Autism News, 6/21/2014

This one is a long one, and a somewhat-overdue one, and a sad one.

First, there was the (utterly unscientific) study that claimed to show a link between autism and serial killing. Unfortunately, this was not what the study actually showed. It measured autism by looking in media reports about criminals and seeing if anyone speculated that they might be autistic, or that they behaved oddly or had strange social skills. So the correct conclusion isn’t that “autism and serial killing are linked”; it is “people in the news tend to speculate about the mental health and/or neurotype of killers”.

Second, of course, there was the Isla Vista shooting. An #AutismIsNotACrime flash blog happened in response to this, organized by Gretchen Leary, but it was not properly archived, and I dropped the ball and missed it at the time. However, here are a few posts, both from within the flash blog and from elsewhere, which relate to the shooting and the complex social issues which sprung up around it.

  • Amy Sequenzia explains what the problem is with blaming crimes on autism, in general. (This is a good post to read if you’re sort of staring at things wondering what is going on and what the big deal is.)
  • Cristiana Bell describes the impact that this blaming can have on autistic people’s families
  • Morénike from Just Being Me describes another kind of impact that it has
  • Dani Alexis on autism and misogyny, on what can happen when a person is both autistic and misogynistic, and why using autism to excuse misogyny creats a double standard

Since aggression, in the form of extreme violent acts, has been such a hot topic this month, here are some helpful posts on dealing with more everyday aggression and meltdowns in general.

Meanwhile, here is some stuff about research:

  • Google (yes, that Google) is helping Autism Speaks compile a database of the genomes of many autistic people and their families, called AUT10K. Many autistic people have reservations about this database (and not just because Autism Speaks is involved). ASAN explains the issues here.
  • Here’s an example of autism research that could actually be useful: a simulation that helps autists build job interview skills.
  • And some not-so-nice, but interesting, genetic research
  • A company called My Ambrosia is planning an app to help autistic adults with cooking and grocery shopping, and they are running a survey to determine what is needed. If you are an autistic adult, you can take the survey here.

Posts about other issues and differences: