A “New” Spectrum / Domestic Humans – Wild Humans

Species that are candidates for domestication / Favorable vs. Unfavorable Characteristics

Modern social humans are “domesticated” Homo sapiens –  the result of intensive change in behaviors that developed as archaic Homo sapiens began to live in higher population densities and adapted to the requisite lifestyle changes due to agriculture. Selection was for characteristics favorable to domestication. That is, only humans pre-adapted to living in “gregarious social groups” would be accepted in concentrated “urban” populations that organized into male-dominated social hierarchies.

The “old style” wild Homo sapiens, whose characteristics were not favorable for domestication. It is my “opinion” that Asperger types today are remnants of pre-agriculture, pre-domestication, pre-urban Homo sapiens. We are not “defective” modern social humans; we are stranded in the wrong cultures and environments – domestic environments. Our sensory perceptions are unlike those of domesticated humans and are VERY REAL. (See study below) “Domestic” environments are simply “deadly” for us and produce high levels of anxiety.

Aspergers (we just happen to be stuck within modern hypersocial cultures) are not the only “wild humans” – remnants of indigenous peoples barely survive, and like thousands of endangered animal species, are being steadily eliminated by destruction of their environments, and cultural genocide, by “normal” modern social humans who are destroying the planet.


More on this study later:

Over-Reactive Brain Responses to Sensory Stimuli in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 Nov; 52(11): 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.08.004.

Sensory over-responsivity (SOR), defined as a negative response to or avoidance of sensory stimuli, is both highly prevalent and extremely impairing in youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), yet little is known about the neurological bases of SOR. This study aimed to examine the functional neural correlates of SOR by comparing brain responses to sensory stimuli in youth with and without ASD.

This study demonstrates that youth with ASD show neural hyper-responsivity to sensory stimuli, and that behavioral symptoms of SOR may be related to both heightened responsivity in primary sensory regions as well as areas related to emotion processing, and regulation.

Imagine a wild animal being “captured” by humans for study: most must be tranquilized or otherwise sedated in order to be handled by humans. Yeah – that’s what it can feel like for “us”!

Neurotypicals just love to torment wild creatures. This was a popular TV show when I was a kid. I was always rooting for the animals to escape.

Obsession with Novelty / Neurotypicals Destroy Earth

This morning I dreamed that I was back in advertising: working alone with the agency owner to prepare a presentation for a new client. It was fun; we did a few large posters – simple, graphic, meaningful text-headlines and set them aside to refine later. When I came back, he was gone and (seemingly) hundreds of “young people” (20s and 30s) had taken over the presentation, which no longer had any “advertising” materials in it. They were designing a vast “party” – a carnival type assortment of games, product giveaways, foods, etc – none of which had anything to do with the business of the “new client”. Needless to say, it was a mess; an event cobbled together (with much enthusiasm) from every online “catalogue” of consumer “must have” trivialities.

The head of the agency never reappeared: our presentation had been “scuttled” – the posters vanished and the carnival went on…

The “message” that popped up (when I say this, I mean, words that “translate” the dream images into verbal language was this:

The earth is dying from neurotypical obsession with novelty.

Obsession with novelty is a consequence of neoteny. It’s a requirement in a childish economic system that relies on ever-expanding markets for trivial junk, like artificial fingernails, plastic toys and hundreds of brands over OTC pills and remedies.

Think about it; thousands of years of human inventiveness, slave labor and creative engineering and industry have culminated in not only a pollution-producing flood of useless products, but an “app” obsession that allows “juvenalized” humans to track their pizza delivery, Amazon order and their bowel movements, using “smart gadgets” that become toxic waste in poor countries, where they are dumped by the millions, destroying agriculture, water supplies and plant animal human life.

And on and on… and at the same time, these apps and websites allow “bad actors” (corporations, government agencies, data collection mills and plain old criminal predators), observe our intimate lives, 24/7, for the purpose of collecting “data” – not to “get to know our customers and serve them better” as advertised, but to sell for profit the massive data that they collect. Ever wonder why products are incredibly cheap and are delivery halfway around the planet is “free”? Corporations don’t “sell products” anymore – they provide lures, which gather information about health, spending, leisure activities, banking habits, family relations, criminal records, sexual preferences, debt, food buying, clothing, and every phone call or text, and photo that propagates from you, your family, friends, co-workers, across the planet. Many products are “spies” installed in your house, by you – neurotypicals are insanely stupid!

And most damning about all this “data pornography” (you are not human, you are data) is that neurotypicals don’t even care that this has become the “human condition”. Novelty – that ever-flowing river of trivia, nonsense and useless objects is not a big benign “party”. It is literally “killing” life on earth, including Homo sapiens.

Is that “cute” decorative item from China, or “cheap” T-shirt from Thailand worth the destruction of earth’s environments? Is continued dominance of fossil fuel anything but intentional destruction of earth’s environments? Is having an obsession with social media “gadgets” worth the destruction of earth’s environments? Globalization is simply a disaster as potent as any other phenomenon of mass extinction.

Read about the shipping industry that is massively polluting the oceans:

The Containerized Shipping Industry and the Phenomenon of Containers Lost at Sea  / An extensive PDF from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, March 2014. NOAA Office of Marine Sanctuaries

Hint: “Office of Marine Sanctuaries” while sounding like an attempt by the U.S. government to “protect” marine environments, does not protect marine environments. 



A well-documented environmental disaster off New Zealand that dumped 400 tons of heavy oil onto a reef – followed by an attempted cover up and a $108 million “clean-up” This is not a “rare” occurrence.

Container ship Rena hit Astrolabe Reef about 12 nautical miles off Tauranga, New Zealand early on October 5, 2011

A Ship Grounding case study- Training video for shipping/marine industry. Produced by Dhhunki Productions.www.dhhunkiproductions.com

The Mathematics of “Big Brains” / Evolution

From PBS Science, March 2017

Why did humans evolve big brains? We don’t know, but math can help

Where is the math in this article? You’ll need to go to original paper.

by Kristin Hugo

A new model published Thursday in PLOS Computational Biology mathematically illustrates what led to the evolution of humans’ abnormally large brains. (A cliché that is not true – we have the brain the “fits” us.)

Evolutionary biologists devised these equations to tease apart the relationship between human brain size and the cost of maintaining a large brain. (This is physics: the human body and the evolutionary processes that shaped it, conform to physical laws) Over the last few decades, the pace and stages of brain growth in humans have become clearer. From birth to preschool, our brains quadruple in size. Our brains reach 90 percent of their final size by six years old, and they continue to grow slowly through adolescence until stopping in our mid-20’s.

