Monday, September 21, 2009

autism speaks accepting nonfiction submissions

Autism speaks, the behemoth autism organization which appears to be a figurative jack of all trades and a master of none has yet engaged in some more dilettantism and has now added to their Felix the Cat bag of tricks and items something new. They now seem to be accepting non-fiction pieces for possible publication on their website. I just finished reading one rather moving piece about a young boy with autism who has an interesting obsession with garage doors. My interest was piqued by the fact that at the bottom of the piece it stated that autism speaks was accepting personal stories about autism. I have debated whether I should write a piece and submit it to them. They were vague about the submission format but I presume someone could submit a word rich text file as an attachment and they would have no problem opening it.

However, this is an organization that on occasion has offended my sensibilities due to their funding Laurent Mottron and possibly other neurodiversity concerns, their
autism in the workplace dog and pony show which does not include employing any autistics in their organization and other reasons. So should I become an apostate and submit an article to them. After all, the pickings seem to be slim in terms of where a non-fiction writer such as myself who wishes to break out of the blogosphere can submit an article. I did have my piece on autism genetics and suffering published on Exceptional Parents' magazine website. The autism spectrum quarterly rejected my submissions claiming they were more into self-help type things and my theoretical and academic questions about ASD's were not within the genre they would accept. Trying to compete with Tim Page and submitting a piece to the New Yorker would seem out of the question for this fledgling, nobody writer. I did submit my essay exploring the irony about the fact that the headquarters for the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention is located in the same building on the same floor as the social security office in West Los Angeles to the Newsweek my turn column. I never heard back from them so I can presume my essay was one of the 199 out of 200 submissions that they get which did not make the cut. So I have to wonder if it would be ethical to submit a piece to AS due to my misgivings about them.

Laurent Mottron seems to have forsaken his principles in soliciting money and accepting approximately half a million dollars from an organization whose main goal he says is "nonsensical". His sidekick, Michelle Dawson, who on more than one occasion has expressed her contempt for autism speaks and the persons who donate money to them, also seems to have forsaken her principles in that she has not resigned from the Mottron group in protest. When asked about this her only dumbfounding reply was "science isn't politics". If these two august individuals can swallow their pride maybe I should also, but I am not sure I want to be attempted by submitting an article to AS.

One other issue that is germane is whether or not personal experiences with autism just include those of parents of autistics or persons with ASD's themselves. AS was not specific in addressing this issue. The first essay they have published was written by a parent of an autistic and not an autistic themselves. As many people have correctly pointed out autism speaks may not be interested in hearing what high functioning autistics themselves have to say. One of neurodiversity's banes of contention has been their neglect to appoint a person on the spectrum to the board of directors the way other autism organizations have. So I am not sure they would publish an essay written by an autistic themselves in addition to a parent's essay or a special educator's or other professionals

To any neurodiversity proponents who happen to read this: Here is your chance to get your views about autism out. You are always trying to convince curebies of your way of thinking. Michelle Dawson and Laurent Mottron and Isabelle Souleries have no qualms of accepting this tainted money. Perhaps you people should have no qualms either.

I have not made the decision 100% myself in this dilemma but probably the best course for me is to resist temptation. I may just have to be content to be a self-published writer on this humble blog.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Jonathan, you and I do not agree about ABA but I respect your opinion and the integrity you demonstrate in discussing autism related issues.

Go for it.