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A Glimpse Inside Asperger's Syndrome

Spiral stairs By Jake Crosby

Today in class seemed like any other day -- sleepy-eyed students shuffling into the classroom awaiting another lecture. The only difference was that it was the day we were getting back our first written papers for the semester. Before handing them back, the teacher gave a strong lecture concerning argumentation, citations, and handing in assignments on time. Then came the paper-returns. Upon receiving my graded essay I proceeded to leave the room. I didn’t want to see what my grade was in the presence of my professor or the TAs. As I walked away from the building to take a look on the back page where my grade would be, I was shocked at what I found: “C/C+.” It was the lowest grade for a history assignment I had ever received. Reading the comments, I found that I had not cited the sources much, which made the teacher irate. I lost a lot of credit, what gives?

It then made sense to me: I am terrible at multi-tasking, I have difficulty making simple transitions from writing papers to inserting quotations and citations in them. Such a problem is one of many organizational difficulties commonly experienced by people on the autism spectrum. Throughout my life, everything had been somewhat of an uphill struggle for me, even learning how to talk. Sociability was obviously impaired, as were academics. Although I could now function at a level of academic proficiency for my class, I was not always capable of such perseverance. I still have to work harder to overcome the problems I face that most others do not.



This was amplified when I asked a fellow student from that class about how he did on the assignment. He said the professor complained his paper had no argument, yet then told me his grade: A-. “I guess I must have done something right on accident,” he told me. “Done something right on accident,” I thought. “So many times I’ve tried doing something right on purpose, and ended up doing something wrong. What I would give to be accidentally right.” Unlike me, that student participated in class frequently. I often shied away from doing so. It was a big class, and while I gave my fair share of contributions, I found it jarring to lead discussions in front of my professor and a large audience of peers.

I’ve been docked a lot of credit for not making clear arguments in past assignments, so as a result I always make sure I’m making an argument in an essay when required. That’s not as hard to do, it doesn’t involve diverting attention away from the paper intermittently to plug in some quotes or reference the Chicago Manual of Style to make proper footnotes or a works consulted -- ending old initiatives and starting new ones. Such a mental process is confusing for me. I would wonder: “Do I add citations while writing the paper, greatly slowing down my progress, or add them in later, having to retrace to where I left off?” Neither solution seemed desirable, so as a result I typically never added in more than two or three footnotes a paper. This challenge coupled by a lack of decisiveness impeded my functioning! I had known how severely autistic children suffer from “sensory overloads,” and as a result cannot function sufficiently. Meanwhile, I am continuously having the same kind of problem, albeit to a far lesser degree of severity. So to my neurodiversity detractors: is it any wonder why I feel the way I do?

I wonder what the neurodiversity crowd would say to this. Faced with the body of evidence against the positivism or even neutrality of autism, it’s difficult to imagine why anyone would advocate a de-medicalization of this disorder that if anything has not been medicalized enough. The whole mainstream community has neglected the pathology of the condition, applying only superficial treatments towards behavioral modification such as ABA. Standard psychiatrists will prescribe psychiatric medications to placate some autistic symptoms, often causing terrible side effects and health problems. Not surprisingly, neurodiversity advocates apparently seem not half as concerned with this as they are with presenting autism as a natural form of diversity rather than an unnatural disease. This false prophecy is gaining momentum among the medical establishment, especially since this matches up with the views of those who want to obscure the pathology of autism as much as possible to protect their careers. It’s no wonder that Paul Offit parroted these people as some of autism’s “true prophets” in his book.

Based on my experiences the delusions of neurodiversity, the apathy of medical institutions, and the increasing collusion between the latter two I would say society as a whole has forgotten about autistic people. The only problem is that it never cared about us to begin with.
--
Jake Crosby is a student at Brandeis University who is majoring in history, and a Contributing Editor of Age of Autism.

Comments

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Betsy B.

