“After Elliot Rodger murdered six young men and women in Isla Vista, California, word spread that he had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Asperger’s is a developmental disorder that was also linked to mass murderer Adam Lanza. Did Rodger’s alleged high-functioning autism spectrum disorder lead him to go on a murderous rampage? No. And even making it part of the conversation is harmful and stigmatizing to those with autism. …
We’re not living in a world with an epidemic of killers with autism. We are living in a world where social awkwardness associated with Asperger’s syndrome leads to kids being bullying and isolated. I’ve spent 7 years seeking therapies for my son. From occupational therapy to social skills groups, these specialized therapies will help him develop meaningful interactions with peers and get through school. I’ve met wonderful kids and young adults with autism of various degrees of severity. Every child with autism is just as unique as you or I. These kids aren’t defined by their diagnoses any more than you’re defined by your physical appearance. When I tell you my son has Asperger’s syndrome, I want you to know that it makes him focused, quirky, driven and different. I want to explain that he sees a world you and I will never see. What I don’t want is for you to make a knee-jerk correlation to two deeply disturbed individuals. I don’t want you to see a ticking time bomb when you look at my third grader.”
I’ve noticed an alarming trend in the reaction to Elliot Rodger’s murder of six people in Isla Vista, California, on Friday — pointing to him allegedly having Asperger’s syndrome (which has yet to be backed up with a confirmed diagnosis) as if it somehow explains his actions and/or negates the views he expressed in his 140-page “manifesto.” That’s why I urge you to read what Maria Mora, whose son has autism, has to say over at SheKnows about why this focus is not only ignorant and harmful, but a distraction from the real issues. [She Knows]
“I was suddenly faced with a choice I’d never thought I’d have to make. Amid my major misgivings about abortion, I eventually made the gut-wrenching decision… In my heart, I believed I had taken a life — an action that I thought God might one day punish me for. … My initial rage was quickly followed by another strong emotion: guilt. I knew I’d taken a life… I believed God’s payback was to give my son autism.”
This is Tori Braxton in her new memoir, Unbreak My Heart … and yeah, it is pretty heartbreaking that she actually believed that God punishes people with autism. Kinda offensive to her own son, no? Yet as the child of two pastors who grew up in an extremely strict, religious household, I suppose it’s not such a surprise that Braxton would create a sin/punishment scenario in her mind. In her memoir — which is quoted on RadarOnline — Braxton explained that years ago she discovered she was pregnant while on the acne medication Accutane, which can have negative side effects for women who are pregnant, specifically on her unborn fetus. So Braxton chose to have an abortion. But when she later had children with her now ex-husband, she learned her son Diezel had autism. I wish Braxton knew that, according to the Guttmacher Institute, roughly one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. If every woman who had an abortion later gave birth to a child with autism, there would be a lot more autistic people around. Oh, and that whole NO MEDICAL LINK thing. Minor detail. [Radar Online] [Image via WENN]
Hello, I’m Gwen Kansen and I have Asperger’s Syndrome.
I repeat myself a lot. If a room is crowded I try to get out immediately. It takes me longer than most people to do pretty much everything because I make slow transitions. But I’m fun at dive bars. I used to manage a vintage clothing store. You might not notice I’m weird right away.
Chances are you know a few people on the spectrum. We may not tell you because autism isn’t the sexiest mental problem out there, especially when compared to more easily romanticized mental illnesses like bipolar disorder. Here are few things you should know about us autistic folks: Keep reading »
“I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention It’s always freaked me out … I’m a grown up now. I’ve learned a couple of things that really would’ve made my life easier if I’d known them 20 years ago … I wasted so much time scared, self-conscious and insecure. Life is too short to stress the small things anymore.”
–Daryl Hannah reveals that she was diagnosed with autism as a child in this week’s issue of People. In the interview, Hannah also talks about how initially, doctors wanted to institutionalize her and she took up acting as a means of escape from the real world. But once she became successful, fear of fame debilitated her. She admits to skipping her own movie premieres and press appearances because she was “terrified.” I think it’s very brave of her to go public with her struggles.
[Daily Mail UK]
When Kara Begley, a mom from Newcastle, Ontario, opened a letter that had been slipped under her door, the last thing she expected to read was a hateful screed demanding she euthanize her severely autistic son, but unfortunately, that’s exactly what it was. The letter, from one of her neighbors who calls herself “One Pissed Off Mother,” is so vitriolic it’s extremely difficult to read, and includes such hateful statements as “He is a hindrance to everyone and will always be that way!!!!! Who the hell is going to care for him?????? No employer will hire him, no normal girl is going to marry/love him and you are not going to live forever!! Personally, they should take whatever non retarted body parts he possesses and donate it to science.”
Originally posted on the Twitter feed of “Nashville” stars Lennon and Maisy Stella, whose family is close to the Begley family, the letter has garnered international media attention and the police are currently investigating. You can read the full text of the letter after the jump, but beware, it will ruin your faith in humanity… [MSN Now] Keep reading »
Another code may have been cracked in how autism occurs in children: children that were born from labor induction or speeding up the birth with drugs were more likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder, according to a new study. The study conducted by Simon Gregory from Duke Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, found the education records of about 678,000 babies, where a note would indicate whether the children had been diagnosed with autism; they then looked into their mothers’ inducement of labor during childbirth. Women who had labor-inducing drugs were 23 percent more likely to have kids who were later diagnosed with autism. Correlation not being causation, though, the study does not prove that speeding up the labor process causes autism. Because there was no direct link found, medical procedures for inducing labor will not change. Additionally, other factors may contribute to autism in children, including a woman’s use of folic acid and epilepsy drugs during her pregnancy. For now, autism still remains a mystery. [Reuters; TIME] [Image of a pregnant woman via Shutterstock]
A new study suggests that girls suffering from anorexia display similar personality traits to those with autism, such as lack of empathy, high focus on detail, and rigid behavior. In some instances, girls with anorexia scored five times higher in autistic qualities than non-anorexic girls on the Autism Spectrum Quotient. Keep reading »
Carly Fleischmann has co-authored a book with her father, starred in a film, has 97,000 followers on Facebook, and will attend the University of Toronto in the fall.
She also has autism and is nonverbal. But what she can do is use technology to communicate; she’s been communicating using computers since she was 10 years old. “Carly was diagnosed at age two with severe autism and cognitive delay and oral motor apraxia, which is a neurological disorder preventing speech,” her father explained in an interview with Simon & Schuster. “We can’t speak to her because we don’t know what she understands, and she can’t speak to us because she’s unable to speak. … Technology has really been the key to unlocking Carly’s voice.” Keep reading »
I’ve been seeing my therapist, Jennifer*, for years. I love her. She’s helped me through a lot of hard times and she’s one of the first people I want to talk to when something big happens in my life.
However, there was one time she crossed the line between analyzing and annoying: the time she convinced me I had Asperger’s, a form of autism. Keep reading »