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Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:10 am UTC
by maxh
Source
Yes, yes, it's Faux News, now shush.

Per autistic person, this is almost $10k a year. I wonder if they'll offer lump sum payment.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:40 am UTC
by TheAmazingRando
the article wrote:1 in 110 – a full one percent
I already hate this article and I'm only one sentence in.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:43 am UTC
by sourmìlk
maxh wrote:Source
Yes, yes, it's Faux News, now shush.

Per autistic person, this is almost $10k a year. I wonder if they'll offer lump sum payment.


Okay, I think I found the problem. They're treating people with asperger's syndrome as though they'll require the same care as the rest of the people on the autism spectrum. I'd imagine that when you factor out high functioning autistics, the numbers are _way_ less than 1 person in 110.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:45 am UTC
by hanecter
Think we could refrain from defining a person with autism by their condition? My brother is not an autistic. He is a person. A person who happens to have been diagnosed with autism.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:11 am UTC
by sourmìlk
hanecter wrote:Think we could refrain from defining a person with autism by their condition? My brother is not an autistic. He is a person. A person who happens to have been diagnosed with autism.

Have we been doing this? And for the purposes of this discussion I think it's necessary to make those classifications. As a person with high functioning autism, I can assure you that at least I'm not offended.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:16 am UTC
by Glass Fractal
hanecter wrote:Think we could refrain from defining a person with autism by their condition? My brother is not an autistic. He is a person. A person who happens to have been diagnosed with autism.


Unfortunately there is no good rule of thumb with autism. People very close to the issue have widely varying opinions.

I (an aspie) always saw "person with autism" as demeaning. Autistic is descriptive like sad, tall, charismatic. While person with autism make the judgment that it is an affliction or problem that must be fixed, like a person with a tumor. I suspect, however, that the preference for the term autistic comes from people with much milder problems.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:19 am UTC
by VMhent
Despite the actual veracity of the article, yeah, autism is a huge problem that's on the rise. Psychiatrists don't know why. My father, a child psychiatrist whose current work involves treating very low-functioning autistic children, thinks that it's about environmental toxins. Granted, he doesn't really have any evidence. What do you think, fora? Why is autism on the rise? Is it those damn mind-control flu vaccines? :P

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:23 am UTC
by mmmcannibalism
VMhent wrote:Despite the actual veracity of the article, yeah, autism is a huge problem that's on the rise. Psychiatrists don't know why. My father, a child psychiatrist whose current work involves treating very low-functioning autistic children, thinks that it's about environmental toxins. Granted, he doesn't really have any evidence. What do you think, fora? Why is autism on the rise? Is it those damn mind-control flu vaccines? :P


Chem trails, definitely chem trails.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:31 am UTC
by Triangle_Man
Personally, I blame waves sent from the planet Mars for this issue. Clearly this is another reason why we should go to war with them.

In all seriousness, thought, I guess we can't be sure why the figures are rising; maybe it's some kind of toxin in the atmosphere or whatnot.

However, we can see that the costs of looking after Autistic population is...rather high. Are there any treatments available?

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:39 am UTC
by mmmcannibalism
Actually, does an environmental cause actually make sense? That is, is there anything new that would be an explanation over 30 years ago?

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:56 am UTC
by sourmìlk
Glass Fractal wrote:
hanecter wrote:Think we could refrain from defining a person with autism by their condition? My brother is not an autistic. He is a person. A person who happens to have been diagnosed with autism.


Unfortunately there is no good rule of thumb with autism. People very close to the issue have widely varying opinions.

I (an aspie) always saw "person with autism" as demeaning. Autistic is descriptive like sad, tall, charismatic. While person with autism make the judgment that it is an affliction or problem that must be fixed, like a person with a tumor. I suspect, however, that the preference for the term autistic comes from people with much milder problems.


So, if "person with autism" is demeaning, then how do I refer to somebody afflicted with autism in such a way that I also reference his disorder?