Jake,
An alum of Brandeis, I get Brandeis Magazine in the mail, and I just read the issue that contained your first person article. I am the mother of a 12 year old on the spectrum who is suffering through many things you described having suffered through in your article. I wish I could express to you how much your story meant to me. Daily, I watch my wonderful son go through the overwhelming challenges you talked about, and to hear how you have fought against your disability so bravely - and successfully - made my night, my week, my year. Thank you. Brandeis has a lot to be proud of. So do you.
Betsy

essay writing

It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I'm sure you had fun writing this article. Excellent entry! I'm been looking for topics as interesting as this. Looking forward to your next post.

Janice

"Throughout my life, everything had been somewhat of an uphill struggle for me, even learning how to talk. Sociability was obviously impaired, as were academics. Although I could now function at a level of academic proficiency for my class, I was not always capable of such perseverance. I still have to work harder to overcome the problems I face that most others do not."

Being 57 years old, and having lived through much of that time not even knowing a name for any of my impairments, I have, perhaps, a different take on what you are going through. That is, that nearly everyone I have ever met has some impairment(s). Many of them do not even realize they have impairments. On the other hand, though, nearly everyone I have ever met also has some touch of genius, some special skill or talent that is totally beyond what mere mortals should have.

So, you have to work harder to overcome your problems? I find that hard to believe, as I find that everyone has had to struggle with something. Oh, I will probably get into trouble saying that, as everyone is trying to be so supportive. But the reality of life is that nothing is really easy. Some people can make some things appear easy, that perhaps you struggle with.

However, you are obviously intelligent, and you will obviously figure out some method that fits into your mindset that will get you through this. And, unlike many of your fellow students (who have it so easy), you will not forget what you have done to make this part of your life easier, and you will incorporate it into other things, using some of the special abilities that people with Aspergers have.

It is when the butterfly struggles to get out of the cocoon, that they get the strength to fly. We can all fly, but we have to struggle first.

Jacey

Seriously. Why aren't the behaviorists and mainstream medical professional listening to you???
Seems there is so much you have to offer them. They really don't have to lie in bed a night dreaming up their methods and theories. They can just pick up the phone and call you. It is frustrating to me as a mother of an ASD son...but I cannot image the frustration you have. Thanks for sharing and giving me so much insight so I can help my 7 year old.

Love "neurodiversity" term. I will use it from now on!!

Jake Crosby

"What way is that, Jake? That you are a lesser being for being on the autistic spectrum?"

No, David Andrews. I never said I felt like less of a human being for being on the autism spectrum, just that I disliked having an ASD for all the trouble it's caused me. An ASD does not define a person, same with any other disease or disorder. I don't understand why NDs such as yourself find this so difficult to understand.

David N. Andrews M.Ed. (Distinction)

Jake, I'm an educational psychologist. Part of what I do - when I'm asked - is give people ideas on study techniques. I may have some ideas for you. it's up to you if you wish to try that, and often it's the case that what works for one may not work for the other: it's a matter of 'suck it and see'.

"I would wonder: 'Do I add citations while writing the paper, greatly slowing down my progress, or add them in later, having to retrace to where I left off?'"

For a while I had this issue. This is not specific to being autistic, but rather it is a general academic concern for many students which can cause additional stress for an autistic student.

"Neither solution seemed desirable, so as a result I typically never added in more than two or three footnotes a paper."

One idea might be to have the cited texts near you when writing your essay, and do a final check in that text to make sure that the point that you are citing is actually in the text you're citing: this gives you a double check, and then write in the name and date for the text between parantheses. Even if using the Vancouver referencing system, it's a good idea to start with citations in the Harvard style. This is what I do, and most of my post-graduate work got me distinction grades (the only non-distinction grade was a merit grade, and that was only a 5 percentage-point difference from a distinction). Referencing is important in essay writing so it pays to be rather diligent about it. Yes, it is also a pain in the arse, but it is worth the effort.

"This challenge coupled by a lack of decisiveness impeded my functioning!"

I can relate to that.

"I had known how severely autistic children suffer from 'sensory overloads', and as a result cannot function sufficiently."

These things are really _cognitive_ overloads coming from too much sensory/perceptual input...

"Meanwhile, I am continuously having the same kind of problem, albeit to a far lesser degree of severity."

... and they never really go away.

"So to my neurodiversity detractors: is it any wonder why I feel the way I do?"

