Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What is neurodiversity's suggestion for Adam Koumoutseas?

I see from reading a very interesting article that the 23-year-old profoundly autistic Adam Koumoutseas has been criminally charged with assault and battery for pounding his mother's head on a pavement. Ari Ne'eman, lead neurodiversity spokesman has stated that curing persons such as Adam is morally reprehensible and has crusaded against finding a cure for an individual such as this. Adam's father has stated that his son is incapable of understanding his actions and is hoping that his son will not have to stand trial. Adam is currently being assessed as to whether or not he is competent to stand trial. If it is decided that Adam is to be prosecuted it is likely his family will present a diminished capacity defense. Ne'eman has stated in his previous writings that there should be no diminished capacity defense of persons on the spectrum in criminal matters if autistics are to be equal with NT's and have to shoulder equal responsibility and if we are to assert that autism is not in fact a disorder but a legitimate way of being. In spite of this, Ne'eman and his organization, ASAN, have not really been consistent in their thinking and actions given that one of their crusades was to have the criminal charges dropped against Zach Price who was charged with assaulting one of his teachers.

His mother was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries but was reported to be in stable condition. A police sergeant on the scene tried to question Mr. Koumoutseas but only heard unintelligible sounds from the man. A court appointed psychologist who evaluated the man stated that it was almost impossible for him to express himself in words.

I am curious as to what ASAN's solution is to this individual's situation. Will they just claim if the man's autism had been accommodated properly the assault on his mother would have never taken place? How could this individual's autism be accommodated for in such a manner? Is the solution (which would be inconsistent with acceptance and accommodation) be to throw the book at this individual, prosecute him and if convicted sentence him to years of incarceration? This would seem to be the solution that Ne'eman suggests in his Equality Demands Responsibility essay. Or would the third alternative be to forget about what was written in this essay and have ASAN take on the crusade of freeing this young man and saying the charges should be dropped? Ari Ne'eman has been appointed to a disabilities council by the Obama administration on which he serves at taxpayer expense. He also has a seat on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee where as far as I can tell he has not offered any constructive solutions for any of the problems that befall persons on the spectrum, but has rather spent his time there making rude comments to one individual because he took umbrage to his cost analyses showing how expensive autism is to society.

It is also possible that ND, and ASAN will make no comment at all about this case as it might show some flaws in their theories, philosophies and what they try to say. However, one can't help wondering about a person who is given money at taxpayer expense and by extension the organizations such as ASAN and others that he represent can remain silent and have a do nothing attitude about an issue like this.

30 comments:

Kent Adams said...

"I am curious as to what ASAN's solution is to this individual's situation. Will they just claim if the man's autism had been accommodated properly the assault on his mother would have never taken place? How could this individual's autism be accommodated for in such a manner? "

More curious to me is how the minstrel Amanda Baggs would twist and turn this issue. She is afterall the founding "mother" of this line of thought. Though she is not autistic and has perpetuated a fraud for years, she is to blame for this line of thought throughout ND. She is to blame for ND catering to Asperger's Syndrome all in the package of a neatly and beautifully crafted motif of a severe autistic.

autismandoughtisms said...

A very interesting and important discussion, and well written as usual. It's the first time I've read about how the neurodiversity approach sits with issues of criminal responsibility. As someone with a legal background, and a mum of an autistic child, the answers to these problems matter in a very real sense to me. I was already anti the "neurodiversity" attitude to autism, now even more so.

Anonymous said...

Neurodiversity doesn't even represent the views of the majority of people with Asperger's Syndrome.

Foresam said...

Kent, It was Kethleen Seidel who groomed Amanda Baggs, polished her phoney medical records, and drove her to her propaganda "speaking" engagements. Please give credit where it is due. Seidel is the mastermind behind all of this bullshit.

Foresam said...

Jonathan, Isn't this a situation where Ne'eman should invoke his philosophy of turning autistics into cat food?

Kent Adams said...

@ anon
"Neurodiversity doesn't even represent the views of the majority of people with Asperger's Syndrome."

This is true from my experience. I'm sad to say I bought into the lie for a period of time.

jonathan said...

Jonathan, Isn't this a situation where Ne'eman should invoke his philosophy of turning autistics into cat food

Actually it was the "autistic bitch from hell" who made the statement about turning certain autistic people she did not like into cat food and not Ne'eman. However, it has been rumored that the real identify of ABFH is Meg Evans, one of the top executives in Ne'eman's organization. Also, Ne'eman has not turned down ABFH's donations to ASAN and has never repudiated her statements nor Clay Adams' statements or donations to ASAN the way Reagan denounced the KKK's endorsement of his candicacy for president.

