Apparently, inquiring minds wanted to know exactly what Mr. Robison's stance on neurodiversity is. He wrote a post about his efforts at his attempt to oblige them.
I believe neurodiversity is the idea that neurological differences like autism and ADHD are the result of normal, natural variation in the human genome. This represents a new and fundamentally different way of looking at conditions that were traditionally pathologized; it’s a viewpoint that is not universally accepted though it is increasingly supported by science.
Does this mean that Robison believes that mutations such as fragile X, Rett's syndrome, Angleman's syndrome, etc. are natural variations such as genes for eye and hair color and height are? Though there are variations in height that probably follow a normal distribution, someone extremely short, such as a dwarf. may have a genetic mutation or disease. Does Robison discount possible environmental influences on autism, such as thalidomide exposure, cocaine ingestion that appear to have some association with at least some spectrum disorders? What about cancers, such as the BRCA mutation that is found in breast cancers. Are cancers natural variations. Then why don't we have oncodiversity or cellular diversity as a philosophy? He makes a completely inconsistent statement in the next paragraph:
We are realizing that autism, ADHD, and other conditions emerge through a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental interaction; they are not exclusively the result of disease or injury. Which is it, autism is a natural genetic variation or in some cases it is a disease or injury? As my former psychoanalyst used to say, you can't have your cake and eat it too, Mr. Robison.
He makes a very offensive statement next:
We are not sick. We are different.
Does Robison believe that a child who can't speak, soils themselves, engages in self-injury and wanders away so that their life is endangered is not sick? If that is the case, why did he join the scientific advisory board of autism speaks and reviews grants for the government to study autism if it is just a difference?
Faculty and staff are just as likely to have different brains, especially in the sciences.
He trivializes autism by comparing college professors to those that really suffer from this affliction.
while working to remediate disability has as its goal the best possible life quality.
If someone is disabled then why aren't they sick?
When a fellow has one leg, and he wants to get around on his own, we don’t say, “He needs a cure.” We say, “He needs help remediating his disability.”
Who says this? I've never heard of limb diversity or mobility diversity. Why doesn't someone need a cure to have a leg restored, even if one is not available given the current science? Robison then goes on to compare the use of a cane or prosthesis to remediating autism, but gives no examples of how this can be done. As far as I can tell, Robison has not suggested how autism could be remediated. If it were completely remediated why wouldn't this constitute a cure? Again, Mr. Robison, you can't have your cake and eat it too.
No neurodiversity advocate in his right mind would oppose developing tools to remediate disability from autism.
It would appear then that most neurodiversity advocates are not in their right minds, since they consistently say that acceptance and accommodations are the solutions to autism and in at least some cases that autism would not even be a disability if this were done. Or some say the problem should be ignored altogether like Ari Ne'eman's statement that social pleasantry should be eliminated as a criteria in hiring and evaluating people's job performance.
Robison then goes on with the offensive stereotypes of how autistic eccentricity is associated with high intelligence or giftedness.
It is appalling that William and Mary would offer a course in this and would enlist someone who did not even finish the tenth grade to help teach this.
Hopefully a cure for autism will be found someday and perhaps now we can add at least some amputees on the list of people that Robison manages to trivialize.