Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some neurodiversity Potpourri

I see that Joseph of the autism natural variation blog has decided based on one published report based on the statuses of only 19 people that adults with autism don't have problems with employment nor with marriage.

Whatever comments you want to make on the merits or lack of merits in the recent NHS report on autistic adults, the fact of the matter was it was only based on 19 people, count 'em 19. The authors of the reports extrapolated this number 19 to the greater population claiming that 1% of adults in the UK in private households have autism. However this was just a guess based on mathematical projections.

I will concede I don't know as much about math and statistics as Joseph (having just had one elementary statistics course in a community college more than 30 years ago). However, I find it hard to believe that 19 persons even comes close to a statistically significant number on which to predicate employment and marriage trends in a country of millions of adults where supposedly 1% of them have autism.

In the past Joseph presented some statistic saying that 25% of autistics were employed. As far as I can tell he neglects to mention any source or reference or link for this statistic in any post on his blog. He then goes on to trot out the argument because at one time 70% of autistics were thought to have intellectual retardation and now according to some CDDS data which I don't fully understand because now 70% of the clients in the CDDS with autism are nonretarded, this translates into a 70% employment rate among autistics at some point in time. Never mind that Joseph does not adjust for changing age of entry of autistics into the CDDS with children coming into the system in much greater numbers at age 3 than in the past, making their intelligence more difficult to assess, which would confound the 70% rate of nonretardation, making Joseph's statistic here questionable.

In one statement Joseph goes even further:

In any case, it would seem that adult autistics who live in private households across the UK are largely productive individuals who contribute to the economy in a manner similar to their non-autistic peers.

So Joseph seems to imply that autistic persons are making just as much money as an NT. While engaging in quantitative numbers of employment based on only 19 cases out of at least hundreds of thousands, he neglects to take qualitative matters into consideration, such as the fact the NT is much more likely to be a doctor or lawyer rather than a ditchdigger and vice-versa and dwarfing the employed autist's income. He neglects to take into account job coaches which cost money. Nor the possibility the autistic person is more likely to be a part-time rather than full-time employee than the NT.

So again, we have ND trivialization of an autistics inability to get married or make a living.

I see that one of my favorite hatemongers, the autistic bitch from hell is at it again . Now she is giving Joseph's employment pronouncements a shout-out with no critical thinking. She is also complaining about the fact that a Danish software company has helped some persons on the spectrum get jobs, claiming that this is segregation in the workplace. She compares alleged segregation in the workplace with the mandatory segregation of blacks and whites in the public school systems at one time. I should not even have to comment on why this is a patently absurd comparison, but here goes anyways. There are no laws segregating autistics and nonautistics in the workplace. This company is just helping out people who need jobs who might have trouble getting them otherwise, not necessarily because they are bad employees but due to some prejudice perhaps. This is not the same as a law saying that autists cannot work alongside typical people. There is no such law and the ABFH knows this.

What is more bizarre is the fact she would complain about segregation of autistics in the workplace, yet she supports segregation in the schools of autistic children from their nonhandicapped peers. She has donated money to ASAN and has supported this organization. This is in spite of the fact that Ari Ne'eman and his ASAN cronies have been supporters of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and have lobbied congress to mandate full federal funding of this law. Thanks to this law, many parents of autistic children have been able to get the tuition at taxpayer expense to send their kids to segregated special ed schools, so typical children won't have to be offended or disgusted by having autistic children included in classrooms with them. I was in schools like this for 8 years of my life. I suspect that ABFH never spent a day of her life in a special ed setting, which is probably the case for the majority of ND's. Why she would complain about fabricated segregation in the workplace but donate money to an organization that supports a law that helps segregate autistic children from their nonhandicapped peers makes no sense to me. However, nothing ABFH does or says makes sense to me. What can you expect from a woman who says that autistics who don't agree with her should be put to death and turned into cat food.

