Issue 6

The New Idealist VS The Daily Mail

Whats the Daily Mail done now

Note: This article was originally published in August 2014 at The Intelligent Review.

Continuing our coverage of the controversies surrounding the Daily Mail, TheIntelligentReview looks at why the paper thinks it can publish stories which could potentially inflame religious tensions or invade privacy without consequence.

As mentioned elsewhere on this site, TheIntelligentReview shares an editorial team with The New Idealist magazine and this post is written by the Editor of The New Idealist.

The next issue of The New Idealist looks at Autism, literally. It’s called ‘The Autism Issue’ and you can read the issue preview here.

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Issue 6 Online Extra Autism The Clinical View: What is Autism by Kim Painter, Ph.D.

This article is a companion piece to The New Idealist Issue Six: The Autism Issue which you can download here.

Please note: This article was originally published in The New Idealist section of The Intelligent Review site in August 2014 before being transferred to this new site in July 2015.

Whilst some of the terminology of this article may cause distress to some autistic readers, please be aware this article has been included as the author makes some relevant points about autism in the workplace and the importance of non-autistic people taking the time to understand autistic people. We are also publishing it in order to highlight the ‘autism as a disorder and deficit’ approach of the clinical community. As The Autism Issue challenges this view, it is important this article is read in conjunction with the full issue here.

What is Autism by Kim Painter, Ph.D.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and interaction.  The hallmark symptom of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lack of reciprocity in interactions with others.  The vast majority of individuals with ASDs want to interact with others but lack the skills to effectively navigate social situations.

Each person on the spectrum has specific strengths and weaknesses.  Some may be very verbal while others may have little understandable speech.  Much of our communication with one another is non-verbal, and those with ASDs often misinterpret social situations and may over-attend to content, missing the social nuances occurring.

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Issue 6 Online Extra Autism The Clinical View: What is Autism by Dr. Sarah Cassidy

This article is a companion piece to The New Idealist Issue Six: The Autism Issue which you can download here.

Please note: This article was originally published in The New Idealist section of The Intelligent Review site in August 2014 before being transferred to this new site in July 2015.

Whilst some of the terminology of this article may cause distress to some autistic readers, please be aware this article has been included because the author makes some relevant points about the diagnosis process and has published some research which is covered in the main issue (P10 An analysis of the diagnostic process at the CLASS clinic). We are also publishing it in order to highlight the ‘autism as a disorder and deficit’ approach of the clinical community. As The Autism Issue challenges this view, it is important this article is read in conjunction with the full issue here.

What is Autism? by Dr. Sarah Cassidy

Approximately 1% of the population (around 700 000 individuals in the UK), are living with an autism spectrum condition. Autism spectrum conditions affect development of the brain and behavior. People with autism have marked difficulties in relating to and communicating with others, and may, for example, struggle to maintain peer relationships or hold a conversation.  They also show repetitive behaviours, or a narrow range of obsessive interests.  This may involve memorizing and discussing details and facts about a particular topic to the exclusion of other activities, having to take a particular route each day to school, or having to follow a set routine.

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Issue 6 Online Extra Autism The Clinical View: A Tsunami of Need By Ernst VanBergeijk, Ph.D.

Ernst Vanbergeijk.  Photo by Ari Mintz.  3/25/2011.
Ernst Vanbergeijk. Photo by Ari Mintz. 3/25/2011.

This article is a companion piece to The New Idealist Issue Six: The Autism Issue which you can download here.

Please note: This article was originally published in The New Idealist section of The Intelligent Review site in August 2014 before being transferred to this new site in July 2015.

Whilst some of the terminology of this article may cause distress to some autistic readers, please be aware this article has been included because the author makes some interesting points about soft skills training, work and education support for autistic students. We are also publishing it in order to highlight the ‘autism as a disorder and deficit’ approach of the clinical community. As The Autism Issue challenges this view, it is important this article is read in conjunction with the full issue here.

A Tsunami of Need By Ernst VanBergeijk, Ph.D., M.S.W.

With the advent of the DSM-IV in 1994, mental health practitioners and educators began to become aware of the pervasive developmental disorders which included autistic disorder and Asperger syndrome among other disorders. Autism was once considered a relatively uncommon disorder with approximately 1 out of every 10,000 children having such a diagnosis. Over the subsequent decades professionals have gotten better training and more readily recognize autism as a spectrum disorder affecting  1 out of every 68 children in the United States.

Our efforts have concentrated upon early diagnosis and intervention with empirically based interventions. In turn this has led to better outcomes for children on the autism spectrum. Just a generation ago the parents of children on the autism spectrum were told by experts to relegate their children to the care of large mental health institutions with no hope of an independent life outside the four walls of a state run hospital. Now, thanks to early intervention with research based techniques, these children and their families have hopes and dreams of college, work and an independent life.

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Issue 6 Online Extra Autism The Autistic View: Discourse and disposition: exploring the concepts of autism and neurodiversity By Damian E M Milton

This article is a companion piece to The New Idealist Issue Six: The Autism Issue which you can download here.

Please note: This article was originally published in The New Idealist section of The Intelligent Review site in August 2014 before being transferred to this new site in July 2015.

It would not be possible in this short article to give an overview of the myriad of ways in which autism has been conceptualised since it first entered into the clinical lexicon.  Instead, a reflection regarding some of the most significant schisms in how autism has come to be defined and conceptualised will be given.

“Extremes of any combination come to be seen as ‘psychiatric deviance’. In the argument presented here, where disorder begins is entirely down to social convention, and where one decides to draw the line across the spectrum.” (Milton, 1999 – spectrum referring to the ‘human spectrum of dispositional diversity’).

