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Dec 01

AANE Workshop: The Language and Mythology of Autism

The Language and Mythology of

Autism

The words we use reveal our values,

and the language we use can shape our beliefs.

To be autistic is to be neurodivergent,

and to be neurodivergent is to enjoy a different way of life.

Identity

Pathology

Euphemisms

 

Empathy

Functioning

Special Interests

 

Michael Forbes Wilcox, MA, CFA

http://www.mfw.us/blog/


 

Language

 

Identity

 

  • Neurodiverse versus Neurodivergent

  • IFL (Identity-First Language) “I am autistic.”

  • PFL (Person-First Language) “I am a person with autism.”

  • I am on the spectrum.”

  • Who gets to choose?

  • Is there a way to be inclusive?

  • The use of person-first language in scholarly writing may accentuate stigma

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcpp.12706/full

from: https://eclecticautistic.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/identity-first/

 

Pathology

 

  • Autism Recovery

  • The Social Model of Disability

“Autism is a disability when it is seen as a deficiency.”

  • Speaking versus Verbal

  • Comorbidity

  • Emotional Age

    • Stimming

    • Parent Organizations (cf. IACC spat)

    http://nosmag.org/parents-and-autistic-adults-clash-at-autism-committee-meeting-iacc-interagency-autism-coordinating-committee/

    http://www.mfw.us/blog/2014/07/15/whose-table-is-this-anyway/

    Abnormalities shown to first appear in brain networks involved in sensory processing

    • The origins of autism remain mysterious. What areas of the brain are involved, and when do the first signs appear? New findings published in Biological Psychiatry bring us closer to understanding the pathology of autism, and the point at which it begins to take shape in the human brain. Such knowledge will allow earlier interventions in the future and better outcomes for autistic children.

    • Scientists used a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), known as diffusion weighted imaging, to measure the brain connectivity in 260 infants at the ages of 6 and 12 months, who had either high or low risks of autism. The lengths and strengths of the connections between brain regions was used to estimate the network efficiency, a measure of how well each region is connected to other regions. A previous study with 24-month-old children found that network efficiency in autistic children was lower in regions of the brain involved in language and other behaviours related to autism. The goal of this new study was to establish how early these abnormalities occur.

    http://publications.mcgill.ca/reporter/2017/08/pinpointing-the-origins-of-autism/

 

Euphemisms

 

  • HFA versus Asperger Syndrome

  • On the Spectrum

  • Our Kiddos

  • This Population

Mythology

 

Empathy

 

“From Asperger’s descriptions throughout it is clear that he believed autistic children to be capable of having strong feelings, and to be disturbed only in their ability to manifest such feelings appropriately.”

Uta Frith, on his 1944 paper

 

Functioning

 

Asperger said that [autism] encompassed an astonishingly broad cross section of people, from the most gifted to the most disabled. There seem to be nearly as many varieties of Autismus as there were autistic people.”

Steve Silberman in NeuroTribes, page 98

  • 50% of autistic people also have intellectual impairment”

  • one-third of autistics also have epilepsy”

  • Alexithymia

    Developmental “Delay” (as opposed to difference – cf. Kanwisher study)

  • Mirror Neurons

  • Altruism

  • Telephobia

  • Prosopagnosia

  • Mutism

  •  

Special Interests

 

Bleuler [1911] defined “autistic thinking” as

self-centered rumination and retreat into fantasy.”

Asperger observed that in “everything these children follow their own impulses and interests, regardless of the outside world.”

Silberman op. Cit.

 

Transition

 

A transition period is a period between two transition periods.”

George Stigler

 

Identification

 

Autdar” – is there such a thing?

How do we know someone is autistic?

Why do we identify as autistic?

 

Hall of Fame

 

  • Who gave this wonderful description of how the autistic mind works?

I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned.

My mind is like a piece of steel; very hard to scratch anything on it and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out.

Bonus: which autistic person shares the same birthday?

 

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