Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Clinic Notes: Where does Geek end and Asperger’s Begin?

Since I have published studies on the etiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders, have a clinical practice of mostly children with Autism, develop apps for children with Autism, I am know as an, “Autism Expert.” (I am reminded of a song lyric from an old Eagles song- “The more I know, the less I understand.”) And one thing, among many others, that I don’t understand is where does Geek end and Asperger’s begin? Asperger’s has been linked with scientific genius and many speculate that Einstein, Bill Gates, and most of Silicon Valley have Asperger’s. There are many children that I see who are diagnosed with Asperger’s and do well in a specific area, but are socially inept and often lack “common sense.” We have all had professors who pontificated on their subject in the classroom as well as social gatherings oblivious that they were boring their “audience.” Well the short answer is I don’t know. But I am dismayed that the new version of DSM will do away with Asperger’s as a diagnostic category and just label these special, often wonderful people, as high functioning Autism.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Clinic Notes: Autism and Poverty Redux

Children from low-income families are less likely to be diagnosed with autism and therefore less likely to receive treatment. In large cities like New York City there are program like the NEST program, which try to help identify how children with autism might behave. In Harlem schools are recruiting high functioning children for inclusion into the regular curriculum. Something nice.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Clinic Notes: Being Poor and Having Autism

A California study found that being poor and having autism sucks. Again money talks and children of higher income parents progressed where those of lower income parents did not. It’s all about having money for services and it is not fair. But providers like myself cannot keep a clinic open without money.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Clinic Notes: Hope for Children with Autism

The American Academy of Pediatrics finds in a new study that children with autism, even those who are low functioning, ten percent improve significantly over time. The key is early intervention and an acceptance of the differences between normally developing children and children with autism..

Friday, April 06, 2012

Clinic Notes: Autism Epidemic a National Emergency

I see 40 or so kids in my clinic weekly most of whom have autism. I am overwhelmed. According to Autism Speaks, a child diagnosed with autism will cost $3.2 million for medical services, long term care, and lost income. They tally up annual cost if 1 child in 88 has autism to be a staggering $126 billion. Now I am really overwhelmed.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Clinic Notes: Increase in Autism: Real or Better Diagnosis?

With the new CDC figure saying that 1 child in 88 now has autism a controversy has started hat we have heard before. Is the increase real or is diagnosis getting better? Every time I hear this I get a little irritated. What difference does it make? We don’t know what causes autism so we can’t change the numbers. Perhaps the increase generates new hypotheses, but unless we can correlate the increases with something else and then prove a causal relationship the increase is not meaningful. No government planning is going on. And as far as therapy if a child has problems you treat those problems no matter the diagnosis. My waiting list is always getting longer no matter what the number say.