Obstruction – State not Trait

Some people seem to get transiently or permanently “better” from their autism.

  • Children (and some adults) with autism sometimes are much calmer and more interactive during fevers, during treatment with antibiotics, during certain immune system manipulations or during periods when they are on clear fluids in preparation for medical procedures.
  • Some children (up to 10-20%) and occasionally some adults lose their autism diagnoses, or “recover” or have “remission” of their autism.

These observations raise the possibility that autism in some way “obstructs” capabilities that are actually present in the “wiring” of the nervous system but do not get to manifest themselves.  That is, there is no built-in “impairment,”nothing intrinsically missing or deficient —  but rather something that is “gumming up the system” so that these capabilities cannot be expressed.

Types of possible obstruction include

  • Subclinical seizures
  • Apraxia or Dyspraxia
  • Encephalopathy
    • Chemical imbalance
    • Excitotoxicity
    • Immune activation
    • Overdrive of stress system

The idea that autism is an “obstruction” (or involves — rather than “is” — an obstruction) would seem to be directly opposed to the idea that autism is a “cultural variant” and a way of being that should be respected like one would respect a range of different cultures.

However the “obstruction” and the “cultural variant” points of view may not be mutually exclusive but may support each other.  Some people with autism report that they have good days (or periods) and bad days (or periods of their lives) that relate to some change in their medical status.   They may or may not feel any less “autistic” on the good days but may be able to pay more attention, be more coordinated, be less anxious or more able to tolerate being around other people pr sensory stimulation for longer periods.

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