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Electroconvulsive Therapy and Autism: Caution Advised

Shannon Des Roches Rosa  Photo © Skyseeker, on Flickr. Creative Commons license. [image: lightning striking a cityscape, at night.] Spectrum News recently published How ‘Shock Therapy’ is Saving Some Children with Autism. The article was also published in The Atlantic. Like many of you, my initial reaction was “WTF.” Which, to be fair, was in part primed by the the misinformation spread by existing autism and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) proponents. But I am always worried about articles about “treatments” for autistic people who self-injure, because of the focus on treatments rather than sourcing out causes. So here’s what I think you should know about reading articles like this, and about ECT and autism in general. Spectrum is dedicated to covering developing autism science, and articles of interest to the autism science and research communities. Ideally, those readers already understand that there is very little research into autism and ECT, that…

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Autism and Normalisation

Oolong oolong.co.uk Normalisation is the process of making or becoming normal. ‘Normal’ can mean a great many things in different contexts, but here I mean it in a social sense: to be normal is to conform to society’s norms. You Will Be Assimilated [image: black-and-white illustration of a Borg drone, by Sonya Hallett] Within this context, there are two very different meanings of ‘normalisation’: to make normal, or to become normal; to normalise the individual, or what makes them stand out. Normalisation in the first sense is what the Borg does in Star Trek: individuals are assimilated by having their rough edges, their deviations from what is expected, removed, or hidden. Normalisation in the second sense is what the writers repeatedly do in Star Trek: groups once seen as monstrously beyond the pale, like the Klingons, are slowly seen to have more in common with ordinary humans than it first…

The “Out-of-Sync” Child Grows Up: An Autistic Perspective

Sara M. Acevedo [image: Book cover of The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up: Title in teal text, on background photo of five older kids running across a field, from behind.] The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up is the newest book from Carol Stock Kranowitz in her “Out-of-Sync” Child series. Subtitled “Coping With Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years,” the book focuses on the everyday experiences of parents, caregivers, and medical professionals who support adolescents and young adults marked oppressively by diagnoses like Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Although a significant number of the concepts and practices included in this book are discredited and marked as abusive by autistic and other neurodivergent people ourselves, the book has received substantial praise from non-neurodivergent authorities in the therapeutic professions, as well as from clinicians, parents, and educators. The book has also been praised by The Children’s Hospital in Boston, and contributors of…