The Worst Treatment Autism Got In 2015 Was From Malcolm Gladwell

ment Autism Got In 2015 Was From Malcolm GladwellEmily Willingham ,   CONTRIBUTORI write about science, health, disability, and parenting. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.Continued from page 1But hey, let’s not let almost 7 years of new information and understanding or precise numbers get in the way of a tidy narrative, right? What Gladwell omits from that narrative is the following statement from exactly the same source:Research does show that the AS individual is less likely to commit crimes than a neurotypical person.Evidence still supports this statement, and it remains the case that autistic and other disabled people are far more likely to be targets of sexual abuse than the other way around, something Gladwell omits mentioning. Mahoney observes on the next page of his position paper that because of a tendency to keep to rules and regulations, autistic people may well tend to be more law abiding.Indeed, in a footnote in the same section, Mahoney lays out a case for a non-causal relationship between autism disorder and sex offenses. And then, Mahoney’s got an entire section entitled, “Asperger’s Syndrome is Not Associated with Sexual Perversion.”But in Gladwell’s telling, the reader is left simply with this:The idea that people with autism-spectrum disorders can stumble into patterns of serious criminality has a name: counterfeit deviance. It has long been an issue in cases involving A.S.D. teen-agers and child pornography. “They are intellectually intact people, with good computer skills but extraordinary brain-based naïveté, acting in social isolation, compulsively pursuing interests which often unknowingly take them into forbidden territory,” the lawyer Mark J. Mahoney writes in a recent paper. They come upon an online image that appeals to their immature sexuality and don’t understand its social and legal implications. The image might be “marked” for the rest of us, because the child is in some kind of distress. But those kinds of emotional signals are precisely what A.S.D. teen-agers struggle to understand. They start to obsessively collect similar images, not out of some twisted sexual urge but simply because that’s the way their curiosity is configured. What gets these young adults into trouble with the law “is not abnormal sexual desires,” Mahoney writes, “but their tendency to express or pursue normal interests in a manner outside social conventions.”ADVERTISINGFor what it’s worth, clinically and in the scientific literature, “counterfeit deviance” refers to people who have intellectual disability, not autism. And while there’s a potentially interesting idea to pluck from this half-baked conceptualization–that a handful of autistic people might ‘stumble into’ obsessions or fixations that their disability precludes them from comprehending as criminal–it’s indefensible to generalize a hypothetical or an anecdote as a common reality.There’s no way that writing

Source: The Worst Treatment Autism Got In 2015 Was From Malcolm Gladwell

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