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When Science Doesn't Count
Townhall.com ^ | December 20, 2012 | Maggie Gallagher

Posted on 12/20/2012 8:29:28 AM PST by Albion Wilde

...The vast majority of autistic people are not violent.... But the suggestion that science has demonstrated there is no link at all between autism and aggressive violence is questionable.

Google “autism” and “aggression” and you will suddenly be treated to a counter world the formal autism community claims does not exist: desperate mothers seeking help or respite from the violent behavior of large, aggressive, beloved autistic boys (and a few girls)...

(Excerpt) Read more at townhall.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: autism; sandyhook; schoolshooting; violence
Family scholar Maggie Gallagher pleads the case for the family members, often abandoned mothers, dealing with aggression that arises after puberty in some autistic individuals, and the lack of appropriate mental health care for such persons.
1 posted on 12/20/2012 8:29:34 AM PST by Albion Wilde
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To: Albion Wilde

About once a month, I see a teacher or a para injured by an autistic child. Usually bite wounds.


2 posted on 12/20/2012 8:33:25 AM PST by dangerdoc (see post #6)
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To: dangerdoc
A woman that we knew killed her baby because she thought that it was autistic. Smothered it and when it didn't die the first time, smothered it more while it whimpered.

May she rot in Hell.

3 posted on 12/20/2012 8:40:54 AM PST by dhs12345
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To: TheThinker; trailboss800; vaudine; Tolerance Sucks Rocks; Tom the Redhunter; Travis McGee; LucyT; ..

Ping


4 posted on 12/20/2012 8:48:40 AM PST by Albion Wilde (The only way to stop a man with a gun is with a gun. --Daniel Greenfield)
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To: Albion Wilde

My brother had some memorably violent episodes. Of course, according to the experts that had nothing to do with his being autistic and being violently opposed to any kinds of changes in his environment (like changing the sheets on his bed.)


5 posted on 12/20/2012 8:49:40 AM PST by MeganC (Our forefathers would be shooting by now.)
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To: dangerdoc
About once a month, I see a teacher or a para injured by an autistic child. Usually bite wounds.

Wow.

It's long; but this is one of the best articles about autism I have read in a long time. And altho it was written some years ago, it's still up at the top of google:

The Geek Syndrome Autism - and its milder cousin Asperger's syndrome - is surging among the children of Silicon Valley. Are math-and-tech genes to blame?


And for those really interested in autism, here's another from Wired magazine:

The Truth About Autism: Scientists Reconsider What They Think They Know

6 posted on 12/20/2012 8:55:44 AM PST by Albion Wilde (The only way to stop a man with a gun is with a gun. --Daniel Greenfield)
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To: Albion Wilde
...The vast majority of autistic people are not violent.... But the suggestion that science has demonstrated there is no link at all between autism and aggressive violence is questionable.

I would prefer that this statement wasn't worded this way.

The linkage is not specific to Autistic people (or Autism in general). It is specific to individuals who suffer from Autism.

Saying it is linked to Autism, infers that anyone with Autism is prone to be violent. That is clearly not the case.

7 posted on 12/20/2012 8:55:58 AM PST by DoughtyOne (How about a waiting period for putting crazys out on the streets, say NEVER!)
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To: MeganC
My brother had some memorably violent episodes. Of course, according to the experts that had nothing to do with his being autistic and being violently opposed to any kinds of changes in his environment (like changing the sheets on his bed.)

Yep. I knew a "high-functioning" Asperger's sufferer for a long time. One time we agreed to share a house at the beach. I arrived first and set up a fan at one of the windows. When he arrived from his home bringing an absolutely identical fan, he went to the one I had already set up, examined it in minute detail, took it down and put his identical fan up in the same position, and looked at my brand-new fan as if it were smeared with feces.

That's just one of thousands of exasperating moments over the twenty years we were friends that generated rage-filled tension.

8 posted on 12/20/2012 9:07:14 AM PST by Albion Wilde (The only way to stop a man with a gun is with a gun. --Daniel Greenfield)
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To: DoughtyOne
Saying it is linked to Autism, infers that anyone with Autism is prone to be violent. That is clearly not the case.

I really can't agree that it is all that clear. Can you provide more basis for your claim?

Also, her wording absolutely did NOT imply that anyone with autism is prone to violence. Go read the entire article.