I am still trying to understand exactly what Ne'eman's views are towards this young man and what should be done about his problem.

SM69 said...

Good question. A very sad story for this young man and his family; preventive solutions to this type of problems must be provided. Can I add more questions still though?

One child in 66 in the UK has a diagnosis of autism, many, that is over 60% of them have regressive features. Many, have health issues. This constitutes in terms of distress and potential lack of assistance, way more, world-wide, that this sad story reported here will ever show. Ne’eman and many others in the Autism community have failed to acknowledge and address this reality, many have only considered their own immediate reality, selfishly.

The latest explanation I heard from a ND advocate proves the level of denial… The number of ASD cases increases because… simply the world population increases… and because ASD is now being diagnosed in developing countries. I mean, how much more blinded beliefs and wacky explanations can we cope with?

Addressing problems only comes through a non-bias and open-minded analysis of a given situation, only comes with knowledge of people and the progressive solutions available. I am adamant that for most people with autism, even those who’s condition is purely genetically engrailed, there are wide and diverse solutions that are known, but rarely these solutions are proposed to the families involved. Our society is not sufficiently civilised for this recognition. The constant disinformation propagated by some ND supporters does help. More frustration still awaiting us.

LIVSPARENTS said...

Being one who you might consider 'neurodiverse' in my thinking, I would blame society for not having adequate facilities to house him:
Adam attends a day program for people with developmental disabilities, but his father said he would prefer to see his son in a residential program as soon as a bed becomes available.

"Will they just claim if the man's autism had been accommodated properly the assault on his mother would have never taken place?"

If you don't see the lack of proper housing for the disabled as a primary factor for this occurring, you clearly do not listen to parents caring for adult autistics at home. Some try to keep them out of facilities; but others, like this family, clearly needed a service that is not being adequately provided...

jonathan said...

Livs parents: So I guess that means it is okay with you and the rest of the neurodiversity crowd if the guy bashes one of the staff members' heads in whomever works in the housing unit rather than his mother. Just what I would expect from one of the members of the ND movement.

LIVSPARENTS said...

What's the alternative Jonathan? Should we just lock them all up or put them in hospitals to restrain them until we can find a cure for their aggression?
What did you just 'expect' from someone who identifies with the idea of neurodiversity (which conveniently for you is compartmentalized into a rigid definition)? That I would advocate for better housing for disabled citizens? For better services, both for the disabled and their caregivers?
You seem to arrive at the false conclusion that neurodiversity means that we ignore all but a select few groups of disability. If you listened beyond your own rhetoric however, you'd hear that many who identify with the neurodiversity idea advocate for the betterment of all with neurological differences AND disabilities. If you were listening to what society at large has to say about neurological issues, you’d realize that they neither want an Adam Koumoutseas NOR an Ari Ne’eman nor anyone else that asks for special consideration in society. The sooner we realize that we should be fighting against external society’s injustices and stop fighting each other within our own little autism world, the sooner we’ll get t a place we both want to be.
So, no…I don’t want the staff member to have his/her head bashed in. I want him/her to have adequate information, supports and additional staff so that both staff and the disabled person never have to be put in that situation.

Anonymous said...

funny (sad) how all the rhetoric is about 'staff having their heads bashed in'

as if the issue of a fellow captive in-mate (woops I mean resident) those other disabled individuals also residing 24/7 and suffering such assaults at the hands of another is such a non-issue - persona non-grata much?

way to go, 'Advocates'

LIVSPARENTS said...

Anonymous is right Jonathan, it's sad that instead of using this incident to highlight the plight of disabled adults, their families and the lack of adequate services, you chose it as an opportunity to continue a tired old divisive generalization. Why not find opportunities to unite and rally our community rather than divide it?

jonathan said...

I thought that is what I was doing, Liv's parents, but you seem to feel differently. I am trying to show how bad autism is and what an inane philosophy neurodiversity is, so that of the many persons who have loved one's on the autistic spectrum who have never heard of ND, can be united against them and try to do something about them and also try to find a way to help and ultimately cure those on the spectrum.

It is ND that propagates hate and divisiveness.

SM69 said...

Division vs. unification; a good point to raise. With all due respects though, the ND group has become infamous for leading to more division and tension in autism, partly because of the common use of verbal abuse, harassment of various forms and at times near extremist and incomplete views of the condition.

Having said this, I have yet to come across anyone, being at individual, charity group, or scientific levels who has the breath of vision to aspire to unification. I often wonder why.

Several factors are at play I think.

First, the emotions around the issues of autism are very strong, whether they relate to denial, or desire to cure, desire to be accepted as an individual with difference, desire for parents to get more help, and of course the great frustrations that come from having little of these desires fulfilled (in most instances).

