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ASD = Mental Illness?


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#1 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:06 PM

Someone equated the two and I was taken aback.  I don't think of ds' ASD as being a mental illness.  I think of it as a special need.  And at times it could be even a disability - though often I wouldn't even go that far because I think of it most often as a different sort of wiring that makes you see the world differently.  And I realize that someone with ASD could have mental illness as well.  But a mental illness in and of itself?  Am I missing something?  Is this a common thought? 



#2 J-rap

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:21 PM

I would never think of ASD as a mental illness.  I believe it is considered a developmental disorder.  They are different.


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#3 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:32 PM

Different. Can be comorbid but definitely not the same.

But there are people who told me something similar regarding dyslexia.

 

ETA: I think, upon further reflection, that there is a lot of confusion on this topic.  I still don't think of this as a mental illness as I have come to understand a mental illness but I can see why it might be considered so based on differences in definitions.


Edited by OneStepAtATime, 17 July 2017 - 04:17 PM.

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#4 Moved On

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:33 PM

Well, think of it this way, it is diagnosed using the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). It therefore falls under the mental disorder category, as does ADHD, and other disorders.

Edited by Canadian Mom of 2, 07 July 2017 - 10:34 PM.


#5 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:35 PM

But medically I don't see it as a mental ILLNESS.
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#6 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:41 PM

Well, think of it this way, it is diagnosed using the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). It therefore falls under the mental disorder category, as does ADHD, and other disorders.

 

Down Syndrome (as part of the category of intellectual disabilities) is also in the DSM but is not a mental illness. 


Edited by Jean in Newcastle, 07 July 2017 - 10:42 PM.

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#7 Moved On

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:07 PM

I said mental disorders. Whether mental illness= mental disorder, that's another story and open to interpretation.

Edited by Canadian Mom of 2, 07 July 2017 - 11:08 PM.

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#8 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:09 PM

I said mental disorders. Whether mental illness= mental disorder, that's another story and open to interpretation.


The person I referred to originally said mental illness.

#9 Moved On

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:25 PM

Evolving Definitions of Mental Illness and Wellness
https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC2811514/

#10 Crimson Wife

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:55 PM

It is a neurological disorder, not a mental illness. It has to do with how the brain is wired rather than a biochemical imbalance. That is why medication doesn't do much for ASD, unlike depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD, etc.


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#11 eternalsummer

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 12:44 AM

medication can do a lot for ADHD, though, right?  Is ADHD a mental illness?

 

I tend to think, to be terribly honest and as largely an outsider to the SN world, of mental illnesses as something that did not exist at birth and can be managed to a degree or another with medication, or at least that people are looking for medication to manage.

 

I think of mental disorders as things that existed at birth (or were caused soon after by something traumatic, like a brain injury) and while the person can be trained to behave differently, or trained to read differently than non-dyslexic people do, or whatever, it's not really a medicatable or fixable issue.

 

That is not a carefully considered position, just my immediate reaction.  I can see how someone even farther removed from ASD and other mental disorders might lump it all together.  


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#12 Moved On

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:08 AM

I don't get hung up on words, personally. The person's intentions is what matters to me, in most instances. Mental retardation, for example, did not have a negative connotation attached to it until people started using it that way.
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#13 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:52 AM

How should I know what someone's intentions are? I simply wanted to know if others had heard of ASD being classified as a mental illness or not.

I never had in the past even when attending the week long orientation on ASD at the college. In fact they spent a certain amount of time debating the idea of ASD as a disorder at all. I'm on the fence on that part. There are times when it can get in the way of a happy productive life but I can also see the point of how different neurological wiring can benefit society.


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#14 Pawz4me

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 05:03 AM

I do think there are many people who consider it a mental illness.

But then I wonder how many of those people could even begin to give a coherent explanation of ASD?

I tend to think of it as a neurological disorder. A glitch in the brain's wiring.

The issue is of course complicated because so many with ASD also have anxiety. It muddies the waters, I think. 



#15 wendyroo

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 06:15 AM

I think you are talking about me, and to be fair this is what I said:

 

 

 

Yes, he has autism and ADD, but the National Institute for Mental Health says about 13% of 8-15 year olds are diagnosed with a mental illness, so he can't be the only 8+ year old making inappropriate comments.

 

I never specifically called ASD a mental illness, and NAMI clearly states that it considers ADD/ADHD the most common mental illness/condition/disorder in children.  If you read through the NAMI page, they use those terms interchangeably, often switching within the same paragraph.

 

In fact, on one of their main pages defining "Mental Health Conditions", they state:

 

Mental Health Conditions

 

A mental illness is a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone's ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.

