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ASPartOfMe
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10 Jun 2014, 12:24 pm

Acedia wrote:
Wrongplanet is hardly a reflection of the autistic population. I've met people with autism in real life that have no idea about this forum, nor have any interest in it.
---


In the AS/HFA support groups I attend many people do not go on internet forums . Which is irreverent to the possibility of females being under diagnosed.

I have seen not only on this forum but on other Autism related forums widespread belief that Autism is overdiagnosed in general and Aspergers is overdiagnosed(trendy,elitist etc) in particular.

Here is a speech by John Robison given at the 2014 IMFAR conference arguing autistics have always been here but were an accepted part of society a few hundred years ago. I agree with him on this point.
http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/2014 ... ights.html


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Toy_Soldier
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10 Jun 2014, 1:26 pm

It is possible that many females are not diagnosed because they do not show the same typical symptoms currently associated with autism.

One recent study suggests that certain other disorders may actually be linked to autism and a different expression of it. The ones I remember most talked about were eating disorders. The researchers found certain markers (whether genetic or some aspect of brain physiology, I can't remember) that were already associated with autism. They also noted some similiarities in the psychology.



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10 Jun 2014, 2:48 pm

I vote for increased awareness. Looking back at the people I worked with as an engineer and those I grew around with as a child, I can see that there were quite a few who would be identified today as somewhere on autistic spectrum.


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The_Walrus
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10 Jun 2014, 3:09 pm

Aspertastic424 wrote:
I know it is much better now, but I have heard that teachers in the UK are allowed to be tougher and more "old scool" than their American counterparts?

Maybe a generation ago, but I'm not sure it's possible for US teachers to be less tough than UK ones.

Corporal punishment is outlawed in the UK (since 1987 in state funded schools and since 1999 in public schools), but still present in 19 states in the USA.



B19
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10 Jun 2014, 4:32 pm

I do think the incidence rate has increased. I don't accept that this is just attributable to better recognition and diagnostic process.

There is a current mystery in medicine (a parallel example of increase in a condition that is not yet explained) as to why breast cancer in women has gone from 1 in 30 women (20 years ago) to 1 in 9 (now). The rate is increasing so fast that it cannot be attributed to genetic influences. There are various theories.

Mine is that the increase in both conditions is due to epigenetic factors.

The dangers of taking drugs/prescription medicines etc during the early prenatal period of pregnancy has been recognised for over 50 years: thalidomide put that awareness into the public domain. Thalidomide effects were easy to see: missing limbs. But there may be other prenatal effects so subtle that the connections have yet to be made.

It may be that many common everyday substances (like certain plastics for example, that we microwave foods in - this example is just for the purposes of illustration here) can modify the genes in utero. That's epigenetics. It may be increased exposure to everyday radiation (which we are affected by every second of out lives) is modifying brain development.



foodeater
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10 Jun 2014, 4:36 pm

i think it probably is mostly more awareness. - but the question is why more awareness. :) i think in part it could be that there are less avenues for people with ASD to "fit in" to society. if you think about ASD as a processing disorder and how coping methods for sorting information appear in different people, i think now there are many more cases where problems processing are able make themselves apparent and earlier in life. that is, it's only a disorder if it impairs the person.

just think about people that take babies to the mall where they are exposed to more people and things in minutes than they might have had to process in their entire lives 100+ years ago. or schools that have 100s or thousands or pupils.

the western world has had (is having) quite a radical upward shift in recent history in terms of the scope and scale of information a person has to process in order to fit in to the "good/normal" part of society. we've also had a radical downward shift in terms of "good/ valued" work that often runs parallel to ASD traits, i think.

western society widely embraced using technology in the past by giving people "well defined" or narrowly scoped jobs in order to increase production and it was short sighted because they created roles for people in service of how the technology worked and then that same technology removed many of those jobs as the technology became more advanced!

for instance, working a loom or knitting, which are a proto-computers, aren't markedly different in the kind of thinking required than in the "stereotypical" ASD male computer programmer. it's interesting, i think, that jobs like soldering and sewing (systems, detail + process oriented) are still mostly done by women, but it's been outsourced. in fact, i find that a lot of "low value" jobs that have been traditionally defined as women's work would allow someone with ASD traits to work "under the radar".

that's part of why i feel like a lot of the methods they currently use to attempt to "integrate" kids with ASD don't make sense. to me, it seems like if the taste of peanut butter made you gag and they focused on giving you recipes so that it's more palatable, to disguise it, or training you not to gag so other people didn't notice!

it doesn't change the reality that every time you eat it you're going against your nature. it's not like it's a moral or conscious decision to gag. seems like a lot of wasted time and effort. i mean, you might have to eat it to live and then, sure, methods to make it more bearable are helpful, but i think the 1st step is making opportunities to live without it. then you can make a choice on how and when to eat it. i think it's entirely likely that a person would figure out a lot of these methods on their own given the time and space to do so.

too much focus on integration i feel will actually do more to create "low functioning" people within the system we have now. i think it's similar to when they used to make lefties write with their right hand and you ended up with people poor handwriting along with anxiety, depression, etc. yes, there are real issues with ASD vastly more so than with dominant hand, but i see that as making "training" a an even poorer and more ridiculous solution or starting place to focus on. start with helping the person learn to manage and work with whatever issues they have.

i think ASD is a real problem and it also highlights some underlying problems and flawed assumptions in western society's "system design" that we'd do well to address rather than to mask. at what point do we recognize that a system that's classifying an increasing number of people as disordered or disabled needs addressing and is no longer functioning as a useful map of reality?