Also: autism isn't actually on the rise. The numbers make it look as though it is because we recently reclassified autism to include a spectrum of disorders. Thus, people like McCarthy concluded that "autism is on the rise, and also vaccines have mercury! There is a correlation, thus there must be a causation!"

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:07 am UTC
by Minerva
But is it really rising at all? It's just better awareness and understanding, and more diagnosis labeled as autism.

Over the last few decades, as pediatric diagnoses of autism (actual classical autism, as opposed to high-functioning autism-spectrum or Asperger's syndrome) have gone up, pediatric diagnoses of "mental retardation" have gone down commensurately.

Furthermore, in the past, before a couple of decades ago, people with what we would now diagnose as high-functioning autism-spectrum or with Asperger's syndrome were not "diagnosed" with anything - it just wasn't necessary. But now you've got a whole lot of people who are in that category who are included in these "autism epidemic" statistics.

Personally, I was diagnosed (seriously, by serious psychologists and psychiatrists, not the self-diagnosis stuff) with Asperger's quite a long time ago, about 20 years ago, actually before it was a very "popular", well-known thing. So, I guess that means that I'm personally counted in these "Oh me yarm autism epidemic!" statistics? Personally, I think that's ridiculous.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:11 am UTC
by CorruptUser
Wait a second; who here on XKCD doesn't have Asperger's or some other mental anomaly?

Asperger's here, but not crippling.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:24 am UTC
by sourmìlk
CorruptUser wrote:Wait a second; who here on XKCD doesn't have Asperger's or some other mental anomaly?

Asperger's here, but not crippling.


I'm pretty sure at least half the people here meet the "asperger's here, but not crippling" description. Yay for self-selected data samples!

And I hate those self-diagnosers, if only because it demeans the people who worked hard for their PHDs to say "but I can do the same thing with only a google search!"

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:36 am UTC
by Triangle_Man
sourmìlk wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Wait a second; who here on XKCD doesn't have Asperger's or some other mental anomaly?

Asperger's here, but not crippling.


I'm pretty sure at least half the people here meet the "asperger's here, but not crippling" description. Yay for self-selected data samples!

And I hate those self-diagnosers, if only because it demeans the people who worked hard for their PHDs to say "but I can do the same thing with only a google search!"


If it helps, I likely have a mild form of Aspergers, ADD and OCD all at the same time.

Hooray for my grab bag of mental illness!!!

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:41 am UTC
by Hawknc
CorruptUser wrote:Wait a second; who here on XKCD doesn't have Asperger's or some other mental anomaly?

Isn't the most common cause of Asperger's Syndrome reading the Wikipedia article on Asperger's Syndrome?

To answer your question, though: no, no we don't. Some of us are just terrible at social situations without a medical cause.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:04 am UTC
by sourmìlk
Hawknc wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Wait a second; who here on XKCD doesn't have Asperger's or some other mental anomaly?

Isn't the most common cause of Asperger's Syndrome reading the Wikipedia article on Asperger's Syndrome?


We don't like self-diagnosers aroudn here.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:08 am UTC
by maxh
hanecter wrote:Think we could refrain from defining a person with autism by their condition? My brother is not an autistic. He is a person. A person who happens to have been diagnosed with autism.

I refer you to Sinclair 1999.

sourmìlk wrote:And I hate those self-diagnosers, if only because it demeans the people who worked hard for their PHDs to say "but I can do the same thing with only a google search!"

I used to dislike self-diagnosis myself, but I was convinced otherwise by an acquaintance who self-diagnosed (though not just from a quick Google search). Not everyone can afford an official diagnosis.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:13 am UTC
by sourmìlk
maxh wrote:
hanecter wrote:Think we could refrain from defining a person with autism by their condition? My brother is not an autistic. He is a person. A person who happens to have been diagnosed with autism.

I refer you to Sinclair 1999.


