Recently the IACC(interagency autism coordinating committee) has asked for ideas on the direction autism research should take from the general public with a vested interest in autism. Various blogs that are linked by the neurodiversity autism hub have commented on this and have urged persons to file requests.
The autism self-advocacy network has not failed to miss the beat. They have made multiple requests to the IACC and how they should pursue an autism agenda that mirrors the same tired cliches propagated again and again by the ND movement. Not doing research with the intent of curing or preventing autism, not referring to autism as "devastating", or as a "burden". Also, they note the fact that only 1% of the NIMH's budget goes for services to help autistic persons and believe that this should be rectified.
In one of the most bizarre statements they write:
Right now, our interventions merely force autistic children to learn, think, behave, and communicate like non-autistic children. Instead, they should be taught how to learn, think, behave, and communicate like autistic children, so that they can maximize their capabilities.
Along with ASAN president, Ari Neeman, this ND agenda is signed by some other persons as well including the author of the Joy of Autism blog Estee Klar-Wolfond.
If I am not mistaken, Ms. Klar-Wolfond is a Canadian citizen not living in the United States who I am fairly certain has never paid a dime in American taxes. Yet she seems to think for some odd reason that she has a right to make suggestions to the IACC, which is a U.S. government agency created with American tax dollars. Last year, I wrote about two other members of the neurodiversity movement, Michelle Dawson and Mike Stanton who also were writing letters trying to influence the direction of NIMH autism research totally funded with public sector dollars, in spite of the fact that it is very unlikely either has paid any American taxes, yet they feel they have as much right as I have as an American taxpayer to make suggestions for directions U.S. taxpayer funded autism research should take.
I would like to comment on some of these points. First, they seem to think there is something wrong with the fact that 99% of NIMH's budget does not go to these services they so covet. I think there is something wrong with it also, but only because instead of 99% of spending on medical research the NIMH's budget should be 100% funding of medical research. What Ari Neeman and his pals don't seem to understand is that this is the purpose of the NIH and NIMH. You notice the h stands for health. This is because being autistic is being in poor health. Someone who has autism has a disease, a disorder, etc, though I am not sure everyone in the ND movement understands this. This is why the NIH and NIMH were set up to fund medical research and not services. The reason scientific research is funded in autism is the hope to find more effective treatments including prevention and even a possible cure. Some persons in the ND movement seem to think this research is funded so scientists can pay their mortgages and amuse themselves. They should be lobbying congress for services if this is the direction they want autism funding to take, but not under the combating autism act.
You notice the italicized statement about not making autistic children nonautistic but allowing them to function as autistic people so they can maximize their capabilities. Such incredible oxymorons seem to be par for the course for the ND movement. If they function like autistic people this means having language problems, self-stimulatory problems, inability to relate to people, etc. The only solution is for them to function as non-autistic obviously. The ND movement can't have it both ways no matter how hard they try. If they were able to function properly, they would be cured, they would no longer be autistic. Of course the ND movement fails to understand this.
What is most interesting of all, the ND movement seems to want to take advantage of a law that they don't like. We can see examples of this here and here We see by the second example that the CAA was originally drafted by Cure Autism Now, the favorite whipping boy of the neurodiversity movement before they were gobbled up by Autism Speaks. This seems ironic that neurodiversity is clearly opposed to the intentions of this law, which are to prevent and cure autism, yet they want to take advantage of one of its provisions. Seems hypocrisy is pretty rampant in the ND movement. The main reason is that the neurodiversity movement is really very small and weak. The persons involved in it have limited capital and lobbying power. The internet gives the illusion that the ND movement is stronger and more powerful than it really is. This prevents them for being able to pursue their deranged agenda on their own and having to hijack the money that was set aside for something they oppose and for them to try to use it for something other than its intended purpose.
This is aside from the fact that the IACC is pretty much a colossal joke. They have one person on the autism spectrum, Stephen Shore, who serves on the committee that was created for the purpose of curing and preventing autism, yet he himself is opposed to a cure for autism. They also have Mark Blaxill and Lyndell Redwood, who cling to the disproven hypothesis that vaccines cause autism, guiding the direction that research takes. Not that I think a cure for autism will be a reality in the foreseeable future even if the funding bodies did not make so many blunders, but having people like these three on the IACC does not bode well for future research.
This complete hypocrisy of the ND movement is among the many reasons that I urge people to just say no to neurodiversity