Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gadfly's new years ramblings

Hello to all regular readers (counting on the fingers of one hand with the pinky amputated :)) of autism's gadfly. I would like to start off wishing my friends and foes alike in the autism blogosphere a happy and prosperous new year and hope everyone will have a fruitful 2009.

Now that this is the last day of 2008, I would like to contemplate the year past. This has been a rather interesting year for yours truly. Autism's gadfly is almost one year old as I started this blog sometime in January 2008, though I don't recall the exact date, so in that regard 2008 was a unique year with a turning point for me. I blogged prior to this on Jonathan's Journals which was a page on my Jonathan's stories site . There was no commenting and it did not have the same look as blogger blogs so I decided to get a separate site for my blogging. Also, at the beginning of 2008 I wrote an article urging people to reject neurodiversity. This created some angry responses from those who believe in this (in my opinion) flawed philosophy. Soon after this, I moved my blogging here and have had interesting exchanges with these people since. This blog is rather unique in that unlike other blogs it does not preach to the choir in comments and gets mostly negative responses from neurodiversity people. Canadian blogger Harold Doherty, who, for good reason, shares the contempt that I have for the neurodiversity movement, gave my article a shout-out. He then wrote a piece later endorsing autism's gadfly. I appreciate this in light of the fact that he is a big booster of ABA and I have been somewhat critical of this approach to treating and educating children with autism. I think Harold was thankful for my perspective on the ND though as this movement really trivializes the very serious behavioral and cognitive impairments of his son connor. This goes for other parents as well. I have continued to write blog posts against neurodiversity in this blog. I have wanted to devote more time to other topics, but the outrageous behavior of so many in this movement has prompted me to write perhaps a bit more about them than I should. Then an article in New York magazine came out about this movement and I was given a brief mention and had a bit of my article quoted. Kathleen Seidel has taken credit for my mention. She also states that she told the author of this piece about John Best and Lenny Schaffer, two other neurodiversity detractors and they were mentioned in the article. Though neurodiversity provides some aggravation for me, I will try not to worry about them too much. I remember the Arab proverb the dogs may bark but the caravan moves on.

2008 has been a watershed year for me in another way in that this is the first year since 1979 that I have not attempted to work and make a living. As some people who read my writings know, though I worked sporadically (probably working for longer periods than I was unemployed) from about September of 1979 to my last failed attempt in late June 2007. The problems in the workforce became so severe I was forced to retire. I have not given up hope of maybe someday being able to work again, but it won't be easy especially in this economy.

Another landmark of my 2008 was taking some courses in web design at santa monica college. I took an introductory web class where we learned some frontpage and html. Then I took another class in XHTML and I learned how to build some web pages by hand coding. Tim Boucher who built my jonathans stories web page became too busy with his other projects to offer me the uncompensated technical assistance that he was so generous in doing for me over the years. (thanks for your help, Tim, if you happen to read this). I was plugging my novel in progress "The School of Hard Knocks" on the national radio show, studio 360, and Tim heard the show and built the page for me. I then managed to learn enough about XHTML and FTPing documents to web pages that I can now post my own articles and links on my web page. This may seem like a small accomplishment, but I am still grateful for it. I also, last fall, took a course in scripting, part javascript and part with I have not currently enrolled in any more courses but I might again at some point and hope to maybe learn more about web development and perhaps other things.

I have shelved "The school of hard knocks". The nonfiction book that I have written a first draft of and have worked on and off on has also been gathering mothballs. However, one of the ten chapters, my article about Gates, Einstein and Jefferson, is on my jonathans-stories site which I don't think I need to link to and the interested reader can find. I also have written some other excerpts from the book here on autism's gadfly and perhaps other places on my web site as well. I have been working on a novel about an autistic poker player and some of his adventures on and off for a while and i am hoping with some research to do some more work on it at some point.

My disability has made it quite difficult for me to apply myself and do the things I want to do, so though I can't help but having some hope (as irrational as that may be) the prognosis for the future may not be good and I can't help being a bit depressed.