 
That sounds a lot like ASD to me.  (Plus, ASD is in the DSM.)  I consider my son's ASD to be a mental condition and a mental disorder and, I think, a mental illness.  The child spent 4 hours in the middle of the night last night pacing, fretting, stimming and loudly perseverating because he could not mentally calculate 7^5.  Never mind that it was 2 in the freaking morning and that 7^5 had no real significance whatsoever and that by that point we all already knew what 7^5 was because we had calculated it via calculator and paper several times over in a desperate attempt to quiet him down so that the rest of the family could sleep.  To me, that does not sound like a healthy brain; it sounds like an ill brain that is negatively impacting DS's life on a day to day basis.
 
And, yes, it is hard to sort out the line between ASD and DS's comorbidities - some of his behaviors are clearly a result of his ADD and severe anxiety.  But the bottom line is that I am doing the very best I can dealing with two violent, destructive children with severely debilitating mental conditions/disorders/illnesses, so I use as precise of language as I know how to accurately reflect my life experience, and then leave the definitional debates up to those who are more qualified than me.
 
Wendy

Edited by wendyroo, 08 July 2017 - 07:55 AM.

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#16 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 07:46 AM

And at times it could be even a disability - though often I wouldn't even go that far because I think of it most often as a different sort of wiring that makes you see the world differently.  

 

 

 In fact they spent a certain amount of time debating the idea of ASD as a disorder at all. I'm on the fence on that part. There are times when it can get in the way of a happy productive life but I can also see the point of how different neurological wiring can benefit society.

 

I had a long reply typed out and my ipad died, so this is the condensed version.

 

While you might scratch your head over a comment like that, I scratch my head over comments like the above.  

 

Our 25 yr old Aspie is definitely disabled by his disorder. He is semi-independent, but he is incapable of being fully independent.  He currently lives in an apt complex that is about 1/2 a mile from our neighborhood.  We buy all of his groceries.  We pay all of his bills.  He works full-time in a severely underemployed scenario b/c that is the job he can deal with every single day without shutting down. He cannot manage to keep all of the balls of adulthood juggled simultaneously. 

 

Having been part of the "parent of an adult Aspie" world for the past 7 years, I know our experience is far from being unusual. We have been part of parents of autistic adult support groups.  Those parents often face worse situations than we do assisting our ds.  We have lived in 3 different states since our ds turned 18.  In all 3 states the dept of rehabs we have worked with have had similar scenarios--large groups of adult Aspies who are either underemployed (our ds's experience) or unemployed.  They have numerous counselors dedicated specifically to helping autistic adults find job placement.  They provide job coaches in hopes of providing them the skills for long-term employment.  Right before we found out we were making this current move, our ds was nominated in that state as a dept of rehab success story b/c he had managed to maintain full-time employment for 3 yrs. That is a success story amg their experiences with adult Aspies, regardless of educational background.  

 

The issue is not due to educational levels.  We know parents whose adult Aspie children have numerous degrees, including masters, yet they cannot hold down jobs. (Being a student does not require the same skills as being an employee.) Many of the parents' adult Aspie children are living at home b/c they cannot maintain employment for any length of time or juggling a job and other adulthood responsibilities are too overwhelming.  Their lives are not "happy productive" with just "different neurological wiring" that benefits society.  They struggle with very real disabling struggles.  

 

Two-thirds of young people with autism had neither a job nor educational plans during the first two years after high school. For over a third of young adults with autism, this continued into their early 20s, the report found.

 

And 20-somethings with autism were less likely to be employed than their peers with other disabilities, with 58 percent employed. In comparison, 74 percent of young people with intellectual disabilities, 95 percent with learning disabilities, and 91 percent with a speech impairment or emotional disturbance were employed in their early 20s.

http://www.npr.org/s...ployed-isolated

 

proclamation on the United Nation’s website estimates that more than 80% of adults with autism around the world are unemployed.  http://blog.easterse...ts-with-autism/

 

FWIW, our ds is very "productive."  The rest of typical adulthood eludes him.   

 

So, while you might wonder about someone using the term "mental illness" (I wouldn't call it a mental illness, though many of the typical comorbid conditions would be classified as such), I wonder about statements about it not being a disability.

 

We all have our own biases in how we perceive these types of conversations.  The disablity types of conversations are the ones I struggle with as a parent of a disabled adult.  I have encountered people asking why he doesn't just get a job as an engineer or in CS b/c everyone knows that all those "quirky" geeks are Aspies and that being an Aspie is not disabling.


Edited by 8FillTheHeart, 08 July 2017 - 08:01 AM.

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#17 Moved On

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 07:48 AM

I never specifically called ASD a mental illness, and NAMI clearly states that it considers ADD/ADHD the most common mental illness/condition/disorder in children. If you read through the NAMI page, they use those terms interchangeably, often switching within the same paragraph.

From the NAMI, check out their list under mental illness:

MENTAL ILLNESS

ADHD
Anxiety Disorders
Autism
Bipolar Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
Depression
Dissociative Disorders
Eating Disorders
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Schizoaffective Disorder
Schizophrenia

Scroll down this link:
https://www.nami.org/default.aspx

It is what I was trying to say also. The terms are often used interchangeably. My link also calls ASD a mental illness, but also talks about the positive shift in the way mental health is viewed in the recent years.

