Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Autism not a disability but a gift and super ability?

I see that David Ellams, a computer programmer and app developer allegedly somewhere on the autism spectrum, is trivializing my disability and those of others by proclaiming that autism spectrum disorders are not only not a disability but a gift and a "super ability". 

My ASD, and I suspect that of most others, it not a gift but a horrific disability.  It causes immense pain and suffering.  He seems to believe that it's a given that all autistics are super gifted with computers.  Any one of us could become a Kevin Mitnick or some other kind of super coder or hacker.  Most autistics (including myself who took coursework in computer programming, but was unable to enter the profession) will never be computer experts, no matter how much spin this individual wants to put on it. 

This was apparently in response to a petition protesting some offensive song lyrics.  How signing this petition, as Mr. Ellams alleges, will show the world that autistic people have 'super abilities' is beyond my comprehension and defies all tenets of common sense and logic, even for a neurodiversity proponent. 

Mr. Ellams also uses what Harold Doherty terms as "the royal we" that some other neurodiversity proponents are fond of using:

We are not ill and there is no cure since we do not need curing, we need to re-educate the world on what Autism really is…

If this crap weren't enough Ellams makes even more irrational statements:

They are each mini Geniuses in their field and with the help of our sister company NextGen Software Ltd we can help empower and inspire them to be anything they want t be, if it is to do with programming and Computers then the FREE NextGen Developer Training programme is for them. Since we know much like myself, we are often very gifted when it comes to computers, in fact we find them incredibly easy,

It would appear that Mr. Ellams has tremendous conflicts of interest as he owns both a yoga for autism company and the next gen software, ltd, where he apparently makes money for the empty promise that an autistic super genius can become a computer programmer or anything else they want. 

I wonder if anyone would care to start a petition against Mr. Ellams' s statements and his yoga and software businesses. 

10 comments:

Yuval said...

Programming for most people isn't very hard. It's kind of like writing a story, only there are more rules one has to follow. What separates exceptional programmers like Bill Gates from the rest is that he made his software marketable, which requires good social skills. The problem that autistics have with programming is that it requires a lot of planning ahead, patience,and debugging.

I signed the petition. Regardless of whether one supports ND or not, using the word "autistic" as an insult is offensive.

Roger Kulp said...

While the DSM-5 does have it's faults,I am so glad people like Ellams will be diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder,and not autism.I just finished watching the latest IACC meeting,and am very pleased with what I saw.Science is slowly stumbling in the right direction.

At least 25% of those diagnosed with autism,have serious learning disabilities,multiple learning disabilities,without ID,like I do.I can't believe this guy is for real.I couldn't write anything more clichéd to express neurodiversity if I tried.Even ASAN has been forced to admit and accept some of the more serious disabilities that go along with autism.

jonathan said...

I'm not sure what your learning disabilities are, Roger, your intelligence seems quite intact.

Chelsea said...

Regardless of our disagreements on neurodiversity, I am definitely fed up with shiny aspies selling their autism as a super-power, in order to convince the public to be more accepting of autistics. It is the most arrogant and primitive way to advocate for autistic rights, it sugarcoats the truth about autism, and it only accounts for a small number of autistics.

Yet when the word "autistic" becomes an insult, it hurts everyone on the spectrum, regardless of what abilities we have. We should never have to outperform NTs in any way just to be treated as real human beings!!! It is a right we are born with, not a privilege to be earned.

You would be surprised how many ASAN members are also tired "shiny aspie" stories. Because such stories completely undermine our sensory issues, executive functioning problems, difficulties getting past job interviews, and so many other things. As we become more open talking about our difficulties, it now appears that Autism Speaks is adopting the primitive version of acceptance -- showcasing the fancy talents that a few autistics have, like that one 14-year-old kid who's apparently smarter than Einstein.

Guess what? I don't give a flying 90 if some autistics can do Calculus in their heads. I got a D- in that class, and am beginning to feel burned out from the demands of the UC system. It is designed for competitive NT students who have far more executive functioning than me. And yet it has not stopped me from persisting my passion in neurodiversity.

Anonymous said...

I am an undiagnosed autistic whose parents are also on the spectrum but are not diagnosed either. They failed to see any difference in my development while growing up because they see themselves as completely normal, just chronically depressed. I distinctly remember obsessively staring at a tree outside my bedroom window and sobbing when it got cut down. I never was able to jump rope, ice skate, rollerskate, etc. I have been in and out of psychiatric hospitals and have been on pretty much every antidepressant possible. I graduated from my small town high school without a single friend and now I don't leave the house unless I am forced to. I can watch an entire episode of a tv show without understanding what's going on or remembering anything; I "pride" myself on remembering the names of characters because that's a struggle for me. My family and I can sit in the same room for hours without saying a word to each other because conversation does not come easily to us. I have no fucking clue how my parents managed to have the cognition to buy this house but they certainly don't take care of it. We have people come mow the lawn for us and a housekeeper who comes every other week to clean for us. My parents leave the house to go to work but that's it. Neither of them cook so we eat delivery food which I'm sure exacerbates our conditions since we don't get proper nutrition. We rarely eat 3 meals a day. I am 21 and I wish I was never born. I don't know what to do. I wish I were dead.

Chelsea said...

Anon, have you tried picking up a hobby or something to get your mind off of the troubles you are living with? Sitting around for hours not having conversations is not a bad thing. At my local ASAN socials, we always have some people who choose to just enjoy their coffee and not speak to anyone, and that is perfectly okay. And at least you recognize that you do not understand the plot in TV shows. as far as making friends, I pretty much made it 3 years in college without any friends on my campus. I sill have not had any paid experience even though I'm also 21, and my grades are not all that great. I can barely cook or keep my room clean, and often times I feel lonely and miserable. But I still believe my life has a purpose, and would never wish death upon myself. needing help wih basic things in life might be atypical, but it is nothing to be ashamed of nor is it tragic.

Roger Kulp said...

Johnathan,what you see in me now is the result of four years of intensive treatment for cerebral folate deficiency.You know how old I am.I was very bad off up until two or three years ago.You never saw how badly I could not function in school.

I can recall as a child,we're talking five,six years old here,lying down in the street,in the hope a car would run over me.I was that miserable.I had no skills like cooking,hygeine or house cleaning up until a couple of years ago.My mother did all of this for me.I could just barely dress myself.

It has been an incredible,and wonderful journey coming out of autism these last few years.I only wish every autistic could experience what I have.Last year,after three years of treatment,socialization just turned on like someone flipping a switch in my brain.Autism is tragic,it is a profound sickness that impacts every aspect of your life,both your mind and body.Being able to treat it,like you would a disease like diabetes,and be free of it is the greatest gift of all.

cubeangel said...

Yuval, I don't have the problem with the debugging. You're right about making the software marketable. It does require good social skills. It has been said that the Betamax was better than the VCR. The VCR won out because those who owned the VCR promoted it better.

I graduated with a degree in Information Technology with an emphasis in Software Development. I could not find a job in IT or figure out what I was supposed to do to get into IT.

I finally figured out the truth. IT is a dud. The jobs are being offshored to India. There are a lot of people with IT degrees who could not get into it. Do not go into IT.

Chelsea, we need help desperately but alas we will not get it. We live in a Society that has a set of standards that prevent us from getting the assistance we need. The main one is the pull yourself by your bootstraps mentality.

We live in a society that is completely dysfunctional. We live in a hustling type culture in which we're supposed to compete and out game each other.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml

Why do 26.2% have a mental disorder? Even if we're dysfunctional ourselves we're expected to adjust to a society that is maladjusted.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

More proof that autism is bullshit.