posted on Mar, 21 2013 @ 11:17 AM
I heard this bit of news on the radio last night and was somewhat surprised with the numbers.
1 in 50 seems high.
Though, I don't think you can say it means MORE children are being diagnosed, or that autism is on the rise.
What those numbers say is that doctors have refined their testing and we are getting a more accurate picture of Autism rates.
Perhaps the number of cases has risen over the years - I haven't seen much in the way of proof for that though - what I find issue with here is
If autism is that common, then what does it mean to be autistic?
Bear with me on this.
Throughout our history we have had world changing events take place due to the actions of individuals. Many of these individuals have been
"eccentric" to some extent and, often, it's those very eccentricities that have provided the catalyst for these changes.
I ask you to search "Historical figures autism" on Google (or whatever search engine you wish) and take a look at the names that come up - whether
they are diagnosed or suspected - as being Autistic.
To name a few of the more significant ones:
and the list goes on.
Those are just some of the names that are connected, in one way or another, with the sciences.
If you look at the names of people listed as being in the "autism spectrum" in it's entirety you see many of the names are those of artists,
musicians, composers, and other fields.
My point here, and I hope it is not misunderstood, is that it seems many of our advancements and defining characteristics as a species, have ties to
"autism" in some way.
Whether it be that these people see the world differently or that autism can open to us some of the mysteries of the human mind, in the end the
pattern is clear: We, as a people, have benefited greatly from the autistic.
What I fear is that, with the diagnosis rate skyrocketing and treatment becoming more refined and much more successful, are we in danger of losing an
important aspect of humanity?
Now, please, don't get me wrong. I am not saying that Autism should not be treated.
What I'm trying to illustrate here is that, without these people and their minds we would be missing something that cannot be replaced.
The same can be said for those with ADD or ADHD, Clinical Depression, Bi-Polar disorder, et al.
If one, once again, searches any of those terms with "historical figures" they will see just how many brilliant, important, creative people have
lived with their diagnosis and excelled in their chosen fields. So many amazing and critically important steps for humanity have been achieved by
I worry that, if we are treating all of these people and making them conform to society's "behavioral norms", we are also stifling a certain
"outside of the box brilliance".
Had Einstein been treated, would he have done the things he did? How about Alexander Graham Bell? Admiral Richard Byrd? Issac Newton? The Wright
Brothers? Werner Von Braun? Van Gogh? Bill Gates? Galileo? Ben Franklin? Henry Ford?
Again, the list goes on and on.
I think there is a definite cause and effect relationship between these "disorders" and mankind's furthering achievements in science, art, and
Will we, if we "correct" these disorders, be dooming ourselves to future generations of stagnation?
Will we be "turning off the light", so to speak?
Obviously there are differing states of Autism - as shown in the Autism Spectrum - and treatment is necessary. That still leaves me wondering what
will become of us once we "solve" this "problem"...
If one looks at it in terms of , say, evolution one could couch the argument thusly:
These disorders have, by virtue of their effect on the human mind, allowed us to greatly expand our understanding of the world and universe and make
fantastic leaps forward, in much the same way a mutation in an animal can create a creature more able to take advantage of its environment.
One can look at Autism much like the evolution of the Giraffes neck.
Those of us who are not autistic - thereby "normally functioning humans" in society's eyes - are like the animals who can't reach the leaves at
the top of trees (those being like the complex science and arts) and thus subsist on what little there is to eat (the status quo, for lack of a better
term), without ability or thought of reaching the leaves at the top. While the autistic have been born with a "long neck" (their abilities as
demonstrated in the figures named and others that follow from the disorder), thus allowing them to reach that which we cannot.
Do we, for the sake of society and "normalcy" (i.e. functioning within that societal framework) then condition the giraffe to stoop and no longer
reach for those high leaves? Or to make it unable to do so?
This is an admittedly clumsy analogy, but I hope I'm able to get my point across.
I agree treatment is needed, but I worry at what cost.