Is Masculine Behavior in Boys Being Misdiagnosed as Autistic?


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The article raises a rather interesting question. We’ve talked before about an educational system biased against boys. What if the spike in autism diagnoses is really that same discomfort with masculine behavior?

I’ve seen boys being routinely misdiagnosed as ADD and medicated for it just for being well… boys. But as problematic as randomly tossing Ritalin at inquisitive boys is… this is even more serious.

Even more basic than that, if we don’t have a firm grasp of gender differences in how young children communicate and socialize, we can mistake traditional masculine behavior for high-functioning autism.

Many boys just get perplexed when you try to empathize with them. As an example, I recently had the following interaction with Alan, an eight-year-old:

Alan: In my soccer game over the weekend, the other forwards on my team never passed to me. I was so mad.

Dr. Gnaulati: You were mad because your teammates didn’t pass to you, eh.

Alan: Why are you repeating what I just said? Didn’t you hear me?

The issue here isn’t communications. It’s an incompatible style of communications. And we’re seeing more and more of this in educational environments where the paradigm is shifting away from logical thinking and toward ostentatious shows of empathy.

It’s this public discomfort with discussing children’s gendered behavior that gets many traditionally masculine boys inappropriately labeled as high-functioning autistic. Poor eye contact, long-winded monologues about one’s new favorite topic, being overly serious and businesslike, appearing uninterested in other’s facial expressions, and restricting friendships to those who share one’s interests, may all be signs of Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism. However, these same traits typify boys who are traditionally masculine in their behavior.

Parents somehow have to ask the uncomfortable question in the doctor’s office: Is he high-functioning autistic or really a more masculine-identified boy? If it’s the latter, what a boy may need is some combination of acceptance and personal and professional help to finesse his social skills over time—not an incorrect diagnosis and unnecessary medical treatment.

But in our Brave New World, we may be just medicating masculinity.

In our extroverted culture, where being a “team player” and a “people person” are seen as linchpins of normalcy, the notion that a brainy, introverted boy might legitimately prefer the world of ideas over the world of people is hard for most people to accept.

We’re developing a hive culture with a premium on conformity, on constantly ‘checking in’ and receiving the pings that say everyone is on the same page.

But the other thing that isn’t discussed is the erosion of parenting skills in the elite liberal set. We have a combination of liberal parents incapable of discipline medicating their boys and diagnosing them with mental illnesses because they can’t relate to them.

  • Softly Bob

    Children’s personalities develop over periods of time. A
    nine-year-old boy showing excessive masculine traits will probably be a
    more well-rounded individual by the time he is twenty. To diagnose him
    as an Asperger’s sufferer is probably a dangerous and reckless thing to
    do.
    We all have different personalities, so using Leftist logic we all have a personality disorder of some sort.

    There is also a problem with the medical profession. They discover that
    someone’s brain chemistry is different to someone else, so they claim
    that this proof of a disorder. It may well just be a symptom rather than
    a cause. Your personal biochemistry changes from day-to-day. For
    example, when I am scared or anxious my adrenaline levels increase. It’s
    not rocket science to determine that anxious people will have higher
    adrenaline levels than non-anxious people, but the person who is anxious
    today may well be calm tomorrow.

    There was a fashion amongst celebrities a few years ago, to claim that they had bi-polar disorder and they had the doctor’s note to prove it.

    So what? It was just an excuse to justify their selfish, diva-like mood swings. It was a disease
    of convenience.
    I can imagine one grim day in the future when some quack discovers that lazy people have too much X in their brain and not enough Y. This will be the day that Lazy-itis is invented. Hundreds of bone-idle chancers will be claiming sickness and welfare benefits, because it won’t be their fault that they are too apathetic to work! They will have their own disease to justify their bad behaviour.

    “I’ve got Lazy-itis. It’s not my fault, I was born that way!”
    Meanwhile of course, real psychiatric disorders like homosexuality and pedophilia will be classed as healthy and normal.

