Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The autism research rogues gallery

Unfortunately, I don't have time or room to post all their photographs. So this isn't a proper rogues gallery--more like a rogues list.

This would be a list of researchers whose names appear on published or in-press peer-reviewed journal papers which find cognitive strengths in autistics, that is, which report data showing that autistics perform significantly better than non-autistics on various tasks or tests.

As I wrote in my first post here, autism advocacy is the widespread effort to make the world as free of autism--that is, of autistic people--as possible. According to autism advocates, autism research must support their autism advocacy needs and agendas. Otherwise, it should not be conducted much less reported. Researchers whose research designs (whether they like it or not) result in autistics outperforming non-autistics are therefore a bunch of rogues. We should be ashamed of ourselves for cluttering up the peer-reviewed literature with findings that are not going in the right direction.

Only authors of papers reporting data involving groups (autistics versus non-autistic controls matched in various ways) are included in this rogues list. Some researchers appear in the authorship of only one such paper; others appear in several. Here are the rogues:

Aldridge, Alcantara, J.M. Anderson, M. Anderson, Applebaum, Arguin, Barber, Baron-Cohen, Barrett, Bauman, Belleville, Bender, Bernard, Berthiaume, Bertone, Beversdorf, A. Bonnel, A.M. Bonnel, Brindley, Burack, Butler, Caron, Chawarska, Chen, Cherkassy, Chouinard, Cottington, Crucian, M. Dawson, de Jonge, Driver, Durkin, Egel, Enns, Faubert, Felopulos, Findling, Finn, Foxton, Frith, Gallun, Gernsbacher, Gilchrist, Griffiths, Hamilton, Happé, Heaton, Heilman, Hermelin, Hughes, Iarocci, Imhoff, Jarrold, Jelenic, Jemel, Jiminez, Joliffe, Just, Kamio, Kana, Keillor, Keller, Kemner, Klin, R. Koegel, Lahaie, Langdell, Lawson, Leekham, Lockyer, Lopez, Maley, Maybery, Ménard, Minshew, Mitchell, Moore, Morasse, Mottron, Nadeau, O'Brian, O'Riordan, Peretz, Pellicano, Plaisted, Pring, Prior, Okada, Rainville, Raymeakers, Robaey, Rodgers, Ropar, Roeyers, Rutter, Sakihama, Saksida, Saumier, Scheuffgen, Sears, Shah, Sheppard, B.W. Smith, Soulières, Spong, Stauder, Steinmetz, Stewert, Stone, Sweeney, Tager-Flusberg, Toichi, van der Meere, van Engeland, Volkmar, Weisblatt, Wheelright, Yamamoto, Young, Youngstrom

This is a very incomplete list--it's more or less off the top of my head. And in deference to ubiquitous and anti-scientific autism advocacy prejudices re autistic savants, I've left out the entire savant and hyperlexia literatures, which would add considerably to the above rogues. I've left out studies which have been presented at major research conferences, but have not yet been published--which means that well-known names (in autism or other fields) like Ullman, Mostofsky, Joseph and Strauss have for the time being been spared rogue status. If I had more time, I'd list all the rogue researchers' rogue universities, and I'm sure anyone versed in autism research can spot the knight--as well as the famous behaviour analyst--among the rogues.

I've also left out the problem of the impressive heap of findings in the peer-reviewed literature showing autistics performing as well as their non-autistic controls.

Autism advocates making sweeping "autism reality" assumptions about the functioning levels, "severity", etc., of the autistic participants whose strengths were advertantly or inadvertantly revealed by the rogues will be displaying their own unfamiliarity with the published literature in autism.


David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

It took me a while to get what you were saying here, and I'm still not sure in the fullest sense what it is your saying.

Are you having a go at the less scrupulous 'scientists' (eg., Lovaas, Mulick, Smith etc., and the Geiers, and others) whose contribution to autism woo is vastly more believed by people who don't know their scientific backsides from their scientific elbows?

The impression I always got was that the people on the list you give were actually at least trying to get a good picture of the skills and abilities of autistics regardless of whether they were better or worse than most, when compared to the test norms.

This is what nosebleeds at 4am and then a three-hour sleep total do for you.

Michelle Dawson said...

The rogues gallery/list consists of researchers whose refereed findings have (one or more times) been in the opposite direction to the major beliefs, values, goals, agendas, etc., of autism advocacy and therefore of autism advocates.

