July 21, 2008

Savage autism.



That's his analysis and he's sticking to it:
In the July 16 installment of his program, which is broadcast every weekday, [Michael] Savage suggested that “99 percent of the cases” of autism were a result of lax parenting. He told his audience: “They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life.’ ” Among the other admonitions he felt children with autism should be hearing, he said, were: “ ‘Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’ ”

Asked Monday if he actually believed that 99 out of every 100 cases of autism were misdiagnosed, Mr. Savage conceded that figure was “a little high.” He added, “It was hyperbole.”...

“He characterizes children with autism who are very, very ill — disabled children — as essentially bad kids; the only thing wrong with them is they have parents who don’t discipline them,” said John Gilmore, executive director of Autism United and the father of an 8-year-old with a diagnosis of autism. “That completely misrepresents what is going on with children with autism.”

“Basically, what he’s doing is parroting what used to be said about autism 40 years ago, back in the heyday of Freudian analysis,” Mr. Gilmore added. “It was blamed on bad parenting. There wasn’t a shred of evidence to support that.”
It's painful even to think of the way parents of autistic children had to endure this blame on top of the difficulties and disappointments of having an autistic child. What an idiot Savage is to drag us back to those bad old days!

Is Savage's mother to blame for his idiocy? No, I think Savage is fully responsible. Now, it may be true, as the linked NYT article goes on to say, that some children are misdiagnosed with autism. But Savage's brutal tirade pushes us farther away from clear thinking about all that.

I do not listen to Savage's show, but based on that one horrible clip, I'd say he's a man in love with his own ratings — and let everything else, including basic decency, be damned.

115 comments:

Meade said...

This may not be an accurate diagnosis - I'm not a qualified psychologist - but I've listened to him enough to conclude that he lives in his own insular world.

Maguro said...

Among the other admonitions he felt children with autism should be hearing, he said, here: “ ‘Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’ ”

Incredibly moronic and ignorant, even by his own low standards. I suppose it's a good thing this douchebag doesn't have an autistic child himself, he'd have no idea what to do.

rhhardin said...

Vicki Hearne got savaged so badly that she had to add a footnote to her book Adam's Task.

Search inside, look for Eleanor, go to page 186. read to 188. They cut off the autism story at p.188, but you can see the ``I doubt that this was...'' added to the manuscript, as it originally appeared in an early _Raritan_ I think.

You can't say anything about autism these days.

Smilin' Jack said...

I sometimes run across Savage's show when I'm driving, and listen to a few minutes out of morbid curiosity. His ignorance, bigotry, and general stupidity are, of course, his problem. But the fact that he has an extremely popular radio show suggests a larger problem for us all.

Eli Blake said...

Well, not surprising from the guy who ABC hired a few years ago for a TV show, and he got fired after a gay caller called in.

Savage referred to the caller as a 'Sodomite' and finished by telling him "I hope you get AIDS and die."

And this year when Ted Kennedy's tumor was announced Savage laughingly joked about it. He played a song by the Dead Kennedys (get it?) and then interspersed it with a clip of Arnold Schwarzeneggar in the movie "Kindergarten Cop" saying, "It's not a tumor."

What is scary is that as a matter of fact millions of people do listen to him. Listen to him and idolize him and parrot him. According to various sites anywhere from 2.5 to 8 million.

rhhardin said...

Which is to say, don't discount Savage's point. There's a lot of PC afoot.

I see it from Imus's wife and her thimerosal rants.

Vicki Hearne agreed with him until she met the PC wall, against her experience.

Her moral of the story was still don't help the children unless you can also protect them from the parents.

garage mahal said...

But he didn't swear! That would be horrible.

rhhardin said...

And Thomas Sowell regularly disparages the diagnosis of autism, being a late talker himself I think.

Structurally autism is very suspicious. There's a huge incentive to define a public problem and then take ownership of it. Find one with legs and you're a millionaire, just taking a small cut of the money flows that result.

Treat it like used car sales.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Michael Savage is a horrible human being.

However, I think the diagnosis of Autism has been spread across a spectrum of behaviour patterns that are marginally autistic. From mild Asperger's, which my brother has, to very severe Autistic syndromes. In none of these cases can you blame the parents or lack of parenting since the syndrome is most likely inherited.

On the other hand, there are just plain ordinary spoiled brats who's parents should have given them a swift swat on the butt and sent for a time out at the age of 3.

Peter said...

Savage is not a conservative. He is an a**hole.

The caricature of the screamin' talk radio hatemonger that liberals like to promote in order to circumvent having to make substantial arguments actually does fit in the case of Michael Savage. His act is offensive and stupid, but it draws ratings.

But this isn't Canada -- you can't silence people with idiotic and offensive views without trampling our universal right to free speech. Our responsibility as citizens, then, is to not let him get away with crap like this unchallenged.

What are his ratings anyway? He has the late-night slot where I live, in LA.

Donna B. said...

I think Savage tries to live up to his name. What a horrible thing to say.

Apparently he has never met an autistic child. In fact, I'm hoping he doesn't have any children at all.

rhhardin - oh yes I will discount Savage's point. 99 out of a hundred? Being a verbally abusive parent will cure autism? BS.

I do hold the opinion that the criteria for diagnosing autism has broadened. I think that accounts for much of the increase in the number of diagnoses.

However, that doesn't mean that autism is a result of bad parenting. Bad parenting surely makes it more difficult to deal with, but it doesn't cause it.

And neither do vaccines.

Skyler said...

I'm not a doctor and claim no special expertise, but I will say that I've seen at least one child who was clearly and truly autistic or had some sort of serious problem. Poor little boy.

But almost every other child I've ever met where the parent tells me that their child is autistic is actually just a very poorly disciplined and ill-behaved brat.

Autism is real, there's no doubt about it. But just like with ADHD (or whatever the acronym is today) it is overdiagnosed and the people who really have these syndromes are lumped in with the vast majority that simply have bad parents.

I have a friend who is a child psychologist and he tells me that he gets unbelievable pressure from schools and parents to diagnose perfectly healthy children as ADHD. He refuses, so they just go to another doctor until they get one to agree with them. He said that teachers want children to be catatonic or else they drag the kid in to see him.

Skyler said...

I'll add this. My daughter is a year and a half old. Since my wife is deaf the baby babbles with her voice and with her hands (in sign language). She knows some words in each language but she's still quite young and likes to be chatty without saying anything intelligible to anyone else. Fairly typical. But extra cute. :)

At the doctor's office for her latest checkup we filled out a questionaire, the purpose of which we didn't realize. One of the questions was, "Does your child wiggle her hands and fingers in front of her face?"

Well, we answered yes because she's signing to us, copying how we communicate to each other. We're very proud.

Anyway, we had to go through some extra diagnostic steps (thankfully not much) because apparently that is a symptom of autism.

I wonder how many children get diagnosed as autistic on the basis of little more than that. (Again, I'm not a doctor, I'm just speculating based on the related experiences of my friend the child psychiatrist.)