The question is: Why?

Anthropologists have hypothesized — made educated speculations — about what factors in human evolution drive this pace. For example, newborns heavily rely on their families, so they can develop strong social bonds during their youth. (This is stated as if newborns have the intent to rely on other people, in order to develop social bonds; this is backwards! Human infants must rely on other people because they are helpless. The infant displays behavior that ought to elicit parental bonds, but in fact, there are a very high number of parents who do not respond appropriately –  this response ought to be instinctual, but as we commonly see in many domestic animals, this instinctual bond has been interrupted, is undeveloped, or damaged in the mother and other adults)

As humans get older, we increasingly learn to be self-sufficient (or not!); (learn to) use tools and learn about our environments. Scientists speculate both of these habits (?) contribute to brain growth, but they don’t know which of these factors or others have the greatest bearing. We are way off track already – Brain growth depends on NOURISHMENT and adult care – the protection and guidance that will allow the child  to learn to “operate” its body, regardless of the society, culture or group size that the infant will grow within.

A standard mathematical model (of what?) could provide clarity by quantitatively comparing hypotheses. (Or show that “educated speculations” lack credibility as descriptions of “the real world”

You’d think that PBS could hire a Competent science writers, or at least employ a science editor! This is piss-poor, garbled reporting!  An Asperger pet peeve: If we are going to “educate” the public about scientific Activity, we need Accurate language! Otherwise it’s just Blah, blah, blah.

Anthropologists can plug in their hypotheses to the model (not really) which then predicts brain size from birth to adulthood based on those numbers. If those numbers match what we know about the pace of human brain development, then the model supports the hypothesis. (What numbers? This is gobbled-gook!) “With this model, you can obtain predictions for each of the hypotheses to see which hypothesis yields a better prediction,” said evolutionary biologist Mauricio González-Forero of Université de Lausanne in France, who led the study. Aye, yai, yai!

The final model states that adult skill level equals adult brain mass times the cost of maintaining brain tissue divided by the cost of memory times a constant. Stated in laymen’s terms, this idea means as adult brain mass increases, so too does adult skill, assuming that the costs of maintaining the brain mass and memory stay constant. (Aye, yai, yai!!!!)

These costs include eating a lot in order to maintain the brain. (of the right kind of food) Brains make up 2 percent of our bodies, but consume 20 percent of our oxygen and sugars in our food to sustain the activity of billions of neurons. This mental gorging could have been a disadvantage for early humans thousands of years ago, because bigger diets, consisting of more calories, means having to spend more time hunting and foraging for food. If their evolving brains drained too much food and oxygen, then they might have been too tired to fend for themselves. (Yikes!)

God help us! Another naïve neurotypical narrative! First – this is backwards: IF food X provides more calories per “effort to obtain it” (work), you’re in luck – you will focus on obtaining food X: (bears, sharks, and millions of species do this) For early humans, exploiting a new “option” (such as animal protein) results in more calories, a benefit that then can be maximized by improving and tailoring technology toward getting this food AND for other activities as well. Once this “boost in calories” becomes more available, better brain nourishment (especially in children) provides more “brain power” for  developing new technologies and devising better strategies for survival. It’s a feedback process. ) 

Modern social humans (Americans) seek out “crappy food” that deprives them of the nutrition necessary for even minimal brain and body health. This is bad enough, but to starve our children’s brains is a crime!

While there is debate among anthropologists, many believe that social interaction is a major factor in increasing brain size. Knowing people, communicating with them and maintaining relationships takes a lot of brainpower. This is recent “social narrative” about agricultural societies; regardless of “social” influence, the brain runs on REAL ENERGY supplied by FOOD. What we see in contemporary hyper-social juvenalized humans is overconsumption of “crappy food” which fails to  provide adequate  nourishment. Compounded by “social demands” that consume too much of a child’s energy, leaves less energy for children to develop healthy brains and bodies: in many children, learning becomes impossible. What we see is a “shrinking” of brain size over the last 10,000 years of human domestication)

González-Forero’s model counters this narrative and asserts that humans gain more intelligence as they learn to use technology, which University of Wisconsin-Madison evolutionary anthropologist John Hawks describes as a controversial but revealing take on brain development. (Controversial= whacky = magical thinking) Many anthropologists look at the pace of brain growth in terms of social interactions, he added, but “this paper is saying maybe social relationships don’t have anything to do with it. It’s really neat to see such a cool, clear statement of that because it gives us a target.”

The socially-obsessed “naïve narrative” of the evolution of human brain has taken over anthropology and related “human sciences” – at the expense of logical reasoning  grounded in the reality of physical environments.

Logically, we can go much further: social activity can be detrimental to human survival, Energy expended on social activity consumes far more energy than it “supposedly” supplies; social activity redistributes food, water and fossil fuels to ultra-greedy nations, thus depriving millions of human beings the “nourishment” that children must have in order to develop. “Saving” children, by handing out “just enough gruel” to keep them alive temporarily, results in underdeveloped and damaged brains, and is unconscionable social activity.

Contemporary  humans suffer from this very real food-energy drain. We cannot provide clean water and proper nourishment to hundreds of millions of human children, but “spend” enormous amounts of energy on projects with “no energy return” – war, environmental destruction, and billions of useless products (can’t eat them!), the production of which consumes vast amounts of energy (especially human energy) that is needed for “brain growth”.


Lost Shoes / Desert Artifacts

This is true. I come across lost shoes and articles of clothing in the oddest places.

This is true. I come across lost shoes and articles of clothing in the oddest places.

Most of the time that I spend in the desert there is no one around; maybe another vehicle passes along a county road destined for one of the mines or plants. Sometimes I hear the boom-boom of a shotgun from a distant arroyo where someone is target shooting. Like me, local people like to drive around the countryside just to drive; to feel like a Monopoly game piece moving on a vast rolling surface; to park on a rise and contemplate the broad and bleak universe of Wyoming.

City people find the prospect daunting: the scale is overwhelming. No trees; nothing taller than your knees. A trip to Mars,  but without the lovely red color. From a high spot south of town, two opposite mountain ranges can be seen that are 200 miles apart. Human beings settle into a landscape that reminds us that our proper place in the scheme of nature is rather smaller than we’d hoped. The important result is that a reduction in scale results in happier people, and I don’t say this because I’m Asperger.