What way is that, Jake? That you are a lesser being for being on the autistic spectrum? There is no justification for that in any of us. So... you get overloaded on things that most people can breeze through, and it can be bloody frustrating to see them do it, I know. But that doesn't make you any less valid as a person. All people are created equal, as some famous piece of US legislation states; but one has to remember that 'equal' and 'identical' are not the same thing. So it is to be expected that some will perform at difference levels on different sorts of tasks, and may need to do them in different ways in order to achieve similar results, and so on. Part of what creates a learning difficulty is constitutional: it is part of one's neuro-biological make up. Another part of it is cultural: it is linked to the importance of certain skills in any given educational culture. Yet another part of it is how these two issue interact in any given student's situation.

Hope this helps, even if it doesn't get through. Seriously... I hope it is useful (many people who occupy a client role with me find it so).

Adrian

I have found that existing on a different planet compensates immensely for all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that life on earth throws at us geeks - when I'm feeling beleagured, I close my eyes, imagine I'm sitting on the floor beside God, and reach my hand up and touch his face - and guess what, he puts his hand on my head and says 'its okay Ade, just keep doing it your way, that's the way I want it done'. Dont worry Jake, next time you will include footnotes without even thinking consciously you need to include them. Odd things go on inside our heads.

Timelord

Jake, it's about time you realised that you are displaying many traits that are positive and should not hold you back if you focus on them. To speak negatively and only negatively about the Spectrum prevents proper support structures for those who need them. A positive outlook is important to every human being in order to be in the best position to have a decent life, and to run down the Spectrum as you have done will prevent any chance of that.

Please reflect on this, and recognise that you are a good person as you are. An Aspie.

Twyla

Thank you so much, Jake, for sharing your experiences with us. Your articles are so interesting -- and so well written, too. We look forward to many more articles.

Gale

Jake, you are insightful enough. You see the bigger picture, you think things through as when you know the parts of a good argument and how different professors work or what they want. So open that up now to include yourself as part of the human race with the same (not different) foibles as others have. We don't always please the teacher. We are sometimes too sensitive to the "grade" as a measure of our worth and forget there is a lesson inside the material to learn not necessarily inside us personally. But, also, (I started a sentence with "but" and wonder what you thihk of me as a writer (kidding))WE give up at the wrong times and regret those things in our past later when it is useless to do so. Rule for you: Don't give up. That means take all, but only take 'some' personally, preferably the part that will make you a better person and student if you work on it. Rule for you: Don't globalize. What happens to you in an instant is not at the mercy of the whole world. Too much baggage to be successful.

I loved your article. It is instructive to US. You are one of US. Give yourself a break. much love, me

jruch

Jake – I always look for your bylines. I think part of college is paying for good criticism. Complements are nice but somewhat useless. Unless you write professionally, nobody will ever help you with your writing after college, and if you do write professionally, don't be surprised if your style gets ripped apart down the road by editors or bosses no matter how many A's you accumulate. I have a hunch you will find a way to work around the multitasking thing. The web makes annotations particularly important and useful, and I end up spending half of my surfing time following links to sources, even those from ND'ers (who by the way often get A's from the media even though their nothing-is-happening no-need-for-change nobody-has-ever-improved-through-biomed non-ND'ers-don't love-their-kids arguments continue to perplex me). My one bit of advise is to consider dating an English major. It couldn't hurt to have a proof reader on speed dial.

Garbo

Not sure if it would be helpful to you or not, but a familiar screenwriting trick is to use 3x5 index cards on a bulletin board to lay out your "story". They come in many colors, so maybe you could try one color (say, red) for the main points you want to make, and then under each red card use another color(say, green cards) with your citations. Then it's all there in front of you, you can rearrange it before you start writing if you want to, you can see where the green cards might be missing. And when you are ready to write, you won't have to go back and forth because it's all organized already.

a foonote about footnotes

Diane,
I think you're right that the prof wants to see students using valid sources, but I did not get the feeling from this article that he's an incompetent or bad teacher. Just the opposite, in fact. Having a demanding teacher can be very motivating if the student has the capability of living up to the prof's expectations, which Jake clearly has.