9 posted on 12/20/2012 9:10:13 AM PST by Albion Wilde (The only way to stop a man with a gun is with a gun. --Daniel Greenfield)
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To: DoughtyOne
Saying it is linked to Autism, infers that anyone with Autism is prone to be violent. That is clearly not the case.

******************************

Perhaps not, but the article does go on to say that a recent study concludes that “The prevalence of and risk factors for aggression were examined in 1,380 children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Prevalence was high, with parents reporting that 68 percent had demonstrated aggression to a caregiver and 49 percent to non-caregivers.”

10 posted on 12/20/2012 9:16:21 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

When people don’t think they’re getting their views across, they get upset. This surfaces in elderly people too.

Is this aggression evidenced by cursing or physical abuse?


11 posted on 12/20/2012 9:27:05 AM PST by DoughtyOne (How about a waiting period for putting crazys out on the streets, say NEVER!)
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To: DoughtyOne
When people don’t think they’re getting their views across, they get upset. This surfaces in elderly people too.

Is this aggression evidenced by cursing or physical abuse?

*********************************

I don't know, but if the quotes in the article are any indication, it seems that amongst those with autism who do act out, biting is not uncommon.

I don't think that "normal" frustration is comparable to autism, though.

"Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent before a child is three years old.[2] Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood.[3] It is one of three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum (ASDs), the other two being Asperger syndrome, which lacks delays in cognitive development and language, and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (commonly abbreviated as PDD-NOS), which is diagnosed when the full set of criteria for autism or Asperger syndrome are not met.[4]"

Source: Wikipedia

12 posted on 12/20/2012 9:38:50 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Albion Wilde

Years ago I found an interesting theory that people mostly function on one of three “bandwidths”: at an emotional level, and intellectual level, or a physical level. Though people need all three to get by, they tend to mostly stay in just one of them, for their input/output, and how they communicate with others.

When two people meet, they “fine tune” their “frequencies” to try and get as close to the other person as possible. Importantly, the closer they can get, the better they can communicate with each other. If they can’t get very close, they can try to communicate all day but won’t have much luck. How much you can tune is based on how much energy you have.

While culturally we are educated to believe that communication involves the accurate transfer of intellectual data, this is really only important to those with an intellectual bent.

Emotional people are far less concerned with accurate data than with accurate emotional content. So if they are trying to convey an emotional lesson, they often twist the facts to make the emotional lesson clearer.

Physical people communicate with physical contact, be it hugging, grabbing, pinching, slapping, whatever. They try to communicate physically with others. Unfortunately, since most people are not physically oriented, they think of this as assault.

I had a friend with a physically oriented roommate, and my friend said that this behavior was very annoying, and he wished the roommate would stop touching him, punching his arm, etc. Instead I suggested that his roommate was trying to communicate with him, in a physical language, and that he should respond in kind, physically.

He did so, and quite unexpectedly the roommate suddenly saw him as his best friend in the world.

He described it as if his roommate was in a foreign country for years, and didn’t speak the language, then he met someone who spoke English. No matter who that person is, he is their new best friend, because he can communicate with them.

With this as background, it got me to thinking about the “violence” of some with autism. What if they are trying to physically communicate?


13 posted on 12/20/2012 9:57:22 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Pennies and Nickels will NO LONGER be Minted as of 1/1/13 - Tim Geithner, US Treasury Sect)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
What if they are trying to physically communicate?

**********************************

Interesting question. I don't know but your post was fascinating.

14 posted on 12/20/2012 10:00:58 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

I understand the difference, and in some respects your obviously right. I’m not trying to make the case that being elderly is like being autistic. Heck, I’d be slamming myself with thoughts like that.

What I am addressing is diminished capacity.

Both the autistic person and an elderly person have reasons for their bouts of anger. Neither are particularly justified. To them it sure is.

My grandparents ran a nursing home. Every once in a while a client would get angry because someone stole their socks, or their shirt, their pillow, or even their tools they hadn’t had for a decade or more.

The autistic person has an equally reasonable (to them) issue that sets them off.

And you’re right, the elderly person isn’t generally going to bite someone. They may take a swing at someone, if they’re of a mind to.


