Why are SOO many kids on spectrum now???

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buryuntime
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29 Aug 2010, 7:44 pm

Mama_to_Grace wrote:
I think the mindset that it's been this way all along and it's just now being diagnosed is a bit dangerous. I had to cut a friend out of my life who believed that there was truly nothing wrong with my daughter that good old fashioned discipline wouldn't correct. I just find it very hard to believe that kids were displaying the level of differences that they are now back then and everyone was ignoring it. My brother, who has AS was diagnosed by the school as mentally retarded and put in special ed in 1978 and they said he would never read. Now he is very high functioning with a good job, doing what he is good at (industrial design) with a family. It didn't come easily and he still struggles but he has proven all of them wrong.

It's the ADHD phenomenon that has led us to think that there can't actually be this true increase in the numbers. But something is truly going on. My daughter licks and chews everything (at 7 years old) and it's hard for me to believe that would have been "ignored" 30 years ago. Not to mention her social anxiety and how severe it is, and there's no conditioning that will change that.

30 years ago we didn't have microwaves, computers or cell phones or as much tv usage, not to mention the food additives we have today and genetically engineered foods. I think we are going to find out one or all of these in combination with a genetic predisposition is at fault for the massive increases in numbers.

If you think of it that way both mindsets are equally dangerous because they can go either way-- with yours it could be a result in parents not vaccinated their children and giving them dangerous "treatments".



frag
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29 Aug 2010, 8:12 pm

Sure there could be something in the neighborhood making people ill, but it is pretty rare it only affects behavior. I've seen copper poisoning and those lost all their hair. Usually with some kind of poisoning people get problems with their organs, start looking pale and their tummies are messed up.

Why clusters happen? No idea. I live on the poor side of town. In some areas near me, immigrants clustered up, which is not weird, either they are places there or they want to live near people similar, but on the other side of me there are also immigrants. I live on one block that is no different from places around me. But we have NO immigrants. And I've lived here for 14 years. The same landlord similar houses have immigrants. Flukes happen.

Also why so many more kids of ANY disability is seen more these days, because in the past parents were encouraged to put them in an institution!



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29 Aug 2010, 9:20 pm

Mama_to_Grace wrote:
My daughter licks and chews everything (at 7 years old) and it's hard for me to believe that would have been "ignored" 30 years ago. Not to mention her social anxiety and how severe it is, and there's no conditioning that will change that.


I chewed my own hair and the limbs off all my dolls. I was a chronic truant at the age of 8. Both got me yelled at but not much more.

The son of a friend of mine is chewing on his shirts now. I tried to tell her that you have to give something appropriate to chew, that just saying "don't do that" won't help, but I don't think she heard me. :cry:


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Mama_to_Grace
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29 Aug 2010, 9:30 pm

buryuntime wrote:
Mama_to_Grace wrote:
I think the mindset that it's been this way all along and it's just now being diagnosed is a bit dangerous. I had to cut a friend out of my life who believed that there was truly nothing wrong with my daughter that good old fashioned discipline wouldn't correct. I just find it very hard to believe that kids were displaying the level of differences that they are now back then and everyone was ignoring it. My brother, who has AS was diagnosed by the school as mentally retarded and put in special ed in 1978 and they said he would never read. Now he is very high functioning with a good job, doing what he is good at (industrial design) with a family. It didn't come easily and he still struggles but he has proven all of them wrong.

It's the ADHD phenomenon that has led us to think that there can't actually be this true increase in the numbers. But something is truly going on. My daughter licks and chews everything (at 7 years old) and it's hard for me to believe that would have been "ignored" 30 years ago. Not to mention her social anxiety and how severe it is, and there's no conditioning that will change that.

30 years ago we didn't have microwaves, computers or cell phones or as much tv usage, not to mention the food additives we have today and genetically engineered foods. I think we are going to find out one or all of these in combination with a genetic predisposition is at fault for the massive increases in numbers.

