Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A reading of "The Mu Rhythm Bluff"

As many of those who have followed me over the years know, about seven years ago, I self-published a novel "The Mu Rhythm Bluff" on Amazon.  I hoped I could use my autism as a gimmick to promote it.  However, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.  It basically went nowhere and it sold about 250 copies, though seven years later, I still sell some copies from time to time. 

Not only did the gimmick not work the way I wanted it to, but now autistic novelists may soon be a dime a dozen.  Madeleine Ryan, the Australian writer who recently published an article in the New York Times telling parents that their autistic child is perfect has a novel published by a major house that will be released next month.  Helen Hoang who is married with children and diagnosed with autism at age 34 has stated that her autism is so mild that it does not even feel like a disability.  Her novels have been commercially successful and for a brief time one of her novels was in the top 100 in Amazon's kindle store. 

I gave up on trying to promote it a while ago, but I suppose most novels (even those published by a major house) have a shelf life of less than seven years. 

I recently purchased a web cam and have been making some videos to test it out.  Just now I made one of my reading from the beginning of "The Mu Rhythm Bluff".  If anyone is interested in purchasing the novel, either kindle or paperback, the link to do so is at the top of my blog, featuring the artwork of my talented cover artist Liz Ingersoll.  I've decided to post the video in this blog enjoy:

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Spectrum's Incel article and comments from "sex therapist" Amy Gravino and neurodiversity proponent Sara Luterman

A new article in Spectrum magazine on Incels has been recently gaining traction.  For those who don't know, Incel is a contraction for the words involuntary celibate or people (usually men) who can't find a sexual partner who want one.  The old saw misery loves company rings true here in that there have been a variety of forums on Reddit and other places where these men have been able to hook up and commiserate.

There has been some controversy in this movement in that a small percentage of them have engaged in nasty misogynistic rants against women.  Some of them have even threatened outright violence.  A very few of them have even committed murder.  The most well-known example of this is Elliot Rodger, "the virgin killer".  He's an individual whose mother labeled him a high functioning autistic in divorce papers.  Frustrated at not being able to find a girlfriend or even knowing how to ask a woman for a date, he went on a killing spree, murdering several women.  Alek Minassian, another individual, praised Rodger and then ran over some persons with a van, frustrated at not being able to have sex.

Because of these outliers, there has been a tendency to paint autistic men who can't find girlfriends with a broad brush and label us as "entitled" "stalkers" or bad people.

The problems of involuntary celibacy are very real for many autistic men.  The vast majority are not violent or misogynists who have a feeling of "entitlement".  We just want to have normal heterosexual relationships the way non-handicapped men do.  It is wrong to label us all this way and it does not help the situation.

But what if one of the people is someone who is a counselor who wants to give autistic individuals (as far as I know only men and no women) advice about sex and labels themselves "The Dr. Ruth of autism"  An individual named Amy Gravino has done this.

These are strange words from someone who claims they are a sex advisor like Dr. Ruth and states they want to help autistic men find dates and make a living from it.

I not only believe these comments are not helpful, but they are sexist and ableist bigotry.

Ms. Gravino obtained a masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from a lower tier college.  Afterwards, she became a "certified autism specialist" from some diploma mill.  She has a job at Rutgers University in New Jersey where she plies her trade without any type of state clinical license.

I never felt I was entitled to have a woman for sex.  I never wanted to make others miserable.  I realize there are some autistic men who stalk women.  I am not one of them and I never defended this.  I certainly never defended Elliot Rodger or Alex Minnasian.

The author of the spectrum article did engage in a bit of sensationalism in my opinion and I suppose it should be no surprise that it elicited a bigoted reaction such as this.

Though autistic men who have a disability that prevents them from having a girlfriend are by no means entitled, I do believe they deserve empathy.  They do not deserve to be stereotyped in a groundless fashion.  I pointed this out in a polite email to the author of the spectrum article and he replied and acknowledged this.

This is a real problem for many autistic men and others with disabilities and people should not use this as fodder for sensationalism and bigotry.

Though my loneliness and celibacy has caused me frustration.  I'd rather have it than be a client of Ms. Gravino.