"Autism advocacy" is defined (again) in this post, in the third paragraph, for those who are unclear as to what it means. The same paragraph also explains why researchers whose study designs elicit data demonstrating cognitive strengths in autism (which are then reported in peer-reviewed journals) would be regarded by autism advocates as rogues.

Autism Reality NB said...

I see Mottron's name on the list. Is he the psychiatrist that specializes in studying high functioning and savant autistic persons?

Michelle Dawson said...

Hi Mr Doherty,

Laurent Mottron, MD, PhD, has published peer-reviewed papers involving autistics of various levels of intelligence as measured by various instruments. E.g., Dawson et al. (in press), of which Dr Mottron is the senior author, includes autistic children judged to be "low-functioning" on one major test of intelligence but "high-functioning" on another major test of intelligence.

Dr Mottron is also known for his work with autistic savants (of various levels of measured intelligence). This has involved demonstrating that measurable cognitive atypicalities characterizing autistic savants also characterize non-savant autistics.

Autism Reality NB said...

Most of the papers I have seen published by Dr. Mottron specifically reference high functioning or savant autistic persons as subjects in the studies.

Does he have a clinical practice?

daedalus2u said...

cpdffejvYou left out Asperger.

Ioan James, Singular scientists. J R Soc Med 2003;96:36–39.

"Later Asperger went so far as to write: ‘It seems that for
success in science or art a dash of autism is essential. For
success the necessary ingredients may be an ability to turn
away from the everyday world, from the simple practical,
an ability to rethink a subject with originality so as to create
in new untrodden ways, with all abilities canalised into the
one speciality’"

My own belief is that the characteristics of autism, are the extreme end of what it is to be a tool making and using human. That the only world "free of autism" will be one that is uninhabited by humans.

Michelle Dawson said...

Hi Mr Doherty,

Dr Mottron directs both a clinic and a research group, and is involved in the work of clinics other than his own. Otherwise, see my previous response.

"High" and "low" functioning are terms of convenience in autism research (as opposed to the novel, non-empirical, subjective definitions invented by eminent autism advocates), to describe snapshot IQs on a specific intrument of 70 or more, or less than 70 respectfully. That is, the difference between "high" and "low" functioning is one IQ point at one point in time.

Sometimes researchers move the "high" versus "low" functioning boundary (e.g., Szatmari et al., 1989, used 65, not 70).

Mottron (2004) demonstrated that instruments normed for measuring the intelligence of non-autistics are not normed for autistics. In a study involving a wide variety of autistic children and adults, we have now shown that discrepancies between performance in major tests of intelligence (which are normed to be equivalent for non-autistics) can be dramatic in autistics (Dawson et al., in press).

Michelle Dawson said...

Hi Daedalus2u,

In my original post, I wrote,

"Only authors of papers reporting data involving groups (autistics versus non-autistic controls matched in various ways) are included in this rogues list."

Asperger did not report any data resulting from controlled experimental designs, or not that I know of. His major paper (Asperger, 1944; translated into English in Frith, 1989) is definitely worth reading though.

Michelle Dawson said...

... Sorry--Asperger (1944) is translated into English in Frith (1991... not 1989).

Ms. Clark said...

Is the "Dawson" you, or Geraldine?

That's quite a list, especially considering the categories you left out.

Are they spread out over the last 10 years or more, or are they mostly newer papers?

Michelle Dawson said...

Hi Ms Clark,

I'm afraid the "Dawson" is me. Yep, I'm a rogue. I suppose I should add an initial. That makes two known autistic autism research rogues (the other being Joliffe).

Geraldine Dawson has reported negative results (autistics perform the same as non-autistics), but has not, so far as I know, reported autistics outperforming non-autistics.

That's unless you count the remarkable ability of autistic children to resist being fooled by fake distress (G. Dawson et al., 2004). If that counts as an autistic strength (I think it should, but many would disagree with me), then I'd have to add a lot more rogues to the list.

There are 5 papers before 1985, the rest after.

Ms. Clark said...

Soon Geraldine Dawson and many other researchers will be clamoring to join your list. We all hope so, anyway.

Andy said...

Thanks for the list. Would be lovely to have a paper list!

