Yesterday, the administrator of the popular Facebook group "Asperger's Syndrome Awareness: Bryan and Friends," which has more than 260,000 likes, received a demand from a reader that the group be taken down, an offer to "slap the autism" out of them, and a recommendation that children with autism spectrum disorders be beaten with wooden spoons. The reader described parents who recognize the condition, and make allowances for children with autism, as "coddling" them. The admin described first possessing a belief that the reader was a troll, and that he did not actually hold such beliefs, until she "put the pieces together."
The Facebook admin, who identifies as a 23-year-old woman, described the "nonsense" surrounding the beliefs of people who beat children, and adults, to "near-death." She described the reader as a "monster," and held his views as an example of why she didn't accept her "diagnosis for years." The autist wrote that she has reported the incident, presumably to Facebook, but that she doesn't "expect anything to come out of it, sadly."
Wide range of symptoms among autists
One Facebook user observed that it sounds as though "the police might need to have a quiet word with him." PhD Lynette Fraga, with Care.com, states that "If you know one child with autism, you know one child with autism," addressing the wide range of symptoms and behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorders, which WebMD reports include Asperger's syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified, autistic disorder, and childhood disintegrative disorder.
Some people with autism, such as 33-year-old Sarah Stup from Frederick, Maryland, experience severe symptoms that result in uncontrollable physical motions, as well as an inability to speak. Despite not communicating until she was 8, Sarah Stup has become an acclaimed writer; one who has given testimony before a committee with the Maryland State Legislature with regard to Bill #475, which promoted the institutionalization of services from those with autism, over community-based care.
Others, such as professional surfer Clay Marzo, suffer less-severe physical challenges, but still suffer from involuntary hand movements, and social impairment. The 27-year-old, who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome in 2007, is sponsored by a number of sporting goods firms, is world famous in the surfing community, and has appeared in countless media productions. In 2005, Marzo won the National Scholastic Surfing Association's Open Men's title.
Parents: learn to anticipate, and avoid, situations that precede meltdowns
The author of "Parenting Girls on the Autism Spectrum," Eileen Riley-Hall, has suggested that, instead of adopting a reactive, physical punishment-based strategy to curb autistic meltdowns in children, which is something that absolutely must be put in place for children who experience them, parents learn to recognize situations where their children are likely to meltdown, and avoid them. For some parents, Riley-Hall observes a difficulty accepting that changes to suit the needs of a child with autism are a necessary part of these plans, with some telling her things like, "Well, we're going to Six Flags for the day." The author reports guiding parents' thinking, telling them, "Well, you might not be able to that."
The most serious aggressive and self-harming behavior associated with autism can include hitting, punching, biting, and worse. Mother to a child with an ASD, Shannon Des Roches Rosa, recommends "data tracking," including keeping "scrupulous notes," over a period of years. Environmental factors such as changes in barometric pressure, and seasonal changes, among a host of others, have been identified preceding periods of aggressive behavior in people with autism, and can be especially valuable clues for those caring for autists who are unable to communicate verbally. #Asperger Syndrome