“Less is more” not only in architecture, but in nature’s placement of people in a landscape.  Mies van der Rohe, 1947

When I do encounter signs of humans or animals in the desert, a peculiar emotion rises, as if a ghostly animal remains there – perhaps the reaction of a hunter who “learns” that signs and symbols can stand in for the real animal. A notion of time emerges: what “was” an animal traveling through, which stopped to drink water or was spooked by a predator, or laid down in a grassy spot overnight – all these create the picture of an animal that is no longer present, and yet is present in the mind of the tracker. It’s a peculiar overlap of then and now, which fuse into one “timeless” moment full of awareness, movement, relationship and fulfillment of function.


Temperament and Neoteny / Temple Grandin

Behavioral Genetics and Animal Science

TEMPLE GRANDIN AND MARK J. DEESING  http://www.grandin.com/references/genetics.html (full text)

Department of Animal Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals (Chapter One) Academic Press 1998, San Diego, California

Link to post covering previous material from the book: https://aspergerhuman.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/domestication-neoteny-and-behavior-grandin/

I’m deleting some text for length and to highlight information that may be important to understanding Asperger behavior.

Genetic Factors and the Need for Novelty

In mammals and birds, normal development of the brain and sense organs requires novelty and varied sensory input. Nobel prize winning research of Hubel and Wiesel (1970) showed that the visual system is permanently damaged if kittens do not receive varied visual input during development. When dogs are raised in barren and nonstimulating environments they are also more excitable (Walsh and Cummins, 1975; Melzak and Burns, 1965). Schultz (1965) stated, “when stimulus variation is restricted central regulation of threshold sensitivities will function to lower sensory thresholds.” Krushinski (1960) studied the influence of isolated conditions of rearing on the development of passive defense reactions (fearful aggression) in dogs and found that the expression of a well-marked fear reaction depends on the genotype of the animal. […] In general, animals reared in isolation become more sensitive to sensory stimulation because the nervous system attempts to readjust for the previous lack of stimulation.

[…] chicks from a flighty genetic line were more likely to panic when a novel ball was placed in their pen, but they were also more attracted to a novel food than birds from a calm line. […] rats bred to be dull greatly improved in maze learning when housed in a cage with many different objects; however, enriched environments had little effect on the rats bred for high intelligence. […] rearing rats in an environment with many novel objects improves learning and resulted in increased growth of dendrites, which are nerve endings in the brain.

Piglets allowed to choose between a familiar object and a novel object prefer the novel object […] The first author has observed that nervous, excitable hybrid pigs often chew and bite vigorously on boots or coveralls. This behavior is less common in placid genetic lines of pigs. Although hybrid pigs are highly attracted to novelty, tossing a novel object into their pen will initially cause a strong flight response. […] Denied variety and novelty in their environments, highly reactive animals adapt poorly when compared to animals from calmer genetic lines

In summary, in both wild and domestic animals novelty is both highly feared and necessary. Novelty is most desirable when animals can approach it slowly. Unfortunately, novelty is also fear-provoking when animals are suddenly confronted with it.


In animals as diverse as rats, chickens, cattle, pigs, and humans, genetic factors influence differences in temperament. […] Some individuals are wary and fearful and others are calm and placid. Boissy (1995) stated, fearfulness is a basic psychological characteristic of the individual that predisposes it to perceive and react in a similar manner to a wide range of potentially frightening events. In all animals, genetic factors influence reactions to situations which cause fear […] therefore, temperament is partially determined by an individual animal’s fear response. […] Plomin and Daniels (1987) found a substantial genetic influence on shyness (fearfulness) in human children. Shy behavior in novel situations is considered a stable psychological characteristic of certain individuals. […]

In an experiment designed to control for maternal effects on temperament and emotionality […] showed that maternal effects were not great enough to completely mask the temperament differences […] In extensive review of the literature, Broadhurst (1975) examined the role of heredity in the formation of behavior and found that differences in temperament between rats persist when the animals are all raised in the same environment.

Measuring Fear-Based Behaviors

One method of testing fearfulness is the open field test (Hall, 1934). Sudden placement of an animal in an open field test arena is used to measure differences in fearfulness. Open field testing has shown differences in fearfulness between different genetic lines of animals. The test arena floor is usually marked in a grid to measure how much the animals walk around and explore. Huck and Price (1975) showed that domestic rats are less fearful and will walk round the open field more than wild rats. Price and Loomis (1973) explained that some genetic strains of rats are less fearful and explore an open field arena more than others. Eysenck and Broadhurst (1964) found that rodents with high emotional reactivity are more fearful and explore the open field less compared to placid genetic lines.


Mahut (1958) demonstrated an example of differences in fear responses between beagles and terriers. When frightened, beagles freeze and terriers run around frantically In domestic livestock, measuring fear reactions during restraint or in an open field test has revealed differences in temperament both between breeds and between individuals within a breed (Grandin, 1993a; Tulloh, 1961; Dantzer and Mormede, 1983; Murphey et al., 1980b, 1981). The fearful, flighty animals become more agitated and struggle more violently when restrained for vaccinations and other procedures (Fordyce et al., 1988; Grandin, 1993a). Fear is likely to be the main cause of agitation during restraint in cattle, horses, pigs, and chickens. Genetic effects on behavior during transport, handling, and restraint of these animals are further discussed in Chapter 4.

Species Differences in Fear Reactions

In an open field test, frightened rodents often stay close to the arena walls, whereas frightened cattle may run around wildly and attempt to escape. Rodents stay close to the walls because they naturally fear open spaces, whereas cattle run around wildly because they fear separation from the herd. This is an example of differences between species in their response to a similar fear- provoking situation. Fear can be manifested in many different ways. For example, a frightened animal may run around frantically and try to escape in one situation, while in another situation the same animal may freeze or limit its movement. Chickens often freeze when handled by humans. Jones (1984) called this “tonic immobility.” The chickens become so frightened that they cannot move. Forceful capture of wild animals can sometimes inflict fatal heart damage. Wildlife biologists call this capture myopathy In summary, much is known about the complex phenomenon of fear, but many questions still remain.


