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Chronos
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16 May 2012, 4:50 pm

Psychopathy can be an innate genetic trait. There are instances of individuals who were raised in a loving, healthy environment and who are still complete psychopaths, but they are probably in the minority.



hoegaandit
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17 May 2012, 7:45 pm

Sure, but given the damage psychopaths do to themselves and society surely it is worth checking out the possibilities of changing their mindset and empathy skills early?



Ettina
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11 Jun 2012, 8:26 am

Psychopathy is my current obsession, and I can tell you that this article was surprisingly accurate for a news article.

How the heck do you think Michael is autistic? He shows no sign of autism, except maybe for meltdowns, which are seen in a pile of different conditions.



momsparky
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11 Jun 2012, 8:49 am

He shows distinct difficulty in understanding communication and expressing himself. The other behaviors could easily be a result of a severe pragmatic language deficit.



Ettina
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12 Jun 2012, 4:37 pm

Quote:
He shows distinct difficulty in understanding communication and expressing himself. The other behaviors could easily be a result of a severe pragmatic language deficit.


Maybe some slight difficulty, but that's typical for pre-pubertal psychopaths (because they experience emotions differently, it's harder for them to understand when others are feeling a way that they don't feel). And there's plenty that can't be explained by a pragmatic language deficit. For example:

Quote:
While queuing up a Pokémon video on the family’s computer upstairs, Michael turned to me and remarked crisply, “As you can see, I don’t really like Allan.” When I asked if that was really true, he said: “Yes. It’s true,” then added tonelessly, “I hate him.”
Glancing down a second later, he noticed my digital tape recorder on the table. “Did you record that?” he asked. I said that I had. He stared at me briefly before turning back to the video. When a sudden noise from the other room caused me to glance away, Michael seized the opportunity to grab the recorder and press the erase button.


Quote:
One night, while Michael watched his Pokémon video, Allan climbed up to sit in the chair next to him with the strap end of a Beyblade launcher dangling from his mouth. Michael looked at him with hatred, then calmly turned back to the computer. Thirty seconds passed. Suddenly, Michael pivoted, grabbed the strap with vicious force and hurled the launcher across the room.


Quote:
Recalling the chipper hug that Michael gave her earlier that evening, she shook her head. “Two hugs in 10 minutes?” she said. “I haven’t gotten two hugs in two weeks!” She suspected that Michael had been trying to manipulate me and was using similar tricks to manipulate his therapists: conning them into believing he was making progress by behaving well during the hour that he was in treatment.


Quote:
At home, Miguel said, Michael had become slyer in his disobedience. “He doesn’t scream as much,” he told me. “He just does what he wants and then lies about it.”


Plus, they state that he scored two standard deviations above the mean on callous-unemotional traits. These traits show no correlation with autistic traits.

Also, it's extremely unlikely that an autistic kid would be so skilled at manipulation. Michael is better at manipulating adults than most NT 9 year olds, and manipulating people is considerably more difficult for autistic kids than NTs.



MrPickles
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15 Jun 2012, 8:01 pm

First - we need to have good reliable tests for all Mental variations - Today you may or may not be considered Asperger's or Autistic by who your diagnostician is. Weather you are considered ADHD or obsessive compulsive or Autistic or a Psychopath or a dozen other diagnoses is at the whim of some "professional" that may or may not be competent to make such diagnosis. H**l, according to this article many "professionals" are unwilling to properly diagnose Psychopathy because the treatment options are not good. Well tell me how the wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment will help these children! -- Even worse this misdiagnosis will make finding effective treatments for the other groups even harder as their reactions to treatments will skew the results for the other children.

The real problem we have here is that there is no objective definitive test for any of these conditions or what ever you want to call them. He is an example...

Today we no longer ask doctors "do you think this person has Ulcers?" to diagnose suspected ulcers - We test for the presence of the antibodies that arise from having the infection that causes ulcers" and today the treatment for ulcers is nearly 100% effective. I use this example because not long ago we depended on Doctors opinion to diagnose ulcers and at that time treatments were not very effective at all. My brother was diagnosed for years as having ulcers and the treatments were totally ineffective for him - once the tests came along it was discovered that he actually had a hiatus hernia - he under went a operation and is now free of the disorder. (a classic case of misdiagnosis of one condition blocks the proper diagnosis and treatment of another).

We cannot depend on the opinion of "professionals" for diagnosis if we want to find real an valid methods of handling the mental conditions that we are interested in here. We must develop a diagnostic tool that renders an up or down clear answer once it is used. I am not sure that these tests will be a physical test because there just does not seem to be anything quickly identifiable about Asperger's and Autistic people that set us apart from NTs and once you add in the other diagnoses possible in this area the chances are small that something will be found that will be unique to each group. True, there is a unique enzyme present in the saliva of some Auts and Aspies and some others seem to have large Heads (my hat size is 8-5/8" near the absolute top end of hat sizes). Though neither of these seem to be present in even a simple majority of Aspers and Auts and once you consider ADHD, PDD-NOS and conditions not on the spectrum like Psychopathy we can probably rule out physical test at least for the near future.

