Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Faux Autism Epidemic

Wow, didn't realize how long it had been since the last post. A lot going on.

People and organizations screaming about the autism epidemic always throw in the "where are all the adults with autism?" remark.

I am happy to tell you where they are. I'm including everyone who is ASD, not "typical" autism, because that's the way it is, and people change, especially ASD people.

Here we go:

Good places to find a high proportion of ASDs are in engineering of all types, universities, law firms, departments of governments and corporations that handle research and/or development and/or analysis, IT departments, technical support, skilled trades such as machinists or custom furniture building, manufacturing jobs that require intense concentration and long processes, and all types of telephone service jobs that don't require interaction with other people except by telephone or computer messaging. That's just what I came up with in about two minutes. I'm sure there are many other fields with a high proportion of ASD employees.

Even at 1 in 166 people being autistic, this equates to only .6% of the population of the U.S. That's 1.8 million people. Compare this to the 10% of the population believed to be gay. There are a few people proclaiming a "gay epidemic," but most of the proclaimers are viewed, except by their followers, as biased and denying reality. If 10% of the population can remain mostly hidden for centuries, except where they are accepted culturally (certain tribals groups, including some American Indian tribes), don't you think .6% of the population could be hidden away, if not by themselves, then by their families?

We now know that many people labeled "mentally retarded" were actually autistic, and were institutionalized on the recommendation of doctors and under pressure from family and society.

We all knew the odd kids in school who didn't fit in, who got into things (depending on when you attended school) like science fiction, rocket building, D&D, computers, staying within their selected societal group, and avoiding contact with the "typical" kids.

.6% in a school of 500 kids is 30, 1000 kids = 60, 2000 kids = 120. Not a lot.

And I'm sure the faulty belief that boys are more likely to be ASD than girls is because girls can hide ASD better. We're more aural, we're pushed to conform, to be compliant, we learn to read the body language and clues of other people to survive.

So we're here, we're ASD, get used to it!


Joseph said...

I did a bit of research on the 10% prevalence of homosexuality. It appears to be bogus. The researcher from whom that number comes from (Kinsey) used an obviously biased sample. If you only count adults who refer to themselves as gay or lesbian in the US, the prevalence is apparently more like 1-2%.

mthr said...

The prevalence of homosexuality can easily be underestimated by manipulating the survey questions. One study in Finland asked the subjects if they had had a "homosexual orgasm" during the past 12 months. Everyone who replied they had not had a homosexual encounter during that period were classified as non-homosexuals, even when they had had homosexual encounters outside that time frame, like within the last 13 months. The study obviously also ignored everyone who knew they were sexually interested only in persons of the same sex but who had never realized those desires in practice. This is one way to manipulate results to produce an unrealistically small percentage of prevalence.

Other studies may achieve the same end by ruling out all the bisexuals and/or homosexuals who do not "identify themselves" as gay or who do not have the "identity" of a gay person. I remember reading a study by an American Christian fundamentalist researcher and self-styled "expert" on homosexuality. It said that an objective study on the prevalence of homosexuality must ignore the personal or "subjective" feelings of the subjects and only concentrate on the "objective" variables, such as number of orgasms within a specific time frame. The paper further elaborated what it means by "objective" and gave very specific and artificial criteria for when to include and when not to include homosexual behavior as homosexual behavior. The whole treatment of the research question was clearly manipulated towards minimizing the ultimate figure of prevalence.

One more way to manipulate the results is to create confusion about the semantics of homosexual behavior. A homosexual act can be reported as a non-homosexual act by nitpicking about the "identity" of the participants, for instance. If one or both of the participants does not have the "identity" of a gay man, the homosexual encounter is classified as non-homosexual behavior.

mthr said...

(Sorry, that last point was a bit redundant because I already mentioned it earlier in the text.)