Sunday, May 31, 2009

Phil Gluyas gives and receives an award

I see that Phil Gluyas one of my favorite members of the neurodiversity movement and author of the blog Mitchell's Gadfly, which is just a nonstop abuse fest of yours truly has given me an award as one of the three most horrible autistic spectrum persons of 2009. He also gives an award to Jake Crosby and one to someone named Joe Skipsey whom I have never heard of.

He also has other categories, most horrible autistic parent, most horrible autistic medical professional. He also has an award for great autism spectrum person and great autism spectrum parent and great medical professional.

I am particularly intrigued by his three choices for best parents of autistic children. His first choice Kevin Leitch is very interesting. This is a man who has a nonverbal autistic child and says that if there were a cure for autism, he would cure her only if she asked him to. Otherwise he would not accept a cure for her. Now, I wonder how is an autistic child who can't speak going to ask someone for a cure? David Andrews is another one who got an award. This is a man who had a child, got divorced and does not even live with his child. Also, this is someone who does nothing but use the most profane language imaginable when someone on the internet he does not like or does not agree with tries to engage him in dialogue. He also calls people abusive names in addition to abusive language. He has taken the cheapest shots at the disability of yours truly imaginable. One can only wonder what sort of a father a man who behaves in such a manner can be. He has also given the third award to Kristina Chew. A woman who has said on national television that she would not cure her son of his autism if a cure were available. Yet this same woman insists on asking the taxpayers for as much money as she can for her son as a direct result of the condition that she would refuse to cure him of. Also she asks for the best services possible under the IDEA law which she is not entitled to according to the u.s. supreme court's decision in the Rowley case. Ms. Chew hurts her own cause by publicly blogging saying she should get the best services. This is something her local school district could use against her in legal proceedings. If her son is not getting the services that she feels he needs and she desires for him perhaps she can only blame herself. Also, Ms. Chew gives her son dangerous psychiatric medications. She says that his autism is just fine but apparently wants to put him in a medication straight jacket due to these behaviors. Also psychiatric medications can be quite harmful and cause tardive dyskinesia so these drugs may cause permanent damage to her son as an adult.

One of his choices for the greatest autistic person is Albert Einstein, someone who clearly was not autistic. I have written an essay disputing what Gluyas and other people say about Einstein's autism.

Phil says that he won't give himself an award so I would like to return the favor and give him an award. Actually this will be the second award that I have given Gluyas since he has already been given the award of being the first person who has been banned from commenting on autism's gadfly. That is quite an honor as I have to be pushed pretty hard to actually ban someone from commenting here. There is only one other person that I have completely banned from posting comments here other than Gluyas.

I would like to give Phil a second award. I give him the award of being the most helpful person to the cause of crusading against neurodiversity and showing the whole world why we don't need no stinkin' neurodiversity. Phil's obnoxious behavior, insults and assinine remarks that he puts all over the internet are showing how ludicrous the whole neurodiversity movement is and are showing the whole world how much on the fringe this movement completely is. Gluyas helps make people who believe the world is flat seem sane by comparison. The fact that he is still a member of the autism hub in good standing makes the hub look bad and by virtue the entire neurodiversity movement look bad.

However, one suspects that no person could really be that idiotic in real life. I think it may all be an act. I suspect that Gluyas is really a pro-cure autistic who just wants to make the neurodiversity movement look bad. He couldn't be doing a better job. I am truly envious. Here I have an anti-ND blog and Phil is putting me to shame. Therefore I am proud to give Phil his well-deserved award of the person who is being most helpful at making the ND movement look bad.

Correction to the above post: I have been advised by Kevin Leitch that I was incorrect about his daughter's age, so I have deleted the part where I incorrectly state her age.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

why neurodiversity should not be heard by the IACC

I see that "Sullivan" one of the members of the left brain/right brain team is at it again. This time they are giving some reasons why the organization generation rescue should not be allowed to be on the IACC.

In the more pot calling the kettle black department autism's gadfly must post its reasons why it does not believe that Sullivan and other neurodiversitites have any business being heard by the IACC.

1) The combating autism act which the IACC grew out of was passed to prevent
and cure autism

Members of the neurodiversity movement have consistently opposed a cure for autism, claiming that a person can do just fine without a cure for autism, yet provide no empirical evidence of this whatsoever. There can be no way that an autistic person can ever function in society without problems unless they are completely cured. No palliative half-baked measures will solve this problem. There is the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so if we could do research to prevent a child from becoming autistic in the first place that would be even better. ND's solutions of societal acceptance and accommodations just does not cut it in the real world. Ari Ne'eman and the ASAN have attempted to put their agenda before the IACC. This is in spite of the fact that while the combating autism act was passed, they and many other pro neurodiversity organizations protested this law before it was passed in congress and urged congress not to pass it. I believe it may be illegal for Ari and friends to present their agenda before the IACC. I have written to my congressman but have received no response. I phoned his office and was told they were preparing a response. I will write a blog post if I ever get a response.

2) They already have representation on the IACC

Autism conference superstar Stephen Shore with all of his autism activities spreads himself even more thin by serving as one of the public board members. Shore has consistently opposed a cure for autism in spite of the fact that this defeats the whole purpose of passage of the combating autism act.

3) Foreign nonAmerican taxpaying ND's are encouraged by the autism hub to write about the IACC

Kev Leitch has posted about the IACC on left brain/right brain though he lives in England and has likely never paid a dime in American taxes and the IACC plans on how to spend tax dollars. Petitions arguing for an ND agenda have been circulated by NDs. A number of persons signing the petition were foreigners who undoubtedly never paid any American taxes. I don't know if "Sullivan" is an American taxpayer or not, but he/she writes about this on a web page hosted by a UK ISP.

4) They are anti-science in terms of promoting science that will cure and prevent autism

ASAN has called on a moratorium on genetic research in autism until the question of whether or not autistic fetuses would be aborted or not. This is in spite of the fact that at least some ND's are pro-choice in terms of parents who do not use proper birth control aborting the fetus and never endorsing pro-life political candidacies of McCain-Palin and trying to outlaw abortion and trying to get the supreme court to overturn Roe vs. Wade. They seem to believe that a fetus conceived by improper birth control has less right to live than a fetus with Down's or autism. As one of my readers "Mayfly" put it very well, they value the child's disability over his/her humanity. They don't want any science done that will cure autism because of the unfounded and speculative statement that to eliminate the autism from a person is to kill the person or change them into a different person because that is who they are.

5) They are rude

They have called me Mitchell-shite, Joseph Goebels and have called autism scientists Nazis. They have insulted my mother just because I don't agree with their agenda. If they were allowed to sit on IACC seats or continued to be allowed to present before the IACC they would just be shouting at people, being abusive to them and try to detract from getting any real work done that would help cure and prevent autism. Which was the only purpose of the IACC since it grew out of the combating autism act.

For these five reasons, I don't believe that members of the neurodiversity movement should be allowed to present any agenda before the IACC or have any say before the IACC whatsoever. If they are American citizens and taxpayers they do have a right to try to repeal the CAA and to lobby congress for efforts to promote their agenda, but not through the CAA or by extension the IACC.

