Lie to me!

84345366 - lies word cloud on a white background.

I’m been watching Ken Burn’s monumental documentary on the Vietnam War. It is a deeply sobering experience.

Both those who served in the war and those who protested the war were united in a curious way. Both never considered the possibility that the government would lie to them and both felt profoundly betrayed when they found out that many in the government had been lying all along.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Instead of feeling betrayed by lies, the American public demands them.[/pullquote]

The Vietnam War began a period of profound cynicism toward government, further bolstered by Richard Nixon’s behavior in orchestrating the Watergate break-in and systematically lying about it for years. Even those whose eyes had been opened by government sponsored lying during the war were nonetheless shocked that a president would break the law and attempt to get away with it.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Fifty years later, the government it still lying to us, with one important difference. Instead of feeling betrayed by lies, the American public demands lies.

Lie to me, they beg the President and the Republican Party.

Lie to me! Tell us that by demanding equality — which, afterall, merely means being treated equally — black Americans are insisting on special privileges.

Lie to me! Tell us that immigrants, a criticial engine of both innovation and population growth, are stealing our jobs even though they have nothing to do with the decline of manufacturing in the US.

Lie to me! Tell us that rogue nations like North Korea will be intimidated by a flaccid, floundering buffoon of a president who thinks Twitter insults are a form of warfare.

Lie to me! Tell us destroying Obamacare, the best and most inclusive health insurance program that this country has ever known, will not deprive people of health insurance.

No one should think that the American taste for lies is restricted to government. Indeed the desperate desire for lies and the credulousness with which they are greeted was pioneered within the realm of healthcare.

Many people are begging for lies:

Lie to me! Tell us that autism is a government conspiracy, not a genetic defect.

Lie to me! Tell us that vaccines, one of the greatest public health achievements of all time, don’t work and actually cause harm.

Lie to me! Tell us that our foods are riddled with toxins and we can prevent cancer by eating right and wasting money on detoxes and crystals.

Lie to me! Tell us that childbirth is inherently safe and interventions are bad even though childbirth is inherently dangerous and interventions save lives.

Lie to me! Tell us that the secret to mothering resides in breastfeeding and that breasts never fail.

Lie to me! Tell us that disease is caused by improper alignment of the spine, and chiropractors can manipulate us back to health.

Lie to me! Tell us that medicines become more powerful by being diluted and homeopaths perform a valuable service by marketing water to the gullible.

What has happened to us? Why can’t we handle the truth in politics or in health?

Why? Because we are lazy and weak.

We prefer the comforting lie over the painful truth. In politics we prefer to pretend that we are victimized rather than acknowledge that we are more often victimizers. In healthcare, many delight in imagining that they are educated and bold, when the reality is that they are merely ignorant, defiant and very, very afraid.

Nearly 60,000 Americans died in Vietnam because we believed government lies, but in our defense, we didn’t realize that the government was lying. Now we know better, yet now we insist on lies. Many among us are happy to believe government lies and healthcare lies. Tragically, the death toll this time is bound to be much higher.

91 Responses to “Lie to me!”

  1. StephanieJR
    September 26, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

    Slightly OT: my brother is actually living and working in Vietnam right now as an English teacher, not far from Saigon. He’s made a couple of observations; one, that it’s actually less Socialist than the UK, and that the War is the elephant in the room.

  2. MaineJen
    September 26, 2017 at 9:18 am #

    Fantastical? No, these are real people giving you concrete examples of why you’re wrong.

  3. Dr Kitty
    September 26, 2017 at 4:58 am #

    Cite for GCHQ neurodiversity:

    I’m sorry you don’t believe in the existence of my relative. He’s quite lovely, taught me a trick for squaring numbers ending in five on my wedding day (because I was stressed, and it’s how he calms down when he’s stressed and was trying to be helpful). Which is an anecdote I have shared more than once on this site (and therefore not invented for your benefit).
    He taught me to play chess and backgammon as a child, taught me to count in Hebrew and German, has a full sized gorilla costume he likes to wear on occasion and enjoys hunting deer in the Scottish Highlands with his friends and his dog. Like I said, socially unusual, very blunt but incredibly smart and great with kids. He thinks (cleaned, bleached) deer jawbones are appropriate gifts for a five year old- five year old me agreed!

    Anyway- if you’re still relying on “what I learned in medical school” I’d honestly have concerns about most of your clinical practice, not just your ASD awareness. It’s why Continuing Professional Development is a thing in medicine…

    • Who?
      September 26, 2017 at 6:18 am #

      Perhaps when adavis says ‘medical school’ that means the appalling online postal quacktastic woo-factory from where his/her confected medical qualification spewed?

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        September 29, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

        I’m suddenly reminded of a scene from “The Closer” in which Kyra Sedgwick asks (I paraphrase), disbelievingly and sarcastically, if the suspect she’s grilling got his law degree from the back of a matchbox?! “No!” says he indignantly. “I paid $300 to get it from *school that doesn’t actually exist* in Jamaica!”