I wish I'd had all this great advice about footnotes when I was a student. I find the comments on AoA as supportive as the articles (except for one or two!).

Stagmom for Sarah (not grumpy)

Sarah, Jake doesn't moderate his own comments. We have a group of moderators. I know the site says, "...by the author" when you post a comment, but that just means the person who literally puts the posts into the blog. Not the writer, per se.

Thanks for your comment. We really value the conversation. I feel strongly that people with autism who CAN communicate (and that means literally using words and also having respectful dialog with us) can teach us so much for our kids who can not communicate.

Yours

KIM

Stagmom for Kent

Well Kent, in addition to moderating comments 18 hours a day, I'm also the mother of three children with full blown autism and wife to a husband who likes luxuries like dinner. Don't be so impatient and don't jump to conclusions. Thank you for at least not threatening me with a "screen shot to spread far and wide to prove my true evilness to the world." like most people who clamor on about moderation.

Kim, tired. Still moderating. Chill out.

Kent

Why in the world would you monitor out my last comment?

Kent

"I wonder what the neurodiversity crowd would say to this."

Jake, I think you know as you got the idea for this essay from my criticism of you and ND as it is presented by some on the Autism Hub. While I'm ND, I'm ND for an entirely different reason. My AS has caused me tremendous difficulties in my life and I'm considered extremely high functioning. Yet, I differ from you and some of those in ND. Both your camps are the same side of the coin. Some ND'ers think nothing negative is the result of autism, you think everything negative is the result of autism.

In my view, both of "you guys" get it wrong. Autism does cause hardship because most folks don't look for alternative ways to help and accommodate autistics. Some ND'ers say that struggling has nothing to do with autism. That's plain stupid and anyone that says that doesn't know what they are talking about. On the other hand, I'm proud of who I am and I'm a better person as a result of my struggles and I don't appreciate being called poisoned. But I do struggle and mightily. However, my struggle is nothing compared to my son, who has a more challenging form of autism (Autistic Disorder). The answer doesn't rest with winning arguments between cure and anti-cure. There is no cure. If you want a cure, fine, that is your choice. I'm not anti-cure. What I am is anti-stigmitization and pro-help.

By the way Jake, I don't know if you just decided to write on the exact same subject I was talking about in a conversation on another site we were both on, but you seem to have lifted my posts and made them your own.

Sarah

Thanks for approving my comment, Jake. I have to admit I didn't expect it to go through.

Yes, autistic traits can be difficult sometimes. No one on the ND "side" of things is denying that, or thinks that helping us cope is anything but a worthwhile goal. Where we disagree is the "how." You and others on this site seem to think that a magic pill (or chelation, or whatever) will solve all autistic people's problems. I disagree. I think things are more complicated than that.

So, please think before smearing NDs as people who don't have any real problems, or people who don't care about helping other autistic people. Because that's just false.

Andrea

Jake,

Thanks for another great article that offers us your perspective. Which we all seem to agree is very helpful in understanding our own children's issues.

I bet your prof does have some biases towards you since you don't verbally participate in class like some of your peers do. Another strike against you since you aren't comfortable speaking out in this large of a class.

You do have more obstacles to contend with then the average student.

Someone suggested alerting the professor to your problems. I can understand why you would NOT want to do that.

It seems some people with AS wear their label as some kind of badge of honor. Oblivious to those around them that find their own AS as a disability (which it is). Something that limits them, or holds them back.

You seem like someone who wants to overcome your obstacles and not go around and complain to the world about what problems you have because of your AS. You come here, where it is safe to share your insights and experiences.

I admire you Jake. You are very kind to offer insight to us parents.

Diane

Jake,

Its obvious to us all that you are a good writer and can frame an argument.

Years from now, you'll look back at this professor and laugh at how incompetent he is. We've all had our share of bad teachers - and seems like you've got one now. I know that doesn't mean much since you're in the midst of it now.

Keep your head held high and don't let him attack your self-esteem!

Is there someone on campus, perhaps a classmate, tutor, neighbor who can review your paper before you turn it in to make suggestions? Especially someone who knows this prof and what he likes? From my experiences, they each have a point they like to see - this one seems to be citations. I'm guessing he wants to make sure that students use valid sources.