That blog post says that autism is in no way bad. Lolwut. It's a disorder, it is an affliction. That guy is as idiotic as people who maintain that deafness isn't a disability.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:18 am UTC
by vodka.cobra
TheAmazingRando wrote:
the article wrote:1 in 110 – a full one percent
I already hate this article and I'm only one sentence in.

Hahaha. Yeah, that's annoying.

In 2009, a Washington Post op-ed put forth a thought-provoking question: What coming social expenditure will cost more than a third of this year's
budget for the Department of Health and Human Services and be larger than the entire budget of the Energy Department?

Answer: The bill for the tide of autistic children entering adulthood over the next 15 years, an estimated $27 billion annually."

I find that "annually" to be suspect. Also, comparing one year to fifteen years? That's a pretty fucking significant difference.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:29 am UTC
by maxh
sourmìlk wrote:
maxh wrote:
hanecter wrote:Think we could refrain from defining a person with autism by their condition? My brother is not an autistic. He is a person. A person who happens to have been diagnosed with autism.

I refer you to Sinclair 1999.


That blog post says that autism is in no way bad. Lolwut. It's a disorder, it is an affliction. That guy is as idiotic as people who maintain that deafness isn't a disability.

To be fair, he does clarify that position in another essay. While Sinclair may go a bit far towards "nothing wrong", he does give a counterpoint to the "horrible horrible disease and everyone should be dragged into a cure no matter how much they oppose it and we need genetic testing to make sure no one else is born with it" side that seems to get so much attention. Obviously autism, even in mild form, does present difficulties. So does deafness, as you mentioned. But I've not seen anyone in the autistic community -- or deaf community -- say otherwise. What has been claimed is that being autistic -- or deaf -- is not actually a disability in and of itself. Rather, it is a disability because it is a significant difference that is not generally accommodated.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:36 am UTC
by hanecter
sourmìlk wrote:
maxh wrote:Source
Yes, yes, it's Faux News, now shush.

Per autistic person, this is almost $10k a year. I wonder if they'll offer lump sum payment.


Okay, I think I found the problem. They're treating people with asperger's syndrome as though they'll require the same care as the rest of the people on the autism spectrum. I'd imagine that when you factor out high functioning autistics, the numbers are _way_ less than 1 person in 110.

I was referring to this.
We don't call mentally retarded people retards, for example (Well, some people do, but they shouldn't...). The name of a disorder should never become a noun used to refer to a person.

I know there's a lot of debate about whether 'person with autism' or 'autistic person' is demeaning. In my experience, it's divided.

May I suggest 'person on the (autism) spectrum'? That encompasses all those with a autism or Asperger's diagnosis and (in my experience) I haven't found anyone who has found that offensive.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:42 am UTC
by maxh
hanecter wrote:May I suggest 'person on the (autism) spectrum'? That encompasses all those with a autism or Asperger's diagnosis and (in my experience) I haven't found anyone who has found that offensive.

Environmentalists. :P
Seriously, though, I haven't ever met an autistic person offended by being called an autistic person (and several who prefer the term) so I see no reason to use something longer. In informal contexts, I've even seen "auties" and "aspies" (by those described), and the only reason I'm not using those terms is because I prefer some level of formality here.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:49 am UTC
by hanecter
maxh wrote:
hanecter wrote:May I suggest 'person on the (autism) spectrum'? That encompasses all those with a autism or Asperger's diagnosis and (in my experience) I haven't found anyone who has found that offensive.

Environmentalists. :P
Seriously, though, I haven't ever met an autistic person offended by being called an autistic person (and several who prefer the term) so I see no reason to use something longer. In informal contexts, I've even seen "auties" and "aspies" (by those described), and the only reason I'm not using those terms is because I prefer some level of formality here.

