Toni Braxton’s son was not cured of autism and it’s irresponsible for her to say so

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momuf2
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12 Aug 2016, 7:55 pm

testing



saxgeek
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13 Aug 2016, 12:05 am

I'm wondering how Alex busted the 60 character limit for post titles with this topic.



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13 Aug 2016, 12:59 am

The great problem I see is that Ms Braxton has come out with a rather outlandish idea, if she wants people to pay attention then she needs to argue a good case using evidence. So far I can not see any evidence or hard facts so I say we should not believe her. The problem these days is that a halo effect exists these days, people think that as a person has a talent for one thing then they have a talent in another area.

For example Bono from U2 has a good ability to sing and make songs, but I have to ask why does his ability to sing make him more able than "Mr Average" to understand the complex issues behind world poverty. But I think that many people will pay more attention to Bono than other people as he is a pop star. I see the same problem with Ms Braxton, I think that people may pay her a lot more attention than she deserves due to the fact that she is a pop star.

I have seen what she said about God punishing her by giving her son autismDaily Mail article. To my mind this is outlandish and offensive.

Firstly we will not debate the existence or power of God, lets save that for another day in a different forum here. Maybe the one devoted to religion and philosophy. However it is rather medieval to imagine that God goes around striking people down as punishments on earth for a range of crimes. If you read the bible you will notice that in the new testament that the key story is about getting your life straightened out again and getting a better relationship with your fellow man and God.

It reminds me of the 1980s when some people (including medical doctors) were saying that AIDS was God's judgement on gays. One medical doctor who was shocked and troubled by this make the mocking reply that this was medieval and that maybe shortsightedness was God's judgement against people who read too much.

Ignoring the fact that the new testament God is not so keen on thunderbolts if we assume that God wished to make a special example of her, why would he do something to her son. Imagine a vengeful god who wanted to punish a singer who had done X, Y and Z, they would strike them mute or make them sing out of key. So we have to ask why would a God want to harm an innocent as a means of delivering a punishment to their mother.


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13 Aug 2016, 5:05 am

somanyspoons wrote:
TheSnakeWhisperer wrote:
It seems to me that a big part of the problem here is how autism is defined and from who's perspective.

So far all we've heard is the mother's side of the story, and the DSM seems to place alot of emphasis on behaviors in terms of how they are viewed by people outside the autistic person and not enough on their inner experience of the world and how they feel in it.

In order to truly consider somebody cured we'd have to know that from the individual themselves.

If they are straining to hold these changes which "put them off the spectrum" then this is just masking and not true cure. If they still experience the world as difficult and overwhelming (even if less so than before) than I would deduce that they are still autistic.

The DSM criteria probably needs to be updated now that so much more information has come to light about the inner experience of being autistic. With so many of us who are now older and still finding certain things in life difficult (and more able to describe it than before), with all the new information by us, for us about women with Aspergers, and the new information about just how broad a spectrum it is, it seems the DSM is slow to keep up.

I often wonder who these people are who decide the DSM criteria. Are any of them autistic themselves, or are all of them neurotypical? I suspect the latter. And if that's the case, then they are missing a very important part of what being autistic means.

It's problematic when parents decide to speak as proxys for their children because some things invariably get lost in translation. They are not inside their child's head. There again all they can really go on is what they see in the child's behavior and that's only part of the story.

If autism is in fact a hard-wired neurological difference then I don't see how it's logically possible to "cure" it anyway. That would be like saying that you can "cure" a computer of being a MAC or a PC. It is what it is and no amount of wishing or software changes will make it something different. It might help its limitations to be less problematic but it doesn't magically make it something else. Somebody on Youtube used this analogy and I think it fits perfectly.

There is neuroplasticity, but I doubt that neuroplasticity is capable of completely re-writing a person's entire underlying neural network. Everything I've read suggests that neuroplasticity creates new neural pathways but doesn't take down the original ones so that implies it's compensatory, not a replacement.


