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Fri Dec 16, 2011, 02:01 PM

Autism hidden in plain sight

As more children are diagnosed with autism, researchers are trying to find unrecognized cases of the disorder in adults. The search for the missing millions is just beginning.

Alan Zarembo, Los Angeles Times
December 16, 2011

When autism researchers arrived at Norristown State Hospital near Philadelphia a few years ago, they found a 63-year-old man who rambled on about Elvis Presley, compulsively rocked in his chair and patted the corridor walls.

Ben Perrick, a resident of the psychiatric institution for most of his life, displayed what the University of Pennsylvania researchers considered classic symptoms of autism. His chart, however, said he was schizophrenic and mentally retarded.

Delving into the file, the researchers learned that as a 10-year-old, Perrick had seen Dr. Leo Kanner, the psychiatrist who discovered autism. In his notes from 1954, Kanner described Perrick as a child who is self centered, withdrawn, and unable to relate to other people, and recommended that he be committed.

Later, other doctors relabeled Perrick. The autism diagnosis was forgotten.

The researchers found 13 other patients with unrecognized autism in the Norristown hospital about 10% of the residents they evaluated. It was a sign of how medical standards and social attitudes toward the disorder have shifted.

more (4 part story)

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/autism/la-me-autism-day-four-html,0,6403471.htmlstory

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Dec 16, 2011, 03:17 PM

1. Oh brother.

That could just as easily have read, "Delving into the file, the researchers learned that as a 4-year-old, KamaAina had seen Dr. Leo Kanner, the psychiatrist who discovered autism. In his notes from 1968, Kanner described KamaAina as a child who is self centered, withdrawn, and unable to relate to other people, and recommended that he be committed."

If my twentysomething mom had listened to the learned Dr. Kanner, well, let's just say it's tough to find a WiFi spot in an institution like Norristown State Hospital.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 12:15 PM

2. Institutions suck. It bothers me a great deal to see a resurgence in support for them. n/t

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Dec 18, 2011, 06:36 PM

3. After we figured out that our oldest

son has Asperger's, very often when I'd share that with someone and they'd ask me just what were the traits and I'd tell them, I'd get a story of an odd relative of some kind who, based on the description, clearly had Asperger's.

It's always been there, but we didn't have the formal diagnosis for a long time.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jan 2, 2012, 01:05 AM

4. Asperger's is not a "disorder"

 

It's the people who don't have Asperger's who have the disorder - they spend too much time worrying about being popular, and not enough time thinking about dinosaurs.

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Response to guthenson (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 02:50 PM

5. I had no idea that Aspies had a propensity for libertarian douchery.

Glad you're gone.

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Response to devilgrrl (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:34 PM

6. Sadly, Libertarian BS is common on Aspie message boards.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:51 PM

8. I'm a recent member of wrongplanet and noticed that.

I did make a few posts wondering why so many were such right wing assholes, while at the same time demanding respect and acceptance of people with austism.

There a lot of homophobes as well. I reminded them that a lot of "normal" people find aspies as queer as queers and perhaps they should check their laundry before passing judgement on people.

Say? Did you find his post flippant? I alerted on it and most of the jurors thought it was an innocent joke. I don't read it like that.

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Response to devilgrrl (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 04:56 PM

9. I thought that was hilarious.

Maybe he needed to use the sarcasm thingie.

I can only talk about my son, but he often does not get jokes, especially if sarcasm is involved. I long ago learned to say to him, "Now this is supposed to be a joke" before I'd make one. it helped a lot.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:17 AM

10. If I tell my son something absurd, he looks at me like a diamond merchant examining wares.

Raised eyebrow? Check. Slight upturn at the corner of dad's mouth? Check. Looking at me like he's expecting me to realize something? Check.

Oh, that was a joke. Very funny.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:08 PM

11. Yes! They have what we "normals"

(and I really must put that in quotes) think is a bizarre reaction. But it's their perfectly normally way of reacting to the world.

Some years ago, when my son was in college and living in a dorm, I asked him if guys on his floor ever complained that their girlfriends were high maintenance. He looked at me as if I were slightly crazy myself, and said, Yes, of course. I said he needed to think of all of the rest of us as high maintenance, because from his perspective we are.


We want meaningless chitchat that's totally unnecessary. check.
We want frequent phone calls, even when nothing new has happened. check.
We especially want a phone call on our birthday and Mother's Day. check.
We expect you to keep us informed of various details in your life, like a new job. check.

That last one in particular. A couple of years ago my son was job hunting, and I knew he had an interview coming up. A couple of days after it I called him up, and chit-chatted about various things, asking (just one question of several) how the interview went. He said it went well, and then about five minutes later in the conversation said something that clearly indicated he'd be starting work the next week. Went well? They hired him on the spot! But did he immediately phone mom to tell her? No. Did he announce his hiring at the very start of the phone conversation? No. We often refer to him as the Master of Understatement.

Now I don't want anyone here who has Asperger's to think I am criticizing, because I definitely do not intend it that way. I'm just pointing out the differences, and I absolutely treasure them. Other than I wish he'd call me more often, I wouldn't change anything about the way he is.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:16 AM

13. My mom lives next door and we will go a couple weeks without speaking sometimes

She is 84 so i still kind of check up on her to see if she is doing okay. We have always had good communication between us and tell each other things we wouldn't ever tell others. I relate this to you because i think i can see what might be something of a problem. If you could accept your son for who he is and not someone you feel he should be then things could be easier for you both. In other words if you approach him with the thought of wanting to be his accepting friend instead of ball of putty you needed to change then things might be much more fulfilling.

His understatement deal is because he doesn't feel he can deal with the extra emotion those significant things contain when confronting them. If you come in at his same emotional level he is at he will trust you with those kind of things more than he does now.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:53 PM

12. That is something we have been fortunate with my elder son who has PDD. He

is good with jokes, makes some excellent ones and understands them really well. He particularly loves puns.

Younger son is the king of sarcasm, though. Elder son understands it, but doesn't apply it nearly as well or as bitingly as younger son. (Not that sarcasm is necessarily a good thing. Can be very hurtful.)

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:36 PM

7. My mom's dad was probably one of them.

He was an accountant for the city of Fergus Falls, Minnesota and my mom is quite certain he was an Aspie.

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