Term "Autism" overused?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2007
Term "Autism" overused?
14
Thu, 10-29-2009 - 10:29pm
Is it just a blanket word all the psychologists are using now for lack of a better diagnosis? Is it the one-size-fits-all word to describe all children who are mentally/physically challenged? It seems everywhere you go, thats all a person hears.. autism statistics. Even billboards here are touting how many kids have it now.. next they will have parents believing they could be carrying the gene and should be tested before having kids.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2009
Thu, 10-29-2009 - 10:48pm

That is an argument that can cut both ways.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Fri, 10-30-2009 - 1:07am

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I wonder the same .. how many actually have ADHD .. and how many are just BORED in school?? Kids can come off their meds in the summer and not be little terrors .. because they are outdoors, using up all of that energy and being the little busy bodies they were meant to be.

It's a terrible thing that we have to drug up little kids to get them to learn their math and reading.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2007
Fri, 10-30-2009 - 7:11am
I find it ridiculous that a child would have to be drugged in order to conform to someones else's standards. But it happens...all the time and way too often... teacher can't put up with Johnny's misbehavior, or extra energy, tells his parents something is wrong with him cuz he's not like the rest of the class and his is a disruption, and go get him tested for such and such disability.. Next thing you know, Johnny is a walking zombie cuz of his meds. And he is not doing any better in school either, cuz he is too tired to pay attention, BUT, he is no longer the disruption he was. Now because johnny was labeled "special" the school can get extra fed funding.
All because the little boy is just a high energy, high achiever, and his teacher is incompetent, and doesn't know how to cope and doesn't care anyway.
I have seen this scenario many times in my teaching career.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-12-2005
Fri, 10-30-2009 - 7:18am

I have a daughter who I KNOW would be slapped with labels simply because she has an abundance of energy. Public education is great for children who learn in a traditional manner, unfortunately for kids who don't it can be detrimental. My little girl is very bright but I know she would suffer in a classroom setting. Homeschooling works very well for her.


My older two are in public school and are thriving. I wanted to mention that so no one thinks I am slamming public schools.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-17-2005
Fri, 10-30-2009 - 11:53pm

This video is sad, and I'm sure it's happening all over the country.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-UlOQlg9X4

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2007
Sat, 10-31-2009 - 11:04am

Unless you have a child with a neurological disorder it's so easy to have a blanket opinion.

The reason autism is finally been advertised as much as it has is due to Cure Autism Now and Autism Speaks merging and having an effective media strategy. Add to that the CDC acknowledging the increased rate of autism. 1:150. (Some say 1:91, but that was based on the parent survey of about 78,000 children). The increased rate of diagnosis is probably a combination of a broader understanding of autism itself as well as foreign interference with neurology (environmental toxins, vaccines etc).

If an adhd evaluation is done according to the APA it is usually an effective diagnostic tool and proven effective. However, I would agree, some pyschologists and pedis just use the short Conners scale and as such other variables are not always included or questioned. For example, certain mood disorders mask them selves as adhd and as that's often the first line of testing certain professionals may not look any further. Example: early onset bipolar disorder is often misdagnosed for years as adhd. The danger here is stimulants can trigger mania in a younger person struggling with bipolar disorder, thus exacerbating the behaviors (aggression, depression suicidal thoughts etc).

Now, to answer the question as to why autism is the "catch all" diagnoses. Do you know the testing involved to receive an autism diagnosis? Both my sons had exhaustive testing. My oldest took three weeks total with a test or portion of being given each day via a educational psychologist(phd) in the school system. Btw: this was after we'd seen a developmental pediatrician and neuropsychologist who both diagnosed adhd only. I don't fault them too much though. He was 4 at the time and higher functioning ASD children are often mis or not diagnosed until well into the school system. It turns out my ds also has adhd so they weren't wrong, just short sighted.