Another female neurodiversity proponent who has weighed in on this is writer Sara Luterman:

Sara Luterman is someone who has repeatedly published in Spectrum magazine, Washington Post, and many other outlets.  I don't share her view that the article was sympathetic to incels.  Though it was fairly well-balanced, if anything it provided an unflattering portrayal of of autistic men frustrated by celibacy.  The article mentions Adam Lanza and Seung-Hui Cho whose mass shootings had nothing to do with sexual frustration.    I don't believe most autistic men are vulnerable to being turned into incel extremists.  They are mostly likely born that way and don't become Elliot Rodgers or Alex Minnisians vis-a-vis indoctrination.  This is a very insulting statement in my opinion.

One last point to ponder is Luterman's statement virtue-signaling autistic women as opposed to males because the males are the ones who engage in mass shootings.  In the general population of mass shooters, regardless of sexual frustration being the issue or not, it is far more likely  that men will commit a mass shooting than women.  This is likely due to hardwired sex differences in the brain.  So this is an unfair apples to hurricane comparison. 

I can only hope anyone reading this post will be wary of the Amy Gravinos and Sara Lutermans of the world. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Steve Kapp's new neurodiversity book and it's interesting cast of characters

I've written a non-fiction book devoted to debunking the neurodiversity movement, a phenomenon, as most readers of this blog know, I find quite odious.  My book was rejected by both Jessica Kingsley and Skyhorse publishing.  Despite this, I have had some success in publishing some nonfiction articles about issues critical of ND, including two paid articles, one in The Spectator, and the other in Los Angeles Magazine.  Steve Silberman's book, though not entirely a neurodiversity preachathon, devoted a large portion of his tome to promoting the ND movement.   It was lauded by the New York Times, NPR and was on the best seller list.  Lesser known writer Thomas Armstrong has also published a pro-ND book as has Julia Bascom.

Though, to the best of my knowledge, zero anti-ND books have been published, there's a new pro-ND kid in town.  Stephen Kapp, an autistic with a doctorate in education, has published a collection of essays written by some of the most prominent members of the neurodiversity movement.

This list of august individuals includes Amelia (formerly Amanda) Baggs, Kathleen Seidel, Martijin Dekker, Ari Ne'eman, Dr. Kapp himself, John Elder Robison, and a number of others.

Some of these individuals, I had not heard anything about in years.

Ms. Baggs has an essay about institutionalization.  She's an interesting case as her YouTube video, In My Language, received many hits and she became a prominent figure, appearing in a Wired magazine article and on CNN.  She is completely nonverbal in these posted videos.  After receiving notoriety, a number of persons who knew her came forward and stated that not only was she completely verbal as an adolescent, but attended high schools for the gifted and attended college at age 16, but apparently lost her speech at age 20, an unusual clinical picture for an autistic person.  After these revelations, Baggs went under the radar. With her friend  Laura A. Tisoncik, she  created the website in which they had a cartoon of an aborted fetus in a trashcan with the caption the real meaning of autism prevention, implying that the genetics research done in autism is solely for the purpose of finding a prenatal test so autistic fetuses can be destroyed in utero. 

Interestingly, Tisoncik has an article in this compilation also.  She talks about starting and getting the message out.  Something I was not aware of before, is that she may have been self-diagnosed from what she wrote in the article:

So after I explored the links to electronics partscompanies, I clicked back to the website where the author had said he had a syndrome I’d never heard of called Asperger’s Syndrome. The link led to a website created by a parent of a child on the autism spectrum. I read So that was what I was.

She neglects to say whether she followed up this self-realization with any sort of clinical& assessment. She came to this revelation in the mid 90s when she was in her 40s and apparently never had any sort of ASD dx up until that time.

Meg Evans also has an article.  She was one of the founding members of the autistic self advocacy movement.  She was rumored to be the anonymous blogger, The autistic bitch from hell, who compared autism speaks to the ku klux klan and stated that pro-cure autistics should have their necks wrung and turned into cat food in a blog post with the inflammatory title "autistic uncle toms" She wrote about a website she and her husband created stating in 2005 that a prenatal test that would be found for autism, similar to the one for Down's syndrome in ten years (2015).  This obviously did not come to pass more than fourteen years later.  She had a countdown of the number of years, months and days.  She took down the website in 2011 when it became apparent that her prediction would not come true.  She also claims she heard the word autistic used in reference to her as a child but is vague about diagnosis.  She apparently did not become interested in autism until the year 2002.  It is unclear if Ms. Evans has ever been professionally diagnosed.

