Sunday, August 7, 2011

.DSM 5 ROFL or (BMHAAW=banging my head against a wall)

  Revised January 26, 2011

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Must meet criteria A, B, C, and D:

A.    Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across contexts, not accounted for by general developmental delays, and manifest by all 3 of the following:
1.     Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity; ranging from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back and forth conversation through reduced sharing of interests, emotions, and affect and response to total lack of initiation of social interaction,
2.     Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction; ranging from poorly integrated- verbal and nonverbal communication, through abnormalities in eye contact and body-language, or deficits in understanding and use of nonverbal communication, to total lack of facial expression or gestures.
3.     Deficits in developing and maintaining relationships, appropriate to developmental level (beyond those with caregivers); ranging from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit different social contexts through difficulties in sharing imaginative play and  in making friends  to an apparent absence of interest in people
B.    Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities as manifested by at least two of  the following:
1.     Stereotyped or repetitive speech, motor movements, or use of objects; (such as simple motor stereotypies, echolalia, repetitive use of objects, or idiosyncratic phrases). 
2.     Excessive adherence to routines, ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior, or excessive resistance to change; (such as motoric rituals, insistence on same route or food, repetitive questioning or extreme distress at small changes).
3.     Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus; (such as strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).
4.     Hyper-or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment; (such as apparent indifference to pain/heat/cold, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, fascination with lights or spinning objects).
C.    Symptoms must be present in early childhood (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities)
D.         Symptoms together limit and impair everyday functioning.

Above is the latest in the 2013 addition of the DSM 5 . Aspergers is now but a foot note in history as we are all to join in the family of autism spectrum disorder .  

If you care to see what ancient criteria I met to receive my Aspergers diploma, you need to look no further then the following link ......

Ah, those were the days . Back in yore when things were numbered succinctly and had at least as much form as  pudding . Now I am afraid we have reached the state of completely fluid DX which allows those who Dx a more comfortable area in which to move with less "friction" . In case all the above rambling is lost on those of "us/AS" who were once defined as unable to grasp abstract reasoning....(thanks but no thanks Temple), what I mean is the following .......

To "classify" something, you must define the perimeters of the traits that makes that "thing" different from that other "thing" . (and an important side note....before you can decide that something is a "dis/bad" order you must agree that there is a good order . What world do they see in which order rules....surely it is not the one that shows me constant abuse of resources, animals, people.... maliciousness towards friends and strangers . Odd obsessions with wealth, power and the esteem of others .  Do you believe that the current majority of "sane people" are  an "order" that is worth of emulating (not to be confused with immolating)  ?

Do I become fixated on something to an "usual degree" many degrees is unusual...30, 60 180? 

At least with the past (admittedly atrocious DX criteria), I could recognize myself in some of the criteria but this latest attempt has further boiled the DX down to two simple traits....that are so vague as to have little meaning to anyone not skilled in double speak . Reduction is great in a sauce but clarification is not just useful for butter ....(sorry, to much Gordon Ramsey this month ). 

I began this blog to give my view of the current classification of Aspergers but it no longer exists...yea, I'm "cured" , problem solved . I can't discuss the DSM 5 version of autism spectrum because it has no shape and although some might tilt at windmills, I prefer to stick my dagger in something with a pulse . 

So, I think I will try and different approach and just generally rant about whatever topic about AS catches my
attention....(my attention is not easily caught as it tends to sprint in odd directions) . 

The latest thing that has been driving me to fits of rage and general growling is SB Cohen and his latest book on empathy .  I think him writing a book on empathy, having shown so little to autistics, is like asking a blind man to review a painting . They could certainly describe the smell, texture of the paint and size of the fame but I think they just might miss a few important things like....shading, light, content, symbolic meaning, etc .

But instead I will share this interview and the comments that follow, some much more interesting and enlightening then the interview itself . So, I think I will refrain from trying to pick apart SB Cohens treaty on Evil since I doubt I will have the patience to read his book unless I find it in my local thrift store .( I try and not give money to people I think are working against my best's one reason I quit smoking . )

What I will do is give you another interesting link ......