Genetics influences the intensity of fear reactions. Genetic factors can also greatly reduce or increase fear reaction in domestic animals (Price, 1984; Parsons, 1988; Flint et al., 1995). Research in humans has clearly revealed some of the genetic mechanisms which govern the inheritance of anxiety (Lesch et al., 1996). LeDoux (1992) and Rogan and LeDoux (1996) state that all vertebrates can be fear-conditioned. Davis (1992) recently reviewed studies on the biological basis of fear. Overwhelming evidence points to the amygdala as the fear center in the brain. A small bilateral structure located in the limbic system, the amygdala is where the triggers for flight or fight” are located. Electrical stimulation of the amygdala is known to increase stress hormones in rats and cats (Matheson et al., 1971; Setckleiv et al., 1961); destroying the amygdala can make a wild rat tame and reduce its emotionality (Kemble et al., 1984). Destroying the amygdala also makes it impossible to provoke a fear response in animals (Davis, 1992). Blanchard and Blanchard (1972) showed that rats lose all of their fear of cats when the amygdala is lesioned. Furthermore, when a rat learns that a signal light means an impending electric shock, a normal response is to freeze. Destroying the amygdala will eliminate this response (Blanchard and Blanchard, 1972; LeDoux et al., 1988, 1990). Finally, electrical stimulation of the amygdala makes humans feel fearful (Gloor et al., 1981). Animal studies also show that stimulation of the amygdala triggers a pattern of responses from the autonomic nervous system similar to that found in humans when they feel fear (Davis, 1992).

Heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration also change in animals when the flight or fight response is activated (Manuck and Schaefer, 1978). All these autonomic functions have neural circuits to the amygdala. Fear can be measured in animals by recording changes in autonomic activity In humans, Manuck and Schaefer (1978) found tremendous differences in cardiovascular reactivity in response to stress, reflecting a stable genetic characteristic of individuals.

Fearfulness and Instinct

Fearfulness and instinct can conflict. This principle was observed firsthand by the second author during his experience raising Queensland Blue Heeler dogs. Annie’s first litter was a completely novel experience because she had never observed another dog giving birth or nursing pups. She was clearly frightened when the first pup was born and it was obvious that she did not know what the pup was; however, as soon as she smelled it her maternal instinct took over and a constant uncontrollable licking began. Two years later, Annie’s daughter Kay had her first litter. Kay was more fearful than her mother and her highly nervous temperament overrode her innate licking program. When each pup was born Kay ran wildly around the room and would not go near them. The second author had to intervene and place the pups under Kay’s nose; otherwise, they may have died. Kay’s nervous temperament and fearfulness were a stronger motivation than her motherly instinct.


Raising young animals in barren environments devoid of variety and sensory stimulation will have an effect on development of the nervous system. It can cause an animal to be more reactive and excitable when it becomes an adult. This is a long-lasting, environmentally induced change in how the nervous system reacts to various stimuli. Effects of deprivation during early development are also relatively permanent. Melzak and Burns (1965) found that puppies raised in barren kennels developed into hyperexcitable adults. In one experiment the deprived dogs reacted with ~diffuse excitement” and ran around a room more than control dogs raised in homes by people. Presenting novel objects to the deprived dogs also resulted in diffuse excitement.” Furthermore, the EEGs of the kennel-raised dogs remained abnormal even after they were removed from the kennel (Melzak and Burns, 1965). Simons and Land (1987) showed that the somatosensory cortex in the brains of baby rats will not develop normally if sensory input was eliminated by trimming their whiskers. A lack of sensory input made the brain hypersensitive to stimulation. The effects persisted even after the whiskers had grown back.

Development of emotional reactivity of the nervous system begins during early gestation. Denenberg and Whimbey (1968) showed that handling a pregnant rat can cause her offspring to be more emotional and explore less in an Open field compared to control animals. This experiment is significant because it shows that handling the pregnant mother had the opposite effect on the behavior of the infant pups. Handling and possibly stressing the pregnant mothers changed the hormonal environment of the fetus which resulted in nervous offspring. However, handling newborn rats by briefly picking them up and setting them in a container reduced emotional reactivity when the rats became adults (Denenberg and Whimbey 1968). The handled rats developed a calmer temperament.

The adrenal glands are known to have an effect on behavior (Fuller and Thompson, 1978). The inner portions of the adrenals secrete the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, while the outer cortex secretes the gender hormones androgens and oestrogens (reproductive hormones), and various corticosteroids (stress hormones). Yeakel and Rhoades (1941) found that Hall’s (1938) emotional rats had larger adrenals and thyroids compared to the nonemotional rats. Richter (1952, 1954) found a decrease in the size of the adrenal glands in Norway rats accompanied by domestication. Several line and strain differences have been found since these early reports. Furthermore, Levine (1968) and Levine et al. (1967) showed that brief handling of baby rats reduces the response of the adrenal gland to stress. Denenberg et al. (1967) concluded that early handling may lead to major changes in the neuroendocrine system.

Changing Reactivity versus Taming

Adult wild rats can be tamed and become accustomed to handling by people (Galef, 1970). This is strictly learned behavior. Taming full-grown wild animals to become accustomed to handling by people will not diminish their response to a sudden novel stimulus. This principle was demonstrated by Grandin et al. (1994) in training wild antelope at the Denver Zoo for low- stress blood testing. Nyala are African antelope with a hair-trigger flight response used to escape from predators. During handling in zoos for veterinary treatments, nyala are often highly stressed and sometimes panic and injure themselves. Over a period of 3 months, Grandin et al. (1995) trained nyala to enter a box and stand quietly for blood tests while being fed treats. Each new step in the training had to be done slowly and carefully Ten days were required to habituate the nyala to the sound of the doors on the box being closed.

All the training and petting by zoo keepers did not change the nyala’s response to a sudden, novel stimulus. […]

Domestic versus Wild

Wild herding species show much stronger fear responses to sudden novelty compared to domestic ruminants such as cattle and sheep. Domestic ruminants have attenuated flight responses due to years of selective breeding (Price, 1984). Wild ruminants will learn to adapt in captivity and associate people with food, but when frightened by some novel stimulus they are more likely to panic and injure themselves (Grandin, 1993b, 1997) […] In summary, experience can affect behavior in two basic ways: by conventional learning or by changing nervous system reactivity Most importantly, environmental conditions (enriched versus barren) have the greatest effect on the nervous systems of young animals.