Mrs. Fralinda Frickle said...

Children need to conform in order to achieve success in life.

Parents don't want to hear that. They want to insist that their little darlings can be rugged individualists, anti-social 'artistic' types....and still have just as much success as those other savvy children who know how to play the game, and compete, from an early age.

The harsh truth is that, children who don't learn to conform, and play the game, early on, will have trouble all their lives. And, whether you want to pathologize this lack of conformity, and lack of getting-along team skills....by calling it autism, or calling it something else....

....It's learned behavior. Children need to conform. But, parents don't want to hear that.

Revenant said...

I've always thought Savage was a jackass, and this does nothing to change my mind.

Autism is poorly understood. It might be frequently misdiagnosed, but I wouldn't say it was "overdiagnosed".

Original Mike said...

Michael Savage. Yuck.

Maguro said...

I wonder how many children get diagnosed as autistic on the basis of little more than that.

Probably not too many. My son was disgnosed with autism in 1993 and there was a huge battery of tests, questionaires and interviews the whole family went through with multiple doctors before he was officially labeled "autistic".

It wasn't just somebody saying "Hey, kid, you look a little funny. You are hereby declared autistic".

Mrs. Fralinda Frickle said...

Parents are looking for an official diagnosis. They want a scientific-sounding name. If you look hard enough for a 'condition' you'll find it. And, what physician is going to tell a parent she's a bad mother ???? And the kid needs heavy discipline, and order....no physician is going to tell a parent that. Just like no phyisican tells a patient "you're too fat". Nobody wants to hear that.

So, we just pathologize everything. Much more convenient that way.

kahu said...

Before I'd heard about this controversy, I was listening to Savage. The whole show seemed to be on this. He's always said that kids are being over-diagnosed and over drugged. Also, he had a severely handicapped brother who never talked and died in his twenties in a mental hospital on Staten Island. He just wanted to separate the false diagnoses from the real ones.

Donna B. said...

I disagree that parents are looking for a diagnosis. Those that are taking their kids to a doctor are interested in their child's well-being not a "diagnosis".

Of course there are exceptions and the schools bear a lot of responsibility there. The more "diagnosed" children they have, the more money they get.

Still, autism is something no sane parent really "wants" for their child.

AntonK said...

I remember reading an article on ADHD in Greenwich CT. Apparently, this richest of the rich communities has one of the highest rates of ADHD per capita in the entire country. What it's all about, really, is absentee parenting and a need by the on-the-spot caregivers (and teachers) to medicate the kids into a catatonic state.

AntonK said...

Funny, there was no autism that I can remember when I was a kid. I guess it's just something kids get nowadays. Amazing how some percentage of a whole population of humans can start coming down with something like autism in just 2 to 3 decades. Who'd a thunk?

Joan said...

ITA with Revenant, and my experience with my son was very similar to Maguro's with his (her?) child. My son has a very mild case of Asperger's Syndrome, and we can in fact pinpoint what exactly his autistic tendencies are: expressive fluency with language, inability to make eye contact, and limb-girdle weakness that affects his gait. He was diagnosed at 10 years old, but I had known since his toddlerhood that he was unlike typical children in many ways.

Mrs. Frickle, whoever you are, you may be right that some parents want a diagnosis, any diagnosis, but every parent I know just wants their kids to be able to grow up and have a good life. I'd wager that some kids with ADHD diagnoses are really just poorly disciplined, but autism is an entirely different situation. You know how every parenting book in creation tells you to ignore your 2-year-old when he throws a tantrum? Of course! Does a typical 2-year-old throw a tantrum for 90 minutes? Of course not. That's the kind of thing a child on the autism spectrum will do, and typical parenting advice is useless in cases like these.

Savage is an idiot, and the fact that he is at all associated with conservatives is distressing.

Maguro said...

Funny, there was no autism that I can remember when I was a kid.

You don't "remember" it because those kids were institutionalized and you didn't see them, no mystery about it.

Skyler said...

Donna, you're right that no one wants their child to be autistic. But you're mixing cart and horse. The objection is being made by many that these parents don't know how to raise children properly and thus get brats. They don't want brats, but they're ignorant or uninterested in the methods and effort to prevent it.

Then, to make themselves feel better they call their unfortunate situation a syndrome. Now they give their kid drugs, paid for by insurance companies, and magically they have no more problems. Or so they wish. I'm sure there are still problems, but they don't have a drug to fix everything.

Anton, I was wondering the same thing. How did we survive as a species never knowing about this disease that is so devastating to such a significant percantage of children?

Dr. Edell often speculates that ADHD is a desirable trait for hunters but not for urbanites.

Maguro said...

Anyone familiar with autistic children - and adults - knows that these are not just "brats". There's a whole different level of brain malfunction with autism and to say that these handicapped individuals just need a good yelling-at is absurd and offensive.

For anyone still doubting that autism is "real", I would recommend a visit to your local autism classroom. Take a look and judge for yourself.

John Lynch said...

Oh, my God.

Yeah, autism has to do with parents. They provide genes. Other than that...

And it's not that bad. I seem to do OK, and it's a little irritating to watch people act like it's the end of the world for their child to be declared autistic. It's like people being terrified that their son is gay. What does it tell you about the parent?

Gah, there's so much evidence that autism has a genetic cause, and there are so many physical differences, that this can only be attributed to ignorance.

Skyler said...

Maguro, no one doubts that there is such a thing as autism and that it is a very serious problem for those that have it.

But there are many, many children hiding under the umbrella of that syndrome that are indeed nothing but ill-behaved brats.

I'm sure your child isn't one of them, and from your description you have a very unfortunate child on your hands.

But there are a lot that aren't in your kid's condition and they make it bad for those that are.

rhhardin said...

Koehler was fairly famous for taking any unruly and uncontrollable dog and making a model citizen of him.

I could probably do it myself. I've got his book. The method isn't a secret.

Dog parents lose interest in their offspring at about four weeks or so, or no doubt they'd object to the idea.

No genes are affected.

rhhardin said...

In short, all parties enjoy their roles in autism.

Maguro said...

But there are many, many children hiding under the umbrella of that syndrome that are indeed nothing but ill-behaved brats.

You know this how? There are indeed ill-behaved brats in school but I've not seen one in an autism classroom over the past 14 years. The kids in those classrooms are mentally handicapped, not spoiled brats...again, if you doubt me, check it out yourself.

I'm sure your child isn't one of them, and from your description you have a very unfortunate child on your hands.

Spare me your condescension and pity. All I ask is that you inform yourself before you spout off on autism.

Pogo said...

All I can say is that Bruno Bettleheim can go to hell. He told my Mom that my older brother's severe autism was her fault, because she rejected him in the womb.

I wish I knew where he was buried so I could piss on his grave.

The diagnosis has indeed changed over the past few decades, now covering people who are rather high functioning. In years back they would have been considered eccentric or weird.

