Friday, July 11, 2008

Scrutator: A little cranky

Do you find it at all surprising that I'm a little cranky this week? I sprained my ankle on the 4th, got a cold sore on the 9th, and I am feeling a little closed in. All I have to keep my busy is this computer and tv. I have the piano too, and my art, but of course they aren't getting much use, because I'm too cranky. I have work to, but that's work!

I can only hope for a speedy ankle recovery so that I can get out there and walk again.

In the mean time, here is this weeks edition of the cranky Scrutator.

Regional Economist Jan Roeser believes that the Twin Falls area economy is a-ok! If you took a snapshot, you might agree. Yes, our unemployment is below the national average, and that probably has something to do with the fact that there is a lot of agriculture here.

But I have a fairly decent memory.

I remember economic downturns and upturns and such. If you live here long enough, you come to learn that our economy is usually a year or two behind the nation. We will be affected by the economic mess the rest of the country is already experiencing. We are not an island unto ourselves.

So people are going to pat themselves on the back for having it so good in such hard times. Then Twin's economy will catch up to the rest of the country, and people will bitch. But just wait until the nation's economy rebounds and ours doesn't! I can hear it all now!

Just like with gas prices. The rest of the nation usually experiences rate hikes a couple of weeks before we get hit with them. No one really points that fact out it seems. But when the rest of the nation starts paying less for gas than we do, AAA will be all over the tv trying to figure out why our prices are so high! People! It always takes us a while to catch up with the rest of the world! We are a backward hick town in the middle of a backward hick state. Don't believe me? Look at how this state votes!

KMVT has been broadcasting every little injury that the base jumpers have received over the past year or so. Someone has an agenda. They have a poll at the bottom of their page asking "Should base jumping from the Perrine Bridge be regulated by the State of Idaho?" No has been leading the entire time. I think the whole thing is a little petty on KMVT's part. I can't figure out why they aren't trying to close down the fireworks display at CSI considering how sprained my ankle is right now! I wasn't jumping or anything. I was just walking.

It's funny how they don't broadcast running injuries, or bicycling injuries. And skiing! How can these ski resorts not be regulated by the state. (heck, maybe they are!) Anyway, my point is, the number of people base jumping off the bridge is quite high. It is rare to find a nice day with no jumpers. In all that time I think we have had one death (maybe two?) due to parachute failure. We did have a death of a person not from here who got to twin at sundown and couldn't wait to jump. He landed just fine, but couldn't find his way out of the canyon and died of hypothermia. So maybe winter should be regulated by the state!

Just a little cranky here.

We have our share of antivaccination kooks in Twin (duh, backward hick town). One tragic bad reaction does not justify such an unfortunate reaction. After all, Measles are known to kill, polio is known to disable, rubella is largely responsible for my mother's personality problems, and autism is NOT awful, like cancer! I am glad that the Times News reported the CDC side and not just the parent side. But they, like so many media rags, gave too much credence to the parent's emotional outburst. It is a dangerous position to take.

Yes, J.B. Handley, parents of young autistic children are desperate. They are desperate to believe that their beautiful, normal-looking children can behave normally as well. My son is 20 years old, and over those two decades, I have read of numerous treatments for autism. Most of them were crap, many were harmful. All were propagated on desperate parents.

Bruno Bettelheim hypothesized that detached parenting (refrigerator mothers) was the cause of autism, and autistic children were placed in foster homes to be cured. The majority who didn't improve (some did as with ALL treatment types), were placed in institutions.

ASAT has a comprehensive list of the treatments that have been used, and still are used to treat autism. Their list of psychological, educational, and therapeutic interventions covers 21 different therapies. Of those 21, ABA, AIT, Augmentive Communication, Facilitated Communication, PECS, Psychoanalytic and Humanistic Play Therapy, and Video Modeling, have been studied scientifically. ABA and Video Modeling (a component of ABA) have been shown to be effective. But even ABA has it's weakness. ABA designs usually consist of just a few participants. Larger studies that include control groups and double blind design are necessary to determine how effective ABA is in and of itself, and which components of ABA are most effective. It is also very difficult to find ABA programs and therapists that are consistently effective (partially due to the lack of large studies). Augmentive communication and PECS can be effective, but only on a limited scale. Psychoanalytic and humanistic play therapy, and facilitated communication have found to be ineffective and have actually caused harm to the autistic individual and their families, and AIT has been found to be ineffective.