"Definitions of mental illnesses have changed over the last half-century. Mental illness refers to conditions that affect cognition, emotion, and behavior (eg, schizophrenia, depression, autism). Formal clinical definitions now include more information (ie, we have moved from a partial to a more holistic perspective and transitioned from a focus on disease to a focus on health). The informal response has fostered a parallel transition from a focus on the stigma of mental illnesses to the recognition that mental health is important to overall health."

https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC2811514/

For me, it is just medical terminology. Everything needs to be labeled and categorized.
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#18 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 07:58 AM

 

I think you are talking about me, and to be fair this is what I said:

 

 

I never specifically called ASD a mental illness, and NAMI clearly states that it considers ADD/ADHD the most common mental illness/condition/disorder in children.  If you read through the NAMI page, they use those terms interchangeably, often switching within the same paragraph.

 

In fact, on one of their main pages defining "Mental Health Conditions", they state:

 
That sounds a lot like ASD to me.  (Plus, ASD is in the DSM.)  I consider my son's ASD to be a mental condition and a mental disorder and, I think, a mental illness.  The child spent 4 hours in the middle of the night last night pacing, fretting, stimming and loudly perseverating because he could not mentally calculate 7^5.  Never mind that it was 2 in the freaking morning and that 7^5 had no real significance whatsoever and that by that point we all already knew what 7^5 was because we had calculated it via calculator and paper several times over in a desperate attempt to quiet him down so that the rest of the family could sleep.  To me, that does not sound like a healthy brain; it sounds like an ill brain that is negatively impacting DS's life on a day to day basis.
 
And, yes, it is hard to sort out the line between ASD and DS's comorbidities - some of his behaviors are clearly a result of his ADD and severe anxiety.  But the bottom line is that I am doing the very best I can dealing with two violent, destructive children with severely debilitating mental conditions/disorders/illnesses, so I use as precise of language as I know how to accurately reflect my life experience, and then leave the definitional debates up to those who are more qualified than me.
 
Wendy

 

 

Hugs.  Your post drudged up memories of my ds when he was younger.  His struggles today are very different, but just as very real.  They are both easier and harder. But, absolutely, they are disabling and not some fluffy "just different way of perceiving the world" rose-filled garden.


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#19 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:33 AM

I think the fact that ASD is a spectrum (like so many other conditions) muddies the water for me. Plus, as someone mentioned, the whole comorbid aspect of things like various degrees of anxiety. I know the trying to sort this out in my head becomes a matter of semantics compared to real life dealing with real people . I'm not trying to offend anyone or trying to make any kind of statement at all on others' experiences. I'm just trying to get over a bit of cognitive dissonance.

The professionals who I have come into contact with in this area of the country tend to lean heavily on the "we all have our own unique wiring " side of things. It's comparable to some in the deaf community who are against implants etc because their deafness is part of their identity and culture. I have struggled to totally buy into that thinking too btw. So I asked- not to criticize anything or anyone but to try to resolve a very different view than one presented to me by the neuropsychologist and those who hold ASD conferences here.


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#20 wendyroo

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:39 AM

Hugs.  Your post drudged up memories of my ds when he was younger.  His struggles today are very different, but just as very real.  They are both easier and harder. But, absolutely, they are disabling and not some fluffy "just different way of perceiving the world" rose-filled garden.

 

Hugs to you too.  I, obviously, can't yet imagine the challenges of having an adult child with ASD.  I honestly do not know how we will cope if some/all of my boys can't live independently as adults...especially if DS2's oppositional defiant disorder becomes conduct disorder as he gets older.  And DS3 is showing signs of heading down the same paths as his brothers... :sad:

 

They are all so strong intellectually and academically, but every other aspect of their lives, from the foundational to the nitty gritty, are just so, so hard for them.

 

Wendy


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#21 Crimson Wife

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:46 AM

 

To me, that does not sound like a healthy brain; it sounds like an ill brain that is negatively impacting DS's life on a day to day basis.

 

Oh, I definitely fall into the category of people who consider ASD to be a disorder that causes suffering rather than a wonderful difference to be celebrated.

 

I just think it is a neurological disorder (problem with the "hardware" of the brain) rather than mental illness (problem with the "software"). It's not a biochemical imbalance that is causing her to have a developmental delay.
 


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#22 Crimson Wife

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:47 AM

  It's comparable to some in the deaf community who are against implants etc because their deafness is part of their identity and culture.

 

Don't even get me started on them.
 


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#23 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:51 AM

Oh, I definitely fall into the category of people who consider ASD to be a disorder that causes suffering rather than a wonderful difference to be celebrated.

I just think it is a neurological disorder (problem with the "hardware" of the brain) rather than mental illness (problem with the "software"). It's not a biochemical imbalance that is causing her to have a developmental delay.


