You heard it here first about Autism!

I’ve been telling you for years that the prevalence of Autism among America’s kids was being overstated by a rapidly-growing “Autism industry,” similar to the “ADHD industry” that I believe has been foisting unnecessary psychiatric medications upon millions of American kids for decades now.  Just as there’s no way that five or six million American kids have diseased brains that can’t focus attention (ADHD), there’s no way that one out of every 110 (or 150 or whatever the latest propaganda says) American kids has a pervasive developmental disease (Autism), in my professional experience and opinion.  So finally, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) seems to be getting my message.  As it prepares the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the APA has announced that it’s narrowing the diagnostic criteria for Autism such that it will be harder to (ethically) diagnose the disorder in kids who really just have minor (if any) developmental delays that they’ll typically grow out of within a few years.  You’ll probably hear a whole lot of sob stories in the days ahead, from the “Autism industry” and its beneficiaries, about kids and parents who won’t qualify for insurance and government benefits now, but keep in mind that billions of insurance and tax dollars are being spent on services for kids who really don’t have any serious problems.  That’s a powerful incentive for some parents, pharmaceutical companies, and service providers to want the diagnosis liberally applied, whether it’s valid or not.  No, the APA doesn’t always get it right, but this time, it did, and you heard it here first!  (And while I’m on this subject, in my professional opinion and experience, the newly reported figure that “one in five” adult Americans suffered from a mental illness in the past year is equally bogus — unless perhaps you define “mental illness” as “not being happy with every aspect of your life” or something like that!  If you read the fine print, only one in 20 adults actually said that their “symptoms” interfered with their daily lives.  Well, if it doesn’t interfere with your daily life in any way, then it’s generally not defined, at least not in the DSM, as a “mental illness”!  There’s a lot of bogus propaganda about mental health flying around in the media these days, propagated mainly by a psychopharmaceutical industry that wants as many people on as many drugs for as many things for as much of their lives as possible.  It’s shameful, it’s damaging, and it diverts attention and resources from those who truly are ill and need help.)

P.S.  I was on HLN’s Prime News this afternoon answering questions about a child rapist and murderer who killed himself in a jail cell shortly after pleading guilty to those crimes in Georgia.  I explained that some people commit suicide under similar circumstances for a variety of reasons.  Some do it because they’re sociopaths and are determined not to let society punish them (I think Hitler’s an historical example of that type).  Others might do it because they’re cowards who are afraid to go to prison.  Others, at least in theory, might do it because they actually experience remorse after the fact.  Still others might do it as one last grasp at attention, knowing that they’ll soon be forgotten as they waste away in prison.  I’m always skeptical of “remorse” after the fact because, if a person would genuinely feel bad about raping and murdering, I’d expect the person not to commit those crimes in the first place.  Is it possible that this guy killed himself out of guilt?  Yes, and perhaps more so than usual because he did apologize to the victim’s family at his plea hearing, when he already knew what his sentence was going to be, and in his apology, he said he deserved whatever happened to him after that.  If he were going to kill himself thereafter out of mere spite or cowardice, I wouldn’t necessarily have expected the apology beforehand.  At the same time, the apology didn’t seem dramatic enough to be simply an attention-seeking ploy.  We’ll probably never really know exactly why the guy killed himself, and at the end of the day, I don’t really care.  The most important thing about his suicide is that we can now be 100% sure that he won’t be raping and murdering any more kids (and I’m glad he did it after the victim’s family got their day in court — sometimes victims’ families say they feel somewhat cheated if the person who killed their loved one also kills him/herself before facing justice).  Should the jail staff have anticipated this guy’s suicide attempt and deprived him of the means to carry it out?  As long as the jailers didn’t participate in it (and there’s nothing to suggest that they did), then once again, I don’t really care.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.

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