Friday, April 7, 2017

Neurotribes Author Steve Silberman justifies analogy between autism speaks and nazis on facebook

Over the past six or seven years, since Steve Silberman's successful article in wired magazine and his announcement that he intended to write a book about autism I've had occasion to write some blog posts about the Wired magazine journalist and I've had some interactions with him.  None of them were acrimonious until Steve blocked me on twitter for stating that he and Thomas Armstrong had never been to a special ed school as I had so they did not understand what it was like to be a special education student when he was plugging Dr. Armstrong's book on neurodiversity and special education.

Mr. Silberman has made many statements over the years that I have found terribly offensive.  This includes his use of a favorite neurodiversity parlor trick of comparing autism to homosexuality, stating that autistics have trouble in the workplace because human resource offices don't know how to accommodate person's who can't speak and use keyboards, his comparison of autism versus a non-handicapped person to a windows computer operating system versus a linux or macintosh, and his statement about autistics who are incontinent and engage in self-injury that disability is part of the human experience and we all become diaper wearers eventually.  I could not possibly imagine that Steve could top himself and hit another all time low, but it appears he has.

Before I explain, I'll tell a bit of backstory on this post first.  Steve Silberman and I now have a mutual friend on facebook.  There is a young man on the autism spectrum named Tom Clements who calls himself "the autistic buddha" and has written a book about his experiences with autism and buddhism that will soon be published.  He and I followed each other on twitter.  Though he has somewhat of a neurodiversity perspective on things, we exchanged some friendly tweets and then he friended me on facebook.  I started writing some comments on threads of his.

In the previous post I wrote about the nasty tweets William Shatner recently received, including one in which a certain individual compared the puzzle piece that various autism organizations such as autism speaks, the autism society of America and the NAS in England have used to a nazi swastika.  Tom responded that he found this offensive and I agreed and explained that comparisons between autism speaks and others who wanted to cure autism to nazis were nothing new.  Steve Silberman weighed in in this Facebook post:



You can also see my response below to Silberman.  Though Silberman stated that he thought the comparison between autism speaks and nazis was "overblown" I still find what he wrote offensive.  I thought he'd hit an all time low in his statements about the "head bangers and diaper wearers" but it seems this time Silberman has outdone himself.  If I described what he said someone might accuse me of exaggerating or lying.  There is the old dictum in writing 'show don't tell'.  Well I will let anyone who reads this blog post judge for himself based on the screenshot I've provided showing Silberman's comment on FB.  Whether Silberman said or did anything wrong or if this facebook post is inappropriate, but I believe he was justifying the analogy between autism speaks and nazis and by extension anyone else, such as myself, who desires a cure for autism since in the past Autism speaks wanted to cure autism and some in neurodiversity have equated a cure for autism to eugenics.  Silberman seems to think we're a bunch of eugenicists who were inspired by the early history of eugenics in the united states in which people of color or handicapped people were murdered and who the nazis then used during world war II.

As in my response, I found this amusing or at least strange that someone who glorified Hans Asperger, which evidence suggests may have been a nazi war criminal who sent an innocent handicapped girl to her death and who vilified Leo Kanner who saved a multitude of Jewish lives during the holocaust would write something like this on facebook.  I'm still curious if Silberman interviewed Herwig Czech who brought these allegations about Asperger to attention and whom John Donvan and Caren Zucker wrote about in their book "In a Different Key"after "Neurotribes" was published.  I seem to remember that Silberman stated that he had tried to interview Czech but he would not given him access to the info about Asperger.  I'm still curious why Donvan and Zucker were able to get this information and he wasn't.  I guess it will remain a mystery.

Again, if someone thinks I'm overreacting to what Silberman said, I guess they can judge for themselves and read the exchange Tom, Silberman, and I had on facebook. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

William Shatner does not suffer Ari Ne'eman and Neurodiversity gladly

The neurodiversity  movement and ASAN  spend a great deal of their time harassing people who support autism speaks in any way, claiming that a cure for autism is wrong and the organization they loathe so much is interested in eugenically eliminating autistic people.  This is despite the fact that Autism Speaks changed their mission statements cutting the words 'cure' and 'prevention' and 'global health crisis.  


They go to autism speaks walks and harass parents who walk for this organization and try to tell them why they should not donate to the organization.  They particularly like to harass any high profile celebrity who might support autism speaks as they did to Jerry Seinfeld some years ago when he was set to perform for an autism speaks event.