Yes, I think this way of looking at it makes the most sense to me.

#24 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:55 AM

Hugs to you too.  I, obviously, can't yet imagine the challenges of having an adult child with ASD.  I honestly do not know how we will cope if some/all of my boys can't live independently as adults...especially if DS2's oppositional defiant disorder becomes conduct disorder as he gets older.  And DS3 is showing signs of heading down the same paths as his brothers... :sad:

 

They are all so strong intellectually and academically, but every other aspect of their lives, from the foundational to the nitty gritty, are just so, so hard for them.

 

Wendy

 

Our ds has a high IQ and was a great student.  He was labeled as ODD, and one dr did start to classify him as CD when he was in the height of hormonal rages. I don't think that with our ds that it was actually CD but really more anxiety-induced meltdowns. He is still crippled by anxiety.  Once he hit around 19-20ish, the rages started to decrease in anger-type intensity, but they still existed, just in a different type of manifestation.  We had to move him out of our home.  He was causing his younger siblings so much stress that they exhibited PTSD symptoms.  (That had happened once before when he was 16.)

 

Now at 25, he is much calmer.  Living semi-independently has been a good fit for him.  He earns enough to cover most of his living expenses.  We do supplement him every month, but it is definitely doable.  He doesn't drive and he doesnt own a car, so that helps keep expenses down.  Where we used to live, he could walk everywhere he needed to go.  It is more rural here and I am going to have to drive him to work.  But it is a good trade-off b/c before he lived too far away to walk to our house.  He is happy with the ability to walk here and see us as he needs, but we can tell him it is time to go home without it taking us an hour round-trip to do so.  Driving him to and from work is scheduled so I think it will be easier for me to cope with than his needy moments when he needed us and was 1/2 an hour away.


Edited by 8FillTheHeart, 08 July 2017 - 08:58 AM.

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#25 wendyroo

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 09:31 AM

I just think it is a neurological disorder (problem with the "hardware" of the brain) rather than mental illness (problem with the "software"). It's not a biochemical imbalance that is causing her to have a developmental delay.

 

I think this distinction is above my pay grade.   :)

 

I think both my older boys have bugs in their hardware and software, but I couldn't even begin to determine where one ends and the other begins.  

 

I do think that "mental illness" has a colloquial as well as formal medical usage.  In this area of the country, people, even medical professionals when speaking to patients and families, seem to colloquially use "mental illness" as a generic term meaning disabilities that stem from the brain that negatively impact thinking and behavior.  They include ASD in that looser definition.

 

Wendy 


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#26 Innisfree

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 09:42 AM

I think this distinction is above my pay grade. :)

I think both my older boys have bugs in their hardware and software, but I couldn't even begin to determine where one ends and the other begins.

Wendy



This is exactly where I've always fallen on this issue. For us, anxiety is part and parcel of ASD. I can't begin to see a line between them. But ASD is considered neurological/developmental and anxiety is considered mental illness. Go figure.
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#27 Crimson Wife

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 10:00 AM

Not all kids with ASD have anxiety. It certainly is frequently co-morbid but if anything, my DD has too LITTLE fear. That has gotten better since we've medicated her for ADHD but her ABA team has had to incorporate a "cause-and-effect" program that is primarily aimed at safety. "What would happen if you put metal in the microwave?" "It might start a fire"



#28 Innisfree

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 10:05 AM

Not all kids with ASD have anxiety. It certainly is frequently co-morbid but if anything, my DD has too LITTLE fear. That has gotten better since we've medicated her for ADHD but her ABA team has had to incorporate a "cause-and-effect" program that is primarily aimed at safety. "What would happen if you put metal in the microwave?" "It might start a fire"



Yep, I know this is true. But *here*, it just.doesn't.compute. ;-)

#29 Pawz4me

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 10:45 AM

In many kids on the spectrum anxiety doesn't manifest until their tween or teen years, when social demands become much greater. Plus anxiety and fear aren't the same thing at all.


Edited by Pawz4me, 08 July 2017 - 10:46 AM.

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#30 Lecka

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 10:52 AM

No, I don't think so.

Not at all.

However, I have a relative who has both autism and bipolar disorder.

I can easily see how someone who only knew him would have this view.

I would be pretty forgiving.

I think with autism in general -- 90% of people will always have some different experience of autism or perspective on autism, so I don't expect that.

I also see how people get divided up by service providers and then people tend to clump together who are more similar.

So I tend (in person) to meet more kids similar to my son; my relatives tend to meet more kids similar to their son.

And then -- there is just explanation required with autism anyway. I take it for granted and so I think for me personally if it came up, it would not be much different for me than saying "no, not like Sheldon from the Big Bang theory" or something like that. There is no short-cut and no way to keep people from thinking of whatever they are already familiar with, even if that is probably not going to have anything to do with my son.
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#31 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 11:05 AM

In many kids on the spectrum anxiety doesn't manifest until their tween or teen years, when social demands become much greater. Plus anxiety and fear aren't the same thing at all.


