Are Sonograms Behind Autism?
#1


I don't know what to think about this article, but it's way too important not to link to. Anyone who's pregnant, has a wife who's pregnant, has a daughter, etc., please check this out:

Reply
#2
(05-20-2014, 08:09 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: I don't know what to think about this article, but it's way too important not to link to. Anyone who's pregnant, has a wife who's pregnant, has a daughter, etc., please check this out:

I think the author is looking for correlations that aren't there.  Yes, more babies from wealthy, educated families are being diagnosed with autism, but that is because they have the financial resources to get their child tested and treated for the disorder early on.  I was born in 1981 and I know at least 5 people in my age group who have gotten diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder in their early to late 20's.  It's because when I was growing up, if you had problems relating to other kids, making eye contact and adapting to school, they diagnosed you with ADHD or simply said you were a "problem child" and punished you for your bad behavior.  Now, parents and teachers use a different vocabulary for talking about the same set of issues. 

Even if there is a slightly higher risk of autism with ultrasounds, I'd rather have a child that's autistic than lose a child because there were issues such as placenta previa that weren't ruled out before birth.
Reply
#3
Chestertonian, I'm with you on this one.  I'd rather have the ultrasound.  I also think some of the autism diagnosis issue is that parents look for a reason for their child's strange behavior, an excuse of sorts.  Now, that isn't to say that there isn't genuine autism out there.  I just happen to think that parents look to put a label on something and make excuses for children rather than teach them - clearly and explicitly - how to respond appropriately. 

I've taught quite a number of children diagnosed with some kind of autism and children who I've suspected might have it.  Invariably, the children who could be helped to push past their issues had parents who were willing to spend the time to teach them how to interact with others and control themselves.  These children by and large were able to work through their biggest problems and, while occasionally a little awkward, passed for normal.  Years later, you might not know that they had any issues at all.  In fact, I remember one student who went from unable to function in a classroom - hitting the principal with a shovel and having screaming fits - to the most charming and handsome young man.  He simply needed to learn how to handle his anger and express it appropriately.  Once he worked through it, he developed poise and presence that I don't often see in young men.  At 18, he was simply amazing. 

Those children who came from families seeking to make excuses for them remained unable to interact normally with others.  They simply didn't progress because nobody expected them to.  This was the case over several years as I had the privilege of working in a K-12 school.

Society in general seeks to put a label on something so that a person can be identified as "sick" and thus not responsible.  This is a mistake.  Even those who have genuine disabilities need to work on their difficulties.  For some, the progress may be limited.  However, progress is still important.  There is such a huge range of autistic behavior that putting a label on a child can also be counterproductive. 
Reply
#4
(05-20-2014, 09:20 AM)Chestertonian Wrote: I think the author is looking for correlations that aren't there.  Yes, more babies from wealthy, educated families are being diagnosed with autism, but that is because they have the financial resources to get their child tested and treated for the disorder early on.  I was born in 1981 and I know at least 5 people in my age group who have gotten diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder in their early to late 20's.  It's because when I was growing up, if you had problems relating to other kids, making eye contact and adapting to school, they diagnosed you with ADHD or simply said you were a "problem child" and punished you for your bad behavior.  Now, parents and teachers use a different vocabulary for talking about the same set of issues. 

Even if there is a slightly higher risk of autism with ultrasounds, I'd rather have a child that's autistic than lose a child because there were issues such as placenta previa that weren't ruled out before birth.

I dunno, man. There's a HUGE difference between ADD/ADHD type behaviors and the behaviors shown by folks "on the spectrum."  I don't see how they could mistake, say, a kid with Asperger's as being a kid with some hyperactivity disorder. Makes no sense to me (though a kid could have both, of course). I don't see how even the lack of general knowledge about autism would bring about throwing a Dx of ADD/ADHD on a kid who's got Asperger's, for ex. Without wanting to sound mean or insensitive to those reading this who might have Asperger's, I think their minds would more likely go to the idea of a kid being "slow" or "awkward," or suffering some form of "retardation" rather than ADD/ADHD.