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      September 29, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

      Honestly, he sounds delightful, and not unlike an uncle of my husband’s, who is terribly, terribly shy and awkward, but also brilliant in the extreme, and very kind. Uncle is a pathologist. Happily married, with several kids. He married a woman who is his polar opposite, but after 30-40 years of marriage, they still seem very happy indeed, and at a guess, her bubbling extroversion may well offset his social awkwardness to a degree.
      Also sounds a bit like my best friend’s father, likewise a kind and gentle man, who once told me that he spends time that he otherwise finds awkward or worrying (waiting for a movie to start, for example–making conversation in that setting is hard for him!) to calculate the volume displacement of the movie theater or some such. Well, it goes well over my head, but if it works for him, I’m glad he figured something out! Chalk him up as another happily-married-and-*very*-gainfully-employed-for-40-years-with-kids type…

  4. Cat
    September 25, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    Apologies in advance for being wildly OT, but you guys have a lot of experience collectively of families and stuff. I’m a single mum and I’ve been back living in the small town where I grew up for a few years. My only child is under two. I work part-time and my mother currently provides child-care when I’m at work (her idea, though obviously I’m very grateful and it’s not unpaid).
    Recently, I’ve felt under a load of pressure to take steps like buying a house and registering my daughter with a local school, which would mean I’m stuck pretty much here permanently, but I want to explore the possibility of moving to another town, not too far away, at some point over the next 2-3 years. I grew up in this town so I’m aware of the pros (green leafy spaces) and cons (poor transport, nothing for older kids and teenagers to do but get in trouble, narrow-mindedness and occasional bigotry). I’m not rich but, touch wood, I’m not broke either, so I think I have options. So I don’t know.

    The trouble is, the couple of times I’ve mentioned this to my mother, she’s completely kicked off and told me that I’m selfish, that she’s disgusted and horrified that I’m thinking of such a thing, that I’m cruel and that I shouldn’t have had a child if I was going to dump her with fucking strangers (i.e. let anyone other than her provide childcare to my daughter), that my daughter is only so secure and happy because my mother provides her childcare, that I’m just spiteful and jealous because I want to ruin her relationship with my daughter, etc. It’s got to the point where I just want to give in, but part of me feels that the fact that I’m being terrorised and emotionally blackmailed into living five minutes away from my parents for the rest of my life isn’t a healthy sign, and that maybe I need to get a little distance between us. Anyone been in a similar position?

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      September 25, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

      oh good lord. The child care staff wouldn’t be strangers for long. If you’re fairly near, she could still drive over. There’s this magic device called a phone; perhaps she’s heard of it? My friend M’s kids are just as happy and secure as my hatchlings, even though they go to daycare and mine stay with me.
      tldr version: yes, your mother is being unreasonable

    • Toni35
      September 25, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

      Don’t buy a house. I assume you are renting. Keep doing so until you have decided precisely what you want to do. Your child won’t be starting school for a while yet (another 2-3 years for Pre-K, another 3-4 if you skip all that and just start her in kindergarten). So you have time before you have to worry about registering for school. And even then you aren’t locked in. Kids change schools all the time. But if you buy a house, then you may be locked in, at least for a bit depending on how the market is.

      Your mom sounds like she is scared that if you move she won’t see her granddaughter very much. She’s being irrational and unfair, and I’m sure it’s hard to deal with. Just don’t talk to her about it. At least until you have some concrete plans.

    • Roadstergal
      September 25, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

      Oh lord. There’s a lot of the inverse square rule that can be very apropos to family. A little distance does wonders for a relationship. :p

      I am definitely in a position where buying a house locked me down to an area. (Well, it’s more complicated than that, the job is what keeps me here, rents are now in a place that I literally could not afford – but a lot of that is very specific to where I live.) There’s a certain inertia that comes with owning a house, and if you feel you don’t want to and are being bullied into it – I wouldn’t do it…! Especially as it sounds like you’d be locking in close physical proximity with someone you have a rocky relationship with at the moment.

    • Azuran
      September 25, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

      You are absolutely being emotionally blackmailed and this is absolutely not healthy. I definitely wouldn’t buy a house and I would put some distance in your relationship with your mother.

    • Sheven
      September 25, 2017 at 8:09 pm #

      I think you know that the way that your mother is reacting is a factor indicating that you should move away. This doesn’t mean that you have to move away. Every choice is imperfect and there are pros and cons on every side.

      You might want to level with your mom and tell her that her reaction is something pushing you away rather than bringing you closer. That if this is the way she acts over serious disagreements it’s important that you break away now so as not to subject yourself or your child to this kind of pressure, anger, and insulting behavior. See how she reacts, and factor that into making your choice. If she respects your boundaries and feelings now, that might make the benefits of keeping family nearby more enticing. If she doesn’t, you know it’s not going to get easier to deal with her if money and schools are keeping you close.

    • Daleth
      September 25, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

      That’s total emotional blackmail, and it doesn’t even make sense. How long does your mother expect you and she to be your daughter’s only caregivers?! AT MOST that period only lasts until kindergarten in the US (age 5), or the start of free preschool in France (age 3), or whatever the relevant under-5 age is in your area.