I like this quote:

"Quite compellingly, each of these statistically significant demonstrations of autistic superiority is labeled by its authors as a harmful dysfunction. Autistics' superior block-design performance is labeled “weak central coherence,” symptomatic of dysfunctional “information processing in autism” (Shah & Frith 1993, p. 1351). Autistics' superior performance on embedded figures tests is considered “consistent with the cognitive-deficit theory proposed by Hermelin and O'Connor (1970) … due to a central deficiency in information processing” (Shah & Frith 1983, p. 618). Autistics' superior recognition memory performance is attributed to deleteriously “enhanced attention to shallow aspects of perceived materials” (Toichi et al. 2002, p. 1424); their superior sentence comprehension is described as being “less proficient at semantically and syntactically integrating the words of a sentence” (Just et al. 2004, p. 1816); their superior imperviousness to memory distortions is explained by “representations in the semantic network [that] may be associated in an aberrant manner” (Beversdorf et al. 2000, p. 8736); and their superior resistance to misleading prior context is attributed to their perception being “less conceptual” (Ropar & Mitchell 2002, p. 652)."

That's from

GERNSBACHER, M. A., & DAWSON, M., & MOTTRON, L. (2006). Autism: Common, heritable, but not harmful. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 29, 413-414.

Andy said...

Aha, it's just clicked that the M. Dawson is you!!!!!!

David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

Thank you for the clarification.

As I say, three-hour sleep and serious nosebleeds do not help with getting the point sometimes. Thankfully last night's nosebleed was not as long as the previous night's.

daedalus2u said...

Hi Ms Dawson,

Did you get the stuff I sent you on the "uncanny valley"? I think that bears directly on your work on why there is such antipathy/hostility directed toward people with ASDs.

laurentius rex said...

But where is Claude Levi Strauss, a rogue if ever there was one?(according to Saint Jaques anyway) for surely amongst the nambikwara, were some autistic personages? as surely as Fombonne is too culture blind (though he may be able to read Sartre in the original) to find 'em amongst the Inuit.

Not every study can differentiate who is who, and what is what, in the control group especially when you consider other uncontrolled for neurodiversities.

Well you might think the stats takes care of that. You might think so but I could not possibly say :)

jonathan said...

I have autism and I perform in the retarded range on the block design test. I wonder how Mottron et al's research would explain me. I wonder if all of these alleged autistic strengths aren't just overgeneralizations

Michelle Dawson said...

For Jonathan, in one of our papers (Caron et al., 2006), we show the distribution of Wechsler block design scores in a large autistic and non-autistic population. You can find a free pdf of this paper at the journal which published it here, see Fig. 1.

For Daedalus2u, evolutionary psychology, and other areas you are interested in, are mostly way over my head (like Mr Rex, and so many others) and/or too speculative for me to be useful in.

Michelle Dawson said...

Hi Andy,

You're welcome! I'm having too much fun (deadlines...) looking around your blog (and staring at this paper).

I'll remind myself to put the need for a list of papers on my list of stuff to do...

(this is my 2nd try at posting this, having screwed up the html)

Andy said...

Glad you're enjoying the blog! I can't seem to get that link to work so have no idea what paper you mean: is it the What is a Proof? one?

I have another blog which may also aid in your procrastination, but it's mostly nonsense.

What should we do if someone is shown not to have a particular ability, or to use a non-standard strategy, or to be different from a particular group in some way. What difference does it make if they express annoyance at being unable to do something? We can't deal with every expression of annoyance as a problem to be solved. For instance I'm quite annoyed that I'm not an astronaut or a wonderful mathematician, but should that be solved by piling lots of money into making me an astronaut or a wonderful mathematician or should I be guided towards other tasks I can do well and enjoy?

Michelle Dawson said...

Hi Andy,

And I screwed up the link to the pdf too. I should have said, the paper linked at the bottom of this page . And yep, it's What is Proof.

Here's a line from this abstract of a 2006 lecture by Laurent Mottron:

"We now consider that research in and recognition of autistic neurobiological / cognitive differences should not lead to rejection, but to a friendly recognition that different brains are complementary in advancing different aspects of knowledge."

Thanks for the link to your "()" blog. Maybe I can ask for another extension...

Autism Reality NB said...

Hello Ms Dawson

Since your last comments about Dr Mottron I have run a google scholar search on Mottron. I have found literally dozens of articles and study reports involving Dr Mottron which were expressly based on high functioning, Asperger's or savant autistic subjects as Mottron and other subjects described them.

Can you refer me to any Mottron studies or articles involving either low functioning or classic Autism Disorder subjects?

Also can you indicate what evidence based interventions are used in the clinical practices with autistic clients directed by Dr Mottron?

I thank you in advance for your cooperation in providing this information.


Harold L Doherty

Michelle Dawson said...

