Arelative40years ago
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Dec 16, 2012 Arelative40years ago commented on I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.
Catheriena, there was no effective therapy for childhood leukemia until they took God out of School. Cancer was uniformly fatal in childhood before they took God out of the schools. There was no cure for polio until they took God out of the schools. There was no prevention of measles, mumps or chicken pox until they took God out of the schools. Childhood injury was at an all time high until they took God out of the schools. People lived much shorter lives until they took God out of the Schools. Blacks in the south could not sit in the front of the bus until they took God out of the schools. There were no electronics until they took God out of the schools. People died of bacterial infections at a much higher rate before they took God out of the schools. Women were restricted from loads of professions and paid much less then men before they took God out of the schools. Many more children died in childhood before they took God out of the schools.
Dec 16, 2012 Arelative40years ago commented on I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.
And Caheriena, can I guess that your house is made of Catheriena I am so glad that you are the holder of the truth. With so much kindness, warmth and sympathy..well could truth be in better hands. And those Catheriena fearing folks will all be cured if they were obedient and if they just followed the commandments. Wait, I meant Caheriena I meant God fearing. Oh what the heck, that's probably the same thing right?I mean, readers, don't you all get the feeling that this Catheriena is really the earthly manifestation of God? Only joshing with you Catheriena. I know you have nothing but love in your heart because ..well...that's the Christian way.
Dec 16, 2012 Arelative40years ago commented on I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.
Catheriena, It is unfortunate that people are looking for simple solutions to very difficult societal problems. I've know very religious parents with 3 very obedient respectful offspring who attend church regularly and who are active in the church and who live their beliefs but they have a child who is 2nd to the youngest who has outbursts in church and at home and who can't stand the sound of the socks scraping against his dress shoes and insists on sneakers. And all the obedience and piety in the world doesn't do a whole lot to calm this child. But, hey Catheriena, don't let contrary evidence interfere with your beliefs that all these children with difficulties are being raised by permissive atheists. After all, why let evidence alter what you being as pious as you are, I mean, how could you be wrong. Not that you would ever pass judgement on another, of course, being of the church and all.
Dec 16, 2012 Arelative40years ago commented on I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.
No worried sick, I don't think video games is the issue here. In a different era the tantrum would be about getting the legos back. You may prefer legos over video games but neither is causing the extreme meltdowns/tantrums. Not getting whatever it is that they want is perceived as an obstacle to their goal. When they encounter obstacles they don't have the ability to regulate their emotions (for example, stay cool while they think things through, distract themselves with other things to cool down, etc). Instead, they use one coping strategy-tantrum, exploding, etc. And, as they age tantrums become more violent. So, whatever is around is thrown, broken, whatever.
Dec 16, 2012 Arelative40years ago commented on I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.
lower case keys are more soothing and friendly :-)
Dec 16, 2012 Arelative40years ago commented on I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.
To add:
The difficulties for children with Aspergers have nothing to do with the TV shows they watch, computer games they play, artificial ingredients they eat, whether they come from a two or one parent household, etc. They don't outgrow Aspergers -it is a life span disorder-but they can develop compensatory skills that help them deal with the difficulties in a more adaptive fashion and that help the family deal more effectively with the problems. Aspergers is a genetic congenital neurological disorder. It probably has to do with aberrations in synaptic pruning, among other neurological aberrations. Other family members often have the same (or similar) disorder in a milder form and the family configuration reflects a rate of attention deficit disorder and some more subtle difficulties at a rate higher than the rest of the population.
Dec 16, 2012 Arelative40years ago commented on I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.
You have written an insightful piece about your son and your life. Reading your essay brought back memories of growing up with my family's Michael. One difference for your Michael is that he has at least one parent who is insightful, willing to be somewhat objective about the fact that he has a disability and is willing to read and learn as much as possible on behalf of her child and other family members. If I had one wish for our Michael, it would be that he had the same. Instead, he has a mother who chooses to deny problems, indulge his every wish even when it went from wanting a toy to wanting a business or odd exotic pets (and subsequently buying him out of all the disruption he caused and the financial ruins he left along the way) and she rejected all advice from knowledgable people interested in helping. The result is that his mother encouraged things that doomed him to failure, and doomed the family to long-lasting misery and worse.

