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SteveK
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18 Nov 2006, 12:53 pm

Scientific American is now proposing a theory for autism that certainly doesn't fit me, and it would seem it excludes everyone here, and most others!

Their theory, as I understand it from the title and my quick scan, is that there is a part of the mind that relates actions to reactions. As they understand it, this is IDENTICAL in autistics and NTs, except that there is a difference in how autistics percieve the action of others. Their testing is so absurdly crude, that sensory skewing could account for that and make it worthless!

By this, they claim patterns can't be developed and the autistics ability to accept and return action is disabled. They state this explains everything. Of course they never explain how their subjects became so high functioning.

They ALSO claim that looking a person in the eyes exhibits a stress response, and they look away to avoid that feeling. On the surface, that sounds reasonable. Humans ARE perhaps the only primate that don't percieve looking into the eyes as some sort of challenge. There ARE lots of problems with that. I don't look into peoples eyes. I guess I just don't see the point. There isn't any STRESS. When I DO look into a persons eyes, I do, and might be percieved to have stress because I get angry at the demand. And HOW does that explain the OTHER skewing? I once had a problem with a hearing test because I couldn't tell WHICH sound they wanted me to react to. The equipment was bad, but I guess I am the only one that heard it. Same thing with light and smell. And as for touch, I just don't like it. Girlfriends, etc.... OK! Others, FORGET IT!

Besides, you need the feedback, they say autistics lack, in order to survive(To even avoid things like getting burned all the time), learn language, type, etc...

Of course, this doesn't explain certain cues either. Just today, a man blocked my way(in a very rude and disruptive manner) and asked if I was wearing a watch. I KNEW he meant "what is the time". I just said NO! If it was a woman, I might have done the same thing, though an NT might have tried to delve deeper, if she was pretty. The nice deal would already be thrown out the window because of the action they took.

Steve



DrowningMedusa
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18 Nov 2006, 1:17 pm

I'd like to read the article, though...



walk-in-the-rain
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18 Nov 2006, 1:18 pm

I guess it depends on how you define stress. I was actually very surprised about how on a faces test I could not stand to look at the pictures which were of different pairs of eyes to see if you could define the emotion from them. I actually had the hair stand up on my arms and had to put my hand over the picture on the screen and stop for a minute. As a little girl I also preferred stuffed animals to dolls (except for some Barbie dolls) and did not have posters on my wall of bands or actors like lots of other girls do. I guess it is something that I never really noticed before and I do avoid eye contact if I can - actually I tend to look down alot but I think that is because of sensory issues overall. My daughter also like to collect dolls and has tons of posters on her walls and I can't stand how it looks so I stay out of her room alot (lol).



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18 Nov 2006, 1:21 pm

link?



SteveK
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18 Nov 2006, 2:34 pm

I went to the bookstore, and actually ended up buying it. For stress, they described it as BIG TIME stress, with the heart beating faster and uncomfortably. They claimed the NT would be FINE with it.

As for looking at a persons eyes to see the emotion, that would require the whole face.

Steve



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18 Nov 2006, 2:57 pm

There are so many poor theories on AS. I was kept an extra year at kindergarden because of my social inability, even though I was far intellectually superior to the rest of the kids! When they were reading (with great difficulty), books like "Look, the cat is on the mat.", I was sitting in the corner on the bean bag, as far away as possible from everybody else, reading Enid Blyton. My teacher would occasionally notice me, and then demand that I read one of the "Early Learning" books to her, and then complain that I'm reading too fast!

People misunderstand us too much! My psychiatrist is trying to tell me that I could never possibly study medicine because of my Asperger's, even though the educational psychologist said that I would be fine!


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SteveK
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18 Nov 2006, 4:57 pm

WOW Steelmaiden!

And I thought I had it bad! If *I* was forced to read one of those stupid books, I would feel like THROWING IT at her! I remember a couple of those books, but the ones I remember were early on and on my terms. I DID once go through a vocabulary book and, when the teacher found out, she had me erase everything, and go at THEIR pace. I don't even remember their attempting to teach me to read until I was in the first grade. Luckily, I didn't have to wait. Heck, I was reading SCHEMATICS(high level electronic diagrams of a sort) by the time most people were reading.

Basically, they forced me to squandor a lot of time and ability at a time when I was in the best condition. It was like putting a normal person into a retarded class!

I guess I should be happy I spent the early years in mostly private schools, and I had good preocupations, etc... that helped elsewhere,

Steve



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18 Nov 2006, 6:31 pm

In terms of the eyes, my theory is that, in history, eye contact is seen as a challenge.

