Skip to comments.Thomas Sowell: Real Autism (NOT LATE-TALKING CHILDREN!)
Posted on 07/17/2008 8:35:57 AM PDT by neverdem
My daughter was a late talker. My family kept pestering me about why she wasn’t speaking. I told them her father was a quiet person, maybe she is too. Plus with older siblings, not much need as they tended to be her mouthpiece. Now she is just fine and I’m glad I didn’t listen to them.
People are obsessed with putting their kids on some kind of medication, its almost like they are looking for some kind, any kind of excuse to do it.
I know Autism is real, as I know ADD and ADHD are real, but hell, I have the common sense god gives a screwdriver to know that way to many kids are diagnosed with these things, when they simply don't have it.
I do not personally know of any parent who cares about their child that doesn’t pursue every avenue trying to disprove a diagnosis of Autism.
It's a roller coaster ride and I have great empathy for those folks.
“For example, a study of high-IQ children by Professor Ellen Winner of Boston College found these children to have obsessive interests and often play alone and enjoy solitude, as well as being children who seem to march to their own drummer and have prodigious memories.”
This would be my Stephen.Although testing has not pointed towards autism, but rather central auditory processing disorder.
I was an only child and a late talker. Initially, they thought I might be autistic. However, some bright bulb decided to test my hearing first and found out I was deaf in one ear, just in time to prevent me from being labeled autistic for the rest of my life.
[... If A CHILD is not AUTISTIC to begin with, almost
anything will cure him with the passage of time...]
If THE WORLD is not WARMING to begin with, almost
anything will “cure” it with the passage of time.
Thomas Sowell always makes sense out of the senseless!
Autism is the new badge of honor for deficiency in parenting and has taken the place of ADHD and ADD in misdiagnoses. My neighbor works with Autistic children only, and she is frustrated that the disease has been watered down to undisciplined children and the true Autistic children are getting less attention. She is afraid of becoming a glorified babysitter of bad children.
Follow the money, from Pharmaceuticals to handouts.
If you build it, they will come.
My sister (who is a public school administrator) yanked him immediately and sent him to a private all-boy school, where he thrived. He's a senior in college now, and doing quite well.
I’m amazed he didn’t mention Asperger’s in his article.
Hmmm. I have a cousin whose 3 year old could be the poster child for Professor Winner’s description. He is now on the “autism spectrum.”
I have told my mother that this diagnosis is bunk and he should be encouraged to develop his single minded problem solving skills (where do you think good researchers come from?)
Of course, according to my mom, he needs this “intervention.” Interestingly she held up the neighbor’s kid who was just like this at 3. I asked her how he turned out without intervention. He had the lead in his high school play last year.
“Follow the money, from Pharmaceuticals to handouts.”
Indeed, the pharmaceutical industry has nearly succeeded in convincing this nation as a whole that it it NOT normal for a person to live without some kind of chronic medication. The goal seems to be to have every child on meds for some sort of attention disorder and now even some young children are being put on cholesterol meds. It is obvious that the goal is to have every single adult taking cholesterol medicine and or blood pressure and or blood sugar meds. Notice that tv ads for one brand of cholesterol medication featured an onscreen disclaimer saying there is no evidence that it reduces heart attack risk! We are supposed to take it and expose ourselves to all kinds of very dangerous possible side effects with no reason to believe we might obtain any benefit from doing so!
I am gaining more respect for my late father with every passing day. He only went to the eighth grade but he had a very healthy distrust of internal medicine and steadfastly refused to take most of them, he died less than a month before his 82nd birthday and outlived most of the doctors who were convinced he would die in his fifties if he didn’t take his medicine.
Dr. Sowell and Dr. Savage, and I love them both, run periously close to getting it wrong about autism. While a clear diagnosis still is hard to come by, it is clear “something” is wrong and it is more than just delayed speech or bad parenting.
Trying to minimize austism by suggesting many cases are just a matter of delayed speech is just poor logic. There are so many other problems found with autistic kids, we wish it was just delayed speech.