And I'd guess that poor kids have all sorts of government help in place to deal with getting Dxed with something like autism nowadays, and public schools seem really eager to slap psychiatric labels on kids because of things like "No Child Left Behind" (see this scary article) and because they get big bucks otherwise (see this other scary article) . It's the folks who have a mere pot to piss in who fall through the cracks and can't get the medical attention they need. The poor get it for free; the middle class gets nothing but milked.

As to placenta praevia and such (I was born that way, BTW. Almost killed us both. Poor Ma!), one sonogram toward the end of the pregnancy is all that'd be required to Dx that sort of thing. If the kid's too big, if the placenta's in the wrong place -- you can't really know about that until it's getting to be birth time anyway, as far as I know. No need for the sonogram every 6 weeks or however often they're doing that nowadays.

Reply
#5
(05-20-2014, 11:07 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: I dunno, man. There's a HUGE difference between ADD/ADHD type behaviors and the behaviors shown by folks "on the spectrum."  I don't see how they could mistake, say, a kid with Asperger's as being a kid with some hyperactivity disorder. Makes no sense to me (though a kid could have both, of course). I don't see how even the lack of general knowledge about autism would bring about throwing a Dx of ADD/ADHD on a kid who's got Asperger's, for ex. Without wanting to sound mean or insensitive to those reading this who might have Asperger's, I think their minds would more likely go to the idea of a kid being "slow" or "awkward," or suffering some form of "retardation" rather than ADD/ADHD.

Vox, you'd be surprised.  Bad parenting (which abounds these days) can also lead to all kinds of misdiagnoses.  For example, children with Asperger's are hyper-intelligent but highly rigid.  They want it how they want it, when they want it.  Routines and structure go a long way toward helping kids with this kind of issue.  They are also volatile.  At young ages, it looks a lot like a spoiled brat.  Proper discipline can go a long way toward teaching a child like this to handle their temper and develop coping mechanisms that most people figure out on their own.  The higher rate of diagnosis for issues is the autism spectrum could be attributable to crappy parenting with no real consequences.

Children like this can be fixated by puzzles and games, unable to process information when there is a break in the routine, and generally dislike detailed assignments that require a lot of concentration (especially writing).  In a classroom, that rigidity, can look a lot like a kid not paying attention and unable to sit through a lesson.  The discipline issues could be very much the same: outbursts, aggressive behaviors, refusal to complete work.  I can see a teacher thinking one thing when it's really another.  For that matter, poor classroom control, chaotic teaching styles, and a more student-centered approach work against both kids with attention issues and kids with Asperger's. 

I've got my 3 Russian darlings - one of which is hyper intelligent, rigid, and volatile.  But it's his background and not a syndrome that we are working with.  If I were to take him to a doctor and leave out that one detail (that he's adopted), we might easily get him diagnosed with something. 

Just some food for thought.
Reply
#6
(05-20-2014, 11:07 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: I dunno, man. There's a HUGE difference between ADD/ADHD type behaviors and the behaviors shown by folks "on the spectrum."  I don't see how they could mistake, say, a kid with Asperger's as being a kid with some hyperactivity disorder.

There are those that argue that they are part of the same continuum and are often co-morbid. In fact, many parents use the same bio-medical and bio-nutritional therapies to manage both. I have a child on the spectrum, so I've been around the block a few times on this, we *almost* had a cocurrent ADHD Dx (instead, we have co-morbids of epilepsy, Tourettes, sensor integration disorder and migraines). I personally think ADHD is over-diagnosed as part of the feminization of boys.

As for the ultrasounds, it may very well be it's part of a larger puzzle. Something has happened that there's a lot more kids "on the spectrum" than ever before. Some of this is diagnosing - it will be interesting to see with the changes in the DSM if the number go up, down or remain stable - but the numbers of moderate to severe autism ARE increasing, not just high-level Aspies, etc. It's almost certainly a combination of genetics and environment, but the precise causes are still unclear.

