January 26, 2003


I'm constantly asked what we talk about at my weekly Ladees Nite. Most men assume all we do is male bash. This isn't true. We cover a myriad of topics including current events, cooking, parenting, and our careers. It's not intentional that the conversation steers in the direction of the opposite sex. Last Wednesday we were discussing the characteristics of autism. With our combined knowledge we knew that people with autism liked to be squished, they like dark spaces, they see people as objects, they don't understand emotion, and can get lost in repetition. Before long we realized the same characteristics were true of the penis. I decided to do a brief internet search of other symptoms of autism, and sure enough, you could diagnose every male organ with this enigmatic disease.


1. Failure to develop normal socialization
-can’t develop normal social skills
-can’t show emotion
-apathetic and unresponsive
-little or no eye contact
-people used as a "means to an end", as tools
-inability to relate to the world

2. Disturbances in Speech, Language, and Communication
-second major symptom: speech problems.
- 40% of kids with autism do not speak at all
-Have echolalia (link to page with key terms)
-Pragmatics (non verbal communication /social interactions is impaired.

3. Abnormal Relationships to Objects and Events
-unable to relate normally to things and events.
-many have a "need for sameness" and may become upset if their environment/schedule is changed.
-need for routine.
-playing by self, lining up items, etc.
-responses to playing, etc, may change with time.

4. Abnormal Responses to Sensory Stimulation
-respond to stimuli differently: ex. "we" filter out car alarms, police alarms, autistic children don’t and may cover their ears, shout, etc.
-tendency to "overattend" some things and "underattend" others.
-may even seem deaf at times.
-may be fascinated with letters, lights, etc.
-enjoy being thrown in the air or spinning.
-may be indifferent to cold or pain.

The following list, developed by the National Society for Children and Adults with Autism portrays the signs and symptoms of autism. If a child exhibits 7 or more of these behaviors and if the behavior is constant and age inappropriate, further evaluation is recommended.
Resists normal teaching methods
Inappropriate laughing and giggling
Lack of speech or impaired speech
Acts as if deaf
No fear of real dangers
Apparent insensitivity to pain
Spins objects
Not cuddly

Sustained odd play
Uneven fine/gross motor skills: May not be able to kick a ball but can stack blocks.
No eye contact
Standoffish manner

Difficulty in mixing with other children
Resists change in routine
Unusual perceptual stimuli: Looking “through” people.
Inappropriate attachments to objects
Marked physical overactivity or extreme passivity

Crying tantrums: Extreme distress for no discernible reason.

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