    • PAthena

      Homosexuality used to be classified as a form of mental illness, but this was changed at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Society when a group of homosexuals threatened to bust up the meeting if this weren’t changed. (Have I remembered this incident correctly?)

      • Le Fox

        Yes, you have. And boys are taught to be effeminate, too. It makes them “equal” with women, remember.

    • laura rubin

      being gay is biological. as long as they shut up w/thier agenda im ok w/it. they get too much airtime. pedophilia is an real disorder, not curable.

  • DogmaelJones1

    “We’re developing a hive culture with a premium on conformity, on
    constantly ‘checking in’ and receiving the pings that say everyone is on
    the same page.” Hive culture, indeed. Observe all the people who are constantly on their iPhones, always in contact with their family or friends, always “checking in” with others. They don’t grant themselves a moment of privacy, a time for private reflection, a space for looking around to see what’s there, or time to even read a book. They’d prefer to “text.” That’s the extent of their literacy, except to read cooking or assembly instructions. They’ve got to be “on the same page” with all their family and friends. Constantly. Otherwise, they’re lost. Me? I’m darned proud of my “gendered behavior” upbringing.

    • laura rubin

      having a obsessive nosey mother, i crave privacy. love to be anon, to dissapear. i dont answer the phone if i am not in the mood, dont belong to social networks, im even nervous about posting here.

  • Hilda

    Beware of the government educated, AKA
    brainwashed, public school teachers who want to label every intelligent,
    introverted, and independent minded child as having ADD, Autism, or the
    latest one I’ve hear lately, “oppositional defiant disorder.” So the
    child is bored to death with the mind-numbing curriculum in the classroom and
    refuses to sit and read the dull books forced onto him by the dimwits that pass
    as teachers. The lackluster teachers, rather than doing a little work and
    coming up with stimulating activities or books, blame the student and always
    have school psychiatrist who are equally indoctrinated ready to medicate the
    non-compliant child. Public schools are no place to nurture masculinity (or
    femininity) intelligence, independence, or creativity. I recommend home
    schooling using the Montessori method or finding a Montessori school. Otherwise
    be very suspicious of any label touting teacher or psychologist.

    • TheOrdinaryMan

      It’s not only public school teachers, that too readily resort to the labeling cop-out. Many who work for the government do this too. They routinely try to foist a problem on you, that isn’t there. Regardless of what you say.

      • Sickofthegurus

        Public schools don’t diagnose autism, they are not qualified. If this bullshit article were true (written by an expert, surely), then I have fucking HE-MAN in my living room. (Imagine that, and I’m married and have two masters degrees).

        • usethebrainsgodgiveyou

          I call B.S. on you…My son was diagnosed as “Semantic-pragmatic disorder” at age 3 by a Neurologist. He said he wasn’t autistic, more language impaired. The school labelled him “educationally autistic”. I really do believe it is sort of political/aka money related, as then he received more funding for his education. I’m NOT saying he didn’t have pretty severe problems. Ends up he is pretty severely dyslexic. I believe the vast majority of those being labelled who are high functioning, which is like 75% of all the new kids on the block, would have been labelled dyslexic or another type of learning disability. (Learning disability used to not mean Intellectually Disabled or ID, it used to mean of normal or above normal intelligence with problems in a specific area, when I graduated thirty years ago with my degree in special education.)

          This happened 15 years ago. As for psychologists, they are typically fad oriented. They used to give therapy, now they give drugs. Dr. Allen Francis was responsible for the meteoric rise in Aspergers when he helped to bring out DSM IV, and he fought like the devil to put that genie back into it’s bottle. He wrote a book called “Saving Normal” http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Normal-Out-Control-Medicalization/dp/0062229257. I used to cry because my son was diagnosed with a life long disease. Now I fight because I can see boys are being destroyed in the meantime by labels.

        • baol beon
    • laura rubin

      in my case my report card said: 1st grade thru 6th- “does not work or play well w/others” “chatterbox” “talks out of turn” i am still not a team player, & say what i mean. public school was jail time untill the end of grade 12. nothing was more boring, & they painted the walls w/that insitutional green.