Neoteny is the retention of the juvenile features in an adult animal. Genetic factors influence the degree of neoteny in individuals. Neoteny is manifested both behaviorally and physically In the forward to “The Wild Canids” (Fox, 1975), Conrad Lorenz adds a few of his observations on neoteny and the problems of domestication: “The problems of domestication have been an obsession with me for many years. On the one hand I am convinced that man owes the life-long persistence of his constitutive curiosity and explorative playfulness to a partial neoteny which is indubitably a consequence of domestication In a curiously analogous manner does the domestic dog owe its permanent attachment to its master to a behavioral neoteny that prevents it from ever wanting to be a pack leader On the other hand, domestication is apt to cause an equally alarming disintegration of valuable behavioral traits and an equally alarming exaggeration of less desirable ones.”

Infantile characteristics in domestic animals are discussed by Price (1984), Lambooij and van Putten (1993), Coppinger and Coppinger (1993), Coppinger and Scheider (1993), and Coppinger et al. (1987). The shortened muzzle in dogs and pigs is an example. Domestic animals have been selected for a juvenile head shape, shortened muzzles, and other features (Coppinger and Smith, 1983). Furthermore, retaining juvenile traits makes animals more tractable and easy to handle. The physical changes are also related to changes in behavior.



Countless examples of serious problems caused by continuous selection for a single trait can be found in the medical literature (Steinberg et al., 1994; Dykman et al., 1969). People with experience in animal husbandry know that overselection for single traits can ruin animals. Good dog breeders know this. Sometimes traits that appear to be unrelated are in fact linked. Wright (1922, 1978) demonstrated this clearly by continuous selection for hair color and hair patterns in inbred strains of guinea pigs. Depressed reproduction resulted in all the strains. Furthermore, differences in temperament, body conformation, and the size and shape of internal organs were found. Belyaev (1979) further showed that continuous selection for a calm temperament in foxes resulted in negative effects on maternal behavior and neurological problems. The fox experiments also found graded changes in many traits over several years of continuous selection for tame behavior. Physiological and behavioral problems increased with each successive generation. In fact, some of the tamest foxes developed abnormal maternal behavior and cannibalized their pups. Belyaev et al. (1981) called this “destabilizing selection,” in contrast to “stabilizing selection” found in nature (Dobzhansky 1970; Gould, 1977).

There are also countless examples in the veterinary medical literature of abnormal bone structure and other physiological defects caused by overselecting for appearance traits in dog breeds (Ott, 1996). The abnormalities range from bulldogs with breathing problems to German shepherds with hip problems. Scott and Fuller (1965) reported the negative effects of continuous selection for a certain head shape in cocker spaniels:

[…] Cocker spaniels are selected for a broad forehead with prominent eyes and a pronounced “stop,” or angle, between the nose and forehead. When we examined the brains of some of these animals during autopsy, we found that they showed a mild degree of hydroencephaly; that is, in selecting for skull shape, the breeders accidentally selected for a brain defect in some individuals. Besides all this, in most of our strains only about 50 percent of the females were capable of rearing normal, healthy litters, even under nearly ideal conditions of care.

Links between Different Traits

Casual observations by the first author also indicate that the most excitable, flighty pigs and cattle have a long, slender body with fine bones. Some of the lean hybrid pigs have weak legs and a few of the normally brown-eyed pigs now have blue eyes. Blue eyes are often associated with neurological problems (Bergsma and Brown, 1971; Schaible, 1963). Furthermore, pigs and cattle with large, bulging muscles often have a calmer temperament than lean animals with less muscle definition. However, animals with the muscle hypertrophy trait (double muscling) have a more excitable temperament (Holmes et al., 1972). Double muscling is extreme abnormal muscling and it might have the opposite effect on temperament compared to normal muscling.

Another example of apparently unrelated traits being linked is deafness in dogs of the pointer breed selected for nervousness (Kllen et al., 1987, 1988). There appears to be a relationship between thermoregulation and aggressiveness. Wild mice selected for aggressiveness used larger amounts of cotton to build their nests than mice selected for low aggression (Sinyter et al., 1995). This effect occurred in both laboratory and wild Strains of mice.

Researchers using high-tech “knockout” gene procedures have been frustrated by the complexity of genetic interactions. In this procedure, genes are knocked out in a gene-targeting procedure whereby a gene is prevented from performing its normal function. The knockout experiments have shown that blocking different genes can have unexpected effects on behavior. In one experiment, superaggressive mice were created when genes involved with learning were inactivated (Chen et al., 1994). The mutant mice had little or no fear and fought until they broke their backs. […] disabled the gene that produces enkephalin (a brain opioid substance) and found unexpected results. Enkephalin is a substance normally involved in pain perception; however, the mice that were deficient in this substance were very nervous and anxious. They ran frantically around their cages in response to noise. The bottom line conclusion from several different knockout experiments is that changing one gene has unexpected effects on other systems. Traits are linked, and it may be impossible to completely isolate single gene effects. Researchers warn that one must be careful not to jump to a conclusion that they have found an “aggression gene” or a “maternal gene” or an “anxiety gene.” […]

Twenty years ago behavioral geneticists concluded that the inheritance of behavior is complex. Fuller and Thompson (1978) concluded, “It has been found repeatedly that no one genetic mechanism accounts exclusively for a particular kind of behavior.

Random Factors

Gartner (1990) concluded that up to 90% of the cause of random variability cannot be explained by differences in the animals’ physical environment. In both mice and cattle, random factors affected body weights. Gartner (1990) believes that the random factors may have their influence either before or shortly after fertilization.

The interactions between environmental and genetic factors are complex. Both an animals’ genetic makeup and its environment determine how it will behave. In subsequent chapters in this book the interactions of genetics and environment will be discussed in greater detail. Genetics has profound effects on an animal’s behavior.


There is a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors which determines how an animal will behave. The animal’s temperament is influenced by both genetics and learning. Another principle is that changes in one trait, such as temperament, can have unexpected effects on other apparently unrelated traits. Overselection for a single trait may result in undesirable changes in other behavioral and physical traits.

I think we can put to rest the idea that “normal” (as a prescriptive and measurable conformity put forth by psychological dogma) exists in humans.


Homo who? / Mechanisms Replace Organisms

Some who have read my posts on Homo erectus surely think I’m a “crank” – a poor deluded geologist with nothing better to do than to start swinging my rock hammer at delicately composed schemes built on decades, and more, of anthropologists and archaeologists wielding dental instruments and picking away at fossil bones and pot shards. Drawing, Categorizing. Boxing.