Another article is by an individual in the Netherlands named Martijin Dekker, a computer programmer who started the InLV listserve in the earlier days of the internet and one of the first lists that would provide the genesis of the neurodiversity movement along with the formation of the Autism Network International.  I was interested to learn that supposedly Judith Singer and Harvey Blume who are respectively credited for coining the term 'neurodiversity' and giving it publicity were early members of this antiquated website and this is where the word neurodiversity first appeared before Singer wrote her treatises where she first used the word neurodiversity.  Dekker seems to believe that Einstein was autistic and that finding treatments for autism would have prevented Einstein from being born.  He also uses the Hitler and the jews analogy to argue against a cure for autism.  His remarks on an old listserve can be seen here and speaks for itself

An article by Steve Kapp and Ari Ne'eman also appears about their efforts and contributions to the workgroup who devised the DSM V autism diagnostic criteria.  This is when Asperger's was eliminated as a dx category in the US.  The Autistic Self Advocacy Network which Kapp and Ne'eman represented was in favor of including AS under the autism category in the DSM V and elminating Asperger's.  In the article, they state that they were both diagnosed with Asperger's and not autism per se. They talk about the lack of dx for females and minority groups.  The persons in the workgroup countered that there was no evidence that autism was underdiagnosed in women from the autism literature.  However, they state that literature on socialization in women, completely unrelated to autism, proves or at least gives credence to their hypothesis. One of the most intriguing lines from their article was:

ASAN had always insisted on a cross-spectrum perspective and consisted of a leader-ship and membership drawn from individuals who had received all three of the diagnoses (as well as some who had been unable to access a diagnosis due to various disparities)

For years, the autistic self advocacy network has encouraged self dx by stating that their college scholarship program was open to people identifying as being on the autism spectrum.  Many of its supporters have poohpooed the necessity of getting a clinical dx or stated that it was too difficult or expensive to come by for some persons, particularly in adulthood.  Ari Ne'eman and Samantha Crane have both stated they were diagnosed with an ASD.  Ms. Crane's dx, happened in around 2005 at about the age of 22 when she first started attending Harvard Law school.  She stated she never attended a special ed school.  Why, she was not diagnosed earlier in childhood or did not need special ed services is unclear. However, this seems unprecedented in that  this is the first, at least tacit, admission that some of the members and supporters of ASAN are self-diagnosed.  This is despite the fact that this is one of the organizations who has permanent seats on the interagency autism coordinating committee and gives the US government advice on autism policy.>A pertinent question is why, if autism is only a disability via the social model and not the medical model would there be a need for a dx and why would Ne'eman and Kapp work with the committee that wrote the DSMV?

The collection also includes an article by John Elder Robison about his experiences as a scientific advisor at autism speaks.  Due to constant complaints of no autistic input into the organization, they   acquiesced and appointed John Robison, a high school dropout with no knowledge of autism science, to their scientific advisory board.  All the other members had doctoral degrees.  Though Robison has stated he has an autism dx, by his own admission in the article is not terribly impaired

 It was hard to imagine myself as diseased or damaged, but I understood those words made people open their wallets and I knew our community needed help

Robison speaks about how he tried to work with people at autism speaks to change their perspective about autism being a horrible tragedy and wanting to cure the condition.  He claimed that all of the scientific advisors at autism speaks had urged the powers that be to change their mission statement to stop using the word 'cure'.  He speaks of how offended he was by an op-ed piece written by the late Suzanne Wright stating that 'autistic children were lost' and 'needed to be rescued'.  This prompted his resignation from AS. In his article Robison shows incredible contempt for the parents of autistic children whom he claims are running the show and cutting out autistic voices. There are other chapters in this anthology that i've read but it's a lot to summarize in one blog post, so I think I'll end it here. Though I learned a few new things, most of the information Kapp and his contributors provide is not novel and are the same tired talking points of the ND movement, who has nothing but contempt for autistic persons (like myself) who want treatment breakthroughs made and a better life for themselves.  Not to mention parents of severely autistic kids (those who have greater support needs is the way ND puts it) who people such as Robison and others have a callous attitude toward. Steve Silberman has publicized this anthology on twitter, but saying previously that an article written by anti-ND autistic Tom Clements was bullshit and lies and people should read Kapp's anthology instead.

Hopefully someday there will be an anthology or some sort of format where those of us in the #autisticdarkweb anti-ND movement will get to tell our side of the story.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Manuel Casanova's new book

I'm pleased to announce that neuroscientist and autism researcher Manuel Casanova has a new book out. Dr. C is a neuroscientist who has done research on post-mortem brains, showing that autistics have abnormalities in structures called minicolumns, where there are too many of them and the cells are more narrow.  Also, according to his research, there is a protective membrane around the minicolumns which p;rovide a sort of shower curtain effect.  The neurons in this membrane use GABA as a neurotransmitter, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and could be the reason autistics engage in self-stimulatory behaviors.

