6
   

Autism and Williams Syndromes.

 
 
littlek
 
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 07:19 pm
I just read an interesting article at SciAm.com. The two syndromes (autism and williams) are similar but those people affected exhibit very differently on a social level. Specifically, the research studied eye movements to track where these people were looking in social settings (with movies and photos). Autistic people look at eyes way less than the general population and those with williams peer into eyes more often and for longer stretches.

I'd never heard of Williams Syndrome before. Does anyone know anything about it?

What makes autistic people exhibit this classic symptom of eye-contact avoidance?

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=eyes-mental-disorders&sc=WR_20080917
 
thegalacticemperor
 
  3  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 07:53 pm
@littlek,
In my experience, people with autism tend to look away from, or at the mouth of, the person speaking. Since those with autism generally do not interpret non-verbal cues, the mouth is focused on simply as the source of sound and stimulus. There is much debate over whether or not those with autism should be trained or required to make eye contact. I personally think the notion ridiculous. People with autism lack the ability to interpret blatant social cues, much less the subtlety of eye movement. Additionally, attempting to require eye contact can interfere with the learning process for those who feel aversive towards eye contact. I feel that training the autistic to make eye contact is more for the comfort level of those who interact with them.
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 08:18 pm
@thegalacticemperor,
So, they don't look at eyes because they aren't gaining meaningful information from them?

I agree, somewhat. But, I do think that high functioning autistic people can learn sets of facial expressions as emotion. I do agree that it takes up core education time (I work in public schools), but it is part of education in that it helps the high functioning autistic student to become a more functional member of society.
thegalacticemperor
 
  2  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 08:46 pm
@littlek,
Agreed. I should have clarified that I was not making a blanket statement regarding all people with autism spectrum disorders. Certainly someone with Asperger's should be treated differently than someone with severe autistic disorder.
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 09:13 pm
@littlek,
I have nothing to say re your question...though reading books by people with autism and aspergers is very interesting in this regard.....but, I have been reading up on the latest stuff re conduct disorders, and those kids tend to look less at eyes, as well, and hence, it is posited, misread others' emotional states and intentions more often.

littlek
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 09:27 pm
@thegalacticemperor,
Not just Asperger's!
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 09:29 pm
@dlowan,
I have been itching to talk with people who are adults with high functioning autism in order to try to understand how they saw their early ed and how they see their lives now. Maybe I should read a book......
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 09:37 pm
@littlek,
There's some interesting first hand accounts now.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 10:17 pm
interesting, i worked with a 9 yr old severe autistic boy who made eye contact when he would become self-abusive; he would climb up on anything like a chair or desk and then jump off holding his feet behind him landing on his knees on the concrete floor or run headlong into brick walls and then look around for eye contact as if checking to see if anyone was watching; also when he made deliberate eye contact with me i could expect for him to attempt to scratch at my eyes as if he wanted to gouge them out; other than that he would just watch my hands so I started trying to teach him ASL (somewhat successful)
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 12:40 am
@littlek,
There's lots of THEORIES about the eye-contact thing.....one I am familiar with is that people with autism have trouble with constant over-stimulation...ie that, unlike most of us, they cannot attend pretty much only to the sensory stimuli coming in from their surroundings that they WANT to attend to, and get overwhelmed, thus they exclude what they can....


I imagine there would be lots on the net.


Here's one report of a study using brain scans:


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050309151153.htm


Quote:
Eye Contact Triggers Threat Signals In Autistic Children's Brains

ScienceDaily (Mar. 10, 2005) " MADISON - Brain tests at the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggest that autistic children shy from eye contact because they perceive even the most familiar face as an uncomfortable threat.


The work deepens understanding of an autistic brain's function and may one day inform new treatment approaches and augment how teachers interact with their autistic students.

Tracking the correlation between eye movements and brain activity, the researchers found that in autistic subjects, the amygdala - an emotion center in the brain associated with negative feelings - lights up to an abnormal extent during a direct gaze upon a non-threatening face. Writing in the March 6 issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, the scientists also report that because autistic children avert eye contact, the brain's fusiform region, which is critical for face perception, is less active than it would be during a normally developing child's stare.