Back in the stone age when I was in school, we only had the library - no Internet. Now there is so much garbage online - its tough to decipher good, accurate sources - he may be trying to teach that point. My nieces one high school teacher bans any Internet citations to prove a point - makes kids go to the library (GASP!)

Even in my professional life I always have someone proof or review my work for basic stuff (grammer, spelling, etc.- don't rely on computer spell checks!), but more importantly for does it make sense? In your case, is it what the assignment is and what the prof wants?

Best of luck in your studies! We're behind you 100%!

Jake Crosby

Sarah, while we generally disagree, you do have a point. NTs also have trouble with footnotes, NTs can also have trouble with organization in general, and social skills, and obsessive behavior etc., but unlike them we suffer from troubles with all of these to a pervasive degree and for reasons we can't help. While in theory the specific issue of footnotes can be worked around, the underlying problems behind it that also cause us a great many difficulties in other areas of life will remain. You've noted yourself you suffer from overloads as a result of having an ASD.

Anyway, thanks for your advice. While I appreciate the supportive comments on here from everyone else, it's also nice to get posts from others on the spectrum. That also includes those by NDs, so long as they're comments which are generally helpful like yours and not personal.

Sarah

Jake, I'm a college student with AS--who is majoring in history!--and a neurodiversity advocate, and think what you're saying is pretty absurd. Guess what? Everyone has trouble with footnotes, which can undoubtedly be time-consuming. I suggest using an automated system like Zotero, RefWorks, EndNote to make it easier. (Zotero is a free Firefox application.) But, yeah, it can be pretty difficult to do and it's hard to write while worrying about footnotes at the same time. Without a doubt.

I personally suggest leaving blanks in bold for where quotes or footnotes needed to be added, including a quick note of what the citation is so it's pretty easy to go back and do at the end.

But this kind of thing isn't easy for ANYONE, and no one promised you that college would be easy. I suggest you go to your college's writing center for help, or ask for a tutor as an accommodation. This is a problem that can be worked around, which is really a lot of what us ND folks are saying really. I suffer from overloads, as do most autistic people, including most ND people. (And they're often far worse than footnotes, believe me.) We do want help in coping with overload--but that does not involve changing us into non-autistic people.

For Jake

"I would wonder: “Do I add citations while writing the paper, greatly slowing down my progress, or add them in later, having to retrace to where I left off?” Neither solution seemed desirable, so as a result I typically never added in more than two or three footnotes a paper."

Jake here's an idea. Put a notation when you are writing e.g., C1, and keep writing on. Remember to write C1 on the article you are referencing.

Later, go in and type the reference up. That way, you won't have to break the flow of thought while writing.

Also, I would let the professor know what your problems are. That's what they are paid for!!

Gatogorra

Thank you for sharing the difficulty you have with multitasking-- this helps so many of us to understand our children better and it helps our efforts to understand the condition.

But the fact is, you *had* to explain the difficulty you have with these things-- because the effort doesn't show in the final result. Your arguments are incredibly powerful.

Alison

Jake, I thought I'd pop in here with some comments that might (hopefully) help you for your next paper.

Not only does my son have a dx of Asperger's, but I had many traits myself (still have a few!), though not an official dx.

Would it help to think of writing a paper in terms of following a formula?

For every point you make in a paper, the formula demands that you supply "proof" of where you learned the facts supporting that point--and that's where the citations come in.

I don't think you need to worry about whether to stop writing in the middle of the paper to insert proof, or whether to backtrack and insert the citations after writing the whole paper. I understand that both are more awkward than just writing what you believe to be true and assuming that the reader can follow your logic without proof. But you do have to pick one or the other (unless you can think of another way).

Perhaps for the next paper, you can try to insert your citations as you go along (even though it may slow down the flow of your thought processes). For the paper after that, try inserting them after you have finished your first draft.

See which way feels less awkward for you.

And after either way, reread your paper, pretending that you are the professor, and looking for a citation for every major point. How would you grade your paper using that particular scale?

