Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Has Autism Given Me The Gift of Prophecy

Some persons on the autism spectrum have extraordinary talents and abilities.  These are known as savant skills.  Rainman's ability to count through an eight deck shoe in blackjack became well-known after the movie of the same name came out.  One individual I went to special ed with could tell you what day of the week any date of the year was.  More amazingly, he could tell you exactly what he'd done that day.  Jerry Newport's ability to multiply four digit sums in his head were also well known and helped land a movie based on his life's story, Mozart and the Whale.  Stephen Wiltshire's drawing ability is also well known.  Others have extraordinary musical abilities.

Bernard Rimland conducted a survey and estimated that ten percent of spectrumites have savant skills.  Researcher Patricia Howlin thought that his estimate was far too conservative and claimed that it was possible that as many as thirty percent of autistic people have some sort of savant skill.  Darold Treffert, an expert on savantism, stated that her figure was probably based on a liberal definition of what defines a savant.

Until recently, I felt left out that I was in the ninety percent of autistic individuals (or seventy percent if you take stock in Howlin's more liberal estimate) who have no special talents or savant abilities.  In one week from today I will be sixty-one years old and amazingly enough it took me that long to realize that I actually have a savant skill-the gift of prophecy.

Let me elaborate.  The small number of you who have actually followed my blog know that autism has handicapped me in two ways.  It has seriously compromised my ability to make a living.  I'm likely in the Guiness Book of World Records for most jobs fired from.  I have not worked in nearly ten years.  I have also never had a girlfriend and my intensity and relentless negativity has been a turnoff to them.  Some of you may also recall my quote of Freud's stating that to work and to love are cornerstones of our humanity.  Ergo, I have felt autism stripped me of my humanity.  I've discovered that when this issue comes up I can predict what people will advise me to do about these problems and their general comments on these issues.  I can also predict what a neurodiversity proponent will say is the reason I hate my autism so much. This must mean I have the gift of prophecy.

Multiple people have advised me to disclose my disability to perspective employers.  This will solve my problems of being fired.  They will say to themselves "that explains it" if I make a funny movement with my hand instead of being prejudiced against me.  If I make too many careless errors, they will say "that's all right his autism explains it" or they will make a better effort to work with me.  Or that the Americans with Disabilities Act gives me the right to ask for accommodations and the employer will grant me these accommodations, they'll work and problem solved.  Ari Ne'eman has even gone so far to state that all social unpleasentries that autistic people commit in the workplace should be completely overlooked.  I get fed up with explaining to them that if there is something the employer does not like about me, they are going to fire me and they won't overlook errors and knowing I have an autism diagnosis won't matter.  Also that the Americans with Disabilities Act only gives me the right to ask for reasonable accommodations and being able to go more slowly or asking to put up with loudness and behavior they don't like aren't reasonable accommodations under the law.

As far as not having a girlfriend is concerned I should find someone "like myself", a polite way of saying I'm not suited for a non-handicapped woman and "mixed marriages" are taboo.  Or some unabashedly state "find an autistic girlfriend".  It does not matter that the ratio of autistic men to autistic women on the milder spectrum is 10 to 1 and at least nine out of ten guys are going to be unlucky.  Actually the number is probably greater than that since "mixed marriages" between a handicapped woman and non-handicapped man aren't as taboo.  Not to mention the fact that the most desirable autistic women will have no trouble finding a non-autistic man and most of them will prefer them to the autistic man (barring extraordinary exceptions like Mike Carley and John Robison of course).

According to many neurodiversity proponents the reason I don't believe my autism is a beautiful thing and I'm not celebrating is that I had a horrible domineering mother who taught me to hate myself.  Because she wanted a "normal" child, I somehow sensed this and when I could not make her happy I ended up hating my autism. She's been called overbearing, domineering, a witch and a shrew by at least some of these people.  It has nothing to do with the fact that it prevents me from living a normal life, being able to make a living or having friends and girlfriends and I have the uncontrollable compulsion to twiddle during the day.  Interestingly enough I actually lived through the Bettelheim era in the sixties where I and my parents had to hear this and castration anxiety was at least in part thought to be the etiology of my disability so it is nothing new for me.      

