Why does Joint Attention look Atypical in Autism—and does it matter?

(Cross-posted at FacilitatedCommunication.org.)

This is the second in a series of occasional critiques of a series of articles co-authored by Morton Gernsbacher. Collectively, these articles attempt to present evidence for the redefinition of autism upon which the plausibility of FC depends: namely, the notion that autism is not (despite eight decades of research to the contrary) a socio-cognitive disorder, but rather a motor disorder.

Today’s article, Gernsbacher, Sauer, Geye, Schweigert, and Goldsmith (2008), is titled Why does Joint Attention look Atypical in Autism. Joint attention, discussed here, occurs when two people jointly attend to the same object or stimulus.

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Irony in autism: even when unfacilitated, it’s within reach

…Actually, while metaphors proliferate in facilitated communication (as in “My senses always fall in love / They spin, swoon”, attributed to Deej), I’m not sure I’ve seen a single good example of irony in facilitated speech.

Anyway, my post on metaphor naturally segues into another old post from Out In Left Field, this one on irony.

Autism Diaries: Irony and Jokes

“Yeah, right.” 

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An alternative autistic graduation narrative

Here’s an alternative to the narrative we keep hearing about.

My son was not the valedictorian of Drexel University.

He did not stand at a podium and output a speech.

He did not win a single prize.

He did not graduate with honors.

It took him 7 years to graduate.

He got zero media coverage.

He does not have a $90,000 grant from the Soros Foundation to get an advanced degree at a prestigious school, and his next steps remain unclear.

BUT

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Autism and Theory of Mind: a critique of Gernsbacher & Co

(Cross-posted at FacilitatedCommunication.org)

In a series of occasional posts that start today, I’ll be going through a half dozen articles co-authored by Morton Gernsbacher, a psycholinguist at the University of Wisconsin. Collectively these articles attempt to present evidence for the redefinition of autism upon which the plausibility of FC depends: namely, the notion that autism is not (despite eight decades of research to the contrary) a socio-cognitive disorder, but rather a motor disorder. More specifically, autism is, purportedly, a disorder in which intentional motor movements, including speaking and pointing, are difficult or impossible to perform.

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Your children are not your children–an old blog post on a forgotten book

Your children are not your children.


You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.

–Kahlil Gibran

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Metaphors in autism: even when unfacilitated, they’re within reach

Facilitated communication has extracted all sorts of figurative language from minimally-speaking autistic individuals, for example, this, from Deej:

The ear that hears the cardinal / Hears in red;

The eye that spots the Salmon / Sees in wet

My senses always fall in love / They spin, swoon;

They lose themselves in / one another arms.

Of course, all the evidence suggests that facilitated metaphors come from the facilitators.

Meanwhile, the evidence-based research on autism suggests that autistic individuals have actually have difficulty with metaphors.

But there’s a catch. Here’s on old post from Out in Left Field that I just put back up:

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