Limitations of current thinking about ASD
With all of the various schools of thougt about what causes autism there is a firm consensus that teens and young adults with high functioning autism are struggling to become independent in terms of work and relationships.
So the question is: with so much time and effort and money devoted to early intervention, why is it teens and young adults look so impaired? The answer: because early intervention does not address the core deficits of autism and because early intervention actually has many unintended negative consequences.
I recently participated in and in-service at UCLA. The in-service was for all 10 University of California representatives of the office of student disabilities. I prepared a lecture that argued that the dominant intervention strategies and the broader culture of autism treatment actually works against the development of independent young adults with autism.
I prepared six categories related to either intervention or to the current use of technology and listed under each the negative consequences.
mainstreaming/the myth of modeling
absence of intimacy
absence of group support
applied behavioral analysis
rote memorization of behavioral protocols
rote memorization of rules
search for correct/right responses
focus on compliance rather than mindfulness
focus on shaping behavior rather than influencing attention
focus on quantity of speech versus quality of communication
use of scripts and social stories
limited window of intervention
intervention focused on related and comorbidity disorders
belief that autism consists of language delays, sensory integration dysfunction, and behavior regulation dysfunction
limited focus on parent training
absence of conceptualization of quality of life
functioning defined by IQ, language, and behavior regulation
focus on rote memorization of facts
binary logicperfectionistic standards