I hope this is helpful for you, but if it isn't, please don't worry about it; just store what I've written in the back of your mind. Someday, it may come in handy for you, or you may be able to offer it as advice to someone else.

kathleen

Jerry, try not sucking at writing a post.

karenatlanta

Thanks Jake,
I am a homeschooling Mom and I can not tell you how beneficial your articles are in helping me understand my eldest son.
While he did not get full blown Autism, he has always had a struggle with learning with some Aspie and ADHD traits.
Tho' he did not get doubled vaccinations like his brother, he did still get the Hg exposure and is chelating.
I have found that there are software programs out there to help my kids visually organize - it does not come naturally.
Perhaps your school has some software like Kidspiration, that can that can help you visually organize your papers.
My daughter in high school, has to map everything on index cards then organize it into a paper.
Really no different than the chaining technique done in ABA to break a big task down.
Visually organizing or breaking down a task also helps limit the stress involved with a monumental task. And we all know stress only hammers ASD kids with more biological problems. (Mito, ammonia, Serotonin balance and immune dysfunction.)

I find that mapping out a paper in advance with a visual cue is extremely helpful to my son.
The first step in bettering grades or anything else is identifying where you are having trouble. When you articulate this in your articles it really helps me understand how to support and help my boys.
Thank you so much and keep the great articles coming!

sdtech

Jake:

Your elegant articulation and insights are an inspiration. Good work!

chrissie

Jake - your argument is very clear - A+++!

I can't tell you how I look forward to your AoA contributions. Your perspective is so important to anyone raising a child on the spectrum. You are doing us a tremendous service by showing us the difficulties you face. We are all rooting for you!

Kecia

Jake, thank you again for another fabulous piece.

Your final words-

"Based on my experiences the delusions of neurodiversity, the apathy of medical institutions, and the increasing collusion between the latter two I would say society as a whole has forgotten about autistic people. The only problem is that it never cared about us to begin with." speaks volumes into how others perceive autism. The Paul Offits of the world can only carry on for so long...the cracks are deepening in their ideology and the truth shall soon break through.

P.S. I hope Jerry has been escorted from the building and kicked to the curb.

WE SHALL OVERCOME

Jake, thanks very much for your insightful pieces. You make me understand my son so I can better help him. You have the gift of knowing and understanding your shortcomings, that's really healthy. Most people don't, neurotypical or not.

I get the point of your column and feel your frustration. But don't feel too bad about your paper, though. Being lazy, I used to not add sources often enough and got graded down for it by most professors. I then ended up putting footnotes everywhere, making sure I covered every single source ... and I got graded down by other professors for having way too many footnotes. You just can't make every professor happy, grading papers is too subjective. If you ask me, having no argument on a paper is way worse than not citing all sources everywhere. Based on your writings on this website, you can obviously make an argument.

Jack

Wow, that was just a great piece. It gave me personal incite into some behavior of my boys and was also connected to the big picture. I really enjoyed it.

John,

I think you raise an interesting point and I think it will be interesting to see how it plays out over time in recovering children. At 2 my boys were largely locked in their own world dominated by the alphabet. They could read (written commands got results but words nothing) by 2 1/2. After 2 years of biomed that are out of that world. The obsession has died down, but they still read at levels no one has ever seen and still appear to have photographic memories. Time will tell...

Pamela

Jake

Excellent piece! Who better to speak for the biomedical approach vs. the neurodiverse approach than someone living with the condition?

Your perspective carries such great relevancy and power. As a mother recovering a child from PDD and Sensory Processing Disorder, your eloquently expressed view of the world and what it is like for you to navigate through it is further reassurance that I have chosen the best path for her.

You do speak for more than yourself and you do it very well. I look forward to your next article.

Kent Heckenlively

Jake:

It is so important and valuable that we have your voice on Age of Autism. I often feel like we're all part of a great exodus from darkness to the Promised Land. Some of us are farther behind, and some of us are farther ahead. Those like you who are farther ahead guide the way, while I hope you can look to those of us who are still struggling and realize how far you have come. But regardless of where we are at any particular moment, none of us will rest until we ALL have gotten to the Promised Land.

