Monday, August 10, 2009

a new interesting petition from neurodiversity

I have just come across a new interesting online petition from some people who apparently don't like autism speaks. The petition is entitled. Autism Speaks is a Joke.

You might realize the code to eventually be able to abort autistic births for the sake of health care costs but i say it's still barbaric. We are not puzzle
peices nor a reason to be cured. Cureing should be reserved for bad things. There is nothing bad about Autism it makes us special, smarter, proof of great things... etc. How dare anyone would assume different. How normal do you have to be to live in this world? Such a company will unleash murder of anyone who isn't functioning like a person should and that died out with Hitler years ago. Do we want to be the next abu dhabi injustice?!
Be careful how you put things across or it could backfire!!

On another part of the site the petition is explained.

We the undersigned beg you to reconsider your idea of how to deal with or talk about Autism/economy. Please make abortion illigal just in case and keep an eye on how word spreads.

Interestingly enough these people say that cures should only be for bad things. They claim that not being able to make a living, meeting your significant other, not being able to speak, not being able to get a decent education in a regular school setting, behaving in disruptive fashion, having self-injurious behaviors that can permanently cripple a person, being at risk for being run over by a car or killed, having phobias, having uncontrollable self-stimulations, not being able to engage in goal directed activities, having motor impairments that prevent you from being able to handwrite properly, not having friends and in some cases being violent, in some cases committing crimes is not a bad thing.

They also state the old cliche about autism making someone superior instead of handicapped.It would seem that in this person's case autism did not make them smarter. Check out the rhetoric, particularly the spelling of 'illegal'. If this is an example of of someone who was made smarter or superior by autism, I would hate to see someone for whom autism was not a gift from God. I would think in addition to wanting a cure for autism whoever wrote this petition would want a cure for illiteracy as well since they do not seem terribly literate from what they wrote on the petition.

It is old propaganda, the abortion shtick and the equating those of us who wish a cure to being nazis. And the old reaction-formation induced assertion that autism is great, a gift that makes people superior instead of handicapped. So far, they have 5 signatures, they want 1,000, so only 995 to go until they reach their goal.

Though I do not agree with the body of the petition, I do agree with the title. Autism speaks is a joke. They have given a grant of half a million dollars recently to the infamous Laurent Mottron, a medical doctor who doubles as a researcher and states that autism is not harmful, it is not a dysfunction but merely a difference and states that curing autism is nonsensical and instead of trying to find ways to help persons with autism uses the huge amount of research funding he receives to prove how smart and how great autistic people are. Though his research subjects are most likely made up of mostly very high functioning persons with autism. Given that this man and his sidekicks, Morton Gernsbacher and Michelle Dawson, are the darlings of the ND movement, I would think they would be delighted with AS rather than rebuking them. I think AS has $20 million in assets designated for scientific funding. So, 2.5% of their funding goes to a neurodiversity concern. Autism speaks also funds research into thimerosal in spite of all the evidence against it causing autism, has Sally Bernard on their board of directors, spends tons of money on advertising claiming that if insurance reform is implemented this will enable autistic children to have playdates and friends, has a campaign encouraging people to hire autistics as employees in the workplace, yet not employing a single person with autism in their organization, not even as a minimum wage file clerk, and apparently has collaborated with William Stillman in their school package, a self-diagnosed Asperger's person, who claims that autism was created by divine providence and without any formal qualifications and credentials, charges $100 an hour for a phone consultation for an autistic child. Stillman also states that in 5-10 years the autism prevalence will be 1/10. Their president, Mark Rothmeier, not long ago stated that autism affected 1.5 million children. After Michelle Dawson pointed out this error using data culled from the epidemiological literature on autism as well as recent U.S. population statistics, the word children was edited out of the article. To borrow from Richard Nixon, AS gave Dawson the sword and she stuck it in and twisted it with relish.