      And I for one can tell you that my twins’ language skills went THROUGH THE ROOF once we enrolled them at a Montessori preschool at age 2. It did them a world of good. And for a singleton, preschool provides critical peer-to-peer social skills that they can’t get when they’re being cared for alone by a doting adult.

    • Gæst
      September 25, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

      Yeah, I’m going with emotional blackmail here. Your mother’s response is waaaaay out of proportion to what you’re proposing to do. Certainly, I can understand sadness at the prospect of your grandchild moving away, but her claims that it’s “cruel” to let strangers watch her are insulting to so many families – like mine. I live on the other side of the country from my family. My kids had a “stranger” take care of them when I went back to work – our nanny. It hasn’t ruined their relationship with their grandmother, and they are very secure and happy. Daycare would have been just as good for them (but a nanny suited my scheduling needs better).

      I wish I had advice to offer on how to handle it, but whatever you do, please don’t feel like your daughter will suffer because she lives an hour or two away from her grandmother.

    • Linden
      September 26, 2017 at 7:10 am #

      I’ll add my voice to the others and say don’t buy the house. Trust yourself. Being in decent childcare does absolutely no harm to a child. It does not harm their relationships with their family members.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
      September 26, 2017 at 8:37 am #

      I will add my voice to the people saying it’s emotional blackmail. My daughter started going to home daycare(run by a navy wife from her home) at 6 weeks, and nursery school at 2. I was in the Navy and so was my husband and living in LA and then Guam and then San Diego we had no family to share childcare with. My daughter actually became less shy when she started nursery school as there were more fun activities, more kids to play with if she happened to not get along with one or two and she loved her teachers. When she started kindergarten at not quite 5 it was a breeze because she was used to the routine of school, and had learned to get along with other kids and cooperate/take turns. My daughter is 23 this week, healthy, happy and on her own.(with much continuing un-needed advice from me naturally!) Finally, a house is a big financial commitment and comes with a ton of additional expenses, from taxes to repairs and regular maintenance. Please don’t take that on unless you are really sure you want to, furnaces that stop working in mid-December and water heaters that leak all over your basement are no fun..neither are the bills for them.

    • Dr Kitty
      September 26, 2017 at 9:20 am #

      I think you should take some time to get some space now.
      Once your child is in school it really will be harder to move.

      If you think your daughter really is suffering you can move back, but most kids thrive with professional childcare.

      If it really meant that much to your mum, she could, presumably, travel to your new home?

      My parents live 25min drive from us and care for my kids one day a week.

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        September 26, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

        25 minutes is a pretty ordinary commute around here, especially if you’re a bus rider.

  5. attitude devant
    September 25, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

    I was a child during the war, and almost an adult when it ended, but I remember the news reports of the time. Watching the documentary has been shocking and sobering. I never realized the breadth and the systematic nature of the lies we were all fed.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      September 25, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

      I was born on the day that LBJ announced he was not running for reelection, so have not been aware of much that went on.

      The one thing I learned from the show is just how awful the South Vietnamese government was.

      Ultimately, the question started getting asked, “These are the guys we are supporting?”

      I realize that the enemy of your enemy is supposed to be your friend and all that, but this was a case of, no, they weren’t. Stop the spread of communism and prop up a completely awful government instead. But at least they weren’t communist, right?

      • attitude devant
        September 25, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

        The sheer tonnage of bombs, the destruction of farms, the deaths among Americans and locals… It’s staggering. And for what? To stop people from establishing the government THEY desired. My BIL was a POW and is affected daily by his experiences decades ago. And for what end?

  6. Vast
    September 25, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    Please don’t refer to autism as the result of a genetic DEFECT. It’s largely genetic, of course, but some autistic people like being autistic… and the DSM diagnoses autism so broadly that there are many autistic people for whom autism is more superpower than disability. I come from an autistic family, I’m autistic, and my son is autistic. None of us have a genetic defect.

    • Roadstergal
      September 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

      I agree. Autism can be severe and debilitating, but the spectrum is so large that it encompasses a vast number of people who are simply neurodiverse, in a way that pleases them and confers certain strengths.
      Aside from that, though, the piece is _very_ much on point.

      • adavis
        September 25, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

        A defect is defined as a shortcoming imperfection or lack.
        Anomaly is a close definition but I agree with her original use of the word defect. Nobody wants an autistic child, nobody dreams it. They want their child to be healthy and happy and they want their child to be normal… Or even above normal. Nobody sits around and Daydreams about their unborn child being autistic. It is a defect. I have many people in my family and friends who are autistic and I would describe all of them as not normal. None of them have super powers. Every single one of them needs something special in terms of schooling and caregiving. I think you might be confusing savant with autism. I’m not trying to be rude or hurt anybody’s feelings and I’m sure the skeptical OB wasn’t trying to hurt anybody’s feelings either.

