Every now and then in one of the social media groups I am a part of, an individual will ask for advice or vent and then state that they are undiagnosed. I usually just think this is odd, but recently I decided to think about the implications of people not getting formally diagnosed but going around stating that they have Autism, without truly knowing what may be the unique situation, and how this affects those that are formally diagnosed. (Not meaning to not allow them into these online groups but taking it a step further than that)
How could someone be undiagnosed but state that they have something when they really do not know? Well, one can obviously look at the symptoms of Autism and compare themselves or others they know and if some things line up then just decide this sounds right and go with it and not go through the whole diagnose process. There are also some quizes out there that act as informally diagnostic criteria (they state to not use to diagnose, but really why make it?) and make statements where you agree or disagree with the statement. The problem with this is that many adults are very aware of tests like these and know how "cheat" the system. I am personally horrible at these tests because I usually know the answer to guide the results to what I want them to be. These are probably the biggest ways someone could think that they are on the Spectrum without getting or needing a diagnosis.
Now onto the issues of not being formally diagnosed when it comes to this population. There are two huge consequences to accepting possible self diagnosed individuals.
The first consequence that could be seen by accepting undiagnosed individuals is it would become a fall back for anyone who was trying to excuse certain behavior that is deemed unacceptable by society. The reason this could happen is that there is a major push from some individuals to treat everyone on the Spectrum the same and that all the behavior from individuals on the Spectrum should be excused and given no consequences from them. This can be a really bad combo for any society in the world.
The second consequence that could be seen is individuals trying to take advantage of the social security system. Due to numerous other possible conditions some individuals on the Spectrum may not be able to earn a livable wage and thus need ssi to help support them to live independently. If self diagnosis is allowed, then more and more people may try to take advantage of the system and not contribute to society.
These are just things I came up with on a whim and will never happen, I just like to fully think things through. These are also some reasons why I am huge on going through the diagnosis process even if there is a small amount of thought that someone might be on the Spectrum.
In the past few weeks, I been thinking about what a developmental disability really means. I have come to a conclusion and astonishingly many people in the community do not even know this or consider it. So before I go into detail, I am going to give more definitions.
if Develop is to acquire gradually
and Development is the state of being developed (gradually acquired)
then Developmental is of, relating to, or being development ( the state of being gradually acquired)
and if Disability is impaired function or ability
then Developmental + Disability is an impaired function or ability to be gradually acquired
From just the definitions taken from a dictionary. It is pretty obvious that a developmental disability only impairs a function or ability to gradually be acquired, it does not state if/how the function or ability can/will or when it can be acquired. So it can be easily seen as too why many people with a developmental disability could end up with more than one, since if one function/ability is impaired/delayed then it can directly affect other functions/abilities.
Ex. If a child has Autism (the impaired ability to properly communicate) then it can directly affect a childs ability to properly acquire intellectual ability, since humanity learns majorly through communication in the early parts of life to acquire the skills needed to learn on your own (like reading).
But I want to speak more on the if/how and when part of the impairment. Many people forget that throughout roughly the first thirty years of life an individual is continually developing. Whether it is intellectually, socially, emotionally, or physically. Even though many experts may argue this, I am mainly just going to go off of what has been determined physically, since all the others have seen numerous outliers. And the fact that I know I have personally grown more intellectually, socially, and emotionally in the past 7-8 years than I had the first two decades of my life. Since every disability (impairment) is different the if and when part of acquiring the ability or function will never be concrete. It should also be noted that during these first thirty years, it can be said that at any time the disability could present itself since during this time you are continually developing. Also since you are continually developing at a non gradual rate, there will be major ups and downs that you often see within an individual with this kind of disability. All too often do I hear individuals talking about major regressions or seeing progressions beyond what was thought capable and not every understanding what really is happening. Hopefully this helps some people better understand a developmental disability.
I have to rant for a little bit as well and it deals with Vaccines. If your fed up with reading the Autism and Vaccine debate your not alone. I read it every day and every day all I think about is that there are people out there that see me as a scientific experiment instead of a natural evolution of mankind, whether you see this evolution as good or bad is up to you, but we are all in sense a evolved form from our parents in hopes of creating a more advanced individual with an increased chance of survival.
I see these posts about my child changed after vaccines. Well lets state some facts. A person normally starts to walk around 12-18 months, when leg muscles have developed enough for the individual to stand with their weight on just one leg at a time. To effectively move and adventure into the newfound space will take an individual some time to gain more muscle to grow. By this time a person starts receiving vaccines, which can be said to be correlated to the time a person initially starts trying to be more independent, a major time of development. If a person that for the majority of their short existence in life was spent laying around collecting cues and data, it would not be hard to tell a regression during this time if a child did not proper collect those important cues and data during the time spent stationary. The majority of the cues are socially related which means if a child has Autism it will most likely appear during the first stages of that persons attempt towards independence.
I am big on that as a living creature, we can pick up on others views/cues of us, whether there is a disability or not. So what do you think will happen with an individual when you, as a parent, are always thinking "this is no longer my child" after vaccinations. They will not think they are wanted and thus not try to be better because the people closest to them do not feel that they belong. This is not mutual to loving that individual, so you can still love them without thinking they are "your child".
I am also big on that everyone has a purpose in life, and it may take a person a lifetime to understand that purpose but everyone has one. I believe mine is to help out this population in improving their lives through exercise, even if it may not be. All too often people with disabilities are seen as not having a purpose to their lives which can ruin them emotionally to the point where they do not want to "live within society"( future blog post reference), so if you are sending off vibes that they are not even "your child", how do you think that will affect their purpose?
Another April has come. April has been known as Autism Awareness month for almost three decades now. I thought I share some of the things that pop up in my news feed a lot during this month from the Autism community.
1. Autism speaks is a organization that hates people with Autism. To go into full detail for this thought process is a whole other blog post. (hopefully in a week or so)
2. Applied Behavior Analysis is a horrible practice. Already wrote on this topic a little bit, but it comes down to a few people who should have not been dealing with this population being put under extremely stressful situations that did not make the best of the situation. These events have caused for some to call that ABA can cause PTSD and other anxiety related disorders as well as being abusive practice. I even read once that compared ABA strategies to that of training household pets. There sure is some strange things out there. applied-behavior-analysis.html
3. Acceptance not Awareness. The main thought behind this is to stop trying to change individuals with Autism to be nuerotypical and accept these individuals as is. This goes along with number 2. The fact remains that even when as I am labeled as a higher functioning individual with Autism, I have had numerous people find out that I have Autism give me weird looks because they are not completely aware. Also wrote more about this in another post. awareness-or-acceptance.html
4. Vaccines cause Autism or Vaccines do not cause Autism. Another previous blog post. I am still unsure why this is even still a prevalent debate. We have both sides correlate the the research they know to argue there side. The research tell us that the only one research article that held any substantial prove that vaccines cause Autism was retracted by the scientific community and the author. The research also tells us that a small percentage of the population can be injured by vaccines. These are two separate topics. Can vaccines cause injury within a small percentage of the population? Yes. Do vaccines cause Autism? Not at all. On a side note: Stating that people with Autism are the subjects of a experiment gone wrong rubs those individuals the wrong way. the-big-myth.html
All these topics are discussed in length in numerous blog posts stating they are truth. However coming to know this population better in the past couple years, I think I can say that some of these beliefs are based on such a small amount of cases drawn into a bigger ordeal due to a mob mentality that comes from trusting people with the same condition only based on that you share the same condition and not who the person really is.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum