Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Clinic Notes: Is Savage Right? Are Children with Autism Just Brats?

Nationally syndicated talk show host, Michael Savage said on his July 16 radio talk show "I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don't have a father around to tell them, 'Don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot.' " Savage concluded, "If I behaved like a fool, my father called me a fool. And he said to me, 'Don't behave like a fool.' The worst thing he said -- 'Don't behave like a fool. Don't be anybody's dummy. Don't sound like an idiot. Don't act like a girl. Don't cry.' That's what I was raised with. That's what you should raise your children with. Stop with the sensitivity training. You're turning your son into a girl, and you're turning your nation into a nation of losers and beaten men. That's why we have the politicians we have."
Well, you can imagine the response of parents with children with autism and the autism support groups. Autism is a neurological disorder and there is impairment in communication, sensory processing, and other neurological processes. Children with autism need multiple services such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), speech, Occupational Therapy, and often medication. Autism also has a genetic basis. Certainly autism is more than brat behavior; however, some children with autism are noncompliant and do not follow directions. Often in our clinic one of the first ABA programs we run is following directions. Sometimes this is related to autism and sometimes noncompliant brat like behavior. But even after these children are compliant and not tantruming there are many behavior left over that are related to autism and the usual parenting techniques do not work. Parents of children with autism who have heard Savage's remarks have all told me one thing. They would like Savage to spend a day with their child with autism.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Clinic Notes: The Children's Treatment Center for Autism or other Childhood Developmental Disorders

Go to http://www.childrenstreatmentcenter4autism.com and check out our new web page.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Clinic Notes: What does the Child with Autism See?

Most of the sensory information humans process is in the visual modality. And while children with autism often do not make eye contact it is assumed that most of the sensory issues in autism are in the auditory and tactile modality. This is most obvious when children with autism cover their ears in the presence of certain sounds or are tactile defensive refusing to wear certain fabrics or not liking to be touched. Problems in the visual modality are less apparent at times, but research has identified problems. For example, some anecdotal studies as well as empirical studies suggest that human faces are seen as either distorted or blank. Furthermore, children with autism seem to focus more on the mouth of the person speaking rather than the eyes. Some studies suggest that some children with autism have Prosopagnosia or face blindness, which cause social as well as other problems. Of course, these studies have an inferential component and I am still wondering what a child with autism really sees. I have planned a series of drawings that I hope can capture what I think the child with autism possibly sees.