        • MaineJen
          September 25, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

          Many people who are autistic are also “above average” in intelligence or other talents. It is not, universally, a defect. And I’m quite sure no one is confusing autism with savant.

          • adavis
            September 25, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

            Definitely not what we were taught in medical school. And based on Amy’s original article it’s not what she was taught either.
            I have never seen nor met or treated as an above-average autistic person. Generally if they are slightly above-average in one area it has been my experience they are extremely below-average im many more areas. Let me put it this way, anybody above-average in intelligence or talents that is also autistic is extremely low functioning.

          • Poogles
            September 25, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

            “Let me put it this way, anybody above-average in intelligence or talents that is also autistic is extremely low functioning.”
            Uh, no. Not even close. There are plenty of people with high-functioning autism (previously Asperger’s) who also have above-average intelligence.

          • adavis
            September 25, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

            Asperger Syndrome and high functioning autism (HFA) are often referred to as the same diagnosis. While they currently exist as two separate diagnoses, there is an ongoing debate about whether that is necessary.
            This debate is a result of the ever expanding definition of autism. There have been more cases diagnosed in recent years than in previous years. Some of that can be contributed to awareness but a lot of it is because the definition has gotten broader.
            Why do I need to repeat myself? Oh, it’s because some folks cannot admit that a “hot topic” such as autism is not normal. Otherwise there wouldn’t be statistics such as 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism. Or they are defending those with autism because they feel they need to. Because someone like me must be wrong and heartless of I too (original wording coming from Any) consider them lacking or to have shortcomings.
            So “(previously Asperger’s)” is not correct. Currently they either have Asperger’s or Autism the definition has not yet changed to merge the two.
            Furthermore there are plenty of high intelligent normal people it just like there are highly intelligent autistic people. What makes autistic people stand out as a defect is there any ability to do….XYZ.

          • Poogles
            September 25, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

            “So “(previously Asperger’s)” is not correct. Currently they either have Asperger’s or Autism the definition has not yet changed to merge the two. ”

            Yes, they did, in 2013.

            “One of the most significant changes is that the separate diagnostic labels of Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and PDD-NOS will be replaced by one umbrella term “Autism Spectrum Disorder.” –

          • adavis
            September 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

            There are three main differences between Asperger’s, as it is viewed, and autism. Compared with classic autism, people with Asperger’s have IQs that fall in the normal or even superior range. Those with autism typically have lower intelligence, as measured by standardized assessment measures.
            Speech is the second difference. People with autism do not typically develop the normal abilities to use sounds and language as means of communication, whereas the speech of those with Asperger’s is intact. They may not understand the subtleties of language, such as irony and humor, or understand the give-and-take nature of communication but their ability to speak is intact, whereas that is not the case in autism.
            The third difference is the age of detection. Typically, Asperger’s becomes noticeable when the child enters school and difficulties with socialization become apparent, whereas autism is generally observable by two years of age, even earlier, when persistent failure to engage with people is observable.

          • Poogles
            September 25, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

            You can sigh all you want and explain the differences between those who fall on the “high-functioning” end of the spectrum versus those that fall on the “low-functioning” end (which, BTW, I’m already aware of) – but the point remains that “Aspergers” is no longer it’s own diagnosis, so it’s meaningless to talk about “differences between Asperger’s, as it is viewed, and autism” BECAUSE IT IS *ALL* AUTISM.

          • savvy.sis72
            September 25, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

            I agree with adavis.
            Poogles you are a sore loser. And you don’t know how to back down. You’re acting like a troll. And the fact that you have to use caps and astrix show your immaturity. I agree with the Skeptical OB and I highly doubt she incorrectly wrote “defect” in her article. The general population including the owner of this blog and adavis see autism to be a defect. Sorry you can’t handle that.

          • Poogles
            September 25, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

            “Poogles you are a sore loser. And you don’t know how to back down. You’re acting like a troll.”

            I’m not a sore loser or any type of loser if I haven’t lost anything…

            And, no, I won’t back down to someone who keeps insisting on things that are not factual (such as Asperger’s being a separate diagnosis, or all people on the spectrum with above-average intelligence are “extremely low functioning”).

            Lastly, as a regular on this blog who is engaging in dialogue and not just shooting off my mouth in order to get a rise out of people, I am also not a troll.

            “And the fact that you have to use caps and astrix show your immaturity.”
            Or it shows that the person I am communicating with is apparently having trouble comprehending things the first time around, so when I have to repeat myself, I add emphasis.

          • adavis
            September 25, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

            Ha! Thank you Savvy.Sis!
            Your “emphasis” indeed shows your lack of maturity.
            To response to others. I do agree it’s not polite nor correct to call People defective but their genetics certainly can be.
            To Jen: nicely worded. You earned my respect and you didn’t have to use ALL CAPS to do it.

          • Betty Boop
            September 25, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

            You seem rather entitled. You are not the only regular on this blog. Stop acting like it.

          • fiftyfifty1
            September 25, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

            Betty Boop: sock puppet #2 to adavis.

