Autism as the wrenching pain of early separation??????

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Sparrowrose
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19 Dec 2010, 12:21 am

So .... here's a "theory" about autism I hadn't heard before.

And I don't buy it for a minute. It makes zero sense when I compare it to my own life experience as an autistic person.

Wondered what others might have to say about it.

http://www.afterpsychotherapy.com/autism-symptoms/


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menintights
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19 Dec 2010, 12:23 am

These people need to get a life.



Sparrowrose
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19 Dec 2010, 12:33 am

menintights wrote:
These people need to get a life.


Unfortunately, he has a life. As a professional therapist.
I'm wondering how many autistic clients he's screwed up with his strange theories.


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pensieve
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19 Dec 2010, 1:02 am

There is something known as environmental autism. Neglected kids can do repetitive behavior. There was a story posted here once about the girl in the window. A very neglected girl who couldn't talk and had other autistic like traits.
But real autism is something you have all your life. I would elaborate but I have some very hungry cats to feed.


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Sparrowrose
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19 Dec 2010, 3:57 am

pensieve wrote:
There is something known as environmental autism. Neglected kids can do repetitive behavior. There was a story posted here once about the girl in the window. A very neglected girl who couldn't talk and had other autistic like traits.


Yes, but that's not autism. It's also not what this quack is talking about because he says that autism is caused by being aware of one's self as a separate being as an infant, long before one is supposed to come to that realization. He also isn't claiming that autism comes from abuse or neglect (like Bettelheim did.)

I can't help thinking a therapist with the sort of beliefs this guy is putting forth would be damaging to a client with autism. I'm surprised more people aren't outraged at what he said, especially since I've seen this group get livid over much less ludicrous claims about autism than this.


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katzefrau
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19 Dec 2010, 4:11 am

that sounds archaic like the refrigerator mother theory.


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CockneyRebel
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19 Dec 2010, 8:20 am

That doesn't make sense to me, at all. I've never experienced anything like that.


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Sparrowrose
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19 Dec 2010, 8:42 am

CockneyRebel wrote:
That doesn't make sense to me, at all. I've never experienced anything like that.


I looked up the woman he was referencing and apparently she's really famous for working with autistic children in the 1950s and 1960s. In other words, the Stone Age as far as knowledge about autism is concerned.

I found this quote on a website about her:

“It was with one child, whom she called “John”, that Tustin discovered the core problematic in this type of autism: a lack of continuity “mouth-tongue-nipple-breast”, due to the child’s premature awareness of his separateness from the maternal nipple-breast. Tustin found that the awareness of the experience of such discontinuity in an infant who has yet to acquire the capacity to symbolize the absence and the absent object, is that of a ‘black hole’ filled with dangerous objects. John called this a ‘black hole with a nasty prick’. Tustin learned from her work with John that, in order to protect himself against that traumatic experience of annihilation, the child attempts to freeze time and and to nullify such dangerous spaces by enclosing himself within a world of self-made soothing sensations of impermeability and changelessness. Unfortunately these autistic maneuvers profoundly hinder the child’s social and cognitive development.”

So . . . apparently we got autism because mommy took her breast away from us an dmade us sad. Or something.

If this is what psychoanalysis is about, they can keep it!


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matrixluver
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19 Dec 2010, 11:30 am

If separation from the nipple is the root cause of all Autism, then the MAJORITY of people in western societies where breast feeding is a rarity should have Autism. The rates should be one in 110 people are NT, and not the other way around.

Of course with rates of 1 in 110 it might be deduced that Autism is less a disorder than a markedly different version of neurological functioning at odds with the majority. I mean, in some cultures, a learning disability would be defined as a strong preference for reading rather than a focus on more practical use of the hands to maintain conditions for survival.



Sparrowrose
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19 Dec 2010, 8:40 pm

matrixluver wrote:
If separation from the nipple is the root cause of all Autism, then the MAJORITY of people in western societies where breast feeding is a rarity should have Autism. The rates should be one in 110 people are NT, and not the other way around.