Hi Mr Doherty,

Can you give me your criteria for:

1. "High-functioning" autism;
2. "Low-functioning" autism;
3. Asperger syndrome;
4. "classic Autism Disorder"; and
5. "Savant autistics"

...and also when you apply these criteria (that is, at what age), for 1, 2, 3, and 4. Also, where necessary, please name the instrument(s) you want used empirically to establish your criteria and/or diagnostic categories.

I thank you in advance for your cooperation in providing this information.

Dr Mottron's clinic evaluates and diagnoses autistics.

Autism Reality NB said...

Ms. Dawson:

This information might of some assistance to you as you explore the realities of lower functioning autism. Some of these terms, along with their diagnostic criteria are found in the DSM-IV published by the American Psychiatric Association, Washington D.C., 1994, the main diagnostic reference of mental health professionals in the U.S.criteria in the section dealing with Pervasive Developmental Disorders, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorders,

299.00 Autistic Disorder
299.80 Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified
299.80 Asperger's Disorder
299.80 Rett's Disorder
299.10 Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

With respect to High Functioning vs. Low Functioning, you may wish to check with Dr. Mottron who, as I said, has published dozens of studies and articles with, to use the expressions used by Dr. Mottron and his colleagues - subjects who were high functioning autistics, Aspergers and savant autistics.

Here are but a handful of the dozens of articles by Dr. Mottron with such subject references:

A study of perceptual analysis in a high-level autistic subject with exceptional graphic abilities.
L Mottron, S Belleville - Brain Cogn, 1993 -

Perceptual Processing among High-functioning Persons with Autism L Mottron, JA Burack, JEA Stauder, P Robaey - The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied …, 1999 - Cambridge Univ Press
J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 203–211, 1999 Cambridge
University Press ' 1999 Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry

Local and Global Processing of Music in High-functioning Persons with Autism: Beyond Central … - group of 8 »
L Mottron, I Peretz, E Ménard - The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied …, 2000 - Cambridge Univ Press
J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. Vol. 41, No. 8, pp. 1057–1065, 2000 Cambridge
University Press ' 2000 Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry

Locally oriented perception with intact global processing among adolescents with high-functioning autism: evidence from multiple paradigms

* Laurent Mottron1,
* Jacob A. Burack1,
* Grace Iarocci,
* Sylvie Belleville5,
James T. Enns
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 44 Issue 6 Page 904 - September 2003

Right-hemisphere dysfunction in Asperger's syndrome.
JR McKelvey, R Lambert, L Mottron, MI Shevell - J Child Neurol, 1995

All Results
L Mottron
S Belleville
J Burack
E Ménard
G Iarocci

Perspective production in a savant autistic draughtsman. - group of 2
L Mottron, S Belleville - Psychol Med, 1995

A laboratory study of sleep in Asperger's syndrome… Godbout, C Bergeron, E Limoges, E Stip, L Mottron - Neuroreport, 2000

Do high functioning persons with autism present superior spatial abilities - group of 4 »
MJ Caron, L Mottron, C Rainville, S Chouinard - Neuropsychologia, 2004

Atypical Memory Performance in an Autistic Savant - group of 2 »
L Mottron - Memory, 1998 - Taylor & Francis

And there are literally dozens more articles and studies involving L Mottron and high functioning (his term) Asperger's and savant (His term) autistic individuals readily accessible on the internet, per Google Scholar.

I have found no low functioning subjects in any of the dozens of reports by Dr. Mottron. And you have not referred me to any. Since Dr. Mottron specifically references high functioning autistics in his many studies I am sure he would have referenced low functioning autistics in any studies of his in which they participated. But I just haven't found any. If you know of any such studies I would be more than happy to read them.

I was unaware that Dr. Mottron is not involved in the actual treatment of autistic persons of any level of functioning. Given his anti-ABA performance at the Canadian Senate I assumed he had some actual experience, if not expertise, in treatment on which he might have based his opinions before the Senate. Particularly since many low functioning autistic persons do not have commands of language or very little command of language. For many of these people behavior based communication such as is found in ABA is critical as a communication tool in their treatment and education. But I suppose Dr. Mottron was unaware of that fact, not being involved in treatment of autistics, and having restricted his studies to high functioning autistics, savants and Aspergers subjects.

Michelle Dawson said...

Hi Mr Doherty,

I'm pleased to have an example of your standards of research. I look forward to your definitive statements about Dr Mottron's work, about which you are now an expert--having looked at the titles of some of his papers.