But ultrasounds are overperformed, by and large. A single scan at around 20 weeks is usually enough to detect most problems. I absolutely loath the "entertainment" ones being done these days. It is not a risk-free medical procedure!
Reply
#7
(05-20-2014, 02:33 PM)Fontevrault Wrote: Vox, you'd be surprised.  Bad parenting (which abounds these days) can also lead to all kinds of misdiagnoses.  For example, children with Asperger's are hyper-intelligent but highly rigid.  They want it how they want it, when they want it.  Routines and structure go a long way toward helping kids with this kind of issue.  They are also volatile.  At young ages, it looks a lot like a spoiled brat.  Proper discipline can go a long way toward teaching a child like this to handle their temper and develop coping mechanisms that most people figure out on their own.  The higher rate of diagnosis for issues is the autism spectrum could be attributable to crappy parenting with no real consequences.

It's a myth that Asperger's patients are hyper-intelligent. They CAN be, but it's not necessarily true at all. 

My experience with it (I don't have it myself, praise God, but was around an "Aspie" for a good number of years) is that there wasn't any spoiledness, but there were definitely rigidity, serious need for routine and to BE structured (he couldn't do it for himself at all), the long, rambling monologues coupled with no awareness at all of other people's body language or feelings (NOT that he didn't care about others' feelings; he just couldn't ascertain what they were through the normal means of communicating them), etc. He wasn't volatile at all; quite the opposite, actually. And he was a good kid. He was also Dxed as ADD, which was a whole other ball of wax that brought about impulsive, frustrating weirdisms -- random behaviors that made no sense, weren't thought out as to consequences...

I definitely agree that ADD/ADHD is VERY over-diagnosed and that the presentation of the "symptoms" that get the label are often a result of crappy parenting (read: lack of fathers!) and a general asault on masculinity. No doubt about that in my mind. 

Quote: Children like this can be fixated by puzzles and games, unable to process information when there is a break in the routine, and generally dislike detailed assignments that require a lot of concentration (especially writing).  In a classroom, that rigidity, can look a lot like a kid not paying attention and unable to sit through a lesson.  The discipline issues could be very much the same: outbursts, aggressive behaviors, refusal to complete work.  I can see a teacher thinking one thing when it's really another.  For that matter, poor classroom control, chaotic teaching styles, and a more student-centered approach work against both kids with attention issues and kids with Asperger's. 

I guess I can see a teacher thinking one thing when it's really another, too, after thinking about it -- but it goes to my lack of respect for schools of education more than anything (meaning no insult toward the truly great teachers out there). Or maybe it's because my experience with Asperger's didn't involve aggression and outbursts and such. If that's part of the Dx, then it is, but I wasn't aware of that. With this kid, I got clued in (and he got Dxed ultimately) because I picked up on the social strangeness, the almost total lack of ability to organize himself coupled with a NEED to BE organized and have routine, the monologues, etc.

Quote: I've got my 3 Russian darlings - one of which is hyper intelligent, rigid, and volatile.  But it's his background and not a syndrome that we are working with.  If I were to take him to a doctor and leave out that one detail (that he's adopted), we might easily get him diagnosed with something. 

Just some food for thought.

:)  You're awesome! God bless you, woman!

Reply
#8
(05-20-2014, 03:40 PM)PrairieMom Wrote: There are those that argue that they are part of the same continuum and are often co-morbid. In fact, many parents use the same bio-medical and bio-nutritional therapies to manage both. I have a child on the spectrum, so I've been around the block a few times on this, we *almost* had a cocurrent ADHD Dx (instead, we have co-morbids of epilepsy, Tourettes, sensor integration disorder and migraines). I personally think ADHD is over-diagnosed as part of the feminization of boys.

Whew! You've got a lot going on! Wow! You're awesome, too!

Quote: As for the ultrasounds, it may very well be it's part of a larger puzzle. Something has happened that there's a lot more kids "on the spectrum" than ever before. Some of this is diagnosing - it will be interesting to see with the changes in the DSM if the number go up, down or remain stable - but the numbers of moderate to severe autism ARE increasing, not just high-level Aspies, etc. It's almost certainly a combination of genetics and environment, but the precise causes are still unclear.

But ultrasounds are overperformed, by and large. A single scan at around 20 weeks is usually enough to detect most problems. I absolutely loath the "entertainment" ones being done these days. It is not a risk-free medical procedure!

