Amanda Baggs’ story

All the news stories recently about this new epidemic warrant two comments on my part. One, the DSM IV-TR was released in 2000 and the bar for diagnosing autism has been lowered. A small percentage of the cases of kids diagnosed with autism, or aspergers, or “autism + ADHD” do not fit the standard criteria for these disorders, in a sense autism can become a miscellaneous bin for anyone showing slight social or communication impairment. This doesn’t apply to Amanda below; she is a true positive.

Second, there is a still controversial theory that says that maternal perinatal (around birth) stress can affect certain genetically predisposed babies adversely, resulting in higher incidence of these disorders. We can learn a lot from people like Amanda, and next time you see someone like Amanda in the grocery store or walking down the street, remember they are just as much a person as you are and have had a much tougher life.

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2 Responses to “Amanda Baggs’ story”

  1. Logipundit Says:

    Couple of questions:

    As a new parent, autism is always a huge buzzword (1 in 155 kids they say now?)

    Some tie it to immunizations of course, possibly because it typically is diagnosed around the same time as the MMR shot…the rumors were enough for me to think really hard about immunizations at all (Rip probably remembers the phone call).

    I read the conclusion of the Institute of Medicine (can’t find it now, but there’s tons of stuff on this) opinion of the connection between Themerisol and autism, and I really was taken aback at their attitude toward the whole thing.

    Even though they could offer no substantial proof that there WASN’T a connection between autism and Themerisol, they figured since they couldn’t prove there WAS, then they should just drop the whole thing.

    “It’s only a theory”, was the general dismissive stance they took in front of Congress. Like they’ve never heard of a theory before. I found the whole thing a little disingenuous and not very scientific. They basically recommended that no other funds be used to study the possible connection.

    Now I understand the whole logical fallacy of “post hoc ergo proctor hoc”, but to dismiss the connection as a possibility with no sustantial proof was a little disturbing to me.

    So anyway, first: what is the DSM IV-TR, and are you saying that the lowered bar has a lot to do with with the alarming rate of diagnoses?

    And in Amanda’s video, how is she communicating? Did she type the information before, and just sit there through the audio playback?

    Anyway, great post.

  2. JohnnyB Says:

    Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th revision. TR stands for “text revision”, it’s kind of the ME version of windows before they came out with XP. I need to dig in before I make any strong statements, but I’ve heard the criteria for diagnosing autism, or pervasive developmental disorder, or autistic spectrum disorder, has been relaxed so that people who may have been considered anti-social may be diagnosed with autism. I think asperger’s is the one disorder that receives a lot of these false positives. You can function with Aspergers, often you couldn’t tell the difference between a kid with Aspergers and others. Many autistic rights types claim that Bill Gates or Isaac Newton etc. have “autistic tendencies”…claims I think hurt their cause.

    All the false positives aside, the autism epidemic does indeed seem to be real.

    Amanda can’t speak, but she can type and understand just fine.

    With regards to the Thimerosol, the amount of mercury present in many of the vaccinations is very minute. However, now there are several inoculations required at once (or within a three month span), and if you add up all the thimerosol it is well above EPA standards.

    I read that starting in 2000 you can get many of the standard vaccinations thimerosol free, however, the flu vaccine is still not thimerosol free.


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