Of course this is aside from the point of the utility of the combating autism act. Government programs such as the war on cancer that was a product of the Nixon administration so long ago have probably not done a whole lot to end cancer and we still have people who die from cancer every year. It would seem that the IACC will probably not accomplish anything for autistic people. Hopefully Autism speaks and the autism science foundation can provide funding for good research that will in some point in time cure and prevent autism. I certainly hope so.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Left Brain/Right Brain: tries again

Most of us have heard the old saw if at first you don't succeed, well try try again. That seems to be what the well-known autism blog Left Brain/Right Brain is doing. After a very lame attempt on the part of the main author of the blog, Kevin Leitch, to justify the absurdity known as "neurodiversity", we see that his partner, someone who calls themselves "Sullivan", is trying to help save face. Like Leitch, Sullivan, also falls flat on his/her face in trying to justify this movement which has claims that autism is not a disorder or disease but just a different way of being.

Sullivan starts out with the copout argument that neurodiverse just means different types of thinking and different types of brains. Sullivan starts out with the obvious that no two brains are exactly alike. Then goes on to try to distinguish this idea from being neurodiverse to the movement known as neurodiversity.

He then states the tired cliche of so many involved in this movement that there is no set definition of neurodiversity and no organization. The first part of the statement may be true, there may not be any set definition of neurodiversity and different people have different takes, but there are some commonalities, like claiming a cure for autism would be bad and that the efforts of autism speaks and other similar organizations are thinly veiled attempts at eugenics. There are a number of organizations that subscribe to this philosophy such as GRASP and ASAN, though there may not be one organization. One of my readers, Marius Filipis (sp??), put it well: that pretending that it does not exist fools no one and that even though there may not be one brand of communism you can have Marxists and Maoists who may not agree on everything but have some underlying similarities.

Sullivan then goes on to make this galling and outright hypocritical statement:

And, just as we need to respect each other even though we come from diverse gender, racial, ethnic, cultural, and other backgrounds, we need to respect each other even though we think in different ways.
That’s not so hard a concept, is it

Since when have neurodiversitites treated anyone with respect. They have cussed me out calling me "mitchell-shite", called me Joseph Goebels, insulted my mother calling her domineering and a witch. They have blamed Katie Mccaron's murder on those of us who want a cure. Ari Nee'man, now ND's very young but high profile spokesperson has not been above the fray stating that autism speaks was somehow morally complicit with McCarron's murder due to a temporal relationship between Allison Tepper-Singer's melodramatic statements about sometimes wishing she could drive off a bridge with her daughter and the murder of 4-year-old mcccarron by her obviously deranged mother. My friend brain researcher Matthew Belmonte has received emails from ND's calling him a nazi. When I had insults hurled at me out of the clear blue sky in the comments section of the whose planet is it anyway blog and I just did not feel like turning the other cheek that day, I was somehow accused of provoking this fight in order to deliberately generate traffic to my blog! There have been other episodes of rudeness and condescension towards me from other NDs. No, ND's who are respectful are the exception and not the rule.

Sullivan continues with the old ND canard of criticising those of us who oppose the ND movement because someplace along the line we got the idea that they were saying autism is not really a disability when they mean nothing of the kind.

Perhaps we did get this idea from someplace and that was from the originator of the term neurodiversity Judith Singer.

Ms. Singer states on her website:

Coming from this multi-layered background I want to encourage the development of new 'ways of seeing" that depathologise AS as much as possible, which is why I pioneered the idea that AS should be seen as a neurological minority rather than as a "disability". But I have now come to the conclusion that balance requires us to acknowledge that that not all is for the best in this brave new world that the "neuroscience revolution" delineates.

So yes, the originator of the term did see at least some forms of autism as not being a disability and perhaps that is where we got this idea that current ND proponents are claiming are a strawman.

Sullivan then goes on to say that neurodiversity is about "human rights", another weary cliche. Those of us who want a cure for autism are certainly in favor of human rights and dignity for autistics. Many of us do realize that in spite of our desire, a cure for autism will probably not be in the cards in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, i think most "curebies" want to accommodate persons with autistics, help them in any way we can, though it is my personal belief that these options are quite limited. The desire for help and accommodations and the desire to fund a cure should not be mutually exclusive.

How about the right not to be abused when we are trying to surf the web in peace? How about the right for an autistic child to be treated or even cured when these options become available? How about the right to do the research in neuroscience and genetics so these options will become available as soon as possible? It seems to me if anyone is violating the human rights of those of us involved in autism it is people on the ND side.

I suppose another of the LB/RB's team of authors will make another excuse for neurodiversity. Well if at first you don't succeed.......... well you know the rest.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Noah Greenfeld flunked Lovaas

I recently finished reading an interesting book called Boy alone: a brother's memoir. The book is about a severely autistic man, Noah Greenfeld, written by his slightly older brother, Karl. It deals with the hardships of life with the severely autistic younger brother and some of the adventures of the boy and his brother and what family life was like growing up. There is also a time magazine article that provides excerpts from the book.

Interestingly, three books have already been written about the boy by his father, Josh Greenfeld. The first of these "A child called Noah" was published in about 1970. Two sequels followed and then we no longer heard about what happened to Noah.

The Greenfeld's lived in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. I grew up in nearby Brentwood and as a teenager I frequently would spend time in the Pacific Palisades as I had a few friends there. Karl would write about anecdotes in that part of L.A. so this resonated with me as I know the areas well that Karl speaks of in the book. (a bit more about Karl's anecdotes later)

Karl Greenfeld in his follow-up repeats a lot of the same things that are in his father's books. He talks about the same hardships. The most interesting part is Noah's early experiences of being a pioneering patient of Ivar Lovaas when Lovaas' research on behavior modification (now called ABA) on autistic children was still in its early stages. He repeats the episode of Noah's food deprivation that was suggested by Lovaas in order to see if that was the "fix" that would get the nonverbal Noah to speak. It backfired with Noah upchucking bile. Karl did not mention what his father wrote in one of the previous book about Lovaas trying to talk Josh (the dad) into trying the food deprivation program again. Also, Greenfeld, sr. and Lovaas became somewhat friendly and went to see one of the famed boxing matches between Joe Frazier and Mohammed Ali. Lovaas was frank and stated that only one in 20 persons with autism make it out of their condition and that most autistics become nowhere near normal. Certainly this is a far cry from his claims in the January 1974 issue of psychology today where he claimed that he could make autistic kids very nearly normal as well as in the famed 1987 study where nearly half of the children in the experimental group were allegedly cured of their autism. Also in those days, in addition to food deprivation, Lovaas used harsh aversives such as spanking and electric shocks. He stated that the operant condition was based on fear and that he did not think Noah was afraid of anything or he would use "his stinger" on Noah the following day. Noah apparently was hit but not shocked.

By the time Noah is 5 or 6 years old he is no longer a client of Lovaas. Lovaas now states that he has done all he can for Noah and that he is concentrating his research work on younger children. Noah still smears feces, scratches when approached and is completely nonverbal. Karl describes him as one of the children who "flunked Lovaas" which was a popular term among some parents of autistic children. Karl gives Jon Shestack and Portia Iverson's son, Dov, as another example of someone who flunked Lovaas.

