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.