Why are SOO many kids on spectrum now???

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NickyLynn
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28 Aug 2010, 8:26 pm

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???



Callista
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28 Aug 2010, 8:39 pm

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.


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buryuntime
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28 Aug 2010, 9:21 pm

You seen the autistic kids growing up as misbehaved or mentally retarded.



Prof_Pretorius
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28 Aug 2010, 9:22 pm

Amen, Callista ! !

When I was young, I was acting 'stupid'. My teachers would tell me to 'behave' and 'shut up', now every third kid you meet is 'autistic'.
We're over DXing...


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buryuntime
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28 Aug 2010, 9:25 pm

Prof_Pretorius wrote:
Amen, Callista ! !

When I was young, I was acting 'stupid'. My teachers would tell me to 'behave' and 'shut up', now every third kid you meet is 'autistic'.
We're over DXing...

I hope this is a joke. It is less than 1 in 100, not 1 in 3.



luvmyaspie
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28 Aug 2010, 9:25 pm

I fully agree with Callista. I work in a high school of approximately 700 students, in Special Ed and Learning Support.

In Special Ed I work with the students who are diagnosed, a handful, perhaps, every year.

In Learning Support I work with the students who haven't been labeled any thing else except "poorly behaved". Though I see a lot of them and work with a lot of them as if they are on the spectrum with success. If only their parents were aware or even believed...then they would definitely be diagnosed and labeled.

Oh, and I won't leave out the fact that I see autistic school staff all around me and only one of them is actually diagnosed as having Asperger's.

When I say "I see", I mean that by my observations I would put them on the spectrum.

I believe the reason why there are so many now is that people are becoming more aware of Autism as a spectrum.

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.


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willaful
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28 Aug 2010, 9:32 pm

I don't think the OP was talking about diagnoses but about the fact that she knows so many kids in her neighborhood that seem to be on the spectrum.

My first guess would be that you're near a school system that has a reputation for being good for special needs kids. But you don't say any of these kids moved to the the neighborhood, so I don't know. My next guess would be that you've got a lot of geeks in the neighborhood. :D

I don't think kids are being overdiagnosed. The spectrum is a very broad one, after all, and encompasses many different kinds of diagnoses. I've never known a kid with a diagnosis that didn't have legitimate issues.


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NickyLynn
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28 Aug 2010, 9:35 pm

Boy I know what you're saying, and maybe I just didn't notice, but I don't remember kids being this "odd" growing up. I had no peers who spoke in stilted tones or rocked. No one shouted or threw themselves down when overwhelmed. I knew a couple of kids who struggled in school but they were in very typical ways - they weren't overall as socially odd as they struggled in reading or other areas. The aspies I know all do fine in school academically - it's only socially where they really struggle. I do agree we recognize it more BUT I sure do wonder too if it is more prevalent. I'm not trying to be argumentative here- more just looking for answers...



Callista
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28 Aug 2010, 9:39 pm

Didn't you have "nerds", "losers", and "dorks"? What about "crybabies", "loners", "quiet kids", and "weirdos"? And, of course, the ones who were obviously odd would have been segregated away from the typical kids in their own classrooms or even their own schools.

(Excuse the labels. They're not the ones I'd choose, except possibly for "nerd" or "weirdo", both of which I use for myself...)

That there are a lot of people being diagnosed ASD who are adults and would've been kids when you were a kid, so signs point more to "missed diagnosis" than "more ASDs".


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NickyLynn
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28 Aug 2010, 9:40 pm

Willaful - and NONE of these kids as far as I know have been diagnosed except for the boy with ADD (which I believe was upgraded to general "mental illness" later) and he was sent to attend a day facility that can handle this.

No, the one boy was born and grew up here - the siblings moved here 2 years ago but simply because their dad got a job here. I would say where I live if people were looking for excellent special needs support they would attend the 15 mile away university town - not go here. This is a pretty nice neighborhood but the schools are just normal.

My son, the little boy, and the siblings all do well in school. None of those 4 have been diagnosed but there is CLEARLY something going on with all of them.



Astravega
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28 Aug 2010, 9:43 pm

I believe there is total diagnosing in todays age as a 22 year old I was diagnosed at 4 in 1992 however in the early 00s it seems that everyone is diagnosed. I remember when the statistic was 1 in 10000 now it is 1 in 100. I personally think it is because how society has drastically changed causing an attitude shift. I do not know I have some thoughts but they are quite controversial but then again they could be correct. However I do believe in over dxing in this day and age.



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28 Aug 2010, 9:46 pm

Quote:
Callista
Didn't you have "nerds", "losers", and "dorks"? What about "crybabies", "loners", "quiet kids", and "weirdos"? And, of course, the ones who were obviously odd would have been segregated away from the typical kids in their own classrooms or even their own schools.

(Excuse the labels. They're not the ones I'd choose, except possibly for "nerd" or "weirdo", both of which I use for myself...)

That there are a lot of people being diagnosed ASD who are adults and would've been kids when you were a kid, so signs point more to "missed diagnosis" than "more ASDs".


Yes, this is how I feel.


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Mama_to_Grace
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28 Aug 2010, 9:49 pm

I believe that it's due to combinations of : genetics, environmental toxins, and perhaps something else we haven't uncovered yet.



NickyLynn
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28 Aug 2010, 9:49 pm

Well diagnosis or no, there is something going on.

When my son was younger, I couldn't stop him from licking other kids at the library. I don't know how better to explain this was not simply quirkiness.

Saying at 5 to an adult woman "YOU NEED to SPANK your father" referring to spanking her daughter is SOMETHING. Maybe it's not spectrum but this goes further than regular oddity.

I could have tried to correct some of my son's stranger behaviors by all the beatings in the world (which I NEVER would have done) and he would have been the same.

I don't know if you're saying calling this aspergers is incorrect, but there certainly must be some name for this more than oddness.



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28 Aug 2010, 9:54 pm

Mama_to_Grace wrote:
I believe that it's due to combinations of : genetics, environmental toxins, and perhaps something else we haven't uncovered yet.


like the Romans and their "environmental" lead poisoning fiasco?
poor bastards, they should've just used copper plumbling


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28 Aug 2010, 9:59 pm

i had around 100 kids in my grade in jr high / high school. i can think of one girl (in my same grade) who in retrospect i am pretty certain had AS and was bullied so much i can't remember if she finished school (she was a friend of mine). i can think of three or four others easily who might have, or who had something strange going on. the difference is if these kids were kids now, they would be tested instead of just being either behavioral problems or so depressed or anxiety stricken they could not come to school. thats way more than 1 in 100 that may or may not have had AS. so i am including kids whose problems may have been the result of something else but who i remember sticking out like sore thumbs. all the kids were just thought of as strange in one way or another (or as trashy kids with difficult parents), and oh well.


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