Noah's story does not get any better, Noah gets older, harder to deal with and the family has to contemplate institutionalization for him. Josh Greenfeld wonders why more money can't go into figuring out what the hell is wrong with Noah. Noah certainly becomes another example of an autistic disenfranchised by the neurodiversitites many of whom have asperger's. Later, not knowing where he can go Noah is sent to a placed called the behavior modification institute. In Josh Greenfeld's last book the place is called the operant conditioning center. In this place Noah is spanked, scratched and abused and then finally his parents take him out of the place.

There is little doubt that the names operant conditioning center and behavior modification institute are pseudonyms for the behavior research institute which would later be named the Judge Rottenberg Center, which to this day draws controversy for its very harsh methods of shocks and spankings for dealing with autistic children. Its director Matthew Israel has never submitted his methods to any form of peer review and in one piece that I read in JADD it stated that he was expelled from the autism society of America for practicing clinical psychology without a license. The Behavior Research Institute left California in the early 1990s at about the same time the Hughes act, which outlawed aversives in California, was enacted.

After leaving the behavior modification institute, Noah is institutionalized in the Fairview Mental Hospital in nearby Orange County, California. He spends many years there, still unable to speak or toilet himself. Eventually the Greenfeld's buy a house where Noah can live and hire a succession of caretakers, most of whom don't work out and one who even bites Noah and probably sexually assaults him. Karl also believes that in one residence where Noah lived he was sexually assaulted by a higher functioning autist.

The book also details Karl's teenage adventures in the Pacific Palisades which I discussed above and talks about his chronic drug abuse and his eventually ending up in rehab. I won't go into the rest of the book as it might spoil it for anyone who might be interested in reading it.

I enjoyed all three Noah books and the fourth one published by the son. After the first three had been published, I wondered if an autism book like this one could be published Nowadays. Attitudes towards autism have changed and we now realize the disorder exists in many more persons of normal intelligence than we realize. On one side we have the success stories of autistic children who recovered such as Christina Adams' memoir, a real boy and Catherine Maurice's story Let me hear your voice. On the other side, we have the books written by and about High functioning autistics claiming that autism is some sort of gift or the next step in evolution. I was rather surprised that Karl's book could be published given these circumstances of the drive for only feel good autism books and none of the harsh realities that some persons with autism must face.

One wonders about Noah's flunking Lovaas. Was he in the 1987 study? If yes, was he in the experimental or lower treatment control group? Lovaas carried out his study between the years 1970 and 1987 so it is possible that Noah was one of the first subjects. Assignment of persons to the experimental and control groups in Lovaas (1987) was a function of therapist availability. Persons living near to UCLA had more therapists available and received the 40 hours per week of therapy. Those in the control group lived far away from UCLA so there was not the same therapist availability. They only received 10 hours a week of ABA and not 40 hours a week of ABA. Lovaas claimed that his original intent was to assign persons to experimental groups and control groups randomly. He was not able to do this because of parent protests. There was a high ratio of males to females in the experimental group. The ratio of boys to girls was about even in the control group. Noah lived in the Pacific Palisades, approximately 7 or 8 miles from UCLA. He was also a male. So if he were a part of Lovaas 1987 it would be much more likely that he would have been in the experimental group. If he was not a Lovaas subject as part of the 1987 study in 1970 when he first started Lovaas at about the age of 4, what other studies was Lovaas doing that included Noah and why wasn't Noah included in the 1987 study?

These questions are interesting in light of the fact that though Lovaas received money from the NIMH to study the adult outcomes of his 1987 study's research subject he has not published them in the literature. We don't know how the supposedly cured half of the experimental group fared as adults (they are now in their late 30s and early 40s as is Noah).

This also rings true in the published memoirs of parents such as Adams and Maurice. We don't know how they fared or will fare as adults. The oldest person that I know of who underwent Lovaas treatment who had a positive write-up was Drew Crowder who is mentioned in the book autism from tragedy to triumph. He was 18 at the time and doing well in college and he wrote a short piece at the end of his mother's book. In addition to Lovaas' neglect to publish his adult outcomes we don't see any parents or persons with autism publishing memoirs stating how much ABA helped them become functioning adults.

Is Noah (who flunked Lovaas) who lived in institutions most of his adult life and now lives in a supervised home, unable to speak or toilet himself a typical example of a Lovaas adult outcome. I wonder.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Neurodiversitites misrepresent autism crime/violence studies

I am still reeling over the responses of some members of the neurodiversity movement to my simple and factual statements that there are some persons with autism who behave in totally inappropriate ways, sometimes violently or making untoward sexual overtures towards people. I have talked about Kev's response to my post on Lisa Jo Rudy's blog in my previous blog entry on here. On Zach Lassiter's blog in response to Lassiter's reprint of my comment well known neurodiversitite blogger the "autism bitch from hell" had these words of wisdom to say:

As for the grossly offensive comment that you first chose to reprint (and that I highly doubt you’d have reprinted if the subject of the discussion had been any other minority group), I won’t repeat any of its false and bigoted insinuations. Instead, I’ll simply point out that research studies have established that autistics have no higher rate of committing violent acts or violent crimes than the general population (Murrie, Warren, Kristiansson, & Dietz, 2002; Barry-Walsh & Mullen, 2004).
Scientific studies have not found that autistic persons are more likely to commit violent acts or violent crimes than non-autistic persons despite some media sensationalism of isolated cases of violence (Murrie, Warren, Kristiansson, & Dietz, 2002; Barry-Walsh & Mullen, 2004).

Ari Nee'man has also cited these two studies that abfh talked about in this post to show that autistic persons usually don't commit violence.

as previously noted on autism's gadfly ABFH has, in the past, either completely neglected to do any fact checking of her allegations or is outright deliberately misrepresenting factual information in her ND tirades. Also, one wonders about Mr. Nee'man's credibility given his ND bias.

One of the most persistent criticisms that ND detractors Harold Doherty and the infamous John Best, both parents of severely autistic sons, have leveled against the neurodiversity movement is that Asperger's syndrome should not necessarily be included under the broad general rubric of autism. Now that I have read both the Barry-Walsh et. al. study and the Murrie et al. study this certainly rings true. Though both ABFH and Nee'man use the word autism to describe these two studies both of these studies deal specifically with cases of Asperger's syndrome and not autism. Here we have the first instance of misrepresentation of the two studies.

So these two still don't cite any studies that deal with the entire autism spectrum and crime/violence.

While we see that these studies don't deal with autism let's see if they show any evidence of whether or not persons with Asperger's are more prone to violence.

The Barry-Walsh study does not appear to be online but I went to the UCLA biomed library and copied it there. the abstract of the study is online The study does not specifically address the question of whether persons with AS are more prone to violence than people in the general population, but rather it gives 5 case histories of persons with AS who have run afoul of the law and how their Asperger's caused them to commit these crimes and whether or not an insanity defense can be considered. The first case history is a man who committed arson who had a an obsession with fires. He set fire to a hedge and damaged property and he was considered fit to plead and received no jail time. Another case was a man with AS who had stalked and harassed professionals who had been involved in his treatment that he became obsessed with. He was found fit to be tried, was convicted but received no jail time. The third case was another man charged with arson. There was a radio station which played music he liked to listen to. When a religious station interfered with the frequency of the other station, he set fire to the radio station. He had no regrets for his actions and was puzzled why a fuss was being made.

