Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hablas Aspergers?

Ah, yes - communication! One of the more difficult things for Autistics and Aspergers.
Be it an Autistc person unable to articulate his or her wants and needs, within their scope of understanding, or an Aspergers alien mindset with ideas and concepts generally incomprehensible to typical people, it's all problematic.
For those classically Autistic, under Kanner's definition, how to express desires?
For those Autistic more along the Asperger definition, how then do we make the average person understand.
After all, we are not stupid, but different. Unfortunately, we live in a world where differences are percieved as flaws; and ineffectual conversations, sadly, excaserbate that view. Personally, I wouldn't mind living in a world where I could openly speak my mind to any how asks for my opinion on matters, without being called an emotionless, callous bastard. I would like for someone to know my dreams, my desires, who I am - just for once - without my having to pretend I'm someone and something else. See, it's more than just misinformation that's harmful to an Asperger person - but the lack of any simple acknowledgement of our differences taken as fact. Instead, we are flawed and must work harder to integrate ourselves into society. A painful, depressing and altogether unsuccessful endeavour. There will always be a linguistic, behavioural and, yes, cultural barrier between Aspergers and everybody else. We simply aren't like others. Some want to be, others are glad for it. Others still have been misinformed, believe they are Aspergers but then only end up causing trouble.
What I ask is acceptance for the idea that we are very different, neither superior or inferior, but with a different cadre of traits and attributes.
Maybe then it could be understood that whilst we can't engage socially as others do, perhaps some level of mutual interaction can be reached, with understanding of what is expected of bohh sides, those typical and those Asperger.
Maybe then I won't have to pretend anymore.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I See Googled People

Ah, Google. Where would we be without it? Personally, I'd be a little happier... but, then I'm in a different position to others. Oh, granted, it does make finding things easy - it's a wonderful convenience, and I use it all the time.
But, so do people with more... violent... concepts about people like me.

The problem is: Google is a search engine. That means that, so long as it exists, you find just what you are looking for. That's the nature of Google!

Unfortunately; parents of Autistic children use Google... a minor American celebrity, a parent of an Autistic child, even wrote in a book she had published, that the majority of information she received on Autism was Googled.

If you Google "cure for autism", chanes are you'll come across several dozen pages with "cure autism" in them.
Of course, if you Google, "the pyramids were built by aliens", you'll also find several dozen pages stating just that.

Google is a tool to find what you are looking for; as with all search engines. If you take your education from pages specifically containing what you hope you will find, you are not taking in the information required. You lose all objectivity in research by restricting you're options.
If you know how to appropriatly use a search engine; then the shining "fix your 'broken' child NOW!" commercials, usually with a few "easy monthly payments of $14.99" attached, can be ignored.

But, many parents of Autistic children aren't looking for information on how to improve the standard of living for their child. Or rather, they believe they are. By "curing" the child, by searching for the cure, by losing objectivity, they neglect the child.

The road to hell is, after all, paved with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, those people playing on those intentions for profit acknowledge this and use it to their advantage.

What it all boils down to is this: Googler beware.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Benefits? As in dental, or...?