          • Betty Boop
            September 25, 2017 at 8:12 pm #

            I couldn’t have possibly have been an active member during my first pregnancy? Way back when I was seeking truth about formula and breastfeeding? Back as a first time mom I had questions and opinions…but mostly questions. Heavens no…am i right?
            I am proud to say I am expecting my second son in November. I haven’t had the need to post anything in all these 7mos pregnant but still find her blog interesting all over again. I have formed my opinions and I have less questions this time around. I stopped reading and posting after my 1st born was about 6mo old. This autism bit caught my eye. Soooo sorry I spoke up for someone else.

          • adavis
            September 26, 2017 at 2:20 am #

            I think it’s flattering that you’d accused me of being a sock puppet. Thanks for the support and the morning boost. Have a happy Tuesday to all you regulars on here. My work here is done. Now off to regular work.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            September 26, 2017 at 9:21 am #

            You don’t know much about the internet, either. I deleted the posts from your sock puppets. I can see the IP addresses on the posts were exactly the same.

          • momofone
            September 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

            I love the irony of the sock puppets’ use on a post called “Lie to me!” 😀

          • kilda
            September 26, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

            i know, right? I also love the righteous indignation of the one sock puppet when he/she was accused of being a sock puppter. 😀

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            September 25, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

            No, poogles isn’t the only regular here. I am also and I’ve never seen you before. If you’re a long time lurker, you picked a strange first comment.

          • Amber B
            September 25, 2017 at 8:27 pm #

            How disrespectful. I have been a long time lurker and my first post was about 19 days ago regarding anti-vaxxers. So am I going to be accused as being a puppet? Would you consider this a strange moment? If you need the particular article where I commented I can supply that. Um like where have you been at during this entire conversation? Maybe I think it’s odd and strange this is your comment.
            So disrespectful. It a shame on you all. All. Of. You!
            You act as if Amy said a bad word. You act as if it’s the end of the world that someone agrees. You act as if the line between autism and Asperger’s is very clear. You act smug just like one of her articles. I expect next will be telling us how breast is best!!

          • Nick Sanders
            September 25, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

            It might help if you remembered to stay in the same account when responding, so you don’t give yourself away like that.

          • Nick Sanders
            September 25, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

            You act as if the line between autism and Asperger’s is very clear.

            Uh, no, that’s one of the main points of contention with what adavis is posting. Despite their claims, there is no line at all.

          • Nick Sanders
            September 25, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

            Who the heck are you?

          • September 25, 2017 at 10:18 pm #

            No, but many (if not most) of the regulars do agree with her. See: myself, Empress of the Iguana People, Dr. Kitty, and Roadstergal, among others. Poogles was defending herself from accusations of trolling- as a regular commenter who is not posting things just to piss people off, she is quite literally not trolling. That is the only context in which being a regular commenter was brought up, and it is appropriate.

          • Poogles
            September 25, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

            “The general population including the owner of this blog and adavis see autism to be a defect. Sorry you can’t handle that.”

            Actually, I have my doubts that Dr. Amy actually views autism as a “defect”, but I don’t speak for her, so maybe she does.

            Even is you are correct that “the general population” currently views autism as a defect – so what? It doesn’t mean that is the correct view. For quite awhile, being a homosexual was seen as being “defective” by the general population – didn’t make it true.

          • Jen
            September 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm #

            I’d have to agree with you on this one. I work with a lot of medical professionals. I think most are very hesitant to label something a “defect” as it’s not a medical term; rather an opinion or judgement about the condition. A patient might have arthritis, depression, a heart condition, etc. Whether or not any of these are defects would be entirely up to the patient to decide. That’s their interpretation of how the condition will impact them and how they view it for themselves.

          • Betty Boop
            September 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

            I don’t speak for the offensive “davis” but I didn’t read the comment where davis said it “is the correct view”for autism to be considered defective. That person simply meant that most people see it that way. Sadly I see them that way too. In no way did I read that at all but instead davis says “I love them and support them”.
            I am not a doctor nor a nurse. I do not work with medical professionals. The closest thing I have is my brother-in-law who is pediatric physician and has been for 40 years. I quickly reached out to him through Facebook Messenger.
            What I gathered is the diagnosis and definition of autism has appeared in his professional lifetime. That until recently Asperger’s and autism were very different. His professional opinion is that they shouldn’t be merged but rather can “overlap”. Again that’s just one doctor’s opinion and it certainly isn’t mine because I don’t know anything about it.
            He did agree that no person or patient should ever be considered defective. A part of that person can be, such as a defective liver.

          • Roadstergal
            September 25, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

            I call troll for adavis, and sock puppet for savvy.sis72. They’re just trying to pick a pointless fight about the existence of a spectrum.

          • mabelcruet
            September 26, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

            I’d take a bet on whether adavis is another nom-de-plume of SeeingClearly, or maybe a family member of said numpty. They share equally poor reasoning and comprehension skills.

          • Dr Kitty
            September 26, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

            I also had that thought.

            But SC was always open about being a teenager, while adavis claims to be a doctor, or at least a “medical professional” who attended “medical school” and “treated” people with ASD, even though they seem woefully behind the times on current diagnostic terminology.

