Friday, May 24, 2019

Comments by Erich Kofmel

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  • a) this is Romania. Eastern Europe is very bad at diagnosing autism in general; b) these were children who apparently were long-time in a children’s hospital – why? presumably because they were institutionalized as autistic (or developmentally delayed) before being given screens; c) of course autistic children will prefer spending time in front of a screen rather than playing with other children – it’s kind of the definition of autism; d) autistic children benefit from screens, which in many cases is their only way of communicating with each other and other people (see augmentative and assistive communication devices); e) for that reason, depriving autistic children of screens is not making them non-autistic, it is just making them more isolated and thus should be seen as a human rights violation; f) France is an equally bad example, where autistic children are treated with psychoanalysis and “packing” and mothers are still blamed as refrigerator mothers – never trust a French psychiatrist; g) how many 4 year olds, autistic or not, would do more than repeat words without knowing what they mean? seems perfectly age-appropriate; h) there are not less autistic children in non-rich countries, there are simply less psychiatrists in poor countries (often only one or two adult psychiatrists in an entire country and no child psychiatrists at all) – that’s why less children are diagnosed there; i) that said, of course parents should spend as much time with their autistic child as possible and build a relationship with them, on the child’s terms, respecting their autistic identity and interests, using screens to communicate with the child if necessary