If people stopped then maybe violence drops? No more challenging, content with a tie at second (through logic?) :?: :idea:



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18 Nov 2006, 6:48 pm

the meaning of life,its your interpretation



SteveK
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18 Nov 2006, 7:12 pm

BTW A pointer to a summary of the article is at:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID ... 414B7F0000

Steve



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19 Nov 2006, 12:27 am

Poor generalization in that article. The one thing I find disheartening is that he clearly states that autistic people "may lack genuine empathy" which I believe to be completely false. I don't think that is true of any of the spectrum disorders. AS, being far more on the functioning side of the spectrum, should prove that autism has no effect on emotions and empathy in the slightest bit, only the way the body projects or reads what the mind produces and sees. Those with far more debilitating forms of autism who are commonly viewed as 'retarded' can feel empathy just the same as any NT. People like the author of that article need to delve a bit further into some studies to see that if mild autistics are able to define and describe their feelings and thoughts that it is a sign that all autistics have feelings and can emphasize but their far more severe disability makes it that much harder to project.



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19 Nov 2006, 1:22 am

SteveK wrote:
Scientific American is now proposing a theory for autism that certainly doesn't fit me, and it would seem it excludes everyone here, and most others!


You know, it would have been better for you to have read the whole article thoroughly, and to have also read the related article on mirror neurons in general in the same issues of SA before commenting in such an irrational, sensationalistic way.

I did read both articles. I have AS. I am not excluded by what that article proposes. I work with kids with AS and other forms of autism. They are excluded either. Hell, it makes TONS of sense to me, and SUPPORTS what I've been trying to argue on forums like these for the past 4 years!

Maybe it's *your* concept of what AS is that's skewed, if I dare suggest it. Or maybe you just didn't understand what the article was talking about. Whatever the problem is, when I read that article, I could see myself in it - yes it does focus on LFA, but hey, LFA and AS are supposedly on the same spectrum for a reason. So if you read that article and can't relate, than:

1) Maybe you're not really autistic

2) Maybe you don't understand yourself and your autism that well to realize how thais research could relate to you

or

3) Maybe, for whatever emotional or psychological reason or bias, you can't be honest enough to acknowledge how this could relate to you

Have your pick.


BTW, that's not SA that's proposing it. It's the researchers working on this. SA only published the article based on findings already published elsewhere (please note the publications listed at the end of the articles).

****

Note to walbany: you can split hairs over the whole empathy talk if you wish, but you're missing the point. Actually, I think you're intentionally missing the point. You seems to be reading biases into the text that aren't really there and blowing this out of proportion for the purpose of discrediting the article and prejudicing the people of this forum. But your personal agenda and other assorted hang-ups aren't my concern here.

The point is, I've come to terms to how I obviously don't have a neurotypical empathy response, and that over the span of 35 years, I've had to teach myself how to be empathetic. I know from working with autistic kids that, yes, they have very similiar problems with responding in empathy. It's that inability on the autistic's part to intuitively figure out how to respond in empathy to certain situations as an NT would - *that* is what I suspect the author meant by "genuine empathy." I was reading it in more psychological parlance, and not in a more common sense of genuineness equating sincerity. Afterall, SA is a pretty technical mag even if it's aimed at a broader, lay audience. So it's best to keep that in mind when reading its articles.

****

One particular thing that did ring very true to me: mirror neurons and how they enable/disable our ability to interact seems to serve a highly intraspecies purpose. These neurons assist us in learning behavior that is modeled by other humans.

Yet as many autistics have experienced, myself included, problems we have with interacting with other humans don't carry over to our interactions with other animals.

This makes sense to me - even if our mirror neurons are disabled, we still have the human drive to be social and to interact. And it seems likely that interacting with animals could help us bypass those problem neurons. And since animal don't model human behavior, their behavior doesn't trigger the distress response autistics feel when interacting with other humans. That would certainly explain why therapy with animals is often so highly beneficial with autistics across the spectrum.

All in all, I urge strongly for people to read this article with an open mind and without prejudice. This research is in my opinion the most promising in years in terms of unrevalling the mystery of what's going on in our brains.

And of course, it thrills me to no end, for numerous reasons, that a more accurate means of dx'ing autism could be close at hand. Glory hallelujah, amen!



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19 Nov 2006, 1:49 am

SteveK wrote:
They ALSO claim that looking a person in the eyes exhibits a stress response, and they look away to avoid that feeling. On the surface, that sounds reasonable. Humans ARE perhaps the only primate that don't percieve looking into the eyes as some sort of challenge.

Steve


Hmmn, someone looks into my eyes, I always get the feeling it is a challenge.