Though 2008 was a bad year in some respects, it was a relatively good year(as good as I could have) in some others. I am going to look forward to 2009 and perhaps I can see if perhaps I can't have some interesting adventures with this blog, in other writings and perhaps even some web related stuff and maybe some other matters as well. At the end of Gone with the Wind Scarlet O'hara said tomorrow will be another day. Well I suppose tomorrow will be another year and perhaps I can make some progress. Again, a happy new year to all.


Unknown said...

Best wishes for 2009 Jonathan.


jonathan said...

thanks harold likewise to you, connor and the rest of the doherty family

Anonymous said...

So glad to find your blog, sir! I think I'll be adding you to my blogroll. I have an almost six-year-old daughter with severe autism (nonverbal, not toilet-trained) and four neurotypical cuties.

I am glad to see an adult with autism who hopes for a cure for this disability. When these neurodiverse people sit around on blogs and call parents like me names for trying to help our children, it ticks me off to no end. I just want to tell them you know what? I would give ANYTHING for my daughter to have the ability to sit at the other end of a computer and call me a jerk. As it stands she cannot even speak consistently. And those jerks blaming people who want a cure for autism for Katie McCarron's death - I remember them doing that and it just blew me away. Ridiculous!

Thank you for writing and I look forward to reading more of your writing; Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Jonathan!

I hope The School of Hard Knocks gets published and released soon. Good luck with the other book, too.

And remember....if Martin Shore can work at a grocery store, so can you!

Let's keep our New Year's resolutions to try our best with our limitations and keep our goals and ambitions set so 2009 and beyond will be wonderful!

goooooood girl said...

your blog is feel good......

jonathan said...

Navy wife and mom: All I can say to your post is amen!!!

I hope the best for your daughter.

Also I certainly agree with you about the neurodiversity people blaming those of us who long for a cure for katie mccarron's murder, absurd!!

Anonymous said...

I have found your blog at the beginning of December 2008 and since then I am regular reader. I really like very much your writing.

(I suppose that because of me, the next time when you count your regular readers you will need to count on the fingers of both hands.)

Happy New Year, Jonathan!

Luke Tunyich

jonathan said...

thanks for the kind words, Luke, I don't get supporters often mostly neurodiversity detractors.

Anonymous said...

Great website. I believe that most of the "Aspies" in the neurodiversity movement don't even have an autism spectrum disorder. My theory is that most of them are just "neurotypicals" who've convinced themselves that they have ASD because they want to feel "different" or "special".

I also think that the "We're not against finding a cure for the lower functioning autistics but the higher functioning autistics don't want a cure" argument is total crap. Oh, so does that mean that people suffering from mild diabetes don't want to be cured but they're okay with finding a cure for severe cases? Those freaks do NOT have ASD!!! I cannot think of any other neurological condition in which having a milder "higher functioning" version is a gift but the severe version is a disability. That makes no sense! Do people suffering from mild strokes see themselves as merely being "wired differently"? Do people with smaller brain tumors espouse their gifts while saying that it's okay for people with large brain tumors to be cured???

These arrogant freaks are just living in privileged ignorance. They're too stupid and PRIVILEGED to realize that there's a difference between being eccentric (come on, who thinks they REALLY have Asperger's?) and actually having an ASD. Why they see themselves as being in the same boat as true ASDers is beyond me.

I have ADHD and unfortunately many ADHDers also believe in the neurodiversity crap. I just finished arguing with a bunch of ADHDers who were claiming that ADHD is a "gift" that makes them more interesting and intelligent than the "neurotypicals" who are just boring conformists who don't possses an ounce of creativity. My hunch is that these people, like the so-called "Aspies" in the ND movement are either in denial or they don't actually have true ADHD.

Have you read Scot Sea's essay "Planet Autism"? It's very moving account about what it's REALLY like to suffer from autism. I wonder how the ND freaks would respond to that essay.
Keep up the good work!