Ah, yes - benefits. As I have expressed already; Autism/Aspergers - however you wish to define it - is not a disease. Indeed, it is a genetic mutation across several chromosomes - though, research has yet to identify all and the specifics, give it time - that results in different forms. Expressions, or manifestations, of Autism, if you will.Personally; I can't stand the original definitons of Autism and Aspergers - named after people that, frankly, had only the barest minimum of ideas as to what they'd stumbled upon. Still, those are the names it's known by...
Autism and Aspergers are, in truth, the same thing - only a different manifestation of the mutation across a spectrum best explained as a mutli-level gradient form, rather than the currently accepted dead-end definitions of HFA, Autism, Aspergers, PDD-NOS, etc.Basically, I use a 3D grid-based reference system, applying numbers and letters to classifications fitting certain behavioural tendencies, and cast these into sub-types of the greater definiton of Autism. In short: those that are higher functioning are labelled "critical manifest", those that are low-functioning are "atypical manifest", those that are non-functioning are "detrimental manifest",those who carry the gene, act in eccentric manner but are otherwise considered "normal" are "typical manifest", as current evidence indicates they make up the majority. Even if they don't know it themselves!Lastly, those with Tourettes, which is in the highest probability the same mutation expressed, again, in a different way, are labelled "limited manifest".I include Tourettes because of enourmous evidence suggesting that it is the same mutation - as Tourettes and Autism appear in the same family genesystems with apparently equal mathematical presence. Still; that's what current evidence suggests - like any scientist, as more evidence becomes available, theory and hypothesis adapt to suit.
This is really only a temporary system for my personal use; but I find it to be far more accurate than blanket-definitions. Others may use as they see fit.
Myself, I fall within the "critical manifest" column. Typically, a "critical manifest" class Autistic will be either what is currently known as HFA or Aspergers. In my definitions, HFA is high-functioning but somewhat more rigid in rituals than an Asperger.
Again, I stress; this is still developing processes and theory.
But, what of the title? I said something of benefits, did I not?
The common thought is divided on this; some believe Autistics are all idiot savants. Others believe that all are simply mentally retarded. Others still have yet to align themselves with one camp or another. There is an alarming tendency among people to be unable to form their own opinions... oh, well, never mind that.
So; assuming, for a moment, that all Autistics are neither idiot savants nor are they mentally retarded - right, you can stop assuming now, it's a well known fact - how do we define benefits?Now, the core of Autism is a difference in abilities, is it not? Typically, "critical manifest" and "atypical manifest" class Autistics have certain gifts or talents - in laymens terms, it can be suggested there is a trade off of sorts. Not exactly accurate, but it promotes some idea of the concept.
Now, genes are specific chemical structures that, now I will make an effort to have this easier for you to understand, sort of "fold out" like reverse-origami. Again, far from accurate - I hesitate to think of someone taking that little bit of twisted terminology as a true example, but, still, here at least it serves it's purpose.Genes don't work as the commonly-expressed idea of a blue-print to build biological material. If they did; I'd like to know who reads it.
Now, I am struggling to over-simplify this for the purpose of a blog, but, in a nutshell, the specific "patterns" of genetic matierals have a different result - they fold out in different shapes, sizes and directions as a result of small differences. Those fold-outs - I know, I'm playing with the origami example for all it's worth - then "fold" into other "fold-outs" according to the initial pattern of it's own "fold-out".Wow, I think I made it even more convoluted than if I'd just explained out-right. Still, I highly doubt every person associated in any way with Autism and reading this blog will have any scientific understanding, so, I simplified as best I can. I've always hated simplifying... I feel dirty.Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go abase myself before god. Which, for me, just so happens to be a bottle of scotch I've got in my cupboard....
...still here?
A-hem... In any case, the end result is that the "patterns" formed can differ greatly if there is but the tiniest difference. Typically, that means different coloured eyes, hair, skin, different height, bone structures, etc, etc. Environmental factors also have an effect; hence people in more sun-intense places of the world having darker skin than people in regions less harsh, because of the changes or lackthereof to their genes.
Autistic people are the result of a mutation, at least two hundred years old but evidence indicates perhaps it had it's origins more than fifteen hundred years ago, perhaps earlier still.This mutation is, as all are, coincidental in it's result. By merest chance the altered genetic sequences resulted in a different neurostructure - with as much variation as with skin, eyes, height, etc. in other people. Hence my need for an identification system.
But, back to the benefits: by chance, again, the specifics of the neurostructure differ. Call it a re-prioritization. Basically, whereas a typical "neurological gene pattern" - ye gods, this simplifying... Well, whilst a typical pattern of such would point so-and-so resources here, such-and-such here, if that pattern is altered, a greater percentage of so-and-so may go, instead, to such-and-such - if not all. Resulting in hyperactive regions of the brain in some parts, low-functioning parts of others. Typically, a "critical manifest" class person will have the "resources" from the more primitive and instinctual areas of the brain - ie, those controlling social, motor, short-term memory, etc. and have those "resources" re-distributed to the more higher-functioning areas.The result: a clumsy, awkard, socially retarded, distracted, unfocused, logical-thinking savant. Einstein was one. I am one. Many people around the world are such.
However; I cannot understate the rarity of the childish savants such as Albert Einstein, Emmanual Kant, myself, and others. It's not so much intelligence as method of thought...It is also a lonely existence. Imagine not being able to make any connection with other people, but still feeling the age-old need to do so? The method of thought, too alien - can't connect intellectually. The instinctual social functions, gone - and felt to be missing. You're left hating the world, hating yourself, but still trying anyway. Oh, well. I'm not exactly exstatic about my existence, but I'm not going to be anything less than honest about it.
As for others, the more common expressions of the mutation who may possess a talent; typically a "trade off" of sorts will occur. We've all heard of the Asperger man who can master any language in a day - yet, with limited social capacity, it's something of a cruel irony, is it not? As with the Autistics who can brilliantly and accurately play the most complex of music on the most complex of instruments, yet cannot create their own.Still; remember they are not meant to, by dint of their own genetics, be like others. For that Autistic musician, perhaps their personal contentment lies simply in playing the instrument?Perhaps for the Asperger linguist, the seemingly logically illogical patterns of speech are a source of joy, and that alone, without needing for them to be put into practice?
As for the rest... a little extra physcial strength for some, better linguistic capabilities, better mathematical understanding, a natural born engineer or such.Regardless of what is "traded", it is important to concentrate rather on what is gained. If, apparently, nothing? Well, find what there is, if anything, and concentrate then on that as a positive.
Unlike what many fear-mongers are saying: Having an Autistic child does not mean that the "real" child you "should" have had is imprisoned; it does not mean the child is walking dead.They are simply - vastly - different, but perhaps content with what of their world they have in excess. Perhaps content with simply what they have at all.