Well that is some ND Potpourri, stay tuned for some more, I am sure there will be some.


farmwifetwo said...

So you should be sold as cat food and I am like the KKK.... And I should support ASAN and the other autistics in that organization with my hard earned $$$$.. WHY???

Adrianna said...

I read that post too just last night. My first question is, did these people have autism or Asperger's? Did they have any actual ASD diagnosis at all?

My guess is probably not. How much do you want to bet that this was a company that deals with technology and she just assumed they were autistic because hey, they were techies and all techies are autistic?

By the way, I am something of a techie, but so are, like, a thousand other people I know that don't have an ASD whatsoever. My father is a bigger techie than me and he doesn't have an ASD, but he DOES have bipolar with psychotic features.

How would they feel if this "autistic" trait were associated with people who experienced delusions, are substnace dependent, have criminal records, and are on antipsychotic medication? Like my father?

By the way, despite having had a job at which I did very well and being an honor student, I am unable to find another job because of my terrible interview performance. And I wasn't allowed to cut my own food or use the over unsupervised until I was 15 years old. What are the chances that I will EVER be allowed near a lab?

Joseph said...

You're misrepresenting what I said, Jonathan, and it's not first time.

I didn't say autistic people don't have problems with employment or with marriage.

I said that autistic people are not largely unemployed, as commonly believed. And I said that autistic people in the UK are apparently about half as likely to marry than non-autistic people. That's in bold.

Of course there's statistical uncertainty in the figures. But this is the best data available at the moment, because it does not suffer from selection bias issues for the most part.

You'll note, for example, that the authors say that there's no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of 3 age groups. That's a true statement, even though statistical power is not the greatest. You can still make these sorts of observations.

There's a reason why they have all those tables in the report. It's not because it's useless data.

BTW, when calculating the margin of error, the sample size is what matters for the most part. In this case the sample size is 600+, weighed to about 1800 or so.

jonathan said...

No, I am not misrepresenting anythning you said. You are claiming that autistic persons are contributing to the economy in the same manner as their nonautistic peers, your words.

Assuming the population of the UK is about 18 million, two-thirds of those are adults, that means 19 out of a sample of 120,000. It is just conjecture on the authors part that this translated into 1% of the total population of the study. So, basically, you are claiming that statistical inferences can be made from a sample which comprises less than .002% of it's population. No, I don't think so.

Joseph said...

I've posted a response.

Jake Crosby said...

Jonathan, don't even bother. Anyone who would make such claims that our ASDs do not hinder our academic or employment abilities without knowing us or ever having met us is a waste of time.

You definitely one-upped Joe in interpreting the validity of this study. You correctly point out that the claim made about 1% of adults being autistic based on 19 possible cases is a guess.

From the "Natural" Variation blog:

"For example, if 10 of the 19 autistic people had been assigned a probability of 0.25, then clearly there must have been about 40 autistic people in the original group who were assigned a probability of 0.25. This is a probabilistically sound projection, not a "guess.""

The study makes no reference to support the psychometric properties of the AQ-20. Therefore, it would not be sound at all because there is no evidence to support the accuracy of applying those probabilities to AQ-20 scores. Therefore, it is as you said, just a guess. It's useless enough to use as a method of finding prevalence of autism among adults, let alone the rate of employment among adults with autism.

I also did a PubMed search for the studies he referenced to back up his estimates on employment. The Howlin study looked at no more than 68 autistic people and said, "Few lived alone, had close friends, or permanent employment."

The only adult study from 1989 lead by Szatmari I could find was a case study of only 16 people. It said, "the majority were functioning poorly in terms of occupational-social outcome and psychiatric symptoms."

Looks like neurodiversity potpourri to me.

MJ said...

Joseph, you said -

"You'll note, for example, that the authors say that there's no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of 3 age groups."

Only when combined into groups that span 30 years - the researchers could not even analyze the data in smaller increments of 10 years because there simply was not enough data. Saying that there might be a lack of statistical power is a gross understatement.