I think for my son, the general ASD is always there but the anxiety and other things come and go (or perhaps ebb and flow). I guess sorting out the definitions and categories of issues has mattered because there seems to be a difference between dealing with everyday life and certain triggers for anxiety.

I don't think about these things with regard to others and their kids. I guess I just take their own observations at face value.
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#32 Daria

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 11:59 AM

I wonder about statements about it not being a disability.

 

Statements about ASD not being a disability make me scratch my head too, in part because they often seem to come from a very ableist view of disability.

 

I hear parents say "My kid doesn't have a disability because he's living a happy life."

 

On one study, 99% of teenagers and adults with Down syndrome expressed happiness with their lives.  Does that mean that they don't have a disability?

 

I hear people say "He doesn't have a disability, because he's productive."

 

Are people like Harriet Tubman, F.D.R., Serge Kovaleski, and Dave Hingsburger not "productive"?  Does their lives' work not have meaning?  Or are we saying they aren't disabled?

 

I hear people say "He doesn't have a disability because he has so much to offer." 

 

Do they realize that they're implying that people with disabilities don't have things to offer?  If so, I've never met a person with a disability, since every human I know has things to offer.

 

The definition of disability doesn't have anything to do with happiness, productivity, independence, or contribution.  It has to do with whether or not one has a condition that limits their ability to participate in one or more major life activities without accommodation or modification.  That accommodation can something like a wheelchair ramp, or it can be things like a job with a clear defined routine, or it can be an ASL interpreter, or a device to enlarge the print on your computer screen.  


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#33 kbutton

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 11:35 AM

Jean, I hear your cognitive dissonance. I almost fell out of my chair when someone referred to ADHD as a mental illness once. I had never heard anyone say that before. I had always heard of it as more of a learning issue. I am in the camp of people who do believe it can be very severe and cause many of the problems that a mental illness does, but I was still caught by surprise.

 

Anyway, as for ASD, I firmly believe it is a disability (even though it has some positives), but I think calling it a mental illness would be as confusing in some cases as it would be clear. My son's issues (aside from highly treatable ADHD) are more about language, though we didn't realize it until recently, and about quirks/social skills. Mental illness would paint a totally different picture of him from the standpoint of what people where I live think when someone says "mental illness." 

 

I wish it were easier for everyone to state what's accurate about their child and not give an inaccurate presentation. If my kiddo had mental illness features with his ASD, I would want to be able to say so, in some kind of shorthand, while also helping people recognize that the symptoms of anxiety, etc. are sometimes common with ASD. I wouldn't want to have to dispel a lot of mythology. I think ASD is just frustrating that way--there is a lot of mythology and a lot of variety.

 

MS has depression/anxiety as a hallmark of the disease, but MS is not a mental illness. If you are having an MS crisis, they call it an MS crisis with or without depression as a symptom. They do not call it a depressive episode. Unless you are suicidal, they don't put you in the psych unit, they treat you for MS because the depression is stemming from the MS crisis. (And yes, I have limited experience with MS, but I have been asking about those nuances IRL and getting answers from clinicians about it.) 

 


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#34 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 11:44 AM

Jean, I hear your cognitive dissonance. I almost fell out of my chair when someone referred to ADHD as a mental illness once. I had never heard anyone say that before. I had always heard of it as more of a learning issue. I am in the camp of people who do believe it can be very severe and cause many of the problems that a mental illness does, but I was still caught by surprise.

Anyway, as for ASD, I firmly believe it is a disability (even though it has some positives), but I think calling it a mental illness would be as confusing in some cases as it would be clear. My son's issues (aside from highly treatable ADHD) are more about language, though we didn't realize it until recently, and about quirks/social skills. Mental illness would paint a totally different picture of him from the standpoint of what people where I live think when someone says "mental illness."

I wish it were easier for everyone to state what's accurate about their child and not give an inaccurate presentation. If my kiddo had mental illness features with his ASD, I would want to be able to say so, in some kind of shorthand, while also helping people recognize that the symptoms of anxiety, etc. are sometimes common with ASD. I wouldn't want to have to dispel a lot of mythology. I think ASD is just frustrating that way--there is a lot of mythology and a lot of variety.

MS has depression/anxiety as a hallmark of the disease, but MS is not a mental illness. If you are having an MS crisis, they call it an MS crisis with or without depression as a symptom. They do not call it a depressive episode. Unless you are suicidal, they don't put you in the psych unit, they treat you for MS because the depression is stemming from the MS crisis. (And yes, I have limited experience with MS, but I have been asking about those nuances IRL and getting answers from clinicians about it.)


Yes. This is where I am coming from.

#35 Moved On

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 03:15 PM

In many kids on the spectrum anxiety doesn't manifest until their tween or teen years, when social demands become much greater. Plus anxiety and fear aren't the same thing at all.

