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What is autism? How the term became too broad to have meaning any more Tom Clements

Mia Desk Grover
My Daughter's Desk at 18

Standing ovation. Throw flowers on the stage. Cheer. Jump up and down screaming "THIS THIS THIS!!!!!"  Thank you to Tom Clements. He is 100% correct. We invite you to read Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted's book "DENIAL" about exactly this topic, how Neurodiversity has harmed those on the spectrum intentionally and with an agenda to steamroll help, services, supports, funding, treatment and God forbid, cure.

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By Tom Clements

What is autism? How the term became too broad to have meaning any more
The Guardian UK

The word autism means a lot of different things to different people. To some, it conjures an image of the socially awkward eccentric who, besotted by a narrow set of interests, eschews small-talk and large gatherings in favour of solitude. To others, it’s a profoundly life-limiting disorder that consumes every waking hour of a family’s life, a medical disability that entails unpredictable bouts of aggression resulting in torn upholstery, cracked skulls and savage bites. Severely autistic people have a life expectancy of 36 in the United States and 39.5 in Europe, while their parents and care-givers often experience PTSD and stress similar to that of combat veterans. Mildly autistic people, on the other hand, though far more prone to depression and suicide, can go on to lead productive and fulfilling lives, often blending imperceptibly into the wider population despite their idiosyncracies and social difficulties.

Yet a report this week claimed that the difference between people diagnosed with autism and the rest of the population is shrinking. The autism spectrum is so all-encompassing that experts are now finally starting to question the validity of the term itself. After studying the meta-analyses of autism data, Dr Laurent Mottron, a professor at Université de Montréal, concluded that: “The objective difference between people with autism and the general population will disappear in less than 10 years. The definition of autism may get too vague to be meaningful.”  Read more here.

Comments

Grace Green

Christine,
I absolutely agree with everything you write in your comment, except perhaps to point out that being called retarded at school would be a very minor inconvenience compared to some of the things I, and presumably others, have suffered. My point was really about the "self-identifying" part of the accusation. Although I have had a diagnosis of M.E. since 1998 I have subsequently been refused a diagnosis of autism four times always by the most dubious of methods. Dr. Wakefield has said that M.E. is late onset autism - in my case it was late diagnosed autism, because I realized retrospectively that I had been suffering from the same symptoms as far back as I could remember. If you don't have recognition of the nature of your difficulties you don't get the help or allowances you need. However I'm now aware that even those known to be "autistic" are not understood, including the high functioning. I think it has to be said that a lot of people, including doctors, teachers, and other professionals, think autism is a behavioural problem, resulting in bad behaviour, and this view is even endorsed by many autism parents. This is why the "actually autistic" have to stick up for ourselves in trying to get across the fact that we can't help the way we are and we need accommodation. This is particularly true for those of us who can't get a diagnosis. (Having said that, I'm now rather glad not to have the label "autistic" because it is more accurate to identify as having a vaccine-induced encephalopathy.) I have always said that the "severely autistic" and the "neurodiverse" should come together in our battle with the rest of society, and that we should understand that the latter group have, as you say, been taken advantage of by the provaxxers.

christine

Grace Green,

"I don't know why people who self-identify as autistic are assumed to be using it as a fashion label"

There can be a lot of misunderstanding among people, to be sure but it's not really the fault of most here. The neurodiversity movement is fairly new in the ASD community & it smacks of exploitation from the pro-vaccine agenda.

I am a 'higher' (not high) functioning autistic person who is atypical due to my not being 'child-free'. In contrast, I have 11 kids; #7 is an 'aspie' & #11 has severe, regressive autism.

True to the stereotype that HF-ASD lack insight to others; if I were not a person personally & highly impacted by severe autism; I would have been very vulnerable to the neurodiversity agenda.

I was identified in the mid-1970s, during the 2nd grade, as 'Metally Retarded'. Which is obviously an insult to my intelligence & similar experiences lead HF-ASD to harbor deep resentments towards the neurotypical.