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10 Jun 2014, 4:50 pm

B19 wrote:
I... Mine is that the increase in both conditions is due to epigenetic factors...


(Nods head in agreement)

Rememember the Bee die-off? It was mystifying scientists for years and had a host of possible explanations mainly centering on disease, parasites and 'over-work'. Most recent finding is it is pesticides.



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11 Jun 2014, 1:02 am

IMO, it's dietary.


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12 Jun 2014, 1:34 am

I think most of it has to do where you draw the like that divides who is Aspie and who is not.

Surly there is not some genetic clock that has gone off to make all of those new autistic people. Of course you could believe the whole indigo/crystal children theories out there that additional autistic children are needed to save the world(I personally don't).



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12 Jun 2014, 3:29 am

B19 wrote:
I do think the incidence rate has increased. I don't accept that this is just attributable to better recognition and diagnostic process.

There is a current mystery in medicine (a parallel example of increase in a condition that is not yet explained) as to why breast cancer in women has gone from 1 in 30 women (20 years ago) to 1 in 9 (now). The rate is increasing so fast that it cannot be attributed to genetic influences. There are various theories.

Mine is that the increase in both conditions is due to epigenetic factors.

The dangers of taking drugs/prescription medicines etc during the early prenatal period of pregnancy has been recognised for over 50 years: thalidomide put that awareness into the public domain. Thalidomide effects were easy to see: missing limbs. But there may be other prenatal effects so subtle that the connections have yet to be made.

It may be that many common everyday substances (like certain plastics for example, that we microwave foods in - this example is just for the purposes of illustration here) can modify the genes in utero. That's epigenetics. It may be increased exposure to everyday radiation (which we are affected by every second of out lives) is modifying brain development.


I agree. I also think that Lyme Disease, which can be tranferred to the foetus via the placenta, is another possibe cause in some cases Some Lyme doctors are reporting that they are finding it in children with an autism diagnosis. The symptoms of the two conditions can be similar as Lyme affects the neurological system, and the autism symptoms go when the child is treated with antibx or ease then return once antibx are stopped.



B19
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12 Jun 2014, 6:21 am

There may be many pieces to this puzzle. For example, compare domestic environments now with 50 years ago - there is vast change.
In homes there is far more exposure now to electromagnetic fields (microwaves, computers, electric blankets etc) and we don't really know how factors like this, and others, act on the foetus, especially in the early months of brain development in utero. I don't think there will be one single explanatory factor, but a number of factors, interacting and not yet suspected as impacting on early uterine development.

This doesn't rule out genetics. It seems clear to me that genetics are a factor too.



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12 Jun 2014, 7:24 am

While there is increased recognition, I also know plenty of children and it seems about 1 in 10 shows Autistic symptoms nowadays where in my elementary school I was only 1 of 2 in a school of 200 that did. Obviously that doesn't mean they will all be diagnosed but I see a very noticeable increase in both boys and girls. My chemistry whiz brother suspects it has something to do with rise in new chemicals and the lack of knowledge of their long term effects. Who knows?



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12 Jun 2014, 8:15 am

I'm not precluding, at all, the possibility of environmental-genetic causation increasing the incidence of autism

From my experience, there seems to be more Aspergian-type people around than previously.

As for the stereotypical manifestations of "classic autism," I haven't really noticed an increased incidence.

Perhaps one could notice an increase in symptoms, because one knows what the symptoms are. Many of the symptoms of Asperger's are quite subtle, at first glance, especially to one who is not aware of its specific symptoms.

When one becomes aware of these subtle symptoms of Asperger's through initial knowledge, and then the employment of that knowledge within one's experience, one will invariably notice an increased incidence of Asperger's.



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12 Jun 2014, 10:57 pm

I would like to know the number of people getting an ASD dx without having any noticeable sensory of coordination issues, the full triad of impairments. That would maybe help indicate weather or not people with other neurological issues are being lumped into the ASD fold.



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13 Jun 2014, 1:08 pm

I've met far too many middle-aged people with undiagnosed or late-diagnosed AS to seriously believe AS is on the rise. If there's so many late-diagnosed that we know of, how many more are there that haven't been found yet?

Plus, if you read old case reports of 'childhood schizophrenia', probably nearly all of those kids would get an autism spectrum diagnosis nowadays.