I don't have a problem with 'autistic person' either. But I know some do. 'Auties' and 'aspies' are very offensive to some people (for the same reasons as 'autistic' as a noun is). Also, just because a black person refers to themself as a nigger doesn't mean it's okay for a white person to come along and call them that.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:54 am UTC
by maxh
hanecter wrote:
maxh wrote:
hanecter wrote:May I suggest 'person on the (autism) spectrum'? That encompasses all those with a autism or Asperger's diagnosis and (in my experience) I haven't found anyone who has found that offensive.

Environmentalists. :P
Seriously, though, I haven't ever met an autistic person offended by being called an autistic person (and several who prefer the term) so I see no reason to use something longer. In informal contexts, I've even seen "auties" and "aspies" (by those described), and the only reason I'm not using those terms is because I prefer some level of formality here.

I don't have a problem with 'autistic person' either. But I know some do. 'Auties' and 'aspies' are very offensive to some people (for the same reasons as 'autistic' as a noun is).

Unless those people are autistic, I can't see why they should be offended. And for the record, the term "autistic people" uses "autistic" as an adjective, though its use as a noun would, to me, go under the same standard.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:08 am UTC
by CorruptUser
FYI, I'm not self-diagnosed.

It always is an odd point for me when I hear about people talk about pregnancy screenings or other methods of preventing autism and other 'diseases'. What, so I shouldn't exist?

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:57 am UTC
by Ulc
CorruptUser wrote:It always is an odd point for me when I hear about people talk about pregnancy screenings or other methods of preventing autism and other 'diseases'. What, so I shouldn't exist?


Gods, please tell me this was a joke.

I can't decide if this is a odd combination of Non sequitur and strawmanning, or a complete misunderstanding of the fact that autism is actually a disorder - and we usually like for our children to avoid disorders. That does not make a person that suffers from the disease less of a person, or less worth as a human being.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:06 am UTC
by sourmìlk
maxh wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
maxh wrote:
hanecter wrote:Think we could refrain from defining a person with autism by their condition? My brother is not an autistic. He is a person. A person who happens to have been diagnosed with autism.

I refer you to Sinclair 1999.


That blog post says that autism is in no way bad. Lolwut. It's a disorder, it is an affliction. That guy is as idiotic as people who maintain that deafness isn't a disability.

To be fair, he does clarify that position in another essay. While Sinclair may go a bit far towards "nothing wrong", he does give a counterpoint to the "horrible horrible disease and everyone should be dragged into a cure no matter how much they oppose it and we need genetic testing to make sure no one else is born with it" side that seems to get so much attention. Obviously autism, even in mild form, does present difficulties. So does deafness, as you mentioned. But I've not seen anyone in the autistic community -- or deaf community -- say otherwise. What has been claimed is that being autistic -- or deaf -- is not actually a disability in and of itself. Rather, it is a disability because it is a significant difference that is not generally accommodated.


No, it's a disability in and of itself. If people need to make special accommodations for us, that means that we are deficient, not different. Same with deafness: deaf people lack a skill that we have. And people with mental illnesses should be dragged into a cure, because mental illnesses make it so that you don't have the capacity to tell if you have a problem.

Anyways, as for this "person who is autistic" vs. "autistic person": they all have the same meaning, and over-sensitive whiners who want to take offense at every word shouldn't be allowed to determine what words can and cannot be used.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:08 am UTC
by jules.LT
There are also some useful skills commonly associated with autism, though, and I'd rank those higher than the "improved other senses" that blind people can develop. So in high-functionning cases it could be seen as not that bad(?)

Also, I really can't see how you'd "screen" a fetus for a condition that's diagnosed "based on behaviour". The wikipedia article says that unusual behavious are usually noticed by age 18 months.