Neuroplasticity includes trimming pathways that are no longer being used. If we didn't take down old pathways, we would all be stark raving looney. In fact, one theory about why autistic toddler lose verbal skills is that they fail to trim the baby pathways while setting in the more mature pathways and its too much to handle. (I don't know if that's been debunked or not.) People with schizophrenia have too many pathways. Their brains are too active, not too inactive. Trimming keeps us sane.

Just a note from a biology geek. I totally approve of the bulk of your message. :wtg:


That's quite an interesting theory. As part of my language development modules on my degree we were taught that there are phases of language children go through. (An example from slightly older children is that children will first copy words with correct verb ends but when they develop the ability to use rules for verb ending, they drop previously learnt irregular endings and over extend regular endings.

It was suggested to us that autistic children may develop typically (or closer to typically) until a certain phase but then follow a different developmental path from then onwards. so, the children would be trimming old pathways (and thus losing words) without creating the new pathways that neurotypical children do.

It would definetly be interesting to research into whether it might be either of those. Or perhaps both in different types of autism.

I think over connectivity could make a lot of sense. I lose words temporarily when I get overwhelmed even though I definetly can use those pathways at other times. I also quite often have the wrong word come out.


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13 Aug 2016, 9:08 am

Tron81 wrote:
There is one element that seems to be missing from this discussion.

I saw this story on Facebook because it was shared, and liked, by African-American friends. The article I saw was on blackdoctor.org.

It got me thinking about Asperger's / high-functioning autism, about neurodiversity, and the fact that (from what I've seen) it's kind of a white world.

I wonder if there is a cultural difference here.


The bulk of it is cultural.

I have African American friends who believe mental illness is a punishment from God, that can either be bootstrapped or prayed away. Autism isn't much different. What did you do to cause it? It you caused it, that means you can fix it by increasing your faith and/or submitting your will to God for a total and complete healing.

Braxton makes me stabby. She and her music hasn't been relevant for years. If you can't get fame from your own doing, using your kid's supposed cure works just as well. She's appealing to a decent chunk of the African American community that totally distrusts the medical and educational professions. So a cure is a win win. Your child is now "normal", and you don't have to deal with professionals getting their meat hooks into your business anymore.

The thing about autism, is you do get jumps in development. Just when you are doing well through K-2 grade, it crashes because the rest of the kids make a huge social developmental jump in 3rd grade. Then your ASD kids catches up and it all goes to hell around age 12. Another big social developmental jump for kids. Your kid makes it through high school only to have it go to s**t when he/she tries to make it through college OR makes it through college and faces the world.

My husband passes for NT. But if you get to know him longer than a casual visit, all those ASD cracks appear. Like another poster said, brain smarts and rules from an educational setting only get you so far. It's all those stupid soft skills that cause the problems.

Braxton should have wrote, "My son passes as NT! Huzzah!", because that is probably all that has happened. He got enough therapies to deal with the world. Either Braxton is in denial, ignorant or using the story for her own PR about her child's cure.



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13 Aug 2016, 10:48 am

Tawaki wrote:
Tron81 wrote:
There is one element that seems to be missing from this discussion.

I saw this story on Facebook because it was shared, and liked, by African-American friends. The article I saw was on blackdoctor.org.

It got me thinking about Asperger's / high-functioning autism, about neurodiversity, and the fact that (from what I've seen) it's kind of a white world.

I wonder if there is a cultural difference here.


The bulk of it is cultural.

I have African American friends who believe mental illness is a punishment from God, that can either be bootstrapped or prayed away. Autism isn't much different. What did you do to cause it? It you caused it, that means you can fix it by increasing your faith and/or submitting your will to God for a total and complete healing.

Braxton makes me stabby. She and her music hasn't been relevant for years. If you can't get fame from your own doing, using your kid's supposed cure works just as well. She's appealing to a decent chunk of the African American community that totally distrusts the medical and educational professions. So a cure is a win win. Your child is now "normal", and you don't have to deal with professionals getting their meat hooks into your business anymore.

The thing about autism, is you do get jumps in development. Just when you are doing well through K-2 grade, it crashes because the rest of the kids make a huge social developmental jump in 3rd grade. Then your ASD kids catches up and it all goes to hell around age 12. Another big social developmental jump for kids. Your kid makes it through high school only to have it go to s**t when he/she tries to make it through college OR makes it through college and faces the world.