          • mabelcruet
            September 26, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

            But a teenager masquerading as a physician and relying on dodgy websites on ASD/autism spectrum to inform his use of terminology and diagnostic criteria would struggle with using the vocabulary properly, it’s a complex area. I reckon adavis is 15 and a half, tops.

          • Dr Kitty
            September 26, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

            True…adavis really doesn’t write like a doctor (even the ones in my GP Facebook group who are usually ranting at 11pm after a glass or two of wine).

            Dr T knows all and sees all. I assume if adavis was SC she would have banned him as a sock.

            So… my guess is not SC, not a doctor and probably not a grown up, but probably male.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            September 29, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

            Random aside: I would pay very good money to read that Facebook group for the sheer hilarity involved. (And yes, I realize that’s got a snowball’s chance in hell of happening.)

          • Nick Sanders
            September 25, 2017 at 10:13 pm #


            Using DSM-IV, pa ents could be diagnosed with four separate disorders: au s c disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegra ve disorder, or the catch-all diagnosis of pervasive developmental dis- order not otherwise speci ed. Researchers found that these separate diagnoses were not consistently applied across di erent clinics and treatment centers. Anyone diagnosed with one of the four pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) from DSM-IV should s ll meet the criteria for ASD in DSM-5 or another, more accurate DSM-5 diagnosis.

          • StephanieJR
            September 26, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

            O hai there. Heard you were talking shit about people on the autism spectrum.

            The last person that tried that I drove half mad with Rabbit Facts.

            Honey, if you want a troll, you’ll get a troll. Don’t try me.

          • Dr Kitty
            September 25, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

            I have been trying to follow what you’re saying, but I honestly can’t.
            Your grammar and syntax make no sense and you seem to be contradicting yourself, repeatedly.

            “Anybody above- average in intelligence or talents that is also autistic is extremely low functioning”

            Yeah no.
            I have a relative on the spectrum, who has perfect pitch, speaks 8 languages, plays many musical instruments, does long division for fun and is married, with a good job. He’s socially unusual, but certainly able to navigate life perfectly adequately, has lots of friends who share his hobbies and beliefs seems very happy.

            GCHQ (the British NSA) is well known for being a neuro-diverse employer. Many of their IT specialists and cryptographers are on the spectrum, but I doubt that they’d make people who are unable to live independently party to national secrets.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            September 25, 2017 at 9:25 pm #

            Oh, it’s because some folks cannot admit that a “hot topic” such as autism is not normal. Otherwise there wouldn’t be statistics such as 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism.

            Um…what? “Oh, it’s because some folks cannot admit that a “hot topic” such as green eyes is not normal. Otherwise there wouldn’t be statistics such as 1 in 50 children are green eyed.”

            Or maybe some of us just like tracking demographics. Yeah, I know, I’m a fucking stereotype, but I do love statistics.

          • September 25, 2017 at 10:20 pm #

            Hell, I am not on the spectrum, and I love me some demographic data and statistics also! I think it’s easy to say that any non-mainstream interests must be because of being on the spectrum … when maybe, people just like what they like.

          • mabelcruet
            September 26, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

            I’m getting a distinct impression that adavis is either a nom-de-plume of SeeingClearly, or SeeingClearly’s father/friend, their views are remarkably similar and equally offensive.

            CoI-aunt of a young man who recently graduated with a 1st class honours degree from a Russell group university in aeronautical engineering and who was finally diagnosed as having autism at age 17-his parents and I had concerns for years about his behaviour but were told at age 7 that there was no way he could be autistic as he could talk. The medical profession, of which I am a member, still has a lot to learn when it comes to neuro atypicality.

          • Dr Kitty
            September 26, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

            Congratulations to the young man!
            I hope he has a long and happy career in his chosen field.

          • mabelcruet
            September 26, 2017 at 8:26 pm #

            He is starting his Masters this year-apparently you need a Masters as well as your primary degree to get into astronautical engineering, which is where he wants to go. We might have an astronaut-in-waiting in the family! The UK astronaut profession is a little limited, but he’s been obsessed with NASA since he was about 3 (he started out with tanks, but rapidly discovered space ships were more exciting!)

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            September 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

            Good for him!

          • fiftyfifty1
            September 25, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

            “Definitely not what we were taught in medical school.”

            Well it was what we were taught at my medical school. We were taught that Asperger’s (no longer an official dx, now lumped under autism) often consisted of a normal, or above average intelligence individual with moderate impairments in some other areas (NOT “extremely low functioning”.)

          • savvy.sis72
            September 25, 2017 at 6:01 pm #

            I think she(he?) intended the “extremely low functioning” for autism not Aspergers. That’s how I read it.
            I went to nursing school in the late 90s and that’s what I was taught.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            September 25, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

            Hi there. I am diagnosed with an ASD (specifically social communication (pragmatic) disorder). I do worse than average (for an autistic) on tests of determining emotion through facial expression. I’m also an MD board certified in a specialty and two sub-specialties, employed, and the author of 50 papers. Maybe high functioning autistics simply don’t come to your clinic or you don’t recognize them. It’s not really an elevator diagnosis, you know. Or maybe you don’t.