And actually I believe the report said there was a slight downward trend that was not statistically significant - which as I am sure you are well aware is not the same thing as what you said.

I know you understand the facts better than this and I am not sure why you feel the need to skew them to fit your point of view.

Stephanie Lynn Keil said...

I recommend everyone take a break from the online autism world for at least a month. Then, when you come back, you will see how stupid it all is.

I've come to the conclusion that many of those posting on the pro-Neurodiversity side are the same person. How many blogs on the Autism Hub are run by the same person? I can tell by writing style and IP addresses.

I'm glad some of these blogs exist, they are good sources of information, but I've lost all interest in writing about my mental diagnoses.

kent adams said...

Sorry, but I thought I would cross post this. I left this comment on Joseph's blog. I'm rather tired of this self diagnosed person dismissing diagnosed autistic people as if they aren't representative:

Joseph, it comes down to if it paints a "pretty picture" or whether you believe something. Your quick to make connections from an SBC lead "study", but for real autistic experience, you simply dismiss it. This is why I think its important that you not misrepresent yourself or imply to the reader that you are autistic (with a formal diagnosis).

You can dismiss autistics like those in that support group and come up with all sorts of shit to dismiss their representation, because it doesn't fit your shiney aspie interests.

By the way, do you still care to make judgements on my son like you have in the past and make online diagnosis of him?

You cheapen the lives of people that are in that support group because you don't want to associate yourself with people like "them". Plain and simple and a casual reader of ND blogs can see that they don't really give a shit about about those of us who have problems. You want to gloss over and hide us like we were some sort of attic children.

Autism Reality NB said...

Jonathan, you really stirred them up over at Joseph's blog. Some really bizarre stuff.

The intensity of their hostile reactions shows the importance of your blog as a person with an ASD who is not taken in by the Neuro-nonsense ideology.

Foresam said...

If you make Joseph look as dishonest as we know he is on his own blog, he might ban you from commenting. I love watching liars like Joseph squirm when you smack them in the head with the truth.

Kent Adams said...

Sorry for the cross post but I think its important for those that will only read one blog:

Part 1

Joseph said: "Why would it be good idea to tell a parent "your child will probably never work" when this is unlikely to be true for a good majority of autistic children diagnosed this year?"

Well there is a strawman in there and faulty conclusions in the other part.

First, I never said to tell a parent a child will probably never work. I do think however, that for parents like our children, work may never go beyond a workshop and to pretend otherwise is a lie to yourself and to others with children with classical autism. Typically, those with classic autism don't graduate from the public school system with a diploma, but with a certificate of completion. Try getting full, self sustaining employment with a certificate of completion. Rosey politics isn't going to change this reality. How do I know? Again, my support group which you dismiss consistently as being atypical. Nearly all with diagnosed AS and nearly all unemployed. Now if classic AS, formally diagnosed, have difficulties getting a job, those with classic and or non-verbal autism are going to have an awful time getting and maintaining employment that will provide a roof over their heads and food on their table. We should work to help this, not try to ignore it with faulty AQ studies done by a man that is there to promote the shiney aspie.

Joseph said: "It's not, and I don't think it should be."

The Hub is the furtherest thing from a support group. Its a group of the self diagnosed , claiming to be autistic. Its devotees' who have a fetish for autism and its parents hoping their children will be like one of the self diagnosed and devotees'. When a real autistic comes along, to speak about the problems in their lives, they are dismissed as atypical. They are banned. They are discriminated against. They are challenged. What they aren't given is understanding so situations could be improved. They are labeled miscontents, banned from "autism friendly conferences". The Hub is an illusion, built and sustained and its validity rests on "do-gooderism". Parents drugging their children, faux autistics, excuse me, self diagnosed autistics, feel free to castigate and disparage real autistics.

Kent Adams said...