Still, if I knew in advance, I'd definitely abort a low-functionning autistic kid. I have a cousin like that and not only is he unhappy, but he's made life significantly worse for all of his family (4 people). Also, he can be violent and it's only through sheer luck that he hasn't seriously hurt someone. There are other factors, but his father is now alone, depressed and alcoholic.
Life is hard as it is: there's no sense in bringing into the world children that have nowhere near the equipment to deal with it.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:45 am UTC
by Game_boy
sourmìlk wrote:No, it's a disability in and of itself. If people need to make special accommodations for us, that means that we are deficient, not different. Same with deafness: deaf people lack a skill that we have. And people with mental illnesses should be dragged into a cure, because mental illnesses make it so that you don't have the capacity to tell if you have a problem.

Anyways, as for this "person who is autistic" vs. "autistic person": they all have the same meaning, and over-sensitive whiners who want to take offense at every word shouldn't be allowed to determine what words can and cannot be used.


Normal human social interaction is overly complicated and often not logical, with strange customs (like not telling people what they are doing is wrong in case they get offended). If everyone on the planet had AS, the world would function just fine, maybe even better as people were more direct with each other. Less nonverbal communication, because it's vague and involuntary.

Lacking a sense or physical function is a deficiency. Having a different idea of meaningful social interaction is not.

Agree about the choice of words.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:54 am UTC
by The Mighty Thesaurus
In other news, self-determination has been outlawed. From now on, if you want to do something -- even something as trivial as colouring your hair -- it has to be authorised by a panel of experts.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:56 pm UTC
by Diadem
mmmcannibalism wrote:Actually, does an environmental cause actually make sense? That is, is there anything new that would be an explanation over 30 years ago?

Well, overall our environment is a lot cleaner now than 30 years ago, but that does not mean there might not be some specific new toxins that weren't around 30 years ago. And our diets most definitely changed. We also generally use a lot more drugs (as in medicines) than 30 years ago. That doesn't mean there is a link, obviously. But yeah, there could definitely be factors now that weren't there 30 years ago.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:57 am UTC
by CorruptUser
Ulc wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:It always is an odd point for me when I hear about people talk about pregnancy screenings or other methods of preventing autism and other 'diseases'. What, so I shouldn't exist?


Gods, please tell me this was a joke.

I can't decide if this is a odd combination of Non sequitur and strawmanning, or a complete misunderstanding of the fact that autism is actually a disorder - and we usually like for our children to avoid disorders. That does not make a person that suffers from the disease less of a person, or less worth as a human being.


From my experience, whenever I hear these "condition costs x" stories, it usually ended with Godwin's Law or something of that nature.

If there was a chemical in food that was causing autism, then yes, remove that chemical. If there was a medication that helped severely autistic people be able to support themselves, then yes, prescribe the medicine. But how severe does a condition have to be before you "should" prescribe the medicine? Someone that was incapable of surviving without constant help, certainly. But what about someone with a mild case, that was able to function in society? I just have a fear that a lot of the medication is given to kill* a person that does not meet our criterion of acceptable, and replace that person with someone else more palatable.

With "pregnancy screening", there is usually little that can be done except to abort/retry**, or be prepared to deal with the child.

But at what point does it become too barbaric? How severe a disability does a fetus have to have before it's "proper" to have an abortion? If you knew during pregnancy that the resulting baby had a serious condition that wouldn't let it live more than a month, would it be acceptable to abort? What about a year? If it would die at 8 years old? If it had a heart condition that would strike at 20? 30? 40? What if it was something non-life-threatening? Should the mother abort a fetus that would be blind or deaf? If childbirth is about propagating the species, surely a sterile child should be aborted? Would the same argument hold true for a homosexual child? Should we also determine beauty, and abort the ugly? What about someone with mental disorders, including autism? How much of a disorder is enough to abort?

*If death is defined as the end of your consciousness, having your consciousness replaced with another consciousness is death. Suppression of your consciousness is like a partial death.

**Still need to figure out a good "abort retry fail?" joke.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:17 am UTC
by Ulc
CorruptUser wrote: How much of a disorder is enough to abort?


