There are additional huge implications from the statement, “this IS a disease” (NOT a Developmental disorder, a congenitally “miswired” brain, etc.)
1. “Disease” means these children were born with normally functioning brains that became dysfunctional. That means they can be fixed, in theory they can work normally, again.
i. You cannot “fix” I recover from a developmental disorder, you can from a disease. / This has profound implications in light of the work from leading institutions showing the brain is more pliable than we thought (implying late redevelopment is still possible) and the importance of early, correct laying down of pathways / tracts – as the brain evolves and develops.
ii. WE need to focus on the idea of “redeveloping” a child’s brain, not “training” an “autistic” brain
iii. Parents are told there children can never fully “recover,” – as a disease, we must expect recovery, hopefully be able to one day use the word “cure.”
2. An educator or child development specialist looking at these children, must understand the concept of a “dysfunctional, but potentially normal brain” if they are truly going to be able to look at how to maximize each child’s development.
1. I have personally been appalled over the last few years at the lack of expertise in the “autistic” field available to truly help parents redevelop, reeducate their child’s brain. I am sure these specialists exist, but in general they have not been in the circles accessible to parents at present, OR have not looked upon these children for what they really are.
i. To listen to an educational therapist who truly understands how to assess and work with the various “highs and lows” in how these children’s brains are working, is impressive; much less a speech pathologist who understand the apraxia, and how to work with the oral motor dysfunction dominating these children (when you stop thinking of them as “autistic”).
2. Unlike the “old” ideas of NOT expecting speech development past?? 5 or 6 years old, this means older children (10 – 14 years old / clinical experience to date), can be helped to redevelop speech.
i. When looked upon as a disease, this should be expected, not hoped for or discounted as “impossible.”
3. Behaviorally, it has become apparent that one must treat these children age appropriate for where they are psycho socially, not chronologically, not as “retarded.”