28 July 2008

Savage Autism Quote

I'll tell you what autism is, In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot.

-Michael Savage, right wing radio host July, 16th.

...I can't believe shows like this have listeners.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you, but I do have to say that I have a close friend whose child has an autism spectrum disorder. This kid is bright and functions in a typical high school classroom with absolutely no behavior problems. But when he is not in school, he is a menace. He touches people inappropriately, insists his mother spend all her attention on him, and disorders other people's homes. We had to put special locks on our doors for when they visit, and we put away all tech gadgets. His parents behave as if the rest of us should simply understand that he's going to destroy our belongings, leave our doors open, put his hands inside our shirts, and interrupt conversations to make sure his mother's attention is focussed only on him. They were offended by the installation of our special locks and by the fact we don't want him using our computers.

CityKin said...

I have never experience that kind of behavior. I do however know several boys who are non-verbal, self stimulating and obviously autistic. It is not an imagined illness, I assure you. In fact, ignoring it is the worst thing a parent can do if they suspect.

Unknown said...

People listen to shows like this so they can feel sanctimonious and self righteous while they stand by and do nothing about any societal problems.

CityKin said...

Anonymous, you may want to recommend an ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) book to the friend. The method is most effective at younger ages, but has shown success with school age children as well. I'm not so sure the behaviors you describe fit in the autistic spectrum however. I agree that the behaviors described are inapropriate and can and should be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Oh, he's autistic, all right. And no, it's definitely not imaginary. His teachers don't need to use behavioral interventions with him because he does what is expected of him in school. It's just when he's under his parents' care that he causes problems, and I do believe it's their unwillingness to demand he behave that is the issue here. I pulled his hand out of the back of my shirt one day and told him he was not to do that again because I didn't like it, and he stopped. I believe he honestly didn't know that it was unacceptable behavior. He doesn't generalize well, so while he knew he wasn't allowed to do that in school, because he'd never been told that it wasn't allowed in other places, he didn't know. But my friends were very upset with me. It feels like a criticism of =you= when someone corrects your child in front of you. But I just couldn't stand to sit there at the table with his hand down the back of my shirt any longer and his parents behaving as if my not liking it was my problem rather than theirs. Please understand that I'm not agreeing with Savage -- he's an idiot. But some parents do go too far in the direction of thinking that "Well, he's autistic, so we have to accept anything and everything from him because he doesn't understand that's not acceptable." No, we don't. We have to let him know what's acceptable and then take the time to let him know again when he doesn't understand, and then again if necessary. We don't just sit there having a conversation while our six-foot son puts his hand down a woman's shirt, or when he takes all the glasses out of the cupboard and fills them to the rim with milk and leaves them on the counter because he 'likes full glasses." I like my friends. I want to see them. But having them visit is becoming more and more difficult as this kid approaches adulthood -- and adult size -- without having been expected to demonstrate any conformance whatsoever with social expectations. I understand that he doesn't understand WHY he can't do these things. But he's absolutely capable of understanding that he can't do them.

Anonymous said...

Re: whether the behaviors are autism spectrum disorders -- they are. He likes to put his hand down the backs of women's shirts because the short downy hairs on a woman's back feel like velvet to him. He just wants to rub the hairs. He doesn't mean any harm by it. He just doesn't pick up on the social signals that he's making her very, very uncomfortable, the more so because he's now MUCH bigger than she is. I actually am very worried about him on that issue in particular -- he just can't go around putting his hand down women's shirts as he starts to become a grown man. He is probably capable of living at least semi-independently someday, but this kind of gap in his training/education/socialization (for want of the right word) is likely to prevent that if it's not dealt with at some point. But his folks just won't deal with it and get very upset if anyone else does. It's gotten to the point they don't get invited places by very many people. We'll stick by them, but it does get harder every time because he's getting BIG.

Anonymous said...

anonymous, sadly, it sounds like your friends may not be receptive to this advice, but if they live in Hamilton County they can get FREE behavioral services, for as long as they need them, from C.I.T.E. (What does that acronym stand for, I'm not sure. Something like "Community Integrated Training and Education." Whatever, I digress.) This nonprofit works with families of individuals with developmental disabilities and they are very, very good at what they do.

They will work on whatever issues the families have -- from toilet training for the younger (and not so younger) ones, sleep and eating issues, and so on, in the home or other environment(s) where the problem behavior occurs.

Not understanding the concept of personal space is a classic autistic behavior. Believe me, C.I.T.E. has seen everything your friends' kid does before, and has sucessfully changed those behaviors.

There are also professionals in private practice who do this sort of behavioral training in the home and community, but they are very expensive -- about $100 an hour the last I looked.

The catch for getting C.I.T.E. services is, families have to sign-up with MR/DD (which pays for C.I.T.E.) and then wait a year or two on the C.I.T.E. waiting list. But your friends should probably enroll their kid in the MR/DD system anyway, to make sure he gets the services he'll need when he finishes school. Yes, it's a big pain to do so, with lots of paperwork, meetings and hoops to jump through. But then you're in line for the programs that provide job coaches, supervised living situtations, etc.

You are very right to be concerned. If this kid's behavior doesn't change, he could very well end up in jail (and he wouldn't be the first person with his set of issues to be in jail, either).

C.I.T.E. contact info:
619-2945 or
Sally Kilcoyne, Intake Coord. and Community Liasion skilcoyne@rhcorp.org
(they used to let you sign up for the waiting list before you started the MR/DD process, don't know if they still do).