"This is the very first published study that assesses how individuals with autism look at faces while simultaneously monitoring which of their brain areas are active," says lead author Kim Dalton, an assistant scientist at UW-Madison's Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior. Dalton measured eye movements in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a sophisticated technology that allows researchers to "see" a brain in action.

Notably, the UW-Madison study overturns the existing notion that autistic children struggle to process faces because of a malfunction in the fusiform area. Rather, in autistic children the fusiform "is fundamentally normal" and shows only stunted activity because over-aroused amygdalas make autistic children want to look away, says senior author Richard Davidson, a UW-Madison psychiatry and psychology professor who has earned international recognition for his work on the neural underpinnings of emotion.

"Imagine walking through the world and interpreting every face that looks at you as a threat, even the face of your own mother," Davidson adds. Scientists have in the past speculated that the amygdala - which has been implicated in certain anxiety and mood disorders - plays a role in autism, but the study directly supports that idea for the first time..........



(This was just an excerpt)

A comment on the eye-contact contoversy:

http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/irca/Sensory/insisteyecontact.html
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 01:03 am
@dlowan,
And a blog:

http://joyofautism.blogspot.com/2007/10/eye-contact.html

Temple Grandin is an academic with autism, who writes a lot about her experiences:

http://www.templegrandin.com/templegrandinart.html

She believes her autism gives her insight into animal experience, and uses it to design "humane slaughter facilities."

If she can help animals, mor epower to her elbow!

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5165123

http://www.autism.org/interview/temp_int.html

http://www.autism.org/temple/inside.html

http://www.grandin.com/inc/visual.thinking.html


http://www.templegrandin.com/templehome.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2005/oct/25/highereducationprofile.academicexperts


Some more brain stuff:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080723102335.htm
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  3  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 01:24 am
@dlowan,
There's a whole world of "Aspy" sites.....ie sites by and for people with Aspergers.

I assume the same for autism???


Here's some first person stuff.

NB. This ain't my field...I don't knw from wheat and chaff here!

http://www.amazon.com/Soon-Will-Come-Light-Inside/dp/1885477112/ref=sr_1_21?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221894511&sr=1-21

http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Tree-Miraculous-Breaks-Silence/dp/1559706996/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221894511&sr=1-18

(Not first person)

http://www.amazon.com/Key-Genius-Extraordinary-Derek-Paravicini/dp/0099513587/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221894511&sr=1-17

http://www.amazon.com/Autism-History-Case-Blair-Borgue/dp/0631220895/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221894462&sr=1-12

http://www.amazon.com/Things-Your-Student-Autism-Wishes/dp/1932565361/ref=sr_1_5_s9_rk?ie=UTF8&s=books&s9r=8a1080b60c7c75e3010c87159a9d0314&itemPosition=5&qid=1221894393&sr=1-5


http://www.amazon.com/Things-Every-Child-Autism-Wishes/dp/1932565302/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221894393&sr=1-1


Back to first person

http://www.amazon.com/Women-Another-Planet-Universe-Autism/dp/1410734315/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221894511&sr=1-15


http://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Heaven-Journeys-Beyond-Stereotypes/dp/1843102110/ref=pd_sim_b_2

http://www.amazon.com/Somebody-Somewhere-Breaking-World-Autism/dp/0812925246/ref=pd_sim_b_1

http://www.amazon.com/Emergence-Labeled-Autistic-Temple-Grandin/dp/0446671827/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b

http://www.amazon.com/Discovering-My-Autism-Apologia-Apologies/dp/1853027243/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221894462&sr=1-8

http://www.amazon.com/Going-Through-Motions-Coping-Autism/dp/1413763863/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221894462&sr=1-7

http://www.amazon.com/Nobody-Nowhere-Donna-Williams/dp/1853027189/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221894462&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Born-Blue-Day-Extraordinary-Autistic/dp/1416535071/ref=tag_tdp_sv_edpp_t