This visual thinker sees 19th C. museum workers in lab coats: obsessive compulsive types hired for their religious attention to minutiae, descendants of monks who copied and illuminated manuscripts, their perfect detail lending far more importance to the text that it actually deserves.

I know, I know! Archaeologists and anthropologists now consult the Apple oracle: computers programs that draft objects and maps from high tech scanners and laser surveys are miraculously spun into “conclusions” by graphics software – but I suspect that gizmos not only point out what was previously unseen, but also patterns and details that don’t exist except in the human eye which sees what it wants to see; once perceived and memorized, the brain is extremely reluctant to “let go.” Once a paper is written, submitted and read, it never goes away, which is fortunate: many overlooked or derided ideas find a foothold later or must wait for new technology and more complete data.

The “problem” of hominid evolution is that our approach is a mess: once again we see perfectly intelligent people trying to send astronauts to the moon in a horse and buggy.

LET GO of 19th C. structures and boundaries and get creative.

Creativity is not “buying” new technology and using it to “support” old entrenched ideas. It’s not hoarding your pet projects to use in academic snowball fights. It’s not grabbing a new field like genetics and using it to “destroy” all other ways of looking at living things.

One aspect of being human has always stumped me: obsession with moment to moment trivia between life and death: What are we going to eat for dinner? Should I park in this spot, or look for one that’s closer? Is it raining? Do I need a coat? That guy at the end of the bar is flirting with my wife: Blammo! Humans spend so much time and energy on this stuff! We worry, fuss, argue, gossip, go shopping, drive vehicles into bridge abutments, fall off ladders, get Ebola . It’s what we do. Suddenly, Blammo: you’re gone. It seems so… weird.

Animals live moment to moment, and so do we. I’m a deer; eat grass, look for predators, cross the road: Blammo! I’m a cow; I hang around a couple of years, get loaded in a truck: Blammo!

Evolution doesn’t stop and start at “species” boundaries. There are no species! Try removing that one manmade concept. It was a really good one, but science moves on.

When I say that we are all versions of Homo erectus, what I’m saying is, take away the conceptual barriers: When dealing with chaos, “choose” a place to stand and view the evidence. Resist the temptation to “fill in the blanks” or to resurrect archaic thought regimes. The details will fall into place when you have a sensible hypothesis.

As Oswald Spengler said about scientific psychology:

Every professed philosopher is forced to believe, without serious examination, in the existence of a Something that in his opinion is capable of being handled by reason, for his whole spiritual existence depends on the possibility of such a Something. […] The proposition “there is a soul, the structure of which is scientifically accessible; and that which I determine, by critical dissection of conscious existence-acts into the form of psychic elements, functions, and complexes, is my soul” is a proposition that no psychologist has doubted hitherto.

And yet it is just here that his strongest doubts should have arisen. Is an abstract science of the spiritual possible at all? Is that which one finds on this path identical with that which one is seeking? Why has psychology meant, not knowledge of men and experience of life, but has been the shallowest and most worthless of the disciplines of philosophy, a field so empty that it has been left entirely to mediocre minds and barren systematists?

The reason is not far to seek. It is the misfortune of “experimental” psychology that it does not even possess an object as the word is understood in any and every scientific technique. Its searches and solutions are fights with shadows and ghosts. What is it the Soul? If the mere reason could give an answer to that question, the science would be ab initio unnecessary.

The image of the soul is mythic and remains objective in the field of spiritual religion so long as the image of Nature is contemplated in the spirit of religion; and it transforms itself into a scientific notion and becomes objective in the field of scientific criticism as soon as “Nature” comes to be observed critically. As “time” is a counter-concept to space, so the soul is a counter world to “Nature” and therefore variable in dependence upon the notion of Nature as this stands from moment to moment.

I maintain, then, that scientific psychology has, in its inability to discover, or even approach the essence of the soul, simply added one more to the symbols that collectively make up the Macrocosm of culture-man. Like everything else that is no longer becoming but become, it has put a mere mechanism in place of an organism.

…For everything that our present-day psychologist has to tell us – and here we refer not only to systematic science but also in the wider sense to the physiognomic knowledge of men – relates to the present condition of the Western soul, and not as hitherto gratuitously assumed to the “human soul” at large.

In reality, every Culture possesses its own systematic psychology just as it possesses its own style of knowledge of men and experience of life…

Epilepsy Forum / Sensory Overload Discussion

From an epilepsy site forum: 2006-2007

Epilepsy and Sensory Overload – Adults


I have temporal lobe epilepsy with simple partial seizures. I also struggle with something I call sensory overload. I know that is a term for autism, but it is the best way to describe what is happening to me. I have difficulty when there is too much stimulation in the room. I become very agitated if, for example, there is music playing while the TV is on and people are talking. Add too many people to the stimulation and I become very stressed. If I cannot turn off the music and TV, I must leave the room. This agitation and stress is especially strong when I am around children because they tend to create a lot of stimulation with loud voices, banging and thumping from their physical activity, and they lack an understanding for personal space and often run/bump into me. I know too much noise can annoy anyone, but from what I have observed my agitation is much stronger than others in the same situation.

Is the sensory overload problem just another one of my issues or could there be some correlation between that and my epilepsy?

Comment 1.

I don’t know if there is a correlation but people can have Sensory Integration issues. This is not autism although I have read before it could be part of the spectrum. A person can be treated for sensory issues through an occupational therapist with specific training in this area. I am only familiar with therapists who work with children but there must be some out there who would work with adults who were never treated for this as a child. It is worth looking into. There also are books out there that specifically discuss sensory integration issues.

Comment 2.

I think i get something similar. I’m in the process of getting diagnosed with TLE (temporal lobe epilepsy), simple and complex partials. If there is too much to look at, I freak out. Like in shopping centers, all the colors, vastness, noises etc cause me problems. I just wrote in my blog about freaking out while shopping yesterday! I just feel as though I can’t process it all, and its just all too much.

If I am in a simple partial (epileptic seizure) I have to be in complete silence. Even if the TV is on it drives me nuts and I can’t look at anything.

I’m in the beginning stages of diagnosis, but I shall bring this up with my Neuro on my next appointment.

Comment 3.

I am being examined for Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and have also wondered about the Epilepsy and Sensory stuff connection.

I know EXACTLY what you are talking about!!! I call it “Tactile Defensiveness”.

