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US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. February 7, 2010

USAAA WeeklyNews Opinion
USAAA WeeklyNews Opinion features comments and discussion from readers, as well as readers' recommended resources. The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of USAAA. The USAAA WeeklyNews Opinion will be delivered every Sunday to your email inbox.

The Romantic Lives of Young Adults with Asperger's Syndrome
Opinion by Tony Attwood
While a young adult with classic autism may appear content with a solitary “monastic” lifestyle, this is often not the case with young adults who have Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism. Clinical experience has identified that the majority of such adolescents and young adults would like a romantic relationship. However, there is remarkably little research examining this aspect of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) or strategies to facilitate successful relationships.

We know that young adults with Asperger’s syndrome have significant difficulty developing peer relationships and are developmentally delayed in knowing what someone may be thinking or feeling. Typical children do this naturally and have practised relationship skills with family members and friends for many years before applying these abilities to achieve a successful romantic relationship. Young adults with a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism also have conspicuously limited social conversational skills or ability to communicate emotions, especially affection. They also can have an extreme sensitivity to particular sensory experiences. All of these diagnostic characteristics will affect relationship skills throughout childhood, and will eventually limit an adult’s ability to achieve a long-term successful relationship. Read more.

Watch CNN Video on Vaccine Autism Debate
with Kim Stagliano, Age of Autism Managing Editor
The medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday retracted a controversial 1998 paper that linked the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. Click here to watch the video.

I am in agreement no child left behind needs to be scrapped or overhauled
No Child Left Behind, is probably, in my opinion the worst thing Bush ever did while in office, and today when at my daughter's speech therapy appointment we got to talking about the program, and while I don't agree with many things Obama has done, I have to say scrapping this program or overhauling it is probably something that is long over due. I for years, since before Bush was in office and implemented this program have battled school districts in Special Education Schools for services for my kids, and its been a nightmare. For a normal student or a student that may struggle with one subject the idea of No Child Left Behind isn't bad. But too many kids have been misdiagnosed, and learning disabilities have been ignored. Read more.

Enough Nonsense
The unfortunate and outrageous “decision” of the British General Medical Counsel against Dr. Andrew Wakefield is based on yellow journalism on the part of the British Broadcasting Corporation (which I have witnessed myself while they stalked and violently chased Dr. Wakefield in Indianapolis years ago), and on ridiculous nonsense on the part of the British General Medical Council. The Council’s Dr. Kumar attempts to crucify Dr. Wakefield for having blood drawn on sick autistic children; does Dr. Kumar see pain & suffering as a reason to avoid chemotherapy in childhood leukemics? The British Broadcasting Corporation itself admitted that The Counsel did not find anything wrong with Dr. Wakefield’s work, so, continues the BBC, The Counsel criticized the venues, records, and funding (from which Dr. Wakefield did not profit). Enough nonsense. I, my wife, my son, and all of us in the autism community who are living (or dying as it were) with the spectrum every moment of every day have much for which to thank Dr. Wakefield. We have confidence that he and his friends and family know this, and that he will continue his work in helping autistic adults, children, and their families, along with the physicians he has enlightened.
Phillip C. DeMio, MD

Three different opinions
We had 3 evals done on our son and basically got 3 different opinions. The first one gave a dx of high functioning autism (Asperger's ruled out only b/c my son did have a speech delay). She summed it up by saying it looked like mild ASD. The second opinion was ADHD with SPD - a lot of sensory seeking noted but this professional did not agree with the ASD dx. So then we got a 3rd opinion (essentially a tie-breaker) who gave a dx of ADHD with sensory seeking behaviors but this professional does not "believe"in SPD as a separate dx so she gave a stand-alone ADHD dx. She gave us a lot of information on "executive functioning" - which is affected in both ADHD and ASD. When my son was tested for his IEP at the school, they really felt he was kind of borderline - it was more than ADHD but not clearly Asperger's/HFA. But a lot of sensory "stuff" was noted by the school. Since they felt it was more than just ADHD, they gave him an Autism dx for his IEP. SPD does not exist as a dx for an IEP. It is not clear to ANYONE exactly what my son's dx is. My personal opinion is that he has a LOT of sensory issues and that he may be mildly on the spectrum. I also think he is face blind which I wrote about in another post. I think this is also contributing quite a bit to his problems. In some ways he fits Asperger's/HFA and in others not at all. So...although it can be frustrating, you may have to just take the dx that will get him the help he needs even if it doesn't fit him perfectly.KME

Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys
A statement from Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey
Los Angeles, February 5, 2010
Dr. Andrew Wakefield is being discredited to prevent an historic study from being published that for the first time looks at vaccinated versus unvaccinated primates and compares health outcomes, with potentially devastating consequences for vaccine makers and public health officials. It is our most sincere belief that Dr. Wakefield and parents of children with autism around the world are being subjected to a remarkable media campaign engineered by vaccine manufacturers reporting on the retraction of a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 by Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues
. Read more.

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