Sincerely,
Kent Heckenlively

Stagmom for Jerry

Jerry, such a nasty comment. It's clear Jake is an excellent writer. He's published, in fact and has tens of thousands of people reading his work. I'd call Jake a big success.

Kim

Kathy

Hey Jake, have hope ... there are THOUSANDS of parent warriors out there ... go to any DAN! conference and feel the acceptance. I'm so glad you are now with AoA! I hope you share with parents raising kids just like you, what we should do to help them along the way. It is so hard when they look perfectly fine, some days feel perfectly fine ... then all falls apart. I can honestly see how some people think an autism label for high functioning people is a cop out ... an excuse. I could only wish that for my son who tries so hard to fit in and do well. I love what you wrote: “Done something right on accident,” I thought. “So many times I’ve tried doing something right on purpose, and ended up doing something wrong. What I would give to be accidentally right.”

I would love to read you an article on what we can do for our kids to help them feel accepted and good about themselves. My son has been doing biomed / chelation for 4 years. He's obviously asked in the past why he has to take DMSA/supplements and I tell him it will make him better ... he said he's fine the way he is. I let him know he's perfect the way he is, but his body needs to get healthy again. He says he feels healthy. I just wonder sometimes if he's going to feel I'm trying to change him into something he's not ....

I try not to say too much to him about vaccine injury because I don't want him to become obsessed with it and be ostracized outside the house. So many people think we are just using it as an excuse, but my son is physically better today.

Didn't mean to ramble ... just would love to hear from adults what we should do to nurture our kids on the specturm ...

Jerry

Try not sucking at writing papers.

John Stone

Jake

It is an interesting conundrum. I suppose people might gain some insight or discover special talents because of impairments. You are a very impressive guy and we wouldn't have your distinct view if it wasn't for your experience. There may be something here which is simply irresolvable - that very fascinating things may happen as a result of impairment, but also a great deal of suffering and pain.

One case which I have mentioned before which is documentable is Beethoven - a man whose social behaviour was shockingly naieve and awry, and whose music traversed an extreme and fantastic range of expression. Latterly tests on surviving locks of hair have shown him to have suffered an extreme level of lead toxicity. It happens that I feel more certainty that this has some connection with his social behaviour than that he would not have been a colossal musician without it (but it would also have changed his experience, which certainly impacted on his art).

Two points strike me about this - that neurodiversity people were not delighted with the example when I pointed it out, and that you still couldn't defend biological damage as principle even if occasionaly some great benefit derived.

But we are grateful for Beethoven and grateful for Jake (and for our wonderful and amazing son).

John

Teresa Conrick

Jake,

I am a teacher and I give you an "A" on this essay!

Thanks for explaining this as it gives me insight to some of my students (hfa and asperger's) who are excellent students but do have issues that they are struggling with in school.

You are so correct about the ignorance and apathy both sides of the spectrum receive from the medical community (society, too). When Meg had giardia (painful intestinal parasites) before I knew about biomedical treatments and DAN!, we were recommended to a psychologist who prescribed Adderall (for ADHD and usually for hyperactivity/attention). Her behaviors were not recognized nor treated as medical but rather as part of "autism", even though I kept telling them all how she seemed to have pain, especially after eating. Instead, she became dizzy on the medication, fell off a chair in the kitchen, and ended up in the ER getting stitches where they wanted to give her a tetanus shot -- yes, the kind loaded with thimerosal!(I declined, miraculously even though I didn't have vaccines or thimerosal on my radar yet--1999!)

Please keep writing about your experiences as it help me as mom and also as teacher. Offit and his "anonymous" cheerleaders are so incorrect in their facts and also lacking in moral judgement -- but they cannot keep up the charade forever and we certainly are not going to let them.

Keep the faith and thanks!

kathleen

Based on my experiences the delusions of neurodiversity, the apathy of medical institutions, and the increasing collusion between the latter two I would say society as a whole has forgotten about autistic people. The only problem is that it never cared about us to begin with.

Jake,
Theese final words from you touch my heart. I wish I knew how to help in making the world a friendlier adn more understanding place for kids/people on the spectrum. I pray that time changes your experience to be more positive.
You speak for more than yourself...I hope that you are heard.
Thank you, Jake, for sharing.

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