I have two savant capabilities; absolute pitch & hyperlexia & the pro-vaccine/neurodiverse would exploit this to tell me that people want to 'cure' me which would 'rob me' of my two (likely only) advantages or talents that I have.

I disagree. I believe the research supports the theory of "BAP' the Broad Autistic Phenotype. I'm certain that the BAP is a superior, evolutionary phenotype that happens to be born of a genotype that is highly susceptible to adverse vaccine events.

This is also science-based: They know that autism is immune-mediated but autism is also genetic. How come then; that none of the epidemiology studies have ever isolated a genetically at-risk cohort & studied the impact of vaccines with autism; in that at-risk cohort?

The closest study they have is that dumb sibling study. That's not good science. You don't assume genetic risk among biological siblings. You have to ensure the validity of an at-risk cohort by doing DNA analysis.

I suspect that I am a BAP with hyperlexic & auditory talents & that I would not be pathologically impaired as autistic; had I not been over-vaccinated due to my status as a non-responder to the MMR.

Preventing the pathological would not have 'robbed me' of my uniqueness; it would have prevented the disability.

But you can see how this is a strong manipulating factor for the pro-vaccine: 'They called you retarded! They would want to cure you of your special capabilities ...!"

BS. Pure BS.

Bob Moffit

@ Carol

"Jerry Seinfeld described himself, seriously, as being on the autism spectrum, noting that he was very literal and sometimes didn't pay attention to the right things.

The worst offender to me was Mike Savage … well-known radio talk show host who had the absolute arrogance to ridicule parents and children by saying (paraphrasing somewhat here) .. "What do you mean he can't talk. Tell the little putz to speak up or have him sit in the corner until he does".

The next day about ten of us were in front of his radio studio in NYC LOUDLY letting him know what we think of his stupidity.

Laura Hayes

Barry,

So well stated and spot on, as your comments always are.

Barry

What is autism? How the term became too broad to have meaning any more Tom Clements
*****

Autism is just a term that doctors invented, so they could freely discuss the symptoms vaccine injury, without actually having to call it vaccine injury

Pretty slick move, really. When you realize that it allows them to avoid ever having to admit to parents, that they're the one who's responsible for that parent's poisoned child. And allows them to avoid ever being held criminal responsible, for what can only be described as a heinous crime. And allows them to avoid ever having to consider the loss of the high paying job, which allows keep doing it going forward.

In my opinion, the term autism has never actually had a real meaning.

Carol

Jerry Seinfeld described himself, seriously, as being on the autism spectrum, noting that he was very literal and sometimes didn't pay attention to the right things. If the star of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" is autistic, we'd all want some of that. I think Seinfeld apologized pretty quickly, but it illustrates how "autism" can be trivialized.

Grace Green

I don't know why people who self-identify as autistic are assumed to be using it as a fashion label. Such people, which includes myself, are often treated with scorn on AoA, as in this article. I discovered I had autism after fifty years of struggling with short term memory failure, inability to communicate adequately, failure to understand what was going on or what was expected of me, all of these to the extent of barely being able to survive. The person afflicted with "mild" autism has the disadvantage of not appearing to be disabled. Many, like me, can't even get a diagnosis, so there is no support, or even allowance for our disability. That creates further disability in society. I only discovered what was causing my problems by reading books, such as by the woman you all love to hate - Uta Frith! Many find out the same way, and are uniformly relieved to discover the cause of their life-long problems. Of course, as Christine so eloquently wrote above, we are immediately taken in by the neurodiversity propaganda. Luckily I found AoA and learned the truth, for which I'm very grateful. But I agree with those who say we should be more sympathetic to those who still haven't understood the truth. And bear in mind that they are struggling to survive, literally, so they fear weakening their position by claiming to be brain injured, and prefer to put on a show of strength.

