Monday, September 21, 2009

autism speaks accepting nonfiction submissions

Autism speaks, the behemoth autism organization which appears to be a figurative jack of all trades and a master of none has yet engaged in some more dilettantism and has now added to their Felix the Cat bag of tricks and items something new. They now seem to be accepting non-fiction pieces for possible publication on their website. I just finished reading one rather moving piece about a young boy with autism who has an interesting obsession with garage doors. My interest was piqued by the fact that at the bottom of the piece it stated that autism speaks was accepting personal stories about autism. I have debated whether I should write a piece and submit it to them. They were vague about the submission format but I presume someone could submit a word rich text file as an attachment and they would have no problem opening it.

However, this is an organization that on occasion has offended my sensibilities due to their funding Laurent Mottron and possibly other neurodiversity concerns, their
autism in the workplace dog and pony show which does not include employing any autistics in their organization and other reasons. So should I become an apostate and submit an article to them. After all, the pickings seem to be slim in terms of where a non-fiction writer such as myself who wishes to break out of the blogosphere can submit an article. I did have my piece on autism genetics and suffering published on Exceptional Parents' magazine website. The autism spectrum quarterly rejected my submissions claiming they were more into self-help type things and my theoretical and academic questions about ASD's were not within the genre they would accept. Trying to compete with Tim Page and submitting a piece to the New Yorker would seem out of the question for this fledgling, nobody writer. I did submit my essay exploring the irony about the fact that the headquarters for the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention is located in the same building on the same floor as the social security office in West Los Angeles to the Newsweek my turn column. I never heard back from them so I can presume my essay was one of the 199 out of 200 submissions that they get which did not make the cut. So I have to wonder if it would be ethical to submit a piece to AS due to my misgivings about them.

Laurent Mottron seems to have forsaken his principles in soliciting money and accepting approximately half a million dollars from an organization whose main goal he says is "nonsensical". His sidekick, Michelle Dawson, who on more than one occasion has expressed her contempt for autism speaks and the persons who donate money to them, also seems to have forsaken her principles in that she has not resigned from the Mottron group in protest. When asked about this her only dumbfounding reply was "science isn't politics". If these two august individuals can swallow their pride maybe I should also, but I am not sure I want to be attempted by submitting an article to AS.

One other issue that is germane is whether or not personal experiences with autism just include those of parents of autistics or persons with ASD's themselves. AS was not specific in addressing this issue. The first essay they have published was written by a parent of an autistic and not an autistic themselves. As many people have correctly pointed out autism speaks may not be interested in hearing what high functioning autistics themselves have to say. One of neurodiversity's banes of contention has been their neglect to appoint a person on the spectrum to the board of directors the way other autism organizations have. So I am not sure they would publish an essay written by an autistic themselves in addition to a parent's essay or a special educator's or other professionals

To any neurodiversity proponents who happen to read this: Here is your chance to get your views about autism out. You are always trying to convince curebies of your way of thinking. Michelle Dawson and Laurent Mottron and Isabelle Souleries have no qualms of accepting this tainted money. Perhaps you people should have no qualms either.

I have not made the decision 100% myself in this dilemma but probably the best course for me is to resist temptation. I may just have to be content to be a self-published writer on this humble blog.

2 comments:

Roger Kulp said...

You notice something about these stories ?They're all so f***ing positive.Now that I've been on the insanely high doses of fish oil,and the Tischcon CoQ10 a while, I am getting back a lot of my memory.One thing that came back to me the other day,was all of the many times I was yelled at by my teachers for stimming in class.The sheer amount of nasty crap I had forgotten about my autism is incredible.

I have just spent the past week going through a major yeast dieoff.I had serious flares,all at once of most of my medical problems,and a lot of head banging,stimming,and attempting to put as much outside pressure on my head as possible.

These episodes are decades apart,but they are,for me,what autism is all about.From what I see here,AS doesn't want that.They want neurodiversity lite,that puts a happy face on it all:

Corinne Tribou
I also had sezerus until i was twelve. I have acid reflucx, seasonal alergies a thyroid problem and a brain anurysum. I was in special ed classes all through school and in collegg i was in a special program for young adults with leraning dissabilaties....I like the way I am i think im a nice person. I would not change a thing i like everything about me.

Margaret Dixon
Still, it's not that bad. I have made some friends who are willing to ignore the “Rain Man” stereotype of autism and accept me despite my (sometimes irritating) quirks. I am very grateful for them.

I guess I don't really want my Asperger's Syndrome to just disappear, even if the only reason is that I don't know any other way of thinking, or existing. If I was suddenly “cured,” I'm not so sure my sanity would remain. People with autism often don't take too kindly to change and I can't really think of a more extreme change than rewiring my brain. I wouldn't even be the same person. Would I still have the same appreciation for bizarre humor? Would I still doodle weird creatures on my notes? Would I still have an obsession with comic books, Eddie Izzard quotes, musicals and all my other hobbies? Or would I change completely, a stranger to my family and friends, but most of all, to myself. This is one case where I am perfectly happy to remain “flawed” rather than have somebody “fix” my brain.

When I think, I almost always think in pictures. I have a seemingly random image to accompany every thought, even when I don't realize it. It's nearly impossible for me to think any other way.

In a way, the monster that is Asperger's Syndrome is my worst enemy but also my best friend. It gives me a unique and, I admit it, often strange way of looking at the world.


Shelley Hendrix
His first love – a present that I couldn't wait for him to get but wasn't sure he would have the opportunity to open.

Her interest in Liam is genuine. Why wouldn't it be? He is handsome and sweet. They have been officially, and faithfully, going steady since last fall right after he broke things off with Mrs. Fuller, his beautiful, blond math teacher. Sitting on a bench at recess, he told Mrs. Fuller that she was great but he needed to be with a girl his own age.

She took it well.

Kathryn's influence on Liam is something to treasure. As a mother you soon learn your limits, hoping eventually another woman will have a stronger influence on your boy. No need to nag about hygiene anymore because he wants to look nice for her – wants his haircut a certain way and uses hair gel, flosses and brushes his teeth, applies deodorant without prompting –


You and I are at least three times as old as this kid,and still can't do any of this stuff.

Autism Reality NB said...

Jonathan, you and I do not agree about ABA but I respect your opinion and the integrity you demonstrate in discussing autism related issues.

Go for it.