      • baol beon

        Time to start telling the truth about the emasculation of men under feminism: http://manhood101.com

  • A Z

    Have you ever seen a chart or read an article comparing metabolic rate of primary school or secondary school kids to adults?

    How fidgety is a kid who has to sit for prolonged periods of time?

    You get some teacher that is winding down and would rather sit on their arse than move, telling that energetic kids are hyperactive.

    Teachers supposedly have liberal educations, well rounded. Just how much physiology & psychology do they study?

    I suppose somewhere in their curriculum that have childhood psychology and other stuff, which makes them experts. Teachers have been known to kick their kids out of class and recommend that they be given ritalin. Are they qualified to diagnose kids and recommend that they be given Ritalin.

    If the current crop of teachers want kids to be sedated so they can be more easily handled I suggest we need a new set of teachers and a new school model

  • Toa

    All the “autistic” kids I’ve met so far have several things in common:
    a)divorce or dysfunction in the home;
    b)wringy, “chic”, loudmouthed or simple-minded mothers who believe anything an “expert” says (after all, it’s easier to do that than to take the hit yourself);
    c)passive, aloof, imbalanced or deserter fathers.

    It seems to be taboo to bring up any of these factors and their effects on kids, and the result is so-called “autisic” children everywhere you go. This “autism” nonsense has “Liberal” control written all over it, and immature parents are more than willing to comply.

    I’m sure thankful I was born in the early ’50s rather than 20 years later…I would’ve been diagnosed with every one of these “new diseases” and drugged up accordingly.

    • Sickofthegurus

      Just how many autistic kids have you met?

    • usethebrainsgodgiveyou

      Every statement has a degree of truth to it. I am a mother of a child who was labelled and received Special Education. He was adopted, so I figure it’s nurture, which would fit right in with your assumptions. HOWEVER, I could have had a label (clumsy and nerdy), and my husband was considered “mentally retarded” in kindergarten. He was a “late talker” (See Thomas Sowell’s slant on that…http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2046936/posts…not responsible for comments, I didn’t even look at them.) He is an educational coordinator at the National Archives,

      I am guilty of drugging my son to keep him out of Special Education. I knew he would not thrive there, it moves so slowly and works on the weaknesses, not the strengths. By Eighth grade, he was put in a ” behaviorally disordered” classroom because of his label. It was just too much…we brought him home and taught him. His senior year he started going to Tech school to study to be a machinist. He loves it. He plans to work a couple of years after his associates and then go on to Georgia Technical College for a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I couldn’t be more proud of him or love him more. If we had stayed in school, he would have flunked out because of a learning disability.

      We do what we can for our children.

  • Crazycatkid

    These are real diagnoses. However, the problem is, just as stated in the article, too many kids diagnosed when they would benefit most by being accepted as they are and being treated as “normal.” This does not mean that these categories are never useful. They are helpful in some cases where the difficulties are more extreme.
    Certainly there is a “jump on board” trendiness factor. There can be attention and social support for an emotionally needy parent. Not to mention that there can be grant money and disability payments.

    • laura rubin

      its fashionable to have the disease of the year. right now ADD is still popular. also being a boy is the new disease as well. you couldnt make this stuff up. then again, prespriction drugs & therepy is a big business. see? ideology is just a front. somehow it always goes back to the same thing: sales.

  • Michael Gersh

    I remember the 1950s, when we also had “a hive culture with a premium on conformity.” Then the boomers, children of the 60s, took over, and they are instituting a different hive culture. The elites are trying to create an androgynous culture, which they flatter themselves by referring to themselves as metrosexual, i.e. urban and sophisticated, rather then gay.