I only wished that I'd known about this savant skill I have earlier.  I would have been able to predict the weather and earthquakes and save lives.  I would have been able to make a fortune playing the ponies.  I would have been an expert poker player able to predict exactly what cards would fall and know what hands to play.

Perhaps it's not too late, even at my advanced age.  I could work on it and practice and develop this skill or maybe I could get TMS like John Robison did and it would stimulate the right brain areas and then I could actually bring out this latent ability.

Well, in spite of all the hardships that autism has caused me I guess I can take solace in the fact that I have the gift of prophecy. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Mike Carley's bizarre take and poor taste on the passing of Suzanne Wright

I see that one of my favorite autism writers Michael Carley is at it again 

Carley, an anti-cure member of the neurodiversity movement, is best known for his statements that Autistics universally don't want a cure in his book Autism from the Inside Out, also opposing a cure on an NPR show and then on a subsequent NPR program stated that he didn't want Asperger's eliminated as a DSM diagnosis because if he were called autistic that means he'd be lumped in with "head bangers" and "diaper wearers".  He was one of the leaders of circulating a petition to not have AS removed from the DSM which did not succeed.

Carley is now topping himself in his most recent post on Suzanne Wright's death.  Even posthumously, he seems to want to disparage the woman who cofounded the organization that he hates so much rather than expressing condolences for her untimely demise.  Nowhere does he express sympathy for this woman who died of cancer before reaching her 70th birthday.  Though I've disagreed with Autism speaks on many issues, I still expressed sadness at Ms. Wright's passing.

Carley starts out his piece with braggadocio about how he started GRASP and how large it is and how in 2003 no one would think that autistics would be this capable:

As most of my readers know, I founded GRASP in 2003. GRASP was the world’s largest membership organization for adults on the spectrum.
Back then, even just the thought of such an organization (‘There are adults on the spectrum? They want to be thought of as capable? And they can run their own organizations?”) was taking off…until 2005 when the behemoth called “Autism Speaks” entered the scene.

I have news for Mr. Carley, Jerry Newport, myself, and others started AGUA (Adult Gathering United Autistic) back in 1993, ten years before he started GRASP and probably about seven years before Carley had even heard of autism.  It's still in existence 23 years later.  We were probably the first adults to start an organization like that, though Jim Sinclair's ANI (Autism Network International) may have started around the same time.  (you also missed that Mike, if you happen to read this).  


Carley continues, blaming parents of lower functioning children for internet flame wars:

Now back then, families of significantly-challenged spectrumites somehow felt justified in lashing out at those on the end of the spectrum that were better able to mirror greater society—those of us they bitterly referred to as “higher functioning.

Neurodiversity has a history of almost always being the aggressors in these debates, equating parents they disagreed with as Nazis as Martjin Dekker did, equating them with the KKK as Noah Britton and bloggers Kowalski and Turner did. And suggesting parents don't know what's best or will do things out of convenience rather than love for their children as John Elder Robison has. With the exception of John Best and Lenny Schaefer, no parent of an autistic children has leveled harsh unprovoked rhetoric against those on the other side.  Harold Doherty and autism's jabberwocky MJ refuted neurodiversity, but always with tempered rhetoric.  He just wants to lash out at a few parents who may not have turned the other cheek in internet flame wars that he and other members of ND started.   


Rightly or not, Suzanne believed that her toddler grandson, who also suffered from stomach pain, was crying out for her to go to war for him. So to war she went; never wavering, never 

compromising.

Carley conveniently forgets the articles of understanding discussion he had with Allison Tepper Singer who at the time worked for autism speaks.  Not to mention he is not omniscient and can't possibly know the intentions of ms. wright or her grandson.  