I'm no scientist but "they" say I'm autistic and what I want to share is that I recall feeling guilt so strong when I was about 5 years old because I let another child get in trouble when I could have saved him the pain by lying to an adult . I remember clear details of the experience and the feelings of pain and regret when the words left my mouth that I could not take them back .

I recall as a small child, around 8 and interested in insects, finding a bug that I though had it's tail stuck in a piece of wood, I tried to help it get unstuck and "broke it" . I was devastated . I felt like something inside me was ripping . When I later learned that the insect was never stuck but trying to lay eggs, before I so stupidly killed it, I swore to myself that I would try and refrain from interfering with nature unless I knew what I was doing . ( That was before I learned the Dr.s oath..."do no harm" which I am not sure many take seriously any more ).

According to SB Cohen those examples would indicate that I am either not autistic or that I had a very sophisticated code of moral systematizing at a pretty young age . What he doesn't seem to explain is the intense emotional response I had about the boy and bugs suffering .

I do have a hard time with ToM when it comes to human cruelty . I can guess at psychological reasoning of some pleasure principles that might result in some individuals experiencing pleasure in causing pain to others but I simply don't know what that feels like and so can not adequately give them an "appropriate" emotional response followed by appropriate action .  I can feel disgust, rage fear, depression and anxiety that such people share my world and share it in more abundance then the meager 1-6% of autistics . You've probably met a few in your life . Most aren't serial killers they simply are indifferent to other peoples feelings . My life is littered with them so perhaps my next post I can help clarify what NT empathy looks like to me . (You could also go to Wrong Planet .net and google bullying) .

Pardon for the rambling rantings but I have had a headache creeping towards migraine for the past 10 hours . What I really want to say is that I do believe that there is an absence of empathy in the world but I do not believe that my inability to read peoples faces, eyes or minds makes me unable to feel pain when they suffer . Indifference to suffering is not something that I see in other people in the autism community . I Do not believe that our fury at injustices and cruelty is some rigid following of rote memorization of "rules/morals" but that we feel suffering so strongly that we can often strike out blindly in attempt to end that suffering . That someone would try and dehumanize us with such insinuation is appalling to me . It is hard for me to "empathize" with someone who could be so thoughtless and cruel to a group of already oppressed and abused individuals . It is sad to me that this kind of dehumanizing propaganda, similar to that which has been used against different races, genders and religions for so long, still passes as science .

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Aspie Dr Suisse...I am an idiot....(but what are you)

I will not go "there"
I do not dare
to the place where they don't care
The place that says "my kind" don't matter
where I am seen as the Mad Hatter
A place that shivers with my not fitting
the haven for their fire spitting

I will not venture near that land
Where I'm knocked down when I stand
I can not follow their directions
Disgust in their eyes, is my reflection
And yes my world is black and white
my world has room for wrong and right
(I go quietly into that good night )

You will not find me in that place
Where there's no room for "other" tastes
All is sound  and light that blinds...
them to the world of "other" kinds
I once whispered to be heard 
but tired quickly of their absurd...
reality, that hurt my head
and made me wish that I was dead

A few authors have used "idiot" characters in novels, plays and poetry. Often these characters are used to highlight or indicate something else (allegory). Examples of such usage are William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury and William Wordsworth's The Idiot Boy. Idiot characters in literature are often confused with or subsumed within mad or lunatic characters. The most common imbrication between these two categories of mental impairment occurs in the polemic surrounding Edmund from William Shakespeare's King Lear. In Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel The Idiot, the idiocy of the main character, Prince Lev Nikolaievich Myshkin, is attributed more to his honesty, trustfulness, kindness, and humility, than to a lack of intellectual ability. Nietzsche claimed, in his The Antichrist, that Jesus was an idiot. This resulted from his description of Jesus as having an aversion toward the material world.[17]

Thanks Wikki !

I was reading ablog the other day that was talking about idiosyncrasy . The def. they had mentioned "individualism" and it sent me straight to Wikki . I broke the key to "big words" by realizing that they were usually smashed together small words or really short sentences . I learned to dechipher them when I was younger by looking for the small words in them to try and figure out what the word meant . (I think that's why they should still be teaching Latin and Greek in Grade school since they are the root languages of many English words .)