He's also done research on Transcranial magnetic stimulation as a possible treatment for autism.

Unlike most scientists, manuel has a blog called Cortical Chauvinism where he in part explains his research in terms the lay person (such as myself) can understand.

In addition, Manuel criticizes the neurodiversity movement as well as journalist Steve Silberman.

Manuel now has a personal stake in developmental disabilities, as his grandson suffers from a severe genetic disorder resulting in serious neurologic dysfunction.

He's included these posts on cortical chauvinism in book form which is now available from amazon at the above link.

I attempted to publish a 5 star review of the book on Amazon, but for some reason, my review has not been posted yet.

I highly recommend this book and hope others will purchase it.  (I purchased a copy, yeah)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Yuval Levental's piece on neurodiversity published in scientific american

For the past few years or so, the neurodiversity movement has dominated the mainstream media in getting their ideas across with minimal exposure for opposing viewpoints.  I've managed to get  in a couple of shots.  Newsweek ran a profile about me.  However the headline "The Hater's Guide to Self-hating" appeared in their print issue.  The conservative Spectator Magazine in the UK also published a piece I wrote criticizing ND.

Recently,  the magazine Scientific American published a  pro-neurodiversity piece by disabilities rights advocate Aiyana Bailin.  She claimed there were misconceptions about neurodiversity.

Thomas Clements, one of the people from our side, questioned on twitter whether or not Scientific American could publish a rebuttal piece.

I decided to approach Scientific American to ask them about publishing a piece that I would write, giving the other side of the neurodiversity story.  They wrote me back stating they usually just published things by credentialed scientists, but I could submit something to their opinions editor and gave me the email contact.  This discouraged me, as I thought the power of ND was allowing Bailin, not a credentialed scientist to do something unprecedented.  I decided to take a pass on writing and submitting the op ed piece. 

I told Yuval Levental, another person from our side, about this on twitter.  He said he'd like to write the piece I declined to write and I gave him the contact info of the people he could reach at Sci American.

I'm happy to report They published Yuval's piece. This is another rare victory for our side and I hope we can continue gaining some success in our uphill battle against the ND movement. An old cliche, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a few steps.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Yuval Levental's pursuit of knowledge

Early in my blogging and postings on usenet newsgroups in the earlier days of the internet, I was a figurative diamond in the rough- one of the few persons with an ASD to take on the ND movement.   Occasionally people would email me or write posts on my website's guest book that they were also autistic and had contempt for the neurodiversity movement and they were glad to see me writing about those issues.  However, none of these people wanted to join the fray and publicly criticize ND.

Also, about 15 years ago, I wrote an article questioning the autism dx of Bill Gates, Albert, Einstein and Thomas Jefferson promoted by the neurodiversity movement.  I got a fair amount of emails and comments, both pro and con about this article.

In recent years I've been gratified that more and more individuals with autism are now coming out and publicly criticizing neurodiversity.  One of these people is someone named Yuval Levental.

Some years ago, Yuval sent me an email stating that he'd read my piece about Gates and the others and because of my piece he was inspired to seek help for his autism.

Yuval is one of the few good people who have come out and criticized the neurodiversity movement debunking the mythology espoused by the ND's that all or most autistics don't want to be cured and are adherents to the neurodiversity party line.

Yuval has also been a devoted fan of mine, who worked to promote my novel, "the mu rhythm bluff".

He is someone who has expertise in the ins and outs of Wikipedia and has written multiple Wikipedia articles about me as well as others on our side.  He's also contributed to other Wiki articles about NDs and other related matters, helping us get out our side of the story.  When the ND thugs tried to get my page removed from Wikipedia and vandalized my page in retaliation for my unfavorable article in Spectator magazine, he worked tirelessly to stop it.

Saying that Yuval has been a most useful ally to our uphill cause is putting it mildly.

That's why I'm pleased to announced that Yuval  has recently published a book which serves as a collection of his writings on the subjects of neurodiversity and his pursuit of various treatments which he hoped would mitigate his autism. The title of the book is The Pursuit of Knowledge: My Unconventional Writings on Autism and Neurodiversity. 