 On our side of the ideological border, where the voices of acceptance, and education lay, people like Ari Ne’eman and myself were given enormous faith, and respect by our constituencies. But we were not loved anywhere near the way Suzanne was loved

One possible explanation that did not occur to Carley was that though Suzanne Wright often espoused harsh rhetoric to explain what a horrible disability autism was and that neurodiversity found that offensive, she never insulted people far more disabled (assuming Carley's disabled at all) by stating they did not want to be lumped in with headbangers and diaper wearers and stating that people who supported autism speaks were morally complicit with murder as Ne'eman did.


Bob and Suzanne had terrible, perhaps even manipulative, opportunistic advisors when they started Autism Speaks, and that is why they got off on such a terrible foot (though the fact that they made this regretful course irreversible, lies on them).

Yeah, right, that's why Autism Speaks has raised tens of millions of dollars and is the best known private funder of autism research (even if Simons is larger they are less well known) or if Carley means they got off on a terrible foot in that they used harsh rhetoric that neurodiversity did not like, then somehow I don't think that's true. 

Carley then makes personal statements about Ms. Wright's life, about her being a policeman's daughter and making analyses of their stable marriage of decades, since Carley's first marriage did not work out and he was able to have a second whereas most autistics, myself included, will have none. (I won't paste Carley's remarks here)

Autism is not life or death.

Yeah that's why autistic people have a life expectancy 18 years lower on average than nonautistics, though Carley is functional enough so that it probably won't affect his longevity.

Carley makes statements about Ms. Wright's working class socioeconomic background, trying to claim that those qualities made her some sort of gutter fighter and that is the reason that neurodiversity has not done as well as autism speaks or against them as they could had Ms. Wright had been born into wealth.  He encourages neurodiversity proponents to model Ms. Wright's sterling qualities to provoke more flame wars against parents who want to help their autistic children live better lives.   

I believe using someone's death as a demagogic attempt to incite more inflammatory rhetoric from neurodiversity and to bait people into starting more flame wars and fighting parents of autistic children who want a better life for their kids is in extremely poor taste.

Maybe I should not have written this blog post but Carley kind of makes my blood boil. 


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Looking for stories from parents who have been abused online by neurodiversity proponents.

For about the past year, I've been trying to write a nonfiction book about the neurodiversity movement.  I think I have about one half of a first draft now, at about 55,000 words or 200 something pages.  I have enough stories to regale readers about the abuse I've experienced from these bullies and hatemongers for the past fifteen years.  However, I'm interested in hearing from parents of autistic children who have received abuse from these people for possible inclusion in the book.  I'm still plodding along trying to write this in spite of my disability.  It takes me a long time to get things done but I'm trying my best to accomplish something, though it's incredibly hard with this disability.

Well anyhow, if you have an interesting story to tell me, drop me a line at jmitch955@aol.com 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

petition to remove Steve Silberman as ASA keynoter

Some of us don't like Steve Silberman's horrific ideas about autism.  He's going to be the keynote speaker at the ASA conference in a few weeks.

Therefore there's a petition for the ASA to remove him as speaker.

It is wrong for ASA to have a keynoter who states that autism versus a healthy brain is the same as a windows versus a linux operating system, who states that disability is part of the human experience and we all become diaper wearers at some point.  Wrong for him to say autism unemployment is due to human resource offices not willing to work with nonverbal people, wrong for him to rewrite the history of autism, and wrong to say the love Mark Rimland has in the community obviate the need for a cure for his very severe autism.  

I realize this petition has no chance of succeeding and the person who started it did this pretty late in the game (should have been started at least a couple of months ago).

