Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Autism and self-injury

Harold Doherty from Facing Autism in New Brunswick posted this entry several days ago, regarding his son's self-injuries.

Mr. Doherty,

I do agree with you that there is no joy in self-injurious behavior. I do it myself. I don't bite, though. I scratch my wrists and punch myself in the forehead. I would like it to stop. But I have no control over when meltdowns occur, and it just happens.

But on the other hand, I still find joy in autism. Perhaps another time, I will explain my reasoning more.

If there were cures for depression, anxiety, stress, meltdowns and self-harm, I would take them in an instant. But these aren't autism, they are comorbid conditions. I don't need cured of my autism. I like who I am, regardless of my own issues.

It is possible to find joy in autism without finding joy in the comorbids.


Casdok said...

Yes people do get the comorbid conditions mixed up and think they are one in the same.

Autism Reality NB said...

Mr McLelland

Thank you for your thoughtful comment on this subject. As you noted on a post to my site we disagree (politely I believe) on these issues.

Both you and casdok speak of comorbid conditions as though these are elements that just randomly arise in autistic children such as my son with no relationship between the two or more comorbid contions and the central defining characteristics of autisn. That reasoning simply assumes there is no conncection. The frequency of occurrence suggests otherwise.

-Brian Henson- said...

As a person, myself, on the autistic spectrum, I find the problem seems to be one of "focus". I can best describe it in this tale:

Two individuals are out on a clear night looking up at the stars. One is using a telescope and says to the other "WOW! What a wonderful star! Can you see that one!", to which the other replies, "I can see millions of stars, and the whole sky is wonderful, tonight!"

It's not that either is "wrong", but that each has a different focus, and one focus is not "better" than the other.

This tale is like the question of the "autism" versus the "comorbid conditions", and it all depends on what focus a person takes. I cannot see either approach being right or wrong, but I still respect each person to his line of focus, as I would with the two looking at the star(s) at night.