In my previous post I blogged about Ari Ne'eman's article in the latest issue of Disabilities studies quarterly and the problems with a lot of Ne'eman's contentions in his piece. This was not the only proneurodiversity article in the current issue. There have been several pro neurodiversity articles published including an article with an interesting take about the ransom notes campain a couple of years ago. For those who don't remember the New York University child study center had an ad campaign which talked about how we have your son, he has autism we will make sure he does not take care of himself or interact socially as long as he lives, etc.
The neurodiversity movement, lead by Ari Ne'eman took umbrage to this and lead a successful campaign to have these advertisements expunged. I was also offended by the ransom notes but for a different reason than Ne'eman. I believe the NYU study center was engaged in deceptive advertsing claiming there was an easy release from the abyss of autism, which as regular gadfly readers know, I don't buy into. Ne'eman and his pals took offense because they felt it was making autism look bad. I in turn was offended by ASAN and other disability groups campaign because I do not believe eliminating the ransom notes advertising did anything to better the lives of persons with autism. Persons with autism in many cases still can't speak, they are most likely largely unemployed and have to be in special education schools or classes because of bad behavior. It does nothing to eliminate the hardships of autism. I do not believe bothering about the ransom notes campaign was time well spent. It made no difference in the lives of an autistic person or lead them to make friends, find employment, be able to perform tasks, etc.
The article has an interesting take. First of all, it extols the social model of disability over the medical model, the belief that Ne'eman and others have is that the medical aspects of autism are not as impairing to the individual as sociological barriers or false expectations that prevent them from doing the things in life that typical persons take for granted.
It starts off with an interesting quote from well-known neurodiversity blogger "the autistic bitch from hell" she states:
From day one, the consistent message put forth by Autism Speaks has been that autistic people are tragically defective burdens on society and that a child would be better off dead than autistic. Ms. Wright describes the most notable accomplishment of Autism Speaks in these words: "We produced a movie, Autism Every Day, and it was accepted into Sundance for a special screening... [I]n this movie a father talks about hoping that a little boy would go into the pond on his property and drown." ("ABFH," 2007a)
This complaint from ABFH about the lack of respect for the lives of autistic people is interesting in light of another post she wrote about previously to her 2007 post griping about autism speaks disregard of autistic lives.
She stated on the subject of pro-cure autistics such as myself:
Make no mistake about it, these slimeballs know exactly what they're doing. They're very well aware that they are still autistic and that there is no such thing as a cure. They gulp down anti-anxiety meds by the bucketful to ensure that they won't jeopardize their endorsement contract by having an inconvenient twitch or tic in public. For them, it's all about the money. They don't care how much harm they're doing to vulnerable families. They ought to be lined up against a wall and shot, but in lieu thereof, they can all kiss my autistic ass.
Later in the same post ABFH states about autistics she does not agree with:
This group can also be excused from kissing my bodacious booty. I wouldn't let their nasty keyboard-pecking beaks anywhere near me. About the only thing I'd do with them is wring their scrawny feathery necks and turn them into cat food.
One wonders about the totally inconsistent statements ABFH makes about the value of lives of autistic people. One explaination is that she believes that the persons autism speaks refers to will grow up to be neurodiversity proponents, yet the lives of pro-cure autistics such as myself are worthless and we should be shot or strangled to death and turned into cat food. Though ABFH complains about her perception that autism speaks claims that autistic children would be better of dead than autistic, it would seem to me she is making the claim that autistics whom she does not agree with, particularly those like myself who wish a cure are better off dead than alive.
The article goes on to make the analogies for the social model of disability in that we don't consider ourselves disabled because we can't run 70 miles per hour or fly but the invention of trains and airplanes helped us overcome those barriers and in the same vein the social model of disability by this specious reasoning can save the day for those with autism.
In the same vein it could be argued that people should have protested persons such as the Wright Brothers who were doing research to invent airplanes or persons who invented trains they way that they protest autism speaks. After all the invention of planes and trains degrade our humanity and our beautiful running ability and our humaness that would just reduce us to the lower form of life of birds if we were able to have flight.
The author of this article also invokes the "do no harm" part of the Hippocratic oath claiming that somehow the doctors behind the ransom notes campaign violated theirs.
Of course no mention is made of Laurent Mottron who has claimed that autism is harmless, that autism is merely a difference and posthumously diagnosis Niklos Tesla with autism or at least autistic traits, therefore trivializing autism. Also, his questionable claims when applying for research grants that got him half a million dollars funding by autism speaks and additional funding by the Canadian government. Except for the fact that French doctors may not required to take this oath as are their American counterparts, neurodiversity does not seem to mind that Mottron may be violating his oath.
Author Joseph Kras also objects to the fact that autistic people were not consulted when the Ransom notes campaign was instituted. He also claims that they do not provide a fair picture of their subjects which they are ethically obligated to do.
Conversely could it be claimed that just consulting Ari Ne'eman and his colleagues, most of them either students in major colleges, some with advanced degrees, virtually all of the board of ASAN having Asperger's syndrome and not autism with a speech delay proper as I had are really consulting autistic people as a whole or if these people as well as other neurodiversity proponents are really representative of autistic people.
Is Ari Ne'eman ethically obligated to admit that at least 99.9999% of the autistic populace, myself included, will never function at his level, be able to get a high paying job in disabilities policy making at the highest level of government at age 22, will be able to think of being a Rhoades Scholar or going to law school in a major university. Perhaps Kras and Ari Ne'eman can question their own ethics before they question Harold Koplewicz and others behind the failed ransom notes campaign.
I see some real problems in this article as well as the previous article in the DQS issue by Ari Ne'eman which I blogged about earlier. I am not sure if gadfly will take the time to read the other articles and comment on those. These are the only two I have read so far, but I suspect most of these other articles are bullpucky also, I may or may not report on them. Normally I had not planned on blogging so much but this is a very interesting time in the history of neurodiversity and as I have said before: We don't need no stinkin' neurodiversity!