Very few people get anything out of the diagnosis. It's not the lottery. For the severely impaired, it completely sucks.

Oh, and Bruno, if we meet in the afterlife, I hope you're wearing a cup.

Donna B. said...

Autism is not a "desirable" diagnosis by any definition. And to confuse it with the questionable diagnoses of ADHD is a disservice.

Except for the high-functioning autistics, such as those with Asperger's the diagnosis is a "life sentence" of little understand about what it going on around oneself.

Even those high-functioning people have difficulties the "normal" among us cannot quite understand.

One man I knew briefly was definitely a high functioning Asperger's guy. He could tell you the history of a filing cabinet, but could not look you in the eye while doing so.

He was an extremely talented computer programmer and a very good writer. Reading his words, you'd have no evidence that he was impaired in any way.

Conversing with him was an entirely different matter. He did not have the ability to ascertain verbal cues as to what was acceptable.

Myself, I enjoyed the history of file cabinets - who knew it could be so interesting? Others just avoided him.

It must be remembered that the high functioning Asperger's people are usually able to imitate enough social skills to get by.

Those with "full blown" autism, not so.

MadisonMan said...

Of course there are exceptions and the schools bear a lot of responsibility there. The more "diagnosed" children they have, the more money they get.

The extra money they get does not cover the requirements given to them as far as mainstreaming kids goes. At least in central WI. My recollection is that the Middleton Cross Plains school district -- which does excellent things with autism, so much so that people move there -- spends some huge amount of money on aides. This was several years ago -- I don't know if it's true today given Wisconsin's wacky school budgeting.

peter hoh said...

Antonk: High rates of ADHD in certain well-off communities can be attributed to the fact that the SAT offered more time to those who had that diagnosis.

http://members.aol.com/clinictest/SATnightline.html

Pogo, I'll be glad to join you in pissing on Bettleheim's grave.

Frickle, got anything other than your opinion to back up your claim that autism is a learned behavior?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I know I've posted this before.....

My brother didn't speak until the age of almost 2.5 yrs old. Fortunately this was when we had common sense and old time country doctors. (about 50 years ago) We knew he was intelligent, could read, could communicate, in his own way. The doctor told my Mother. 'Don't worry about it when he has something to say ....he will.' So we made NO BIG DEAL about it. Soon, he did talk. No drugging, intensive therapy or any of that happy horseshit.

Currently, he is a systems analyst for a major software company and was a professional and talented musician with perfect pitch and a tendency to organize and alphabetize things. Now'a'days, he would have been drugged within an inch of his life.

There are true Autistic victims. I know one child who twirls paper strips on the ends of his fingers, endlessly without interuption. Horrible thing for his family who loves him and the poor child who is trapped.

The difference is that now we take 'functional' people like my brother and treat them with the same excessive zeal as the truly Autistic. In fact, we drug the creativity and originality out of people like my brother. Thank God we lived in a simpler and more lenient age.

If you want to get down to it. I probably have a mild version of Asperger's. Seems to run in the family.

So, while Michael Savage is a huge dick, he does have somewhat of a point about the over diagnosis of Autism.

Donna B. said...

I'm glad we can at least agree that Savage is a dick.

At least I hope we agree on that.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

There is an autistic child in my extended family, and while Savage's comments aren't going to convert any rational person into thinking "Hey, yeah, fuck those parents with their fake autistics brats!", I can say that his comments are incredibly hurtful to parents raising autistic children. All the struggles they go through, and then they hear something like this....he's truly the scum of the Earth.

Someone commented that they hope Savage doesn't have children, but a snarky part of me wishes that he would indeed have children, and all of them would end up being autistic, and gay.

Freeman Hunt said...

People listen to Savage the way people watch daytime talk shows and late night trash TV. I'm surprised anyone is paying much serious attention to anything he said. I happened to catch about ten minutes of his show last week, and he was talking about his dog trying to make love to a shrimp at a Thai restaurant.

If I had an autistic child, I wouldn't be wounded by his words. Why would I care what he thought?

peter hoh said...

DBQ, lack of speech in and of itself is not going to get a toddler diagnosed with autism. And there are still doctors who have common sense and tell the parents of their small patients to relax and give the child time to develop on his or her own schedule.

By the way, what exactly is "happy horseshit" about drugging and intensive therapy?

P. Rich said...

...based on that one horrible clip, I'd say he's a man in love with his own ratings — and let everything else, including basic decency, be damned.

It's a shock-jock kinda thing. None of them are paragons of virtue, and jerking people around is their shtick. Taking them seriously is akin to thinking that late night tv talk shows are a good source of news coverage.

Chip Ahoy said...

Skyler, your post about your daughter caught my interest. I love LOVE watching children sign. Their little fingers spelling perfectly and clearly, eloquently seem like tiny typewriters. Then something wonderfully child-like comes out. I've long suspected, just assumed really, hearing kids with with ASL in use in the family have an early reading advantage, if only a brief one. At any rate, seeing in miniature what I'm used to seeing in adult scale has always fascinated. When I notice it at a distance, I swear my brain automatically provides a child's voice for the thing seen, as if I had it spoken directly into my ear. Wiggling her fingers in front of her face. Ha ha ha. She's probably talking to herself, like children practice talking.

vbspurs said...

Ann quoting Savage:

It was hyperbole

And that briefly describes his entire schtick on air.

I only once listened to him, only once flipped through one of his books -- and it didn't take me but a few seconds to realise he's not worth my time on anything.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

It's painful even to think of the way parents of autistic children had to endure this blame on top of the difficulties and disappointments of having an autistic child.

I see that at least he mentioned both parents...it used to be the case that physicians said only mothers "caused" their kid's autism.

They even had a label for it: refrigerator moms.

(Because their coldness contributed to their kids' remove, they said)

My mum is a child shrink, as you all may recall. I cannot tell you how angry I get just thinking of that situation back in the day.

Cheers,
Victoria

Luckyeldson said...

Yes, that retard Michael Savage is a first-class dick.

He should just STFU.

Cousin Bob out in Cabezon listens to him every night. Bob used to be a truck driver until he screwed it up. Now, he's retired on Social Security disability, and works a little at this crappy casino to keep busy. Typical high achieving member of Savage Nation.

One of my sisters-in-law, who is a lawyer, has an autistic kid. He's 13, and he might as well be 2. He still can't talk. He babbles and groans and wanders off like a toddler. It's only a matter of time until he has to become institutionalized. She gave up her law career to take care of him at home. Solid Christian people who live what they believe.

You know, I told a little story on another thread that had snakes coming out of Cousin Bob's radio. Well, Michael Savage is a real snake Cousin Bob doesn't have to imagine.

And Freeman, as nice a young mother and Christian as you seem, if you had my brother and sister-in-law's problem, you would be real hurt at what this mental case said.

So, please, everybody, have a little Christian charity about this, because you never know. You just never know what can happen.