However, Computers are proving to be excellent diagnostic tools - and should be able to come to the rescue here as well. The Aspie test is a step in that direction. It as yet only test for one outcome and can easily be fooled by someone with an intent to fool it but it is a starting point for such a diagnostic tool.

I feel that once we have a real diagnostic tool that does not depend on variable "professional opinion" for the diagnosis we will get some real understanding of just what is going on in this area. With real understanding will come the ability to effectively treat the problems that need treatment and the knowledge of what does not require treatment.


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Wreck-Gar
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15 Jun 2012, 9:27 pm

MrPickles wrote:
First - we need to have good reliable tests for all Mental variations - Today you may or may not be considered Asperger's or Autistic by who your diagnostician is. Weather you are considered ADHD or obsessive compulsive or Autistic or a Psychopath or a dozen other diagnoses is at the whim of some "professional" that may or may not be competent to make such diagnosis. H**l, according to this article many "professionals" are unwilling to properly diagnose Psychopathy because the treatment options are not good. Well tell me how the wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment will help these children! -- Even worse this misdiagnosis will make finding effective treatments for the other groups even harder as their reactions to treatments will skew the results for the other children.


Sure, the diagnoses are all very subjective. They are based on a set of behaviors, not anything physical.



Ettina
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21 Jun 2012, 11:36 am

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H**l, according to this article many "professionals" are unwilling to properly diagnose Psychopathy because the treatment options are not good. Well tell me how the wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment will help these children!


I can see both sides to this issue. Psychopathic kids often don't respond to treatments that work on kids with other behavioral issues, such as the behaviorally dysregulated type of ODD (the most common type, a kid with ADHD/ODD whose problems stem from strong emotions and poor self-regulation). They need treatments specially designed for them.

On the other hand, to many people 'psychopath' is synonymous with 'evil'. And people generally don't want to rehabilitate evil people, they want them to suffer and die. If you have someone caring for or treating a child that they think of as evil, they may pay lip service to the idea of rehabilitation, but their hostility towards the child is going to show through and is going to affect the child. Being a psychopath doesn't make the kid immune to abuse.

So I think that while we should identify these kids, we should be careful to make sure that people know that these kids did not chose to be psychopaths, that they behave immorally because they don't understand what morality is and not out of a desire to be evil (good and evil make no sense to a psychopath), and that there is hope for effective treatment of psychopathy.



momsparky
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21 Jun 2012, 3:02 pm

I also think that the base assumption that someone is being "manipulative" is difficult to prove if you aren't inside the mind of the person doing it. I have seen many, many kids on the spectrum (including my own) accused of such, when they simply lack the TOM and social communication skills to respond in the expected way. Often, this comes out looking like manipulation, but that doesn't mean it is.

For instance, a while back, my son told me that a kid had threatened him during PE, so he told the teacher. The teacher sat them both out because "he didn't see it" and his assumption was that DS was lying to get the other kid in trouble as no one would corroborate his story - and, frankly, if he was an NT child, the situation would certainly have borne that out. However, it would never in a million years (unless someone had pre-scripted the scenario for him) have occurred to DS to concoct a story about someone misbehaving in order to get them in trouble; he just wouldn't be able to keep track of the feelings and possible thoughts of so many other people. When I got to school and tried to sort it out, I explained that he may well have misunderstood the threat, but - even though he does lie to protect himself, he could not have invented such a socially complex lie.



Mama_to_Grace
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21 Jun 2012, 10:07 pm

I think it's a very fine line. Very fine. My brother growing up with as, being undiagnosed and basically an outcast had a lot of anger. I remember him killing animals by feeding the neighborhood cats to a dog that would kill them. He also pulled a weapon on someone. I think his anger, not due to as, but due to the extreme frustration and rage that accumulated due to being so incredibly smart and yet being a complete outcast just vented in very disturbing, violent ways. We didn't have a great childhood and that had a lot to do with it also.

My daughter purposely hurts our cat. I have tried and tried to figure out why. She will squeeze the cat, tie the cat up, lock the cat in a box, etc. she seems to think it is funny and has a hard time understanding or believing the cat has "feelings". She has done other purposefully mean things such as carving her name into our cabinetry, destroying things others cherish, etc. I don't think I would trust her alone with an infant. Some would say these behaviors were sociopathic behaviors. I think she is just behind in her development of realizing other people's feelings are something she should care about.

My brother is someone I would have said would be in jail as an adult. On the contrary, he has done quite well and is extreme in his moralistic view now. I was once with him when the cashier forgot to ring one of his items up and he drove all the way back to the store to pay for it right then. So, I think we are so quick as a society to want to label everything, put everything in a box. But it's just not that easy. People have phases. People change and grow. Not everything is pathological.