Why is ASD a bigger issue in modern times?

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06 Mar 2014, 12:32 am

TheSperg wrote:
Most of the thinking I've seen about the supposed autism "epidemic" is that it is simply better diagnosis, and maybe a bit of over diagnosis. So there is not really more people with ASD now, there have always been people with it just now they are getting diagnosed instead of just being called weirdos or strange if they are milder.

But it also seems like a lot of HFA or milder ASD people are unemployed or struggling with employment, or are on SSI. This is curious to me because why are they suddenly considered unemployable by employers, but weren't 20-50 years ago or more?
What is it about the modern job market that is incompatible with HFA?

Youre exhibiting several kinds of faulty ass-backward reasoning here.

HFA, and aspies ALWAYS had trouble getting employment.

Today its neither better nor worse than it ever was for them. They were bad off before, and they are bad off now. Thats why its considered a 'disablility'.

What has changed is that before (in the Fifties, or in the Eighties, or whenever) nobody was aware of them AS A CLASS of people. But today society is aware of them as a distinct class with a certain condition with a label, but still doesnt give them employment.

And its not that employers are descriminating against spectrumites as such even today. Its that spectrumites have issues (lack of social skills, stimming, or whatever) that impair them in competing in the workplace. Those were impairments Fifty years ago. And they are still impairments now.


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06 Mar 2014, 7:19 am

Maybe before everything was on a computer people took more time to talk and milder autism allows for an easier time going along with social guidance that is provided. But not with being perfectly social with no structure at all.


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06 Mar 2014, 7:00 pm

Speaking of the US, there are fewer jobs to go around for people in general, so it's more competitive. It's hard enough just to get a job to begin with, but once you are in, you have to be able to handle the workplace politics. The more people feel pressured to find a job, and to keep a job and get the most that they can out of that job, the worse the internal politics will be.

With fewer jobs to go around, employers demand more of their employees. Positions may be consolidated, so what once may have been jobs for 2-5 people is now a job for ONE person. If you are the kind of worker who is best suited to do a single task all day, or to work on your own at a task, it is very hard to find a job like that. Most jobs require you to multi-task, and to communicate with other people while you are doing so.

Employers don't want to take a lot of time to train people or get new people settled. They just want to hire someone. They may have THOUSANDS of applicants for just one entry-level position. If one person doesn't work out, they can just hire another. So they can raise their standards. They can require a degree and/or previous experience when it's not really necessary to do the actual job.

And this is the biggest problem: it is not enough anymore to just do the "actual job," whatever it may be, especially if your job is corporate. You may have to socialize, or schmooze, or make people "feel good" about you while you do your job.

It may not even be totally clear what your "actual job" is really supposed to be, or the expectations may change frequently. And you may have to spend a lot of time documenting HOW you do your job, because some companies are more concerned with numbers and statistics than with actual productivity. You may actually spend MORE time filling out forms or reports about your job activities, than you spend actually DOING those activities. You may not even DO all the tasks that your manager asks you to document.

The really interesting thing is, you might notice that it doesn't seem to matter all that much what you actually do every day. You may see other people around you who are doing much less work than you do, or who are not really doing much work at all, who are getting by just fine, or even getting promoted. And those are the same people who will make things hard for you to be there because they have so much time on their hands, and so little to do.

In short, some of us would do very well at many kinds of jobs, if we are just put to a task and left to it, but that's NOT how it works these days. It is all about the illusion of how you do your job, and how you make other people feel about it, not how well you actually do it.


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06 Mar 2014, 8:06 pm

In my opinion, the percentage of ASpies in the general population has not changed over time. It is over diagnosed these days, I've heard of cases where a Mum asked for her son to be diagnosed so he could have extra time to take exams.

As for jobs, we have moved so far away from small rural community life, it's unbelievable. Back then, people were just accepted as odd or a "bit peculiar." ASpies are good at concentrating on certain things and so they found a place in the community for their ability to carve birdcalls, or train horses, or making beer. The term "Old Maid" probably was coined for women who were on the spectrum. Men, on the other hand, might have ended up as the town drunk, or similar employment.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go. ~Theodore Roethke


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06 Mar 2014, 9:43 pm

Many autistic children were diagnosed as mentally retarded and institutionalized. Some were diagnosed as autistic. I used to read about autistic children [no souls you know] and my mom had a number of friends who had mentally retarded children [ all had the same story'; lack of oxygen at birth] who were insitutionalized. I wonder if some of those kids were actually diagnosed as autistic but that the mothers would not tell anyone because all the experts said that autism was caused by cold, evil mothers.