In 2005 my son was diagnosed as autistic with severe learning difficulties.  As I began to research what was said about this label, I found myself rejecting most of what was said as not being applicable.  It was not until I read the work of others within what could be called the ‘neurodiversity movement’ (notably Jim Sinclair, Claire Sainsbury, Amanda Baggs, Dinah Murray, and Larry Arnold), that I realised that this was what I had always been trying to conceptualise when I was a student many years prior.  I was diagnosed myself in 2009 at the age of thirty-six.

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Issue 6 Online Extra Autism The Autistic View: The Strengths of Autism By Michael Barton

Michael Barton
Michael Barton

This article is a companion piece to The New Idealist Issue Six: The Autism Issue which you can download here.

Please note: This article was originally published in The New Idealist section of The Intelligent Review site in August 2014 before being transferred to this new site in July 2015.

When you hear the word “autism”, what do you immediately think of? A child playing on their own in the corner, lining up trains?  A train spotter, maybe? What about that computer geek, or Rain Man memorising 6 packs of cards? Autism is generally perceived as being negative, but it need not be. Think of how the world of Physics was changed by Einstein and Newton, both of whom exhibited autistic traits.

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Issue 6 Online Extra Autism The Clinical View: A Conversation with Jonathan Green: The ‘Other’ British Autism Academic

Jonathan Green
Jonathan Green

This article is a companion piece to The New Idealist Issue Six: The Autism Issue which you can download here.

Please note: This article was originally published in The New Idealist section of The Intelligent Review site in August 2014 before being transferred to this new site in July 2015.

Jonathan Green is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Manchester. Jonathan co-led the UK’s first study into ICD Asperger Syndrome and recently published a paper [1], which followed up on data from the international “Autism Genome Project” [2] part-funded by the controversial organisation ‘Autism Speaks’. The New Idealist talk to Jonathan to find out more:

Can you tell us about the findings of your most recent research paper?

Yes, I wouldn’t say I’m….I mean I’m a co-author on that, but not the main author. So that’s a genetic paper and I’m not a geneticist so if you want to highlight that work I’m not the most authoritative person to talk about it. [after some discussion Jonathan then agrees to provide a synopsis of the paper he co-authored].

Basically, the search for the genetic basis of autism has been a really complicated thing which has been going on now for 15 years’ or more, and while we started off thinking that…there’s no question that autism is a highly heritable genetic disorder in some way…that’s where it started, that’s where we start from, exactly how is the question.

so probably there are now around 1,000 genes that have been potentially associated with autism.

We started off with the idea that there were a limited number of genes that were probably responsible, but as the work has gone on the number of potential genetic influences has spiralled and increased hugely, so probably there are now around 1,000 genes that have been potentially associated with autism.

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Issue 6 Online Extra Autism: The Clinical View with Stan Lapidus, CEO of SynapDx Corp

Stan Lapidus
Stan Lapidus

This article is a companion piece to The New Idealist Issue Six: The Autism Issue which you can download here.

Please note: This article was originally published in The New Idealist section of The Intelligent Review site in August 2014 before being transferred to this new site in July 2015.

Stanley (Stan) Lapidus is a life-science entrepreneur and inventor who was recently inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows, in recognition of Stan’s contributions in the field of biomedical engineering (Stan has previously pioneered new technology in PAP tests for cervical cancer screening and developed a non-invasive, DNA-based screening test for colorectal cancer). Stan holds academic appointments at Tufts and MIT and is now turning his attention to Autism screening as founder of the US-based SynapDx Corp, which is currently running the industry’s largest prospective, multi-site autism clinical study to evaluate its new blood test designed to help doctors identify children with autism at a younger age. The New Idealist spoke to Stan to find out more.

On moving into Autism Research

The things that I look for, both as a scientifically curious guy and as an entrepreneur, are problems in medicine that are clinically important and scientifically overlooked. At this point, the number of really smart people cracking problems in cancer makes it really hard to come up with “Aha! I see something that others don’t”. It was true for the work we work we did with the pap smear, it was true for the work we did with colon cancer, but my curiosity started ranging more broadly and I got introduced – it was actually 2009 when we started the company – got introduced to autism by, it was actually a colleague, a professional colleague who simply asked me: “Stan, have you ever looked at the diagnosis of autism?”

a professional colleague who simply asked me: “Stan, have you ever looked at the diagnosis of autism?”

I had not and, in a night’s reading, I leaned a number of things that lit me up, again, both as a curious guy and as an entrepreneur. And they were the prevalence of autism, the impact it has on families, and the benefit of early detection… This is a disorder, as prevalent as it is, that was, and still largely is, invisible in American society.

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Issue 6 Online Extra Autism The Clinical View: Simon Baron-Cohen on not taking his own AQ Test & His views on Prenatal Screening for Autism

This article is a companion piece to The New Idealist Issue Six: The Autism Issue which you can download here.

Please note: This article was originally published in The New Idealist section of The Intelligent Review site in August 2014 before being transferred to this new site in July 2015.

This article follows on from the interview with Simon Baron-Cohen in the issue and includes Simon’s comments on his AQ Test as well as his written clarification of his views on prenatal screening for autism.

Simon on not taking his own Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Test

Simon and his colleagues at Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre created the Autism Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. Simon uses this test as part of the screening process for referrals to his CLASS Diagnostic Centre for autistic adults. It is also used up and down the country by medical health professionals and adult Asperger’s support groups to identify those appropriate for a full diagnosis.

The test was recently featured on Channel 4’s ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ programme and (ignoring the somewhat dubious programme title), the online results show over 500,000 have completed the test. In short it’s the ‘industry standard’ initial screening test for those suspected of being autistic, so The New Idealist asked Simon about it.

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