Monday, March 14, 2011

Does Ari Ne'eman want low functioning autistic children to die in drownings or traffic accidents?

It seems that in the online petition crusade, the autistic self-advocacy network
is at it again. In this, their latest crusade, they are complaining against a meeting that the CDC had where they are trying to add wandering as a medical diagnosis and Ne'eman and his cronies fear that somehow the civil rights of autistic children who engage in elopement and run away will be violated if this is enacted. Ne'eman complains about an online survey being bad science in spite of the fact that he quoted an online March of Dimes survey claiming that this proved that the alleged 80% divorce rate among parents of autistic children was a myth.

This is very ironic in light of my post of a few days ago where we see the lunatic ravings of one of Ne'eman's possibly more disturbed supporters claiming that parents of low functioning autistic children wish their charges would just 'drop dead'.

It would appear now that the shoe is on the other foot and it is Ne'eman himself who would appear to have a cavalier attitude about the lives of low functioning autistic children who often engage in elopement and wander away and die in accidental drownings and traffic accidents. I will concede to Ne'eman's credit that he did express condolences over the passing of low functioning autistic Ashley Brock when she drowned on Ginger Taylor's adventures in autism blog. However, Ne'eman, who has stated that curing autism would be morally reprehensible, has offered no alternatives to preventing these children from dying in drownings or traffic accidents when they elope and wander away. He just gives some vague statements about how the environment could be modified and the reason that these kids elope or run away is sensory issues, yet fails to provide any scientific basis for this. Until it is proven that alternatives to labeling kids wanderers and finding ways to restrict their movements in order to keep them alive or a cure for autism is found (which Ne'eman opposes) then I will be completely baffled by ASAN and their supporters who first insult parents by claiming that they wish their offspring would just 'drop dead' but then actively opposing measures that could prevent these kids from dying in accidents in the first place.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the spam catcher on blogger

I just wanted to let my readers know, some of whose comments did not get published that apparently blogger has some sort of spam catcher that I was unaware of before. These posts got caught in this contraption so I have published them just now. (better late than never as they say). There were a couple by lorene amet that she wrote to me about before privately and then reposted, so I did not bother to post these, I regret that Ms. Amet had to repost these. I remember Socrates was pestering me about some comment that did not get published and maybe this was it, I don't know, but I published it in the dated thread about John Robison wanting to study geek success. This has now been published many months after it was written.

Roger Kulp wrote what at first glance looked like there was an interesting comment about John Robison wanting to check the genetic blood or something like that but I forget which thread it was in, but it has now been published.

There was someone else who admitted that their comment was slightly off topic and then stated something to the effect that I could "censor" certain comments on my own blog. I don't remember the exact details, but I published this in the thread it was placed in, but don't remember what it was.

There was one comment that did not seem relevant to anything and indeed was legitimate spam, so I did not bother to publish it.

I think I know how to check for spam and will be doing so periodically so mixups like this don't happen in the future (assuming I continue to write blog posts).

So, I apologize to Gadfly readers for this and that I am not more adept and can't do better with computer and blogger issues.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Does Ari Ne'eman believe parents of low functioning autistic children want their kids to 'drop dead'?

I just came across this rather entertaining video on youtube in which Ari Ne'eman's position on the NCD is endorsed. About 2 minutes and 30 seconds or so into the video what this individual says is rather shocking. He states that the parents of low functioning autistic children wish their kids would 'drop dead'. I wonder why Ari Ne'eman has not complained to youtube or has not gone out of his way to disavow this video that his supporter made. Or does Ne'eman himself believe this? We have seen in the past that some supporters of neurodiversity whose blog was linked on the autism hub stated that parents of autistic children who support a cure for their children are like members of the ku klux klan who are forced to raise black children. When your humble blogger asked hub owner Dave Seidel about this, he refused to denounce that statement.

We have also seen in the past that neurodiversity blogger "the autistic bitch from hell" calls autistics that she does not agree with who want a cure "uncle toms". She has also stated that those of us who have had trouble keeping a job due to our disability are lazy loafers who just want a government handout and won't take responsibility for our lives. Also she has stated that those of us who don't agree with her positions should either be taken out and shot or turned into catfood. This person has donated to ASAN. It is rumored that "the autistic bitch from hell" is in fact attorney Meg Evans who is secretary of Ne'eman's organization, ASAN one of the top people in the organization barely below Ne'eman himself in the chain of command. To the best of my knowledge, Ne'eman has never denounced ABFH .

I wonder if Ari Ne'eman would care to comment on this statement from one of his supporters. I wonder if President Obama will read my blog and comment why he would appoint an individual to a government position who keeps company with people like this. However, I won't hold my breath.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

autism speaks awards grant for employment training

I see that stellar and nearly omnipotent funding body, autism speaks has awarded a $25,000 grant to help with job training and placement. I suppose Gadfly can now eat his words about autism speaks putting on their dog and pony autism in the workplace show that I wrote about previously. I had bemoaned the fact that when autism speaks its words are louder than it's actions. With this new unprecedented grant I guess this is no longer true.

Of course Gadfly still wonders why Laurent Mottron's grant to study "enhanced perceptual functioning" in autistics was twenty times larger than the grant given to Woodrow Wilson rehabilitation center. Apparently autism speaks feels it is 20 times more important to study how well certain high functioning autistic people can find embedded figures, do well on the block design subtest of the Wechsler and how they have perfect pitch and other superior talents on given tests than it is to help unemployed autistics find jobs. It seems to me that autism speaks has some rather strange priorities.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

cool new piece about mirror neurons

I see that Psychological Science has published a cool new article about mirror neurons for anyone who is interested in this subject as I am, I have linked to the article.

The pace of research in this subject seems to be picking up. There was some controversy about whether or not they existed in humans as well as in monkeys and birds and other animals, since direct experimentation on humans is obviously more difficult. Of course, when neurosurgical procedures are done to help mitigate epilepsy and perhaps other conditions then experimentation is possible. Apparently last year, a study along this line of thought has suggested that these neurons exist in humans also. Prior to this there was indirect evidence that mirror neurons existed through functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. One problem with this approach is that maybe like two-thirds of the neurons in these areas are not mirror neurons so if an entire brain area lights up or fails to light up on BOLD assessment then it is hard to distinguish effects from the other neurons. Mirror neuron guru Marco Iacoboni has suggested mathematical modeling as a way around this problem. Of course perhaps someday scanning will become more sophisticated and it will be possible to tease out the effects of individual cells in living humans.

It also relates to autism as there are now probably more than 20 studies that have been done to assess mirror neuron dysfunction, in at least a limited pool of autism research subjects. Of course, one of the problems with this approach, so rampant in autism research, is the use of higher functioning autistics rather than those more severely impaired who would not sit still in a scanner or be able to use a computer. Out of all these studies, all but four of them have shown evidence of mirror neuron dysfunction in these individuals.

Another interesting item is that there are some plans to study these neurons in rhesus monkeys based on Harlow's (and perhaps other persons') research showing autistic like behaviors in these monkeys when separated from their mothers at birth, such as rocking and eye contact impairments. Going back as far back as about 1977 or 1978 I dreamed of using these monkeys as an animal model for autism when I still had my pipe dream of being a neuroscientist.

I won't comment on it further as it might spoil it for anyone else who wants to read it, but this is a good pithy article that covers some of the stuff about mirror neurons and I recommend it as an interesting read.