of mental organization. I think the act of working towards that organization may actually make people what we call more intelligent because they become more mentally organized as they learn to communicate. This would mean that Carly the typist is smarter than she used to be when she hadn't yet learned to organize her thoughts into something communicable.

Or I could be completely wrong about that. It's impossible to know.

Do not know about Carly, but this is true for me. Before I learned to type, I was not as smart. I had more trouble making sense of the world around me. I could not organize my actions in sequence. I had much trouble figuring out how to resolve problems because I had not good ability to identify the problems.

No one taught me but I had computers to play with since I was very young because of a parent who worked in the industry. When I learned typing words there was a reduction in chaos due to my ability to assign the words to sensations, events, situations, problems. I am not the same now as I was before I learned to type. But it is small change not much noticeable to people except in how much less time I spend screaming now than I did before.

But it is not a permanent change. Typing skill for me requires constant use and practice to maintain and even then it is not always working. It is an un-ending exhaustion that pushes out more interesting things. There is no one to take care of me if I lose my typing ability and the alternatives are not good so it is worthwhile for me. The effort may not be worthwhile to others. Happiness is more important than being able to type and be functional.


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10 Nov 2011, 6:34 pm

MrXxx wrote:
I agree, but how else are they supposed to measure intelligence? If it can't be demonstrated, how is anyone to know it exists?

Takes an imaginary situation as an example. Say you have a safe. It's the ultimate safe that know one can open. It may have a billion dollars worth of gold in it, or it might not. No one can open the safe. Even if it does have a million in gold, no one can tell, because no one can open it or see in it.

How do you value the safe?

The answer is, you can't. Even if you can prove there is gold in it, it's not worth anything to anyone if you can't get it out.

I don't like the analogy because it reduces intelligence to monetary value, but I think you get the idea.

Easy. The analogy sucks. :D

Cogito ergo sum.

To drag your analogy back to the real world, if a psychopath does not recognise you personally as a conscious being or of having any value, should the psychopath be allowed to kill you?


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10 Nov 2011, 8:13 pm

I have no memories of much at all previous to the last year or two... because I couldn't make much sense of the world.

I'm one of those people who is actually quite intelligent but sometimes only communicates by nondescript whining and screaming and echolalia. Sometimes I do okay, and sometimes my communication is a hot mess. But this doesn't mean that I'm not intelligent, and I can't stand it when people talk to me like I'm 2!

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11 Nov 2011, 12:10 am

I actually have a friend who is LFA. He's a year older than me, but he was held back to my year level. He's non-verbal and gets help from teacher aides on work that only he has to do, but he sometimes communicates with me through sign language or writing words down. Although he doesn't usually use complete sentences, or ones that make sense, I can still understand what he's saying. He is a bit more intelligent than meets the eye. In Prizegiving last Friday, I was surprised to hear he got a Merit award in Maths. I didn't know he was that good! Not assumption or anything, just he always said, in his way, that his Maths work was too hard.

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11 Nov 2011, 1:58 am

I believe it is a greater disservice to assume a lack of intelligence than it is to assume intelligence and try to find ways to communicate so it can be expressed.

If someone has intelligence but, because of their communication disability, cannot 'prove it', I feel it is cruel and inhuman to treat that individual as if they have the cognition of an infant. It's a form of torture really. I would much rather see resources spent on compassion than on indifference.