Autism Talk TV – Ep. 16 – What’s the Deal With Women, Fatherhood, and Executive Functioning?

2 Sep

Alex Plank, Kristen and Jack Robison went to the ASA conference in Florida and have a lot of video in the can. This is their first finalized video from that trip.

Kristen speaks to Dena Gassner (subject: Women), Alex and Jack speak with Claire Dumke (subject: executive functioning), and Alex speaks with Robert Naseef (subject: Fatherhood).

20 Responses to “Autism Talk TV – Ep. 16 – What’s the Deal With Women, Fatherhood, and Executive Functioning?”

  1. RAJ September 2, 2011 at 21:41 #

    I give up. Show me one autistic person in any of these video shots. It is charlatan’s like Tony Atwood and Simon Baron-Cohen who are trivializing a profoundly handicapping disorder.

    When will ASA place on its board a profoundly handicapped peson in their twenties who is still in diapers, can’t communicate and will spend the entire meeting of the board of directors banging his head on the table and screaming endlessly while the likes of Geri Dawson will show her own autistic traits desperately avoiding any eye contact with the person appointed to her board who is creating such a disturbance.

  2. Sullivan September 2, 2011 at 22:24 #


    are you calling these folks fakes/frauds?

    Please, it’s a spectrum. Kanner’s autistics were not disabled in the way you describe, to give a handy example.

    Are you autistic? Are you autistic in the way that you describe? If not, can I ask you to refrain from commenting here?

  3. RAJ September 3, 2011 at 21:15 #

    Stop inferring things I never said or thought Sullivan. Every one of those folks in the video believes they have autism. They have been told so by likes of the charlatan’s Tony Atwood and Simon Baron-Cohen whose concepts of autism are so far out of the maintream they have relegated the definition of autism as being virtually meaningless.

    As far as who should represent the autism community on the board at ASA, since you asked, let me nominate this 20 year young man as being placed on the board and be present at every board meeting He is still in diapers at 20 years old and has never spoken:

    • Sullivan September 4, 2011 at 04:19 #


      I inferred nothing. I posed a reasonable question based on your statement:

      “show me one autistic person in any of these video shots”

      It was an insulting statement and you’ve shown that the insult was intentional.

      Tell me, if you would be so kind, how many of Kanner’s original subjects were nonverbal and in diapers?

  4. RAJ September 3, 2011 at 21:18 #

    Here’s another candidate for nomination to the board of Autism Speaks and lets see how Geri Dawson deals with this young man at the board meetings.:

  5. sharon September 3, 2011 at 23:48 #

    RAJ calling Simon or Tony charlatans is ridiculous.

  6. sharon September 4, 2011 at 12:27 #

    As the latter clip states “few people” like Jamie exist. Why RAJ are you choosing to take the position that only those at the most severe end of the spectrum are truly Autistic? Correct me if I am wrong but that seems to be your inference. I can’t imagine there is a single person who reads this blog who would not want to see Jamie and his family get access to all the support and resources they require. How audacious to minimise the issues all people on the spectrum face over the duration of their lives?

    To be honest I really can’t see your point. You seem to be suggesting that unless the most severely disabled are central to conversations about ASD then essentially they are forgotten? And then you seem to be attacking organisations who are entrusted with the role of raising awareness of all people on the spectrum and supporting scientific research that explores potential causes thereby possible cures for people like Jamie. There seems an inherent contradiction here. Unless I am missing your point.

  7. RAJ September 4, 2011 at 13:30 #

    The direction of the working group on the PDD’s responsible for the publication of DSM-V in the next few years is a direction I completly agree with. Asperger Syndrome will be removed entirely as a distinct category in DMS-V. People described by Tony Atwood as having ‘Asperger Syndrome’ and people who Baron-Cohen would describe as having an ‘autism spectrum condition’ will correctly be entirely removed from the Autism Spectrum Disorder Category and be placed in a new diagnostic category SCD Social Communication Disorder where they should always have been placed anway. To describe the conditions that Atwood and Baron-Cohen are describing as being on an ‘autism spectrum condition’ is akin to placeing a pimple on a behind and malignent melonoma as being on a ‘spectrum’.

    Perhaps I went overboard in calling Atwood and Baron-Cohen charlatans, they certainly believe in what the saying. I will refer you to Leo Kanner who in 1965 joined Van Krevelan in vigorously condeming those ‘who have abused the diagnosis of autism’ that ‘threatens to become a fashion’. History repeats itself with the emergenence of Tony Atwood and Simon Baron-Cohen as ‘experts’ on autism.

