Monday, January 15, 2007

Elf hands marker of Autism?

This morning my husband showed me this austistic conjecture of the day blog from '05 about "elf ears" and other possible physical markers of autism. Well, Dave's ears aren't pointy or rotated posteriorly, but he does have long, attenuated hands. As this blogger Susan points out, large hand size is apparently a marker of autism. Throughout Dave's childhood and well into his adulthood he has been remarkably small in stature (another thing common among those with autism). His fingers, though are quite long and graceful and I love them.

Something unusual about Dave that we learned is that he has something called hemihypertrophy. This means that one half of his body grew a little larger than the other, creating a leg length discrepancy that is corrected with orthotics. Is this part of the autism? Did it "just happen"? Is it a result of his mother's alcoholism? Are the autism AND the physical anomalies a result of the fetal alcohol syndrome?

Whatever the case, it's funny when Dave finds Elf in reference to things like this given his Tolkien spiritual path. While he identifies with the spiritual mythos in Tolkien's writings and links himself with the Elven houses, he eschews identifying himself as an elf in physical way like many calling themselves Otherkin do. Yet, when an article like this pops up and with the talk among the autistic forums about autistic genes being atavistic or recalling those of our ancestors, it does make us go, "Hmmm?"