Anyway, that is why I was curious about idiosyncrasy . The image that first popped into my mind when I saw the word was from "common usage", some one who was weird with a negative connotation . However, it was the first time I saw the word "idiot" in the term and wondered what relation being an idiot and "unique" has in common . I thought perhaps there was a key there in how society perceives individuality and I don't think I was far off  .

So. go read what Wikki has to say and draw your own conclusion but this is mine . The Greeks seemed to think that someone was an idiot because they were not involved in the social and political worlds but the Latins saw them as someone who was merely a crafts person and uneducated though not incapable of learning . It wasn't until the social scientist got a hold of the word that "idiot" became a spot on the "intellectual spectrum" . 

So, like the term retarded...(a word I prefer to the absurd, inaccurate and there for PC modern term "developmentally delayed "), I am "taking back" idiot for myself . I am retarded......(unable to develop in some cognitive areas of functioning....not delayed but permanently  held back ie retarded !!!! I am not ever going to develop those abilities and some abstract time in the future .

I am also an idiot....uninterested and uninvolved in social life . I think I would more specifically be called a ...
"Nietzsche/Dostoevsky Idiot" as my aspie qualities are best represented by their characterization of someone who is known by their  honesty, trustfulness, kindness, humility and lack of interest in materialism .....(OK, perhaps maybe some would say humility is not accurate but I think an over all lack of self esteem is pretty close) .

I'm a retarded idiot and humble about it !

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Where are you on the spectrum ?

This quiz by RDOS is one of the first things that I did when I was first DXed with Aspergers . Is it scientific ? I can only say that I found it interesting and scored 163....(My Asperger DX did not give me a number on the spectrum but he did say I "exhibited" all 8 of the 8 traits required for a DX of AS . I would "beg to differ" but as I read recently...."no none should have to beg to differ" and I agree. So no begging but I do think that they are way off on some of the words they choose to use in their traits .

Do I think that apsies are linked to some genetic Neanderthal ancestry as the test designer theorizes ? I do love the feeling of leather and fur to my hand but wearing it sounds a bit itchy...tactile issues . I think his theory is worth a read .

I'm not ruling out Neanderthal heritage but I find the idea of alien genetics far more fitting to my personal temperament and that would better explain why I believed that I was from another planet since the age of around 5 . I spent a lot of my early years gathering information on the human and plant species because I assumed I had been placed here as some sort of anthropologist and "that" was why I found earths inhabitants so bizarre and frightening . I waited very patiently for them to return and down-load the information from my brain so I could get on with my real life . It wasn't until reading about AS that I learned that there were other people "like me" who had similar feelings, (though they didn't all have such an elaborate back story...Probably to much TV and book reading in my impressionable youth.) 

so without further adooooo....the aspie quiz, enjoy .

Language and meaning related to current discussions of autism( Part 1)

A.)"Use your words"
 B)"Say what you mean and mean what you say"

I wonder if those two "clishas" were originally stated by aspies ? If so, they have been misappropriated by NT's .

Aspie version of the first statement is to ask people to try and use there words instead of their non-verbal (What I call monkey language),which is unreadable to many autistics . According to some statistics I have read, up to 85% of communication by NT's is non-verbal . I believe that not only includes facial expressions but tone of voice, body posture, placement and movements . I don't think any of us are expecting that NT's try and suppress these but just add actual words to their communication . I really don't see this as an outrageous request . Many persons who are deaf or speak another language, ask for some form of facilitation when they are expected to communicate . I mean, do people actually get angry at people who speak another language or are deaf when they can't understand ? Granted, it is a major inconvenience to the majority to have to accommodate anyone but if you are actually desiring to communicate, be aware that there are those of us who need accurately spoken words .