Indeed a great title for a petition! So sad that the body of the petition was such cliched nonsense written by someone not terribly literate who would have the actual audacity to claim that autism makes people superior and/or gifted. Of course this might have been someone quite young who wrote this, as we see from one post I recently wrote that for certain reasons, neurodiversity attempts to proselytize those who are as young and naive as possible.


John Best said...

You wouldn't expect Neuroinsanity to be able to recruit any intelligent people, would you? All they can find to support them are extremely stupid mothers and brain damaged children.

navywifeandmom said...

Oh good grief, not the "autism makes you smarter/more evolved, whatever".

If these "Internet autistics" are so smart then why are they not out inventing things instead of blogging all day?

I will have to look and see who actually signed that.

Yeah, the only thing they got right is that Autism Speaks is a joke.

Droopy said...

navywifeandmom said...

"Oh good grief, not the "autism makes you smarter/more evolved, whatever".

why, yes, didn't you know?!

Lets use me as an example:

my intellect, my command of written language (such as it is), my typing skills and even the fine motor skills required for it, etc,

well this couldn't possibly be the result of genetic gifts bestowed upon me by, say, a multi-generational lineage of grandfather uncles and father who were all tool & die workers (each with their own exceptional focus, attention to detail and prerequisite finite hand control such that not only none of them ever lost a finger which is noteworthy in that business, but even their work was known by name for its quality),

and it couldn't possibly be attributed to the fact that within these same men there have been a number of Mensa-level intellects,

and certainly there is no way there could be any influence as a result of my own mother having been a secretary for upwards of 50 years (and a damned good one, good enough to easily get another job even while in her 60's and when nobody else of any age can find work at all) with typing skills of her own at 120 wpm...

oh no... these gifts and capabilities that I have been so lucky to have, surely they are exclusive and special gifts that could only have possibly been bestowed upon me only by one thing, my "beautiful autism"

Moral of the story?
(The following Closed Captioning is for the Obvious Impaired):

Genetics (accompanied by dumb luck) certainly can sometimes bestow some pretty good things

-- but Autism ain't one of 'em

As to the very petition itself, it would be a wee bit hypocritical of me to launch an attack on its author for an apparent communication issue (especially against someone who's at least not launched such an attack on me specifically first), so a fair examination is in order:

After all ambiguous requests involving 'ideas' and 'economy' and 'reconsider' and 'talk about'

There is one defined issue addressed in this petition, one I actually agree with (lo and behold!)
and that's the "make abortion illegal'

That's something I'd also certainly like to see happen (especially knowing as I do that the only reason I'm even here today really is because abortion wasn't legal when I was conceived and carried)

but maybe somebody should inform the author of this petition that AutismSpeaks is not the US Supreme court (or Australian court where their startup signatures seem to originate)?

Roe vs Wade, anyone?

Stephanie said...

I think internet autistics invented the online petition things. They like to make one up for everything, from "Autism Speaks is a joke" to trying to get Encyclopedia Dramatica to change its article on Asperger's (although I find the article and the one about Aspies for Freedom to be very accurate).

jack said...

I don't agree with this idea of aspie superiority, but "How normal do you have to be to live in this world?" sounds like a good question to me.

farmwifetwo said...

I upset one of those adult autistics The actual post that I commented on (the link above) is 2 posts down. I see she hasn't posted my reply to her reply.

Actually I upset another one.. the cat/dog blogger on the hub... I suspect the slap was because I posted the Asperger's was not Autism. If they had Autism then they would be dx'd with it. I see she now has comment moderation. I was VERY polite... but of course they would know better than I a parent with a child with Autistic Disorder (re-dx'd 2wks ago from severe PDD) and another with NLD.

I think you said it perfectly. As I read your post I kept thinking "ditto, ditto"...

jonathan said...

Droopy: These people do indeed seem to be some sort of exception to the rule in regards to wishing to make all abortions illegal. Most in the ND movement try to have it both ways, such as frank Klein being pro-choice for everything except for the autistic fetus. The autism bitch from hell supporting pro-choice candidate Obama and Ari Ne'eman and other NDs refusing to answer why they would not want to outlaw all abortion and just those for autistic fetuses. The ND's in at least some cases seem to value a child's disability more than it's humanity.

