What Exactly Is Autism? Why Have The Rates Increased Rapidly to 1 in 44 Children?

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    by Arjun Walia, The Pulse:

    When I ask “what exactly is autism?” I do so because autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is exactly that, an extremely wide spectrum.

    On one end of the spectrum you have people and children nobody would ever guess would be on the spectrum. And on the other end you have people and children who cannot speak or have very limited speech and social communication skills. These people and children may have severe sensory processing issues and extreme difficulty with changes in routine.

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    But there are other issues regarding autism, what it is and its causes that are not being discussed. We will get to that later in the article.

    According to the CDC,

    “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. People with ASD often have problems with social communication and interaction, and restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests. People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention.”

    In some cases, I believe many children who are diagnosed with ASD don’t even have these differences in the brain, and have been misdiagnosed for simply having certain behaviours and tendencies as a child.

    The pharmaceutical industry has definitely taken advantage of this label, as have many others. Psychiatry has become a proving ground for outrageous manipulations of science in the service of profit.

    Furthermore, I have issues looking at all people and kids on the spectrum as having a ‘disability.’ I just don’t like that word. Perhaps, maybe, because it implies some sort of intellectual disability. But let me be clear, autism is NOT an intellectual disability. Deficits in intellectual ability are not a part of the criteria for diagnosis of autism. But this is changing.

    “Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder frequently co-occur” according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Definitions of mental disorders are constantly changing, and as a result, the incidents of “false positives” are increasing as more criteria for a diagnosis are added to the list.

    “[DSM-V] is a wholesale imperial medicalization of normality that will trivialize mental disorder and lead to a deluge of unneeded medication treatment – a bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry but at a huge cost to the new false positive patients caught in the excessively wide DSM-V net.”

    – Allen Frances, DSMIV Taskforce Chair, Professor and Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine

    A child with severe autism may be unable make eye contact and communicate the way most humans do, but they may also very well be extremely bright with an intelligence and intellect beyond anything we are capable of understanding.

    Many of these autistic people and children may go their entire lives not being recognized as ‘intelligent,’ despite the fact that they are indeed “all there.” On the other hand, many are recognized, these are referred to as autistic savants.

    Autistic savants are capable of extraordinary and unexplainable phenomenon. For example, autistic twins studied by Oliver Sacks could provide prime numbers in up to 20 digits, without knowing basic math.

    There are other phenomena that have been observed as well.

    “Being incapable of speech from an early age increases their motivation to find alternative means of communication with their caregivers but that isn’t all. Autism expert Bernard Rimland, PhD reported “ESP” as existing in a small percentage of his patients, and considered it to be a savant skill.”

    — Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, MD, Neuroscientist and Psychotherapist

    In September 2015, Powell published a paper in Edge Science, a publication put out by the Journal of Scientific Exploration titled “Autistics, Savants, and Psi: A Radical Theory of Mind.”

    In it she provides multiple examples of autistic savants she has investigated over the years, including some interesting cases of telepathic ones. One in particular, written about in the paper linked above, is the case of a little girl nicknamed Haley. She was referred to Powell by Dr. Darold A. Treffert, a psychiatrist and research director who specialized in the epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders and savant syndrome. Hayley showed remarkable telepathic abilities.

    It reminds me a little bit of the “ADHD” label. How often do you hear that cognitive neuroscience shows that people with an ADHD diagnosis are very creative thinkers that have difficulty suppressing brain activity that comes from the “imagination network?

    This suggests people with ADHD might have differences in parts of the brain that actually makes them highly skilled in certain regards, yet we are defining them as only having a problem.

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