So, Dr. Sowell, Dr. Savage, please spend some time with PubMed, talk to more parents of autistic children, read up on it more.
For Dr. Savage, there can be a subset among what are called “high functioning autistics” who fit your critique and where, yes, parents can use more discipline.
It is when you are sitting there with an austistic child who has problems with math, month in month out, year in year out, that you begin to see that there might be an issue.
Also, the way many autistic boys talk, you can tell, and their peers can tell right away, there is something “off”, something not right in the way they talk that is more than just delayed speech.
Many conversations are outright inappropriate, or disturbingly repetitive. The ability to read social cues is impaired.
Finally, suggesting delayed development is statement that needs to be scrutinized. So much of childhood development involves capabilities showing up at the right time. Some may need to show up at the right time, otherwise overall development is impaired. Where that might be true in autistic kids is one of those open questions.
As was my oldest son. I encountered the same sort of well-meaning people offering advice and concern. I loved it when I read Sowell's first column on the subject. I was already a Sowell fan but that made me feel a certain kinship.
My late talker finally started talking at around 3 years old. His first word was, "Stop that kitty" as his new kitten was scratching him. He was my oldest of three and very likely the one with the highest IQ although I think all three of my children are very bright.He is also the most 'straight edge' of the three now adult children. All my kids are quirky in their own way. Late talking was the oldest's quirky thing.
I'm not into diagnosing personality traits. A diagnosis implies an illness. Why saddle a kid with the belief there is something wrong from day one. My middle son could not read until fourth grade but he is definitely the wittiest one of the bunch. I think wit is a great indicator of intelligence. We spent a lot of time and money to get him up to a basic reading level but he still has some trouble with reading and writing. He recently graduated from a Whittier College. It was difficult for him but he made it. Because he is so athletic and handsome and witty, we like to tell him, "Thank God you can't read or there would be no living with you!"
In the presence of a high IQ, all those other “symptoms” just look like normal responses for a child who’s intelligence level is simply far above that of available similar-aged playmates. And the preference for playing alone and appearance of “marching to their own drummer” is common among low IQ children whose available playmates are all normal-to-high IQ children.
The money spent on advertising unknowns in the industry far and away dwarfs anything spent on R and D. Sham and scam.
I don’t think Sowell is trying to “minimize autism.”
Please check out Sowells books: The Einstein Syndrome and Late Talking Children. Sowell does not paint with a broad brush and has come up with some very specific criteria for parents to consider when deciding a course of action that could potentially cause more harm than good.
Our son did not speak until until he was 5. Our Pediatrician, after many examinations expressed the opinion he was simply a late talking child who fell at the extreme end of the speech bell curve.
We were lucky enough to stumble upon Sowells book, and found that our child met the description of the children in his book. We were able to avoid attempts by the school district to label him as autistic in order to receive public funding for special services. Our son is now 9 and after 4 years of speech therapy, speaks very well, does extremely well socially and is an A student.
my Stephen “marches to his own drummer” - but has excellent memory, and academically does quite well.
They suspect CAPD because testing shows he is getting his information through visual cues, rather than verbal instruction.
If the kid is told, verbally, something - he misses the point.
When he is shown visually what the concept is - he nails it.
He is large for his age (looks 3-4 yrs. older than he is), but emotionally immature for his age.
I think this puts him in an awkward position socially.
I learned in college that 90 percent of people respond much better to visual cues than auditory cues and learn visually. It is rare for someone to be prone to auditory learning over visual learning. An example of this is the written word creates facts curiously faster than if someone hears word of mouth.
Basically that is very very normal. Myself included, I am much more of a visual learner.
I felt it needed that extra word.
Kids obsessed with dinosaurs, trains, horses? Kids who like to play alone? Childhood has become a disease, apparently.
Thanks. I guess it even boils down to children in her mind that get very little learning stimulus at home or don’t have parents willing to control and command. I can appreciate the correction.
Btw, as another point in business seminars they really rail on the use of visual cues for just that point. People respond, remember, react, and learn more from visual stimuli and verbal cues don’t work to teach as well. That is why you can only remember 10-20 percent of a speech in class if you are lucky, and learn more from reading the chapter. That is why one takes notes during lectures. You remember it in pixels and on paper much better.