However much the mother considers enough. But please don't make this the new abortion thread.

The important is that screening and trying to avoid a disorder is not the same thing as saying that people with the disorder is less human, even aborting a fetus with the disorder is not saying that people that have the disorder is less human. Which is exactly what you were claiming in the first post.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:39 am UTC
by T-Form
Ulc wrote:The FUCKING VITAL is that screening and trying to avoid a disorder is not the same thing as saying that people with the disorder is less human, even aborting a fetus with the disorder is not saying that people that have the disorder is less human. Which is exactly what you were claiming in the first post.

Screening and trying to avoid a "disorder" -> "The existance of people like you is undesirable" -> "Your existance is undesirable" -> "You are less human". So yes, you're either being an utter dickhead (if you hold the screening-is-good position yourself) or, at the least, an apologist for same.


sourmìlk wrote:No, it's a disability in and of itself. If people need to make special accommodations for us, that means that we are deficient, not different. Same with deafness: deaf people lack a skill that we have.

So, this is a pretty terrible post. The use of "special accommodations" in a definition of "disorder" is just question-begging; "special accommodations" only has meaning with respect to social norms which already include some concept of "disorder". Those norms, like the resultant definition of "special accommodations", are also quite arbitrary, as all of us require various forms of support from the societies we live in; complete personal independence would require living in a complete social vacuum. Plenty of aspects of that support are at least somewhat specific, and can thus be constructed as "special", but that's clearly not enough (for a super-easy demonstration: you need contraceptives to avoid becoming pregnant? Or things like anti-discrimination law to give you a decent shot at equal pay? Sounds like BEING A WOMAN DISORDER).

Anyways, as for this "person who is autistic" vs. "autistic person": they all have the same meaning, and over-sensitive whiners who want to take offense at every word shouldn't be allowed to determine what words can and cannot be used.

That's not how language works. It's not how people work, either. Different grammatical presentations of what appears to be the same information can nevertheless have quite different strengths of categorial connotations. Talking about "autistics" - as a noun - is very strong categorisation, as it's a way of saying "You're this (and no other) type of thing" - or, if adjectives are added, "you're this type of thing, with these additional attributes". It's true that the usages you mentioned, talking about "people who are autistic" versus "autistic people", are less distinct from each other, but there are still some subtle implications. Both forms describe a person, but the former can be more readily interpreted as giving the "autistic" attribute primacy over any other attributes (generally adjectives). However, "person who is autistic" is also distinct from "person with autism"; the use of an adjective to describe an attribute is a stronger association than the use of a distinct noun to indicate a link, and thus that form may be preferred. Furthermore, there's another potential problem with the use of adjectives/attributes; they're sometimes verbs in disguise. Terms such as "disabled" or "disordered" can imply lack of agency and thus promote a view of helplessness (for the person so described) and fatalism (for others). It's not about being an "over-sensitive whiner", it's about understanding a few of the subtle ways that variations in grammar can change the meaning of a phrase.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:08 pm UTC
by Zamfir
T-Form wrote:
Ulc wrote:The FUCKING VITAL is that screening and trying to avoid a disorder is not the same thing as saying that people with the disorder is less human, even aborting a fetus with the disorder is not saying that people that have the disorder is less human. Which is exactly what you were claiming in the first post.

Screening and trying to avoid a "disorder" -> "The existance of people like you is undesirable" -> "Your existance is undesirable" -> "You are less human". So yes, you're either being an utter dickhead (if you hold the screening-is-good position yourself) or, at the least, an apologist for same.

There is a rather large step from screening to "the existence of people like you is undesirable". The second is about actual living people, the first is about small groups of cells that might the future become a person, but are not at the moment of screening. The ethics for both cases are rather different.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:15 pm UTC
by Ulc
T-Form wrote:Screening and trying to avoid a "disorder" -> "The existance of people like you is undesirable" -> "Your existance is undesirable" -> "You are less human".