Another man assaulted his father, again this assault was precipitated when his father reprimanded him for setting fire to the lawn. He was not found unfit to be tried but the charges were dropped.

The final case was a man who was a sex offender who would go to children and put his arms around them and say he wanted to take them somewhere and do naughty things with them. He also made an untoward sexual advance and then assaulted the person who rebuffed him. Some forensic experts tried to claim he was unfit to plead but the court did not buy this. He was conditionally discharged with court ordered treatment.

Rather than showing no association between autism/Asperger's or violence as Nee'man and ABFH assert, the authors actually go on to state that it was aspects of their Asperger's that caused these five individuals to commit the crimes that they did and also none of the individuals expressed remorse at the crimes. None of these individuals was deemed unfit to plead. The authors go on with legal ramifications of the possibility of an insanity defense for persons with asperger's who might commit crimes in the future.

The Murrie et al study is online for anyone interested enough to read it. They report case histories such as Baron-Cohen's report of a 21-year-old man who had a pathologic desire to stab his 71-year-old "girlfriend". They described other case reports of AS persons committing sex crimes and arson. Murrie then becomes similar to Barry-Walsh in that it describes six case histories of persons with AS who commit violence or crimes.

Though no evidence of lack of violence among AS persons that ABFH and Nee'man puport are in Barry-Walsh, upon closely scrutiny of Murrie, we see that he reports a study by Ghaziuddin published in a 1991 issue of the journal of autism and developmental disorders in which the author perused various journal articles concerning AS and on this basis concluded that the rate of violence among AS persons was low, approximately 2.7%. This was a questionable methodology as it just relied on case reports in the literature and not actually going through police records or court documents or other records of crimes or violent acts that might have been committed by persons with AS. Also, the criteria for violence and for a diagnosis of asperger's that the author imposed were quite strict and according to a study Kohn (1998) if the authors had used a more inclusive criteria the number in their actual study may have risen to 20%.

As is similar to Barry-Walsh, Murrie explores the possibility that these individuals amoral acts were a direct result of asperger's and these persons also saw nothing wrong with their actions.

One issue of interest is that some of the crimes were thought to be due to sexual frustration.

Murrie observes that clinicians working with Asperger's patient should be cognizant of the fact that social impairments coupled with the desire for sexual attachments could lead to illegal behavior in some of these individuals.

Other than the mention of Ghauziuddin's study, with its questionable methodology, mentioned in Murrie, in no way shape or form do either of these two journal articles show any empirical evidence that persons with asperger's let alone all autism spectrum disorders are less prone to violence or to commit crimes. It would appear that both abfh and Nee'man have either not read the two studies they talk about or they are deliberately misrepresenting the facts. I don't see how there can be either conclusion other than these two options after reading the studies myself and reviewing the evidence.

I am not saying that this shows that persons with autism or asperger's will as a general rule commit crimes or are sexually abusive-though I am sure the ND's will find a way to misconstrue this blog piece. The majority of persons on the autism spectrum are most likely law abiding and would not do the deeds of the case studies that are mentioned in these two pieces. However, my original contention was that there is indeed a subset of ASD persons who do commit these acts and this should be dealt with either by trying to find a cure or some other means. As far as I can tell ND again offers no solutions whatsoever or maybe they are just saying that autism acceptance means that these behaviors are okay and anyone who wants these behaviors dealt with is some sort of bigot because they want something done about them.

I don't think it is helpful for ABFH and Nee'man to confuse asperger's syndrome with the entire spectrum of autism and I believe it is even less helpful for them to misrepresent the two studies that they discuss on the internet.


Barry-Walsh JB et al.(2004) Forensic Aspects of Asperger's Syndrome

The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology vol 15 no 1 96-107

Baron-Cohen S. (1988) An assessment of violence in a young man with Asperger's

British Journal of Psychiatry, 29, 351-360

Kohn, Y et. al.(1998) Agression and sexual offense in Asperger's syndrome

Israeli Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 4, 293-299

Murrie et. al.(2002) Asperger's Syndrome in Forensic Settings

International Journal of Forensic Mental Health 1: 59-70

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Left brain, right brain, or no brain?

I have decided to make a belated response (better late than never) to Kev Leitch's
absurd post defending the neurodiversity movement. First off, I am glad that Kev says he has a great deal of respect for me. I am not glad that he has chosen to misrepresent what I posted on Lisa Jo Rudy's autism about site, where he claims I equate autism with sexual abuse. This is totally untrue. I just stated that there are some individuals with autism who make untoward sexual advances towards woman due to their autism and that this presents a problem and asking why this behavior should be accepted. I never said that all autistics sexual abused people, just things I have seen from first hand experience, like a almost nonverbal man who acosted a job coach in an organization which many years ago i was on the board of directors of. Also, one member of our AGUA support group who would often make untoward advances towards females who would come to meetings, kissing them or touching them in inappropriate manners. He was asked to either come to the meetings with an aide in attendance or leave AGUA because of this behavior. He chose to do the latter. I also did a post about an autistic man hitting a baby some time ago. Why should this behavior be accepted under the ND rubric. I also see that the "autistic bitch from hell" who is perpetually confused about most everything involved in autism claiming on zach lassiter's blog that I am some sort of bigot for stating the truth and quoting some obscure study claiming the majority of persons with autism don't commit violent crimes in an attempt to obsfucate the truth. Undoubtedly the people who did these behaviors did so because they had autism, no matter how much spin the ND's want to put on the matter.

Since Kev has now instituted a registration policy for commenting on left brain/right brain which makes it more of a hassle to comment, and, on top of that, he has banned Harold Doherty and Billy Cresp (Lurker) just because they have made polite anti-ND commentary that Kev does not agree with, I am not going to refute his nonsense on the comment section of his blog. I will do my best to do so here.

First he tries to claim that anti-ND does not mean anti-parent but only cites ND parents as examples. However, ND is basically anti-parent towards parents who wish to cure their children. Parents are constantly insulted, called names and told they don't really love their children. My own mother has been insulted by various NDs on various occasions. It is not an inaccurate statement to claim that NDs are basically trying to bring back the Bettleheim era.
So basically if you are an anti-cure parent or parent like janet bain (jypsy) who would just say "no thank you" to a cure if one were available then you are fine. But want to cure your kid and incur the wrath of hell from ND's.

He also says that the cure at all costs is a north american phenomena. Well just a little over 200 years ago having a country which was the only country that did not have a king or a similar monarchy where if you said something the king did not agree with he would chop your head off was also a phenomena exclusively the province of the USA. Perhaps our forefathers revolted against Kev's forefathers for a reason if the UK is such a backward place that they would actually embrace an ND philosophy.

He then goes on to claim that NDs want to treat their kids by talking about GI problems and other comorbidities saying that because parents want to treat those and not treat the autism that means that somehow they are helping the kids. Well when we say anti-treatment we mean the autism, the self-stimulatory behaviors, inability to do things, social problems, not speaking, self-mutiliation etc. That is what we mean by ND parents not wanting to treat their kids, so the point still stands. Kev then goes on to talk about his daughter receiving PECS and speech therapy. So, does this mean that he wants his daughter to only partially talk and not have her speech problems cured? What sort of nonsense is this? Why wouldn't he want his daughter fully cured of her language impairments with speech therapy if he is using it, makes no sense at all.