15 posted on 12/20/2012 10:02:07 AM PST by DoughtyOne (How about a waiting period for putting crazys out on the streets, say NEVER!)
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To: DoughtyOne

There are a number of reasons that an elderly person may be prone to anger, such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.


16 posted on 12/20/2012 10:15:57 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

I agree. Those are parts of what I reference as diminished capacity. People lose their memory, their faculties, their ability to reason.


17 posted on 12/20/2012 10:31:07 AM PST by DoughtyOne (How about a waiting period for putting crazies out on the streets, say a million years or so.)
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To: DoughtyOne

Yes. It’s a very unfortunate fact of life that many of us will have to confront, whether as participants or bystanders.


18 posted on 12/20/2012 10:57:14 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham

Thanks Trisham. Love does have it’s sad moments doesn’t it. Watching even an old acquaintance as they age is bad enough, let alone a member of the family. And knowing there but for the grace of God, go we, it’s tough.


19 posted on 12/20/2012 11:28:46 AM PST by DoughtyOne (How about a waiting period for putting crazies out on the streets, say a million years or so.)
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To: DoughtyOne; trisham; Albion Wilde
Thank you for putting your thoughts and exsperiences in print for us to see.

I'm realizing more every day, how fortunate I am that my aging father (he died at 92), with all his frustrations and frailties and losing one function after another, was never prone to any kind of aggressive or angry outbursts.

He was sometimes sad, and yet always had the virtue of being "as cheerful as he could be, under the circumstances."

My own behavior (as caregiver) sometimes showed frustration; but he was patient even with me!

My heart goes out to anybody dealing with a beloved autistic adolescent, a depressive spouse, or an Alzheimers-afflicted parent --- who has to face flare-ups of anger and aggression from someone who hasn't the capacity to do any differently.

20 posted on 12/20/2012 11:58:44 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("In Christ we form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:5)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I have a family member involved with a work program that tries to provide a rich life experience for people with mental disabilities.

I’m certainly no expert on these matters, but I did want to defend certain people who are afflicted with disorders that cause those who don’t know them to react in a negative manner simply because they haven’t been around people like that before.

Yes, some of these people do act out from time to time. For the most part, it’s like children on the playground. Some of them act inappropriately and get in trouble for it.

If as some people fear, these people were all dangerous, programs like this one would not work. In fact they are not all dangerous. Even so, they also transition through different conditions. Sometimes they cross over into a situation where they can’t function with the group as they used to, and measures have to be taken to make sure they are in a program that is right for them.

This was my emphasis. And it’s important that people understand this. The difference is these folks being placed in a room and wasting away, or living in a group home with their peers, and getting up and going to work every day like others do. They also get to socialize, go to movies, bowling, out to eat, and things on a simpler scale, that still make their lives as fulfilling as ours are.

Even if a job is quite simple, they get a sense of accomplishment out of doing it successfully.

Programs like this are very important to their clientele, and it’s vitally important that members of the community understand what they dynamics truly are.


21 posted on 12/20/2012 12:45:42 PM PST by DoughtyOne (How about a waiting period for putting crazies out on the streets, say a million years or so.)
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To: DoughtyOne

Amen.


22 posted on 12/20/2012 1:04:04 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("In Christ we form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:5)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Thank you Mrs. Dono.


23 posted on 12/20/2012 1:15:36 PM PST by DoughtyOne (How about a waiting period for putting crazies out on the streets, say a million years or so.)
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To: DoughtyOne
They may take a swing at someone, if they’re of a mind to.

My mother tried to stomp me with her walker this summer because she didn't like the way we were moving her into her assisted living apartment.

24 posted on 12/20/2012 2:43:34 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

She may not be fast, bit she’s deadly if you’re within striking distance. LOL

I hear ya, and it’s not a laughing matter situation.

Sorry. I know it was tough.


25 posted on 12/20/2012 3:29:47 PM PST by DoughtyOne (How about a waiting period for putting crazies out on the streets, say a million years or so.)
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To: DoughtyOne

I am amazed at how rigid she’s gotten in her old age (99). She doesn’t hear well, or see well, anymore; but she’s a retired school teacher so she is firm in her opinions — even when she’s wrong.


26 posted on 12/20/2012 5:05:20 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

That’s a very interesting theory....I wonder how much gender plays a role...


27 posted on 12/20/2012 5:17:43 PM PST by JZoback
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To: Albion Wilde

Made it thru the first article!

