Accomodating student diversity
There are treatments for these conditions, both pharmacological and otherwise, but they come with their own set of side-effects and difficulties and none of them are 100% effective.
And some is behavioral – but as far as I can tell in no way limited to maltreated or institutionalized autistic people.
This is a nurse who treats homicidal psychopaths and severely psychotic people every day with a smile on her face.
When she says “autistic”, it seems worlds apart from the “autistic” that means “good at math and makes cute hand flap motions”.
But I worry they have their own One-Weird-Trick: treating autistic people decently.
You should treat autistic people decently because it’s the right thing to do. Avoiding abusive treatment will prevent things from being worse than they have to be, but that’s all.
He told me that some of the children and young adults would be put in straight jackets and isolation rooms to sit in their own waste for weeks on end.
The children and young adults became self-injurious, which is not a surprise at all.
They also do good work exposing abuse of autistic people and ideas that promote such abuse, and calling out organizations that claim to speak for autistic people but don’t do a very good job.
When children were put in institutions for the rest of their lives, it wasn’t like they were put in specialized autism wards. They were mostly put on psych wards for adult psychotics.
Oliver Sacks worked on such a ward, Ward 23 at Bronx psychiatric, in the 1960s.
But even among diagnoses like these, autism takes the cake in terms of heterogeneity. On the one hand, about half my friends, my girlfriend, and my ex-girlfriend all identify as autistic. Some of them seem to live their entire lives as one big effort to kill or maim themselves which is constantly being thwarted by their caretakers and doctors.
For that matter, people keep trying to tell me I’m autistic. I particularly remember one patient who was so desperate to scratch her own face – not in a ‘scratch an itch’ way, but in a ‘I hate myself and want to die’ way – that she had to be kept constantly restrained, and each attempt to take her out of restraints for something as basic as going to the bathroom ended with her attacking the nurse involved.
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Depression ranges from people who put on a normal facade but feel empty inside, all the way to people who are totally catatonic and can’t move or speak.