Second, the diversity of needs and solutions: there is no one answer, not one explanation, not one solution, but many, and not all of them are relevant to each individual. People have their own favourite answers, their favourite theme, and this is all they can see, and they will fight for it.

Third, big egos. People have put themselves in front of autism. Why? I suppose we all aspire to be someone with a cause, perhaps it’s human nature, but surely, it must be behind autism, not at the forefront.

Perhaps we could ask, would unification be of some benefit given all the above considerations?

Think about the failures from historical examples of various unifications at political or cultural levels, failed and false compromises, sometimes leading nowhere but to a worse situation. Perhaps, an agreement to disagree and a mutual respect for why a diversity of approaches is needed, for the other’s point of view without necessarily following it, without systematic harassment or deconstruction, is the way forward as far as autism is concerned.

I see individuals with autism as whole; there are areas we can help with, whilst others we cannot. I advise people to get the complementary supports from elsewhere, because I think this is what is best for the person.

SM69 said...

Part I: Division vs. unification; a good point to raise. With all due respects though, the ND group has become infamous for leading to more division and tension in autism, partly because of the common use of verbal abuse, harassment of various forms and at times near extremist and incomplete views of the condition.

Having said this, I have yet to come across anyone, being at individual, charity group, or scientific levels who has the breath of vision to aspire to unification. I often wonder why.

Several factors are at play I think.

SM69 said...

Part II:

First, the emotions around the issues of autism are very strong, whether they relate to denial, or desire to cure, desire to be accepted as an individual with difference, desire for parents to get more help, and of course the great frustrations that come from having little of these desires fulfilled (in most instances).

Second, the diversity of needs and solutions: there is no one answer, not one explanation, not one solution, but many, and not all of them are relevant to each individual. People have their own favourite answers, their favourite theme, and this is all they can see, and they will fight for it.

Third, big egos. People have put themselves in front of autism. Why? I suppose we all aspire to be someone with a cause, perhaps it’s human nature, but surely, it must be behind autism, not at the forefront.

Perhaps we could ask, would unification be of some benefit given all the above considerations?

Think about the failures from historical examples of various unifications at political or cultural levels, failed and false compromises, sometimes leading nowhere but to a worse situation. Perhaps, an agreement to disagree and a mutual respect for why a diversity of approaches is needed, for the other’s point of view without necessarily following it, without systematic harassment or deconstruction, is the way forward as far as autism is concerned.

I see individuals with autism as whole; there are areas we can help with, whilst others we cannot. I advise people to get the complementary supports from elsewhere, because I think this is what is best for the person.

Foresam said...

Bill (Livsparents), I see you still think that following the propaganda manual gives you some credibility. Sure, tout this disingenuous crap about supports and uniting the community for the betterment of autistic people. Of course, keep denying the fact that we can cure a lot of these kids and don't ever mention that since you know that curing autism by removing mercury from the brain brings discredit on your bosses in the vaccine industry.
Don't you remember the lesson I gave you on the old Autistic Living forum? You can't sling your propaganda when I'm around, Bill.

Anonymous said...

Neurodiversity is all well and good, however, certain individuals like Adam Koumoutseas and Sky Walker (you may remember, he beat his mother Gertrude "Trudy" Steuernagel to death in 2009) need to be dealt with realistically. Fortunately, they are the minority. However, the physical harm that they cause is real, dangerous and negatively impacts the lives of their families AND their staff / workers. Without revealing too much, I will tell you that I personally worked with Adam a few years ago and this latest assault on his mother comes as NO SURPRISE. I witnessed similar assaults against staff, all of whom were intelligent, compassionate and well trained in working with people diagnosed with severe autism. Even when everything in the environment is done correctly, certain people can still be dangerous and have the capacity to do REAL, LASTING harm to others.

In my opinion, prevention is key. A person like Adam who communicates minimally should be identified as children and their violence be met seriously, with zero tolerance. Holding an autistic boy who is acting out is commonplace- but when those boys turn into 6-foot tall men, that really isn't an option. As controversial as they are, programs like the Judge Rotenberg Center should be considered for people like Adam. The alternatives are debilitating medicating, isolation or incarceration, and none of those are acceptable. Perhaps a day program staffed only by 6'5" 300 lb line backers would work. Until someone can create some kind of re-training program that counteracts aggression and violent outbursts, there really are no good solutions. And don't tell me about well-trained staff- as I mentioned earlier, there were many well trained staff working with A.K., and many of them were injured while working with him. My thoughts and prayers go to Adam and his family- the whole situation is sad.

