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Is Autism One Thing?- Autism

I would be the very first to acknowledge that the medical community in the United States has done a great deal towards prolonging the life and improving the health of U.S. Residents. That’s not to say that worldwide medical community cannot be lauded to degrees more or less substantial than that of the United States, depending on about where (in the World) we’re talking. The point I’m trying to get to here, is that the medical community (both that of the United States, and that of the World as a whole), can be given direct credit as one of a very few entities responsible for the increase of both longevity and quality of life among those of us walking the Planet in the modern day.

You might imagine that my saying this is precursor to statements that are not nearly so flattering where that same community is concerned. If you came to that conclusion, I give you full marks!

I grant that I’m prone to make what amount to disclaimers at the beginning of that which I write. The preceding statements are, you should be aware, no exception. Keep in mind, the point of the statements at the beginning of this article, are truly to applaud the medical community for what can only be viewed as exemplary services to mankind.

That being said, you should understand that—like any entity—those practicing the “healing arts” have their problems.

One that I have noted, and about which I have spoken often where those who care for the health of others, is the tendency to account symptoms as ailments in their own right. This would not be problematic, were it not for the fact that often, the underlying condition—the one that resulted in the noted hallmarks—is all but ignored, while those charged with caring for the health of others, concentrate almost exclusively on those signs, where their treatments are concerned.

About now, if you took the time to read the title of this blog post, you’re probably wondering what on Earth I’m talking about—how does this relate to Autism. Let me now “tie things together.”

Firstly, I should say that, not only have the health care professions been prone to treat symptoms rather than root causes, but they have also been wont to “lump symptoms together,” and give their aggregation  names strictly based on that symptomology.

One problem with this, is that it’s possible that multiple conditions may have the same symptoms. Further, it’s entirely possible that the same root cause might have manifest in unique ways in different individuals.

To put a finer point on this idea, allow me to offer up an example.

Certainly for as long as I have been dealing relatively closely with Autism (about seven years now), and really a great deal longer, I have had the nagging suspicion that Autism is not one single thing.

Let me be clear, what I’m not saying is, “People deemed or diagnosed Autistic are the same as everyone else, and therefor not worthy of some sort of special treatment.” What I am saying is, “In my brief stint dealing with Autism, I have become solid in the belief that it’s not really reasonable to lump all the people being diagnosed, under the same banner.”

I recognize that, for the majority of society, being more distinct would be more harmful than helpful. I further understand that those who insist on diagnoses of Autism, also insist on counting Autism spectral in nature (I.e., that they count those diagnosed as “being on a spectrum”).

It’s true that doing things as they’re currently being done means that Autistic folks will often obtain much needed help of various kinds. The question then is, “Why do I care that they lump people into the same condition despite marked differences in symptomology and behavior?”

By way of elucidation, the problem is that people—particularly those not pretty directly affected by Autism—tend to want to lump all Autistic children into boxes based on their experiences with Autistic folks and information obtained various manners and sources.

In the best of cases, this means that it takes longer for them to come to an understanding of with whom they’re dealing when they deal with “new” (to them) Autistic folks. In the worst of cases, it means many folks form in their heads, a picture of what it means to be Autistic that is based on their personal experiences  with others so labelled, or think they can go about “studying,” and be equipped to deal with people carrying the label “Autistic.” And to be sure, you can assume Autism is not by far the only tag that works in this way.

I can tell you, from the perspective of someone who deals with an Autistic child each and every day, that what I had heard and seen in very few ways prepared me from what was to come (and almost certainly, that which is yet to come). Were it not for my father drumming into me the concept that one ought to “question everything,” I certainly would not be nearly as successful in dealing with my son as I currently am. I should state clearly that my success is limited, but that it would be far more so had I not started the process as a skeptic.

This approach also helps me to abandon the idea that I can “help or deal with” other Autistic folks in the same way I do my son. Please don’t hear me to be saying, “There’s no similarity between my son and others counted as being on the Autism spectrum.” The thing is though, there are substantial differences between Garrett (my boy), and others I have met or known, considered to be Autistic (even those considered to be moderately Autistic, as is Garrett).

So answering my own question, “No, I do not believe Autism is one thing, but a series of things lumped together for convenience.”

That’s an important and powerful realization both for me and others. Where on the one hand, you can make some reasonable assumptions about Autism in general I beg you not to assume each person should be dealt with in exactly the same way. The “simple answer?” Get to know the Autistic person with whom you will be dealing (as much as you’re able). Don’t assume you know how to deal with them based on “study” or “previous experience,” rather work to learn how to do so.

