About Matt

I am not a scientist. I am trained as an attorney, and work as a real estate developer in St. Louis, Missouri. I am also not autistic, though I share many characteristics with people who have a diagnosis. My strengths are similar to strengths you see in high functioning autistics. My weaknesses are also reminiscent of those seen in persons with autism. I call myself autotypal, a person sharing a personality type with persons with autism but who does not reach the threshold for a diagnosis. One characteristic that I very much share with high-functioning autistics is obsessions with areas of intellectual interest, which I use as a control seeking behavior to modulate perception of stress. Today's obsession happens to be autism, which you will recognize if you read the 125 pageĀ tomeĀ on autism on the "Theory in Detail" page.

Autism Blog

Top Ten Reasons Vaccines Don't Cause Autism (Ignoring Science Other than Counting)

This article describes the top 10 reasons why autism is not caused by vaccines, looking at the issue from the perspective of logic rather than science. Read More... Comments (0)

Aggression in Autism

A discussion about autism and aggressive behaviors through the lens of Matt's theory.

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Sorry for my absence, but life got really busy

I have not actively managed this webpage for about 5 years though I didn't have the heart to take it down after all my hard work. Work got pretty intense with the melt down in the US real estate markets and two wonderful children were added to my world, now ages 2 and 5. I am hoping to be a lot more active in updating this page and responding to any questions. However, I am not quite at the point where that is going to happen regularly. I will try to respond to any Feedback given. But, I you do submit Feedback, please include your email in the text of your message as the website does not convey that info for whatever reason. If you want to contact me directly to discuss something, please feel free to email me at matto@environmentalops.com, as that will make sure I know someone is looking for me. Comments (0)

The Contribution of Diagnostic Substitution to the Increasing Prevalence of Autism


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A Theory About Somali Immigrants and Autism

There has been a fair amount of media attention on the publicized link between Somali immigrants living in MInneapolis and increased rates of autism. More information on this can be found at the following cite. http://www.twincities.com/news/ci_12041479?source=rss. An excerpt from the article follows: The state found that 0.9 percent to 1.5 percent of Somali children ages 3 and 4 received autism support through the school district's preschool programs, compared with 0.2 percent to 0.7 percent of non-Somali children in these programs.

Please note this is not a huge difference in autism rates. The 2 to 7 times difference in autism rates seems to be generated by comparing the two ranges. I think this is a little misleading. For instance, the 7 times upper estimate seems to be generated by comparing the low estimate for non-Somali children with the high estimate for Somali children.

Nonetheless, there does seem to be some elevated risk of autism in Somali immigrants to Minnesota. I haven’t seen any reasonable explanations offered for this potentially elevated number of autism diagnoses within the Somali community in Minnesota. So, having a little time this afternoon, I will offer my own. And, I am not saying that all of these elements are involved. I think that some of them are, and all of them have the potential to be involved. This offers the opportunity for an interesting thought experiment. In most venues, it is very difficult to untangle the genetic and environmental contributors to autism. This clouds potential analysis. While it is certainly possible that genetics are playing a role here, it would seem more likely that an environmental explanation is more likely dominant, if in fact autism rates among Somali immigrants really are elevated in this area.& Comments (1)

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