He goes on to deny that ND's are intoxicated with hate because of a few anti-vax people who happened to be abusive to him on some occasions. So basically Kev's argments against ND's like David Andrews calling me "mitchell-shite" cussing me out and Cubed Demon and Phil Gluyas calling me Joseph Goebels and Harry Williams (AKA socrates) calling me lord haha and taking cheap shots at my celibacy and Clay Adams and Phil Gluyas saying abusive things about my mother is okay because two wrongs make a right. That is basically the gist of his argument.

He tries to deny that ND's with autism are different than the sons of harold doherty and john best. He just claims that there is progress for these kids that won't stop and basically the only difference is that maybe conor doherty and sam best will grow up to be functioning adults who can function at the level of Ari Nee'man or the "autistic bitch from hell" who claims to be autistic. But realistically what is the chance of that. What is the prognosis of 13 year old kids who can't speak or have cognitive levels way below their age ever functioning at that level. Come on, Kev, be real!

Kev then tries to justify Harold Doherty's "royal we" phenomena by claiming because ND's are autistic that they can best share in the experience of someone like Harold Doherty's son or John Best's son whose problems are far more severe than theirs. Well, unlike most ND's, I went to special education schools, I have had problems with celibacy, unemployment anhd the like, I had a diagnosis of autism in the 1970s. Also, I am a male and a very disproportionate number of autistic ND's are females. So, I have these problems and I long for a cure and I totally reject neurodiversity, but not much chance of my voice being heard in newsweek or good morning america to refute any of Nee'man's nonsense. At one time, I was told that I was very severely autistic, no speech at age 3, smearing feces on the wall, the whole works. I partially recovered, but far from 100%. So maybe I have more of a kinship the the Conor Doherty's and Sam Best's of the autism world but maybe not. But certainly ND's who are predominantly female, never were in special ed a minute of their life. Never had after school tutoring for their handwriting and perceptual motor impairments have no common ground with the severely autistic people, so Kev's argument is really specious.

Again, Kev wants to claim that ND's are not spewing hate filled rhetoric towards parents. But that is pure baloney. They try to bring back the Bettleheim era back by insulting people's mothers and they are constantly abusive to anyone who does not agree with their absurd agenda. They even play the murder card blaming us for Katie McCarron's murder as well as possibly the murder of others as some of them have done. If people did not want a cure Katie McCarron would be alive they claim. Their main current spokesman, Ari Nee'man has even stooped to stating that autism speaks is morally complicit with murder.

One wonders if Left brain/right brain's name should be changed to no brain.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ari nee'man newsweek article out

Well, the newsweek article about Ari Nee'man that i warned everyone about is now out. It was just as I suspected. It starts off with a typical yellow journalism headline Erasing Autism
Scientists are closing in on the genes linked to autism. So why is Ari Ne'eman so worried? in spite of the fact that this has nothing to do with the gist of the article. The article quotes the questionable genetic research that found a genetic variant that occurred in both autism and in the general population, even though it was a variant that autistic people had more in common. It was not likely to be the major breakthrough in genetic research that the media ballyhooed it to be. Certainly there is no genetic test in the foreseeable future that will allow people to abort autistic fetuses. Certainly the comparison with Down's syndrome is not apt, as Down's syndrome is a very different type of disability than autism, with some Down's persons having much shorter life expectancies and a variety of health problems and congenital heart defects that can go with it. (though admittedly not all Down's persons).

Interestingly enough, the article describes Nee'man as a master networker in spite of the fact that one of the cardinal symptoms of ASD's is an impaired ability to relate to people.

I was also curious about the qualitative aspects of Nee'man's disorder as compared to mine and others who are on the spectrum. The article describes Ari at 2-1/2 in a dinosaur museum exhibit announcing, "that's a pterodactyl" At 2-1/2 I could hardly speak at all let alone say something this sophisticated. According to my parents and psychoanalyst I did not recover my speech until I was about four years old. So it would seem Nee'man never had a speech delay and at age 6 based on the criteria that was in existence in those days it is unlikely Nee'man would have been able to get any sort of ASD diagnosis. Therefore, the fact that he can represent autistic people is questionable.

The article goes on to state that autism is not a medical mystery to be solved. So basically in effect they are saying no medical research should be done, even though this is the best hope for future generations of children who are sick or who may be born who become sick, though it may not offer anything that can be of tangible help in the foreseeable future. But we have to think about the future and hope that someday medical research can be done that will enable children on the spectrum to live better lives.

Nee'man is quoted in the article:

and he is pushing to make this happen for everyone on the spectrum. They should also be listened to. "We're having a nation-al conversation about autism without the voices of people who should be at the center of that conversation," he says.

So here we have an example of what blogger Harold Doherty terms "the royal we". Though Nee'man attempts to speak for all autistics. He does not speak for me. Someone who actually had a speech delay at age 2-1/2. Certainly he does not speak for Conor Doherty, nor other autistics far more severe than even Harold Doherty's son such as Sam Best or John Belmonte who can't even speak and aren't even capable of refuting Nee'man's nonsense. What is even stranger is that Nee'man is implying that he is not given a voice, even though the federal government allows Nee'man to illegally present his agenda before the interagency autism coordinating committee which grew out of the combating autism act which Nee'man and his friends fought tooth and nail when congress was debating its passage.

The article quotes Nee'man as not being opposed to genetic research outright, even though ASAN's webpage has called for a moratorium on all genetic research in autism.

The article then ends with a plug for the horrific no myths video that for some reason that is beyond my comprehension the Dan Moreno foundation financed.

On a more positive note, even though Nee'man stated that the conversation is happening without us. He did not say that most autistics don't want to be cured. So the article was not quite as bad as I imagined it would be. I have already written a letter to newsweek I am not sure it is worth writing another one to them. The ND's of course will have a field day with this article and will plug it as giving some credibility to their agenda.

One final thing I want to comment on is when I complained about the lack of equal time for people such as Jake Crosby, and myself who disagree with ASAN and wish there could be a cure for autism is the absurdity of the ND response. Some persons claimed that because Jenny McCarthy got exposure on Larry King and Ophrah, the NDs should get equal time and compared our complaints to that. However, there is one big difference. Jenny McCarthy is not autistic. She has not suffered first hand from this disorder day to day for most of her life the way those of us who on the spectrum who disagree with ASAN have. She is about 37 years old and autism was certainly an abstraction to Ms. McCarthy for the first 30 years of her life. Perhaps some day we will be able to have our say. I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

pro-choice neurodiversitites, a possible dillema

One of the tenets of club ND (or at least some of its members) is that genetic research into autism is a bad thing because it would lead to prenatal abortions of autistics at some point. In fact, the Autism Self-advocacy network has called for a moratorium on all genetic research just for this reason. They have cited peer reviewed publications showing that the rate of abortions of Down's syndrome fetuses runs between 80-90%. Therefore, they project that the same thing could happen with autism. Some members of club ND ("the autistic bitch from hell" is one of the best known examples) have stated that Autism Speaks which has a collaboration with the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange is seeking ways to be able to deliberately abort autistic fetuses.