Agree and agree. While anxiety can include some fears, anxiety does not equal fear.  A lot of these labels merge and overlap though, which is another reason why I don't get hung up on words.

There are so many comorbidities with ASD that some may get the ASD label but not know the other comorbid labels their child might have. This does not mean they are not being truthful but rather that they are expressing what they know and what they see. We all have so much going on! When the doctors have difficulty teasing apart what is comorbid and what is overlap, how easy is it for a parent who does not have that knowledge? I always try to keep that at the back of my mind, plus the fact that we tend to be more sensitive, as mothers, with matters that concern our kids. Also, our knowledge about our kids and what they are dealing with grows with time, things change, therapies help or they don't, teen hormones kick in, adulthood and the responsibilities it entails come along, things change... The experience someone is sharing may change a few months down the line. I try to keep these things at the back of my mind when I hear or read others' experiences.


Edited by Moved On, 12 August 2017 - 11:36 PM.

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#36 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 03:20 PM

I also wanted to say that I am trained in special education and both ASD and ADHD were approached as a learning/ processing difference.


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#37 Daria

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 08:28 PM

I think the lines between developmental disabilities like ADHD and ASD, and mental illness become fuzzier and fuzzier the more we know.

 

Schizophrenia, for example, causes significant changes on an MRI, as well as changes in thinking and language.   While it generally starts later in life, it's often It's often a life long condition that can only be partially managed with medication.  Lots of overlap with developmental disabilities there.  

In addition, there are so many people who meet, or come close to meeting criteria for disorders in both categories.  My kid is definitely one of those.  I don't think of him as having three separate disorders, I think of him as having a cohesive set of problems, even though it meets several different sets of criteria.  


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#38 Moved On

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 11:12 PM

I also wanted to say that I am trained in special education and both ASD and ADHD were approached as a learning/ processing difference.


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That is what I like to hear in the educational system :) Kids are there to learn. Focusing on the challenges they face in terms of their learning should be the top priority. That, and being accepted by their peers. That's my PoV, anyway :)


Edited by Canadian Mom of 2, 09 July 2017 - 11:13 PM.

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#39 Moved On

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:22 AM

I came across this, found it interesting, and thought I would include it here. I feel that it fits the discussion.:

 

ADHD, OCD, autism: Is it time to redraw the boundaries separating childhood behavioural disorders? (The Globe and Mail):

https://www.theglobe...rticle29721444/

 
 


#40 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:40 AM

I read articles like that and I am left wondering about the whole neurobiodiversity idea. I disagree that is simply that today's world is does not see things the way they do and it is simply an awareness issue. The issues impacting individual people are far too complicated to be reduced so simply.

For example, my son started a new job in a warehouse that is not air conditioned. It was 100 degrees inside yesterday. He has a large commercial fan at his station. Yesterday, he turned his fan off bc he couldn't hear his supervisor. We spent the entire ride in the car this morning arguing about how he needs to leave his fan on and tell his supervisor he can't hear over the fan. He can't face that stress and would rather just turn the fan off even if he drops from heat exhaustion (a far worse complication for his supervisor than asking her to speak louder....a logical scenario I attempted to use with him this morning. If he doesn't turn it on today, I am going to have to intervene and talk to the warehouse manager and get her to talk to his supervisor.). Sorry, any way I slice it that is disabling, not just a different way of looking at the world that is worth celebrating. Call me jaded and cynical.
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#41 Moved On

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:27 AM

8FillTheHeart, did you read the full article? I view things in a much broader perspective and do not take sides on any of the movements. I just read and process things in my own way, which is why I usually just link articles and just let others get what they see out of them ;) There are some interesting points and hopefully findings that may come out of this research. 



#42 Moved On

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:30 AM

And, I am sorry about what you are dealing with with your son. I know how hard it must be, especially since you did not know what he was dealing with when he was younger. Flexibility with my two is something I consistently work on. I have two on the spectrum, so I do a lot of research and reading and use what I learn to help my boys. 


Edited by Canadian Mom of 2, 12 July 2017 - 09:30 AM.


#43 kbutton

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 11:45 AM

I read articles like that and I am left wondering about the whole neurobiodiversity idea. I disagree that is simply that today's world is does not see things the way they do and it is simply an awareness issue. The issues impacting individual people are far too complicated to be reduced so simply.

For example, my son started a new job in a warehouse that is not air conditioned. It was 100 degrees inside yesterday. He has a large commercial fan at his station. Yesterday, he turned his fan off bc he couldn't hear his supervisor. We spent the entire ride in the car this morning arguing about how he needs to leave his fan on and tell his supervisor he can't hear over the fan. He can't face that stress and would rather just turn the fan off even if he drops from heat exhaustion (a far worse complication for his supervisor than asking her to speak louder....a logical scenario I attempted to use with him this morning. If he doesn't turn it on today, I am going to have to intervene and talk to the warehouse manager and get her to talk to his supervisor.). Sorry, any way I slice it that is disabling, not just a different way of looking at the world that is worth celebrating. Call me jaded and cynical.