However, I hope those of you who feel as I do will sign this petition so we can let the ASA and the rest of the world know how we feel even if they won't dump him as their keynoter. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Autism as an advantage with women and aphrodisiac: autism can land you a hot girlfriend

Autism diagnoses started to soar in the 1990s and those new cases are now adults in their early twenties.  Society and the media have noted the need for employers to hire those on the spectrum.   This has lead to major media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times publishing articles on how autism is an advantage in the workplace and how it can land you a job.  here's.The New York times article extolling that Danish Godsend Specialisterne. here's the Wall Street Journal piece about how easily autism can land you a job.  These articles are intriguing as they make one ponder why in spite of this alleged advantage we have reported unemployment rates for autistics at 80% or higher.

Freud said that love and work are the cornerstones of our humanity.  Finding a significant other more often than not has been a formidable hurdle for many on the spectrum.  One has to wonder why major publications such as the WSJ and the New York times won't address the problems autistics have with that other cornerstone, l'amour.

Since the major media outlets won't write about this issue, I guess it's up to your humble blogger with his piddling little blog hardly anyone wants to read.  So, you're going to hear it right now.  Autism is an asset and an advantage with women and autism can land you a hot girlfriend!

Autistics have great attention to details since they've done so well on the embedded figures tests and have done such a great job in detecting patterns in Simon Baron-Cohen's experiments.  They will notice how nice a woman's dress is and be willing to compliment her on it.  They will notice redeeming physical features of a woman that neurotypical men won't even see and will be able to shower her with compliments that neurotypical men can't.

Though autistics rarely have children it continues increase at huge rates, having a mere prevalence of 1 in 2500 in the 1960s to the rates of 1 in 68 we see today.  The reason for this must be because autism has an evolutionary advantage due to our superior genes.  If women mate with us instead of neurotypical men, we'll be able to give them superior offspring.  Hell, ladies, your child with us might become the next Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, or Thomas Jefferson.  Since the exact genetic transmission of autistic traits is obscure, your children with us may have all of the advantages of autism and none of the disadvantages.

Temple Grandin has stated that at least half of the silicone valley has autism and that we've come up with every invention from the spear to the cellphone.  That means that your potential suitor may be the next billionaire.  He'll be able to ensure you live a life of ease and buy you a villa on the French Riviera.

Autistics also have sensory issues.  This means that the man will be more sensitive and attentive to the woman's needs.  

Autistics are also overly loyal as has been reported in the media.  That along with prejudice against us from women who aren't aware of all of our advantages means there's a much lower (if not zero) probability that we'll commit adultery if you marry us.  Though there have been reports that divorces are higher among parents of autistic children than in the general population, this means your marriage will be more stable and there won't be the problems of divorce that make neurotypical marriages a coin flip chance.  This is aside from the fact that Michael John Carley is divorced and remarried and John Elder Robison has been twice divorced and is now on his third (and hopefully final) marriage.  Of course these are high functioning outliers, so most of us will be stable and there won't likely be a problem of divorce.

Chances are most women won't land a neurotypical billionaire.  One problem with one of these men is that they'd insist the woman sign a prenup if they were to marry them.  Due to the autistic billionaire's poor social judgment problems, they won't know any better than to insist their wife sign a prenup and in the unlikely event the marriage ends in divorce, the money will be community property in most states and the newly single woman will land a few billion smackers after a quickie divorce in Reno.  These social skills aren't deficient, they're merely different and they aren't a disadvantage, they confer an actual advantage on those who are autistic.

Autistic men also have loud voices.  This means that if they're trying to hail a cab in new york city or trying to get the attention of a waiter in a busy restaurant, this will be a huge advantage on dates.  

What about situations in which these different social skills can be a disadvantage.  After all, an autistic person might be more argumentative with their girlfriend and start shouting at them.  They might be embarrassed to take them to a party their neurotypical friends are having as the autistic man may say or do something socially inappropriate.  This shouldn't be a problem.  After all, some might argue that this would adversely affect them in an employment situation and that those who say autism is an asset in employment are mistaken.  Ari Ne'eman offered a solution to this some years ago.  All we have to do to eliminate autistic unemployment is to end social pleasantry as a criteria for hiring employees and evaluating their job performance.  No reason why we can't do this in dating situations also.  No matter how inappropriately the autistic man acts, the woman can just eliminate social pleasantry as a criteria for picking a boyfriend.  If he tells her best friend how much weight she's gained recently, it does not matter.

