Friday, June 8, 2018

#autisticdarkweb: A promising twitter hashtag and crusade against neurodiversity

Neurodiversity proponents have been very effective in getting their message across and influencing policy making, both in the federal government and private sector organizations. As I've noted in this blog, there have been several anti-cure autistic public members of the interagency autism coordinating committee, which provides policy recommendations on autism to the federal government.  There have been zero pro-cure autistic members appointed, despite the fact that pro-treatment, pro-cure autists, Jake Crosby and Roger Kulp were nominated and turned down. Autism Speaks is out of the autism curing and prevention business, and they no longer regard autism as a "global health crisis". Stephen Shore and Valerie Paradiz, two anti-cure autistics, have been appointed to their board of directors.

One of the reasons for neurodiversity's clout is the massive numbers of them who write prolifically on social media, particularly twitter. Twitter provides the use of hash tags, which can go viral and reach enough people if done effectively. In the past, the ND's have used #actuallyautistic and #actuallyatypical as hash tags. When the ND's were offended by a project Autism Speaks funded entitled #Mssng, to find missing genes in autism disorders, they countered this with angry tweets and the hashtag #notmssng. One of their most effective hashtags was #don'tcombatme, which was in response to the combating autism act whose name they didn't like. Congress responded by renaming the law to something less offensive to the NDs.

For years, it seemed that I was a figurative diamond in the rough. For a time, as far as I could tell, there were no other autistic people who were attempting to refute this horrid philosophy other than your humble blogger. The anti-cure, pro-neurodiversity continued to use "the royal we" (We don't want to be cured, etc.).  I was told by one ND that I was "the exception to the rule".  Another told me that of all the autistic persons she'd encountered on the internet, I was the only one who opposed neurodiversity and did not want a cure.  A few autistics wrote me or signed my guestbook on my website, stating they were glad to see me pontificate my views among the plethora of neurodiversity blogs and writings on the web.  However, these individuals mostly did not have the inclination to write blog posts or refute the ND tenets anywhere online. 

Recently, this trend has started to change and there's been a slow growth of autistics who see the problems with neurodiversity.  Writers Tom Clements, Gwen Kansen, and Twilah Hiari have written unfavorable pieces about neurodiversity.  Anorther writer, and twitter user Jonathan Ferguson (AKA One-Tongued Johnny and Wallace Runnymeade) has also spoken out against neurodiversity.  Yuval Levental is another individual who occasionally contributes to the discourse about this loathesome movement and the problems associated with it.  One-Tongued Johnny started a #neurodiversityishistory hashtag, but it's use was noneffective and ephemeral.  

Lately, there's a new kid in town, something called the #autisticdarkweb and this is a growing hastag on twitter.  Someone with the twitter handle "TreatingAutism" sums it up in this tweet:

This hashtag seems to be growing lately and I'm grateful there's a small body of people on twitter (now including myself) who will use this hashtag and challenge the ND movement.  Regardless, those of us who don't like neurodiversity still have an uphill battle, but this is still a start.  


John Robison said...

My offer to help you come present your comments before IACC till stands. I understand the stress of traveling but it's a sincere offer and with all you write here, you should consider it.

jonathan said...

thanks again for the offer, John, however, I'll pass at this point as I don't believe my presenting to the IACC would accomplish anything at all. I don't believe you and the other public members are even listened to or taken seriously by the federal government and I don't believe anyone testifying before the IACC is listened to and the federal government does anything to act upon their concerns. I don't think I'd accomplish more paying for airfare and hotel in D.C. and speaking than staying at home and writing stuff on my desktop computer on Twitter and my blog would and the latter is sure a lot cheaper, but I'll let you know if I change my mind.

Liz Sedley said...

I absolutely hate the neurodiversity movement. But I don’t blog.

But never feel you’re alone. You’re not. It’s just the neurodiverse movement are winning the marketing war.

jonathan said...

@Liz. yes, I know, but there are more of them active online and in govt lobbying than there are of us, so we're outgunned. I realize there are others and I'm not alone, but it's still an uphill battle and a bit discouraging. Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

There are lot of parents who have severely impaired autistic children who would love a cure for their children. They could possibly present a counter-narrative to the neurodiversity movement. For some reason, though, media don't cover severe autism stories.

I wouldn't force a cure on anyone who didn't want one, but I do think there should be research and there should be a choice. Adults with autism who want a cure should be allowed to seek one. Similarly, parents of children who want a cure should be allowed to seek one, without being vilified.

This issue is similar to cochlear implants for those in the deaf community. Those who would like to hear can get them - those who prefer to stay deaf can choose not to.

But even research toward a cure has been squashed, and that is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Do they know what the "dark web" actually is? Do they know how much more it can appeal to anti-social people than to social people?

Anonymous said...

Did you see ?

Anonymous said...

The idea is good but change the name to something presentable. "Dark Web" sounds pretentious because it already has another meaning.

Maybe "Autism Gadflies"?

jonathan said...

I was not the person who started it and named it, so it's really not up to me. I like the name autism gadflies though.