Personally; I envy those few that have that contentment, but I would not deny them of it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Whilst it may smell just as sweet; you'd not want to be taking a whiff of a bit of Bumfluff Bramble, would you? No, didn't think so. Why make this point? Well, simple, really - I wish to ask, what's in a name?
In my nature, of course, I'll also endeavour to answer my own question - seeing as there's not many others around I'd view as well qualified to do so. Also because I happen to have stumbled across numerous Internet rants on the nature of Aspergers.For the last gods-forsaken time, no, Aspergers does NOT mean that said person is automatically a rapist/serial killer/terrorist. You would be - or maybe not - surprised at the number of blogs and
sites I've come across in which the subject was either about such or a member/poster stated such... it's startling, but not unexpected.

After all, unfortunately Aspergers has become a common criminal excuse - it's replaced the "temporary insanity" plea.Largely because so little information is available, and what there is is largely misinformation, any antisocial behaviour can be excusable by claiming, note CLAIMING, an "intellectual disablitiy".Ye gods, I hate that term... last I checked, I was a reasonably intelligent guy... of course, I'm a bit of a drinker, so I may just be a little confused in that respect.Regardless; that's official - if inaccurate - classification of Aspergers. That term is more applicable to classical Kanner's Autism, but, nonetheless...

In any case, my point - and this is largely for the benefit of any parents/friends, etc. of Aspergers people, my point is that, chances are, almost anything you hear on Aspergers is bollocks.Sadly enough, the people (I'm not going to mention names) who do this sort of thing get away with it, usually with a little extra sympathy in their pockets.It's, in short, fraudulent and damaging.

What I urge, in all cases, is that Autism - all variants - is largely an unknown thing. Certainly, awareness of it's existence is growing, largely detrimental awareness thanks to blonde bimbo
celebreties, you all know of whom I speak, but I urge objectivity in all senses. Applied scientific process to determine any and all factors/origins, etc. of Autism and Aspergers.
In the meantime, what I suggest is to treat Aspergers people not as inferiors, not to demonise them, but simply acknowledge their existence.

Say, oh, I dunno - "Oh, you're an Asperger. Whatever."
Much like - "Oh, you're from Victoria. Whatever."

See? It's easy not to care! Try it, you'll like it! Sounds much better than, "Aspergers? Isn't that the social disease that makes you kill people?"

Maybe even smells nicer, too...

Friday, August 8, 2008

An unfortunate argument...

Why do people insist on arguing that mercury causes Autism?
If they are so keen on finding a cure, would they not be interested in any options or possibilities?
So why do they get so hostile, so violent, and so defensive over the mercury myth?

Do they know, deep, deep down that they are just grasping at straws?
...or is it the financial gain the desire? We've all heard about their desperate attempts at lawsuits.

But, still, I'm curious to know why they resent their Autistic children? If ever you've spoken to one; you'll find, Mercury Parents complain about "how difficult it is to be the parent of an Autistic child".

Really? Don't they consider the Autistic child? Or do they think, simply because the child may not be able to communicate, the child has no thoughts or feelings?

Why do they insist on pressing their view of the issue, instead of expressing true scientific curiosity? Or even behave in what would be an expected manner - not as concerned, endeavouring parents, but almost cult-like in their belief.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