Both boys underwent several tests: my youngest for example:
Consultation with parents
Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS)
Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices
Bracken Basic Concept Scale-Third edition:Receptive
Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test-Second Edition
Kaufman Survey of Early Academic and Languahe Skills (K-Seals)
Weschler Individual Achievement Test-Second Edition (WIAT-2)
Conners Comprehensive Behavior Ratings Scale (C-CBRS, Parent)
Conners-3rd Edition(Parent)
Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF, Parent)
Gilliam Asperger's DisorderS cale (GADS, Parent)
Conners Comprehensive Behavior Rating Scales (C-CBRS, Teacher)
Conners-3rd Edition (Teacher)
Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF, Teacher)
Gilliam Asperger's Disorder Scale (GADS, Teacher)

His diagnoses: Autism Spectrum Disorder, specifically Asperger's Disorder. Additionally he has many symptoms commonly associated with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (Combined Type) and a phonological Doisorder (Dysarthria, previously disgnosed)

In fact to receive an autism diagnoses it has to be from a neuropsychologist, developmental pediatrician or a licensed psychologist (phd), possibly a neurologist, but the latter is rather hit and miss.

Thus, there is no "catch all" autism diagnoses. It's that people are finally being educated about it. My oldest also has an accurate diagnoses of ADHD and a Mood disorder. Without medication he is aggressive, assaults his siblings and we his parents, I have holes all over my house (I should have stock in spackle). However, my younger ds does not need medication at present, despite his adhd diagnoses as well. Autism is a complex neurological disorder, heavy on the complex.

Are there children that are being misdiagnosed (ie: ADHD); probably, but I doubt it's the norm.

Dee

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2009
Sat, 10-31-2009 - 1:47pm
Thank you for taking the time to explain,

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2007
Sat, 10-31-2009 - 9:10pm
Anytime...I'm a regular font of this stuff, lol
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2004
Sun, 11-01-2009 - 8:04am

I agree with Dee.

    Apraxia Awareness
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2009
Thu, 11-05-2009 - 12:16am


Came across this article, thought it was interesting. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/6699892.html
Asperger's term may be dropped as a form of autism

By CLAUDIA WALLIS New York Times
Nov. 2, 2009, 11:19PM

It is one of the most intriguing labels in psychiatry. Children with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism, are socially awkward and often physically clumsy, but many are verbal prodigies, speaking in complex sentences at early ages and acquiring expertise in some preferred topic — stegosaurs, clipper ships, Interstate highways — that astonishes adults and bores their playmates to tears.


This once obscure diagnosis is increasingly common. Much of the growing prevalence of autism, which now affects about 1 percent of American children, according to federal data, can be attributed to Asperger's and other mild forms of the disorder.


This once obscure diagnosis is increasingly common. Much of the growing prevalence of autism, which now affects about 1 percent of American children, according to federal data, can be attributed to Asperger's and other mild forms of the disorder.


But no sooner has Asperger consciousness awakened than the disorder seems headed for psychiatric obsolescence. Though it officially joined the medical lexicon only in 1994, the experts who are revising psychiatry's diagnostic manual propose to eliminate it from the new edition, due in 2012.


A single diagnosis

If they have their way, Asperger's syndrome and another mild form of autism — pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified — will be folded into a single diagnosis, autism spectrum disorder.


“Nobody has been able to show consistent differences between what clinicians diagnose as Asperger's syndrome and what they diagnose as mild autistic disorder,” said Catherine Lord, director of the University of Michigan's Autism and Communication Disorders Centers, a member of a group evaluating neurodevelopmental disorders for the manual.


Taking Asperger's out of the manual, known as DSM-V for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, does not mean the term will disappear. “We don't want to say that no one can ever use this word,” Lord said. “It's just not a diagnostic term.”


But the change, if approved by the manual's editors, is likely to be controversial. The Asperger's diagnosis is used by insurers, state agencies and schools, not to mention people with the disorder.

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