Part 2

Joseph said: "You don't get pats on the back from us, our experiences are not exactly the same as yours, we don't have the same exact concerns and interests, and this in your mind means we've offended you or something."

You don't get it do you Joseph? I don't look for validation from Al Jolsen type autistics. I don't look for validation from the self diagnosed like you and ABFH. You don't have the same concerns because your NOT AUTISTIC! You read something in 1998 or you had a pediatrician in the 1960's say to your parents you are autistic, even though you never needed any assistance that rose to the level to exclude you from a typical classroom. How dare you, as a self diagnosed try to exclude those of us who did get excluded, who did have the need for acommadations, who did need help and who still struggle to fit into any measure of employment or independent living. Do you not see how hurtful the self diagnosed and their rather life of "little struggle" as fellow Hub member Joel Smith claims on his blog? Do you think someone that claims to have struggled very little would anger me when I struggled and when my son struggles. Its as though we should be ashamed of that. We have no place, we aren't included in the diaspora of autism found on the HUB. Stop claiming your autistic! If it were important to you to be truthful, you wouldn't allow this deception to continue.

Joseph said: "You probably even think I'm some wealthy white guy who lives in a great neighborhood somewhere in the US. You must think in person I'd come off sort of like a Stephen Shore-type of guy; confident, well-spoken. I mean, you have to be thinking something along those lines for you to pin the "shinny aspie" thing on me, and to think that I'm supposed to be surprised about something in the Asperger support group video you referred me to."

I try not to think of you because you are living off my life and the lives of others by claiming to be one of those like me and my son. You are all for the shiney aspie, because frankly you have never lived a life of extreme exclusion, abuse and struggle. You have never experienced what I have otherwise I believe you would understand and realize what a dangerous "road" you are traveling here for real autistic people.

Joseph said: "Nevertheless, it's extremely presumptuous and obnoxious to make those sorts of assumptions based solely on writing style."

I take no issue with your writing style. I take issue with the content and the emphasis. In the end, if your child has what you classify as "classical autism", then you will realize that promoting a shiney aspie agenda is harmful to him. He will never live up to your standards of what is acceptable in autism and what isn't. You have clearly determined that those like me, those that struggle or need extensive help are atypical. If your son is like us, he will learn he is atypical from his father and that is not what I think you want to convey.

Roger Kulp said...

Kent Adams said... Typically, those with classic autism don't graduate from the public school system with a diploma, but with a certificate of completion.

That's interesting.I was out for over two months in my senior year of high school,with the pneumonia that triggered my second major regression.When I came back to school,the vice principal met me at the door.He told me I didn't need to come back for the rest of the year,just come by and pick up my diploma,sometime in July or August. This was 1978.

Kent Adams said... In the end, if your child has what you classify as "classical autism", then you will realize that promoting a shiney aspie agenda is harmful to him.

Kent,you answered this in Part 1. You ought to know that ND types are the most selfish people in the world,especially in putting their own interests above the more severely autistic.Somebody ought to keep a running list of all the ND bloggers and activists,who stuck their more severely autistic kids in homes after they turned eighteen.There are a lot of them, and I can't remember them all.

Foresam said...

The height of hypocrisy played itself out today on the Autism Hub.
Zach Lassiter filmed his suicide on Youtube and what did Neurodiversity do?
They deleted his blog from the Hub and none of them have said one word about it.

jonathan said...

Roger: You are probably thinking of "Casdok" and Susan Senator, they are both members of the autism hub and fit the category of sending their kids away to homes or institutions. Not sure who else in club ND fits that description.

JediKnight2 said...

"I've posted a response."

Instead of posting on Joseph's blog, here's what I should have posted here:

Good job! Everyone give this man a round of applause!

Oh wait, we can't! We must flap our hands for there are people on the autism spectrum with sensory issues to sound because they don't want to be cured, so we have to respect them like the Bible.