Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Has Autism Given Me The Gift of Prophecy

Some persons on the autism spectrum have extraordinary talents and abilities.  These are known as savant skills.  Rainman's ability to count through an eight deck shoe in blackjack became well-known after the movie of the same name came out.  One individual I went to special ed with could tell you what day of the week any date of the year was.  More amazingly, he could tell you exactly what he'd done that day.  Jerry Newport's ability to multiply four digit sums in his head were also well known and helped land a movie based on his life's story, Mozart and the Whale.  Stephen Wiltshire's drawing ability is also well known.  Others have extraordinary musical abilities.

Bernard Rimland conducted a survey and estimated that ten percent of spectrumites have savant skills.  Researcher Patricia Howlin thought that his estimate was far too conservative and claimed that it was possible that as many as thirty percent of autistic people have some sort of savant skill.  Darold Treffert, an expert on savantism, stated that her figure was probably based on a liberal definition of what defines a savant.

Until recently, I felt left out that I was in the ninety percent of autistic individuals (or seventy percent if you take stock in Howlin's more liberal estimate) who have no special talents or savant abilities.  In one week from today I will be sixty-one years old and amazingly enough it took me that long to realize that I actually have a savant skill-the gift of prophecy.

Let me elaborate.  The small number of you who have actually followed my blog know that autism has handicapped me in two ways.  It has seriously compromised my ability to make a living.  I'm likely in the Guiness Book of World Records for most jobs fired from.  I have not worked in nearly ten years.  I have also never had a girlfriend and my intensity and relentless negativity has been a turnoff to them.  Some of you may also recall my quote of Freud's stating that to work and to love are cornerstones of our humanity.  Ergo, I have felt autism stripped me of my humanity.  I've discovered that when this issue comes up I can predict what people will advise me to do about these problems and their general comments on these issues.  I can also predict what a neurodiversity proponent will say is the reason I hate my autism so much. This must mean I have the gift of prophecy.

Multiple people have advised me to disclose my disability to prospective employers.  This will solve my problems of being fired.  They will say to themselves "that explains it" if I make a funny movement with my hand instead of being prejudiced against me.  If I make too many careless errors, they will say "that's all right his autism explains it" or they will make a better effort to work with me.  Or that the Americans with Disabilities Act gives me the right to ask for accommodations and the employer will grant me these accommodations, they'll work and problem solved.  Ari Ne'eman has even gone so far to state that all social unpleasentries that autistic people commit in the workplace should be completely overlooked.  I get fed up with explaining to them that if there is something the employer does not like about me, they are going to fire me and they won't overlook errors and knowing I have an autism diagnosis won't matter.  Also that the Americans with Disabilities Act only gives me the right to ask for reasonable accommodations and being able to go more slowly or asking to put up with loudness and behavior they don't like aren't reasonable accommodations under the law.

As far as not having a girlfriend is concerned I should find someone "like myself", a polite way of saying I'm not suited for a non-handicapped woman and "mixed marriages" are taboo.  Or some unabashedly state "find an autistic girlfriend".  It does not matter that the ratio of autistic men to autistic women on the milder spectrum is 10 to 1 and at least nine out of ten guys are going to be unlucky.  Actually the number is probably greater than that since "mixed marriages" between a handicapped woman and non-handicapped man aren't as taboo.  Not to mention the fact that the most desirable autistic women will have no trouble finding a non-autistic man and most of them will prefer them to the autistic man (barring extraordinary exceptions like Mike Carley and John Robison of course).

According to many neurodiversity proponents the reason I don't believe my autism is a beautiful thing and I'm not celebrating is that I had a horrible domineering mother who taught me to hate myself.  Because she wanted a "normal" child, I somehow sensed this and when I could not make her happy I ended up hating my autism. She's been called overbearing, domineering, a witch and a shrew by at least some of these people.  It has nothing to do with the fact that it prevents me from living a normal life, being able to make a living or having friends and girlfriends and I have the uncontrollable compulsion to twiddle during the day.  Interestingly enough I actually lived through the Bettelheim era in the sixties where I and my parents had to hear this and castration anxiety was at least in part thought to be the etiology of my disability so it is nothing new for me.      

I only wished that I'd known about this savant skill I have earlier.  I would have been able to predict the weather and earthquakes and save lives.  I would have been able to make a fortune playing the ponies.  I would have been an expert poker player able to predict exactly what cards would fall and know what hands to play.

Perhaps it's not too late, even at my advanced age.  I could work on it and practice and develop this skill or maybe I could get TMS like John Robison did and it would stimulate the right brain areas and then I could actually bring out this latent ability.

Well, in spite of all the hardships that autism has caused me I guess I can take solace in the fact that I have the gift of prophecy. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Mike Carley's bizarre take and poor taste on the passing of Suzanne Wright

I see that one of my favorite autism writers Michael Carley is at it again 

Carley, an anti-cure member of the neurodiversity movement, is best known for his statements that Autistics universally don't want a cure in his book Autism from the Inside Out, also opposing a cure on an NPR show and then on a subsequent NPR program stated that he didn't want Asperger's eliminated as a DSM diagnosis because if he were called autistic that means he'd be lumped in with "head bangers" and "diaper wearers".  He was one of the leaders of circulating a petition to not have AS removed from the DSM which did not succeed.