If you think of it that way both mindsets are equally dangerous because they can go either way-- with yours it could be a result in parents not vaccinated their children and giving them dangerous "treatments".


There will always be "extremes" especially those bent on selling a "cure" so that they themselves get rich in the process and helpless parents that fall for the scam.

But there is something to be said for reducing your exposure as much as possible to harmful chemicals, chemical additives to foods and GMOs.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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29 Aug 2010, 9:42 pm

luvmyaspie wrote:
People used to only know of Autism and only the most low functioning and most severe cases were diagnosed because it would be clear that there was something different about the person.

That was what it was like when I was a kid.



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29 Aug 2010, 10:19 pm

NickyLynn wrote:
Sorry that I'm posting again so soon, but I have another question about spectrum issues.

My husband and I are baffled. We have 4 kids that live or did live within our neighborhood that seem to be either on the spectrum or have related issues. We live in a middle-class type neighborhood in a newer development. In the last 5 years we have seen 3 boys and 1 girl who have language/body-language processing issues. HOW COULD this be!! What is going on? Are people just noticing this now?? I don't get it - I don't remember these kids growing up. I'm not even including my own son in this.

Kid #1 - lived across the street - hugged strangers at the age of 12 - had intense interests and major problems with transitions. He was diagnosed officially with ADD I think but sure didn't seem ADD to me. Became borderline violent with authority when he was told to do something else.

Kid #2 - younger child (6ish) who cannot handle transitions. Screams often in unscripted situations like playing with a group. Sucks thumb and carries a blanket. Mom often takes DS with him places to keep him calm.

Kids 3 and 4 - one is best friends with my son, the other is the younger sister who is my daughters age - 9. The boy who is 13 one time came over and asked to play Xbox when my son wasn't even able to be around. The daughter speaks in kind of a monotone and/or odd lilting tone. She, like my son, seems a cross between a 5 year old and a college student. :)

Soooo - here's the thing. Doesn't this seem like a lot of kids in a small area? I know this is a broader topic that many have debated. But I want to know for those of you who are aware and paying attention (maybe even teachers?) to the phenomenon, what are your thoughts on this? What is going on???
It might be that you live in a bit of a 'hot spot'. If you live in or near, say, Silicon Valley (that's quite renowned for a high incidence of people on the spectrum), or perhaps in a city with lots of tech companies or universities or hi-tech engineering industries (I'm guessing here when I say Seattle, Microsoft, and Massachusetts, MIT), then wherever you get lots of jobs or tech students, you're going to have a higher proportion of people on the spectrum than the average across the whole population.

And since there's supposed to be a genetic/hereditary element, then it would stand to reason that if you have lots of adults who have congregated in a particular area (which they've been attracted to for reasons of work or studies), then when they settle down and have children, there will probably be a higher than average number of children on the spectrum, because statistically speaking, if there's a higher than average number of parents on the spectrum, and there's a genetic/hereditary component, there's going to be a higher than average number of children on the spectrum. And this genetic/hereditary link could apply to, say, living in a predominantly Jewish area as well.

So there could be factors relating to statistical quirks that mean there's a higher incidence than the average for the whole population. There's a whole science that looks at things like that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology

And it's important to remember, a lot of people get worked up about things - for example, vaccines MMR in the case of autism, but mobile phone masts and electricity power lines and lots of other things in the case of cancer - but as it points out on the epidemiology page, correlation does not imply causation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlatio ... _causation

Now a mom like you could be looking at this local group of children and thinking all these children on the spectrum, in my neighbourhood, children in my neighbourhood are more likely to be on the spectrum, therefore it must be something in the neighbourhood that's causing it. Nope. If that's what's you're wondering about/worried about, that's a huge and erroneous leap of the imagination, perhaps a correlation (due to other possible factors, such as local industry/university or belonging to a particular religious/racial group), not an implied causation.