A new target has recently entered their crosshairs.  William Shatner is a renowned actor who played Captain Kirk in the television series Star Trek in the sixties and played policeman TJ Hooker in the eighties.  He recently incurred the wrath of Ari Ne'eman and some other members of the neurodiversity movement when he had the chutzpah to post a light it up blue logo for autism awareness month on his twitter, account showing support for autism speaks.  However, Mr. Shatner appears to be a celebrity who does not suffer Ari Ne'eman and other members of the ND movement gladly.

After Shatner posted the icon one young woman had this to say:
Another tweeter calling himself latino sci fi geek had these words of wisdom:

Another person calling herself protect sebastian wrote a tweet that I have not been able to access calling Shatner a "human shit stain" for daring to support autism speaks.  You can go to Shatner's twitter account where he has a screen shot of it to see

There was more tempered rhetoric from a few other neurodiversity proponents, and Shatner tried to answer them back stating that if they believed autism speaks was a hate group they should complain to the IRS.  He also said Latino Sci-Fi geeks analogy was offensive.  He reprimanded Ms. Barnett for her profanity stating he would not have a dialogue with "ms. potty mouth".

This prompted Ari Ne'eman to write the following dishonest tweet on the subject matter:

Understandably, Shatner was offended by Ne'eman's misrepresentation of the facts.  He only said he did not appreciate being bullied and sworn at and people comparing autism speaks to the holocaust against jews which is one of neurodiversity's old parlor tricks and blocked Ne'eman on twitter.

Ari Ne'eman did not seem to understand why Shatner would block him and used this as an excuse to claim Shatner was trying to avoid him and his message.  He had abusive comments hurled at him, so if anyone was metaphorically yelling it was neurodiversity hatemongers.

In fact, though Ne'eman falsely accused Shatner of yelling it is the neurodiversity proponents who justify metaphorically yelling to get their way:
Shatner went on to question what neurodiversity was doing and their tactics on twitter.  He also posed the interesting question of whether the autistic self advocacy network should have a 501(c) status based on something I'd never heard of called the 43-86 rule where apparently if a tax exempt organization exists largely to educate persons on a certain issue that they do it in a polite and honest manner.  Shatner posed the question of whether one charity should have as it's goal attacking another charity.  Though he did all this very calmly in spite of some nasty tweets, particularly the downright abusive ones that I've embedded on twitter, Ne'eman still claimed that Shatner was yelling at him and was somehow surprised when Shatner not only blocked him but refused to turn the other cheek.

Neurodiversity blogger Matt Carey, without having read the tweets, wrote a blog post justifying this abusive rhetoric to Shatner, stating it was done with the noble cause of protesting autism speaks.

Steve Silberman also got into the act, according to him the good guys are people who cuss people out who they disagree with, equate them to nazis and lie about the facts.


Shatner had this to tweet in the aftermath:

Yes the former Star Trek actor nailed it.  Ne'eman misrepresents and because this ploy has worked for them in the past, it incites the other ND's to attack Shatner or anyone else who dares disagree with them.

I guess this is how Ne'eman and other ND's got Autism Speaks to change it's mission statement and got the federal government out of the combating autism business.  They've apparently managed to bully and intimidate a good number of people, but Shatner stuck up to them and blocked them and would not tolerate their abuse and Ne'eman's dishonest misrepresentation of the facts.

Mr. Shatner, I know it is highly unlikely you will read this, but in the improbable event that you do, I just want to say I'm an individual with autism and I want to thank you for having the gumption to stand up to neurodiversity and not suffer these fools gladly. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

yet another barrier to finding an "autistic girlfriend"

The problems that heterosexual autistic males have with involuntary celibacy is something that I've written about on Autism's Gadfly from time to time as my regular readers know.  It's something you usually won't hear about in any mainstream writings as the media wants to put a positive spin on this horrible disability and only promote success stories.  So John Elder Robison, Stephen Shore, and Michael John Carley and the relatively few other men claiming to be on the spectrum who have been able to marry have their books publicized while those of us less fortunate are relegated to the throw away slush pile.  But it is something that definitely exists among a number of autistic males that I've encountered in person or on the internet over the years, myself included. 

I've written previously how I felt autism has given me the gift of prophecy in that I can predict the suggested solution to this problem. "find an autistic girlfriend" is the inevitable solution. the nearly 10:1 ratio of autistic men to women in the higher functioning range (on average from various published reports) is somehow not an obstacle according to these people who give these words from the wise.  Nor the fact that of the women claiming to be on the spectrum and promote the idea of "neurodiversity" may be undesirable for those of us who find this belief appalling. Nor the preference of any number of autistic women for "normal" men and the fact some of them are able to have a "normal" boyfriend or husband. 