 

I agree. 

 

FWIW, not only does my son sometimes paint himself into a corner this way (though he usually knows at least most of the trade-off, as I expect your son does too), some kids really do not understand this is a trade-off they are making. They either do not have the self-awareness, or they don't realize they have options. My won would likely respond a little differently in this scenario, and it could be that he would be grouchy and short with everyone all day and not even realize it's because of the fan. So, he might get that he's making a trade-off between the stress of negotiating and being too hot, and he might even realize that he needs to drink more or something to avoid heatstroke (+/-), but he probably wouldn't calculate grouchiness and inability to "people" with being fallout from the fan issue. And I am sure there are as many version to this as there are kids with ASD!

 

I worry that the "not a disability" aspect will have some seriously negative repercussions. Really, we have a family member who likely has undiagnosed ASD, and she is not very self-aware. A scenario like this could be fatal for her, and she wouldn't necessarily know to watch for heatstroke. This person has actually put my kids in danger in scenarios where one kind of paranoia of hers met another, and she put my child in danger (actually both my children, numerous times). She actually knows she has some kind of disability (old enough to have been pegged and tested early on, but not young enough to have come up with a good explanation or appropriate therapy), but she would not even see these things as part of it. (Trust me, we've tried to get her to see that she thinks differently than other people--all the other people are wrong. End of story.)



#44 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 12:34 PM

8FillTheHeart, did you read the full article? I view things in a much broader perspective and do not take sides on any of the movements. I just read and process things in my own way, which is why I usually just link articles and just let others get what they see out of them ;) There are some interesting points and hopefully findings that may come out of this research. 

 

Yes, I read the full article.  I disagree with "Many proponents of neurodiversity view autism and ADHD not as deficiencies that require fixes or cures, but as natural differences that require acceptance and inclusion in society.

 

My struggle as a parent (and this is not new, it has been the case for yrs) is the dismissive attitude that ASD is not a disability and that they are just quirky.  Comments like, "Everyone knows that all of the engineers and CS geeks at XYZ are ASD."  Really?  They know that? So, really, the only problem is that our ds decided not to become an engineer??  (Um, yeah, engineering is so unknown to us when both my dh and our oldest ds are engineers.  :thumbdown: )

 

Our ds cannot function like an adult.  That is a very real problem.  it causes very real limits on his personal life and our future adult lives as well.  His siblings have all agreed to help take care of him if anything happens to us.  He will very likely be dependent in some form or another his entire life.  This is a kid with a very high IQ, strong work ethic, etc.  

 

I agree. 

 

FWIW, not only does my son sometimes paint himself into a corner this way (though he usually knows at least most of the trade-off, as I expect your son does too), some kids really do not understand this is a trade-off they are making. They either do not have the self-awareness, or they don't realize they have options. My won would likely respond a little differently in this scenario, and it could be that he would be grouchy and short with everyone all day and not even realize it's because of the fan. So, he might get that he's making a trade-off between the stress of negotiating and being too hot, and he might even realize that he needs to drink more or something to avoid heatstroke (+/-), but he probably wouldn't calculate grouchiness and inability to "people" with being fallout from the fan issue. And I am sure there are as many version to this as there are kids with ASD!

 

I worry that the "not a disability" aspect will have some seriously negative repercussions. Really, we have a family member who likely has undiagnosed ASD, and she is not very self-aware. A scenario like this could be fatal for her, and she wouldn't necessarily know to watch for heatstroke. This person has actually put my kids in danger in scenarios where one kind of paranoia of hers met another, and she put my child in danger (actually both my children, numerous times). She actually knows she has some kind of disability (old enough to have been pegged and tested early on, but not young enough to have come up with a good explanation or appropriate therapy), but she would not even see these things as part of it. (Trust me, we've tried to get her to see that she thinks differently than other people--all the other people are wrong. End of story.)

 

Your scenario pretty much sums up our evening last night. Sadly, you followed the situation pretty well. I didn't realize he had turned off the fan for several hours; it was only when I mentioned how hot it was supposed to be today and he stated just how hot it had been with the fan turned off.  (If I hadn't been paying attention, I wouldn't have even known he had turned the fan off.) His solution that he argued with me about in the car this morning after I told him he would get heat stroke was to drink more water.   :tongue_smilie:  

 

Yeah, the only issue here is that society needs to accept that he sees the world differently.  Um, no.