    As far as Kanner’s eleven childen are concerned, not one of them became a brilliant research scientist, educator or articulate advocate for neurodiversity. For almost all the outcome was very poor, usually placement in psychiatric hospitals and a lifetime of neglect by society:

    • Sullivan September 4, 2011 at 18:21 #


      From viewing the video, are you willing to state that no e of the people fit this criterion:

      “Without supports in place, deficits in social communication cause noticeable impairments. Has difficulty initiating social interactions and demonstrates clear examples of atypical or unsuccessful responses to social overtures of others. May appear to have decreased interest in social interactions. ”


      “Rituals and repetitive behaviors (RRB’s) cause significant interference with functioning in one or more contexts. Resists attempts by others to interrupt RRB’s or to be redirected from fixated interest.”

      That is the DSMV “level 1” severity description for autism.

      I wouldn’t make that distinction from a short video.

      As I am sure you know, removing the label “asperger” from the DSM does not mean those with the diagnosis will be pushed off the spectrum PDD NOS is also going–as a label. Those individuals are not automatically going to be declared non autistic.

      I don’t agree with you reliance on unnamed authority as to what will or should happen.

      To make my earlier point clear: the children Kanner reported on do not fit your current description of autistics. Your attempt to rely in what autism is according to long dead researchers is wrong on many levels. This is just one.

      You’ve done a great job diverting discussion to the topic you want discussed. Frankly, I don’t find it fruitful. That’s even aside from discussions like this one filled with correcting misinformation.

  8. sharon September 5, 2011 at 00:00 #

    RAJ thanks for your reply. But again I think you are incorrect. Whilst the terms PDD-NOS and Aspergers will be removed it does not mean that those who currently fall under that diagnostic criteria no longer qualify for an ASD diagnosis.

    Take my son for example. Diagnosed almost one year ago just before his second birthday, his dx was PDD-NOS although the clinician suspected Aspergers he was too young for that dx. I have read the new proposed criteria for DSMV, and my son who is now almost three, would meet all criteria listed as needed for a dx, albeit at the less severe end of the spectrum.

  9. RAJ September 5, 2011 at 16:40 #

    Sharon, Without a doubt Tony Atwwod and Simon Baron-Cohen will continue to place their patients under the DSM-5 umbrella of the new autism spectrum disorder category, but many more clinicians will place their patients correctly under the new SCD social-communication disorder category and away from the autism spectrum disorder category.

    I am not speaking about your son who was diagnosed with PDD/NOS. My daughter was diagnosed with PDD/NOS in 1988 within a few years her diagnosis flew out the window and she has had a normal outcome. I was interested in autism research for obvious reasons an was an occasional contributor to the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders until the mid-1990’s when my daughters diagnosis flew out the window.

    These same themes were present then as they are now. I published a response to a group of child psychiatrists who claimed that the parents themselves were autistic and who gave several case histories vignettes to bolster their claim.

    In the article, one of the women who was a parent was described as possessing a disturbing extreme religiosity when they learned she was a devout Catholic who attended mass every morning and had religious artifacts prominently displayed in her home.
    I pointed out to the child psychiatrists that if extreme religiousity was a severe autistic trait, then the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury would immediately be placed under the microscope of child psychiatry.

    There are other examples but I don’t have the text anymore since I threw out my extensive library in the auitsm literature once my daughters diagnosis flew out the window and I refuse to pay for a full text.

  10. RAJ September 5, 2011 at 19:51 #

    Sharon, If you are interested in the genetic theories of autism, you might want to visit the SFARI Organizations website. They have an article on genetics that is the most viewed article published in the last two weeks. Scroll down to my commentary and follow th links I provided and you will ask the same question I have asked. Where is the heritability in the genetic syndromes with high rates of co-coccuring rates of autism.

  11. sharon September 5, 2011 at 23:36 #

    Thanks for the links RAJ.

    AS for your above examples. you and I both know that religiosity alone would not have been enough to warrant an ASD diagnosis, as it would not meet current DSM criteria. If clinicians are using the current tools (ADOS for eg.) and standard observational assessment guides to determine an ASD dx correctly then I really cant see where the problem is. You dont seem to by suggesting that people are being given an ASD diagnosis without a thorough assessment. Or are you?