However, I was interested to see that there has been a  a new report recently published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders showing that homosexuality and/or bisexuality may be more common in adolescent autistic women than in a control group of non-autistic women that were surveyed. Not only was there a higher rate of homosexuality and bisexuality, but a higher rate of uncertainty in attraction among the young autistic females surveyed.I have just read the abstract so far and not the entire study. It was available without being paywalled for a few days, but I've been fairly sick this past week (i'm still not whole but recovered enough to write this blog post) so was not able to read the whole study or blog about it until today and unfortunately it is now paywalled.   Apparently there has been other research to suggest this too that I was not aware of, but they cite references for the interested reader.

Aside from the extremely high ratio of mildly autistic men to women and the preference the more desirable autistic women have for "normal" men, the lack of heterosexuality in autistic women is likely yet another barrier  to "finding an autistic girlfriend"

Friday, March 3, 2017

My Oeuvre (if anyone gives a shit)

Though I made attempts at writing some novels as a teenager, I never completed one until my forties  In my thirties I wrote some nonfiction articles and 16 short stories before I wrote my first novel.  The non-fiction is  in chronologic order.  The novels are in chronologic order from first to last.  The short stories are in  approximate chronologic order.  I thought I'd post my works, at least the titles,  My second novel, The Mu Rhythm Bluff, is self-published on amazon.  Some of these short stories and non-fiction articles are published on my stories website and I've indicated which ones.  (both self-published and non-published) Not all of these are published.  Here it is in case anyone is interested:


Nonfiction:
1. Neurodiversity just say No
2. Undiagnosing Gates Einstein and Jefferson
3. Autism Genetics is my suffering Necessary to Society
4. The Invisible Autistic Adult
5. Autism and Thimerosal is there really a correlation
6. A reason to Locate Autism's Hidden Horde
7. Lovaas and Social Security office a bitter irony
8. My experiences as Eric Courchesne's Research Subject
9. Bullying and Asperger's, some needed changes to the DSM
The above are self published on www.jonathans-stories.com
10. Crying For Toasted Snow unpublished nonfiction book)

11. Still Waiting (article in los angeles magazine)
12. Neurotripes the other side of the neurodiversity story(unpublished book still in progress)
13. Over 400 blog posts on autism's gadfly
Short Stories
1. The Session
2. Mr. Twiddle (on stories website)
3. Ornithophobia (on stories website)
4. The Reunion (on stories website)
5. Blot (on Stories website)
6. Calculated Risk (on stories website)
7. A Chance Meeting (on stories website)
8. I Have No Money
9. Monica Maybe (on website)
10. Questionmark Etiology (on Website)
11. The Experiment (on webiste)
12. I Bet that Tastes Good (On website)
13. Guess Who isn't Coming for Lunch (On Website)
14. The Conversion (On website)
15. The Phallic Forks (On website)
16. Love Long Forgotten (On Website)
17. Dog Bites man short story version (On website)
18. The Ambition
19. The Gimmick
20. Paint The Name on the School
21. Hush Little Autie
22. The Scatologist
23. No limit Texas Fuck 'em
24. The Psychic Facilitator
25. The Voice of Experience

Novels:
1. The School of Hard Knocks
2. The Mu Rhythm Bluff (available for purchase on amazon)
3. Going Through the Doors
4. Dog Bites Man novel length version short story on website.
If these have been selfpublished in any form I have indicated where the interested person can read them. These are in approximate chronologic order (by category) of when I wrote them. Shameless plug I know

The Website of Author Jonathan Mitchell
jonathans-stories.com

Monday, February 13, 2017

Stop neurodiversity write to Price and Gordon

Those of you who read my blog, remember that on the day Donald Trump was inaugurated as POTUS, I sent him an email which I posted on this blog, telling him about the neurodiversity movement and urging them not to allow them to serve on the IACC or in other branches of government.  I also wanted to write to Tom Price who was Trump's choice to be HHS secretary.  I delayed doing so because the senate had not yet confirmed his appointment.  Now that the senate has confirmed his appointment, I copied and pasted the long letter that I wrote to Mr. Trump urging him to fire John Elder Robison, Samantha Crane, and any other member of the neurodiversity movement who is involved in governmental autism policy.  I'd like to say to anyone who happens to read this blog post and is an American citizen that I hope you will do the same.  You can contact Dr. Price at secretary@hhs.gov.  Please drop him a line and tell him about the neurodiversity movement and the Autistic self advocacy Network and ask him not to appoint these people.  Also, ask him about the possibility of not even appointing an IACC.  Though the CARES act which authorizes the existence of the IACC can only be amended or repealed by congress, I'm not sure the HHS secretary has any legal obligation to seat an IACC.  I also encourage anyone who feels as I do to write their senators and their congressperson and ask them to repeal or at least amend the CARES act so neurodiversity does not serve in our government.  I've already done this.

