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The Misbehaviour of Behaviourists - Michelle Dawson

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Michelle Dawson
09:30 PM ET (US)
"Does WISC-IV underestimate the intelligence of autistic children?" that's new from us in JADD, sadly paywalled for now. Here's a bit from the discussion:

"Because RPM is a complex test of general and fluid intelligence (Neisser 1998), our current findings, combined with previous related results, challenge the recurring view that autism is incompatible with the development of genuine human intelligence (Hobson 2002; Vivanti et al. 2013). Similarly, our and previous related findings challenge the still-common view that autistic strengths are limited to rote memory, isolated 'islets' of ability (Happe 1999), or other simple low-level skills (Just et al. 2004, 2012). Instead, complex reasoning and novel problem-solving abilities may be important in autism. Accurately assessing these abilities, across the lifespan, should be a priority."

I'm going to add...that having had the great pleasure of working with Isabelle when she was a doctoral student way back in 2004 (...!), it's a total privilege to now have worked with her own doctoral students. I can retire now for sure! Or maybe not.

Also new, "Undulatus Asperatus: The First New Cloud in 60 Years" The Cloud Appreciation Society ("We believe that clouds are unjustly maligned and that life would be immeasurably poorer without them") gets a mention and of course there are photos.
Edited 10-11-2014 09:32 PM
Michelle Dawson
08:22 PM ET (US)
Catching up after some changes to my computer and how I use it. Still getting used to how everything looks and works and where all the furniture is and so on.

We had hail today (photo more photos and videos ), sadly I didn't manage to be out in it. But we are still under one of those awesome Environment Canada special weather statements, which warns us that "These strong Winds will no doubt blow lots of leaves off trees" (it's poetry...).

It is also sort of hailing big-name autism theory of everything papers, here are 2 which came out in rapid succession and are open access and I've tweeted a few comments about them if anyone's interested

Totally cool about Alex being an official entrant for Boston 2015.
02:59 PM ET (US)
Congratulations and the best of luck to Alex.
01:33 AM ET (US)
fantastic news jypsy, well done to both of you!
10:16 AM ET (US)
That is amazing, jypsy. Congratulations, Alex, and best of luck to you!
05:58 PM ET (US)
Alex is officially on the entrants list for the 2015 Boston Marathon.
Michelle Dawson
05:16 PM ET (US)
Well here's an autistic guy who grows and sells gigantic pumpkins

"Last winter, he attended an entrepreneurship program at the Brock Youth Centre. The program was for 15 to 29-year-olds, but they made an exception for 12-year-old Simon, who kept up with the high-school level finance lessons."

Sorry about the broken link ( /m13599 ) they are a problem everywhere, including in peer-reviewed journals (and, on my blog), many apologies. Keeping up isn't really practical, so readers have to be resourceful.
06:20 PM ET (US)
I wish I knew how to cheer you on. You're amazing! No, really, you are. I'm trying to write a book, one which has a tone similar to your writings, and every time I read what you write, I'm not merely awstruck, I'm frankly envious! My thinking: "I WISH I could write this good, and I write better than I talk. (Formally diagnosed as 'autistic' ~ 2008, after forty eight years of complete h**l!)
Michelle's mom
11:02 PM ET (US)
Re: 13599. Here is your friendly and free translation service. Alber says: "Sorry but I'm a Spanish speaker. As father, I thank you a thousand times for stimulating my mind". Alber, ?de donde estas? Yo naci en Quebec pero aprendi muy pronto el espanol. Hago traduccion y en el pasado ayudé a los refugiados de Chile, de Honduras y de El Salvador. !Buena suerte!
Edited 08-30-2014 11:00 PM
04:52 PM ET (US)
In your web page:
This link:
It`s broken.
If this is not the right place for this, i`m sorry.

Hablo español, perdone.
Como padre le doy mil gracias por despejar mi mente.
Michelle Dawson
07:25 PM ET (US)
"The Advantages of Dyslexia" autism-relevant of course and here's the last paragraph:

"Whatever the mechanism, one thing is clear: dyslexia is associated with differences in visual abilities, and these differences can be an advantage in many circumstances, such as those that occur in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In physics we know that an engine is capable of productive work only when there are differences in temperature, hot versus cold. It’s only when everything is all the same that nothing productive can get done. Neurological differences similarly drive the engine of society, to create the contrasts between hot and cold that lead to productive work. Impairments in one area can lead to advantages in others, and it is these differences that drive progress in many fields, including science and math. After all, there are probably many more than three kinds of mathematicians, and society needs them all."
Edited 08-22-2014 07:25 PM
Michelle Dawson
01:44 PM ET (US)
The NAS is looking to fill a full-time (35hrs/wk) permanent position: "Head of Autism Knowledge and Expertise"

Closing date is September 22. Here is part of the job description:

"The successful candidate should ideally have experience of commissioning and writing for publications and reports, project management, engagement with stakeholder groups and budget management. They should have excellent leadership skills and understanding of the autism environment including service providers, autism communities, family support, clinical and research communities."

Also note: "Applications for this job are sought from anyone who is suitably qualified and experienced for the role but particularly welcome from those with a diagnosis of autism or Asperger syndrome."

Meanwhile Alex has just set three (three!) new personal bests and also won a race, hard to keep up
Michelle Dawson
02:53 PM ET (US)
"St Pauls Cathedral in the blitz"
Michelle Dawson
11:55 PM ET (US)
For those interested, study finding different effects of real-life eye contact on the task performance of autistic versus nonautistic children that's an open access paper

And if that doesn't interest you, "Serenading the cattle with my trombone" (via Andrew Sullivan's blog) and another study (but it is paywalled) not finding the presumed oxytocin deficit in autism
Michelle Dawson
10:58 PM ET (US)
Alison Lapper, who you can probably find mentioned here upthread somewhere, gets an honorary doctorate in the UK

And just published, small 2-site autism oxytocin RCT, this time an 8 week course of treatment sadly the paper is paywalled at the moment, though so far as I can tell the supplementary information isn't. The key findings (from the abstract):

"Participants who received oxytocin showed no benefit following treatment on primary or secondary outcomes. However, caregivers who believed their children received oxytocin reported greater improvements compared to caregivers who believed their child received placebo."
Edited 08-03-2014 05:29 AM
Michelle Dawson
06:11 AM ET (US)
"The Kids Who Beat Autism" NYT piece well, no comment

Re /m13592 (and /m13591 ) I don't know much if anything about tax forms for US organizations, but ASAN does have staff and did pay $136,029 in "other wages and salaries" in 2012, just none of that went to "current officers, directors, trustees, and key employees," of which only one is listed as paid in 2012. And that is a big raise from 2011 to 2012.

Lots of other stuff in there to scratch your head over, though it would take someone who unlike me actually knows what they're doing to work out what happened, and of course you can't ask ASAN, that would cause an international incident (or something). In 2012, ASAN lost nearly $15,000 from "fundraising events?! In 2011 they got most of their money from other charities, who were named, while in 2012 they got most of their money from "contract services"? And so on.
Edited 07-31-2014 02:03 PM
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