Mr. Yoshimoto said...

I worked as an aid in a special needs class and from what I witnessed I would say not one of the kids labeled as autistic was misdiagnosed. I also have an Aunt that took it upon herself to adopt 3 children that were diagnosed as autistic. I have to say that the youngest seemed absolutely normal and I really didn't understand how he fit in, but I would say for the most part it is truly hard to deal with such a child and question that they are Autistic, being poorly disciplined does not even touch the bizarre and sometimes frightening behavior that in some cases is accompanied by severe seizures.

Nelson M. said...

Wow, having worked with a lot of autistic children, from ultra severe to mild, I'm really disappointed with some of the comments on this thread. It makes you realize why Savage even made the comments to begin with. He took a popular misconception--evident on this thread--and merely inflated it.

Dust bunny queen, the example of your brother occurred 50 years ago, diagnosis has improved since then.

Joan is exactly right: "I'd wager that some kids with ADHD diagnoses are really just poorly disciplined, but autism is an entirely different situation."

Those doing so need to stop comparing autism to ADHD. I'm sorry but it's plain ignorance to talk about one disease as if it explains the other.

chuck b. said...

Can't share any anecdotes, but it seems clear from my California vantage that our society is shot through with autism. Autism is our future.

Inadequate responses to the verbal cues of others? Check. Talking on and on about a single subject despite the flow of conversation? Oh, yes. Overreactions to osbensbily minor events? Yep. Seemingly normal people appear to be retarded? Oh, yes. Ignoring the feelings of others? Uh, huh.

Where will these people feel most at home? Online, that's where. And we're moving inexorably toward that kind of existance all the time. The future belongs to the the autistics. Natural selection will favor it.

Consider Christopher Hitchens' blind salamanders: "Humans are almost programmed to think in terms of progress and of gradual yet upward curves, even when confronted with evidence that the past includes as many great dyings out of species as it does examples of the burgeoning of them. Thus even [ID fan] Shermer subconsciously talks of a "pathway" that implicitly stretches ahead. But what of the creatures who turned around and headed back in the opposite direction, from complex to primitive in point of eyesight, and ended up losing even the eyes they did have?

Whoever benefits from this inquiry, it cannot possibly be Coulter or her patrons at the creationist Discovery Institute. The most they can do is to intone that "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." Whereas the likelihood that the post-ocular blindness of underground salamanders is another aspect of evolution by natural selection seems, when you think about it at all, so overwhelmingly probable as to constitute a near certainty."

The rush to diagnose autism can be seen as a good thing. It gets the future ready. Get ready...

Donna B. said...

If something is overdiagnosed at this time, it is ADHD. That's not to simplify or disparage those who do justify that diagnosis, it is to say that it's easier to over-diagnose that than it is to over-diagnose autism.

There really is no confusing the two when you've seen both.

Rook said...

Here's the problem. You've got a condition that is supposedly inherited, and yet there is an explosion in diagnoses of Autism attributed to vaccines or "more awareness."

I don't entirely agree with Savage; he sounds like a moron, despite the apparent attempts of his father to discourage that behavior. However, he isn't entirely wrong, either. Who we are is determined in the first few years of life, and there is a trend to pawn children off on daycares and then the state. To put children in front of television sets when studies show that children need to be talked to by and interacting with an adult as much as possible during their formative years. I have been diagnosed with autism, and it is a challenge every day to talk with people. I can write pretty well, but something gets lost when I try to interact with people. Yet still, I can't help but feel that autism is not genetic; that it is a problem indicative the society we have built for ourselves. The "epidemic" coincides with an explosion of single parents and passive parenting. I believe that better and more active parenting WOULD reduce cases of autism - just not in the way that Mr. Savage does.

rhhardin said...

What's the epistemological value of angry denial these days? I've lost track of the rules.

blake said...

Here's the problem. You've got a condition that is supposedly inherited, and yet there is an explosion in diagnoses of Autism attributed to vaccines or "more awareness."

Not just. Isn't Asperger's and autism higher in Silicon Valley? People with the tendencies finding each other and hooking up?

Techniques in child birthing might be a factor as well. Pitocin (et al), cesareans and other "aggressive" child delivering techniques--some mandated by law, I'm told--might be analyzed for correlations.

But while wildly over-diagnosed, even ADD/ADHD are real. They had a different name for it in WWII which eludes me at the moment. It's not new and neither is autism, there was just a different name, and you ended up in Bedlam whatever they called it.

You could place all these things on the spectrum of brain injury, along with most other similar forms of "retardation", including ones with other structural issues (such as Down's).

That might be informative of the experience and even treatments. I've seen a "severely" afflicted Down's kid develop multilingual skills, and above-average abilities math, reading, science and even agility. Which prompts the question of what we're talking about when we refer to the "mentally handicapped".

As for Savage, a female co-worker of mine turned him on one night when we were working late--he was waxing on male-female relationships, which I guess is a specialty--and after about 5 minutes, I said, "How can you stand to listen to this guy?"

I think because believing the world was as bad a place as he painted it justified her own bad behavior, if I had to guess, that was the appeal.

I'm totally on board with the whole notion of things being diagnosed: Schools over-diagnose for the cash. ADD/ADHD profits pharmaceutical companies mightily and gives them something to do with all those decades-old speed variants that were discredited back in the '50s.

But Autism? Why not just go with Asperger's or something milder?

And Madison Man, they don't get enough money to cover the special needs kids, so they include a whole bunch of non-special needs kids in the mix and it works out. Except for the education part but, you know.

Mainstreaming these kids was a grand-slam champion hall-of-fame dumbass idea.

Pogo said...

From UpToDate.com:
"The prevalence of ASD in the United States and other countries has increased since the 1970s and particularly since the late 1990s [5] . The majority of studies conducted from the mid-1990s indicates a prevalence of approximately 1 in 1000 for autism and 2 in 1000 for ASD, compared to 0.4 to 0.5 per 1000 in previous decades [5] . However, more recent studies in Europe and the United States indicate that the prevalence of ASD is 2 to 6.7 per 1000, or approximately 1 in 150 to 1 in 500 [6-15] . There is a male predominance with a male:female ratio of approximately 4:1.

Although there are increasing numbers of children diagnosed with ASD, it is not clear whether the increase is related to changes in diagnostic criteria or a true increase in the incidence of autism. Comparing studies with different case definitions, methods of case finding, and sample populations is problematic unless there is rigorous control for these variables, even when the studies being compared occur during the same time period [17] .

Systematic reviews of the epidemiologic studies of autism have found evidence that changes in case definition and increased awareness account for much of the apparent increase in the prevalence of autism [5,11,18,19] . Other factors that may play a role include earlier detection, availability of more specialized developmental services, and diagnostic substitution (ie, increases in prevalence of autism accompanied by decreases in the prevalence of learning disorders and/or mental retardation)."

Pogo said...

