AS books that brainwash.. have they brainwashed you?

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Danielismyname
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20 Dec 2007, 8:34 am

I'm not easily swayed (see: there is no god other than the one you believe in), nor do I read personal accounts/anecdotes; personality shines through, no matter how socially impaired the individual is.

I get a good kick out of people who're called "severely autistic" however, it's like autism isn't severe enough; I don't know what image they're trying to invoke with said metaphor. I also get a good kick out of Asperger's and its "mild-autism" label. Varying shades of "bad" don't exist when the effect is the same for nearly all inflicted individuals.

I also get a good kick out of people diagnosing dead people; it's pretty hilarious, this is beside the point however.



monty
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20 Dec 2007, 9:39 am

This is not necessarily the books trying to brainwash you. It sound more like a variety of "Pre-med Syndrome" where a person fits diseases they read about to their symptoms.

If several studies find that generalize anxiety disorder or depression or OCD are twice as common in AS than the general public, OK. It doesn't mean that every with AS has it.



ToadOfSteel
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20 Dec 2007, 12:22 pm

Isn't this just hypochondria or something?



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20 Dec 2007, 12:35 pm

Ana54 wrote:
LeKiwi, I want to read your book! Can you post more about it?


It's still only in the planning stages, m'dear - only written about 5,000 words so far!! But when it's done I'll definitely let you know. :)


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pandd
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21 Dec 2007, 4:23 am

I do not have this issue. I've always enjoyed pathology and human variation, but no matter how many times I re-read the same articles about club foot, cleft-palate, and small-pox, etc, I never imagined I had any of them.

I was reading about AS for over a year before I 'clicked'. I found it very interesting because I could relate to quite a bit of what was described, while other aspects seemed very exotic. Even when I had eliminated some of the errors I initially made (initially, I honestly thought people with AS could not differentiate a smile from a frown), it took a comment by my sister (regarding what she saw/sees as 'obsessions' and I had simply thought of as interests) before I 'caught on'.

It's ironic because I read about AS kids greeting people with monologues about their interests instead of more expected greetings and thought to myself "how interesting, I did that". The same was true of lining up coins, obsessing about sets, non-comprehension of non-literal figures of speech, obsession with parts/details/things that spin etc. I actually thought these were stupid inclusions on the part of the authors at issue, because surely everyone does or experiences these things....



anbuend
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21 Dec 2007, 10:50 am

Not hypochondria if the problem isn't necessarily seeing yourself as autistic when you're not, but rather, seeing one idea about autism and thinking that if you're autistic you must squish yourself in to conform to it. (Which I've seen a lot of autistic people doing over the years.)


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Danielismyname
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21 Dec 2007, 11:18 am

anbuend wrote:
...but rather, seeing one idea about autism and thinking that if you're autistic you must squish yourself in to conform to it.


Yep. It'll manifest differently in each person due to a variety of reasons, as well as being explained differently by each individual, but the core deficits will always be there as they're laid out in the diagnostic criteria (which hasn't changed too much since Kanner's criteria, some stuff has been added to allow more people in for example); said criteria lists various symptoms that one may or may not display.

I'd rather read the DSM-IV-TR than a personal account of autism. The former tells me far more.



anbuend
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21 Dec 2007, 11:43 am

Actually, the DSM does not tell a whole lot about autism in terms of what it is, it just says how it manifests in ways that we can pick it up in autistic people. And the DSM is not even what's considered the best way to figure out if someone is autistic by research standards. There are other much more detailed and precise instruments used to identify autistic people for research.

One of the things I don't like about the DSM is that it does not explain the internal experience of being autistic, which is often very different from the external manifestations. And the external manifestations can happen for a variety of reasons. For a long time, the only things I could identify with about autism were things that autistic people themselves wrote. Why? Because autistic people wrote about how they felt and experienced the world. I could not yet understand how I looked to other people, so I did not view myself as having many of the external manifestations, until I began to look at people's comments to and about me to understand that in fact I did. (For instance for a long time I had real trouble understanding the difference between thinking about what someone said and having a conversation with them.)

Additionally, the DSM does not say why we are this way (and when it does, it does so in a fairly superficial way), it just says the way we look. It actually bothers me that expertise in autism seems to be measured by memorizing every single outward way an autistic person can seem to look, and then some fairly hare-brained theories as to why we look that way, rather than understanding what we are really like.

A lot of the research in the autism world is really shoddy, but for instance this paper (that's a link) is really interesting compared to a lot of them, and can even explain why the differences in autistic development that give rise to differences such as the purported ones between autism and Asperger's, might be caused by the exact same underlying perceptual and cognitive state, but developing in different ways. I consider that sort of thing a lot more interesting than just a list of outward ways to tell someone is autistic, and also showing a lot more understanding of autism (what it is, not how to identify it) than went into the DSM, and also a lot more understanding than a lot of the hare-brained theories get. This theory may be wholly or partially wrong, but I believe it shows a lot more understanding of what autism is, and covers a lot more forms of autism, than the vast majority of theories out there.

