I see that the autistic self advocacy Network is at it again, lambasting Deborah Fein and company's recent study documenting "optimal outcomes" for persons on the autism spectrum.
They use the word "recovery" in the title of their piece as well as emphasizing that word in regard to the recent study which has received a plethora of media attention in recent weeks.
This would seem akin to a "spin job" as the Fein study only mentions recovery once in the study. Rather than emphasize recovery, they mention optimal outcomes, though claim the oo subjects no longer have symptoms on the autistic spectrum as determined by interviews as well as a variety of diagnostic tests.
ASAN's article purports that the oo subjects in Fein's study suffer from depression and other issues, using the research of others to base their argument. ASAN researcher Stephen Kapp cites research obtained by a K. Doheny retrieved from web M.D., but neglects to cite a journal article. A search of Google scholar fails to find such research done by this individual. If anyone can come up with a more specific reference, of course, Gadfly will stand corrected. Fein et. al., in a typical scientific hedge, merely don't discount the possibility that there may be residual symptoms in the optimal outcome group, but stated that further study was necessary to elucidate on this.
ASAN also implies that these optimal outcome subjects felt suicidal yet neglects to present any evidence. They have also stated that these people are still autistic but just have the ability to pass for "normal" persons. This effort to pass they claim, leads to stress, anxiety, depression and even the possibility of suicide, yet they only provide speculation and no concrete evidence to back up these assertions.
Most troubling of all (at least to yours truly) is their statement:
Autistic people do not “recover” and the idea of “recovery” has been
profoundly damaging to the Autistic community, encouraging service
providers to emphasize normalcy above other more meaningful goals.
Furthermore, by teaching Autistic children and adults that “recovery” –
pretending to be something we are not – is the “optimal outcome” they
can achieve, we send a profoundly damaging message to Autistic people,
our families, and the public at large. Autism is a natural part of the
human condition and not something to recover from or eliminate. The goal
of autism research and service provision should be to create happy
Autistic people, not to encourage ‘passing for non-Autistic’ without
regard to the impact on our quality of life.
I believe some people with ASD do recover, a lucky few 100%, others partially. I myself belong in the latter category. In the late 1950s I was a profoundly autistic toddler, unable to speak, tantruming, smearing feces, etc. I did partially recover, including getting my speech back, graduating college and being able to work sporadically. However, as regular readers of my blog know, my recovery, unfortunately, was only partial. I have profound social problems, motor coordination problems, anxieties and after multiple firings from jobs had to retire in my early 50s.
No, I don't believe autism is a natural part of the human condition. It is a disease that if at all possible should be completely recovered from and completely eliminated, so no other child has to suffer as I did and still continue to do so. ASAN in their statements believes that persons such as myself should be crippled and sick, that we should not have a chance at a decent life and we should continue to be handicapped no matter how much spin they would promote to have us believe their position is otherwise.
Again, they show an astounding ignorance of the Americans with Disabilities Act, what the law states in terms of how ASD's should be accommodated in the workplace and elsewhere.
Their statements are quite unfortunate and I am deeply offended by their statements that I and others like me don't deserve a cure, don't deserve to be recovered and be able to live normal and happy lives without autism.