Now that I've written this article that the New York Times and Wall Street Journal won't write, I'll be waiting for dating services to open up for women seeking suitors, where all the candidates will be autistic men and they'll extol all of these virtues we have.  Maybe we can get the socialistic government of Denmark to provide the start-up money for this endeavor.  Or maybe the current governor of Delaware and their state legislature will provide an $800,000 grant for such an enterprise.  Since they both did this with Specialisterne and Thorkill Sonn it's only fair they do it for dating too. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Again the question of neurodiversity and "human rights"

When I first began writing this blog, I gave a response to an angry rant by one Michelle Dawson claiming that because I was opposed to neurodiversity-the idea that autism is a disorder and not a normal genetic variation or an alternative form of brain wiring-that I'm opposed to the idea of "human rights" for autistic people.

Recently this phony baloney strawman issue has come to the fore again. This was in response to an article written by a young woman on the autism spectrum who writes under the pen name of Gwendolyn Kansen.  This article got a fair amount of traction on twitter and Facebook and recently appeared high in the google news search under "autism".  Because Ms. Kansen's article made somewhat of an impact, some people in ND felt they should attack her.  Though I don't agree with all of Ms. Kansen's article, she does make a few valid points.  She gives a lot of examples of how autism can be extremely disabling and an intrinsic disorder, rather than something that can be accommodated for by society and cease to be disabling.  For this reason, some individual in the neurodiversity movement who refuses to even sign an internet stage name has tried to refute Kansen's point, by repeatedly stating that this only means she opposes "human rights".

I believe that all people (not just autistic people) have the right not to be discriminated against and treated with dignity.  This does not mean that the American's with Disabilities act give those on the autism spectrum the right to behave however they please on a job, despite what Ari Ne'eman has stated about "social architecture" and overlooking social unpleasantries in the workplace.

In the case of McElwee the federal court of appeals ruled that overlooking autism when the individual who behaves badly on the job and makes untoward advances to women is not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.  Nor can someone just ask for understanding on the job and expect to be accommodated when they are ill-suited for the profession.

In the case of wandering, it is not a violation of an individuals rights to protect them from drowning or being run over by a car as various members of the neurodiversity movement have suggested.  Parents have a right to place their child under a conservatorship if they can't take care of themselves.  It would be a violation of their right to be alive if they were not protected from wandering in spite of Neurodiversity's unsuccessful attempt to eliminate the wandering codes some years ago.

I do agree that children have the right not be shocked at the Judge Rottenberg center though I suppose it's still legal in that state, though illegal in california where I live to do that.  Hopefully the FDA or state legislatures elsewhere will take care of that.

Though I can't argue about the strawman the author repeatedly says of Gwen Kansen (and others myself included) wanting to deliberately violate the rights of autistic people, let's examine some of the points they make.

Because Kansen and others point out that many autistic people have IQ's below 70, she does not mean that they don't have human rights, only that neurodiversity is violating their right, by speaking for them on the subject of a cure or other autism-related issues when they are ill-suited to do so due to having an intellectual disability.  So if anyone is the human rights abusers it's ND.

When Kansen writes about experiences she had with a bad boyfriend, she is not saying she is opposed to human rights, but only that autism has issues that are intrinsic to itself that can't be accommodated for.

The police did not have the right to "summarily execute" Kayden Clarke, but if he really did try to attack them with a knife, they did have a right to shoot him to save their own lives.  If this is what really happened, then it's not a "human rights" violation as the author states.