My husband passes for NT. But if you get to know him longer than a casual visit, all those ASD cracks appear. Like another poster said, brain smarts and rules from an educational setting only get you so far. It's all those stupid soft skills that cause the problems.

Braxton should have wrote, "My son passes as NT! Huzzah!", because that is probably all that has happened. He got enough therapies to deal with the world. Either Braxton is in denial, ignorant or using the story for her own PR about her child's cure.


I thought about race, too, when I read this. But I don't know what to say on the matter. The truth is that the world of "high functioning" Autistics is very white, as is also true with mild learning disabilities and your more "walking wounded" people with mental illness (meaning people who have depression or similar, but continue to go to work and do most of their daily activities.)

There is more stigma around mental illness and cognitive problems in the Black community. I won't go into why. But I think its an important factor in this case. Its too bad Braxton chose not to be a role model for eliminating this stigma, but that would be different for her than it would for someone who's white. The factors her life are different than mine.



old_comedywriter
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14 Aug 2016, 2:23 pm

Celebrities. You give 'em a platform to speak, and now they know more than all of us. I'm sure someone has done research on THAT syndrome.

Just wait until he has a meltdown. He will have one. Not because I know or have diagnosed him, but with the pressure of being a celebrity's kid and getting older, well, let's just say that the chances are good.

My PDD-NOS deaf granddaughter used to have meltdowns daily, and would self-injure until her hands were bleeding. She now takes two medications that help. Is she cured? You might think so, because you're not around when she has her two meltdowns a year now. Two a year are mostly manageable.

I would love to be able to brag about her being cured, since I took her to the doctor who prescribed her medications. Reality dictates otherwise, but hey, I'm already a hero. I helped her. I raised her with my wife. I don't need to pad my achievements with dubious claims.

And then there's me. At age 56, all that's left for me is behavior modification brought about by failure, experience, and learning. The successes are huge, but then so are the failures. I have been working in the same type of employment for 37 years continuously. I have some friends. I've finally got my meltdowns under control. Does that mean I've been cured of anything at all? I have horrendous arguments with my wife. I lose my temper when driving sometimes. I miss obvious problems when I'm too focused on another thing.

The only thing I've been cured of is saying that autism can be cured.


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14 Aug 2016, 5:39 pm

Hate to nitpick but she didn't say he was cured.

She said "has no signs of autism" and that's entirely possible.



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14 Aug 2016, 6:02 pm

nostromo wrote:
Hate to nitpick but she didn't say he was cured.

She said "has no signs of autism" and that's entirely possible.



Quote:
My son Diezel is off the spectrum


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14 Aug 2016, 6:19 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
nostromo wrote:
Hate to nitpick but she didn't say he was cured.

She said "has no signs of autism" and that's entirely possible.



Quote:
My son Diezel is off the spectrum

Thanks for proving my point.



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14 Aug 2016, 9:04 pm

SG wrote:
Autism is defined by the medical community as a list of negative symptoms. Cure the negative symptoms, cure autism.

Right.

Trans people for example, on the wrong hormones, mentally debilitated to the point of receiving an autism diagnosis, however, later, after cross-hormone therapy, and support, they can "cure" much of their autism. Possibly, no longer qualifying for an ASD diagnosis.



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15 Aug 2016, 3:07 am

nostromo wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
nostromo wrote:
Hate to nitpick but she didn't say he was cured.

She said "has no signs of autism" and that's entirely possible.



Quote:
My son Diezel is off the spectrum

Thanks for proving my point.

She does not have to say the exact words "He was cured" to mean she thinks has was cured. She is presumably NT and presimably does not use exacting language. She came as close to saying those exact words without actually saying them. If a person is on the spectrum he or she is autistic. If the person is not on the spectrum anymore he or she is not autistic anymore. If he or she is not autistic because of some action such as therapy then that action "cured" that person. That is what she is claiming happened. What other interpretation of her words can there reasonably be?