Okay, here I am at the end of yet another article. Allow me to thank you for reading, and wish you the best of times.Is Autism One Thing?- AutismOkay, here I am at the end of yet another article. Allow me to thank you for reading, and wish you the best of times.

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On Finite Resources – Religion and Politics

I have to acknowledge that my perspective on the concept of “finite resources” has changed somewhat over the course of time.

I have pretty much always accepted that “complex” resources are finite.

Take as an example the car. As technology has made it possible to make cars faster, while at the same time, making them more energy efficient, the unfailing reality is that cars have become ever more complex.

Yes, it is possible to make a comparatively simple car, but truthfully, even what one would consider a pretty simple vehicle would be a labor of at a bare minimum days for even pretty mechanically and technically astute folks.

For those of us not so well trained in things mechanical or technical (one, the other, or both), it would be substantially longer, and there would probably be as much chance of failure as of success.

In case you don’t have a vehicle of your own, think public transportation.

Frankly though, even if your most advanced mode of transportation is a bicycle, the level of technology required to create it is pretty astonishing.

I think that, if a person questions that such resources are finite, they’re just not paying good attention!

The kind of thing I used to have problems with though is, “Just how finite is a sandwich, a piece of land, or a pile of dirt?”

Let me take each of these in turn, and explain why they’re more limited than you might initially assume.

It’s easy to forget that most sandwiches are made of a variety of components and that those components must typically be grown to maturity and harvested in some way. Then after time has been taken to do the “growing,” they must be processed in some fashion,  and then distributed to places where people can acquire them for use in their meals.

Some things take less tending—tomatoes are technically weeds, but even they have been “refined” to make them bigger and “beefier.” Other things are far more complex to deal with; cows come to mind here.

Wheat or other grains must be grown and harvested to be available for use in breads.

It is true there are other materials used to make sandwiches. It is also true that they generally take every bit as much work to produce as the more “garden variety” components.

The people who take the time and effort to produce such items, do so at varying levels of personal sacrifice. The reason? Those people expect to profit from their labor. I’m pretty sure most folks would not argue that being a reasonable thing. Therein though, lies the “rub” that accounts for the “finite-ness” of pretty much all resources.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that if there are more people vying for land, it’s going to be  harder to get what one wants where parcels of earth are concerned.

It’s a little harder though, to come to the realization that even rocks and dirt are scarce resources.

Where it’s true that you can go out into your own yard—assuming you have one—and dig up dirt and rocks. In doing so though, you reduce the amount of dirt and rocks available to you in future endeavors.

You can, if you wish, find a place where dirt and rocks are plentiful, and seek to gather that which you desire in that locale. Even so, you must take the time and effort to acquire the resources in question.

You may like it or not, but each of us has a limited number of heartbeats. We will only live so many hours, days and years.

Because this is the case, what we are able to gather of our own labor is, again like it or not, limited.

In short, almost everybody counts on others to do the work of providing things they need or want. And where we don’t think a lot about it, we actually count on a good many people to reap or otherwise produce for us a great variety of things. The baker makes us bread and cakes. The butcher, meat and poultry.

The car manufacture, cars and busses. The builder, houses and workplace buildings.

Even for your flower garden, you don’t necessarily assume the dirt found in your yard, nor even your planter box or flower bed is going to be overly suitable for the growing of blooms.

Instead, you go to the store and get potting soil, fertilizer and other similar products in order to do your growing.

Yes, even dirt is a finite resource (one might even argue, a scarce resource).

And its scarcity is not just a matter of how much of it exists, but how much work we or others are willing to do to make it available for use or consumption.

That realization falling into place for me, made me understand what people (particularly economists) meant by the concept of “scarce resources.”

It isn’t just, “How much of this is there out there?” Somebody must dig the dirt! Somebody must make the bread—and he or she counts on myriad others for producing (one way or another) the “raw materials” for his or her “final product.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what is meant by “scarce resources.” They’re not saying, “If you’re willing to do the work, you can’t come up with your very own pile of dirt or loaf of bread.” Rather, they’re saying, “You have a limited number of breaths, you can spend it gather dirt, making bread, or doing some other thing or things that you consider more significant in your little world.”

The final point? If you want to spend your time doing what is important to you, there must be others around you doing that which they consider important, but you consider sufficiently trivial to not do.

This simple fact, it can be argued, makes resources scarce.

So, if you ever hear an economist talk about scarce resources, and the fact that scarcity results in increased value, maybe now you’ll see why they say that.

Okay, out of time and words. As usual, thank for reading and may your time be good.