ASD = autism spectrum disorders

Eric Muller said...

Donna B. suggested that Savage may be trying to live up to his name. That's funny, because his name is actually Weiner. Savage is a radio name, and I don't think he's ever legally changed from Weiner to Savage.

Donna B. may nonetheless be right, though, in that most people think Savage sounds much more like a weiner than a savage most of the time.

I will confess that listening to Savage is one of my guilty pleasures. I find him enormously entertaining about 80 percent of the time. Those who've said here that the man is stupid and a moron have not listened to him. In fact, he is quite intelligent (in a certain way), very well-read and literate, even erudite at times. Seriously. He is also a remarkably good raconteur in the suburban-New-York-Jewish mold. He often uses language quite beautifully.

His rantings about autism are of a piece with a larger set of views he has about the medical/psychiatric/pharmaceutical establishment and current diagnostic practices. In an earlier life he was a big alternative-therapies/holistic-health/foods-will-heal-you kind of guy -- see the many books listed under "Michael Weiner" on his wikipedia page -- and so his howlings about autism are in some sense consistent with his howlings about depression, schizophrenia, etc. etc. etc.

I cringe when I hear him rant about this stuff. And make no mistake: his "borders, language, culture" platform is the closest thing we've got to a mainstream fascist platform in this country (I say it's closest to the mainstream because lots and lots of people listen to him.) Deeply ironic stuff from a Jewish man (or a man who was born Jewish); I can't remember a "borders/language/culture" movement (other, I guess, than the Zionist movement) that hasn't produced (or desired) big piles of dead Jewish bodies.

So I agree that he is a dangerous and crazy man with many political views that are execrable. But he's also an intelligent, articulate, and entertaining man, especially when he talks about things other than politics and certain social and medical issues.

(Now you can see why I call him a guilty pleasure. Listening to him is, for me, like watching an auto accident. It's revolting, but also somehow mesmerizing.)

rhhardin said...

Vicki Hearne autism piece, which it turns out I copied out long ago.

The autism community reacted angrily, which is the way truth is established these days.

So Hearne added a lame caveat, but still knew what she knew.

Truth is the construction of land mine markings.

Middle Class Guy said...

While I do not like Savage and think that most of his rants and rages are sewage, I respect his right to spew bilge.

I believe that he is consistently pushing the envelope of PC and freedom of speech. We need Savage for two reasons; to remind us that there are highly educated- he has a Phd.- intellectual idiots in the world; people who education was wasted on. Secondly, we need the Savages of the world to remind us that we still live in a free country; a country that cherishes expression irregardless of its lack of taste.

TMink said...

DBQ wrote: "However, I think the diagnosis of Autism has been spread across a spectrum of behaviour patterns that are marginally autistic."

It certainly has, the new phrase is Autistic Spectrum Disorder and it does include high function Asperger's. There are commonalities in all the spectrum, and until they get the different types of brain disfunction down, knowing which part equals which aspect of the disorder, the spectrum will stick.

High functioning Asperger's kids DO have things in common with hand flapping autistic kids. There is considerable overlap. Having said that, I have not seen a rash of overdiagnosis like with ADHD. Much of the ADHD overdiagnosis came from teachers. Teachers have little to gain if children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Taken at face value, I cannot see the help that a strict father would give to these kids. Over time, a program of gently insisting that the kids think about their feelings and try to gain perspective and a kind of empathy really help. But it is usually a long and gradual process.

I have had some success in getting the parents to use smells to activate the orbitalfrontal cortex, which controls our attachment process and resides right next to the olfactory system.

Bottom line, many autistic spectrum disordered kids are more worrisome to their normal parents than they are frustrated or bothered themselves. They are different than you and I, and they have different interests and goals than lots of friends and a happy marriage.

And they are very interesting people who are really worthwhile to get to know.

Trey

Zeb Quinn said...

Michael Savage is not an idiot, moron, or a "retard." Actually quite the opposite, unless choosing to be another rendition in a long line of talk radio shock jocks qualifies. Savage is making a serious point here, a point which is lost amid the outrageousness of the way he presents it. But, then, that's part of the schtick too.

RW said...

Structurally autism is very suspicious. There's a huge incentive to define a public problem and then take ownership of it. Find one with legs and you're a millionaire, just taking a small cut of the money flows that result.

-

How moronic.

Autism isn't covered by insurance (it's considered mental, not biological). Thus, I've qualified for the medical deduction for the last 5 years (meaning: I spend more than 7.75% of my GROSS income on medical expenses) primarily due to my son's autism.

What's suspicious to me is that there are actually a contingent of walking morons who think that their armchair diagnoses are relevant beyond the keyboard that their ignorance is conveyed & that they're seemingly unaware of their inane stupidity. Suspicious meaning "if they're smart enough to connect to the internet, how can they seem so stupid?".

I guess they needed someone else to plug in the connection.

Joan said...

rh:In short, all parties enjoy their roles in autism.

Would you like to review the transcripts of the appointments leading to my son's diagnosis? I assure you, there's nothing to enjoy when you're watching your 9-year-old son walk the perimeter of the school yard, alone and head down, every day at recess -- and that's just one of the easier things to describe.

Savage and others here have conflated autism with ADHD. Autism and autism spectrum disorders are not treated with drugs, although kids with ASD may also have OCD, which can be treated with drugs.

Mainstreaming works well for highly-functioning kids with all sorts of developmental and behavioral issues, but becomes problematic for children who need many accommodations. The problem is that many regular classroom teachers don't have the training to teach these children effectively and integrate them properly into the classroom. A huge problem is that aides are essential but the pay is abysmal (ask me how I know...) and it's therefore very difficult to fill these positions with the quality of people that should be filling them.

MadisonMan said...

I echo mcg's 8:32 comment.

TMink said...

Re-reading what I posted I realized I was speaking about high functioning kids. Severely autistic children are a different matter entirely, they are severely disabled. I rarely see those children as I could not help them in therapy. There is no fathering or mothering that will help them, they have a severe brain disorder.

And I am not at all convinced that autism is strictly genetic. Some researchers suspect an environmental toxin of some sort. There are brief periods in fetal development in which the person to be is extremely vulnerable. There are a few days in the first three weeks of prenatal development when binge drinking even a small amount leads to fetal alcohol syndrome. Sadly, it is SO early in the pregnancy, that many moms do not even know that they are pregnant. I am eager to see what the new research on Autism will discover and how we can use it to help the kids and the parents.

Adults that are high functioning but fit in the spectrum make wonderful friends. I have several friends that meet this criteria, they are odd, eccentric, interesting, and loyal friends who have enriched my life. None of them make good eye contact, but they are outstanding friends.

As for Savage, what he says depends on where he is in his mood cycle. He must have said this when the mania was turning sour. The energy of the mania outlasts the happy, and you are left with an energized, depressed, and often hostile person. When Michael gets like that, things get ugly. I think you can see where he is in his cycle by how he treats the callers. On a good day in his cycle, all the callers are genuises and get copies of his books, on the bad days, well, things get ugly.