As you know, the DSM is changing its dx of Aspergers but that is probably the best characterization of children with these characteristics. The current changes in the DSM won't help your Michael or anyone's Michael--as the public has been miles ahead of the mental health community on issues related to Aspergers--which is not really a mental illness (but a developmental disability which is a life long condition that is more similar to mental retardation in the sense that it is congenital and life long) although a person can also have a co-existing mental illness--a co-morbidity (currently Axis 1 and 2). Aspergers is not Borderline personality disorder even though they may exhibit some similar behaviors (as cancer isn't a broken leg but both can involve pain).

Those with Aspergers don't usually cut themselves and don't usually have histories of substance use. They also don't necessarily come from chaotic families or have histories of abuse.

And, in contrast to borderlines, Aspergers is present at birth and is likely both congenital and genetic. Not everyone with Aspergers has all the characteristics I will describe but all have some (otherwise they would not have the dx).

People with Aspergers have difficult adapting-especially to change to their routines or interruptions of the habits. Adults with Aspergers may resist things typical people embrace-fun surprises, new cars, vacations at different place. They have great anxiety about any change although they don't express it as anxiety but as a preference for the same. They will often list many reasons for declining the change-none of which is particularly compelling. They may appear very bright but then do things that are inexplicable to others (from the standpoint of others). They tend to be concrete and don't like abstractions, may have a series of obsessive interests, lack the ability to take the perspective of others (so they don't see how their interests aren't shared, for instance), have persistent and pervasive difficulties with interpersonal relationships despite wanting to interact (they can't figure out the subtle rules of interaction and why they are so off beat)-they can't connect to others in a typical way although they may relate to their parents-but even that is not typical.

Adults with Aspergers often get in the same difficulties again and again without noticing a pattern. They don't see their role in the problems that surround them. They will blame others even when they obviously caused the problems. They don't learn from others; observing others doesn't teach them how to interact or how to improve on any dimension. And, they often steadfastly refuse to change even if it is obvious to everyone else that there is something they are doing that is causing everyone else great grief. They won't change even when a small change in an unimportant thing would make everyone around them much happier. They usually lack the natural ability to communicate using nonverbal cues. So, they may talk at somebody for a long time about their obsessions without noticing the dazed look on the other person. If the other person cuts them off or walks away they will get angry at the other person's "rudeness". They may know etiquette but not manners. They are rule governed but confabulate to make their own conduct match the rules. Since they can't take the perspective of another person, they can't see how their own conduct might be hurtful even if they use proper etiquette. They focus on details but ignore the bigger picture. They often have limited ability to tolerate frustration and obstacles and often fail to see when problems are emerging. When they encounter frustration they can't call upon the coping strategies typical people take for granted. Because they can't take the other person's perspective (theory of mind) they also don't really think about others as having feelings, ideas, and lives that are just as real and just as important as their own. Adam Lanza, for example, probably did not really consider the children as being such-they were not that much different to him than if they had been dolls or toys. Had he lived, he might have been remorseful but not more so then had he ruined his mother's collection of teacups. And his remorse would be directed at being sorry he made his mother angry rather than being sorry about what he actually did.

Not all people with Aspergers are violent and/or have problems regulating their emotion and using adaptive problem solving. But to avoid the discussion for fear of stigmatizing people is also a mistake. Aspergers is not a new phenomenon and the mental health community has not figured out how to deal with disorders that are developmental in nature. The kids won't grow out of them. The dialogue should focus on how to prepare parents and kids for the teen years and adulthood when a child has a developmental disorder and how to change the laws so that they permit people to access life span care at the level necessary to ensure their safety and well being.
Dec 16, 2012 Arelative40years ago joined My Stranger Face