I've just read an interesting article in that ironically named blog, The thinking person's guide to autism, that seems to stick up for the neurodiversity movement, which claims to be about human rights, but also states that autism is not a disordered way of being but a different way of being and whose numerous proponents have even stated on occasion that autism is not a disability.
Her article is in response to a piece written by Amy Lutz, questioning how well facilitated communication works as well as how much the neurodiversity movement truly represents autistic people. Most of Lutz's article is nothing new for those denizens of autism blogs who know well the arguments against neurodiversity and the story of Amanda Bagg's questionable if not improbable status as a true member of the autism spectrum. Ergo, the details of the article are not worth repeating here, though the interested reader can read the article I've linked to.
Ms. Rosa questions the reasons that Lutz would attack the ND movement. Conversely, I'd like to ponder the question of why the author defends the neurodiversity movement. Accordingly, I'd like to come up with what I think may be a plausible explanation for her behavior.
Des Roches Rosa claims that Lutz was attacking disabled people for appearing less disabled than her offspring. This did not seem to be the case. Though she did not dispute that Amanda Baggs may be disabled, she points out Baggs unusual clinical history for an autism diagnosis and the questionable claim she was diagnosed with autism at age 14. This is certainly a legitimate talking point as Baggs, at least in the past, was a poster child for the ND movement. Also, she gives Ari Ne'eman as an example of one of these disabled persons. This is in spite of the fact that in the past i've documented that Ne'man has stated that he himself is not disabled. So I'm not sure who the author is referring to as disabled.
Most interesting of all, she states that neurodiversity is not only the province of very high functioning (or not even disabled) autistics/Asperger's individuals, but for parents of relatively low functioning children as well. She gives herself and Kristina Chew as examples.
Though I don't know a whole lot about Ms. Rosa, I am quite familiar with Ms. Chew, as I've read numerous blog entries of hers and have seen her on Good Morning America. This is a woman who has stated she opposes curing her son's autism, yet has placed him in ABA programs with the apparent goal of "normalizing" him. She has advocated for the IDEA law and has advocated for services on his behalf and seems to have a misunderstanding of the law's intent and the supreme court's decision in the Rowley case and insists her son receive the "best" services, though he is not legally entitled to these. She has also made the strangely inconsistent statement to me that she is satisfied with her son's functioning level. Not only does one wonder about an explanation for Rosa's defense of ND in general, but Ms. Chew's behavior in particular.
As a former consumer of psychoanalysis for more than ten years in my childhood, I believe I have the answer to these intriguing questions---Freudian defense mechanisms. These include reaction formation, denial, projection, etc. though I've written about this topic in the past, I believe a recap is in order.
The first of these defense mechanisms is denial. Diane Sawyer in the Good Morning America show that Ms. Chew was on aptly described neurodiversity as a beautiful way of justifying heartbreak. Chew and I suppose Des Roches Rosa are possibly in denial of having children who are impaired. They can't cope with the hurt and the pain so they use this as a psychological defense mechanism. This is to deny that there is anything wrong with their children. This goes with saying that autism is not a defect that needs to be cured, but that progress can be made and the child with the correct accommodations can function as well as a normal kid. This is a denial of reality but perhaps it makes these mothers feel better about their offspring. Others are displacement and projection, thus getting angry at anyone who wishes a cure for their child or who has something like the ransom notes thing that clinic in New York had. Most intriguing of all is reaction formation, taking something you hate and and claiming to love it. Instead of hating autism, they use this defense mechanism to celebrate it, to claim that Gates and Einstein were autistic and that autism is a great thing and not a bad thing and it can be worked with.
Perhaps these defense mechanisms are why Chew makes the outlandish statements that she does and why Des Roches Rosa would stick up for a convoluted movement like neurodiversity.