And this is seriously one of the most blatant Non sequitur's I've seen in a long time.

First of all, there's a huge disconnect between trying to avoid something before it has happened, and saying that those it already has happened to are undesirable.

Secondly, there's a big difference between saying that a certain trait a group has is undesirable, to saying that the group is undesirable - to take a example that is less emotion based, people with red hair have the undesirable trait that they get sunburned easily, that does not mean that red haired people are undesirable in themselves. Though it should probably mean that they we let them have the proper medication to deal with the problem (in this case; liberally applied sun lotion).

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:16 pm UTC
by iop
Zamfir wrote:
T-Form wrote:
Ulc wrote:The FUCKING VITAL is that screening and trying to avoid a disorder is not the same thing as saying that people with the disorder is less human, even aborting a fetus with the disorder is not saying that people that have the disorder is less human. Which is exactly what you were claiming in the first post.

Screening and trying to avoid a "disorder" -> "The existance of people like you is undesirable" -> "Your existance is undesirable" -> "You are less human". So yes, you're either being an utter dickhead (if you hold the screening-is-good position yourself) or, at the least, an apologist for same.

There is a rather large step from screening to "the existence of people like you is undesirable". The second is about actual living people, the first is about small groups of cells that might the future become a person, but are not at the moment of screening. The ethics for both cases are rather different.


I can understand why my friend gets upset if someone tells him "no offense, but I would totally have aborted had I known that I'd have a child with your condition. Your parents really are something." In other words, if a condition (autism, trisomy, female) is considered a reasonable cause for abortion, it does say something about how much society values a person with that condition. Yes, I know how much work it can be to have a non-typical child. But if that child was considered as valuable to society as a child with, say, cancer (which, at this age, is most likely due to a genetic condition), why isn't there more support for the parents?

Ulc wrote:people with red hair

How many additional abortions would there be if it was possible to screen for red hair?

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:46 pm UTC
by Zamfir
iop wrote:I can understand why my friend gets upset if someone tells him "no offense, but I would totally have aborted had I known that I'd have a child with your condition. Your parents really are something." In other words, if a condition (autism, trisomy, female) is considered a reasonable cause for abortion, it does say something about how much society values a person with that condition. Yes, I know how much work it can be to have a non-typical child. But if that child was considered as valuable to society as a child with, say, cancer (which, at this age, is most likely due to a genetic condition), why isn't there more support for the parents?


That's all true, but I think it is not particularly connected to prenatal screenings and abortions. For example, people researching a cure for malaria are making a clear statement that they think people with malaria would be better off without malaria. But we do not take such research as a an insult to people with malaria, nor does it mean in any way at all that the researchers think people with malaria are "less human".

There is no necessary contradiction between saying "a world where people did not have X (be it malaria or autism) would be better than a world where they do", while at the same time having no problems at all with people who currently have X and giving them all support they need and all respect they deserve as human beings.

To put it another way, suppose that instead of discussing screening we were discussing medication that would completely stop autism in living people. It's clear that if you were to give such medication to your child, you would change their personality and turn them in some genuine sense into a different person. Wishing that such medication existed is in some sense wishing that your kid was different than they really are. That's clearly a difficult situation, and I really don't want to claim to know how to handle that situation.

My point is merely that the difficulty of this issue lies not so much in prenatal screening, but in that we see autism as a more integral part of someone than for example malaria.

Re: Autism costs $27 billion a year?

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:51 pm UTC
by Heisenberg
Ulc wrote:First of all, there's a huge disconnect between trying to avoid something before it has happened, and saying that those it already has happened to are undesirable.

We're not talking about curing everyone with the disorder, We're talking about eliminating anyone with the disorder before they're born. Anyone who supports this is saying that the world would be better off if autistic people weren't in it.

Screening and aborting based on conditions for which there is no known cure is very much saying that people with those conditions are undesirable. There's no 2 ways about it.