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15 Aug 2016, 2:31 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
nostromo wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
nostromo wrote:
Hate to nitpick but she didn't say he was cured.

She said "has no signs of autism" and that's entirely possible.



Quote:
My son Diezel is off the spectrum

Thanks for proving my point.

She does not have to say the exact words "He was cured" to mean she thinks has was cured. She is presumably NT and presimably does not use exacting language. She came as close to saying those exact words without actually saying them. If a person is on the spectrum he or she is autistic. If the person is not on the spectrum anymore he or she is not autistic anymore. If he or she is not autistic because of some action such as therapy then that action "cured" that person. That is what she is claiming happened. What other interpretation of her words can there reasonably be?

I Disagree. Words are of utmost importance.

Its open to interpretation but I tend to think of "cure" as this illusionary concept of change imbibed by some sort if elixer or procedure. Highly unfeasible. I don't know of Ms Braxtons interpretation but I would suspect that whatever it is it is not the same as the alleged change she is talking about in her son. Her words are important. She claims he is no longer on the spectrum, she claims he no longer shows signs of autism.

I would imagine most people here myself included know he is and always will be autistic and Ms Braxton might even think that too for all we know but she wasnt speaking to that she was speaking of what I am almost certain are diagnostic criteria for autism. Different things. The distinction is subtle but important.
In fact she didnt even go so far as to claim he no longer had autism.

Words matter. They are very important as they convey meaning and intent.

It does irk me when people jump to conclusions and blurt our headlines like this that are misleading.



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15 Aug 2016, 3:11 pm

nostromo wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
nostromo wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
nostromo wrote:
Hate to nitpick but she didn't say he was cured.

She said "has no signs of autism" and that's entirely possible.



Quote:
My son Diezel is off the spectrum

Thanks for proving my point.

She does not have to say the exact words "He was cured" to mean she thinks has was cured. She is presumably NT and presimably does not use exacting language. She came as close to saying those exact words without actually saying them. If a person is on the spectrum he or she is autistic. If the person is not on the spectrum anymore he or she is not autistic anymore. If he or she is not autistic because of some action such as therapy then that action "cured" that person. That is what she is claiming happened. What other interpretation of her words can there reasonably be?

I Disagree. Words are of utmost importance.

Its open to interpretation but I tend to think of "cure" as this illusionary concept of change imbibed by some sort if elixer or procedure. Highly unfeasible. I don't know of Ms Braxtons interpretation but I would suspect that whatever it is it is not the same as the alleged change she is talking about in her son. Her words are important. She claims he is no longer on the spectrum, she claims he no longer shows signs of autism.

I would imagine most people here myself included know he is and always will be autistic and Ms Braxton might even think that too for all we know but she wasnt speaking to that she was speaking of what I am almost certain are diagnostic criteria for autism. Different things. The distinction is subtle but important.
In fact she didnt even go so far as to claim he no longer had autism.

Words matter. They are very important as they convey meaning and intent.

It does irk me when people jump to conclusions and blurt our headlines like this that are misleading.

What a bogus argument. That's like a woman telling the police "help! He forced me to have sex with him against my will" and them not doing anything because "Words are important! She never used the word rape so she didn't say she was raped! "

The word cure is not illusionary. It's a clearly defined word that you should look up in the dictionary if you're confused by its meaning.

In case you're too lazy, I'll paste the first few lines of the definition for you:
1. relieve (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition.
* "eliminate (a disease, condition, or injury) with medical treatment."
* solve (a problem).
2. preserve (meat, fish, tobacco, or an animal skin) by various methods such as salting, drying, or smoking.
* harden (rubber, plastic, concrete, etc.) after manufacture by a chemical process such as vulcanization.
* undergo curing by a chemical process.


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16 Aug 2016, 4:42 pm

In the context of autism the word cure becomes unclear because there are different opinions on what the word autism defines and therefore there isn't agreement on what there is to "solve or eliminate".

But if I am to try and understand, then are you saying the actual statements she made which are as follows:

"He [has] no signs of autism.”
and
He "is off the spectrum.”

Must be false?