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Friday, June 02, 2006

On Autism

I would just want to share my thoughts on the most recent (maybe 2006 June) TIME Magazine articles regarding New Discoveries on Autism. There are at least three articles on this topic, and it stirred some ideas after reading them this morning.

First, that there are neurological and chemical considerations for autism that primarily explain all the repetitive behaviors and difficulty communicating with others and their onset, the learning many of them seem capable of when their school does "some science" in the process; and lastly, that there seems needed still a long process before we can fully overcome this Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD.

The "wiring" process is something we discuss in my Psychology I class. Hence, the connectivity there is in the brain and its seeming disparity observed among autistic children lends some clarity. Actually, the wiring process seems attended to by one's environment, such that whatever infants go through in the outside world becomes simulated in "brain terms," i.e., there are spots in the brain "intended" for any particular part of the body, e.g., vision, audition, kinesthetics, olfaction, and gustation, thus making it possible for the child to "master" these functions they will apply in later life. The problem thus seems to become that of the outside world "failing" to stimulate the child. However, the article further admits to findings about certain chemicals involved with vaccines given to children which may contribute to the onset of autism. These "chemicals" may have a "wounding" ability that may complicate the wiring process. Already from these observations, it may still be safe to really go back to the monkeys: Mother mokeys never give their babies to the care of others. Maybe the study on autism may go into querying the type of parenting given to the child, including the possibility of absentee working and stressed mothers and fathers. Already, this hints on an assumption that indeed the environment may have so much to contribute to autism and perhaps its cure or prevention.

What saddened me in the article was the "difficulties" austistic children go through in terms of communicating with the "outside" world. When there seems no connection inside the brain, the coordinating center of the human body, as well as the possibility that their brains are structurally anxiety-producing, or even making them unable to "know" where their heads are - hence the need to bang the head just to make the pain instant or spark something inside - whah, isn't this too much!. Where is the human spirit in the child that craves to reach out? Well, again, if the environment has not been quite "inviting", spurring the development process in the brain, there it is: in the dark, hopefully simply asleep until those around awaken them with their warm love. There your monkey goes again: always there for the baby monkey until whatever is learned has been achieved and the young monkey claims its autonomy.

The "long process" may yet be shortened (just thinking aloud) if we in the environment realize that each child is God's gift to us, someone who is bound to complete its mission with our assistance, and that our presence may really be essential to their normal development. This may make us "like monkeys" and maybe stop those using any chemical that may be the culprit in autistic onset to find other ways than simply put them in the vaccines.

These thoughts may not be "scientific" and at best still hypothetical, but somehow, maybe we need to go back again to the basics of human living: there is in us some force that wants the whole species to continue by active caring for its offspring.

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