The NT version of the first statement is ironically meant as a request for another kind of accommodation . It is often directed at someone who is communicating non-verbally by hitting, crying or screaming . Even I can read that kind of NV communication and it always means that the person is not happy but is not generally specific enough to understand if the unhappiness is about being frustrated, over whelmed, angry, confused, in pain, etc. Some of the individuals who use this non-verbal do so because they are so overwhelmed with distress that they have lost the use of words . Sometimes it is because they have learned that their words are just misunderstood or disregarded and there for with out power . (I'm not including those who simply can not speak because I assume someone asking them to "use their words" is just a sadist and to be ignored on principle .)

The second expression may be used by aspies asking that people stop lying, misleading, misdirected and other wise bastardizing the holiness of language . Not having access to the 85% percent of monkey communication that Nt's have access to makes the written and spoken word sacred to me . It has a power that exceeds simple noises, which often appears to me how many NT's use language....(all sound and fury signifying nothing .) . I think that many aspies are more in-tune to the white noise sound that many NT's use and call language . I think common slang, many modern cliquish used by advertising, religious and political speaks are the best examples of this practice . If you dissect each sentence you do not find meaning in the words themselves but in the emotions attached to the words . People are not telling you information for you to think about but telling you how they want you to feel......patriotic, embarrassed, ashamed . This isn't done accidentally or in secret but is actually big business . There are groups of people who pay other groups of people to tell them what certain combination's of sounds make them "feel"...not what they think .

When Nt's say the second expression, they are saying that you should not lie and also that you should follow through on your promises . All good stuff but I think the expression has gone out of vogue for NT's as the whole concept of personal integrity is seen as naive, old fashioned, quaint . When someone , especially someone in the ruling class, actually does something that shows personal integrity it is likely to make the news .

What has any of the above to do with  language and meaning as related to this specifically aspiefied blog ? I hope to show some of the problems I have with the current beliefs, misconceptions and misnomers being bandied about when Nt's discuss Autism and why they might be a bit confusing to some aspies . Unfortunately this isn't  for the edification of the professionals, (though that would be nice), because you can't teach a, they aren't reading this blog . It is meant to try and clarify in my own mind what this whole aspie thing is for me . That said, anyone who wishes to edify me with some contrary information is welcome to comment . My ego isn't threatened by being proven wrong but by being wrong so I'm always glad to learn something new that will help me be less wrong ; )

My goal is to play devils advocate <___(ever wonder why some one who wishes to begin a dialogue debating ideas contrary to the ruling class is aligned to the devil ? Reeks a bit of witch burning and inquests to me) .Unless I get bored with the idea. I hope to go through some of the current,(old?) diagnostic criteria for a DX of Aspergers as well as many of the traits not directly used for DXing but associated with it by many well  known professionals . (This  may seem pointless as the status quo have decided to lump us in with classic autism  in the new DSM and Aspergers has either been incorporated to bulk up the numbers of the "epidemic" and legitimize the scare mongering of such groups as Autism Speaks and therapists and pharma hoping to make money treating autistics  ) .

Now, if you have been paying attention you may observe that in my 47 years of life on planet weird , I have learned a bit myself about using language in an attempt to illicit emotion . For that I can only apologize  for "going native" and hope that anyone reading this will also see a bit of substance mixed in with the emotion laden words . I can assure you that I am not smart enough to be doing it consciously nor do I have access to an emotion thesaurus<----(note to self, invent and publish an emotion thesaurus), or a focus group .

As one of my clients says as she is done with my help...."you are dismissed" .

Friday, December 17, 2010

There is no B in Aspergers or The Disability of Empathy

......So why do people think it's funny to call it Ass Burgers when all that shows is that they can't tell the difference between a B and P sound ? I used to assume that I was the only person that would have to actually say "B" "P" aloud when spelling words that had those letters . It appears that it is a fairly common disability as few people seem to address this issue when Aspergers is mockingly called Ass Burgers .

Like most of the points I make in life, this on the surface appears to be trivial but if you peel the onion....(it might make you cry but it's the only way to find the truth) might find a deeper meaning .