Asperger's:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0968447309/ref=s9krtag_t2_at0-rfc_p?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=top-2&pf_rd_r=00TGVY8EPB8APB4MPCQP&pf_rd_t=301&pf_rd_p=433119301&pf_rd_i=autism


Novel...brilliant!!!

http://www.amazon.com/Curious-Incident-Dog-Night-Time/dp/1400032717/ref=tag_tdp_sv_edpp_i


http://www.amazon.com/Look-Me-Eye-Life-Aspergers/dp/0307395987/ref=tag_tdp_sv_edpp_t

From a whole bunch of folk:

http://www.amazon.com/Voices-Spectrum-Grandparents-Siblings-Professionals/dp/1843107864/ref=pd_ybh_20?pf_rd_p=280800601&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1501&pf_rd_i=ybh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0KDHDJP2Q6SMSCFESC2J

I've bored you, haven't I?

Of course, I won't go into the problem of hearing only from articulate and educated folk with autism... : (

But...what's the alternative????



JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 08:33 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
I've bored you, haven't I?

Of course, I won't go into the problem of hearing only from articulate and educated folk with autism... : (

But...what's the alternative????


Not bored here -- thanks much for the effort -- and yes, the problem of hearing only from the articulate and educated confounding.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 09:35 am
@dyslexia,
Wow does THAT sound familiar, dys! The one I 1:1'd with last year was just like that. He'd stare me right in the face and then try to jab a paperclip into my ear (well, pretend he was about to jab a paperclip into my ear)
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 09:39 am
@dlowan,
Thanks dlowan - part of the problem I have with using the net for this is the sheer bulk of what's out there. I don't know what's good and what's useless. Well, I do have some ideas, but....

I'll check through the links a little later.
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 09:41 am
@littlek,
As to Grandin - I'm not sure that thinking in pictures is necessarily an autism thing. the 1:1 had a distinct lack of ability to think in pictures.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 10:17 am
@littlek,
Yeah...it might be just a Grandin thing.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Sep, 2010 03:38 pm
I know it's an old thread....

Today there was an NPR bit on an Atlantic article on autism. There is a lot of discussion of adult with autism.

Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/10/autism-8217-s-first-child/8227/
NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129885995&sc=fb&cc=fp
0 Replies
 
nothingtodo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Dec, 2012 05:54 pm
@littlek,
I think I was slightly autistic as a child, I too have always had no eye contact with anyone, barring the very rare occasion, a few times it has been very very overwhelming. Memory fades exactly as to how, though those instances remain in my head as points of interest in time, with no clear full view.

I cannot speak for everyone, I happen to know there are great differences at the very base of autistic people, some have phenomenal memories, sometimes explanations are varying, even outside the structures currently recognised as fact based.

How it is for me though, is that I grew up, entirely relying on my own choices as to who I would speak to and who I would walk away from at the very earliest oppertunity and not return to, delibrately. Of course when out and about, at home I was properly watched etc.

Who I would walk away from was just generally, everyone.... I never really had any desire to connect or to be part of anything.
Moments are moments and people come and go.

Only in strange adventures was connection possible, that can amount to as little as two people doing BMX jumps.. Then connection is hobby. Computer systems are good, if graphics are astounding, games which two people play on together. Though only the extreme holds interest.... For example gladiatorial sword fighting of wonderful graphical accuracy. If it is not real, we leave it and eye contact with adversary is never gained.. To alleviate mild autism, to reintegrate, to any kind of worthwhile end which lasts, friendships must be formed with exacting high standards, or interest in life falls flat again.

The atari 2600 probably didn't 'fix' autism as much as it could have today.. in those terms.

It gets old and crusty.... Eye contact, if you do not keep them interested. It sure as hell stays that way too. Then give the teenager a martial arts book and a punchbag, at least he will bounce up when there's something needs doing.
Discipline as a foreword .. of course.

Well put, I am here chewing a crust out of life.

The really bizarre thing about all this, is I can be classed as retarded, right, wrong, clever, nice, evil and a national security risk all at the same time for suggesting this.
0 Replies
 
 

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