Foresam said...

Anon, Neurodiversity is pure BS.
You can't discipline a severely autistic child because they don't understand. Even wacking them with belts wouldn't do any good with lots of them who can't feel pain.

You can't train these kids to do anything, no matter how many stupid behavioral interventions you try. However, you CAN cure some of them. Have you been living in a cave or something where you never heard that we've been curing autism now for about ten years?

LIVSPARENTS said...

John, my only bosses are my 6 year old and 8 year old autistic daughters. Any other connotations are just pathetic delusions on your part. But it's ...good... to see your sneering face just the same...

Amet, it's an interesting roadblock, but remember it was Churchill, Roosevelt AND Stalin who brought down Hitler. There are larger evils in the world to defeat before fighting ideology.

With all due repect, I could mirror the same comments back at those on the 'cure' side for their similar infamy, And I don't even have to bring out the best example.

A. Nony Mous- there is no doubt that cretain people cna be dangerous. Training of staff doesn't only mean being compassionate, but cognizant and vigilant to NEVER put themselves into a dangerous position. Much as I find the JR center's methods generically reprehensible, I personally cannot completely take it off the table either. Until we can find safe and effective alternatives, I can't find their behavioral restaints any much more abhorrant than chemical ones. Neither are preferable, but both alternatives are preferable to exteme dangers presented by some...to themselves and others. It's the careful control of both that should be at issue.

Foresam said...

Bill (Livsparents),
Please check the Pharma propaganda manual and find a better response besides name calling.

I think the best solution for Adam Koumoutseas would be to cure him. Why are you opposed to that, Bill?

SM69 said...

Livsparents

Did I miss something? Was it you demonstrating what it means to unify the autism community?

SM69 said...

For Livsparents and all of us who gets carried away

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwPEHeRa39k&feature=player_embedded

LIVSPARENTS said...

John, as per usual, your magical thinking does not make thing so. There is no magic cure for all that ails those on the autism spectrum. If you would like to find a better euphimism for me being a covert pharma shill other than pathetic delusion, I welcome the correction.

Amet, I genuinely feel that the autism community not only SHOULD be united, the CAN be united under issues like this. The fact that internal arguments occur are just part and parcel of the misdirected energy within the community. As I pointed out to Jonathan already, ther is a clear external enemy, in the form of lack of services for the disabled, that he barely even acknowledges. Defeating such nemesises will take ALL of our combined efforts. Can we defeat them focusing on each others strawman fantasies? No way...

SM69 said...

Can we defeat them focusing on each others strawman fantasies? No way...

Is that your own road block?

If you know my name, would you please call me by my first name, as we only use last name to refer to teachers in my country, and it feels a little weird and out of place, especially for someone pretending to advocate for unity, I don't fully decrepit the intentions behind this, for cultural reasons, but it does not feel right.

In any case, why don't you share your own identity , transparency is a good place to start don't you think?

Foresam said...

Bill, That's better, deceptive propaganda.
Tell everyone there is no "magic" cure, a true statement, so you can avoid stating that there is a cure that is not magic.
We all know you're not stupid enough to believe what you're saying. Not even Kevin Leitch is that dumb.
So, tell us why you oppose the non-magic cure for autism.

Anonymous said...

Foresam....

Like I said, I worked with Adam. What is this cure you're talking about? If there is an effective "cure" then why are we still pouring millions into research around curing autism? There is no cure.

Foresam said...

Anon, You should use your name if you want to be taken seriously.

We pour millions into research to waste time and fool parents into believing that autism can't be cured. Then it's easier for Pharma to convince parents to send their kids to asylums where they will be murdered and their deaths forgotten.

LIVSPARENTS said...

"In any case, why don't you share your own identity , transparency is a good place to start don't you think?"

Forgive me Lorene, I don't know why I thought that Amet was you first name. I have been on the internet under the same pseudonym for over 5 years. If you are interested, I have a body of posts on message boards and a blog as well. If you cannot glean all that I am from my complete honesty in those venues; I really don't know what my actual name will tell you, I assure you it is irrelevant.

The problem with BOTH sides Lorene, is that they each build up the ideal (defeatable) enemy; built on snips of quotes and extremist positions that very few actually hold. They build that classic strawman and beat it up until they are satiated. But, in the end it does no good for the community; it divides and weakens our already tenuous position to advocate for the extreme minorities we represent. Adam is a prime example of the system failing a family with special needs, and instead of turning it into a cry of outrage about the lack of services; the conversation gets turned inward to yet another a pointless discussion. It's a crying same that it takes a mother getting beaten within an inch of her life to get this guy in a facility that he needs...