Another person whom I've written is Dr. Joshua Gordon, the director of the NIMH who is the person who recommends people to be on the IACC, but really has the last choice, because Kathleen Sebeleius and all the other HHS secretaries just rubber stamped Tom Insel's choices.

Dr. Gordon, has just been appointed as NIMH director this year.  As the case with Dr. Price, I hope these are two new brooms who can sweep clean.

You can contact Dr. Gordon at  nimhinfo@nih.gov and ask him not to appoint any ND's to the IACC or allow them to review government research grants by John Elder Robison, Stephen Shore, or any other ND's.  Ask him not to seat an IACC if he has the power to do so, though I'm not sure what the law is. 

Most if not all of these ND's were appointed by Barak Obama, Kathleen Sebelius sp? and Thomas Insel.  The Obama administration and Insel have been a disaster for autistic people.  I realize the Trump administration most likely is just interested in trying to show vaccines cause autism and does not care about doing anything about the ND movement, but at least that we have some new kids on the block, those of us who feel as I do can at least try to do something about it.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

New MIT lab wants to cure autism

In the occasionally some news is good news department, Gadfly is happy to report that there's a new kid on the block, a new lab at MIT started with a private donation, that has expressed a desire to find a cure and prevention for autism.  Hock Tan and Lisa Yang, parents of two autistic children and MIT alumni, have donated 20 million dollars for this laboratory.  In another article they state they want to erase the devastating effects of autism and want a world free of the burdens of autism.  I had wondered if it were possible to use CRISPR genetic editing techniques to prevent or at least do something to help  autism.  Interestingly enough, CRISPR is something that they are interested in using.

Interestingly, Bob DeSimone who runs MIT's brain research lab stated that NIH would not have supported their research in a million years and that the techniques they plan to use are too far out.

Now that Autism Speaks has announced they no longer seek to cure and prevent autism and very mildly autistic board member Stephen Shore has chortled over this with glee on facebook, I'm glad someone else is willing to pick up the mantle and actually try to do something.

However, from the neurodiversity movement's point of view, dem's fighting words.  Cure, prevention, burden are sure to provoke the ire and rancor of these angry and vicious hatemongers.

Tan and Yang's wealth will obliterate the need for the advertising that autism speaks engaged in during their pre sell-out days that angered so many people and led to the cry of "eugenics".  Other than AS, the government, and the Simons Foundation, I've never heard of anyone giving this kind of money for autism research.

There has already been some ND activity over this.  Michelle Dawson has tweeted about this.  More pronounced were the words of Michael J. Carley who stated in the comments section of the first article I linked to:  Cure"? Are you serious? It's 2017! Shame on MIT, an otherwise smart and ethical institution.  The irascible Forbes contributor Emily Willingham has tweeted that numerous autistics have graduated from MIT and asks "you want to prevent them"  An individual on twitter named Michael H who states he's a behavioral neuroscientist and a special educator has called the lab "ableist"  So one is a bigot if they want to cure autism (I may be updating this blog post if I see more angry responses from ND's)

Interesting that the "shame on MIT" comment comes from someone who can get an advanced degree from Columbia, make a decent living, get married twice and have two children he can support (something which most autistics, myself included, will never be able to accomplish).  Not to mention the fact he was diagnosed with Asperger's who did not want to call himself autistic because he didn't want to be lumped in with people who bang their heads and wear adult diapers.  Also, an individual who used someone's death from terminal cancer to aggrandize himself. 

I don't know if this lab's work will ever benefit anyone with autism, particularly in my lifetime, but I wanted to write this post, because I'm so glad that someone has the audacity to express how horrible autism is and uses that nasty four letter word that Carley and others are so offended by.  I can only hope they won't sell out to neurodiversity the way the government and autism speaks have.