In Quebec, autism services are provided by the CRDIs, and this is largely limited to ABA/IBI for preschool children. This is the result of autism advocacy lobbying and a major lawsuit, which have (both) claimed that after a few years of ABA/IBI, children lose their diagnosis and can proceed without assistance in regular classrooms. The same lobbying and lawsuit are premised on all autistics over the age of 6 who have not received ABA/IBI being write-offs.

Dr Mottron is involved in providing services in a specific way (in which he is responsible for the entire province). He is also involved in the work of clinics other than his own. He is also routinely consulted re educational issues. But why ask me? Write to him.

I've again noted that autism advocates like yourself see no role for knowledge of autistic neurology or cognitive processes in autism interventions or in helping autistics (as in Mottron et al., 2007; and someone is going to have to tell those kids, including those with a VMA of 9 months, that they're all high-functioning).

Like me, Dr Mottron has published (or has in press) harsh criticisms of cognitive science and neuroscience in autism. These are more severe than anything we have written about ABA-based interventions. According to you, that makes us "anti-cognitive-science" and "anti-cognitive-neuroscience".

The only randomized controlled trial of ABA-based autism interventions had no result in the area of language (Smith, Groen & Wynn, 2000, 2001--don't forget to read the authors' errata). This contrasts with a non-ABA RCT which does show a significant advantage for the experimental group in the area of language (Aldred et al., 2004).

I'm familiar with the DSM-IV (though we use the gold-standard diagnostic instruments here, which it seems are possibly are not okay with autism advocates...?), but you seemed to be saying that not one of the autistics in Dr Mottron's work meets DSM-IV "Autistic Disorder" criteria. Thanks for confirming that you are indeed making this truly remarkable claim. It is in keeping with the standards of autism advocacy we have all become familiar with.

Michelle Dawson said...

While I'm here, three of the six studies described in the quote Andy provided above (from Gernsbacher et al., 2006) involve autistics whose snapshot measured intelligence (via various instruments) would fall into the "low-functioning" range.

Autism Reality NB said...

Ms Dawson

Once again you make assumptions that are not based on facts. I provided titles in this comment because of common sense obvious space constraints. I am sure you did not want me to post entire studies or even abstracts on this site. If you take the time to actually read the studies I referenced by title you will find that Dr. Mottron's titles merely confirm that in those studies, and dozens of others he was involved with, the subjects were described by him and the other authors as high functioning, Asperger's or savants.

As for yours and Dr. Mottron's critiques of ABA neither of you articulate any awareness of modern evidence based standards to intervention in any of the health or education professions. I am sure you ,ust that there are literally hundreds of studies demonstrating gains by autistic persons following ABA interventions. That is why so many actual Ph. D's in psychology, psychiatry, education and other relevant fields, the Association for Autism Treatment, the US Surgeon General, the State agencies in Maine, NY and California and all states and provinces that have implememted ABA based services for autistic persons have done so because it meets such a high evidence based standard as an effective autism intervention.

You and Dr. Mottron can not provide a single alternative intervention that remotely meets an evidence based standard.

Once again, please provide a reference to a study in which Dr. Mottron identifies the subjects as low functioning or identifies them as autistic persons who have limited language and conceptual skills. I have searched in vain for Dr. Mottron's studies with low functioning autistic persons. Then again maybe the good Dr has not actually met with parents of very low functioning autistic children or visited any of the many autistic youths and adults who lived in residential or institutional care because they can not function and care for themselves. Of course I have seen no mention of such persons on your blog site or writings either.

jypsy said...

I would also be most interested to hear Mr. Doherty's criteria for "low functioning" autism.

Michelle Dawson said...

Hi Mr Doherty,

I provided two Dr Mottron-authored studies in my messages above, and they are not the only two, which include autistics whose measured intelligence on a specific instrument at a specific time would put them in the "low-functioning" range.

This does not say much about how these autistics might perform on other tests (e.g., VMA does not predict NVMA in autistic kids) or at different times, or how well they manage in day-to-day life or will later manage in day-to-day life.

E.g., Klin et al. (2003) reports on autistic adults who test like typical 4yr olds, but are remarkably self-sufficient (Dr Mottron has recently presented similar group-level results, wherein one test puts most autistics into the "low-functioning" range). Also, autistic IQs can change considerably over time. E.g., in Eaves and Ho (2004), a child in an ABA program lost 27 IQ points over 2 years.

I've previously provided you with multiple references (including a free peer-reviewed pdf) to papers, including one reporting a randomized controlled trial (which I've again referenced in the above comments), reporting data about a successful non-ABA approach to autism. I've noted (again) that you're not interested.