Carley is now topping himself in his most recent post on Suzanne Wright's death.  Even posthumously, he seems to want to disparage the woman who cofounded the organization that he hates so much rather than expressing condolences for her untimely demise.  Nowhere does he express sympathy for this woman who died of cancer before reaching her 70th birthday.  Though I've disagreed with Autism speaks on many issues, I still expressed sadness at Ms. Wright's passing.

Carley starts out his piece with braggadocio about how he started GRASP and how large it is and how in 2003 no one would think that autistics would be this capable:

As most of my readers know, I founded GRASP in 2003. GRASP was the world’s largest membership organization for adults on the spectrum.
Back then, even just the thought of such an organization (‘There are adults on the spectrum? They want to be thought of as capable? And they can run their own organizations?”) was taking off…until 2005 when the behemoth called “Autism Speaks” entered the scene.

I have news for Mr. Carley, Jerry Newport, myself, and others started AGUA (Adult Gathering United Autistic) back in 1993, ten years before he started GRASP and probably about seven years before Carley had even heard of autism.  It's still in existence 23 years later.  We were probably the first adults to start an organization like that, though Jim Sinclair's ANI (Autism Network International) may have started around the same time.  (you also missed that Mike, if you happen to read this).  

Carley continues, blaming parents of lower functioning children for internet flame wars:

Now back then, families of significantly-challenged spectrumites somehow felt justified in lashing out at those on the end of the spectrum that were better able to mirror greater society—those of us they bitterly referred to as “higher functioning.

Neurodiversity has a history of almost always being the aggressors in these debates, equating parents they disagreed with as Nazis as Martjin Dekker did, equating them with the KKK as Noah Britton and bloggers Kowalski and Turner did. And suggesting parents don't know what's best or will do things out of convenience rather than love for their children as John Elder Robison has. With the exception of John Best and Lenny Schaefer, no parent of an autistic children has leveled harsh unprovoked rhetoric against those on the other side.  Harold Doherty and autism's jabberwocky MJ refuted neurodiversity, but always with tempered rhetoric.  He just wants to lash out at a few parents who may not have turned the other cheek in internet flame wars that he and other members of ND started.   

Rightly or not, Suzanne believed that her toddler grandson, who also suffered from stomach pain, was crying out for her to go to war for him. So to war she went; never wavering, never 


Carley conveniently forgets the articles of understanding discussion he had with Allison Tepper Singer who at the time worked for autism speaks.  Not to mention he is not omniscient and can't possibly know the intentions of ms. wright or her grandson.  

 On our side of the ideological border, where the voices of acceptance, and education lay, people like Ari Ne’eman and myself were given enormous faith, and respect by our constituencies. But we were not loved anywhere near the way Suzanne was loved

One possible explanation that did not occur to Carley was that though Suzanne Wright often espoused harsh rhetoric to explain what a horrible disability autism was and that neurodiversity found that offensive, she never insulted people far more disabled (assuming Carley's disabled at all) by stating they did not want to be lumped in with headbangers and diaper wearers and stating that people who supported autism speaks were morally complicit with murder as Ne'eman did.

Bob and Suzanne had terrible, perhaps even manipulative, opportunistic advisors when they started Autism Speaks, and that is why they got off on such a terrible foot (though the fact that they made this regretful course irreversible, lies on them).

Yeah, right, that's why Autism Speaks has raised tens of millions of dollars and is the best known private funder of autism research (even if Simons is larger they are less well known) or if Carley means they got off on a terrible foot in that they used harsh rhetoric that neurodiversity did not like, then somehow I don't think that's true. 

Carley then makes personal statements about Ms. Wright's life, about her being a policeman's daughter and making analyses of their stable marriage of decades, since Carley's first marriage did not work out and he was able to have a second whereas most autistics, myself included, will have none. (I won't paste Carley's remarks here)

Autism is not life or death.

Yeah that's why autistic people have a life expectancy 18 years lower on average than nonautistics, though Carley is functional enough so that it probably won't affect his longevity.

Carley makes statements about Ms. Wright's working class socioeconomic background, trying to claim that those qualities made her some sort of gutter fighter and that is the reason that neurodiversity has not done as well as autism speaks or against them as they could had Ms. Wright had been born into wealth.  He encourages neurodiversity proponents to model Ms. Wright's sterling qualities to provoke more flame wars against parents who want to help their autistic children live better lives.   

I believe using someone's death as a demagogic attempt to incite more inflammatory rhetoric from neurodiversity and to bait people into starting more flame wars and fighting parents of autistic children who want a better life for their kids is in extremely poor taste.

Maybe I should not have written this blog post but Carley kind of makes my blood boil. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Looking for stories from parents who have been abused online by neurodiversity proponents.

For about the past year, I've been trying to write a nonfiction book about the neurodiversity movement.  I think I have about one half of a first draft now, at about 55,000 words or 200 something pages.  I have enough stories to regale readers about the abuse I've experienced from these bullies and hatemongers for the past fifteen years.  However, I'm interested in hearing from parents of autistic children who have received abuse from these people for possible inclusion in the book.  I'm still plodding along trying to write this in spite of my disability.  It takes me a long time to get things done but I'm trying my best to accomplish something, though it's incredibly hard with this disability.

Well anyhow, if you have an interesting story to tell me, drop me a line at