Saturday, February 11, 2012

Would You Use the World "Recovery"?

Dr. Allen Frances has penned another article for the Huffington Post defending the DSM5 change, discussing that the biggest issue is that services are tied to the DSM definition and to prove his point discusses the case of a man who "recovered" from autism. Sadly no matter how well thought of, this man just simply does not get it. In fact in his article he talks about the concept of "recovery" and how that puts a different spin on aspergers and autism all together. Well I left a comment:

I think the concept of recovering is a terrible disservice to parents and children alike. It is also a misuse of the English language. My oldest child was dxed at 5 with full-blown PDD-NOS. There was no question that this child was headed toward the severely autistic end of the spectrum. However, through therapy, meds, appropriate services and support he was able to be redxed as aspergers by middle school and today is a senior in college contemplat­ing a law career. Yes he still has deficits compared to his peers. Will they ever go away I highly doubt it. But what has happened over the decades is that he has learned what those deficits are and he is working still to this day on learning how to deal with them and help himself.

However, what has not changed is the fact that he has an autistic brain. He views the world through the prism of a person with autism. This is who he is and this is who he will always be. To say because he can navigate the neurotypic­al world that he is "recovered­" is disingenuo­us at the worst and wholly inaccurate as the least. Most importantl­y the concept of "recovery" is highly insulting to my son, his accomplish­ments and who he is as a human being. 

What do you think? Is Dr, Frances right? Is there such a thing as "recovery" or is it people who have just been misdiagnosed in the first place?

One more thought. I find it truly insulting, even though I forgot to write it in my comment, that the individual discussed in the article would continue on with how different his life would have been if he had been dxed with autism at an early age instead of as a teen. He discusses the lack of self-respect and the lack of drive he might have had. Dr. Frances does not question his assertion.

I don't know how other people are raising their children, but the one thing I have never allowed is that my children use their autism as an excuse for anything. They are driven. They are accomplished. They seek a future. If anything it was when they did not know why they functioned differently that we had issues and their self-esteem suffered. Once their autism was understood and we learned to figure out how to help them, they flourished as any child would. 

It is the same I hear from every adult aspie I have spoken with or found on line. Their lives changed dramatically for the better once they understood themselves. They all wish they had known as early as possible.

Shame on Dr. Frances.

Until next time,