I understand wanting a ‘cure,’ but the genetic engineering to achieve its elimination gives pause. What if someone down the line decides that red hair or green eyes should be ‘cured?’ Or any genetic trait? Short people got no business. All rather frightening. I think we can only fool around with God so much.


28 posted on 12/20/2012 7:53:34 PM PST by EDINVA
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To: Albion Wilde
Interesting, by God's grace my family has been spared these challenges. The husband of one of my nieces works with special needs children and has come home with bruises. Fortunately he's a big, fit guy but the work is very wearing on him. My youngest brother and his wife work with troubled youth. They have to take regular breaks as well.
29 posted on 12/21/2012 3:42:14 AM PST by Jimmy Valentine's brother (CBC, just another bunch of jive a$$ street corner hustlers)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I’d imagine it’s pretty tough accepting that you’re not sharp enough to fend for yourself any longer. It’s a tough period of life to go through. It isn’t easy for you either.

Here’s to hoping things go as smoothly as possible for your family.

Take care.


30 posted on 12/21/2012 5:46:26 AM PST by DoughtyOne (How about a waiting period for putting crazies out on the streets, say a million years or so.)
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To: sauropod

read


31 posted on 12/21/2012 6:53:08 AM PST by sauropod (I will not comply)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
With this as background, it got me to thinking about the “violence” of some with autism. What if they are trying to physically communicate?

I found your story very interesting. Communication, to me, is whatever non-injurious method causes understanding between two beings. Having traveled in foreign lands, I used hand signals, drawings, even singing to try to get my messages across. It was also an unique pleasure to work for an animal research concern for awhile, during which I read a great deal about interspecies and intraspecies communications. Certainly, every cat, dog and horse owner uses both words and touch, as well as certain forms of eye contact, to communicate with their pet, and the sensitive human can understand a wide range of animal body language.

You might enjoy the books of Dr. Temple Grandin, who has been mentioned in the article. She is an autistic woman with very odd speech and behavior who, nevertheless, used her unique non-verbal mental processes ("Thinking in pictures") to understand animals. She has written extensively about animal communications because she sees the parallels between her own autistic inability to understand the finer points of human social cues and the perceptions of animals who interact with humans.

That said, there is a difference between physically communicating and shooting Mom in the face.

32 posted on 12/21/2012 3:55:06 PM PST by Albion Wilde (The only way to stop a man with a gun is with a gun. --Daniel Greenfield)
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To: EDINVA
I think we can only fool around with God so much.

I agree -- the farther we get away from being able to manage within Nature as she is, and not trying to force her to be what we want her to be -- the closer we are to societal collapse. The idea of medicating violently mentally ill people and turning them loose in the community with full adult "rights" to take their meds -- or not take them -- is a risky game.

As for the scientists who want to genetically re-engineer other humans, I say, "You first."

33 posted on 12/21/2012 4:46:57 PM PST by Albion Wilde (The only way to stop a man with a gun is with a gun. --Daniel Greenfield)
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To: Albion Wilde

This also raises the question of Synesthesia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia

It basically means “overlapping senses”, and some people with autism are known to have one (or more?) of the 60 known kinds.

For example, there was one autistic child who experienced “Time as an elephant”, visualizing a large amount of time in the future as a large physical object, and as time passed, the object would get smaller until time ran out, then it would disappear.

Yet his understanding of time this way was important to another autistic child, who had a “time delay” of emotional response of about a day. That is, if someone slapped him, he would be impassive, then about a day later he would start to cry and wail as if he had just been slapped.

However, science is just barely scratching the surface of understanding Synesthesia, and it is pretty extraordinary. For example, there are some people who can “see” music as different colors. Only a few people with extraordinary hearing might listed to an orchestra and tell that a violin is out of tune, but someone with that form of Synesthesia can tell which violin, because its music has a different color than the other violins.


34 posted on 12/21/2012 5:23:06 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Pennies and Nickels will NO LONGER be Minted as of 1/1/13 - Tim Geithner, US Treasury Sect)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Fascinating! Such myriad human talents! It just reminds all of us to respect people as we find them and accentuate the positive!


35 posted on 12/21/2012 6:42:25 PM PST by Albion Wilde (The only way to stop a man with a gun is with a gun. --Daniel Greenfield)
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