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.
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.