Now moving on from the it's happening in my neighbourhood, it must be something in the soil/air/water (no it's absolutely, categorically not) hypothesis!

Generally speaking, why are so many kids on the spectrum nowadays? Well, kids were always on the spectrum, it's just that they weren't diagnosed. For example, I'm 40-years-old, British. When I was born and growing up, it just wasn't a possible diagnosis. I've always been Aspie. I just wasn't labelled as such.

It was quite usual, in years gone by, before Asperger's Syndrome became more commonly diagnosed, for Aspie males to be misdiagnosed with some kind of schizotypal disorder, and Aspie females to be misdiagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

I think at school, we were just labelled naughty or defiant, or having 'behavioural probems' and many would have been sent to... what do they call it over there in the US? Approved school/reform school? Something like that, we used to call it borstal, a secure home/educational unit. Young people with behavioural problems who had problems recognising or respecting authority figures were often criminalised.

So there hasn't been an "epidemic" like you read about in articles or hear about and see on tv. We've always been here, except we have been misdiagnosed, or mislabelled. Years ago, someone on the spectrum might have been just perceived to be a bit "eccentric" but nowadays they have to be given a label.

It seems strange, to me, how people can think this 'disease' has come out of nowhere and there's an epidemic and it's really strange and frightening and something must be done to cure it!

Like I said, we've always been here, but we've just not been labelled Aspies or spectrum cousins, we just used to get on in life, as the "eccentric" or the "black sheep of the family" or criminalised or hospitalised... or artistic or creative or technical geniuses.

Btw, can I ask you, before epilepsy was "invented" as a term, i.e. before epilepsy became a recognised medical condition referred to by that term, do you think epilepsy existed? I don't think anyone would think of epilepsy as something that one day didn't exist, and then someone thought up the term, and then all of a sudden, it was like an epidemic, because all of a sudden there were all these people who were diagnosed as epileptics, so it must be like an infectious disease or something, because there wasn't any before, and now there are loads of them in my neighbourhood! But of course, people with epilepsy existed before the term was invented, it's just that a few centuries ago, having fits, they probably would have been accused by people associated with the churches as being possessed by demons, or engaging in witchcraft or something.

Anyway, I don't particularly like to use medical analogies, because I don't really appreciate the medical model of disability, I prefer the social model of disability, and I don't like to medicalise Asperger's, as I don't think of it as a disease or medical condition, it's just something I am, it's just a matter of neurodiversity, not illness.

Oh, and some of those kids might just have parents with poor parenting skills.



EnglishLulu
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29 Aug 2010, 10:25 pm

Mama_to_Grace wrote:
I think the mindset that it's been this way all along and it's just now being diagnosed is a bit dangerous. I had to cut a friend out of my life who believed that there was truly nothing wrong with my daughter that good old fashioned discipline wouldn't correct. I just find it very hard to believe that kids were displaying the level of differences that they are now back then and everyone was ignoring it. My brother, who has AS was diagnosed by the school as mentally retarded and put in special ed in 1978 and they said he would never read. Now he is very high functioning with a good job, doing what he is good at (industrial design) with a family. It didn't come easily and he still struggles but he has proven all of them wrong.

It's the ADHD phenomenon that has led us to think that there can't actually be this true increase in the numbers. But something is truly going on. My daughter licks and chews everything (at 7 years old) and it's hard for me to believe that would have been "ignored" 30 years ago. Not to mention her social anxiety and how severe it is, and there's no conditioning that will change that.

30 years ago we didn't have microwaves, computers or cell phones or as much tv usage, not to mention the food additives we have today and genetically engineered foods. I think we are going to find out one or all of these in combination with a genetic predisposition is at fault for the massive increases in numbers.
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frag
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30 Aug 2010, 5:22 am

I'm going out to cough on some people.