Most of these writings are already available on Manuel Casanova's blog cortical chauvinism and elsewhere.  A few of them are novel.

Yuval has tried various treatments to help himself including plastic surgery, vitamin D and probiotics in the hopes that it would help his autism and other people's.  Though I'm skeptical how much these will help, I admire him for trying to experiment in ways to better himself.

Yuval sent me an advanced copy of his book which I've already read.

As of this writing, the book is only available in paperback and not in Kindle.  But Yuval tells me that he's going to release a kindle edition at the end of the week.

I plan to purchase the book when it comes out in kindle.  I hope other people will purchase this book which provides an interesting story on how Yuval pursued knowledge in neurodiversity, autism and on ways to help treat his problems.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Concept of Cure and prevention divides the autism community: It should not have to.

Neurodiversity has completely taken over all facets of the autism discourse.  Autism speaks reversed itself saying they will no longer look for a cure or prevention of autism.  They appointed two neurodiversity proponents alleging to have autism to their board of directors.  One has said that autism is a superpower.  The other has said that autism is not a disability, but a strength.  The Simons Foundation's newsletter, Spectrum routinely publishes articles from some of the most hardcore neurodiversity proponents such as Julia Bascom, Shannon Rosa and Sara Luterman.  The U.S. Government no longer will combat autism and has appointed seven neurodiversity proponents as public members, six of them identifying as being on the autism spectrum.  As far as I know, they've appointed one anti-vaxxer, one or two parents who support the concept of prevention and cure and zero pro-cure, pro-treatment autistics, though two applied to be on the IACC and were turned down.  They also have multibillionaire George Soros on their side who has given over $300,000 to the autistic self advocacy network, the premiere neurodiversity organization in the United States.

Last, but as far as this post goes, not least, they have completely taken over the International Society of Autism Research.  Their president is Simon Baron-Cohen, a neurodiversity proponent.  On their board of directors is well-known neurodiversity proponent John Elder Robison who has recently called for an adult prevalence study and should be in the Guiness Book of World Records for writing a journal article with the most factual errors of all time.  Autism Research, INSAR's journal, published his article.

However, this is not enough for them.  In a redux of SB's BS, Simon Baron Cohen has published an article attempting to make a case for why neurodiversity is a legitimate philosophy and should not be controversial He gives a rehash of all of his old and ignorant talking points.

In trying to say that the autistic brain is a variation of normal, he again neglects to cite the findings of gliosis in Bailey's postmortem studies.   This is a response of glial cells to damage of neuronal cells, clearly a pathology and not just a different form of brain wiring.  He neglects to cite the work of Wegiel which finds heterotopias in four autistic brains and none of the controls.  This is where germinal cells fail to migrate to their proper spots during fetal development, causing seizures and other brain abnormalities.  It is no less of a normal variation than an ectopic pregnancy or inguinal hernia.

He goes on to talk about the superiority of autistics on the block design subtest of the Wechsler as showing autism to be a variation of normal, but neglects to mention the subpar scores on the comprehension subtest which results in autistics having severe social judgment impairments and getting into trouble in social situations.

In his statements about genetic variations, he neglects to discuss the research showing autism in a number of cases is the result of de novo mutations, such as the research of Jonathan Sebat demonstrates.  He neglects to discuss the evidence for environmental factors in autism such as the California twin studies and the work of Tanai in Japan showing much larger concordance in fraternal twins than in non twin siblings, even though they have the same genetic makeup. Not to mention thalidomide and various types of birth complications which have been found in association with autism.

However, these are old talking points of SB's BS and I've commented on them before

What's new is that he says the concept of neurodiversity should not be controversial, but apparently the concepts of curing autism and prevention should be.  This man who attempts to be the voice of reason  has stated  anyone who wants to cure and prevent autism is no different than a nazi or a member of the Ku Klux Klan,  Ergo, cure and prevention are controversial positions and neurodiversity is a benign thought that should have no controversy whatsoever.

He has admitted there are autistic people who can't speak and have other serious impairments.  Yet, the neurodiversity movement he emboldens has constantly insulted parents who want cures for their children or to prevent other children from going through the hell they have gone through.

Why should wanting to cure self-injurious behavior, seizures, etc. be controversial?

Even a cure for more mild problems such as the one's I've had with holding down jobs, fine motor problems, celibacy, etc is controversial?  Why should this be so?

Perhaps it's time to rethink what should be controversial and what shouldn't be in the field of autism.