Of the 10 biomedical treatments, only risperidone (Risperdal), methylphenidate (Ritalin), fluoxetine (Prozac) have been scientifically supported in affecting behavior. But these interventions have potentially serious side effects, and one must weigh the benefits against those risks. Other treatments have shown no effect, and are not even logical courses of treatment for autism. Some are even quite dangerous. Chelation (a therapy currently being used because of the false assumption that thimerosal in vaccinations causes autism) has killed at least one autistic child. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Herbs and Homeopathic Treatments, Special Diets, and Vitamin and Supplement Therapy are treatments that are supposed to treat unsubstantiated causes of autism, and can cause physiological harm.

Most of the treatments on that list are pet theories and scams. Flim-Flam artists are quick to pick up on the emotional distress of parents who have just learned their child has autism. People don't know what autism is, even science hasn't solved the mystery! And most mysteriously, some (most?) autistic children make remarkable gains and do well in life. This leaves a huge opening for those scam artists to come in and say that their treatment works. And frightened, DESPERATE parents put their child in harms way for a hope of a dream.

I personally think that autistic children would be best served by acceptance. If they were born with down's syndrome or mental retardation, would they be the victims of so much pseudoscience? It's ok to be different, and it's ok to have a child who is different. Autism isn't that scary. Parents should be taught how to communicate with and teach their autistic child. All children benefit from good parenting skills, but autistic children require them. Part of good parenting skills is loving and accepting your child regardless of how far from normal they are.

There is no reason to be terrified and desperate. There is no excuse for putting your child in harm's way because of your distress! Autism is NOT awful!

I have this friend who is a catholic, and from time to time she sends me these ridiculous e-mails to sign petitions and to beware of some horrible thing that is happening to the morality of our world. I got this one yesterday. It is telling us that McDonalds is evil for supporting same sex marriages. Actually, they supported the gay rights parade with a commercial. I can't see anything wrong with that.

I wonder, though, how she thought it was ok to send this to me. She knows Zach works at McDonalds! Maybe she thinks he should quit asap and live the life of an unemployed citizen?

I think I have asked her not to send me this stuff. You should have heard her when I told her Megan had joined the mormon church! You would have thought she was planning to murder or something. And then when I told her I had considered sending Zach to church with Megan so that he could find good friends...OMG! The world was collapsing in on her! (in case you don't know, catholics HATE mormons). Now she wants to hurt Zach by hurting his employer. The same employer who regularly hires people with disabilities when no one else will. The same employer who gave Zach his first chance. Good one!

So, I guess I'll have to get off my diet and eat at McDonalds to show my support for a company who is on the side of the underdog.

I can't wait to see what she sends in response to Pharyngula's challenge. Turns out the catholic church has a lot of hate to go around. I am so glad I'm not catholic.

I'm still cranky. The ankle is getting better, the cold sore is going away and life will be fun and fulfilling again soon. I'll do a better job of therapizing my ankle so it doesn't go out again. I don't know what to do about nasty cold sores to really prevent them, but I will try to keep up on taking lysine supplements - they seem to help - I guess.

And that wraps up this edition of the Scrutator.


  1. Couldnt agree more with you about autism!! Very well said.
    Do hope your ankle feels much better soon.

  2. Thanks! I'm working on the ankle. I worked really hard on the autism section. I was determined to find the information I wanted about all of the treatments I've heard about. I think Holding therapy was the first one that baffled me. I couldn't believe people were actually doing that, and I'm pretty sure that children had been suffocated with that treatment. It made me skeptical about all of the things I heard that were too good to be true. Like autism being a gut problem that could be chelated. I was shocked that one got so far and to think it is still going strong! It's sad.