Autism, vaccines, and social diagnosis

Autism is a condition that I don’t really understand.  It’s probably a condition that most people don’t understand, which is why so much is still in question about it.   Ok, we do know a few things.  We know it starts before the age of 3 and is usually hereditary.  We know it affects all areas of brain development, if we don’t know how.

Despite the fact that autism and related disorders (such as Asperger’s) are not completely understood, the federal government seems to be confident that childhood vaccines do not cause autism.  With this landmark case, however, there may be some evidence that vaccines can aggravate related conditions that could eventually cause ‘autism-like symptoms’.

While I understand the need to distinguish between different related conditions, and the problems that can arise from a lack of understanding of what a condition might entail, it is indeterminate classifications such as ASD (autism spectrum disorders) that riles me about the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition).  When these classifications are used to determine the fate of children with mental impairments, when they determine the funding, support, and government assistance that children receive, it makes me wonder what decisions are being made and why.  Are we diagnosing to try and help more people in need?  Are we diagnosing to fit the known familial and financial circumstances of the child?  Are we diagnosing to the best of our ability within classifications that are at times vague and overlapping?  And if we are picking and choosing diagnoses, is this right?

Cold, hard cash.

So, evidently our economy is in the toilet.  Evidently we’re in for big money-crunching time.  Evidently you’d better use up those gift cards you have before they become so much non-recyclable plastic.  That’s right, bankruptcy of major companies means that they don’t have to honor the gift cards you already spent money on.  hooray!
For the moment, I refuse to be negative.  I still have a good job that allows me to pay my bills and buy things, if I so choose.  I  am even saving up some money, if slowly.  And in this newfound positive frame of mind, I have a few  suggestions for those of you already cowering in your bomb shelters:

3.  Investments in oil, gas, and other forms of energy are skyrocketing as a result of hedging, market speculation, and the economy’s up-and-down plunging.  Save your monies – invest in cash, or if you don’t trust the government, gold and jewels are always good.

2.  If you can’t form your own seed bank for the production of future crops, you may want to get in big with some of the largest US Foundations, since they’ll soon be controlling the world, or at least our foodstuffs.  Oh, and be sure to stop getting vaccines.

1. Stock up on nonperishable items for the months/years to come.  Especially tomato sauce.  The goblins don’t like it.

As for me, I’m going to go squander my hard-earned monies by playing the lottery.

Books on Tape.

I regularly attend a book club for women in my neighborhood.  By ‘regularly attend’, I mean we meet once a month.  By ‘book club for women’ I mean excuse for all of us to get together, gossip with quasi-familiar females, perhaps discuss a book we probably didn’t finish for about 20 minutes of our extended evening, and eat a LOT.  It’s great.  Not only do I get an opportunity to eat others homemade baked goods, I have the chance to complain about whatever’s been getting my goat for the past month with an entirely new group of people.

The past few months, for various reasons, I hadn’t gone to book club.  I hosted in October, we didn’t have one in December, and the the one this week was really pushed back from  February.  I don’t relaly know what happened in November/January, but I was excited to go to this book club.  So excited, that when the library didn’t have a copy of the book we were reading, I checked out the books on tape version.  So excited, that I checked my local bookstore so I could even purchase the thing.  So excited, that when I couldn’t find a copy for sale or lease and couldn’t find my old Walkman either, I bought a new one so I could listen to the audio book on the train.

Yes it’s true.  I am the proud owner of a brand new dictation cassette player from the MIT COOP Campus Bookstore, purchased for waaaay too much money.   I mean, shouldn’t these little Walkman things be free by now?  Shouldn’t we be giving them away like key chains?  Ok, so I probably wouldn’t have accepted a free Walkman as I have no use for it, but still.  People have needs, and mine, for a moment, was a Walkman (how did they even come up with that name, Walkman?  Why not Runman?  Or MusicMover?  Why am I not a professional brander?).

But, the entire fiasco brought back days of my youth.  Days spent with my loving sister, Shelly (who will probably never read this, the bum.  She never randomly calls me, either), on the way to high school.  Days of driving too fast, not crashing the car, only slightly injuring my own empty boots by running them over.   Days of listening to the voice of Roslyn Alexander reading The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.  Days of yore.

I miss days like that.  Now that book club was over, I don’t think I’ll finish my current book on tape though.  I might, however, pull McKinley down off the shelf.