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30 Aug 2010, 7:15 am

PHISHA51 wrote:
Why are SOO many kids on spectrum now???
Quote:
3 reasons
#1 Doctors and parents have gotten smarter 8)
#2 Autism awareness by books, internet, media, etc.
#3 Ever since they first used the term Asperger Syndrome in the 1980's and classed it as an ASD in 1994, slowly but surely more people are starting to identify their kids on the spectrum.


I would also add....

1. Environmental concerns. We don't know what causes Autism. Even if you say it's solely genetic, chemicals we ingest (or mothers ingest) can affect DNA. With all the pollution and chemicals in our food and water (never mind the number of drugs they shove at us), I'd not be surprised that this has had an impact.

2. Over diagnosis. Too many people have the power to slap a label on a kid who really is not qualified to make a proper diagnosis (easier to drug a kid who's ADD than realize the kid just needs to get out and play enough to burn off that excess energy).



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30 Aug 2010, 8:28 am

As others said, mostly because we're better at diagnosing. In the bad old days, if you could talk and refrain from peeing your pants, you weren't autistic. Now we understand that milder variants exist (Asperger, HFA, etc).

But also, there's the fact that putting a label on someone is easier than dealing with a complex social problem. It's easier to just label kids with ADHD and drug them up than introduce a better school routine where they get to go outside and use up energy rather than sitting down all day long. I don't have ADHD but I get ADHDlike symptoms if I stay still for hours on end. Now if they've actually undergone the diagnostic tests and they have it, I don't dispute that. But I've seen so many young kids labeled as ADHD WITHOUT A DIAGNOSIS just for being normal young kids.

I heard that a child of a family friend's sister was suspected of Asperger's. I later met this kid at a party, and I severely doubt he has Asperger's. He uses normal language for his age, makes the usual amount of eye contact, doesn't seem to feel violated at being touched, no sensory issues (he doesn't mind loud sounds or bright lights). He is just a brat who likes to hurt animals.

Said family friend's own kid was unofficially diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder because she disliked certain textures and tastes and avoided them. Guess what...she's growing up just fine.

In a nutshell? Yes, it really is more widespread than we used to think, but the over-DX problem is real.


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30 Aug 2010, 12:07 pm

Quote:
It might be that you live in a bit of a 'hot spot'. If you live in or near, say, Silicon Valley (that's quite renowned for a high incidence of people on the spectrum)


There is any evidence of that, besides an old article of Wired (who is constantly re-called when someone says that there is much autism in Silicon Valley)?



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30 Aug 2010, 12:10 pm

Yes; people who study the phenomenon of the "broader autism phenotype" often find engineers, artists, scientists, writers, and musicians (of various levels of talent) in the same families as autistic children.


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01 Sep 2010, 7:07 am

"What's done to children, they will do to society". ~Karl Menninger

Good, quick reads recommended by professionals:
(Viewable at the website of Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education)

Plain Talk About Spanking
by Jordan Riak

The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
by Tom Johnson

NO VITAL ORGANS THERE, So They Say
by Lesli Taylor M.D and Adah Maurer Ph.D.



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01 Sep 2010, 9:05 am

Callista wrote:
Pretty simple: We're labeling them "autistic" rather than "badly behaved", "mentally retarded", or "eccentric". Autism as a diagnosis has increased at the same rate that mental retardation has decreased; it's also stealing a few cases from ADHD. Now that we know what autism is and what it looks like, we're seeing it everywhere. Now that we've decided that "autism" can include people who can speak and people who also have mental retardation, the diagnosis has pretty much exploded. The first definitions of autism were very narrow: Someone who had highly unusual or absent speech, who couldn't interact or hardly ever did so, and whose behavior couldn't be explained because of some other condition, like mental retardation. The original cases of autism were identified because these kids seemed smart enough to learn speech and interaction; only they were delayed in doing so. Now that we're being a lot more inclusive with the diagnosis, we're discovering this phenomenon called "autism" is actually a lot more widespread than we thought it was.


I was gonna say something like this but Callista said it so much more eloquently. Kudos! :)