          • Nick Sanders
            September 25, 2017 at 10:02 pm #

            Get bent.

            An across the board intellectually above-average autistic

          • Linden
            September 26, 2017 at 7:20 am #

            S*d off, I’m sitting next to a principal engineer right now, who founded the last company I was in, and got bought up by a bigger one. If you have a half-decent smartphone, you’re carrying his ideas around in your pocket. He’s odd, he’s not always good with everyone, but he has my respect and my friendship.

          • MaineJen
            September 26, 2017 at 9:14 am #

            Wow. You are just awful.

        • Poogles
          September 25, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

          “They want their child to be healthy and happy and they want their child to be normal… Or even above normal. Nobody sits around and Daydreams about their unborn child being autistic. It is a defect.”

          Nobody sits around and daydreams about their unborn child being introverted, either, that doesn’t mean being introverted is a defect.

          “I have many people in my family and friends who are autistic and I would describe all of them as not normal. None of them have super powers. Every single one of them needs something special in terms of schooling and caregiving.”
          Many people would describe introverts as “not normal” and we have, indeed, been considered “abnormal/unhealthy” with extroverts being considered “normal/healthy”. Many introverts (especially those on the more introverted end of the spectrum) struggle in certain academic situations (group projects, class presentations etc.) and many social ones (including just being at school/daycare). None of this means being introverted is a defect.
          Obviously autism and introversion are not the same thing and so this is not a perfect analogy.

          • adavis
            September 25, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

            As a medical professional I can assure you that nobody assumes introverts are abnormal or unhealthy. That is a sad misconception you have in a very poor choice of analogy I agree.
            Sometimes introversion is a symptom of an underlying bigger problem such as autism. And by no means am I saying introversion equals autism or they are equally linked. I’m merely agreeing with you that your analogy is awful.

          • Poogles
            September 25, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

            “As a medical professional I can assure you that nobody assumes introverts are abnormal or unhealthy.”

            To be clear, I was referring to the past, not current medical thinking in America. This is from an article in 2010, not all that long ago:

            “For decades “introverted personality”and “introverted disorder of childhood” have been in the WHO’s manual—the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-9 CM) (link is external), and the APA is now considering a proposal to include introversion in the next edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5).The proposal would make introversion a contributing factor in diagnosing certain personality disorders.

            This takes us back thirty years, when the APA proposed adding the more blatantly pathologizing diagnosis, “introverted personality disorder,” to its manual.”


            “I’m merely agreeing with you that your analogy is awful.”
            Of course, I never said it was “awful” or even “very poor” just “not perfect” – though I have to wonder if you jumping from “not perfect” to “awful” and “very poor” speaks to an overarching bias of yours.

          • Poogles
            September 25, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

            “As a medical professional I can assure you that nobody assumes introverts are abnormal or unhealthy.”

            Of course, this says nothing of what individuals believe outside of the medical community, either. There are tons of people who assume that a person who is introverted is abnormal, that they need help to “come out of their shell”. There are plenty of parents of introverted children who wonder what is “wrong” with their child because their child prefers sitting alone in their room reading books than going out to play with the neighborhood kids.

          • Gæst
            September 25, 2017 at 10:46 pm #

            You can’t assure me that, though, because I saw a therapist just a few years ago who tried to convince me that my introversion was unhealthy. And I did not go back to see her, no indeed, but there are medical professionals like that out there.

          • kilda
            September 26, 2017 at 10:55 am #

            actually, having been through med school in the not too distant past, I can tell you that one of the worst things you can say on a med student evaluation for a clinical rotation is “quiet.” Not quite the same as introverted, but definitely something a lot of introverts get on their evals and it is considered the kiss of death.

            Bias against introverts is alive and well in the medical community.

          • Dr Kitty
            September 26, 2017 at 2:14 pm #

            We always need pathologists, radiologists, clinical biochemists, microbiologists and neurophysiologists, many of whom are perfectly lovely people who prefer their own company and have selected specialties that allow them to thrive in environments within their comfort zone.

            I do know of one person with ASD who was basically unsuited to any kind of patient contact. Without going into detail, by the time the medical school realised the scale of the problem, it was too late as they were already almost qualified and there would have been a disability discrimination lawsuit if they hadn’t graduated. They’d got by previously basically by learning scripts, but as soon as they were in a position where the scripts didn’t apply it all fell apart.

            They had a tailor made Foundation and SpecialistTraining programme which minimised patient contact and had a lot of extra supervision for the patient contact they had.
            They avoided major lawsuits or complaints and, I believe, now have a successful career as a radiologist, alone in a dark room looking at MRI images and picking up things everyone else misses.