An Introductory Text

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus...Apparently, Mercury was feeling a little left out and decided that giving the world Autistic people would make him a part of the team.
Sounds stupid, eh?
Well, so does the idea that thiomersol (mercury) in vaccines caused Autism. Note the play on terminology and the linguistic paradox of words with multiple meanings - just in case you weren't paying attention.
Now; every scientist or medical professional worth his salt will tell you that the role of mercury in autism is nil. That is to say: there is no link between the two. Most "evidence" suggesting there is a link is interpretative. Wrapping evidence around a theory; as opposed to the other way round - a very anti-scientific approach.
When Autistic children seem to improve with chelation, special-diets or other such means - the parents or caretakers applying such techniques assume that the therapies are working. In fact; the rate at which these children improve is no different to that of Autistic children not on these programs. The only result is restricting an already somewhat limited life of an Autistic child - not only can they not interact socially, whilst many still can barely speak - or not at all, now with these quack-therapies, they are also stressed out and denied many food-types. Who knows what I would do without my pasta... I frickin' love Italian food.
I would like to know how people explain mercury "poisoning" of their children "into" Autism.How? Okay, so you say that the children were injected with these vaccines containing thiomersol, right? Now, how does it affect the brain?How do these mercury particles cause brain damage? Do they interfere with brain development? No, that can't work - otherwise, the child would be like any other child, only a little "slower" - probably evening out with an IQ around 85-95. That's assuming they come from two parents around 100 IQ.Could the particles be modifying the brain cells? After all; Autistic brain cells cannot make new connections as readily as another person.Frankly: I don't see that happening - otherwise, every single child vaccinated would be Autistic.Ah, but now the suggestion of a genetic predisposition - where only these people with the specific genetic sequence would become Autistic if introduced to mercury.
How does that work? I doubt that many children aren't exposed to fish during their early years: there are many baby foods containing tuna, and tuna sandwiches are a common lunch for toddlers - ask a parent!There is more mercury in that tuna than in vaccines. So, why do the "symptoms" typically manifest after vaccinations, if these children are readily exposed to higher levels of mercury - even in the drinking water in many cities! - before they get vaccinated?
Simple: The age that children are vaccinated is the same age as when signs of Autism are apparent.Why the seeming jump in numbers of Autistic children, around the same time as the introduction of mercury vaccines? That's one argument the mercury-did-it camp is shouting.That's easy! If a person carrying the Autistic gene has several children; there is a high probability of more than one child being Autistic!Simple multiplication! My father carries the gene: That's one. My brother and myself are the result.See? Now that's two more.Add to that, awareness of Autism is growing. In the olden days; people simply dubbed an Autistic as being insane or eccentric - and usually ordered a lobotomy. Now that people realise it exists - even without knowing for certain the what's or why's of it, those crazies and eccentrics are now recognised as Autistic people.
Autism is a genetic mutation. There is evidence to suggest it's origins go back for more than a thousand years: specifically how far, if at all, is as yet unkown. There is much research remaining to be done. But all that touting on about mercury does is interfere with that research. It drains resources from investigating genetic factors of Autism, into re-evaluating - again! - the possibility of mercury, simply because Googling protestors decided that they, without any scientific or medical knowledge, were correct in assuming that mercury was at fault. The children of these people, sadly, do not get the aid they require - which is simple aid, anybody can do it.
How do you help your Autistic child? Interaction. An Autistic child requires an average of five times (that's right, five times) the level of interaction a typical child would. That's simply because their brain cells cannot form new connections particularly well, and so they develop - within their Autistic boundaries, of course - at a much slower pace.
Now, I wish to specify that I don't like the idea of mercury in fish, water, or vaccines even. Other diseases can be caused by such.But not Autism.
Please, unless you are a qualified medical expert or scientist, do not interfere. Do not try to promote the mercury myth, do not campaign, do not rally, do not get involved. All you do is push progress back further.Even if you are a parent of an Autistic child: You yourselves are not Autistic. It does not concern you; it concerns your child.You are probably not professionals - and I certainly do not need more mini-celebrities parading around, simply repeating what they've read on Google.
To be blunt: stay out of it. Interact with your child more, do not give them those scam special treatments, but most of all stay out of it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

'allo 'allo

Well; considering all the bollocks being strewn about willy-nilly, I figured 'twas high time a properly Autistic person commented on Autism - for the benefit of all curious and wishing to know more.
Now, firstly, I am of a scientific nature. I am an Asperger person - the primary manifest of the mutation resulting in the identified neurological phenomena known as Autism. If anybody feels like calling me a fraud for that reason; don't. That's cowardly. If you've something to say, find me, say it to my face, and we'll settle it like men.
I don't know everything about Autism - nobody does; research is ongoing.
Unfortunately; not everbody knows what is not true at all. Take, the mercury myth, for example.
Repeatedly rebuked by noted scientists; yet still kept popular by uneducated celebrities with no scientific knowledge at all.

Basically; my intent with this blog is to show parents of Autistic children - who often believe they know more about Autism than their child feels of their own Autism - the truth.