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The Perfect Client | Everything is Opinion

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Note: Because my psychology correspondence has gradually evolved toward offering people advice, I want to say I am not a psychologist and any advice I offer is based only on common sense and life experience. I think most educated readers will accept this.

The Perfect Client

The sort of client psychologists dream about ...

I am trying to comprehend why you felt the need to create this site. Try harder. I am the mother of two children with typical Asperger's traits, Say what? You have two children who exhibit symptoms of a nonexistent mental illness? You are aware, are you not, that therapists have abandoned Asperger's and recognize that it was a big, big mistake?

The reason it was a big mistake is because there is no such thing as Asperger's, and unethical therapists have been preying on people like you for years by handing out diagnoses anyway. The originator of the diagnosis, the individual responsible for putting it in the professional guidebook, says the true rate of the condition is "vanishingly rare" and more than 90% of existing diagnoses are nonsense. This is why psychologists are now trying to put the genie back in the bottle.
and one typical child. Universally, the parents I have met just want their child to be happy and successful, and they seek help and therapy only becase their child has a long history of social, educational, and emotional difficulties. Gee, I wonder how we ever got to the 21st century without the services of therapists. How did we ever get along without people who invent make-believe diseases, and then invent make-believe cures? If it were up to me, my son would be fine the way he is. But HE is unhappy. He wants to have playdates with other kids his age [ ... ], and doesn't get that they don't want to play with him after he throws a huge tantrum over not winning a game. You are aware, are you not, that that is NOT an Asperger's symptom? If (1) Asperger's was real, and (2) your son had it, he would simply not care about having friends, and he certainly wouldn't throw a tantrum about losing a game. Those "symptoms" arise in normal development and have nothing to do with either Asperger's or autism generally.

Autistic kids cannot sustain relationships, don't understand why that is important, and do not express the kinds of emotions you describe. Conclusion? Your son doesn't have Asperger's.

I cannot believe some therapist looked at this symptom set and offered that diagnosis — it's totally inappropriate.
He doesn't "get" a lot of normal social conventions, and has no idea how to have a normal back-and-forth conversation. Whatever the issue is, it's not Asperger's. This means other kids avoid him. Then there are the sensory issues that cause my son to get so intense and frustrated or upset that he wrecks his own toys. So while I understand your desire to argue against an official diagnosis, I think you truly have no concept of what it's like to be the person in charge of a child with Asperger's symptoms. 1. Your children do not have Asperger's.

2. Asperger's is a myth.

These are separate points that can stand independently.
My responsibility is to help my son learn to get along with the world, and if it means a "label" and therapy, then that is what we will do. No, as a matter of fact, that is exactly the wrong thing to do. It gives him, and you, an excuse not to try to adjust to reality.

Has it escaped your attention that there is no treatment for mild autism or Asperger's? And there won't be any treatments until the real cause (of autism in all forms) is located and diagnosis becomes more than opinion?
I also do not know of a single person as an adult that has ever had to disclose a mental illness of ANY kind to an employer. We just learned what you do not know, not a fact about reality. Having had a mental illness automatically destroys a person's chance to get a security clearance above a trivial level, and security clearances are important now and will become more important in the future. Also, to conceal the fact of a past mental illness is cause for dismissal in many professions, as well as grounds for canceling a health insurance policy.

If your children actually had Asperger's (or mild autism), they would not care about having friends, would prefer to play alone, in pursuits that an average person would find rather odd — memorizing long strings of digits, or railroad or bus schedules, or entire books. They would not express an interest in, or anxiety about, friendships and social conventions.

The problem is that now, your kids know what Asperger's is, and if they see an advantage to the diagnosis, they will exhibit the symptoms that are expected of them. It's also true that most people diagnosed with Asperger's somehow recover on their own by the time they are adults (about the time they find out what it means to be labeled with a mental illness in the adult world).

Before there was an Asperger's diagnosis, people had to grow up, face the frustrations of reality, and adjust to the world around them. Now that there is Asperger's, those same people have to make the same adjustments, in the same way, for the same reason — it's the only way to become a successful adult. This is what every Asperger's-labeled kid eventually finds out.

This is why psychologists are trying to correct their mistake. In the meantime, your kids will just have to ... grow up. And so will you.

Editorial Comment: The above correspondent appears to believe
  • That Asperger's is a real mental illness
  • That it can be reliably diagnosed
  • That there are meaningful treatments
But none of these things is true — Asperger's was a huge mistake on the part of psychologists, one they are now trying to correct before any more damage is done to their profession, to their livelihood and ... umm ... oh, yes, to the many children who have been falsely diagnosed (it's estimated that more than 90% of Asperger's diagnoses are nonsense, and the remainder are something else entirely).
Everything is Opinion
I agree with many of your statements. I would like you still to answer these questions for me.

In a world of subjectivity and universal uncertainty,
Error number one. Science is not part of the world you describe and apparently live in. Science produces results on which different people can and do agree, for example, that 50,000 people per year do not have to die of polio, or that smallpox has been cured for all time.

The alternative is called "post-modernism". Post-modernism argues that everything is subjective and there are no shared truths — precisely the position you take in your message.

But there is something about post-modernism that everyone needs to understand: if it is a legitimate view, then it must first be applied to post-modernism itself, and by this logic, post-modernism is post-modernism's first victim.
I ask thus:

Since you have defined "science" by yourself,
Error number two. The definition of science that I put in my articles is not an opinion or something about which there is any debate, it is the definition of science shared by all scientists and educated people:
  • Science is governed by evidence, not opinion.
  • Scientific theories must be shaped based on evidence.
  • All scientific theories must be testable and falsifiable in principle, in practical tests, and failed theories must be abandoned.
and expose the weaknesses of dictionary definitions, What? Dictionaries do not define words, they record how people use words. Dictionaries list what people think words mean, not formal definitions, where such things exist. Read more about dictionaries here.

Science is not defined in a dictionary. What you see in dictionaries is what people think science means, and those views are wrong.
do you consider that your definition is not a consensus In fact, the formal technical definition of science represents a consensus, and further, this must be true for science to construct the modern world, the modern world that allows you to efficiently put forth your self-defeating post-modern ideas. Then, if there is disagreement of terminology, we are free to choose the term we subscribe too, based on the predicted end of the success of some idea within a subjective reality. Clearly you do not understand that the post-modern posture — your posture — is self-defeating through self-reference.

To summarize this conversation:
  • Science is defined strictly and very clearly by consensus among educated people.
  • Post-modernism, the philosophy you expound in your message, is self-defeating — it tries to encourage the sharing and universal acceptance of the idea that there is no sharing or universal acceptance of anything.
In other words, your opinion is fatal to your opinion.

I recommend that you start your education over. Begin with basic logic.
Two men can argue this-that which-way is science, but if they disagree then that's simply it. When it comes to it, "science" and its definition follows subjective, artistic definition. Thanks for proving once again that you have no clue how human conversations are conducted, how consensus is shaped, and how science is defined.

The next time you try to have a conversation, don't start by undermining it by saying in essence, "there is no shared truth or consensus." Because when you do, you invite the reader to apply your rules to your message, and stop reading.

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