Friday, January 20, 2017

My open letter to Donald Trump regarding neurodiversity

January 20, 2017

Dear Mr. President:

     I’m a sixty-one-year-old man with an autism spectrum disorder.  This disability has made my life very difficult.  It has prevented me from ever having a girlfriend, I’ve had very few friends and it has greatly impaired my ability to make a living.  I worked sporadically between 1979 and 2006 but was fired from more than twenty jobs.  Because of this, I retired at the age of fifty-one.  I was denied social security disability insurance and am supported by my elderly parents who might not be around much longer. 

I had to go to special education schools for eight years and was expelled from a mainstream school.  I barely graduated high school and then barely graduated college.  I have to do a self-stimulatory behavior during the day which impairs me from being able to do the writing I want to do and it makes it hard for me to get anything done.  I have horrible fine motor coordination and have nearly illegible handwriting.  I have a very loud voice, repeat a lot of the same things over and over again and people find my behavior offensive.  Compared to most others on the autism spectrum, I have it good.  In addition to supportive parents, my affliction is mild.  There are others who can’t speak, injure themselves by banging their heads into walls, are incontinent, and need life-long care.  I long for research to be done into how people with my disability can be helped.  Ultimately, I’d like a cure for autism, though I realize that’s unlikely to happen in my lifetime. 

The reason I write you this letter is because the executive branch of the government, namely the secretary of health and human services who will serve under you, appoints members to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee which advises the government on autism funding and policies.  Some of the past and present appointees belong to an insidious movement called Neurodiversity.   These people do not believe that autism is a disorder, and, in some cases, do not believe that it is a disability.  They make the untrue claim that acceptance and the correct accommodations will resolve the difficulties people on the autism spectrum have.  A number of these individuals have been appointed to posts in the federal government and make decisions on how American tax dollars are allocated for autism matters.  They are opposed to curing autism or doing things that will really benefit autistic people.  I don’t believe these people should be involved in making decisions using American tax dollars. 

     One of these people is named Ari Ne’eman.  He heads a non-profit organization called the Autistic self-advocacy Network.  Since the CARES (formally combating autism) act was made law by congress, his organization has had a chair at the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.  In the past he’s stated that he does not believe that autism is a disability or that if it is a disability it is because of societal constraints.  He’s barely afflicted by his alleged autism if at all.  He has implied that people who want to cure autism are morally complicit with murder.  He has stated that the solution for autistic unemployment is to eliminate social pleasantry as a hiring criteria on the job.  He has also called you a fascist saying he would not work with you for that reason.  Therefore, I don’t believe that he or anyone representing his organization should be appointed to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.  

     Another individual who has served on this committee multiple years is John Elder Robison.  Mr. Robison has stated that there is no need to find a cure for autism.  He has stated that treatments should only be left up to the autistic person and that parents should not have any say in the matter of the health of their own children.  He has stated that parents who seek treatments for their children often do so as a matter of convenience and not to help the child.  He has made the claim that no one had heard of autistic people in the nineteenth century because they blended into the general population due to the type of society it is.  He also has made the insensitive and ignorant comment that most autistic people don’t suffer from autism but rather from depression and anxiety.  I feel these statements trivialize my disability and I don’t feel that Mr. Robison should be on any government committees or supported by or consulted by the government on any autism-related matters. 

     Noah Britton is another individual alleging to be on the autism spectrum who has been appointed to this post.  He has compared parents who want to help their children with members of the Ku Klux Klan.  He stated that he represented thousands of persons on the spectrum who don’t want a cure.  He has made a mockery of a U.S. government meeting by wearing a raunchy shirt with the letters “my body my choice” emblazoned on the front. 

     Another individual named Matt Carey has also served on this committee and he has advocated for the ideas of neurodiversity. 

     I don’t believe that persons such as these or the organizations they represent should have any involvement in governmental policy making related to autism. And I am writing this to you in the hopes that you can do something about it.

    Though there is a law enacted by congress authorizing this Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, these people are appointed by the executive branch of the government, namely the Department of Health and Human services.  I am writing you this letter urging you and your HHS secretary designee, Tom Price, not to appoint these people to the IACC or preferably anyone else to the IACC.  There is no other medical condition other than autism where they have lay people who give input to the government or policy and science matters.  For example, there is nothing like this for diabetes.  We don’t have people like these serving on FDA panels to decide which antibiotics are approved just because they or their loved ones have had an infection.  Ergo, there is no reason for something like this in autism either. 

     These members of neurodiversity only undermine and trivialize what is a horrible medical condition.  I will forward a copy of this letter to Mr. Price once he is confirmed by the senate to his post. 

     Your consideration in this matter is greatly appreciated,

Jonathan Mitchell