The technology to abort autistic fetuses does not yet exist. There is no evidence that it will exist anytime in the foreseeable future. This is particularly true for all cases of autism. It is unlikely there could ever be a universal pre-natal autism test as so many conditions are labeled as autistic with a variety of different genes and genetic etiologies involved. Some are due to autosomal dominance such as tuberous sclerosis. Others are x-linked such as fragile X. Others are associated with findings on chromosome 22 as is the case of the condition DiGeorge syndrome which is not uncommonly associated with autism. Some cases are due to multiplex factors, i.e. the interaction of many different genes.

Abortion for not only Down's syndrome fetuses but typically developing fetuses is a reality. Ever since the supreme court's decision in Roe vs. Wade. States have had a right to legalize abortion on demand. If there is a state in the USA where abortion is illegal, I am not aware of it.

I wonder how neurodiversitites feel about abortion. I know that one, Joel Smith, has taken a completely pro-life stance. There may be others as well. Frank Klein has told me he is pro choice regarding abortions with the exception of the nonexistent abortions of autistic fetuses. Though the question of abortion of autistics seems to be perpetually on the mind of the "autistic bitch from hell", I notice she has endorsed the Obama candidacy over McCain. This would seem to increase the likelihood that she is pro-choice as far as abortion is concerned (excluding autistic fetus abortions which do not yet exist).

Therefore, I wonder about other neurodiversitites. Are they in favor of abortion under any circumstance (barring rape and endangerment to the mother's life which likely account for the smallest percent of abortions) Do they favor keeping Roe vs. Wade intact and having Obama or any other president only appoint supreme court justices who will do so?

If the answer is no, then why hasn't ABFH supported the McCain Palin candidacy rather than Obama when it was McCain who is pro life. Why hasn't ASAN lobbied for outlawing abortion and having Roe v. Wade overturned?

If the answer is yes. Then why does a typical fetus who was conceived due to parents' poor judgement in using birth control improperly or not at all have less right to live than an autistic fetus or a Down's fetus. If a law was passed outlawing abortions of only developmentally disabled fetuses, would this not be a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment?

Just wondering.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A letter to my congressman

I have written the following letter to my congressman:

Mr. Congressman:

I am an individual with autism in my early 50s who has lost multiple jobs and is in the process of applying for social security disability insurance. I long for a cure and a way to prevent people from becoming autistic in the first place if this is possible.

The reason I write you today is that I am concerned that the Combating Autism Act which congress passed in 2006 is not being applied in the spirit in which the law was originally intended. The purpose of the law and the subsequent creation of the interagency autism coordinating committee was solely to suggest ways that research dollars could be spent with the only intended purpose of finding ways to cure and prevent autism. This is not happening. There is currently a group called the Autistic Self-advocacy Network that often lobbies their agenda before the IACC. They subscribe to a philosophy called neurodiversity, which states that autism should not be looked upon as a disorder that needs preventing or curing, but as an alternative form of brain wiring. They have lobbied the government for a moratorium on genetic research. They also lobby for studies on vocational training community housing as opposed to institutionalization and even more trivial things such as the the nonmalicious use of slurs in movies or this ransom notes campaign in which language offensive to them is used. Genetic research may be our 'ace in the hole' for someday preventing this horrible tragedy to other children and enabling them not to become crippled and sick with autism.

When congress was debating passage of the combating autism act a few years ago, these people protested the law and tried to prevent it from passing congress. After it was passed, they unfortunately took advantage of a law that they don't believe in to present their agenda to the government. I do not believe this organization should be allowed to present an agenda before the IACC. It is not fair to the organizations such as Cure Autism Now (which since passage of the CAA has merged with autism speaks) who lobbied for this law and other private citizens who long for a cure and prevention of this horrible affliction to allow the autistic self-advocacy network a voice at the table or anyone else who is using this law for other than its intended purpose of finding ways to cure and prevent autism.

I was wondering if you could take some sort of action to prevent these people and others like them from testifying before the IACC. Or perhaps you could introduce legislation amending the CAA so that they would not be allowed a voice in the process.

Also the combating autism act stated that one of the public members appointed to the IACC must be an individual with autism. Stephen Shore, the current public member with autism, is opposed to a cure for autism. I was wondering if when his term expires or possibly even sooner if you could instead appoint a pro-cure autistic as a public member. Your help in these matters would be greatly appreciated.

If any other american citizens happen to read this and they agree with me on this, I urge them to contact their congressman also and to try to do something about ASAN's actions and hypocrisy. I have started with my congressman and I may also write my U.S. Senators and president Obama as well. I realize this is probably about as effective as writing a letter to Santa Claus but at least I feel that I tried my best to do something in spite of the fact this blog does not get a large amount of traffic.

To the "Autistic bitch from hell" and my other neurodiversity detractors. I have now written something else, so perhaps you can go ahead and once again make a donation to ASAN in my name. if you think your childish response to my letter to newsweek as well as John Best's and Jake Crosby's letters will discourage me from my activism you are sadly mistaken. Hopefully we can mobilize enough pro cure people to do something about your misguided agenda and if you keep your word you will have to keep donating to ASAN until you go broke.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

yet more vindictiveness from neurodiversity

Well autism's gadfly and hating autism and the age of autism blogs have decided that because of an upcoming newsweek article which will probably be favorable towards the ND movement, that we believe that our side of the story should be told. I see that in response to this one of my favorite neurodiversity propagandists and hatemongers, the "autistic bitch from hell" is at it again. She calls me and Jake Crosby and John Best Ignoramuses and trolls in response to our blog posts asking our side be told. She even goes on to state that John Best made a death threat against Ari Nee'man. This is a lie. Best only wrote a headline saying "ask newsweek to kill ari nee'man". He was not literally saying he would murder ari or even that someone should "off" ari. Best only meant this in the metaphorical sense that newsweek should not run ari's piece without allowing us who disagree to tell our side of the story. I want to emphasize that I am not defending a lot of Best's behavior. I do agree he goes quite overboard sometimes and I have suggested to him that he should tone down his rhetoric. I do understand why he has so much anger and contempt for these people and I certainly don't blame him for that. He has a son who can't speak and will probably have to be institutionalized when he is too old to take care of him and this is something no parent wants to do.

These people seem to think we are being ridiculous in responding to an as yet unpublished piece. I do not agree. I believe a proactive fight against the ND movement is necessary. I feel that this should be nipped in the bud or at least our side can be told as well. Only ND's would think this unreasonable. She also comments on how few people read our websites. Somehow I suspect that the traffic at age of autism far exceeds her blog.

We see that the "autistic bitch from hell" has been confused before She was writing her usual misinformed propaganda against autism speaks. She could not even get her most rudimentary facts correct. She stated that the only thing on autism speaks agenda was finding a way to abort autistic fetuses. After I pointed out how ridiculous she was when anyone could go to AS web page and see all the research they do which has nothing to do with developing a genetic test, she was so embarrassed by her faux pas that she changed the wording of her post from "only thing on their agenda" to "ultimate goal".

She states that people should donate money to ASAN in response to our posts, claiming this is an effective way to ignore us because we are trolls. Funny thing is she is responding, again she is confused.

