You may run into problems with tryng to find a simple explanation of what
- There are now 'autistic spectrum disorders' which 30 years ago didnt
'exist' at all - which leads into the broader question of why definitions
and labels of 'medical' disorders shift over time, and why are there now so
many more children with a diagnosis of autism than there used to be - is
this real increase, or a change in society's persective on those who dont
Life's never simple!
From: Simon, Steve, PhD [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 5:23 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Misinterpretation of causes of autism
I'd like to write a short speech and possibly a web page on why we do
research. I want to use autism as an example of why we can't rely on
subjective opinions, even of experts in the field. It seems like an ideal
example, but I need some help to do this well.
I would start out with a good simple explanation of what autism is.
The first example would discuss a previously held and incorrect assumption
that cold and distant mothers caused the autistic behavior. I understand
that this was based on a case series without a good control group and with
the evaluation occurring after the diagnosis (since many autistic patients
dislike being touched, an observation of cold distant mothers might be
seeing an effect rather than a cause).
I also want to talk about facilitated communication and how that has been
used without any validation to accuse parents of abusing their autistic
Finally, I want to discuss the current controversy about the "link" between
vaccination and autism. Although the best research indicates that the
condition exists very early in life, autism tends to manifest itself most
overtly at an age when vaccinations occur, leading parents to note an
association because of the temporal closeness of the two events.
My background is in Statistics, so I am a bit hesitant to talk about autism
without some good background material. I already have some material from
several sources, but I thought that readers of this list would be able to
point me to additional web sites, journal articles, etc. that would give a
good overview of these controversies. Of special interest would be the
citations of the good research that ended up driving out the bad ideas.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Steve Simon, [log in to unmask], Standard Disclaimer.
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