In this case, my meaning is that somethings do not get labeled as disabilities if they are shared by enough people . Let me point out that the current definition of disability is not based on how many people actually share it but how the majority of people able to do some particular thing decide to define it. The popular usage , as are a fair number of words in modern usages , seems to me a misnomer . A so called "able" bodied person is not called disabled just because they are not able to fly but a so called disabled person will be labeled disabled even if they are able to walk but not able to see . My conclusion is that the word itself is a lazy word for lazy brains . Perhaps that wouldn't be an issue for me if the label itself didn't come with so much negative emotional baggage but I have learned that language never travels light . Many words are surrounded with assumptions, misconceptions and bias which intentionally or not. bury their actual meanings . It's how our brains work .

Pronunciation: (dis), [key]
n. Class. Myth.
a god of the underworld. Also called Dis Pater. Cf. Pluto.


a Latin prefix meaning “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” “utterly,” or having a privative, negative, or reversing force (see de-, un -2); used freely, esp. with these latter senses, as an English formative: disability; disaffirm; disbar; disbelief; discontent; dishearten; dislike; disown. Also,di-.

Read more: dis: meaning and definitions —
Nothing in this definition would indicate that if there are a majority on individuals unable to do something that it is no longer a disability .  The specific behavior, that most often comes to mind for me, is the large number of individuals who appear unable/disabled from having any actual ability to feel the pain of others . Oddly, to me, this is attributed to being a disability in persons with autism . I haven't done any scientific studies but most of my observations are that it is most commonly found in persons who have no autism label, though they include both individuals labeled "disabled" and "neurotypical" . 

Although it is true for me that I often don't read minds any better then non-verbal communication, I am hyper aware when my actions or those of others might cause suffering to others and I personally try to avoid causing others pain . Not because I think it the moral thing to do but because it actually physically hurts me when I am around living things that I believe to be in emotional or physical pain . There are many times when I am not able to avoid causing pain because it involves disobeying some of my other rules of living . 

As example.....

I know that my mother would have liked me to be a cheerleader who dressed in cute clothes and had lots of friends . I know my not fitting that image did cause her much pain but....I not only was unable to meet those expectations I was unwilling to sacrifice my own likes and dislikes in order to do so . My values said to me that to remain authentic to the core of who I was out valued my desire for her to be happy . 

As example...

I work with a client who has sensory issues and dislikes having bathes and brushing her teeth . It distresses me to see her suffering but I do it because I believe that those things are important to her physical health and I have found no alternative to achieving that goal though I do try and make it as quick as I can . I won't however shave her legs as her guardian requests because I know that the client does not care if she has hair on her legs . 

Like a robot who is given two contrary instructions, I often feel like my circuit board is oging to melt down .....

I do not want to cause pain, "Do No Harm"
I must look after the health of the client which includes some things that cause harm
I want to follow rules of my employment
many of those rules disregard the first law of "Do no harm"

As many of my pre-aspergers DX therapists said of me....

"you think to much"

(and they said it without a smile of irony and like it was a bad thing) . 

So blather. blather....(Language is not my first means of communication so pardon my mistakes),
my disability appears not to be one of inability to feel others pain but being unable to block it out .  Like persons with auditory processing disorder, (which I also have), I am constantly trying to pull meaning out of a cacophonous random emotional noise . As if this wasn't distracting enough, I then have to try and figure out how to balance my actions based on this unwanted information and my value system and the value system of those who have control over my life and their expectations of my behavior . 

So, thinking to much is not a choice but a necessity in processing and over abundance of information without shorting out my circuit board <-----it's happened and is very messy . 

Where was I going with this.....ah,yes, disability . My disability is only a disability based on the premise that the majority has the right amount of some "ability" . While it is true their functioning may be faster because they don't have to process as much information, being in the majority does not necessarily make it the "perfect" amount . A blind person may gain higher abilities in other senses because the brain has one less sense to process or be distracted by but they are still considered blind . So it is with those who lack some aspies sense of emotional distress, they are no less disabled and their disability, unlike many currently disabled, often leads to massive amount of suffering of all living things . In my opinion , that's a disability we need to spend research money trying to cure, even if it results in prescreening for the offending genetics and eradicating them from the human gnome . Can you imagine such a world ?