She claims that we are haters. Yes, I am a hater, I hate autism and everything about it and I long for a cure and way to prevent it happening to other children so they won't be crippled and sick for life. I do not hate the people who are afflicted with autism. ABFH and other neurodiversitites are intoxicated with hate. They stoop to insults and name calling and abuse.

They call me a troll because I want to take a proactive stance against ND's absolutely inane agenda and I feel that my side of the story should be told. She can't even refute any of our arguments with facts and has to resort to this personal attack and name calling. It truly saddens me that since they have no arguments at all that refute my positions, jake crosby's positions and John Best's positions that they have to engage in such behavior.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

new california autism report: more tax $$$$ wasted!

I see that the state of California Department of Developmental services has
a new autism report out. The media is putting their usual phony baloney spin on it. We see that the autism caseload has increased twelve fold in 20 years between 1987 and 2007. These reports are nothing new there have been two california reports previous to this, one in 1989 which the media made a big deal of and the 2003 one showing the prevalence of autism in the CDDS's regional centers by birth year.

These data are used to justify the claims that there is an autism epidemic. Persons such as JB Handley, Mark Geir, Mark Blaxill and Rick Rollens have used this data to promote their crusades that autism is caused by too much mercury and/or vaccines and to promote treatments of dubious value such as chelation and Lupron therapy. Dan Olmstead and David Kirby have used this data to pursue their journalist endeavors though neither has a dog in the fight (i.e. an autistic child of their own or an ASD)

On an interesting note, Rick Rollens stated that it was ironic that this report came out right at the time the state regional center was facing a $100 million budget cut in July. Is this really ironic, I wonder?-but more about that later.

Perhaps a less superficial look at the data than the San Jose mercury and others present are in order.

The report starts off with the following caveat:

Note to Readers:
The information presented in this report is purely descriptive and should not be used to draw scientifically valid conclusions about the incidence or prevalence of ASD in California. Numbers of people with ASD described in this report reflect point-in-time counts and do not constitute formal epidemiological measures of incidence or prevalence. The information contained in this report is limited by factors such as case finding, accuracy of diagnosis, hand entry, and possible error, by case workers of large amounts of information onto state forms. Finally, it is important to note that entry into and exit from California’s developmental services system is voluntary. This may further alter the data presented herein relative to the actual population of persons with ASD in California.

This caveat is invariably ignored by the media and by the sky is falling chicken little amateur epidemiologists who insist this proves their pet theory of a sudden environmental rise of autism.

Looking at the graph we see the rate of growth was not constant. The largest increase in growth took place between 1997 and 2002 and then while autism admissions continued to grow in the regional center the rate of growth slowed substantially, showing that if there is an autism epidemic it has slowed for some reason and if the pattern continues the growth may plateau at some point in time. This means the growth has been slower since the last report came out at the end of 2003.

There are 21 regional centers in the CDDS which serve various areas of California. The rate of growth is not similar between the various centers. We see by far the largest growth in the two Los Angeles area regional centers, the Lanterman regional center and the Westside regional center. We see that the growth rates are much slower in the various regional centers in rural parts of Northern California. This would have to mean there was something in the environment that was introduced in Los Angeles in the late 1980s that did not exist in the early 1980s but would have gotten worse starting in the late 1980s to the late 1990s and then was decreased in the late 1990s. These would not have existed in Northern California. For those folks who believe this is legit epidemiologic data such as maybe the age of autism web page or the above named individuals, they have their chance. Were vaccine rates different in Northern California than in Los Angeles. This would also seem to rule out the pesticides that some people thought were causing an epidemic of autism as they would be more likely to be used in Northern California than in Los Angeles. They can try to find patterns and trends. If there were such a pattern or trend I would think the MIND institute which seems to insist there is an epidemic of autism would have found it. I wonder why they haven't?

On another interesting note, at one time Simon Baron Cohen and others proposed that autism prevelance increases were due to selective mating between computer geeks. He and some other people, at least at one time, seemed to think there were correlations between places that had a lot of IT activity and autism. The data in this report would seem to refute that notion. The San Andreas regional center which serves the silicon valley with more IT companies and other engineering concerns such as Apple and Intel ranked 9th in growth rates over the past 20 years, well behind the growth rates of Los Angeles.

Looking at the growth in autism clients based on age we see that the number of people between the ages of 15 and 19 was less than a thousand in the year 2000 but more than 4,000 in the year 2007. If autism rates were really rising, this would mean that there was some new form of autism that had its onset at about age 10 or older that started in the year 2000. I wonder if anyone has an explanation for this phenomena.

An interesting item in this report is a comment on the gender ratio between male and female autistics:

Gender Ratio
The ratio of males to females with autism in the DDS system is 4.6 to 1. This pattern occurred for all ethnicities and for all types of residence status. The preponderance of males with autism compared to females occurred across all regional centers and in all counties in California. This finding is consistent across the scientific literature. For instance, in his review of over 30 studies, Fombonne in 2003 found that the mean gender ratio of boys to girls was 4.3 to 1. Volkmar (2006) reported a ratio of 3.5 to 1, while the CDC (2007) reported a ratio for ASD ranging from 3.4 to 1 to 6.5 to 1 across 14 states studied.
This gender ratio has shown a steady increase over the past 20 years. The rate rose from 3.4 to 1 in 1987 to 4.6 to 1 in 2007.

There has been one school of thought that this seemingly scientifically proved premise is false. There are just as many or more female autistics as there are males, but because of the fact that girls are more social than boys and might have other factors that would preclude their diagnosis, autism in girls has been underestimated. The state regional centers are wrong, these August autism researchers who have published this data are wrong and the CDC, which showed various ratios across 14 states is wrong. This usually comes from neurodiversity proponents who are often very disproportionally female in terms of what seems to be the number of the ratio in the general population of autistics based on this study when I have questioned whether these people are a true representative of autistic people. This was also an explanation given by Ivar Lovaas and Tristram Smith for the inequalities in their experimental group and control groups of the M:F ratio. However, the people who claim this have not yet offered any scientific evidence to the best of my knowledge. They would also have to explain why similar ratios have been found in other developmental disabilities such as ADHD, dyslexia and stuttering in which the social factors would not matter as much.

Also there have been changes in the cognitive levels of persons with autism. In 1987 about 80% of the autistic regional center clients had intellectual retardation. This number is down to about 35%. These numbers also parallel findings in the literature by researchers such as Eric Fombonne who have shown rates of retardation in autistic people comparable to the regional center clients. Also the regional center show a linear correlation between increased ratios of male to female autistics and lack of intellectual retardation. This means that the proportion of autistic females who have intellectual retardation is greater than that for males. This further diminishes evidence for the arguments that so many female neurodiversitites are in any way a representative sample of persons with autism.

One of the arguments for those who believe there is a true rise in autism may be that the kids are coming into the regional center at younger ages and the children younger than 6 may not be able to have their intelligence tested in the same way. The fact these numbers have not diminished over time and nonretarded autistics seem to be on the rise would refute these arguments. So those who believe there is some environmental factor that has caused an increase in autism admissions to the regional centers would have to explain why this would just be an increase in persons with milder forms of autism and not the entire spectrum.

