Pervasive Development Disorders (PDD) cover a large group of disorders including Autism, Rett’s disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and PDD NOS (often atypical autism).
Of particular interest to me, was that the parents of autistic children tend to show a consistently higher educational level. (Netherton, Holmes, & Walker, 1999, p. 77) What a peculiar statistic? This, and other hereditary based anomalies, has given us a huge insight into the etiology of the spectrum of autistic disorders.
I was familiar with the “refrigerator mother” concept before reading the chapter, I think primarily because I too have seen Rain Man. I did not know, however, that the implication had been discredited and discarded. (Netherton et al., 1999, p. 79)
I have had the pleasure of knowing one young man with autism quite well; his story is remarkable. I first came into contact with Joe because my mother was working as his in home health aide. As our families came to know each other, he would often come over and play. I remember well the day that his parents (Ray and Janet) came over disgusted about how they “had said Joe would never be able to work or live independently.” (Shute, 2009, para. 2) He has grown into a business owner, a sole proprietor, of a Kettle Korn business in Kansas that anticipates grossing six figures by 2012. (Shute, 2009, para. 1) I have really proud to have known him and contributed to his development as a peer and a playmate. I would encourage the reader to visit the website to learn more http://www.poppinjoes.com/home
I also took the time to watch the 1993 PBS Frontine documentary titled “Prisoners of Silence.” The documentary outlines the differing views and associated research surrounding a phenomenon that has been coined “facilitated communication” or FC. (Netherton et al., 1999, p. 85) It would suffice to say that my jaw dropped about 30 minutes into the video when they discovered that there was “no conclusive evidence that facilitated messages can be reliably attributed to people with disabilities.” (Netherton et al., 1999, p. 86) I think I too wanted to believe that a breakthrough had been made, and I can’t imagine what a crushing blow it was to the families and facilitators that had the core of their believe system regarding FC shaken. (Palfreman, 1993) Please refer to the references section, and I have added a link to the video on Google Videos.
Netherton, S. D., Holmes, D., & Walker, C. E. (1999). Child and adolescent psychological disorders: A comprehensive textbook. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.
Palfreman, J. . (Producer). (1993, October 19). Prisoners of silence [Television broadcast]. : Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved from http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3439467496200920717#
Shute, N. (2009). How 1 autistic young man runs a business. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/health/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2009/04/02/how-1-autistic-young-man-runs-a-business.html