Normal normal normal.
IMHO, late talking children could use another thread.
Regardless of whether it is called Autism, Autistic Disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorder, basing a diagnosis on an assortment of behaviors in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV-TR, just leaves me uncomfortable because it is such a vague diagnostic term when specific genetic characteristics have been identified for at least some patients:
In other words, without a more specific diagnosis, most drug and behavioral treatments strike me as just shots in the dark. Likewise, just describing abnormal childhood development doesn't mean that there is an effective treatment. "First, do no harm."
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
There is one boy in our 'hood who clearly exhibits behavior way out of the childhood norm. He's eight or nine, has an extraordinary vocabulary, but it is nearly impossible to talk to him. His mind changes directions after two sentences. Socially, he acts several years younger than he is--almost like a toddler. He has a very nice family, both parents in the home, both very involved. His siblings are just regular kids, but very protective of him.
My daughter did not talk much until she was almost four. Our daughter started reading before she was 3 but did not verbalize much. My wife was very concerned about it so I gave in and agreed to have her evaluated for early childhood intervention. We were first time parents. What did we know.
This “evaluation” was done by 3 elementary school teachers. They took our daughter into a room filled with toys (without us) and attempted to interact with her. Our daughter turned her back on the teachers and played with the toys. The teachers came out of the room and told us very sternly that our daughter is in the autistic spectrum and needs help. So we sent her to early preschool and for about 2 months had a speech therapist come to our house.
I then started educating myself on the subject of late talking children. I read Thomas Sowell’s 2 books on the subject.
Around 4 years of age, a light bulb went on in our daughter’s brain and she started talking a lot more.
She was tested for the gifted program in the 1st grade and aced it.
She is now 10 years old and gets straight A’s. She loves to read and write short stories. In the 1st grade, she became interested in dinosaurs and read everything she could find about the subject. Now she is obsessed with reading about greek mythology.
“Special ed” is a huge scam. School districts get federal money for each “special ed” student so they are quick pin a label on a kid for being a little different.
his problem seems to go beyond what is normal.
It was enough to interfere with normal development.
He confuses certain sounds and “hears” things differently.
They call it dyslexia of the ears.
We will know more when he gets tested by a pediatric audiologist who specializes in the disorder, but they advised us to wait until he was 7 (just turned 7, and it takes around 6 months to get an appt.)
He didn’t do well in a regular audiologist test because he couldn’t understand directions well enough to complete the test.
Our grand daughter was a late talker and really late when compared to the early talkers in her neighborhood and the baby group, set up by the hospital re birthdates. Now she more than holds her own with the original group, her neighborhood and classmates.
We kept telling her parents to relax. When she stayed with her Grandmother and I, she talked because we listened and didn’t interupt nor hurry her. If she didn’t want to talk, we didn’t force her to talk.
Sometime during her pre school time, she started talking and hasn’t stopped yet. Since then, every year, she has been the best reader in her class, not the fastest, but the best re understanding what she reads and being able to remember and discuss it.
She has excellent verbal skills and can tell anyone what she has read, hears or a combination of the two. She may be the best listener in the family, and we have a couple of excellent ones. She is a creative writer and also able to compose material based on data or what she has read.
ComputerWorld had an article about the "dark secret in IT". It was about the large number of IT employees with Asperger's. Sometimes it is an asset.
No, they don't. There IS a limit, and the money spent by districts on special ed students FAR, FAR outstrips anything they receive from the Fed.
Good for your sister. A TEACHER has absolutely NO BUSINESS diagnosing autism. That, by law, is left for a physician to do.
Our son was diagnosed with verbal, auditory and visual dyslexia at 6. It took a whole lot of hard work and one-on-one attention from us (the therapist gave us the references and we did it ourselves).
He's almost 14 and still has a few issues ... when he's tired he garbles his speech a bit, and his handwriting is finally becoming somewhat legible. He's at a college reading level and a college math level. He has great friends and a 4.0. He's first trumpet it two bands and plays 4 sports. Everything "comes easy" to him now.