In the meantime, many books by autistic people (if they're not trying to force-fit themselves into a description they've heard of how autism has to be, which happens) are really interesting in terms of giving their actual and honest personal experiences, rather than what they might be expected to experience. It is often things that autistic people ourselves have been saying for years, that make it into the research only years or even decades later, so we are often a good preview of research to come.


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Danielismyname
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21 Dec 2007, 12:04 pm

I understand; however, it's not made for someone with autism to see themselves how they appear, it's there for the clinician to utilize and see how we appear (as well as their own experience and education). Depending on how one views themselves, one's thought patterns too (whether one is an objective or subjective individual), will define how they view the DSM-IV-TR.

I'm an objective individual who is ok at comparing things, noticing patterns, and whatnot, so I can actually see how I appear to the outside world when I'm given something to compare myself to (a list of symptoms for example); barring in high school where I actually thought I was talking to people when I actually wasn't (it took me awhile to realize that Daniel isn't telepathic).

I wouldn't mind them tacking on in the next DSM, tacking on somewhere in bold, 'this disorder doesn't affect the individuals' personality.' I tried reading something written by Donna Williams (a psychologist recommended her to me)..., I didn't get far.



anbuend
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21 Dec 2007, 12:22 pm

I've found that with Donna Williams, autistic people tend to either read her really easily and understand a lot of it, or else stop at the beginning bewildered. I tend to be in the first category. I also identify with a lot of what she describes but not everything. And I love her poetry (which I've also found autistic people tend to either love or hate).

But I relate to some autistic people's writing more than others. There is one kind I find hard to read, which is a sort of very dry, abstract form of writing. Other people find that sort incredibly easy, whereas I really struggle with it. It's not just personalities that are different, but also strengths and weaknesses within the realm of autistic traits.

I've collected books by autistic people for a long time, with the intent of forming an online categorized index of them, so that when an autistic person wants to look up the books that involve a certain idea or are by a certain sort of person, they could just look in the index and find those things. I really liked reading a wide variety because it made it easier for me to see how varied we in fact are, not just in terms of personality but in terms of strengths and weaknesses etc. And for awhile it was the only sort of "meeting other autistic people" I could do at times.

I can still remember what happened when I trained a video camera on myself all day, after getting some reactions that made me really finally notice that I was different than I thought I was in appearance. But I still wasn't prepared for it, and I was shocked at the way I moved and the way I looked in general.


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21 Dec 2007, 12:49 pm

anbuend wrote:
Actually, the DSM does not tell a whole lot about autism in terms of what it is, it just says how it manifests in ways that we can pick it up in autistic people. And the DSM is not even what's considered the best way to figure out if someone is autistic by research standards. There are other much more detailed and precise instruments used to identify autistic people for research.

One of the things I don't like about the DSM is that it does not explain the internal experience of being autistic, which is often very different from the external manifestations. And the external manifestations can happen for a variety of reasons. For a long time, the only things I could identify with about autism were things that autistic people themselves wrote. Why? Because autistic people wrote about how they felt and experienced the world. I could not yet understand how I looked to other people, so I did not view myself as having many of the external manifestations, until I began to look at people's comments to and about me to understand that in fact I did. (For instance for a long time I had real trouble understanding the difference between thinking about what someone said and having a conversation with them.)

Additionally, the DSM does not say why we are this way (and when it does, it does so in a fairly superficial way), it just says the way we look. It actually bothers me that expertise in autism seems to be measured by memorizing every single outward way an autistic person can seem to look, and then some fairly hare-brained theories as to why we look that way, rather than understanding what we are really like.

A lot of the research in the autism world is really shoddy, but for instance this paper (that's a link) is really interesting compared to a lot of them, and can even explain why the differences in autistic development that give rise to differences such as the purported ones between autism and Asperger's, might be caused by the exact same underlying perceptual and cognitive state, but developing in different ways. I consider that sort of thing a lot more interesting than just a list of outward ways to tell someone is autistic, and also showing a lot more understanding of autism (what it is, not how to identify it) than went into the DSM, and also a lot more understanding than a lot of the hare-brained theories get. This theory may be wholly or partially wrong, but I believe it shows a lot more understanding of what autism is, and covers a lot more forms of autism, than the vast majority of theories out there.

In the meantime, many books by autistic people (if they're not trying to force-fit themselves into a description they've heard of how autism has to be, which happens) are really interesting in terms of giving their actual and honest personal experiences, rather than what they might be expected to experience. It is often things that autistic people ourselves have been saying for years, that make it into the research only years or even decades later, so we are often a good preview of research to come.


