The following is part of the list of symptoms of autism
found at https://health.google.com/health/ref/Autism on 2009-12-11:

Social interaction:

* Does not make friends
* Does not play interactive games
* Is withdrawn
* May not respond to eye contact or smiles, or may avoid eye contact
* May treat others as if they are objects
* Prefers to spend time alone, rather than with others
* Shows a lack of empathy

The following is from a mailing list, dated 2009-12-09:

I have read that [P.A.M.] Dirac had no empathy, not even for his family.
I think the story goes the same for many other famous mathematicians/scientists.
Why is it being so promoted that
being a good mathematician and a good human being
is impossible?
Is it really true?

A reply asserts:

Certainly Farmelo's book [The Strangest Man by Graham Farmelo]
gives that impression -
Dirac wasn't exactly warm and cuddly.
But I'd say that from my experience with mathematicians,
there's no reason to assert
that one cannot be both a good mathematician and a good human being...

Referring to the list of what are considered symptoms of autism,
I want to state my personal opinion that
“Prefers to spend time alone, rather than with others”
is practically a necessary condition for one to be a successful mathematician.
As to
“Is withdrawn” and
“May not respond to eye contact or smiles, or may avoid eye contact”,
these again are necessary conditions
if one is to maintain the intense focus that is necessary
to understand complex abstract situations.

Note that the personal attributes of social connectivity and sensitivity
that are so often attributed to women, very often by women themselves,
are the precise opposite of the attributes
that time has proved to be necessary for mathematical success.
That is not to say that women cannot be very good mathematicians,
some have [Emmy Noether, aka der Noether for one].
But it is to suggest a reason, other than discrimination by men,
as to why their success at mathematics has been less than that of men.

I would further like to observe, based on personal experience,
that in at least one case of my personal knowledge,
a psychologist, operating in a supposedly professional context,
abused his profession,
by stating opinions which were based purely on one particular political view
as a professional opinion.
Beware the political activists with doctoral degrees,
using their advanced degrees to advance their political agenda.
One can only wonder how often people are smeared behind their backs
by a combination of
lying advocates of political correctness and
their compatriots with professional degrees trying to use their professional status to advance their political agenda.

Beware of the feminization and PC-ization of psycholgy.

Miscellaneous Articles


Still Overlooking Autistic Adults
By Linda H. Davis
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2009-04-04

What coming social expenditure
will cost more than a third of this year’s budget
for the Department of Health and Human Services
and be larger than the entire current budget of the Energy Department?

The bill for
the tide of autistic children entering adulthood over the next 15 years,
an estimated $27 billion annually in current, non-inflation-adjusted dollars
by the end of that period.
The number of autistic children
expected to need extensive adult services by 2023 --
more than 380,000 people --
is roughly equal to the population of Minneapolis.
If a town were created to house this group of people and their caregivers --
for you can’t separate the two --
it would exceed the population of all but six U.S. cities.
If they formed a state, it would have four electoral votes.

But most of these cognitively impaired citizens don’t vote.
Most of them can’t live alone or work in public places.
Many can’t even take public transportation by themselves.

Yet as World Autism Awareness Day passed this week,
with the wrecking ball swinging at all levels of social services
in this devastated economy,
the challenges of adult autism continue to be overlooked.
Many news reports focus on whether vaccines cause autism,
the need for a cure or the education of autistic children.
Autistic adults are relegated to the sidelines.
Even the Obama administration,
which has pledged better care for disabled Americans,
including those with autism,
has not been specific enough about its plans
for those who will probably never be able to live independently
or be part of the traditional workforce.
“Improving life-long services for people with ASD,”
as autism spectrum disorder is known,
is a worryingly broad, detail-free promise
in the White House agenda published online.

I understand that no one wants to look at a child
and imagine the clunky, in-your-face adult he or she will become
or think about the stares he or she will induce.
When I look at my pudgy 22-year-old son, Randy,
still sweet-faced but so obviously disabled,
I cannot locate the blond cherub he used to be, gripping his stuffed brown bear. While writing this,
I listened to Randy getting into the refrigerator
(he’s home again from his supervised job -- two mornings a week --
because of another problem with the overwhelmed human services provider
funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts),
and wonder who will love or at least protect him
when he ends up in a group home run by an underpaid, overworked staff.

Randy’s father and I are keeping him at home as long as possible,
even as I’m battling an incurable cancer.
The inadequate state services and perilously thin funding
have seriously hampered our ability to work while caring for our son.
I feel as though we’re playing Russian roulette with Randy’s future,
yet I cling to my gentle son,
unwilling to entrust him to a system that grows more fragile than I do.

Randy is just one of hundreds of thousands of autistic adults
to whom society pays frighteningly little attention.
The price of their care will affect all Americans,
not only those who have autistic children.
Along with housing, day programs,
transportation to those programs or jobs,
and higher-than-average medical costs,
adults with autism require steady supervision and support.
A well-behaved, relatively high-functioning person such as my son
could manage in an environment
that has a ratio of three clients per staff member.
But many autistic people require a one-to-one ratio.
This is a serious hurdle, not least because of
the high turnover rate among those who provide direct care,
which stems in part from their low wages.
Not everyone is temperamentally suited to this work.
People with autism present myriad challenges:
They can sometimes be violent,
sometimes are self-abusive,
suffer psychological meltdowns,
or behave in many socially unacceptable ways, to say the least.
Women, traditionally cast in the caregiver role,
are at risk of greater physical harm when caring for autistic adults
than for children.
At expected rates, we will need to find an additional million caregivers,
people who must have the right personal qualities
to work with autistic individuals
but who are willing and able to work for low wages.
This is no small challenge.
We not only must train people but also show that we value this work
by paying them better.

