Deborah, sorry, I didn't mean to be moving the markers. I only wanted to say that I was indeed understating the problematic parts of having Asperger's and similar ASD symptoms. While I don't think it is a red herring to talk about these as unique character traits, I also think you are right that we can't belittle the real problems that families face.
|Very few of the people with children on the spectrum seem to have big concerns about relatively minor personality flaws. Most of the discussions I've run into have been about children who can't talk, or only have a few words, who have major behavioral problems (like smearing feces on the wall, for example), who are not minorly disruptive, but majorly, chronically so. In addition these children usually have multiple physical ailments. Digestive problems. Eczema. And many others.
Okay, as for the digestive problems, this is not my expertise. I have read stories on here, but from what I've read on MDC, I'd be guessing that 90% of the population has a stomach ailment of some kind or another, and that at least 20% of kids have some kind of psychological disorder requiring medical intervention. So I don't really put much weight on that as I think the discussions are skewed.
However, regarding the other things, you are not talking about Asperger's, and again I will just bring it up even though you know it, Asperger's is on the ASD spectrum, and it IS being included as a diagnosis in with these epidemic numbers. And that is the problem. When we think of autism, we think, practically non-verbal, totally oblivious on a bad day and for some, even on a good day, and retarded in some areas. But when we see the number 1/150 we think, wow, that is a lot of kids with that problem. What I am trying to say is that the 1/150 is not a kid with classical autism in which the child would be doing things like head-banging beyond toddlerhood; the 1/150 could be the child who bangs his head at the age of 12, who doesn't talk, and who does not appear to recognize other people as persons, or she could be a child who is antisocial, highly verbal but oblivous to other people's feelings while recognizing them as persons. The girl who doesn't know she needs deodorant.
Hmm. Perhaps you don't realize that you are actually on the same side of the argument with many of the parents whose children have been labeled as "autistic." Most of the broadening of the diagnoses has happened in the last several years, oddly coinciding with the removal of thimerosal from vaccines. Oddly helping to keep the numbers up, so that the connection with vaxes won't be as visible.
|But if you put in all those misdiagnoses into the pool of autistic spectrum disorders, ...But if you want to get yourself some epidemic-type statistics on the disease, you have to add them all in there, because the rise in "classic" autism is not nearly as striking.
Which, of course, is the whole point of what many of us skeptics are trying to say.
There have also been campaigns to boost diagnoses. Getting out info to doctors to help them spot children on the spectrum. And these campaigns also began after the removal of thimerosal from vaccines.
I am aware that I am on the same "side" as many people whose kids have been diagnosed as autistic or with Asperger's. As I mentioned, I personally am a proponent of neurodiversity and I don't like the Asperger's label, but if I went to a psychologist and let it all hang out, so to speak, I bet I could get myself a diagnosis. My mother also debated a lot about bringing me in to be tested for autism, but finally decided against it, because I could talk and she also didn't want me labeled. I have mentioned this several times here because I want people to know that first of all, it's not always so horrible to be on the spectrum (in fact I'm quite happy
) and also because I want to be totally transparent.
Regarding your theory about the broadening of the diagnoses in the past few years and coinciding with the removal of thimerosal from vaccines... well, that's an interesting proposition. Of course, you would expect awareness of autism to rise right before the removal of thimerosal since it was part of a couple interconnected campaigns, but wasn't the spectrum elaborated at least five years before thimerosal was removed? I recall hearing about it in the nineties...