When you said, “….my agitation is much stronger than others in the same situation,” bells went off in my head like “DING DING DING!! THIS IS TOTALLY ME!!”I knew instantly what you are talking about. If my 2 year old rams into my leg (which is like you say entirely normal for his age) I can actually get almost combative. There’s nothing rational about it, I cannot “think” my way out of this reaction. For me it seems to be hard-wired and almost reflexive, the way it would be if a doctor taps your knee with a rubber hammer.

Other “sensory overload” struggles I have:

*the waistband of my clothes often feels too tight, sometimes the socks around my ankles will feel too tight/clingy, sometimes the cuffs/wristband of my jackets will also feel too tight. I simply have to get rid of the offending article of clothes

*I have photosensitivity to many bright lights including sunshine. To compensate, I purchased a nice pair of shades, which happens to be in vogue

*certain cloth has always been aversive to me, in particular polyesther weaves, it was so coarse it felt almost like it scratched my skin. to this day I cannot use bed linen that is not 100% cotton and has a 400 thread count or higher b/c it feels too scratchy on my skin

*places with a lot of lights, sounds, crowds of people, I get panic stricken and overwhelmed, like you said SENSORY OVERLOAD

* cannot wear terry cloth socks b/c it feels to prickly and couldn’t stand the feeling of some face cloths taking a bath as a child

*I am overly sensitive to very hot or very cold temperatures, particularly bath water/shower water

*my shoelaces have to be laced up with the “exact same” tightness on both shoes or I go insane, literally I cannot stand it and have to fix it! LOL

*if I am in a bright store like WalMart sometimes the lights make me well…very on edge almost hair-trigger irritable

*my ears actually hurt when a fire truck puts it’s siren on to the point that when I was a child I would cover them up. As an adult I don’t want to look weird doing that, so I learned to just white knuckle through it with my fist and jaws clenched

*Smells are so strong in my nose that sometimes the scent is so aversive (like dog poo or skunk) that I gag and have to leave a situation. On the other hand pleasant smells are so strong it makes me feel like I’m in heaven if I like it (baking cookies etc) I speculate that I smell more keenly than everyone else

*Taste is the same way but thank God I never had texture issues with food like my sister does.

*If I get something sticky on my hands I have to wash it immediately, I just hate that feeling: maple syrup, jelly/jam

I could go on and on but the bottom line for me, being 36 years old, is that I had to learn to compensate for my heightened sensory issues by either avoiding siutations or de-sensitizing myself. This wasn’t a “formal” process it just happenened out of necessity and I consciously told myself to “sit with the discomfort” I just instinctively knew I had to do it.

Comment 4.

I have been told I self monitor a lot. I used to think this was stupid and ‘as if’, but I can now catch myself in the act. I suppose having a condition like us makes you super sensitive to every bodily sensation that we don’t assume to be normal. In fact, it seems I have decided every bodily sensation is abnormal!

I know there are certain things that my poor little brain doesn’t cope to well with like the whole lights thing, shopping centres, loud noises, heat, being super tired etc … although I think half the time I am so strung out about everything – anything will set me off or freak me out.

I find if its over-cast it sends me in to a tail spin. haha. Weird, hey? I love rainy days, but they make me feel awful. I think I need and respond well to normal natural light / sun shine. i seem to get worse when things get darker. Weird. Hmmm.

OMG! Could the “autism” “brain” “behavior” industry be any more chaotic, incoherent, or ridiculous?

Honestly! Do any of the “experts” ever talk to each other; compare notes, cases, or FACTS? Can they even recognize the vast duplication of diagnosis going on in “parallel universes” of research?

NEUROTYPICALS are bat-crap-crazy!


About previous post on Epilepsy and ASD / Meltdowns

The “can of worms” – those questions about human childhood that bedevil so many ASD adults.

The specifics of “epilepsy” are new to me: I guess like most people I thought about epilepsy as a neurological condition in which the electrical system of the brain “misfires” (whatever that means), and that it used to be considered one of those “demon possession” superstitions, viewed through fear and prejudice, but mainly ignorance, which has today been overcome. That “treatments” are available.

Why today did my attention turn to epilepsy and autism? It’s due to one of those “odd prompts” of the unconscious-intuitive way of processing information.

I don’t have prolonged conversations with people very often these days. When I do, it’s with an old friend via the phone, or an impromptu encounter with a stranger at someplace like the grocery store, post office or hardware.

Yesterday, it was a new employee at the grocery, who has taken over much of product selection and orders, promising to “upgrade” the lousy quality and choice we are stuck with. We “gabbed” for probably 10-15 minutes.

I have been aware for some years that this type of extended conversation leaves me feeling exhausted, which seems to be a typical Asperger experience. This is true whether or not I enjoy the social exchange, either in person or over the phone. I prefer email and avoid the phone, for just this reason.

Sure enough, after I returned home yesterday, I felt exhausted, plus had a sore throat – which is also typical; I usually attribute the burning in my throat, which may last for 24 hours or more, to infrequent use of my vocal apparatus. But, it’s more than that. It’s as if I don’t know how to speak correctly and efficiently, or how to coordinate breathing and speaking in a way that doesn’t “wear me out”.  I have no problem forming words – that is – constructing language, but speaking essentially “hurts”!

Is this somehow key to social interaction problems?

This speaking thing seems a trivial circumstance, and yet it isn’t; it does affect my desire to converse; to be in social situations. When I look back to working in advertising (extremely social-verbal environment) I did fully participate, but had to escape frequently to regain energy and to rest; otherwise “meltdown” might overwhelm me. The classic explanation for meltdowns is rather vague: sensory overload causes meltdowns; sensory information cannot be adequately “regulated” by “autistics”

But – this question came next: Are meltdowns a type of SEIZURE? Having experienced many childhood meltdowns, my description is this:

A sudden, overwhelming “loss of control” – an almost blinding pain – automatic paralysis of conscious process, as if every part of one’s body is “feeling” extreme primitive fear at a level of life and death severity. There was the actual event; then there was the terror that undergoing such an event produced. Adults swamped me with questions – which I could not answer. They wanted me to “account for” my behavior, but there was no “reason” for it that I could point to.

I did “grow out of” these experiences eventually, at least in severity, and-or they “changed into” sudden fits of temper – anger and frustration. The “social environment” (including our pediatrician) turned these episodes into “gross violations” of acceptable behavior – possibly THE WORST aspect of these episodes was the unilateral condemnation that I was “doing this on purpose” to get attention or to upset other people. “Fear of meltdowns” – both the experience, which was horrible – and the repercussions from having a meltdown (the shaming), dominated my childhood. 