In 15 years, the cost of care
just for the autistic children entering adulthood over that time
will be about equal to the current state budget of Tennessee.
Meanwhile, services are dangerously strained,
and the influx of autistic adults is underway.
This country urgently needs to focus on adult autism, new models of care
and new sources of funding.
Before the looming tidal wave delivers another crushing blow to our economy,
we should have a national discussion. It should begin today.

Linda H. Davis is the author, most recently, of
“Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life”
and is president of the nonprofit SAGE Crossing Foundation,
formed to create a farmstead for autistic adults.
Her husband, Chuck Yanikoski, who is treasurer of SAGE,
contributed to this piece.

Analysis finds nearly 1 percent of U.S. children diagnosed with autism
By Rob Stein
Washington Post, 2009-12-19

About one out of every 110 U.S. children has been diagnosed with autism,
according to a new federal estimate released Friday [12-18].

An analysis of medical records from more than 307,000 8-year-olds in 2006 found that
about 1 percent -- or one out of every 110 --
had been diagnosed with an “autism spectrum disorder,”

which includes a range of conditions including autism,
the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The estimate is an increase in the prevalence of the condition
from a previous CDC estimate of about 1 in 150
but is consistent with another estimate the agency released in October
based on a telephone survey that concluded
the condition was diagnosed in about 1 out of every 100 children.

“The findings in this report are in line
with other recently reported estimates,”
said Catherine Rice, a behavioral health scientist at
the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities,
whose report were published in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The reason for the increase remains unclear, she said.
It could be due at least in part to
more children being diagnosed with one of the conditions
rather than
an actual increase in how many children are developing the disability,
she said.
But “a true increase cannot be ruled out,” she said,
calling the estimate “concerning.”

Other factors that could be contributing to the increase include
a rise in the average age that women are giving birth, and
potentially air pollution, she said.
But, Rice stressed “we have much to learn about the causes.”

The conditions are four to five times as common among boys as girls,
with one in 70 boys and one in 315 girls having the diagnosis,
the report found.

[Note the female researchers seem oblivious to
the strong likelihood that the rise in autism is due to
the change in the way the average child is raised by his or her mother
during the period when autism has been increasingly diagnosed..
And why would air pollution or the age of the mother
affect boys at four times the rate it affects girls?

Further, one (in particular, the current author) must strongly suspect
that the criteria for autism are strongly biased
towards defining more and more male behavior as pathological.
Surely that would not account for
the more outrageous behaviors grouped under the autism label,
but I’ll bet it accounts for some of them.]

New CDC estimate: 1 in 110 children have autism
By MIKE STOBBE, Associated Press
startribune.com, 2009-12-18

[The end of the article:]

Autism is diagnosed by making judgments about a child’s behavior;
there are no blood or biologic tests.

For decades, the diagnosis was given only to
kids with severe language and social impairments
and unusual, repetitious behaviors.
The definition of autism has gradually expanded,
and “autism” is now shorthand for
a group of milder, related conditions.

Health officials have urged stepped-up screening of children for autism,
saying early therapy can improve how well children develop.
While researchers have found that
parents often voiced concerns about a child’s development before age 2,
the average age of diagnosis is still about 4 1/2.

I want to highlight and juxtapose two statements that appeared in the above two articles (but did not appear in the same one).

The conditions are
four to five times as common among boys as girls,
with one in 70 boys and one in 315 girls having the diagnosis,
the report found.

For decades, the diagnosis was given only to
kids with severe language and social impairments
and unusual, repetitious behaviors.
The definition of autism has gradually expanded,
and “autism” is now shorthand for
a group of milder, related conditions.

I think we are all familiar with
a common tendency called “expansion of scope.”
Is it not clear that that is what we are dealing with here?


Dealing With the Financial Burden of Autism
New York Times, 2010-01-23


Federal study estimates 1 in 88 children has symptoms of autism
by David Brown
Washington Post, 2012-03-30

About 1 in 88 children in the United States has autism and the prevalence of the condition has risen nearly 80 percent over the past decade, federal health officials reported Thursday.

The survey, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the latest evidence of a steady upward trend in a disorder whose cause remains unknown despite much research in recent years.

The rising rate of autism could be the result of finding children missed in earlier surveys or an actual increase in the condition — or a combination of the two. The trend has been observed in Canada and Western Europe as well as the United States.

Children with the most extreme form of autism are socially withdrawn, speak little, dislike affection and eye contact, and engage in repetitive actions. Once thought to be very rare, milder forms are now recognized. One of them, Asperger syndrome, describes bhavior that in the past might have been seen as peculiar and abnormal but not evidence of illness.

The CDC study surveyed 14 states — including Maryland — for the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among 8-year-olds in 2008. The prevalence that year of 11.3 cases per 1,000 children was 23 percent higher than in 2006. It was 78 percent higher than in 2002, when the survey began. Autistic children received their diagnosis at age 4 on average — six months earlier than in 2006, but not early enough for optimal therapy, according to many experts.

The survey found large unexplained differences between sexes, among ethnic groups and in states.

For example, autism is five times as common in boys as girls (a lopsided ratio found in many other studies). The fraction of autistic children with average or above-average intelligence has risen more than the fraction with “intellectual disability.” Autism prevalence in Hispanic children is two-thirds that of white children, but it is rising faster in them and in black children than in white ones. The prevalence in Utah’s children is four times that in Alabama’s.

Such variation suggests that better identification of autism cases contributes to the higher number, but whether it explains the trend completely is a matter of huge debate.



How autistic adults banded together to start a movement
By Sandhya Somashekhar
Washington Post, 2015-07-20

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