This article was written by Esther Tell, from compiled notes and recordings by Dr.Steven Gutstein.
When Dr Steve entered the Autism field, he was surprised because there was not a lot of tests that measured the quality of life of people on the Autism Spectrum. The programs for people with ASD were built for tests that were I.Q. and verbal based. None of these tests related to:
Having a friend
Obtaining a job
Or living independently
Related: Getting to the Heart of the Child
So, what is quality of life?
In our opinion, it is feeling good about living independently, having a rewarding job that is based on your capabilities that also challenges you, and having close reciprocal relationships.
Less than $100,000 of all Autism based research money is spent researching the quality of life for teenagers and adults on the spectrum. People are donating money for autism research, in hopes to find a “cure.” But what are we trying to cure? lack of language?Low I.Q?
These are all quotes taken from studies based on language and I.Q studies on patients with Autism:
“Improvement in language and academic skills does not predict improvement in other areas.” McGovern and Sigman 2005
“Adults, who had severe early language delays, did as well as those adults who had no language problems.”-Howlin (2004)
“Early speakers did not have a better outcome than later speakers.”Mayers and Calhoun “ 2001
I.Q Points are static; they do not translate into functioning useable intelligence, or Dynamic Intelligence. We believe in what research has told us. Based on that research ,we have defined our goals to help you build a quality future for yourself and child through Dynamic Intelligence. Dynamic Intelligence includes;
– Remembering prior times when you recovered from setbacks and failures
– Putting things into perspective
– Realistic self evaluation
– Emotional readiness to prepare for potential negative outcomes
-Recognizing different stress levels and incorporating self regulating strategies
What does Dynamic Intelligence look like?
So how is success measured in the world of Autism?
Sadly, many people feel that if they can just get their child to talk, get their I.Q. score up and get them into a classroom, that their quality of life will be improved. Even though verbal and I.Q. Scores have been used as outcome measures, they have nothing to do with actual outcomes in real life. What this has resulted in is
71% of adolescents with Asperger’s suffer from a mood or anxiety disorder –Szatmari-Canada
67% of adults on the spectrum suffer from a mood. Anxiety or thought disorder –Howlin-Britian
We have to change the way we think about measured success early in life, to allow these individuals quality in adolescence and adulthood.
For more information about Dynamic Intelligence and tools for creating a better quality of life for you or your child, please join our community.
Title Image by Claire Learned at http://www.halcyonclairephotography.com/