Considering that people with Asperger's and other forms of autism have been found to have both functional and structural differences in the brain . . . the only way this breastfeeding scenario could be even remotely accurate is that our neurological structure and function causes us to realize "hey, this breast is not part of me" at an earlier age than people with a more typical brain structure.

Though I'm still offended at the idea of a gaping, unhealed, Fisher King-like wound in our psyche.
And the idea that our "stims and stereotypies" are not for ourselves but are enacted for other people.
How would this guy explain the fact that I engage in "stims and stereotypies" when no one else is around? Practicing for the big game? Bah.

matrixluver wrote:
Of course with rates of 1 in 110 it might be deduced that Autism is less a disorder than a markedly different version of neurological functioning at odds with the majority. I mean, in some cultures, a learning disability would be defined as a strong preference for reading rather than a focus on more practical use of the hands to maintain conditions for survival.


That kind of reminds me of a passage in the book "Out of Africa" where the Baroness was reading a letter from home to one of her workers who could not read. Although most of the black Africans she encountered were illiterate, they had a magical reverence for the written word. The Baroness came to a passage where the man's uncle's scribe had written that he had eaten a boat. The Baroness said, "I think this was a typo. I think the scribe was meant to write that he ate a goat." The worker said, "what does it say, Baroness?" and she replied, "it SAYS he ate a boat." And the worker said, "then if that is what is written, most assuredly, my uncle ate a boat. What a marvel!"


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buryuntime
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19 Dec 2010, 9:08 pm

It's obvious quackery and a very old theory. Reminds me of the children who get labeled as having attachment disorders instead of autism.



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19 Dec 2010, 9:32 pm

Sparrowrose wrote:
Though I'm still offended at the idea of a gaping, unhealed, Fisher King-like wound in our psyche.And the idea that our "stims and stereotypies" are not for ourselves but are enacted for other people.How would this guy explain the fact that I engage in "stims and stereotypies" when no one else is around? Practicing for the big game? Bah.


Yeah.

And, I can't think of how to articulate my thought too well here, but I think there's something pretty deep about that observation. Humans seem to, by default, regard any abnormal behavior as a performance for others. "Q: Why did he do that? A: He just wants attention." And there is a history of medicine dreaming up psychological explanations for things that are later found to be physical: Parkinson's disease being thought of as "hysterical paralysis," and similarly for epilepsy, MS, and so on. And those wrong explanations always involve "cheating to get the benefits of the 'sick role.'"

I think there's a sort of cognitive hijacking that occurs. I think there is an evolved instinct to suspect that a person is 'faking it,' which makes it very hard for most humans to think clearly about such issues. IOW, an evolved over-sensitivity to the idea that someone else is faking it and cheating the system. The trouble is, people never think their thought processes could be biased (beyond reasonable or logical limits) by instinct like that. (And, it's also sort of failure of Theory of Mind, but in reverse: assuming that you have perfect knowledge of others' thoughts, motivations, feelings.)

Personally, I find it a bit amazing that Tourette's and a lot of other things aren't still mired in such psychobabble. People really seem to like such explanations.



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20 Dec 2010, 12:25 pm

Personally, I think that a crappy childhood can make any natural tendencies towards anxiety, depression, etc., worse, and probably won't help with social skills and delays, either. However, the genetic tendency has to be there.

I have two autistic kids, and I've treated them with lots of tender loving care--and they are doing better than other kids around here (Austin, Texas) with the same disorder. However, no matter what I do, they still have issues. (Some people who do not work with them on a daily basis even think that the older one, with classic autism, must have something other than ASD, and that the younger one, with milder issues, is "normal.")

On the other hand, I personally know of cases where autistic kids have gotten little in the way of early intervention, and that shows too--less speech, more behavior issues, overall slower development.