It seems that a lot of these trends, the sex ratios, the ethnicity of autism (which I have not discussed here because I really don't find it relevant to anything), the increase in nonretarded autistics, the increasing numbers were given in the two previous reports that were done at taxpayer expense. These reports really present no new information. I really don't understand what it is supposed to accomplish.

One possible explanation is that now that the regional centers are facing budget cuts due to the state of california now being in such dire straights, both due to the recession and to laws that require two-thirds of the state legislature to pass a budget and increased spending and many other factors was this report had a political agenda. Rick Rollens who has a severely autistic child started the MIND institute. He was a secretary in the state legislature at one time and has political influence. He lobbied the state legislature to do the MIND study some years back that was of questionable value and cost one million dollars to do. This study has yet to be published in a peer reviewed journal and most likely never will be. Perhaps this old worn out news and the media spin that has been put on it, was to try to take money from other programs in California and put it in the regional centers. Of course, this is totally speculation but one wonders about the timing.

As a (at least at one time) taxpayer in the state of California, this concerns me greatly. Persons such as Mark Blaxill who have never lived in California and have not paid a dime in California state income, property or sales taxes can exploit this data for their own means. I don't think this is fair.

I have a second cousin who works for the state of California who is being furloughed (sp??) from his job two days a month, just so California won't go completely bankrupt in these hard economic times. This has cut his salary by 10% while he struggles to support himself, a wife and a son. Governor Schwarzenegger has called for a special election on May 19 for a vote on ballot measures which he claims will help the state remain solvent if they are passed. This special election will probably cost California taxpayers considerable amounts of money and even assuming they are passed one wonders if they will give results in savings for California. I wonder how much it cost to prepare this report with the same trite and redundant information that was published in the previous two reports. The state of California is not putting on its thinking cap and we California residents lose. I had to be a victim of the shitty services of the state of California voc rehab department back in the mid 1980s. Perhaps this money could be better spent on vocational training for autistic people than putting out these inane reports which accomplish nothing.

I take this back. This report will only give further ammunition to David Kirby and Dan Olmstead to make money off the backs of autistic people to claim it proves there is some sort of "autism epidemic". It will allow Mark Blaxill to give his proof that there is a true rise in autism prevalence. It will allow whiny crybaby neurodiversitites to cry "foul". You have insulted me by claiming that I am an epidemic, are train wrecks or toxic waste dumps. This will give them an excuse to project their anger in their new blog posts. To insult persons like me who just wish that a future generation of children can have a happier childhood than I had and a better life than I have had. So I suppose this report and the accompanying media hype will accomplish something.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

asking newsweek magazine for equal time

The rumor mill has it that there is a forthcoming newsweek article written by ASAN president Ari Neeman. It is supposed to be published in a couple of weeks. I do not know if this rumor is true or not, but I did hear it from someone whom I consider a reliable source. John Best has also heard this rumor and has blogged about it. If in fact this article is published undoubtedly Ari will spew fourth the usually neurodiversity propaganda about there being nothing wrong with a person being autistic and if society would not put constraints on them they would do just fine. I believe it is not fair for newsweek not to give me or some other pro-cure autistic equal time to refute Nee'man's nonsense. Any person who feels the same way about the inanity of the neurodiversity movement that I do, I urge them to drop newsweek a line at to tell them how they feel. Or to urge them to either give one of us equal time or to kill the article. I have written the following letter to newsweek myself:

Dear Editors of Newsweek:

I am a man in my early 50s with an autism spectrum disorder who heard a rumor that you are going to run an article written by Autistic Self-Advocacy Network President Ari Nee'man.

Mr. Nee'man holds a point of view called neurodiversity which states that autism is not a disease or disorder but merely a neurologic difference. He states that autism should not be cured and his organization has called for a moratorium on all genetic research claiming it will result in abortions of prenatal autistic fetuses. Mr. Nee'man has Asperger's which was not diagnosed until the age of 12, prior to this time he had an ADHD diagnosis. He is age 21 so the fact he had an autism spectrum diagnosis relatively late in life suggest to me that he is not a representative person with autism.

I had a speech delay at age 3. Because I am a generation older than Mr. Neeman I did not receive a diagnosis until adolescence but only because autism was not well known in those days.

I believe that autism is a horrible disability. I have no job and have had to apply for social security disability insurance to help make ends meet. I think Mr. Neeman represents a very bad view of autism.

In all fairness I believe you should allow me or some other individual with an ASD equal time in your magazine. I feel that an absolutely one-sided view of autism should not be given. Either that or you should not run the article.

Thanks for your consideration,

Jonathan Mitchell, an individual with autism.

When Nee'man and Kristina Chew presented their nonsense on Good Morning America sometime last year, I wrote ABC a letter asking them for equal time. They never answered my email and certainly did not grant me equal time on GMA. So I am not anticipating that Newsweek will do what is right and what is fair either. However, if enough people protest what ND is doing and ask that our view not be silenced perhaps someday the other side of this story about what a horrific tragedy autism is can be told.

Monday, May 4, 2009

An interesting talk with my lawyer

Today I had an interesting talk with my lawyer. As a few readers of this blog and the previous blog I had, Jonathan's journal on my
other website may remember, a couple of years ago when I retired from paid work, I filed a claim for social security disability insurance. I had somewhat of a shock (no pun intended for those involved in autism long enough to remember Dr. Lovaas' old ways) to find that the main headquarters of the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention was located in the same building on the same floor just down the hall from my local social security office! I wrote an essay about this irony. This was in about June of 2007. I had tests by a psychologist and then was turned down in October. I got a lawyer and filed an appeal, a year and a half later i have my hearing before an administrative law judge coming up. I figured there was a good chance i would not be awarded the money and that I could just walk away from this albatross that had been hanging over my head for two years. My lawyer wanted to see me in his office on Friday, but i could not see him until today (Monday). He informed me that he wanted me to take some vocational testing and have my former employer write some sort of letter.

He told me that two years is nothing and that he was still working on a case going back to 1986. Also still working on someone's case for the past 12 years!. He talked me into appealing though I am now aghast that the process really goes this long. He might die or I might die before my appeals are exhausted.

After a claimant is turned down by SSA and then loses at the level of a hearing before an administrative law judge, then there is a court of appeal in virginia where written statements are submitted. After this there is a federal district court to which the case can be appealed. Then there is what is called the 9th circuit court which is the highest federal court of appeal in the state of california that is just below the united states supreme court. I had wondered if any of these cases went before the u.s. supreme court. I'm no lawyer but from what I understood the supreme court is very selective about which cases they will hear. My attorney said that yes, the supreme court did hear these cases sometimes. He himself had never argued a case before the supreme court but that a friend of his who also practiced the same kind of law had. For someone who was an alcoholic, who could no longer work because of cirrhosis of the liver.

I might do some more research on social security disability law and maybe edit this blog post with some relevant links but that is not easy for me due to my being handicapped. I guess this case did not take up a really significant part of my life except now it is because of the imminence of my hearing before the ad law judge.

Guess I will be involved with this for longer than i thought. I guess I will have to try to practice some healthy eating habits and exercise more so that I can live long enough to exhaust all of my appeals.