Nothing could have been further from the truth!

In fact attention became something very unwanted!

Is this one source of social aversion; the attempt to avoid whatever “triggered” these events? (I do believe it was some aspect of the environment, such as crowds and noise). This “fear of adverse behaviors” lingers to this day.

What this has to do with my “throat” is unknown, but I decided that I ought to pursue the subject of seizures.




Autism Spectrum Disorder and Epilepsy / How Common?

epilepsy / a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain.


Helio Pediatric Annals

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Epilepsy (click for full article)

Amy Francis, DO; Michael Msall, MD; Emily Obringer, MD; Kent Kelley, MD

Autism and Epilepsy

There is much controversy about the interplay between autism and epilepsy. To better understand this linkage, a review of terminology is imperative.

A seizure is characterized as a transient abnormal, excessive, disorderly discharge of neurons primarily in the cerebral cortex.11 Clinically, seizures are paroxysmal, stereotyped, brief interruptions of behavior associated with electrographic seizure patterns.12

Nonconvulsive or subclinical seizures yield EEG abnormalities without clinically recognizable cognitive, behavioral, or motor patterns, or discernible loss of consciousness. Inter-ictal epileptiform activity is paroxysmal electrographic activity containing spike or sharp waves that interrupt the background.12

Epilepsy is defined as two or more unprovoked seizures of any type: generalized, focal, or unknown in origin.11 Therefore, febrile seizures and seizures resulting from acute illness, trauma, infection, or metabolic disturbances are not considered epilepsy. Epilepsy is further classified as electroclinical syndromes, nonsyndromic epilepsies with structural-metabolic causes, and epilepsies of unknown cause.11The clinical diagnosis of seizures in children with autism can be challenging.

Children with autism have many other behaviors that are not epileptic; therefore, video EEG is recommended to confirm that these behaviors are indeed epileptic. Many children display restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors such as visual perspectiving (?) and these, usually described as “staring episodes” by parents, can mimic absence seizures. Stereotypies are rigid heterogeneous behaviors that are inflexible and nonfunctional in nature, simple or complex, and are reported in 37% to 95% of individuals with ASD.13 They may include arm flapping, hand-finger mannerisms, body rocking, sniffing, or facial grimacing and occur without interruption of consciousness. They are often interpreted by caregivers as seizures. Note that in a report of 15 children with autism referred for seizure evaluation, none of the events recorded were epileptic seizures; however, 73% had EEG abnormalities.14

Seizure types associated with autism depend on age and etiology, and all seizure types have been reported. In one study, the most common type of clinical seizure reported in children with idiopathic autism was complex partial seizures typical of rolandic epilepsy.15 Other studies have reported that generalized tonic-clonic and atypical absence seizures were most common.16 Myoclonic and tonic-clonic seizures have also been reported.17 The overall incidence of epilepsy in children with ASD increases as the child ages.18 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Relationship between incidence of idiopathic autism and epilepsy. EEG = electroencephalogram. Image courtesy of Amy Francis, DO. Note two peaks of seizure onset.

Many researchers studying the association of autism and epilepsy tend to divide patients into three groups: 1. patients without clinical seizures and EEG paroxysmal abnormalities, 2. patients with EEG paroxysmal abnormalities but no clinical seizures, and 3. patients with epilepsy.10,16 The second and third groups are more likely to have cerebral lesions and autistic regression. The occurrence of severe/profound mental retardation was also more frequent in the third group.

Epidemiology of ASD

The lifetime co-occurrence of epilepsy and ASD is extremely variable and ranges from 5% to 46%.4 The prevalence of epilepsy in children with ASD is between 7% to 14%, and the cumulative prevalence by adulthood ranges from 20% to 35%7 (Figure 1).

Even with conservative estimates, these prevalence rates are substantially higher than in the general population, and are the basis for confirming that ASD is a risk factor for the development of epilepsy.4 There appears to be a bimodal incidence of epilepsy, although not clearly defined, with one peak occurring in the preschool years (younger than 5 years) and a second peak in adolescence (older than 10 years).5 (Figure 1)

For individuals with ASD and intellectual disability, prevalence rates of epilepsy of up to 21% have been reported and are 2.6 times more likely than for those children with ASD but without intellectual disability.8 Among children with ASD and severe intellectual disability (IQ < 55), the average age of seizure onset is 3.5 years. For those with mild intellectual disability (IQ 55–69), the average age of seizure onset is 7.2 years.8 Prevalence is related to both etiology and severity, and epilepsy is more prevalent in children with autism combined with cerebral palsy (27%) and cerebral palsy plus severe mental retardation (67%) than in those without.9 Syndromic autism and severe intellectual disability also occurred more often in individuals with epilepsy.10

Much, much more including MRI and EEG info: Please read full article….

Note that the “Conclusion” boils down to SEE A PEDIATRICIAN who can establish a PHYSICAL BASELINE for your specific child. If your pediatrician doesn’t understand or deal with “brain issues” get a different doctor or see a specialist: the money you spend now is likely MINISCULE compared to what you will spend if you seek diagnosis from a psychologist first (psychologists are not medical doctors, psychiatrists are). Psychologists do not deal with the “physical reality” that all behavior arises from our PHYSICAL BRAIN-BODY; they work from “theories” that are not proven, nor can be proven by use of the scientific method.   


Epilepsy is common in children and young adults with autism, but the relationship is complicated and controversial. (Hint: Turf wars) Though epilepsy is considered to be a negative prognostic factor (poor outcome) for children with autism, advances in understanding specific genetic pathways underlying seizures and autism hold the promise of new treatments and improved long-term outcomes. Concurrent epilepsy and autism are strongly associated with lower cognitive and adaptive behavior levels. Remission rate of epilepsy in children with autism and intellectual disability is only 16%.8 Adults with epilepsy, autism, and intellectual disability experience lower adaptive functioning and encounter more barriers as they transition from pediatric to adult medical care.

Children with autism and seizures represent a unique group of children with special health care needs, and it is important for the general pediatrician to establish a medical home for this population. Early diagnosis and ongoing care coordination is necessary. Ensuring early intervention services, coordinating pediatric subspecialty referrals, managing medications, encouraging an appropriate educational experience, supporting parents, and planning for transition are key elements in providing a medical home for children with autism and seizures.