Saturday, March 8, 2008

Re-thinking Autism

Today I read an article in the March 2008 issue of Wired, "Yeah, I'm Autistic. You got a problem with that?" By David Wolman. His opening lines started by describing the You tube video, "In My Language" where an autistic woman hums, rocks, uses her fingers to make sounds, and then she begins to translate into a text to speech device so we can hear her "thoughts" as she shares how she thinks.
It is an amazing and popular video that I watched well over a year ago at a small meeting of our autism department. I have always been impressed with the video and here it shows up in the Wired article. You can view it below.

Wired magazine described how research on Autism has been from a "diseased" model and now new science and research is exploring the autistic mind as a mind wired differently, but not damaged or dysfunctional. There are several autistic spokespersons due to the hype around this video and others. Amanda Baggs, the woman who is the autistic woman in the video, also made the video. People have a hard time believing she could create it, but she is a true "techie."
The assumption has been made for years that being autistic meant being low-functioning and mentally retarded. The Wired article described a study by Meredyth Goldberg Edelson of Willamette University in Oregon. She reviewed 251 articles published over the past 71 years. She found that 74% of the articles lacked strong data to support the pairing of autism and cognitive impairments, while 39% had no data at all.
I will be sharing more from this article in another post. There were some interesting things said about the assistive technology used.

All the best to you!


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