And I've noted (again) that you do not want autistics to benefit from and be protected by the recognized standards of science and ethics that automatically protect and benefit yourself, and without which you could not proceed safely in society.

I've also noted that you maintain that none of the participants in any of Dr Mottron's studies meets DSM-IV "Autistic Disorder" criteria, which means that, according to you, these studies are fraudulent. And indeed, you have characterized Dr Mottron as not being an "actual" PhD, which means that according to you, he is a fraud. Those are such remarkable accusations (being utterly false and defamatory), they could only come from an eminent autism advocate such as yourself.

Like all published science, Dr Mottron's work should and must be criticized. I'm an extremely harsh critic of his work (and of his area of work)--something that is on the record. But this criticism should be accurate. Otherwise, as with your claims about my own work, you are revealing your own decison to remain ignorant of the publicly-available work of those you are castigating.

I'm also wondering if we now have to discard one of the "normal functioning" children in Lovaas (1987) because he was (before his abilities were extinguished) a savant? And/or the ~4 "normal functioning" children who were "high-functioning" at intake? Or do we discard the whole "normal functioning" group in this study because on average, they were (just) in the "high-functioning" range at intake?

I would agree that autistics function very poorly (if at all) when we are institutionalized. You too would function poorly, or not at all, if you were locked into an institution, put in restraints, heavily drugged, treated as though you were non-sentient, etc.

In the UK, they recently (2004) found many (60 or more) autistics locked into secure facilities like Broadmoor, some of them for a very long time. Fortunately, the UK NAS did not take the position that autistics just naturally belong in institutions (or in secure facilities), or that being in an institution is proof that any given autistic needs to be institutionalized. Otherwise, those autistics would still be locked up (being, as one autistic was descibed, "a bloated, twitching wreck"), and you, Mr Doherty, could go visit them and claim that such low-functioning people--can't function at all, just look at them--are proof that you're right.

Except that all those locked up autistics, who could not function at all in institutions, had correct diagnoses of Asperger syndrome.

daedalus2u said...

I am not sure I understand what Mr. Doherty's point/question is in regard to Dr Mottron's work (of which I am insufficiently familiar).

If Dr Mottron's work discusses treatments for ASD individuals, and those individuals were "helped", presumably the work was accurately reported. ASDs encompass a very broad spectrum, and if a particular sub-population is not represented in a study, presumably the appropriateness of applying the results of that study to a non-studied sub-population is somewhat speculative, and outside the scope of the particular study. That is not a "fault" of the study, rather it is a "fault" of trying to overgeneralize.

Individuals with "high functioning" and "low functioning" ASDs, all have ASDs. Is the "differential diagnosis" of "high vs low" appropriate to assign differential "treatment"?

If so, what is the "treatment goal"? I presume that one "treatment goal" might be turning a "low functioning" individual into a "high functioning" individual. Another might be to turn a "high functioning" individual into a "higher functioning" individual.

As any "successful treatment" progresses, presumably, an individual will progress from "lower functioning" to "higher functioning". At some point along the continuum of "low/high functioning", the individual will attain sufficient self-determination to choose whether they want to continue this "successful treatment".

Presumably that is (or should be) the goal of all interventions/treatments, and in fact is the goal of good parenting, to attain a state of self-determination in the child.

I came across a quote yesterday which I feel is appropriate:

"If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves."
Carl Jung

Michelle Dawson said...

Hi Daedalus2u,

I generally disagree that everyone should strive to have the same skills, traits, and abilities, and that only those who have aquired a certain quota of these typical skills, traits, and abilities should be allowed to have a say in our own lives and futures.

I'm old enough to remember when females were assumed to lack the skills, traits, and abilities to take care of ourselves, to make decisions about ourselves, and to live independently.

I suppose (following your logic) women who regardless managed to function independently in that society could be seen as freakish "high-functioning" females, and not representative of females as a group.

David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

"I would also be most interested to hear Mr. Doherty's criteria for 'low functioning' autism."

So would I, jypsy... so would I... since neither high-functioning nor low-functioning autism are actually delineated in the criteria contained in either DSM or ICD.

jypsy said...

As I've explained elsewhere his descriptions seem to place Alex in both the "HFA" and "LFA" group, depending on which post or comment of his I read. I truly am trying to understand just what he means. I wouldn't describe Alex as either (or "middle functioning autism" for that matter) and never have but obviously Mr. Doherty would and I'm trying to get a handle on who fits where and why.