MR/DD contact info:

Next meetings of Autism Society support group for Families with members with Asperger's/High-functionng Autism:
Thursday, August 14th & September 11th, kenwood Baptist Church (near the mall), 7:00 or 7:30, sorry I forget which. Try the Autism Society site, www.autismcincy.org

Good luck!

Blue Ash Mom/another autism parent

Anonymous said...

On second thought, that MR/DD number, that I got from the "Families with ASD" 2007 Directory, looks wrong to me. I have the main switchboard number in my rolodex as 794-3300. Well, whatever you call, you'll probably be faced with one of those trees, being put on hold and having to leave lots of voice mails (see above, jumping through hoops).

Blue Ash Mom

Anonymous said...

Dr. Savage is a conservative, but he's certainly no right-wing rah-rah guy like Hannity or Limbaugh.

While I certainly don't agree with the quote in the solitary context it is being presented in, I do believe far too many parents and doctors are willing to tag a child as ADD or ADHD. While these are very different from autism, the truth about the over-diagnosis of American citizens (regardless of age) has yet to be exposed.

Modern liberals prefer the idea of these types of "crutches" in order to foster the idea of more government services, making themselves feel superior in "helping" their fellow citizens -- when in reality they are doing the exact opposite.

I'd much prefer listening to 3 hours of Michael Savage rather than a minute's worth of Obama, Pelosi, or Reid.

Anonymous said...

Blue Ash Mom, yes, unfortunately, they don't see these things as problems. They're just part of him, and we who love him need to understand and accept. If we can't understand and accept, there's something wrong with us. These are highly educated people living in a top school district who know exactly what resources are out there, can easily afford anything that isn't covered by insurance or provided by agencies, and are open to using those resources if they see the need. They simply don't see the need. They don't see this behavior as a problem. Or, rather, they see it as other people's problem: bigotry against those with disabilities.

CityKin said...

"... too many parents and doctors are willing to tag a child as ADD or ADHD. While these are very different from autism, the truth about the over-diagnosis of American citizens (regardless of age) has yet to be exposed."

No kidding they are different. They are not even related. Why even mention ADHD? I probably agree that ADHD is over-diagnosed. Your argument has nothing whatsoever to do with Autism. I definitely do not think Autism is being over-diagnosed, and early, agressive treatment should be increased. You and Savage are speaking out of ignorance on the subject.

Anonymous said...

"You and Savage are speaking out of ignorance on the subject."

Hardly. Both my nephew and my wife's niece have been diagnosed as autistic. In my nephew's case, his mother emphasized what he couldn't do because of it; my brother fought (and won) custody because he believes in what his son can do.

Autistic children are still children -- they need boundaries and goals -- often these help more (or as much as) prescription medicine.

CityKin said...

What you call boundaries and goals maybe could be translated to Behavior Modification, which I agree is the best treatment. Diets and medicine do not help IMO. Maybe we are on the same page here, although I am not sure what it has to do with Obama, Pelosi or Reid.

Anonymous said...

We pretty much are on the same page about autistic children.

It's the beat-down of Savage (who's actual name is Michael Alan Weiner) that I don't agree with. I'm guessing most liberals would rather not listen to his radio show E-V-E-R, but when you do, you learn that he's not a right-wing rah-rah fanatic (aka Hannity and Limbaugh), and that he often has some thoughtful commentary.

The quote in question is not the best example of that (obviously), but I bet if you'd listen to an entire 3 hours, you might actually find the reality is much different than the perception.

Anonymous said...

Not many people want to believe it, but a big reason we get so many more "diagnosed" cases of autism and ADHD/ADD is that the parents get $$$ from Social Security. A second reason is, any bad symptoms can be explained away without any parental obligation to intervene, and those subjected to it are made to feel that they are the problem. Don't believe it? Go visit any suburban school district, talk to some of the teachers. You'll get an earful.

CityKin said...

I really don't think you could get an autism diagnosis unless it was real. I've visited the doctors, and seen the testing firsthand and they are objective and scientific.

ADHD maybe, I don't know much about that. I'm not sure why people here keep pairing ADHD with Autism. They are distinct diagnosis, and this post is about autism only.

Anonymous said...

"the parents get $$$ from social security" -- Really? Have you been stealing our checks? 'Cause we've never gotten one.

Having a kid with a disability is enormously expensive. Most interventions/therapies, like ABA, speech therapy, OT and PT, etc., are rarely even partially covered by private insurance or any other source. C.I.T.E. is the only free service I've come across in seven years.

Then there are the "opportunity costs" of the things families often end up doing -- like taking part-time jobs instead of full-time ones because taking care of a kid with a disability can be enormously time-consuming, or like deciding to be house-poor in order to be in a school district that can provide comprehensive services.

So, even if we all did get this mythical SS $$$$, I doubt any of us would even break even.

And speaking of teachers from suburban school districts, my kid's teachers seem most pained by parents who won't get their kids diagnosed because they're in denial or imagine doing so will stigmatize their kids. It frustrates the teachers no end that they can't be part of getting those kids all the help they need and it makes their jobs much, much harder.

Blue Ash Mom

P.S. to the first anonymous, my sympathies to you in dealing with your friends and their son.

CityKin said...

Thanks for the comments. I didn't realize that this subject would be so controversial. I may have to do some follow up posts on Autism and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment etc..

Unknown said...

Jenny McCarthy had a response to Savage's comments:

Jenny, alongside the many others who have had their lives impacted by autism, was appalled by the statement. What would she like to happen? “I think a great way for an apology is to be sat down and educated about it,” Jenny said. “I’d love to just quietly [sit down with him and] educate him on the facts. It was clear he doesn’t know anything about autism”

Read more on Causecast.org:

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