[LMB] Gene cleaning in real life

A. Marina Fournier saffronrose at me.com
Wed Nov 15 03:31:55 GMT 2017

On Nov 09, 2017, at 08:12 PM, Beatrice_Otter <beatrice_otter at haugensgalleri.com> wrote:

You see, for a long time (it's changing now, thank God) the approach advocated by professionals and parents alike was that the underlying reasons for any particular behavior was irrelevant, you were supposed to train them out of it by punishing them for it and rewarding them for doing "normal" things.  In the past, the punishment was things like spraying vinegar in their face or giving them an electric shock; these days, it's a gentler form where you remove anything they might possibly like or enjoy and only let them have any sort of pleasure as a reward for being normal enough.

It looked like this.  Say a child doesn't like wearing blue jeans, for whatever reason.  (Maybe they can't stand the feel of denim on their skin, maybe it's the hard buttons, doesn't matter.)  Force them to wear it anyway.  Having to endure a painful stimuli would then bother the child, and they would probably engage in various "autistic" behaviors as a coping mechanism.  But those behaviors aren't "normal" so you punish the child for them.  And so now they have a painful stimuli, they aren't allowed to use the only coping mechanism they know, AND you're punishing them.  Eventually (and probably sooner rather than later) they get pushed beyond what they can bear, and they have a meltdown.  Then they get punished for having a "temper tantrum."  Lather, rinse, repeat. 

Most animal trainer know that rewarding good behavior (perhaps except with cats) is the way to encourage and establish desired behaviors.

Before my son was given the proper medications and dosages, clear thought was rare. When he was overwhelmed, he could shut himself up in his room and vent, or in warmer weather, I'd tell him to go soak his head (spend time in the pool).

Punishing meltdowns for whatever dx has no positive effect. Some of us have strategies for dealing with meltdowns, present or about ready to happen (think of an aura for migraines, which not every migraineur gets). For my son, it was sitting outside the classroom, and presently, going on a longish walk to get away from the stressors. I myself have done that a handful of times, but usually it's sitting in my car (which I no longer have) or going somewhere peaceful to sit awhile.

In the early 1990s, I learned that dishes I couldn't wash (open floor plan, people sleeping on the other side of the counter), that then had to wait for the morning, drove me stir-crazy, akin to a panic attack or claustrophobia, because the counter was full of unwashed dishes. The dishwasher might be full of clean dishes, which I could not put away: adding the breakfast dishes for 8 people on top of that...no way I could eat breakfast and be social with the others until I got that counter emptied. That realization was thanks to a spell on Prozac. So I ate later when I was calm. My food was lukewarm, but far superior to a panic attack. That is only one of about three specific triggers--rare, thank heaven--which brings on a panic attack.

Beatrice (and any other neurodiverse folks on the list): when you were young, were adults, such as friends of your parents, or neighbors, any easier to communicate with?

You see, Arthur had little problem with our friends, and other adults used to bright kids, but kids his own age, for the most part, not so much--and especially their friends, or kids at school, with rare exceptions. Many of the kids his age were also neurodiverse to some degree.

Think of the neurodiverse and those who love them as extraordinary, and those folks who didn't get the difference as ordinary. This is a simplistic view, and in no way is meant to denigrate anyone here. We here are all intelligent, kind, and well-meaning: none of you would qualify as 'ordinary' or 'mundane'.


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