    In Western Australia where I am, a paediatrician, developmental psychologist and speech therapist must all agree on a diagnosis before it is accepted as fact and access to funding and services can commence. It’s not like going to the GP for a checkup. I wonder what it is you are so concerned about? Do you really feel there are lots of people identifying as Autistic who really are not? Are you taking the Dr Allen Francis argument on board?

  12. RAJ September 6, 2011 at 10:39 #

    I entirely agree with Dr. Francis. I also agree with Leo Kanner who in 1965 joined Van Krevelan in vigourously denouncing the ‘abuse of the diagnosis of autism’ that ‘threatens to become a fashion’.

    Kanner in 1965 wrote:
    ‘Moreover, it became a habit to dilute the original concept of infantile autism by diagnosing it in many disparate conditions which show one or another isolated symptom found as a part feature of the overall syndrome. Almost overnight, the country seemed to be populated by a multitude of autistic children, and somehow this trend became noticeable overseas as well.’

    History repeats itself. The growing ambiguity of autism definition began in 1994 with the introduction of DSM-IV (1994) and ICD-10 (1994) a date which can be seen as the beginning of the so-called ‘autism epidemic’ which in my view, as well as others I corrrespond with who operate at the highest levels in the autism research community.

    • Sullivan September 6, 2011 at 18:46 #


      you keep referring to that paper by Kanner in 1965. Yet you appear to be ignoring the fact that Kanner is making a strong case against the inclusion of regressive autism. He makes it clear that the children in what he considers “autism” start out life autistic. “They have begun their existence without the universal signs of infantile response”

      This definition does not quite account for the status of our patients. For one thing, withdrawal implies a removal of oneself from previous participation. These children have never participated. They have begun their existence without the universal signs of infantile response. This is evidenced in the first months of life by the absence of the usual anticipatory reaction when approached to be picked up and by the lack of postural adaptation to the person who picks them up. Nor are they shutting themselves off from the external world as such. While they are remote from affective and communicative contact with people, they develop a remarkable and not unskillful relationship to the inanimate environment. They can cling to things tenaciously, manipulate them adroitly, go into ecstasies when toys are moved or spun around by them, and become angry when objects do not yield readily to expected performance. Indeed, they are so concerned with the external world that they watch with tense alertness to make sure that their surroundings remain static, that the totality of an experience is reiterated with its constituent details, often in full photographic and phonic identity.

      I disagree with Dr. Kanner in this respect. Apparently, modern medicine has also moved away from this view of autism.

  13. RAJ September 6, 2011 at 23:03 #

    Modern medicine has moved away from Kanner in many respects and apparently you fee it is a good thing. Modern medicine so widened the definition of autism that the meaning has become almost meaningless. As far as Dr Francis concerned, you do realize don’t you that he was the editor in chief responsible for the working groups who conducted the field trials for DSM-IV (1994). Fifteen years later he regrets his responsibility as the editor of DSM-IV (1994)and has publicly stated that the field trials for DSM-IV failed to predict the false epidemics of autism and attentional disorders.
    Dr Francis agrees with Leo Knanner and they both have condemned the abuse of the diagnosis of autism that has threatened to become a fashion.

    • Sullivan September 6, 2011 at 23:07 #

      “Modern medicine so widened the definition of autism that the meaning has become almost meaningless”

      It now includes those who have regressed. Is that meaningless?

      You have avoided a lot of direct and very tough questions in this discussion. You can certainly do so, but I can point out your evasive responses.

  14. sharon September 7, 2011 at 04:22 #

    RAJ I really dont think you have thought this through very well. Can you tell me specifically what current DSM criteria for ASD you disagree with?

  15. stanley seigler September 9, 2011 at 17:19 #

    [raj say] I give up. Show me one autistic person in any of these video shots. It is charlatan’s like Tony Atwood and Simon Baron-Cohen who are trivializing a profoundly handicapping disorder.

    [sullivan say] Are you autistic? Are you autistic in the way that you describe? If not, can I ask you to refrain from commenting here?


    i come from yesteryear, when there was no spectrum…just autism and behavior issues…autism was easily defined…

    glad there is now a spectrum…tho, where the individual is on the spectrum has to be well defined…or;

    we have apple/orange discussions.

    i saw nothing ridiculous or cause to be refrained in raj’s comments…there are those who trivialize…

    stanley seigler

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