I have a suspician it IS a challenge, but a form of social challenge, that to me always comes across as aggressive. I worked out a certain time limit in which to let my eyes wander, though half the time I wont look anyone in the eye, I think this is due more to anxiety though.

So yes it does create a stress response, however when I'm relaxed, or obsessed with someone I tend to look into the eyes TOO much.


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SteveK
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19 Nov 2006, 11:10 am

Cade,

The idea that you can't relate a persons reactions to your actions seems CRAZY! With some SEVERELY autistic people it might SEEM to make sense. Even then, though, who's to know? The article DID admit that they did this with higher functioning autistics as the lower level ones would be too hard to work with, etc....

As for my diagnoses, perception, etc... That isn't an issue here, because there are so many examples. How could you learn to talk, type, or use the browser you are using, for example.

Heck, you even couched your response to me. That shows a lot of thought processes their article seems to deny.

As for the challenge aspect, I was parroting what I have heard from so many places. I guess it COULD be considered a challenge to humans. That IS why I mentioned it anyway. The idea that it might be considered a challenge may explain it. HECK, some of the kids may have been hit for doing something automatically, and the aggressor was probably looking into their eyes at the time. THAT would have a pavlovian type response. People have me look into their eyes only in a feeble attempt to get comfort, or determine if I am lying. I STILL remember when I was younger that I NEVER did that when part of a group spoken to, or while someone was speaking to me. WHY SHOULD I? Half the time, there is no reason. STILL, it isn't like my heart is racing, etc...

STILL, it is IRONIC! Some "start" a conversation with me, and NEVER really look my way. Just last week some idiot looked about 35 degrees away from me, and started talking. I thought what the heck? I even looked behind me, where he was looking, and NOBODY was there! I must have stayed there for a minute before he got to the point, and finally made it clear he was talking to me the whole time. I felt like hitting him. He wasted a LOT of MY time. THEN my heart probably beated faster! If you start a conversation, AT LEAST look in the persons direction.

STILL, it is like the myth busters like with their bullet test where they determined a death was IMPOSSIBLE, proved it happened, and had to back down, or their plane decompression test that failed to take into account plane speed, aerodynamic effects, and effects of gravity. Based on their plane tests, most of the related problems(like window stresses, or blowouts like that hawaiian aircraft that lost like 1/3 of its passengers) could not have happened.

Steve



SteveK
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19 Nov 2006, 11:29 am

BTW As for my not being autistic... I have had events in my life people have tried to explain out of curiousity. My ONLY problem was trying to get people to challenge me academically more, and in the areas I wanted. I ALSO couldn't state WHEN I first learned about something. Nobody would believe me. I have had sensory skewing that nobody seemed to understand! They either think I am nuts, or faking! I have had a problem with people for a long time. Some people seem to hunt me out.(I wondered why).

NOW, I am going to have to reassess all me beliefs about kids. I might as well have been another species.

Some of these things I never bothered to research! Some I gave up on! GUESS WHAT!! !! !! ! Aspergers not only fit, but it explained things I never worried about, etc.... If I don't have AS, they should change the symptoms to exclude people like me.

HEY, I HAVE tried to diagnose some things. I had a couple problems that I researched for YEARS! The doctors thought I was NUTS, etc... I kept findng POSSIBLE things that explained SOME of them. I checked them out, or rationalized them away. Well, I found they were interrelated to a simple deficiency that it turns out is common, and often overlooked. The times that such problems were most likely manifest matched with when they did for me. I took more, and my problems dissappeared! EVEN other things I thought were "normal", even though they started only when I was like 10, DISAPPEARED! So I figured my diagnoses was right.

But HEY, if the name changes, WHO CARES? Many people that fit the diagnoses now are like me. That's what matters.

Steve



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19 Nov 2006, 1:20 pm

For an example of mirroring - my son was at the doctor who was checking his wrist and asked him to make a series of movements - including a couple of different finger postures. It was very difficult for my son mostly because of the mirroring effect because he could do these (like the thumbs up sign) if it had been requested verbally but by him showing him and saying can you do this my son paused and was very slow to try and copy the movement. The OK sign - making an O with the index and thumb with the middle, ring, and pinky in an arc in the air was not able to be copied perfectly but was good enough. Various reasons have been given as to why some kids on the spectrum have issues doing things like this - like for an OT eval my son COULD copy written things - so he was considered not to have an typical dysgraphia issues.

Also there was an article that showed that people with AS have empathy - it is just when doing the testing they focus on a certain type of empathy and those with AS score lower on that area. It doesnt mean however that there is no empathy.