    Like the Soviets, they punish nonconformity by labelling it a medical problem. We need to keep pushing back, because this is nowhere near universal acceptance of the new “norms.” If you saw SNL last night, they introduced 6 new cast members, 5 male and 1 female, all white. Even that pit of liberal supremacy can’t follow the script. OK, so they are all apparently gay, but the acceptance of the new hive rules by the wider culture is failing, IMHO.

  • Mark Forrer

    the disciplines of science and politics are becoming the new witchcraft

    • laura rubin

      always was. nothing new in the modern world.

  • beentheredonethat

    Dude, you had me until your last line. I teach in a very conservative district and it isn’t just the “elite liberal set”, it’s many kinds parents medicating and being a buddy to their child. My dad was a life long liberal and Dartmouth educated (to throw a little elite in) and he put the hammer down when I needed it. Bad parenting is not red state/blue state it’s every state.

  • ray

    “Brave New World” and “Hive Culture” tiptoe around the real problem, which is spelled F-E-M-I-N-I-S-M . . . which has ruled western cultures/governments/institutions so long now, that even in a non-leftie magazine, the taboo word cannot be written (nor spoken against in criticism)

    . . . and that failure of courage even to name the root problem clearly exposes the monolithic stranglehold that Collective Woman (and her male enablers) hold over the (rapidly dying) nations of the West

    Simon Baron-Cohen correctly connected acute (non-verbal) autism with extremely high-functioning masculinity — NOT with retardation, as is assumed by the stupid, well-paid Experts here in Gynoland

    but autism simultaneously is a WITHDRAWAL AND REJECTION of the feminist, matriarchal cultures, sinister ideologies, and mass-psychologies of the modern western world, which have spent the past half-century criminalizing, attacking, hating, silencing, excluding, destroying, and punishing any authentic expression of masculinity . . . or indeed any masculine person. . . the few who remain anyway

    females constantly texting one another is just a further consolidation of collective female power, as The Herd draws together ever-tighter, their control of any/all male behavior (9-1-1) now merely a few keystrokes away

    they ARE the Global Security State, folks . . . DARPA, the UN, FEMA etc. are only their collectivized tools

    acute autism, in large part, is withdrawal-by-desperation from the utterly emasculated, God-rejecting cultures of the west, especially America, which has been a functional matriarchy for three decades now, at least

    God is “removing” the consciousness of many autistic boys from cultures which are male-hating, male-abusing, and male destroying, as it has been obvious for decades that our nations will remain in denial about female power, and about the effects of our gynocratic democracies on the development of boys and men

    instead, we hear constantly about a War on Women that does not exist, and never did (except in the twisted minds of those who so expertly turn their fake and ludicrous “oppression” into tools of unmerited empowerment over their betters

    yet here we remain, unable even to utter the word that enslaves us, the elective disease that has corrupted and ruined our once-healthy nations . . . because, after all, we guys wouldn’t want to offend our wives and mommies and daughters with the truth, as they would quickly make our lives as males even more miserable that currently extant

    and so the beat goes on, the crushing of masculinity and attendant slow death by fem-victimocracy, while the Left screeches and cheers, and the Right skirts the issue

  • Janet Wilkinson

    Another clear example of why our schools are now failing boys. It’s about time we stopped talking about it and focus on bringing back the old standards where competition , strength, speed, confidence, power, and teamwork are subjects which are taught and respected in schools not hidden just because girls don’t respond to them. At this rate sending children to military school is the only way to give them a good education with the education currently so bias to girls minds and thought processes.

  • DukeLax

    Dr helen smith wrote a book about the new “war on boys”

  • anonymous

    I’m diagnosed with aspergers, I’m keenly aware of the general issue since a young age and can help it just as much as a dyslexic can help his reading skills.
    I have a vast repertoire of coping/compensation skills and as a borderline case(at least in my time of youth) I can say that mis diagnosis doesn’t occur as often as under diagnosis (because said cognitive deficits are rather easy to cover up with learned skills)

    I’m pretty positive female under diagnoses is more common since society in general is WAY more forgiving to young girls in preschool, k-12 and higher education than boys. thus allowing said coping skills to form in more healthy manners.