There has to be SOME reason for the rise in autism. If it's not vaccines and not sonograms, then what? I have to admit to having been scared about the autism possibility when my daughter was pregnant. My grandson is 16 months old and so far, so good. But every time he gets a shot, I hold my breath. I haven't researched all that, and there's so much conflicting information out there, I wouldn't know where to begin. But I do have a streak of "paranoia" about that -- and now, the overuse of sonograms. I can't take strong stands on any of this either way because I simply don't know. But it's in the back of my mind and it scares me.
 
Reply
#9
(05-21-2014, 09:43 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: It's a myth that Asperger's patients are hyper-intelligent. They CAN be, but it's not necessarily true at all. 

My experience with it (I don't have it myself, praise God, but was around an "Aspie" for a good number of years) is that there wasn't any spoiledness, but there were definitely rigidity, serious need for routine and to BE structured (he couldn't do it for himself at all), the long, rambling monologues coupled with no awareness at all of other people's body language or feelings (NOT that he didn't care about others' feelings; he just couldn't ascertain what they were through the normal means of communicating them), etc. He wasn't volatile at all; quite the opposite, actually. And he was a good kid. He was also Dxed as ADD, which was a whole other ball of wax that brought about impulsive, frustrating weirdisms -- random behaviors that made no sense, weren't thought out as to consequences...

I definitely agree that ADD/ADHD is VERY over-diagnosed and that the presentation of the "symptoms" that get the label are often a result of crappy parenting (read: lack of fathers!) and a general asault on masculinity. No doubt about that in my mind. 

The Asperger's kids I've seen are intelligent and desperately need structure to function.  What I was saying is that in a young kid, the outbursts of frustration and rigidity look a lot like a socially regressed spoiled child does. 

Consider:  kid does want to go back to his home room after math class, climbs under a desk and screams that he will not come out and wants to stay.  He can do multistep math problems in his head but won't  write things down and can't explain how he knows the answer.  He's not transitioning from one environment to another well, he is volatile - if predictably so, and it takes 20 minutes to convince him to return to his other teacher.  Combine that with a tough time communicating, especially in writing, and difficulty relating to other students.  What do you have going on in a fairly structured classroom?

Is it a kid with Asperger's or is it a kid reacting poorly because of home life? 

I've had both with exactly the same issues.  This story is actually one of two very similar students who I taught about 3 years apart from each other.  Two boys, both good kids, both smart and capable, both needed the exact same type of explicit help to learn to deal with what was going on around them.  I've spent equal amounts of time with both boys talking them down and helping them find coping mechanisms that they could initiate on their own.  I have had to discuss personal space and body language with both to help them learn to read people and also learn about how they are communicating with others. One had parents going through a nasty divorce and a mom who walked out on him; the other had documented Asperger's. 

Why do I say this?  When a child is being diagnosed, they send out behavior inventories to parents, teachers, and other care givers.  It's a list of behaviors and their frequencies.  That and consultation with parents is how a doctor makes the diagnosis with kids.  The spike in diagnoses could be because more parents are aware of autism and how it can manifest and are looking for a way to help their children.  But it could also be that social norms discourage strong parenting and encourage leaving children with so-called experts.  If a parent doesn't parent, then the child will show issues that a teacher would consider indicative of a diagnosable difficulty.  Could sonograms be a contributing factor?  Sure, so could diet and a number of other things.  Causation is hard to prove. 
Reply
#10
(05-21-2014, 09:50 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: There has to be SOME reason for the rise in autism. If it's not vaccines and not sonograms, then what? I have to admit to having been scared about the autism possibility when my daughter was pregnant. My grandson is 16 months old and so far, so good. But every time he gets a shot, I hold my breath. I haven't researched all that, and there's so much conflicting information out there, I wouldn't know where to begin. But I do have a streak of "paranoia" about that -- and now, the overuse of sonograms. I can't take strong stands on any of this either way because I simply don't know. But it's in the back of my mind and it scares me.
   

Scary as it sounds, there are ways to help a child with autism and, in many cases, they can go on to have relatively normal lives.  It takes hard work but parenting is all about hard work.  Best course of action: prayer.  I'm honestly not concerned about autism.  There are worse things out there.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)