          • mabelcruet
            September 26, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

            I’m a pathologist, an introvert and have major social anxiety. Whenever I do the Myer-Briggs thing I always come out as ISTJ and have done since age 18. I’m very happy giving a lecture in front of 300 people, but the thought of going to a dinner party with strangers present is enough to give me nightmares for a week. According to a psych friend of mine I have a specific social anxiety. I don’t consider it a defect or an anomaly-its not impacted my life too much, I just don’t accept invitations to parties or large gatherings. I much prefer to be more in control, and spending a prolonged time in the company of strangers is exhausting for me. I’m very happy hosting parties in my own home and inviting friends-its not people per se I dislike, its people I don’t know in an environment where I’m not in control, but I doubt anyone meeting me for the first time would pick up on that (most people’s reaction on me telling them I’m not a people person is ‘Yes you are!’)

          • Gæst
            September 26, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

            I guess it was for the best that I became the other kind of doctor, then.

          • Azuran
            September 26, 2017 at 9:18 pm #

            Indeed. We did do personality test at my vet school. About 75% of all the classes had introverted personalities. But those who where chosen to become interns and residents where overwhelmingly extroverted.

          • MassiveQuantitiesofPie
            September 28, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

            Bias against introverts is alive and well everywhere.

        • Roadstergal
          September 25, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

          “I think you might be confusing savant with autism.”

          I’m not. I know a fair number of people on the spectrum. There’s the severe end where you need assistance to get through life, and some folk I know who aren’t quite at that end struggle with some very specific day-to-day stuff. But most I know recognize the tradeoff that gives them their own particular strengths, and I think the greater acceptance of neurodiversity these days is helping with that.

          It’s definitely a problem is that too many parents go into parenting hoping and daydreaming and planning for a kid who’s just like X or Y, rather than accepting that they are bringing a new life into this world that is its own person with its own mind.

          You might have a kid who can only eat a fairly limited list of very specific foods, but has a helluva knack for programming (a pretty severe Asperger’s guy I know). Or who struggles with OCD but is great with strategic thinking (mild Asperger’s gal I know). Or is skilled at bioinformatics but bad in social situations (mild Asperger’s guy I know).

          • adavis
            September 25, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

            Asperger Syndrome and high functioning autism (HFA) are often referred to as the same diagnosis.
            While they currently exist as two separate diagnoses, there is an ongoing debate about whether that is necessary.
            So all of your examples are of high functioning autism with “super powers”. And I’m sure you’re not painting the full picture on each of these individuals autistic quirks. I’m sure you’re giving a very mild example because you want to seem correct?
            Bottom line is it is a defect. I have family members with this defect and it pains me to think about it that way. But I don’t go around living in a fantasy world about them either. I love them and I support them.

          • Roadstergal
            September 25, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

            “So all of your examples are of high functioning autism with “super powers”.”

            I never said anything about superpowers. I said that there are tradeoffs. Many of the advantages and deficits are the same sides of the coin that makes them different. And the folk I know welcome the advantages.

            I gave honest examples of people I know very well who have been officially diagnosed with Asperger’s, which is currently on the autism spectrum and would fall under the umbrella of the post. If this diagnosis changes, obviously the post and our comments would have to be revised, but as it stands, the post put them all under the same umbrella.

            I acknowledge the people on the severe end of the spectrum. You don’t seem to acknowledge the large numbers of people on the less severe end who do not think of themselves as defective, just different.

            They are the types who would most likely not see a ‘medical professional’ such as yourself who works with severe cases requiring inpatient treatment (I’m assuming that’s your field, since you brought it up as relevant?). The type that has been considered ‘odd’ or ‘eccentric’ or ‘touched’ in the past, before the spectrum was more widely understood.

          • Poogles
            September 25, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

            “Asperger Syndrome and high functioning autism (HFA) are often referred to as the same diagnosis. While they currently exist as two separate diagnoses, there is an ongoing debate about whether that is necessary. ”

            Wait, what? You do realize that “Asperger Syndrome” no longer exists as a separate diagnosis, right? It *all* falls under Autism Spectrum Disorder since 2013. If you’re not even aware of that, I have serious doubts about the rest of your “knowledge” regarding ASD.

        • momofone
          September 25, 2017 at 8:17 pm #

          Please define “normal”.

    • September 25, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

      Completely agree. Would the terminology “genetic anomaly” or “quirk of genetics” work out? That’s how my husband refers to his ADHD, which is a different neurodivergence.

      • Valerie
        September 25, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

        I was taught to use “genetic variant” to avoid value-laden terms like “defect” or even “mutation.”

        It’s just not respectful to use words like “defect” for people.

        • September 25, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

          I like genetic variant too. I agree that the word “defect” is not respectful at all when referring to people.

      • Dr Kitty
        September 26, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

        I like to say that my spine is “not the factory standard-issue”, or just “wonky”, but I’m personally fine with “person with a Neural tube defect” as a descriptor- because it’s not a value judgement about *me* as a person it’s a description of why my spine went wrong when I was an embryo.

        I would strongly object to being called “defective” however, which is a value judgement about *me* and, by implication, my worth.

        But this is my own personal opinion and I wouldn’t presume to speak for anyone else.

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