published Thursday, November 21st, 2013

'Autism causes family stress' and more letters to the editor

Autism causes family stress

When I was about 7 years old, my father married my then-stepmother, who brought into the family an autistic daughter. We were a family of five children, with two children on the autism spectrum, as my brother is also diagnosed with Asperser's syndrome. They were married for several years, but I think the burden of caring for two autistic children led to resentment in their marriage and eventually a divorce. It may not have been the only factor in driving my father and stepmother apart, but it was a major factor. Autism is a growing epidemic, with one in 88 children being diagnosed. Many parents don't understand the stresses and the financial burden it can put on a marriage. Caring for an autistic child can be expensive. Many researchers believe that this stress can be combated with outside support and couples counseling. I believe that if my parents had received more help, they would have found a way to make it work. There simply isn't enough information out there about this, and many people don't know what to do about the stress on their marriage. I believe that if we make these facts known, and better publicized, we could save many marriages.

ALIYAH WILSON

Sloppy reporting by Associated Press

Your Saturday, Nov. 9, edition contained an error in the Business Section article on Typhoon Haiyan. The article claimed that these storms rotate clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern. In fact the opposite is true and is obvious to the casual observer of weather news. In the northern hemisphere the storm rotates counter- clockwise and the storm track is clockwise. Consider the storms we experience in the eastern U.S. As the storm travels west off the coast of Africa and crosses the Atlantic it begins to track north by northwest, finally turning north and then north by northeast, circling in the clockwise direction. In fact, Hurricane Dennis made land fall in the U.S. twice as it came full circle for a second pass at us. The entire time that the storm is active it is rotating counterclockwise. Although your article was sourced to the Associated Press with additional weather organization sources, you printed it. We appreciate and enjoy the privilege of having your fine newspaper. Please don't allow sloppy reporting by the AP get the better of you.

DAN C. JOHNSON

Veterans welcomed at local VFW post

In response to a Nov. 16 letter from a veteran who thought the VFW was just for World War vets, let me say I am the Jr. Vice Commander at VFW Post 4848 on Riverside Drive in Chattanooga. My contact information is alansyler@att.net or 423-855-6876. Anyone can contact me regarding membership information. We would like to invite you to join our post. Instead of driving by, stop and come in. We will buy you a beverage of your choice. Show up with your DD-214 in hand, we must verify your military service and qualifications for joining the VFW. We will welcome you with open arms. Any other veteran is welcome to stop by and join our post. In your service.

ALAN W. SYLER

Spanking helps children later

The news reported an increase in bullying among school children. There were 5,478 confirmed cases of bullying in Tennessee last school year. Bullying harms education by causing missed school days, stress and suicide. It's likely the decline in spanking by both parents and teachers has caused an increase in bullies and depressed children. Psychologist Dr. James Dobson said it's beneficial to spank a defiant child. A 2010 Wall Street Journal article said a study at Calvin College found spanking children makes them happy years later. The study found teens who were spanked as children ended up with a "sunnier outlook," were "better students," had "more positive academic records and optimism about the future" and volunteered more than their unspanked peers. In 11 behavioral variables analyzed, the never-spanked group never scored the best. This showed the never-spanked group was more selfish, self-centered and spoiled. The saying "spare the rod and spoil the child" is true! Words without action prove ineffective. Indifference and not disciplining children are forms of child abuse!

DANIEL NAVE

What happened to common sense?

Boy, if we marked off a circle of free speech for every whacked-out nut job in the country, we'd soon run out of space. Whatever happened to disturbing the peace? Inciting a riot? Hate speech? Plain old common sense? Tuition-paying students at UTC should not have their studies and campus life affected by Angela Cummings' vitriol (is she even enrolled?). There's a lovely little spot over on the bend of the river for her to do her "preaching."

MARK H. HOLDEN

Zimmerman sanity questioned

I had hopes that this would not be necessary but, sadly, it is. George Zimmerman was, and is crazy. There is no other phrase that fits him quite so properly. Knowing this, we know also that either we lock him away for our own safety and his, or some one of us is going to suffer the consequences of our not taking immediate, and lasting action. It should not have to be pointed out over and over that Mr. Zimmerman's temper and his obsession with firearms is going to one day result in the death of another person. I am not a believer in the death penalty and this is not a sudden change in my belief. I simply feel that, aside from war, it is the worst thing we do to one another, and is utterly useless. It's only useful counterpart, lifelong imprisonment and concomitant therapy is the only other viable choice in this instance.

RICHARD W. SHULTZ

Does Johnson deserve millions?

So, Bill Johnson makes $5.9 million as TVA chief for nine months! If my math is correct, that comes to $655,555 per month. Using the estimate of 200 working hours in a month it appears that he gets about $3,277.77 an hour. Not bad! My question is this: on Oct. 23 between the hours of 10 and 11 a.m. what did he do that was so innovative, so masterful in leadership, so important to the function of TVA that we (ratepayers) should have given him $3,277.77?

BOB VOGT, Ooltewah

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ToHoldNothing said...

As stressful as raising kids with autism can be: I have Asperger's syndrome and I think it does cause my family stress (partly because I still haven't learned to drive due to lack of motivation and finding a job is difficult even if I could drive, which I'd almost sell a couple of years of my life to just have that basic skill). I don't think calling it an epidemic is accurate, especially since it's not infectious in nature. A surge in diagnoses, sure. And treating it like cancer or such is as ridiculous as comparing bipolar disorder to the flu. It can be tough, but we have to live with it. There are effective therapies and methods, esp. in terms of Asperger's syndrome. Autism in the sense that many people understand it requires more specialization and a constant level of care.

Part of this is personal and biased, I admit, but at the same time, education about autism and the spectrum should be accurate. Don't buy into Jenny McCarthy's malarkey that somehow the immune system is compromised by vaccinations in a seemingly excessive application. Speculation about origins is for experts and Jenny McCarthy is not qualified to talk about this in any capacity beyond "Oh, my son has autism, I've done research,"

Autism is something that can make life much richer for the parent. If you don't think you can handle it, then I'd just suggest not having children. Otherwise, bite the bullet and deal with it.

November 21, 2013 at 12:55 a.m.
LibDem said...

I wish I had known that beating my kids would make them happy.

November 21, 2013 at 6:54 a.m.
moon4kat said...

Mr. Nave is misguided. A Christian friend wisely pointed out that "spare the rod and spoil the child" has been vastly misinterpreted as an excuse for child abuse. She said what the phrase really means is that children should be guided, NOT beaten. She observed that shepherds used their rods to steer the lambs out of danger, not to inflict physical pain. People who routinely whip children are just showing their own inadequacies at parenting. I suspect that children who are beaten are more likely to bully others, because that's the "communication skill" they've been taught by adults.

November 21, 2013 at 8:07 a.m.
una61 said...

Nave:

Spare the rod and spare the child. Love children unconditionally.

November 21, 2013 at 8:54 p.m.
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