Monday, May 23, 2011

Missing Important Social Clues

Looking for Clues

Photo credit-topgold
Creative Commons License


One of the hallmarks of autism that is often cited is that autistics tend to miss important social clues. I must admit that this is something that we see often with our son, Buddy Boy (though he has made great strides in carving out "his own way" of initiating interactions).

Most people think that if they see someone that "doesn't get" typical social clues, that that must mean that that person is autistic. Well, not necessarily.

Take David Geier, for instance.

As the whole world now knows, David's dad, Mark Geier, had an emergency suspension of his right to practice medicine recently, due to the medical board catching up with his totally off the wall (and dangerous) antics in "treating" autistic patients.

As was patently clear from complaint against his father, David was up to his eyeballs in this, examining patients in his dad's office. David also had an appointment to the State of Maryland's Commission on Autism, which listed him as a "diagnostician". His one and only degree, an undergrad B.A. in Biology, in no way qualifies him for such a title.

Now, as anyone that follows politics in any part of the world knows, there are a certain portion of politicians and appointees that get caught up in scandals. And there is a certain way of conducting oneself that is expected in such situations. When one is caught up in a scandal, it may be OK to sit tight for a couple of days, to see if things blow over. But once you're actually charged with something, and if someone from the governor's office asks you to resign, you're toast. Your only acceptable course of action is to resign, as quickly and quietly as possible. Not to do so makes you look terrible, as well as causing needless embarrassment to the one who appointed you in the first place. Even really rich and important people know when to throw in the towel when they get caught.

Unfortunately, David Geier is the type of person my grandma would have said "...doesn't have the sense he was born with."

Once the whole scandal blew up, and the lengthy and detailed complaint made it obvious to all that this would not end well for the Geier's, one would think that David would have quit the autism commission. Well, he didn't.

Once he himself was charged with practicing medicine without a license, you would think that he would immediately recuse himself from any public position. Well, he didn't.

When David wouldn't/couldn't see the handwriting on the wall, he was asked to resign. As reported here, he refused.

So finally the governor of the state of Maryland had to come out and publicly fire him.

I'm thinking that the governor will not be so quick to appoint charlatans with transparently false credentials in the future. And much as I'd like to feel sorry for David Geier, I just can't.

4 comments:

Daisy said...

It makes me wonder what kind of credentials were necessary to be appointed to this commission?

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have a quick question for you about your site. If you could please get back to me as soon as possible I would greatly appreciate it. Have a great day!

Thanks,
Communications Coordinator
Primrose Schools
Dgilbert@primroseschools.com
@DanGilbert66

Steph said...

Just because folks on the spectrum have trouble grasping social cues doesn't mean "NT" people excel at it either.

When I think about how much parents struggle, investing all their time and savings, to get their kids the help they need, this makes me feel ill. I can't feel sorry for him either.

lauren said...

When it comes to social clues, it is one thing to look for but there are other factors.