Jake Crosby said...

Since when was there any evidence that the abortion of autistic fetuses was even plausible?

jonathan said...

Jake: Given the current state of the art, abortion of autistic fetuses is not yet a reality. The neurodiversity argument is that genetic research funded by autism speaks and other sources will at some point lead to abortion of autistic fetuses rather than finding a cure for autistics. There was one researcher named Buxbaum (I think that was his name) who stated a few years ago that he felt a prenatal test would be developed for autism within ten years. As you can imagine, the ND movement had a field day with that prediction. That seems unlikely to me. I suspect that given the fact that many different genetic modes of transmission are involved in a single phenotype (or similar phenotypes) that a prenatal test for autism resulting in abortions is unlikely any time in the forseeable future, but neurodiversity believes this will happen at some point in time I think.

Jake Crosby said...

At 1 in 100 now according to the latest 2007 CDC figures of people under 18, as opposed to 1 in 10,000 25 years ago, I can't imagine a genetic test for autism being possible at all given that there's no such thing as a genetic epidemic. How much higher does the autism prevalence truly have to rise before the NDs lay their "awareness" argument to rest, or even take the official mainstream point-of-view that they are unsure whether or not there is a true rise?

jonathan said...

Jake, not sure where that 1 in 100 figure came from, I don't think the CDC has published any updates to their 1/150 figure, which was just an average which varied greatly between different parts of the U.S.A. There is no 1/10,000 figure from 25 years ago. What you are referring to was a figure cited in one study that was published by Darold Treffert nearly 40 years ago, in which different things were classified differently and his classifications for PDD's were different than autism. Had all of the disorders he encountered been classified as autism the figure would have been 4/10,000, so there never really was a 1/10,000 figure per se.

So far, I don't believe that anyone has proven that there has been a true increase in autism prevalence of the magnitude that you and the rest of the AoA crowd has claimed. I will be interested in seeing proof when it is presented to me and then I will believe it. Likewise I will beieve the 1/100 figure when the CDC actually publishes it and I think I will hear about that when it happens.

Jake Crosby said...

David Kirby wrote about the CDC's 1 in 100 figure on Huffington Post.

I am not referring to a study done 40 years ago, I am referring to one done in 1985, published in 1987, the results of which are listed in a PDF on the CDC website. I chose that study because it is most comparable to the one from 2007, only larger by about 100,000 more participants. It studies a similar age group of 2-18 years, whereas the one today studies an age group of 2-17 year olds. The results for the 1985 study of autism were 1 in 10,000 through both case counting and exams. Sure, if you include other ASDs, the number rises to 3, but that's 3 then versus 100 today for every 10,000.

In fact, Simon Baron-Cohen said:

“We know that autism is not 100% genetic in origin, since in the case of identical twins (who share 100% of their genes), there are instances of one twin having autism and the other not having it. In fact, the likelihood of the co-twin also having autism where one of them has it (in monozygotic (MZ) pairs) is about 60%. This means that there must be some non-genetic (i.e., environmental) factors that are part of the cause of autism."

Needless to say, if autism were genetic, the number would be a perfect 100%, nothing less, definitely not 60%.

Combine the fact that autism is not genetic with the fact that there has been a huge increase in autism and no one can explain otherwise and we can safely say there is a real epidemic.

jonathan said...

I will have to check out that CDC link when I have a chance. The only study I was aware of that gave a 1/10,000 prevalance rate was Treffert's.

Genetics is not an all or none thing. I don't think anyone has ever said autism is 100% genetic and the discordance with twins suggests that. It is not mean 100% nongenetic either. It means a predisposition is genetic and there are cases of epigenetics or problems in the womb or other factors but the high concordance in twins and the higher for siblings than for general population does in fact suggest a partial genetic etiology. Does not mean it is 100% genetic or 100% non-genetic.