It was like pushing a train up a mountain ... so much hard and aggravating work at the beginning ... now it's all downhill ... like a runaway train down the mountain. Keep positive ... you'll get through it.
thanks for the positive input!
it looks like we’ve been spared visual dyslexia.
The hurdles are moments where he really needs to understand the spoken word, and he is also emotionally immature - socially awkward.
A kind and gentle giant - but difficult to play easily with other children his age.
” Sometimes it is an asset.”
yes...google “brain man”. He’s a good example.
One neurologist I met must fit into this category.
Worst social mutant I’ve ever encountered.
“uses sign language.”
Check into central auditory processing disorder.
Symptoms are similar - but come from very different sources.
Pediatric audiologist ought to help you with that possibility.
“second grade parochial school teacher diagnosed him as autistic “
There is nothing in the background of an elementary school teacher that qualifies them to make any sort of medical diagnosis.
Sure - they may wind up working with autistic kids, and one child’s symptoms may remind them of another - but the symptoms could be caused by something else.
They can pull a parent aside and say “this is how Jonny has been behaving in class and I recommend you have him evaluated by a physician...”
But they cannot say “Johnny is autistic”
No way, no how.
I think there is different kinds of intellegent. My late talker is the one who is extremely gifted musically and can remember lyrics to musicals so much that it’s uncanny. You should hear her sing every song to Cats and she is six. She is also reading music. But she struggles with reading words. Either that or she just isn’t interested.
Thank God there are different kinds of smart. We can’t all be the musicians, scientists, authors, etc... It takes all of us.
Sounds like every classmate I had in Engineering at college.
A friend of mine was like that. In grade school, all the teachers labeled him as dumb. Now he mangaged a plant that builds fire trucks that he designs.
What got him started was he fell in love with something (fire appratus) and tried to learn everything about them at his job. That drove him to over come his reading issues. Another good thing was I kept giving him fantasy novels. He loved the stories so much he forced himself to read them.
Now he is working with his kids to make sure they don’t get labeled as stupid for similar problems.
You are so right. It is funny how validated I feel when I talk to other parents of 'Late Talkers'. All the late talkers I am familiar with are quirky but super cool. All of my children amaze me and each one of them has their own idiosyncrasies. I have a Late Talker, a Slow Reader, and a Mustard Eater. The Mustard Eater is the girl. She spent her toddler years eating bowls of mustard and drinking vinegar. She used to ask for "Tobacco Sauce" to spice up her meal. I can't wait to have grandchildren. The kids were so darn great.
Sometimes it is, no doubt.
Oh we have a butter eater. She would order waffles at restaurants to eat the little packets of butter that came with them. We didn’t figure that out for a while. Then I would catch her with a spoon full of butter. So weird what they like.
Got a grandbaby coming in August. Our youngest is six and it’s going to be like having another kid of our own I think.
I wonder if that behavior is an attempt to consume some vital, missing nutrient in her diet. One of the possible causes of autism is a genetically inherited "leaky gut". Children with a leaky gut can process in casein in cow's milk into peptides that mimic opium type substances. The peptides depress the brain AND cause a physical addition. The leaky gut can also pass other bovine proteins into the blood stream that trigger an immune response. That response often attacks the insulin producing cells and leaves the child a type 1 diabetic by around age 5. The narcotic suppression caused by the casein peptides can generally be reversed within 3 days of witholding any milk products. The individual will go through a withdrawal over the 3 day period, but then improves significantly. It's a simple, inexpensive option to try.
Some additional reading here on mustard as a stimulant of PLA2 enzymes. The article also promotes low carb diets to limit stimulation of insulin as it as stimulates PLA2.
This one did.
She is now a very healthy 21 year old. I am sure you are correct about our body telling us what we need. We just preferred to think of it as her quirky thing. She looks like a hippie but since she is conservative she prefers to call herself a "thinker". Here she is getting ready to send in her vote for Mitt on Super Tuesday.