Trey

knox said...

My aunt teaches 2nd grade in a public school in Ohio and she is retiring early because she can't take it anymore--for the first half of the school year, she had 2 autistic kids in her classroom, and no aides. They finally gave her one aide, which was still insufficient. She can't wait to get out, she says every year it gets worse. My mother-in-law taught high school English, and basically complained of the same things. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of lazy teachers who want kids drugged just to make their jobs easier.

Also, it's entirely plausible to me that there are shrinks out there who overdiagnose because they think they are actually helping parents and their kids and solving problems. I'm not saying they are the best doctors, but if you have a desperate parent on your hands who's basically like, "look, I'm paying you a mint to figure out what's wrong with my kid..." it's easy to see how the over-diagnosing happens.

With all that said, I don't get conflating autism and ADHD. But then Savage is an idiot, so whatever.

William said...

It is very hard to square birth defects with the notion of a just god. In the middle ages they believed that congenital disorders were due to having sex on church holidays. Beitelheim, the esteemed but scumbaggy child psychiatrist believed that autism was caused by "icebox" mothers. Nowadays I think they are blaming environmental factors. It will not be long before someone posits a theory that this is linked to global warming. The sins of the SUV owners are embodied in their children....I have a friend with a severely involved autistic child. The central focus of her life is the care of this child--now a young adult. Before she was married, she was fun and frivolous. She worked week-ends at Bloomingdales just so she could get the employee discount and buy extra clothes. She was not the kind of person who reminded one of Mother Theresa. Nevertheless, she has led a life of care and sacrifice that is admirable and selfless beyond measure....The ways of God are unfathomable, but every so often one catches glimpses of the love of God.

William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

It is very hard to square birth defects with the notion of a just god

Karma and linked souls William.

As tmink says. High level functioning autism/asperger people are different than the severe autism cases. In fact I think that the Asperger types are essential for the advancement of civilization, science and the arts and have existed from the beginning of the human species.

In the past these people were just considered odd or eccentric and basically left to do their "own thing" and explore the world in their own unique way. Now, we have therapy and intervention. I don't know that that is always a good thing. Just think what we would be missing if an Einstein or a Van Gough were to be "normalized".

xoxoeuphoriaxoxo said...

The problem is people like him do not think before they speak. He should be taken off the air for discrimination of the mentally handicapped. How low do you have to be to insult a disabled child. I’ll bet he feels like a big man now. *roll eyes* I am going to call the people who own the station and give them a piece of my mind! I encourage others to do the same. I located this information on the bbb.com website…

Name: Buckley Broadcasting Corp.-WDRC, 102.9
Phone: (860) 243-1115
Fax: (860) 286-8257
Address: 869 Blue Hills Ave

Bloomfield, CT 06002-3710
Website: www.wdrc.com
Original Business Start Date: February 1942
Principal: Mr. Eric Fahnoe, General Manager
Customer Contact: Mr. Eric Fahnoe, General Manager - (860) 243-1115

rhhardin said...

rh:In short, all parties enjoy their roles in autism.

Would you like to review the transcripts of the appointments leading to my son's diagnosis?


But you have the instant moral authority of a victim, which is what has changed in modern dynamics.

amba said...

Blogger AntonK said...

Funny, there was no autism that I can remember when I was a kid.


Right, back in the day they just called 'em all "retards."

TMink said...

xoxo etc wrote: "He should be taken off the air for discrimination of the mentally handicapped."

I think not. He is not discriminating, he is stating something that is not accurate. This week in America, we still have the right to say wrong headed, offensive things. Canada, not so much. Heck, in Canada you get in trouble for saying accurate things!

Trey

Ann Althouse said...

Amba, what I remember, where I lived anyway, are statements like "he's different" or "he's not mentally retarded, but...."

paul a'barge said...

The worst part about Savage are the morons who call in and agree with him.

One nimrod 4 standard deviations out on the wing of the morality curve is no reason to panic.

An entire horde following that nimrod is.

knox said...

But you have the instant moral authority of a victim

Not every problem can be neatly dismissed by writing it off as a construct of alarmists, victims, or even "soap opera".

Miss Carmona Carmichael said...

Because, we are living in a more polluted world, then we were back then. Mercury everywhere, heavy metals toxicity, who-knows-what in the drinking water....

But that doesn't excuse not conforming to acceptable standards of behavior.

If alcohol doesn't justifiy murder, then some official sounding diagnosis doesn't justify misconduct and misbehavior.

Parents are simply looking for an excuse to let their kids run wild.....and they've found the perfect to unleash these hooligans on society: Just call it autism, and then anything goes !

sarrudav said...

Fralinda Frickle is most certainly wrong as are many of you. What you don't want to face is that there are indeed a set of finite facts when it comes to the very real spectrum of autism disorders. This is a neurobiological disorder which is probably inherited (It is difficult to show if it is inherited every time because not every kid has a set of parents and grandparents who can all be tested). In other words, brain scans of a child afflicted with autism will show things that a normal brain scan does not show. Yes, thats right, it is proveable. Furthermore, if autism was a farce, how would you explain the high incidence of boys diagnosed with autism who also have the fragile X syndrome? Clearly, the uninformed should stay quiet on this one.

chris said...

Just wanted to say that Savage is incredibly ignorant and the focus of this thread should not be "is autism a viable medical condition," but instead; "How do the words of a man who has a syndicated radio talk show affect the actions of the people who are stupid enough to listen to him." That's what is really scary. I fear for my son and his future with people like this around.

rhhardin said...

But you have the instant moral authority of a victim

Not every problem can be neatly dismissed by writing it off as a construct of alarmists, victims, or even "soap opera".


Problems with media legs have a perfect record.

It's a selection bias, owing to audience and business model.

Skyler said...

Sarrudav,

I would quibble with your characterization of autism.

Every reference I've seen calls it a syndrome, that it doesn't have any finite factors that must be present, and any number of the factors may be present in healthy individuals who don't otherwise get diagnosed as autistic.

Autism certainly exists. Whatever it is or whatever causes the observed traits is a big problem.

The question is whether some children get improperly diagnosed based on the poor state of the art/science of understanding it.

I'm in no position to help. I have to confess that I think I probably conflated autism with ADHD. But reading about it (when I should be studying) has led me to conclude that there is a kernel of truth to what Savage has said, even if it does apply more to ADHD than it does to autism and even if he was rude and hyperbolic.

And what really bugs me is the emotionalism of people who toss out the "how dare you" canard when discussing these topics. Rather than convince me, such responses tend to reinforce my suspicions that people have something to hide.

Pogo said...

my suspicions that people have something to hide

Skyler, that's an odd reaction.
Savage is almost certainly mixing up ADHD with autism, two completely different phenomenon.

