I see from reading Alan Griswold's autistic aphorisms blog and the infamous "execute pro-cure autistics and turn them into cat food" autism bitch from hell's blog that Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer of autism speaks, has written a canned response to the various pro-neurodiversity anti-cure proponents who took umbrage to autism speaks' I am autism video:
Thank you very much for sending me your letter and telling me about your perspective and feelings regarding the “I Am Autism” video. I understand and respect your perspective and I am truly sorry that the film offended you. The video was not intended to reflect Autism Speaks broader viewpoint or attitude toward persons with autism spectrum disorder. Rather, it was created by two fathers of children with autism – Billy Mann, a Grammy-nominated songwriter, music producer and Autism Speaks board member, and Alfonso Cuarón, an Academy award-nominated film director. It is based on a personal poem written by Mr. Mann. It is an intensely personal expression by these two fathers. It was their hope that the piece would inspire other voices and artists in the autism community. It has greatly offended some people, however, and we have removed it from our website.
Again, thank you for writing to me and sharing your thoughts. You can rest assured that I will continue to advocate for a respectful and compassionate attitude and support for persons with autism spectrum disorder.
While Geri Dawson's statement that AS removed the video from their website may not have been an outright and deliberate lie as they did kowtow to the ND fringe and removed it from their home page, the statement was not factually accurate as they still have the video on a more obscure place on the webpage. Both ABFH and Janet Norman-Bain have called Dr. Dawson on this fact.
Geri Dawson and autism speaks have nothing to apologize for in making this video. Drastic videos showing what a horrific disability autism is are certainly necessary to generate funding so that research can be done that will cure or at least find a way to mitigate this horrific disability at some point in time. Instead of trying to dissassociate AS in general from the videos and just attribute this to the two filmmakers only makes AS and Geri Dawson look obsequious and reduces their credibility as a fundraising organization which claims that they are looking for a cure. There is no need to mollify these people. Certainly persons such as ABFH who suggest executing me and turning me into catfood is a good idea are not even worth trying to have a respectful dialogue with. Her offense at this video should be taken with a pillar not a grain of salt.
Unfortunately this letter only kowtows to this fringe cult who don't want autistics and others with related disorders to have a shot of living a decent life and want the pain and suffering that autism causes to continue. While I realize it might be impolitic of her to tell Alan Griswold, ABFH and others to fuck off this is the attitude that they should take.
Another alternative would have been the type of response Jon Shestack gave me when I first met him in the pre autism speaks days when his CAN was neurodiversity's favorite whipping boy. I pointed out to him that there were some people with autism that did not like what he was doing. He replied: "Their problems are nowhere near as severe as my son's are and if they don't like what I am doing, too bad." I realize this response might be considered impolitic also, but certainly it is the attitude that autism speaks should take and yes, Geraldine Dawson should have just said, 'too bad' if you don't like our video.
Or perhaps the most diplomatic and politic response would be that autism is a serious problem for at least some, even if the mild ASD's that ND's or their relatives have in many cases that they can respect the rights of others to pursue fund raising the way the other side sees fit whose problems are far more serious than theirs are.
Anyone who can read between the lines can see what a disingenuous snow job Dawson's canned response was. In addition to the inaccuracy of her statement that the video had been removed from AS' website, certainly this video reflects the overall view of autism speaks as well as likely most of the relatives of autistic persons who go on walks for AS or donate money to them. There is no reason for AS to soften the tone of their message of what a horrific disability this is ,nor to worry about offending persons in the fringe cult of ND. A respectful and compassionate attitude towards those with autism is not taking an ND perspective but acknowledging the harsh realities of autism, the fact that it is a disease, a disorder and not merely a difference and funding scientific research that might enable them to live better lives and maybe even ultimately find a cure.
Addendum: Clay Adams was kind enough to point out to me that I originally misspelled kowtow as cowtow, an error true, but I suspect a common one. Though I appreciate Clay bringing the error to my attention, I usually won't publish his comments on autism's gadfly.