Kansen also points out the case of Sky Walker, who was so severely disabled by his autism, he killed his own mother, but then the author of the rebutting article just turns this around and mentions the red herring of the disabilities mourning list of all the autistic people who were killed by others stating that she and I are opposed to autistics having the right not to be killed by their caretakers.  Only a member of the ND movement would be capable of this sort of sophistry.

I won't go into the other specific points, but this article again sums it up linking to another article stating that all of these problems autistics have could be solved if they are accommodated for and their "human rights" were not violated.  I'm still waiting for the neurodiversity movement to be more specific about how i'm opposed to human rights, or more importantly to state how and why autistics could be accommodated for and how this would solve all of the problems and challenges that autistics have, as Ari Ne'eman, and other members of ND, including someone the author links to in their articles states that autism is only a disability because it has not been properly accommodated for and it would cease to be a disabling condition if this would happen.

However, what about my human rights.  Do I have the right not to be called all manner of names like "asshole", "butt wipe"  "turdball" because I disagree with them publicly.  Do I have the right not to have them write libelous statements about me, make fun of my disability and state that I would choose to have this handicap because all or most autistics want to remain autistic.  Or stating that I'm like a jew who sympathized with the nazis during the holocaust.  Or calling my mother bad names or stating that she's a threat to the autism community as one individual commented on Newsweek's site after they published an article profiling me.   

Before neurodiversity uses the strawman of "human rights" again, I feel they should do a better job of respecting mine.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

ASAN's 2014 tax forms out: Ari Ne'eman's salary more than doubles in less than four years

ASAN has recently posted their 2014 tax return.  Though ASAN started in 2006, they were not granted 501(c) tax exempt status until 2011.  On reviewing their 2011 return we see that Ne'eman paid himself a salary of $40,000 a year for running ASAN.

In 2012 Ne'eman raised his own salary to $65,000 a year, a 62% increase, while the organization's revenues increased by only about half that percent.  Interestingly enough, one of ASAN's and neurodiversity's talking points against autism speaks was the high compensation that some of the executives at AS received.  In 2010, Autism Speaks' then president Mark Roithmayr was paid a salary of $400,000.  He in fact had a five year contract for two million dollars.  Neurodiversity and ASAN in particular made autism speaks out to be a bunch of greedy pigs who were taking money from the autism community by paying their president so generously.  However, one has to look at the bigger picture.  Roithmayr was paid $400,000 a year in 2010 out of more than 50 million dollars in revenue.  In 2012, Ari Ne'eman was paid $65,000 a year out of about $375,000 in revenue.  This means that Ne'eman's salary was nearly twenty times higher than Roithmayr's in ratio.

In 2013, Ne'eman's salary was $71,000 a year, though a more modest increase, it was still more than 10% in one year.

According to the latest 2014 figures, neurodiversity has still been as profitable for Ne'eman as ever as his annual salary was $80,000 or $83,588.00 including all of his compensation.   

This means that his salary more than doubled in four years (or maybe technically less time than that).  He's received an average annual salary increase of more than 25% a year since ASAN was granted non-profit status by the IRS.

In 2012, proportionately Ne'eman's most profitable year, about 17% of ASAN's revenues went to pay his salary alone.  In 2014, ASAN's revenue was $765,282.00, so even though a lower proportion went to pay his salary in 2014, it was still more than 10% of the organization's total revenue. 

If you look at one of their two accomplishments in terms of what the organization has done, trying to provide better health care options for autistics, you see that less money was spent on that than on Ne'eman's salary.

On public advocacy, they spent more than $360,000.  I wonder if this includes airfare tickets to various autism speaks walks where it is known certain ASAN supporters go to harass parents who are trying to raise money to help their kids.

We see that more than a third of ASAN's revenue in 2014 was spent on employee salaries and other compensation.

Are Autism Speaks the only ogres who are ripping off the autism community or is there a certain pot calling the kettle black?

I wonder when congress will get some common sense and change the laws that make it so easy for people to start a charitable organization and get nonprofit status from the IRS and give themselves such huge compensation rather than helping those in need.