Why is autism classified as a childhood disorder?

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bakattsura
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17 Sep 2010, 12:57 pm

Recently, while trying to set up a support group for persons with Asperger's Syndrome at a local hospital, I was told over the phone that "we do not have a pediatric department," implying either that persons with autism do not actually grow up, or that it dissipates after a period of time.

Autism is also classified as a childhood disorder in many psychology textbooks I have come across. This is curious to me as someone whom is now in his mid-twenties. I can understand why the public perceives autism as a childhood disorder; the vast majority of the autistic faces people see in the media are children. But to have it written in a textbook, by actual, trained and practicing psychologists, is confusing.

I'd like to ask if anyone with some background in psychology and human development could shine some light on this for me.



pgd
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17 Sep 2010, 1:21 pm

bakattsura wrote:
Recently, while trying to set up a support group for persons with Asperger's Syndrome at a local hospital, I was told over the phone that "we do not have a pediatric department," implying either that persons with autism do not actually grow up, or that it dissipates after a period of time.

Autism is also classified as a childhood disorder in many psychology textbooks I have come across. This is curious to me as someone whom is now in his mid-twenties. I can understand why the public perceives autism as a childhood disorder; the vast majority of the autistic faces people see in the media are children. But to have it written in a textbook, by actual, trained and practicing psychologists, is confusing.

I'd like to ask if anyone with some background in psychology and human development could shine some light on this for me.


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Part of the (phony) sales pitch of (part of) USA medicine for decades included official proclamations such as:

Your child has epilepsy - your child will outgrow it.

Your child has hyperactivity (ADHD - ADD) - your child will outgrow it.

Your child has autism - your child will outgrow it.

Am even aware that some children with cerebral palsy were told they will outgrow it.

My thinking is that some persons in the medical field wanted to get the kids out of their offices in an upbeat way so they implied everything would be outgrown. The medical profession simply systematically fibbed (lied) about it.

The you will outgrow it all certainly implied to a lot of kids that organized medicine has all the answers and it's just a matter of patiently waiting until one reaches the magic age of 18 or 21 only to learn the kids (and their parents) were conned by the system.

The system doesn't care. It got paid to fib (lie).

Let them slip through the cracks until they are 18 or 21 where they can sink or swim in the world of employment.

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The above is a private communication.

Tape scene (How the medical system works at times)

...We will disavow any statement ever made that a child will outgrow autism...

Most episodes begin with the leader of the IMF getting orders from a hidden tape recorder and an envelope of photos and information which explains the mission. The tape always begins with "Good Morning Mr. Phelps/Briggs", explains the situation, and ends with "Your mission, should you decide to accept it", with a brief explanation of the goal of the mission, along with a reminder that "As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions." [8] The instructions on the tape were read by voice actor Bob Johnson. At the end of the tape's instructions, Phelps/Briggs would be notified "this tape will self-destruct in five seconds", and smoke would emit from the tape and the instructions were destroyed. In filming, the tapes were not actually destroyed, instead smoke was piped into the tape recorder to create the illusion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission:_Impossible

Additional references include:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night_Live



mv
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17 Sep 2010, 1:29 pm

bakattsura, are you in Eastern MA? Have you looked into / had any luck with AANE?



azbluesgal
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17 Sep 2010, 1:31 pm

They don't live with it, cope with it, crash with it - nor do they have any empathy for what they cannot or will not understand because it does not fit within "conventional" medical "wisdom" . I'm getting tired of typing in quotes here, but I think you are getting my drift. :roll: I am a retired healthcare professional with a couple of degrees and have accrued a couple of decades working with and living with myself - "disabilities" which in itself is a misnomer. They thought ADD just "went away" until recently when you "grew up". I know I have a very differently wired nervous system - well i didn't get the owner's manual early enough in life to help me. I have learned to cope with my "eccentricities" and managed to pursue meaningful employment for most of my life. Now i'm retired but I still have a "need to be needed". Maybe i can help, maybe not. just ask. I'll tell you anything. zig



Celoneth
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17 Sep 2010, 2:18 pm

It's classified as a disorder that starts in childhood because it has to start in childhood by definition as it's a disorder of development.
As to why it gets portrayed as something only kids get - I blame money and media - images of poor, little, adorable kids trapped by their autism raise funds and sell ad space - they also get the backing of vocal parent groups. Even psychology classes and textbooks almost exclusively focus on kids, though newer versions of textbooks are a bit better or at least mention adults in passing. However, I think that as the kids of this generation's autism "epidemic" grow up and become adults who need services, that the focus will shift at least a bit to covering it as a lifespan disorder.



Ichinin
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17 Sep 2010, 4:02 pm

Because people are idiots and believe that Autism spectrum disorders just popped out of thin air approximately 20 years ago.


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buryuntime
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17 Sep 2010, 4:11 pm

Because autistic children never, ever grow up. It's impossible.



gramirez
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17 Sep 2010, 4:21 pm

Because it completely disappears the minute you turn 18.


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pgd
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17 Sep 2010, 4:32 pm

gramirez wrote:
Because it completely disappears the minute you turn 18.


---

Yes, exactly when the clock strikes midnight.

That has been proven over and over in double-blind, peer reviewed scientific studies from the finest universities around the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella

Additional, highly reliable resources include:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Python



Last edited by pgd on 17 Sep 2010, 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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17 Sep 2010, 4:35 pm

Autism is considered a childhood disorder because, until recently, it was children who received the diagnosis. It was obvious when a child had autism, or so they thought, so the parents would receive the diagnosis from a doctor and not know what to do. The support groups were invented for them.
Autism doesn't just go away when you turn eighteen, but, by then, parents and persons affected would have already dealt with what it's like to have or know someone with Autism, so, they might not need the kind of support or services a parent or newly diagnosed child might require.
It's similar to ADHD. You hear about kids being diagnosed while going to gradeschool. By the time they are teenagers, they have either reconditioned their brain to cope, or have found other ways, and know what works for them. They might have ADHD as a teenager, but they have meds or have learned how to live with it, so you don't hear about them needing the same types of services or attention from teachers they needed while in gradeschool.



alex
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17 Sep 2010, 4:54 pm

Im in western Massachusetts.

Autism is developmental disability but it affects adults as well as children. Much of the belief that it is a childhood disorder comes from misrepresentation by the media


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MotherKnowsBest
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17 Sep 2010, 5:05 pm

I recently told my GP that I wanted an assessment for Asperger's. He was adamant that this couldn't be done as it is only done for children. I wouldn't accept this and eventually he said he would refer me to the relevant people at the hospital anyway but that they wouldn't do it. Well they did see me this week and they are going to do the assessment and they were very surprised that I had been told otherwise.



marshall
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17 Sep 2010, 9:29 pm

Autism doesn't go away when one turns 18. The issue is the medical system is based on making $$$$ and it's the parents of autistic children who can afford to pay for so-called interventions and treatments. Thus autism is marketed as a childhood only disorder. The system isn't designed to help people, it's designed so doctors and pharmaceutical companies can make as much $$$$$ as possible off the backs of the sick. It's the American way. :roll:

Also, in general American society cares more about helping children than helping adults. Children need to be protected and pandered because they're cute and innocent looing. Once you get older and lose your physical cuteness nobody cares anymore. You could drop dead in the street and people would just walk over you. Only children are "special" and must be protected. OTOH, when adults have problems they're told to go f*** themselves because nobody cares. :roll:



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17 Sep 2010, 11:57 pm

Once an autistic, always an autistic.


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Callista
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18 Sep 2010, 3:09 am

Technically, the category isn't "Childhood Disorder" but "Disorders first diagnosed in infancy and childhood."


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