Truth, Fact and Everything In-Between
I’m on a constant hunt for resources about Autism and all that goes with it. I think, especially since I’m a diagnosed aspie, I can differentiate between articles of fact, falsehoods and even those ones that occasionally include truth. There are many websites that put forth Autism facts–some true, some not–and a substantial amount that don’t. Generally, the anti-Autism websites/articles usually hide their true intentions by mixing in just enough truth to make you think that their truth is legit.
And then there are the other folks.
I can respect the anti-autism folks for at least showing enough brains to demonstrate that they understand the need for keeping some semblance of truth. However, these other folks unnerve me; especially since there are people out there who are clueless enough on the topic of autism not to recognize these articles/websites as completely false/untrue.
We’re left with this question: “If they aren’t willing to include truth, then why won’t they at least include the accepted facts?”
Simple, they think that they are, beyond all doubts, in possession of the only truth that is worth telling. Facts are not important, because by god, these folks have the Truth. That’s why they have written this article, made this website or sent out that email.
There is one article in particular that started off this specific diatribe. It’s called, “Deep-feeling development gives autistics abstractions: When a young person has no abstractions, his or her thoughts or behaviors frequently seem autistic,” by Kenneth J. Fabian (Medical Hypotheses [Med Hypotheses] 2005; Vol. 65 (4), pp. 694-8). If you have any way of accessing journal articles, like through a school library, you can find it here.
I found myself somewhat doubtful of any person, let alone a scientist, with the last name of “Fabian.” However, I was willing to give him a chance.
The abstract worried me initially:
. . . The heart of autism is existence by oneself. It is being, talking and acting by oneself.
Talking by oneself is not talking to oneself but talking at others. Its purpose is not exchanging or hearing words. Its purpose is sending words to another person.
If being completely by themselves is autistics’ experience of their existence, then they may have no need for language. And there is no language development in about half of all autistics . . .
That wasn’t too strange; although something in its syntax struck me as odd. It feels almost this article is written by someone and translated by someone else. Only, this guy is from Nevada; so while the chances of him being foreign are mediocre, the likelihood that this was translated from somewhere else is negligible. Now, the next bit in the abstract really hit me the wrong way:
. . . Because young boys and girls get to being, talking and acting by themselves when they come down with autism, they no longer seem to have any idea of what is going on between themselves and other persons. So when boys and girls get autism, they frequently do or say strange and surprising things with other persons . . .
The bold and italics are mine. And later in the abstract it throws this in:
. . . Autism comes from stopping the development of a baby’s deep feelings within the first six months after birth . . .
Um, forgive me if I’m wrong, I am new to the world of autism, after all, but I thought that autism was congenital; regardless of whether you believe it was caused by genetic inheritance or by environmental toxins (or what-have-you). I wasn’t aware that you could “get” autism like a disease or an injury of some kind.
I decided that it was possible that the abstract may not have been written by the author, and was perhaps not representing his best interests in the correct light. Thus, I kept reading.
The article starts to disturb me right from the beginning:
. . . As a new psychiatrist in 1971, I made an observation about feelings. There are two very different sorts of feelings: deep and surface . . . Giving full attention to deep feelings lets persons make changes in themselves and in their relations with others. On the other hand, going on with surface feelings keeps persons the same as they have always been in the past. In fact, one of the chief purposes of every disease of the mind seems to be keeping the ill person’s conscious attention away from his or her deep feelings . . .
Ill person? Why the mention of ill persons? I thought this was an article about autism.
. . . Additionally in 1971, when I took part in a group meeting that was designed for working with feelings, a person in the group let his deep feelings contact my deep feelings . . .
That is just a little too strange for me and my love of facts and truth; especially since he goes on to say that that guy had had no sense of what he had done to our author in terms of experiences; meaning that Mr. (Dr?) Fabian had an experience that was not endorsed or acknowledged by any one else around him. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything either; human life is apparently very subjective.
. . . Then for the next 20 years, off I went, making deep-feeling contact with all sorts of persons who had diseases of the mind. And a good number of those diseases were very serious. Almost all of the 2000 or so persons with whom I made deep-feeling contact got better. It sometimes took them years to get better but, in the end, they got to living in society without direction or help from public or private organizations designed to take care of persons who have diseases of the mind . . .
Off he went. Sounds more like a bedtime story than an article in a science journal.
And what’s all this talk about “diseases of the mind”???
. . . Part of loving someone is getting peace and pleasure from being near that person. Things almost never undergo changes. Places sometimes undergo changes. But persons frequently undergo changes, especially in their eyes. Commonly, the autistic person has to do without love because getting near another person makes the autistic person take in over-much detail from that person, especially from his or her eyes . . .
“Commonly, the autistic person has to do without love”? Oh yeah, that’s some good research. Anti-aspie folks will put forth the idea that autistic people don’t ever get married or have relationships, but they usually do it in a more believable, factual context.
I wish these people would actually talk to autistic people once in a while. I wonder . . . I wonder if the people doing these studies are actually autistic themselves and in denial; since they seem to have an aversion towards communicating with others. *ponders*
. . . Autistic boys and girls do not have normal play. Happé said we are forced to see that autistic boys and girls do not have a natural impulse in the direction of playing that something is false or representative of another thing. So while a normal two-year-old will make a plaything like a bit of wood into an automobile and be happy driving that “auto” about, putting it into a stopping place or even getting it into a smash-up, an autistic young person, even one whose mind seems older than two years, will simply put that bit of wood in his or her mouth, send it through the air or make it go round and round. Acts done again and again seem to take the place of playing that something is false or representative of another thing. In addition, these acts may seem forced upon the boy or girl. He or she may put things into a certain design and not let others make changes in that design. Or he or she may take everything he or she gets in hand and make it go round and round . . .
I don’t have anything to say about this part’s content, but rather its delivery. Can anyone actually tell me what this guy says here? Who is this guy anyway???
There’s more I could quote here, but in the words of Bill Murray, “but I’m not gonna.” I don’t remember which movie that’s from off the top of my head, but I’m leaning strongly towards either Ghostbusters or Groundhog Day (he was saying something like, “I would love to do ______, but I’m not gonna”).
The top things I hate about this article:
- I can write clearer than this guy.
- I understand the basic accepted facts that help define autism (regardless of whether I agree with them or not) better.
- I understand the concepts/methods of research (or of actually doing research).
But lastcrazyhorn! You didn’t back up your information here with research!
Yeah well, this is a blog; it’s not some article published in a scientific journal. Besides, if you make that comment to me, you obviously haven’t read the links on the side column. There’s my research, and I’ve got more where that came from. If I linked to every site, book or journal article that I found, this page would be longer than Methuselah’s beard. Oh look, a figurative statement. Whoo, another myth broken. Figurative speech. Wow, that was exciting.
In the words (or rather, “word”) of Homer Simpson, “Jeebus!”