Background to My Interest in Teaching Children with Autism

THE ETIOLOGY AND TREATMENT OF CHILDHOOD by Jordan W. Smoller, continued
After years of this kind of frustration, startling new evidence has come to light which suggests that the prognosis in cases of childhood may not be all gloom. A critical review by Fudd (1972) noted that studies of the childhood syndrome tend to lack careful follow-up. Acting on this observation, Moe, Larrie, and Kirly (1974) began a large-scale longitudinal study. These investigators studied two groups. The first group consisted of 34 children currently engaged in a long-term conventional treatment program. The second was a group of 42 children receiving no treatment. All subjects had been diagnosed as children at least 4 years previously, with a mean duration of childhood at 6.4 years.
At the end of one year, the results confirmed the clinical wisdom that childhood is a refractory disorder – virtually all symptoms persisted and the treatment group was only slightly better off than the controls.
The results, however, of a careful 10-year follow-up were startling. The investigators (Moe, Larrie, Kirly, & Shemp, 1984) assessed the original cohort on a variety of measures. General knowledge and emotional maturity were assessed with standard measures. Height was assess by the “metric system” (see Ruler, 1923), and legume appetite by the Vegetable Appetite Test (VAT) designed by Popeye (1968). Moe et al. found that subjects improved uniformly on all measures. Indeed, in most cases, the subjects appeared to be symptom-free. Moe et al. report a spontaneous remission rate of 95%, a finding which is certain to revolutionize the clinical approach to childhood.
These recent results suggests that the prognosis for victims of childhood may not be so bad as we have feared. We must not, however, become too complacent. Despite its apparently high spontaneous remission rate, childhood remains one of the most serious and rapidly growing disorders facing mental health professionals today. And, beyond the psychological pain it brings, childhood has recently been linked to a number of physical disorders. Twenty years ago, Howdi, Doodi, and Beauzeau (1965) demonstrated a six-fold increased risk of chicken pox, measles, and mumps among children as compared with normal controls. Later, Barby and Kenn (1971) linked childhood to an elevated risk of accidents–compared with normal adults, victims of childhood were much more likely to scrape their knees, lose their teeth, and fall off their bikes.
Clearly, much more research is need before we can give any real hope to the millions of victims wracked by this insidious disorder.
REFERENCES
American Psychiatric Association (1990). The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edition: A preliminary report. Washington, D.C.; APA.
Barby, B., & Kenn, K. (1971). The plasticity of behavior. In B. Barby & K. Kenn (Eds.), Psychotherapies R Us. Detroit: Ronco press.
Flintstone, F., & Jetson, G. (1939). Cognitive mediation of labour disputes. Industrial Psychology Today, 2, 23-35.
Fudd, E.J. (1972). Locus of control and shoe-size. Journal of Footwear Psychology, 78, 345-356.
Gumbie, G., & Pokey, P. (1957). A cognitive theory of iron- smelting. Journal of Abnormal Metallurgy, 45, 235-239.
Howdi, C., Doodi, C., & Beauzeau, C. (1965). Western civilization: A review of the literature. Reader’s digest, 60, 23-25.
Moe, R., Larrie, T., and Kirly, Q. (1974). State childhood versus trait childhood. TV Guide, May 12-19, 1-3.
Moe, R., Larrie, T., Kirly, Q. (1974). Spontaneous remission of childhood. In W.C. Fields (Ed.), New Hope for Children and Animals. Hollywood: Acme Press.
Popeye, T.S.M. (1957). The use of spinach in extreme circumstances. Journal of Vegetable Science, 58, 530-538.
Popeye, T.S.M. (1968). Spinach: A phenomenological perspective. Existential botany, 35, 908-813.
Rogers, F. (1979). Becoming my neighbour. New York: Soft Press.
Ruler, Y. (1923). Assessing measurements protocols by the multi-method multiple regression index for the psychometric analysis of factorial interaction. Annals of Boredom, 67, 1190-1260.
Spanky, D., & Alfalfa, Q. (1978). Coping with puberty. Sears catalog, 45-46.
Suess, D.R. (1983). A psychometric analysis of green eggs with and without ham. Journal of Clinical Cuisine, 245, 567-578.
Temple-Black, S. (1982). Childhood: an ever-so sad disorder. Journal of Precocity, 3, 129-134.
Tom, C., & Jerry, M. (1967). Human behavior as a model for understanding the rat. In M. de Sade (Ed.). The Rewards of Punishment. Paris: Bench Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s