It's not 'how dare you' but are you really that stupid? I'm asking. It'd be like mixing up the NY Yankees with the NY Giants. It bespeaks of woeful ignorance.

This is a right pew, wrong church error.

Skyler said...

Pogo, there's plenty of intelligent commentary on the internet ascribing improper diagnoses to autism (note the link to Sowell above). So, yes, it applies but not as much as ADHD.

So, perhaps since you don't seem to know about this other intelligent commentary, then perhaps you should not bandy about the term "stupid" so blithely.

Pogo said...

Sowell's discussion made alot of sense but was unlike Savage's which made no sense unless applied to ADHD. No one discusses parenting and autism the way Savage does in regard to autism. It's the wrong disorder entirely.

So it is in fact stupid.

Trooper York said...

Well the New York Yankees are the greatest baseball franchise in the history of the world and the New York Yankees are the greatest football franchise in the history of the world so I can see how they might be confused. The real differance is that currently the Giants are the WORLD CHAMPIONS. The Yankees will of course win the world series this year to regain their rightfull place. Then there will be even more reason to confuse them because they will both be WORLD CHAMPIONS.

Did I tell you lately that the Giants won the Super Bowl?

El Presidente said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
knox said...

Problems with media legs have a perfect record.

It's a selection bias, owing to audience and business model.


You never disappoint! And by that I mean you always disappoint.

rhhardin said...

What is a ``public problem'' is not a scientific question. It's a sociological and political question.

There are advantages to creating and taking ownership of a public problem. It attracts funds and political power.

Consider drunk driving and MADD, which turned up in the 70s. Drunk driving was, before that, a personal moral failing, not a matter for political action at all.

Child abuse started as a public problem in the 60s, and child sexual abuse in the 70s. It simply was not on any public radar before that. It was private behavior.

The convergence of the audience needs of the media and the political power gained by defining and taking ownership of a public problem gave us the political dynamic we have today.

Blogs are something of a new counterweight; some other voice than what sells to the soap opera audience of the media at least gets said once in a while.

Autism looks like one of those new public problems. As Althouse said, it used to be just different.

The victim class created by the new public problem gets something out of it too, like instant moral authority. Everybody takes their share.

Malby said...

No fan of Savage; he's an idiot. Autism is clearly a disease.
Not every third child is autistic, however. And despite Jenny McCarthy's professional opinion on the cause of autism, the real scientists have thoroughly debunked any connection between vaccinations and autism, other than the fact that autism begins manifesting itself around the time kids get routine vaccinations. If there weren't money-grubbing PI attorneys and irrational guilt-ridden parents looking to blame someone, this would have died down ages ago.

Pogo said...

If there weren't money-grubbing PI attorneys and irrational guilt-ridden parents looking to blame someone, this would have died down ages ago.

Dead on, that.

blake said...

the real scientists have thoroughly debunked any connection between vaccinations and autism, other than the fact that autism begins manifesting itself around the time kids get routine vaccinations.

Have they? I understand thimerosol has been ruled out, but all vaccines in all forms?

Now, I though the Japanese did an experiment of delaying vaccines till the child was five or something, which would have been pretty damn conclusive, but I can't find any evidence of that now.

Jim Butler said...

Miss Carmona Carmichael wrote:

"If alcohol doesn't justifiy murder, then some official sounding diagnosis doesn't justify misconduct and misbehavior."

Ummmm.... drinking alcohol is a choice. Having autism, not so much.

Durned blind people, wish they'd quit bumping into things.

Of course there need to be particular limits on behavior in various settings, but a little understanding and accomodation are called for too. If my autistic kid starts screaming in a shopping mall, yes I'll remove him to a safer setting, but please don't freak out while I'm trying to do so.

However, since Savage recommends a take-no-prisoners approach, how about giving him his own medicine? Give him the Imus treatment, fire him, and see if that doesn't fix his behavior.

If he'd made a similar comment about gays, there's a very good chance that he would be fired. The likelihood that he won't be shows how far disability rights still lags behind other civil rights movements.

Jim Butler said...

Sklyler wrote:

"But there are many, many children hiding under the umbrella of that syndrome that are indeed nothing but ill-behaved brats."

Perhaps you're right. Do you have any data whatsoever to back up your assertion, or are you, like Michael Savage, just talking out of your ass?

rhhardin said...

Give him the Imus treatment, fire him, and see if that doesn't fix his behavior.

Imus has always been pro- autism community. It's always been one of the things you have to sit through hours of hoping he'd finally put some material on again.

He was fired for frightening white broadcast executives, who essentially have the courage of rabbits.

sarrudav said...

Skyler,
Fragile X is also a syndrome, but if you do not have the deficiency in your X chromosome and are not male, you do not have it. These are finite factors. Fragile X, by the way, is a known biological cause of autism, which is not to say that it is the only cause. Downs is also a syndrome which most definitely has a set of finite factors. I have something that is characterized as a syndrome myself, which I won’t discuss because that is too personal, but it does have a set of finite criteria that need to be met in order to get a clinical diagnosis. There are plenty of syndromes that have a set of factors that are always present in every case. Calling autism a “spectrum” of disorders is rather new in the scheme of things. It has only been in the last three decades that we stopped referring to autism as retardation. It has only been in the last century that we have recognized Schizophrenia as a neurobiological disorder. This means that the afflicted are biologically predisposed to have the disorder. The same is true of Autism, except with autism, there is a spectrum, meaning different levels of severity. I am sure there was a time when Schizophrenia was thought, by some, to be a total load. That’s a scientific term. I am sure, as with any disorder, there are misdiagnoses, but there is still much to be learned about the Autism Spectrum. In time, perhaps there will be a blood test. For now, we have to trust the symptoms and trust our doctors.
ADD and ADHD are different forms of the same disorder. They are not interchangeable terms, and though they all are developmental disorders, neither one of them is in interchangeable with autism. There are some common diagnostic criteria between ADHD and Aspergers, a very high functioning form of autism, but that does not apply to severe cases of autism.

rhhardin said...

Imus's wife Yoko weighs on on Savage (real audio), suggesting an apology to the autism community is needed, and visiting an autism school to pick up empathy.

The important thing is always that a victim community be affirmed as a victim community, for that is the structural attraction of the new politics.

Call it the feminisation of American problems.

Gone are the days of suck it up, which curiously was Imus's first response to the Rutgers complaints. (third clip in this sequence from Nappy Wednesday, the last clip is from Thursday morning, the first apology after a management talking-to). He didn't realize that they were victims. He loves victims himself, and soon embraced them.

The moral outrage comes from somebody redefining your moral status, if you're in the victim community.

Moral outrage as opposed to a reaction to just making a technical mistake, because it gets to your self-definition with the fashionable status groups of the day.

I'm surprised nobody is interested in this social dynamic.

It's quite a change for America.

Violate a victim community and you must be silenced. But what if it's a political comment.

gloucester said...

