. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Couple of News Links on Autism

I was told of an article in the USA Today about a new study about the autistic brain.  Although I did not read the USA Today article before it was thrown in the recycle bin and was recycled, I was able to find an article by Googling the subject matter.  I found that the study was presented at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America and indicates that it may be possible to accurately identify autistic children at a very early age by measuring brain wave patterns to determine if a child has a significant lag in auditory processing. The MSNBC article, Brain Waves Show Autism Language Problems states:

Unique brain wave patterns, spotted for the first time in autistic children, may help explain why they have so much trouble communicating.

Using an imaging helmet that resembles a big salon hair dryer, researchers discovered what they believe are "signatures of autism" that show a delay in processing individual sounds.

That delay is only a fraction of a second, but when it's for every sound, the lag time can cascade into a major obstacle in speaking and understanding people, the researchers said.Imagine if it took a tiny bit longer than normal to understand each syllable. By the end of a whole sentence, you'd be pretty confused.

The study authors believe that's what happens with autistic children, based on the brain wave patterns detected in school-age children in their study.....

.....In autistic children, response to each sound was delayed by one-fiftieth of a second.

"We tend to speak at four syllables per second," said Timothy Roberts, the study's lead author and the hospital's vice chairman of research.  If an autistic brain "is slow in processing a change in a syllable...it could easily get to the point of being overloaded."...

.....Roberts, the study author, said the findings fit with a leading theory that suggests autism is "a disorder of connectivity in the brain."

And here is something that blew my mind when I read it:  Associated Content Article, Man Murders Autistic Teen Son.

Allen Grabe shot his autistic teen son, 13-year-old Jacob, September 11. Jacob has autism, though at least one report said he had Asperger's syndrome. Grabe killed his autistic son with a pistol inside their home in Colorado. Allen Grabe is being held on $1 million bond at Mesa County Jail on "suspicion" of first-degree murder. Suspicion? You mean a leprechaun might have pulled the trigger? Authorities offer no motive as to why Allen Grabe would kill his autistic son.Denver Post readers have offered their theories: Raising an autistic child could be very stressful.
Well, that theory is bull because it implies that raising an autistic child could turn a normal father into a murderer. It implies that Allen Grabe was otherwise normal. It suggests that Allen Grabe would have been a normal father had his son not been autistic. It also implies that Jacob's autism was severe, versus mild, even though he attended a regular school and routinely played with a 14-year-old neighbor. It implies that Jacob Grabe's autism was an alarming impediment, even though the mother of the 14-year-old described Jacob as "a very, very smart boy," and another neighbor described him as being friendly and polite.
Yes, a smart, polite autistic boy could also have meltdowns, but this does not excuse the father for killing him, and it should not even be implied that "stress" from raising an autistic child could lead a parent to murder. How about the theory that Allen Grabe was just plain evil? After all, Jacob, though with autism, sounds like he was a pretty cool kid: another neighbor, who wished to remain unnamed, said Jacob raised money for school by selling cookie dough, candy and other things in the neighborhood. Plus, Jacob ran track. Sounds like a high-functioning autistic child to me. This neighbor is quoted: "He was a great kid."
The article continues and discusses what should happen to Grabe.  I agree with the author when he says, "lock the evil man up in prison for life."


No comments: