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Autism Outreach Group Excludes Low Functioning, Severely Autistic Persons

Posted Jan 11 2010 3:38am
A group of persons with autism spectrum disorders has been formed in the Tri-Cities Washington area but membership is for persons with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers disorders. Low functioning, severely autistic persons are not included in the group. In  New group forms for high-functioning autistic Tri-Citians  The News Tribune reports on the founding of the  Three Rivers Autistic Outreach a social group for persons with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers:

""   Ellen, whose autistic diagnosis is pervasive atypical development disorder, is a high school and college graduate and trained as a paralegal.

Meier learned of her Asperger's condition a few years ago when her husband suggested she be tested for autism.

But when Meier and Ellen became acquainted after meeting at an autism picnic, the social connection clicked.

"It's a very isolating condition," said Ellen. But once people with autism who are high-functioning link up socially, their lives have a new dimension.

"We have a unique understanding, we laugh together. We don't notice the twitches. We can just be ourselves," she said.

"Without having people look at you funny," Peters added.

Another reason Peters formed the peer group is that plenty of support can be found for young autistic children, but there isn't much for autistic young adults, particularly high-functioning people.

"The high end (of autism) gets ignored. You can't find others so easily," Peters said.

I do not intend this commentary as a criticism of the members of this group with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers Disorder. To the contrary,  I applaud their common sense and honesty in describing themselves accurately as a group for High Functioning members of the autism spectrum.

I wish the same accuracy, common sense and honesty would be displayed by the brilliant members of the ASAN Board of Directors all of whom are persons with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers.  In the same vein I wish the high powered mainstream media  that dotes on Obama disability appointee Ari Ne'eman would understand that while  Mr. Ne'eman would undoubtedly fit in at gatherings of the Three Rivers Autistic Outreach my son with severe Autistic Disorder  will never be able to function in such a setting.

The DSM re-designers would be well advised to consider a clear demarcation in the DSM V between those with low functioning, severe Autistic Disorder, including the 75-80% who are cognitively impaired, on one side and High Functioning Autism and Aspergers Disorder on the other side.  It is a divide acknowledged openly and honestly by the Three Rivers Autistic Outreach group. It is a divide which exists on, but is not openly acknowledged by .the ASAN "Autistic Self Advocacy Network"  Board of Directors.

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