Will

If you guys have a problem with "autism" being a vague and often abused label there is one man to blame Ronald Reagan! His signed law Social Security Disability Reform Act of 1984 is the main reason the definition of almost any disability was broaden. Trump will also damage the reputation and the wants and needs of the significantly disabled through some nonsense law he signs that broadens the term disabled even further and blame it on the "liberals".
Do not forget that many with "mild" Asperger's syndrome have LIFE THREATENING medical problems like Tuberous Sclerosis Neurofibromatosis and auto immune disorders. Have some sympathy for those on the Autism Self Advocacy board because you have no idea what other problems they may have.
Tuberous Scelrosis and Neurofibromatosis are rare genetic tumor diseases and they have mental symptoms often resembling autism or in some milder cases Asperger's Syndrome the life expectancy can be low due to Sarcoma Cancer or brain tumors.
I would love to write a blog post for Age of Autism about the ignored serious health side of "mild" Asberger's syndrome.

christine

Many who self-identify on social media using the #ActuallyAutistic hashtag insist that autistic people must be at the forefront of all autism discourse and that only autistic people themselves can be considered to be true experts in the condition.

Well, sucks to be them, because I happen to be an ASD person too & they may not like what I have to say when they 'give me my voice'.

I'm convinced the neurodiversity movement was not actually coined by us high-functioning ASD. I think 'someone' has been recruiting a highly marginalized population who has never truly felt included. A population who harbors resentment for their 'mommy-blogging' parents who (for good reason) refused to let them spread their wings & fly. A population who never got 'picked first' for anything & who will never get to 'be the boss' of anyone.

Likely victimized by the pro-vaccine agenda, who, knowing that the gig is almost up; are trying to set up the 'So what if it causes autism? That's not a BAD thing ...' meme.

They told them that their parents 'hate' them & that they blame vaccines for 'stealing their perfect child' & that vaccines didn't make them this way; that they were BORN this way.

Yeah? Well, I still have my words & I'd like to say they are full of horse-sh*it. I experienced a second, vaccine-induced regression. I know the terror one feels when their mind takes on a mind of its own. I watched from outside of myself, the life skills I spent nearly 40 years nurturing, slip through my fingers like grains of sand.

Interestingly, I regressed at the same time as my youngest son did when my health-care field required boosters came due during his second year of life & requisite immunizations. Now I know why he always looked so scared.

Don't fall for this neurodiversity ploy by pushing back at these very vulnerable people who are being further exploited by the pro-vaccine agenda. Mr. Clements is perfect for the job; as ASD himself, he is above reproach (I didn't see a reference to his position on vaccines). Use me. Although that might be a bit frustrating; I don't even have the executive functioning of a goldfish.

Grace Green

Further reason to change what we call ourselves/our children, and refuse the ridiculous term "autism" which is offensive however it's used (whether autism, autistic, autist etc.) The terms brain damaged, or brain injured have long been understood by everyone to encompass a whole range of disabilities, so no-one has any preconceived ideas about a sufferer's level of ability. Vaccine-induced encephalopathy says it all.

Bob Moffit

"After studying the meta-analyses of autism data, Dr Laurent Mottron, a professor at Université de Montréal, concluded that: “The objective difference between people with autism and the general population will disappear in less than 10 years. The definition of autism may get too vague to be meaningful.”

With all due respect for Dr Mottron .. the "definition of autism has been too VAGUE TO BE MEANINGFUL FOR DECADES ALREADY".

But .. then again .. THAT VAGUE DEFINITION HAD A VERY SPECIFIC PURPOSE … WHICH WAS TO DIMINISH THE SUFFERING OF TENS OF THOUSANDS ON THE LOWER END OF THE "SPECTRUM" .. SO AS TO CREATE A PUBLIC "AWARENESS" AND "PERCEPTION" OF THE SUPERIOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THOSE ON THE UPPER END OF THE AUTISM "SPECTRUM".

Underlying the deliberate creation of Autism as a POSITIVE diagnosis for those on the high end .. any question or investigation of what has CAUSED autism on the lower end of the spectrum was immediately attacked by the "gods of neurodiversity" movement .. such as … AUTISM SPEAKS .. making their main priority the CELEBRATION OF AUTISM AWARENESS.


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