DSM stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Meaning it was designed to be used for diagnosis. Information about the causes of autism would be superfluous. It is designed to be used by clinicians, therefore it describes the outward signs of autism that can be used in diagnosis.



anbuend
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21 Dec 2007, 12:52 pm

LostInSpace wrote:
DSM stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Meaning it was designed to be used for diagnosis. Information about the causes of autism would be superfluous. It is designed to be used by clinicians, therefore it describes the outward signs of autism that can be used in diagnosis.


Of course it was. I am not disputing what it was designed for, just the idea that someone else stated, which was that it gives lots of real information about what autism is. I don't think it does, it just gives information (as it was designed to do) about how to spot autistic people. (Although as I also said, there are other instruments designed to do that better than the DSM does.) I wasn't saying the DSM should include all that information, just that it doesn't.

(And in terms of what autism actually is, I was discussing cognitive science and sort of what I'd call internal mechanics about what autism is, not causes. Causes are more like, whether it's from genes or maternal rubella or other things. Cognitive science deals with what it is and how what it is creates the outward manifestations. It doesn't get into why it exists.)


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21 Dec 2007, 5:49 pm

The books helped me. They didn't "brainwash" me.



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21 Dec 2007, 5:53 pm

LostInSpace wrote:
anbuend wrote:
Actually, the DSM does not tell a whole lot about autism in terms of what it is, it just says how it manifests in ways that we can pick it up in autistic people. And the DSM is not even what's considered the best way to figure out if someone is autistic by research standards. There are other much more detailed and precise instruments used to identify autistic people for research.

One of the things I don't like about the DSM is that it does not explain the internal experience of being autistic, which is often very different from the external manifestations. And the external manifestations can happen for a variety of reasons. For a long time, the only things I could identify with about autism were things that autistic people themselves wrote. Why? Because autistic people wrote about how they felt and experienced the world. I could not yet understand how I looked to other people, so I did not view myself as having many of the external manifestations, until I began to look at people's comments to and about me to understand that in fact I did. (For instance for a long time I had real trouble understanding the difference between thinking about what someone said and having a conversation with them.)

Additionally, the DSM does not say why we are this way (and when it does, it does so in a fairly superficial way), it just says the way we look. It actually bothers me that expertise in autism seems to be measured by memorizing every single outward way an autistic person can seem to look, and then some fairly hare-brained theories as to why we look that way, rather than understanding what we are really like.

A lot of the research in the autism world is really shoddy, but for instance this paper (that's a link) is really interesting compared to a lot of them, and can even explain why the differences in autistic development that give rise to differences such as the purported ones between autism and Asperger's, might be caused by the exact same underlying perceptual and cognitive state, but developing in different ways. I consider that sort of thing a lot more interesting than just a list of outward ways to tell someone is autistic, and also showing a lot more understanding of autism (what it is, not how to identify it) than went into the DSM, and also a lot more understanding than a lot of the hare-brained theories get. This theory may be wholly or partially wrong, but I believe it shows a lot more understanding of what autism is, and covers a lot more forms of autism, than the vast majority of theories out there.

In the meantime, many books by autistic people (if they're not trying to force-fit themselves into a description they've heard of how autism has to be, which happens) are really interesting in terms of giving their actual and honest personal experiences, rather than what they might be expected to experience. It is often things that autistic people ourselves have been saying for years, that make it into the research only years or even decades later, so we are often a good preview of research to come.


DSM stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Meaning it was designed to be used for diagnosis. Information about the causes of autism would be superfluous. It is designed to be used by clinicians, therefore it describes the outward signs of autism that can be used in diagnosis.

Except that the DSM isn't the best diagnostic tool out there...


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21 Dec 2007, 11:19 pm

The DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 is the current way to diagnose autism and Asperger's; some professionals use Gillberg's AS criteria for AS, which isn't much different in reality (it's far harder to meet however). It's the best there is for it's the only one there is.

When the DSM-V comes out, that'll supercede IV-TR (PDD probably won't change much, they seem to think they're doing a good job of accurately diagnosing individuals with autism and Asperger's).

It adequately describes the symptoms and how they appear.



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21 Dec 2007, 11:23 pm

Ana54 wrote:
I've noticed that the more I read books on AS, the more AS I started to believe I was, and I started believing I had all these problems and comorbids that I in fact didn't have... the books actually temporarily brainwashed me until I came to my senses!

My mother, now she was REALLY brainwashed for a while, but she came out of it mostly, I think. :)


In my case sometimes it's the opposite. When I get to the part where they list all the great qualities of Aspergeans that's when I wonder whether I trully have AS or not.