Speaking out from autism’s ‘silent prison’
Ido Kedar is only in high school, but he’s already written a revealing look into what it’s like to live, and be educated, with autism. His message is as simple as it is powerful:
"I want people to know that I have an intact mind."
Photos: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
Part 4 of the LA Times’ week-long series about the mysteries of autism asks:
As more children are diagnosed with autism, where are the undiagnosed adults hiding? If our theories about increased rates in U.S. children are correct (that it’s due to an increase in diagnosis), then we likely have millions of undiagnosed adults living around us, many completely untreated. A fantastic series:
But evidence suggests the vast majority are not segregated from society — they are hiding in plain sight. Most will probably never be identified, but a picture of their lives is starting to emerge from those who have been.
They live in households, sometimes alone, sometimes with the support of their parents, sometimes even with spouses. Many were bullied as children and still struggle to connect with others. Some managed to find jobs that fit their strengths and partners who understand them.
If modern estimates of autism rates apply to past generations, about 2 million U.S. adults have various forms of it — and society has long absorbed the emotional and financial toll, mostly without realizing it.
What could their lives have been like with proper diagnosis and treatment? Has anyone had experience with an undiagnosed autistic adult?
test reblogged from jtotheizzoe
Autism hidden in plain sight: As more children are diagnosed with autism, researchers are trying to find unrecognized cases of the disorder in adults. The search for the missing millions is just beginning.
This is the last of our four-part series.
Photo: Mark Teufel, 57, learned he had Asperger’s disorder after his nephew was diagnosed with autism in 1999. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
Families cling to hope of autism ‘recovery’: An autism treatment called applied behavior analysis, or ABA, has wide support and has grown into a profitable business. It has its limits, though, and there are gaps in the science.
This is the third part of our four-part series.
Photo: Laura Marroquin, flanked by her 8-year-old twins Justin and Jessica, says she’ll never forget June 12, 2008, the day she was told Justin no longer had autism. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
Warrior parents fare best in securing autism services: Public spending on children with autism in California varies greatly by race and class. A major reason: Not all families have the means to battle for coveted assistance.
This is the second part of our four part series.
Photo: Gissell Garcia, 11, stands in her South L.A. kitchen with her mother, Yolanda Ortega. Gissell was diagnosed with autism when she was 3, early enough that intensive therapies might have helped. But her parents say that neither L.A. Unified nor state officials ever mentioned the possibility. Now the sounds that Gissell makes are unintelligible. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
Unraveling an epidemic: Autism rates have increased twentyfold in a generation, stirring parents’ deepest fears and prompting a search for answers. But what if the upsurge is not what it appears to be?
This a major series we’re rolling out over the course of four days.
Photo: Joseph Gutierrez, 13, peeks into his kitchen window in Sanger, Calif. He has been diagnosed as mentally retarded, but his mother thinks he is autistic. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times
Robots built to help autistic children: An effective therapist might just be metallic, mechanical and nonhuman.
Bandit, who has been around in various incarnations since 2007, is human-ish but still obviously a machine, which is exactly the look that Mataric and colleagues were aiming for. If he looked too much like a robot, kids wouldn’t want to be his friend. And if he looked too human, he would likely make kids with autism feel intimidated and overwhelmed. “It was a balance that we had to find,” she says.
Photo: Bandit is designed to be helpful with autistic children. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times