A lot of the commenters seem to think that autism is a fairy tale or easily over diagnosed issue. Having lived with my son for 20 years who is barely verbal and having deep experience with many individuals with the diagnosis, all I can say is that if you don't have experience or your only experience is watching "Rain Man" or what passes for autism in the popular media, Shut the F* up and get a life. Learn about our reality if you want to have any intelligent opinion.

rhhardin said...

Has anybody redone classic Greek tragedy as victim group morality tales?

Instead you get stuff like life is life.

sarrudav said...

Victim, victim, victim, blablabla... Get a new schtick. youre clearly trying to get a rise out of somebody, and we aren't buying into it like you had hoped. Here, give your brain a challenge, and try to disprove any of my assertions. Come back when you have something new to say.

rhhardin said...

Or again, pity has replaced respect.

``I don't get any respect'' is code for ``I don't get any pity.''

The replacement of manly virtues.

I don't claim you can't live that way. Evidently you can, speaking of evidence.

Mitch said...

Are there empirical tests - blood, spinal tap, DNA, brain scan, etc... - in which those diagnosed with autism have the same results?

blake said...

Are there empirical tests - blood, spinal tap, DNA, brain scan, etc... - in which those diagnosed with autism have the same results?

I don't think so.

Should we conclude from this that there is no such thing as a sprained ankle as well?

Joan said...

New research is looking into serotonin and other neurotransmitter deficiencies or imbalances as being primary causes of autism spectrum disorders.

sarrudav said...

Mitch,
Brain scand do in fact serve that purpose and would show the same things for persons at relatively the same place on the spectrum. Unfortunately, those scans are expensive and insurance companies don't always cover them for that purpose.

rhh,
Once again, you have nothing of substance to add. I assume you are familiar with the term "ad hominem". Maybe you would get some respect if you would actually talk about the subject at hand. Unfortunately, you're lacking knowledge in that area. Or, I would guess, any area.

sarrudav said...

Mitch,
Brain scand do in fact serve that purpose and would show the same things for persons at relatively the same place on the spectrum. Unfortunately, those scans are expensive and insurance companies don't always cover them for that purpose.

rhh,
Once again, you have nothing of substance to add. I assume you are familiar with the term "ad hominem". Maybe you would get some respect if you would actually talk about the subject at hand. Unfortunately, you're lacking knowledge in that area. Or, I would guess, any area.

sarrudav said...

Oops

Mitch said...

Blake said "Should we conclude from this that there is no such thing as a sprained ankle as well?"
No, but a sprained ankle has physical symptoms that can be measured - i.e. amount of swelling, damage to capillaries....

This is not to diminish the problem or issue. But Savage raises a good point - we are diagnosing "illnesses" or "diseases" and assigning them names without corroborating measurable standards, and prescribing medications or other palliatives to treat them.

Until such time as researchers, doctors, biochemists, etc. demonstrate measurable data points that all those "diagnosed" with autism have in common, the "diagnosis" is faulty, and fraught with all sorts of potential harm.

Mitch said...

Sarruday said "Brain scand do in fact serve that purpose and would show the same things for persons at relatively the same place on the spectrum."
Can you point to any links in the medical, biochemical, or other scientific journals that support your assertion? Savage made the assertion that there are no such tests.

blake said...

Savage made the assertion that there are no such tests.

Suggesting very strongly he was mixing up autism and the various attention deficit disorders.

(When you asked of tests initially, I thought you meant a universal one, like, "They pee on an autism stick and if a '+' appears, they're autistic.")

sarrudav said...

No problem, Mitch, there is even a video. I hope this works:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6827424/

This is one among many reports on brain scan sdudies about autism.

Mitch said...

sarrudav said...
No problem, Mitch, there is even a video. I hope this works:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6827424/

This is one among many reports on brain scan sdudies about autism.


Thanks - this is what I'm talking about. If all those diagnosed with the disease display similar brain scans, then we have commonality.

I'm simply annoyed that diagnoses are made without a scientific basis - that we treat symptoms, not the underlying disorder.

Freeman Hunt said...

And Freeman, as nice a young mother and Christian as you seem, if you had my brother and sister-in-law's problem, you would be real hurt at what this mental case said.

As someone who doesn't get her feelings hurt by the opinions of people she doesn't respect, no I wouldn't. I might be angry at his spreading misinformation, but I certainly wouldn't feel hurt. Who is Savage to me? Who is he to you?

Anger over spreading an ignorant falsehood, that I get. Emotional pain from being insulted by some random guy, that I don't get.

blake said...

What's more, since the world has an abundance of jerks and a paucity of cures for these issues, you're in for a hard, hard life if you put yourself at the mercy of the jerks.

Skyler said...

I think what's being missed by many here is the reason for comments like those from Savage.

Doctors do not have a clear definition of autism, which is why it is called a syndrome, not a disease. It is a collection of symptoms that may or may not be caused by the same thing, do not all need to be present to earn the diagnosis, and if any or all are present might still not result in the diagnosis.

So, there's no doubt that there are severe problems with such children, it's not well understood at this time.

But the real problem is the sanctimonious reactions by people when the syndrome is questioned. Whether intelligently or ignorantly people don't trust vague definitions, especially for something that is claimed by so many as being afflicted when it was unheard of when we were younger. It's a reasonable thing to question.

But instead of being provided facts and figures, all we get are holier than thou hurt feelings, threats, and denunciations. Frankly, that only makes me more suspicious.

blake said...

In one of the (many?) remaining ways that we are not much removed from cavemen, parents of children with brian-injuries are often treated as crazy, evil or stupid. At some level, they are blamed by many for their children's conditions.

And it is brain injury, which is why it is so complex and varied and often not see-able directly by current technology.

I've seen, for example, a child having near continuous seizures where the seizures were "visible" on an EEG but no abnormalities were visible on an MRI. And I've known people who insist that the child is doing it "on purpose".

Since, by the time any diagnosis is made, the parents have usually already been treated as crazy, evil and/or stupid for years, a certain amount of defensiveness is to be expected.

It's unlikely said parents are going to care, particularly, that you are "suspicious". They're used to it.

sarrudav said...

Skyler, who told you that was the definition of a syndrome? It is not. A syndrome refers to something that encompasses a series of symptoms. The symptoms are the specific definition. The word "disease" is usually used to refer to illness caused by contagions or other environmental factors. As for the rest of your post, it clearly shows that you do not know how a "syndrome" is diagnosed. It doesn't happen overnight.

And if you didn't seek all your worldy knowledge on blogs, maybe the rest of us wouldn't have to provide you with facts and figures. I'm not a teacher.

Stacey said...

I am a mum of two children with neurological disorders, one being autism.
Mr.Savage's "rant" should be seen as just that, a "rant", as he clearly has no understanding to what autism or any other alike condition is.
Mr Savage did his publicity stunt through the radio, protected in his little radio booth,I wonder if he would be as brave doing his "little speech" in front of thousands of parents of children who suffer from autism, I doubt this very much.