    I don’t deny however that due to childhood trauma or neglect ASD like symptoms can’t manifest in normal boys/girls but I’m not aware of any data on this.

  • Anthony

    I am surprised anyone on here was not a victim of misdiagnosis. Let me be that one person. I used to be aggressive with my younger brother when I was little. I had my own group of friends but I didn’t want to talk with too many people. My teachers and my parents saw all this as symptoms of a disorder. I was to attend regular classes but with special ed accomodations. I had to see a psychiatrist who prescribed me with risperdol which only made me more upset than I would usually get. When my mom told me about my diagnosis I became depressed and cried myself to sleep. During my school years I researched autism and found that i dont fit in with the criteria of someone who does. I then worked my way in getting out of my “special condition”. I felt tortured during school because i had to miss out on certain things during classes. I wasn’t allowed to enroll in advanced classes even though my teachers convinced me i would excell remarkably. I never told my closest friends nor my extended family because i didnt want them to feel sorry for me. I was taken off the risperdal and therapy sessions around the end of my elementary school years. I was finally released from special ed in high school. I know there are children who really do need help in certain things but in my case I had to suffer 10 years in torment. I do have to agree with this wonderfully written article because I am a voice of someone who has lived that experience of being misdiagnosed just because I showed some “masculine” traits.

  • Brian

    I believe autism is the worst form of child abuse imaginable. I believe parents and teachers who are practitioners of the religion of political correctness create this condition in children. I believe that what happens in autism is that the child’s brain tells the child he is a boy, while the outside world, in the form of the way the child’s parents and teachers treat the child, tells the child he is a girl. Because the child learns that people will invalidate him out of existence, he learns to only exist in his own mind, the only place where he is safe to exist as himself.
    What’s my evidence? I am someone who grew up in an environment surrounded by nothing but hypermasculinity, being raised by parents who were in the military, having brothers that were always star athletes, etc. I developed a very strong sense that I’m a male. As an adult, I have, because of my profession, spent years being surrounded by educated, upper-middle-class white people.
    I noticed I had no desire to socialize with people from that demographic of white people, and that when I was around them, I had a lot of the symptoms people diagnosed with autism are described as having. The reason I didn’t have a desire to socialize with them, I noticed, was because they treated me like someone I’m not. I noticed they would treat me like I’m a child. It’s like they were always trying to take away my masculinity by creating the perception, by the way they would treat me, that I was emotionally weak and needed to feel accepted, that I had some immature lack of confidence. The epitome of maturity to them, it seemed, was being emotional and validating the feelings of others, and that enforcing honesty was a sign of hypermasculine immaturity.
    In researching the issue, I found that a 2009 study done at UC Davis of over 10,000 kids with autism demonstrated clusters of autism in places concentrated in the demographic of educated, upper-middle-class white people. I found that studies repeatedly show a strong association between testosterone and autism. I found what doctors, before the era of political correctness, when they were freer to state what their true opinions were, thought was the true cause of autism, in the refrigerator mother theory. I found a perfect correlation between the start of the political correctness era and the spike in autism.
    I believe the cure for autism is taking the child away from his abusive parents and teachers. I believe the autistic child needs to get sent the message that his, and only his, perceptions of reality are what reality truly is, and not what his parents and teachers try to force-feed him. I believe the child with autism needs to be around strong male role model figures. I believe the child with autism needs to be taught how to have a career by being self-employed, in order to most effectively avoid the nonreality of political correctness in the work environment. I believe the child with autism needs to be taught to maximize his verbal skills in order to be able to precisely define himself, so that when others are attacking him with invalidation, he can make known to others what is truly going on.
    And to those who question my medical knowledge, I will admit that I am a physician who has done a significant portion of my training at some of the highest-ranked institutions in the country, and that is why I have spent years being surrounded by educated, upper-middle-class white people.
    So to those diagnosed with autism, my main advice is your brain tells you who you are, not the way people treat you.