K said...

The CDC record does not include AS, which is from my understanding more than half of diagnosis. I wouldn't put any weight in anything David Kirby says. One for the monetary considerations Mr. Kirby has in this "community" and further Mr. Kirby is prone to believe in conspiracies. In the 1980's, Mr. Kirby, who was once a gay activist, published that AIDS was a conspiracy of the CIA.

No one with legitimate AS today would have had an ASD diagnosis before 1994, if the etiology of AS as reported is to be believed. Nearly all of the studies published in the CDC report were before 1994.

Jake Crosby said...

I posted the link to tables showing the summaries of each of the different prevalence studies from the CDC website in my previous comment, you should find results of the study there.

I never said genetics was, but based on the eugenics phobia and the epidemic denialism that is inherent to Neuro"diversity" (the word speaks for itself), it seems pretty clear to me that the NDs believe autism is purely genetic. Some even believe it is an evolutionary step forward, as I am sure you are well aware, despite the fact that this totally violates Darwin's theory of natural selection. From this perspective, Neurodiversity seems a lot more comparable to Intelligent Design.

Jake Crosby said...

@K: I looked up David Kirby's stories from the 1980s for "Outweek," the gay and lesbian activist magazine he wrote for at the time. If he had written anything suggestive of a CIA conspiracy to create AIDS, he would have written it in that magazine. I went through all his articles for the publication from the eighties and nothing related to the CIA came up. The only articles I could find by Kirby on AIDS featured the anti-retroviral drugs cranked out by the drug industry at the time, and the supposed hope they offered to AIDS patients, hardly indicative of a conspiracy theory.

That's not to say there aren't some real unanswered questions about the origins of AIDS virus. Maurice Hilleman, former vaccine chief of Merck Pharmaceuticals, and inventor of more vaccines than anyone else in history said he imported AIDS virus to the US in this recorded interview.

However, If you do not believe Kirby, legal editor of AoA Kent Heckenlively wrote about the 1 in 100 prevalence also.

AS being around 50% of all autism was an estimate by Simon Baron-Cohen's, the architect for the sham "geeks get lucky" theory, there is no accuracy behind that. In the Merck Manual of Diagnostics, 70% of autistics are estimated to be mentally retarded. I've heard this same statistic repeated elsewhere. People with AS have IQs that are average or above.

Plus, for the rise to be attributed to broadening of the diagnostic criteria to include AS, the condition would have to be 97% of all autism cases anyway, not 50%, since the prevalence has grown to 100 from just 3 out of 10,000 between 1985 and 2007, and classic autism has grown along with other ASDs during this same time period.

John Best said...

The ND's know that autism is caused by thimerosal. That's why they write so much propaganda against that, to help Pharma.
They don't believe autism is genetic. That's just part of their lies.
Don't forget, everything ND says is a lie.

Jake Crosby said...

Slight correction: those numbers came from the National Survey of Children's Health of the Health Resources and Services Administration, not the CDC, but still an HHS alphabet soup agency.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, everything ND says is a lie.

Couldn't agree more.

Autism Mom Rising said...

It seems to me that ND keeps blending the issue of a cure with a possible future where people have the option to abort fetus' that have autism. Aborting a fetus is not the same as curing a condition, so these should be addressed as two separate issues IMO.

Autism appears to be a unique condition from individual to individual in terms of what genes are involved, except in about 15% of the cases. For all we know some individuals could have it while in the womb and others could aquire it some time after birth. For these reasons I'm not sure there we are anywhere near the availability of a prenatal test.

I do, however, agree with their ethical concerns about people aborting fetus that have conditions such as Down Syndrome. I got taken off guard when the nurse asked me if I wanted an amino and told me there was a risk that the pregnancy could terminate from the proceedure. I asked what was was then the purpose of the amino then and she said in case the baby was Down Syndrome and we wanted to abort. I was shocked that they even offer a test like that. I turned it down altogether.