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#45 kbutton

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 12:54 PM

Your scenario pretty much sums up our evening last night. Sadly, you followed the situation pretty well. I didn't realize he had turned off the fan for several hours; it was only when I mentioned how hot it was supposed to be today and he stated just how hot it had been with the fan turned off.  (If I hadn't been paying attention, I wouldn't have even known he had turned the fan off.) His solution that he argued with me about in the car this morning after I told him he would get heat stroke was to drink more water.   :tongue_smilie:  

 

Yeah, the only issue here is that society needs to accept that he sees the world differently.  Um, no.

 

The bolded...argh! You can never take anything my kiddo says for granted--there is often some "obvious" thing he is leaving out, even when he thinks he is telling the whole story. There are always several details to join together that he doesn't join when he talks. We joke that our son can't say the lawn needs to be mowed today because it's going to rain--instead he lists numerous facts about the situation, and we have to infer that he's concerned about the grass. Most disturbingly, he might list those facts off all at once, or he might scatter those facts in and amongst other information, get more and more emphatic about these dry and unconnected facts, and get agitated without us knowing he's even trying to say something is wrong. Or, he might scatter facts, and then when the lawn is not mowed before it rains, take an "I told you so" attitude! 

 

It's always something!



#46 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 02:46 PM

Yes, I read the full article.  I disagree with "Many proponents of neurodiversity view autism and ADHD not as deficiencies that require fixes or cures, but as natural differences that require acceptance and inclusion in society.

 


 

 

 

Well, simply as a statement it is correct.  Many proponents of neurodiversity do view autism and ADHD that way.  That is what I heard over and over at the college.  And they had a conference and panel including Temple Grandin there.  I suspect though that what you are really saying is that you don't agree with the proponents of neurodiversity. 


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#47 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 02:58 PM

As far as the article goes, I think that more research from a different angle can be helpful.  I think  the fact that they mentioned - that different people with the same diagnoses can present so differently - can make things difficult even when talking about some of these issues.  Someone who is much more mild in symptomatology, for example, is going to be much less impacted in their life than someone with more severe symptoms.  And it depends on the mix of symptoms.  And probably other things too though I don't know enough about it to say what those things might be.  The fact is that there are people who have successfully gotten degrees, jobs, gotten married, had children who have (or would have if they were evaluated) an ASD diagnosis.  But I don't think it is due to any kind of superiority on their part.  The impact of ASD and any comorbidities are just different for different people.  And in some cases, they (or parents/ teachers along the way) have been able to provide support and teaching in how to cope with different situations in a way that has allowed people with ASD to handle the demands of adult life.  Again - no superiority on that.  It's just a factor of how much of a spectrum it really is. 


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#48 Moved On

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 03:04 PM

8FilltheHeart, you have the right to not agree but I posted the link for the research. I know how the argument on this subject goes on here and I am not interested in partaking. I will say though that while I do feel for you, I also have to point out that your son is just one child with autism. His future does not predetermine every other autistic child's future. As parents we look for ways to help our children. We seek out therapies etc. to get them to a point where they can be independent one day. We don't all follow the same route or have the same mentality and that is our right. These kids have comorbidities and it is a known fact that their own personal mix affects their outcome. This is what these studies are seeking to determine. I think it is positive if something comes out of it, but you don't have to agree. 


Edited by Canadian Mom of 2, 12 July 2017 - 03:05 PM.

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#49 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:41 PM

8FilltheHeart, you have the right to not agree but I posted the link for the research. I know how the argument on this subject goes on here and I am not interested in partaking. I will say though that while I do feel for you, I also have to point out that your son is just one child with autism. His future does not predetermine every other autistic child's future. As parents we look for ways to help our children. We seek out therapies etc. to get them to a point where they can be independent one day. We don't all follow the same route or have the same mentality and that is our right. These kids have comorbidities and it is a known fact that their own personal mix affects their outcome. This is what these studies are seeking to determine. I think it is positive if something comes out of it, but you don't have to agree. 

I was't arguing.  I was stating my opinion on the article.  I wasn't telling anyone else what to believe.  FWIW, my POV is not limited to my one child.  As I posted earlier, I know other parents of adult children and have worked with 3 different state's dept of rehabs' counselors for autistic adults (and all 3 have numerous people working with just ASD clients, and I know the struggles they have expressed in assisting their clients in getting and maintaining employment.)

 

 Are all ASD individuals impacted the same or equally?  Absolutely not and I never once stated that.  There are plenty of ASD adults who are married, have careers, etc.  But, statistically, the data repeatedly demonstrates far more ASD adults are not fully employed, and no, I do not think the problem is as simple as "acceptance and inclusion," but the functioning limitations of the people involved and what employers expect from employees.  If employers have to alter their expectations, then from my perspective that means there must be a disability involved.

 

I don't care if anyone agrees with me.  I am simply expressing my point of view just as the neurodiversity proponents are expressing theirs.


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#50 SparklyUnicorn

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:13 PM

What is the difference?  I know "mental illness" has a negative vibe and that is why I assume people are so vehemently against labeling it as such, but if it is something that causes one difficulty, like other mental disorders, what makes it different than that?

 

 


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