Sunday, October 25, 2009

Does neurodiversity give a s*** about Patrick Fuglei?

Gadfly has come back after a brief hiatus. I have found an interesting piece about bullying of an autistic that I thought I might weigh in on.

Whenever I state my views about neurodiversity, stating that I long for a cure (though I concede it is unlikely it will be found in my lifetime), disputing their social model of disability, refuting their lies such as that Vernon Smith and Richard Borcherds were ever diagnosed as being on the spectrum by clinicians, their claims that autistic people can do just fine with the right supports and Ari Ne'eman's claims in the despicable No Myths video that the prognosis for most persons on the spectrum is not poor, etc, the response from neurodiversity is quite predictable. I am bombarded by the strawman that because I am opposed to these notions that I am against human rights for persons with autism, that neurodiversity is nothing more than the idea that autistic lives are worthwhile and they are entitled to certain human rights.

Interestingly enough, though bullying is often a problem for those on the spectrum, at least during childhood and adolescence, myself included, I seldom hear anything about it from members of the ND movement. I usually hear the arguments about how vaccines don't cause autism, there has never been an autism epidemic, and how hateful it is for those to claim that they could possibly be "toxic". I also hear about what a horrible organization autism speaks is, what a horrible person Jon Shestack is for wanting to cure his son, who can't speak or dress himself or do anything without an aide.

How about bullying or other human rights violations that persons with autism have to endure? As the old lady in the Wendy's television commercial would say, "Where's the beef?"

Patrick Fuglei's case is an example of this. A boy who had no friends and is so anxious to fit in, he does not mind other kids calling him "retard". He has such poor social judgment that when students have told him he should tell a pretty girl how much he would like to see her naked he will do it. When taunted by other kids that he had a vagina, he was challenged to prove them wrong. He accepted the challenge, dropping his pants, showing them he had no vagina, right in the middle of the playground. This is really no different than rearranging the furniture in a blind person's home when you think about it. His parents attempted to mainstream him hoping that he could have a normal life as possible and be in a school with his non handicapped peers, but this did not work out. The teasing and taunts got so bad he had to leave the school (with the very ironic name of Hellgate) . He will be attending a special ed school for autistic persons in another state where his grandparents live. Seems sad that a kid like this has to live in a different state from his parents because his human rights have been ignored by everyone including those in the neurodiversity movement.

The article also states that Patrick wishes to be "normal". Apparently he is another autistic, who missed the neurodiversity polls in which they claimed most don't want to be cured.

This article does hit home with me. I had to end up going to a school outside of my school district because I was receiving so much bullying and harassment from other kids. This was after I left special school. Of course, it is a myth that special ed kids are not picked on by other special ed kids, so Patrick may be disappointed at his special ed placement.

One reason that the ND's don't care is that many of them are bullies themselves. It would seem anyone on the spectrum who desires a cure incurs their wrath and becomes a target. I have been the victim of internet bullying among a number of members of the autism hub which represents blogs where the neurodiversity bloggers congregate. Parents are bullied by the august bloggers Kowalski and Turner. I have written about these two unsavory characters previously. I have been told by Dave Seidel, one of the hub administrators, that membership in the hub requires consensus among all the bloggers in the hub. Therefore we can judge them by the company they keep. It would seem the hub denizens not only do not care about bullying but rather promote it.

I realize that it is possible that many of them were bullied themselves. This is probably not an uncommon phenomena. They were bullied and projected their anger onto others more vulnerable so they became bullies themselves.

If Ari Ne'eman, Dave Seidel, or Michelle Dawson or any other ND who claims their movement is about human rights happens to read this, how about Pat Fuglei, what about his human rights?


Autism Mom Rising said...

You are a good writer and make important points. I was told that everything my son suffers from is co-morbid. Okay, well why then when his seizures were discovered was he able to go from severe Autism in diapers to moderate and out of diapers within a month if it is not all tied together in the brain?

Adrianna said...

I have the same problem with club ND. This boy's story sounds very much like my story. For example, when I was in second grade, a group of kids would constantly ask me to do the "bunny hop" thing I was always doing. I had no idea what they were talking about, but when they demonstrated, I realized they were talkingv about my hand-flapping. Every single time, I obliged, and they laughed their heads off. I had no clue what was going on.

I walk around in public oblivious to the fact that I have chocolate all over my face. I'm 20 years old and my parents and all the other adults in my life who know me really well are much more protective of me than others my age. I'm not aware of my surroundings and my reaction time is very slow. To them, I am a little girl in a grown woman's body. People do exploit this, and to this day, I find it hard to trust people and I hurt well-intentioned people by being to cynical. My parents and other adults treat me differently becasue they HAVE to.

I got my @$$ chewed out big time because of a musical I wrote about the life of an autistic teenage girl. Basically, they took issue with two things. Number one, my girl has actual impairments. She is absent-minded, easily manipulated, has difficulty communicating, and many other impairments. Number two, this girl is 17 years old and is so impaired interpersonally that she invents imaginary friends and parents to care for her and understand her. One of the sources of her serious depression is her inability to tell her loved ones that she loves them and to enjoy their company. This is based on my experience, which actually has been very traumatic and I am now in therapy for it.

Their response is that I'm stereotyping autistic people as retards. And forget about their opinion of me. I'm a retard, I need to grow up, I'm demeaning the cause of autistics by implying they are impaired, I'm useless, I'm psycho, etc. That's real nice.

Um, for one, this girl is clearly not retarded, so that statement doesn't even apply. Second, whether or not they are on the spectrum, and many mentally impaired people ARE on the spectrum, "retards" are as worthy of human rights and consideration as you. What was that about respect for the disabled again?

Imagine! My autistic character...well...acts autistic! Remarkable! ND, get a clue!

Jake Crosby said...

One thing I can never understand is Neurodiversity's offense to being considered "toxic." It's not like children who were later diagnosed with autism were the only ones to have been vaccinated. By their logic you can say that just about everybody is toxic, what ultimately makes us different is how we react to toxicity. So Neurodiversity can still claim that people with autism are "unique," only from a very different perspective.

Droopy said...

In case anybody's managed to somehow miss it, here again is another example of just how I feel about Neurodiversity:

Neurodiversity, this one's for YOU

Adrianna said...

"The argument could easily be made there are too many high-functiong kids with an "autism" diagnosis, who are inflating the numbers."

I think that the overwhelming majority of these kids are really disabled in some way, and that many of them are at least autistic-like if not autistic. However, where autism encompasses such an enormous array of medical conditions, both professionals and the general public would benefit from having these conditions differentiated. Using autism as a catch-all term is very confusing and this lack of understanding only harms those with these handicaps.

"Again this comes with the territory,especially if you are not the highest functioning.It's true for a lot of other disabilities.Most ND have never experienced it,because,like Ari Ne'eman,they aren't really disabled."

I'm extremely high-functioning (ASD-NOS, as I didn't fit the criteria for either Asperger's OR HFA.) I am an honors student at college and worked at a hotel stocking shelves for the gift shop. I was fine as long as I wasn't asked to multitask. Even working with the customers wasn't hard because I did rentals, I had a script, and several signs that the customers could read for information. I'm not really a people person, but that's beside the point.:)

People who don't know me well may or may not notice anything wrong with me. They WILL all notice that something is "unusual" about me, but those who get to know me on an intimate level and see how I function every day will notice that a lot of things are off. I don't even fully understand why my parents worry so much because for me, this is normal. That's part of the territory, though, as you said.

Droopy said...


They cry "nothing about us without us' (referring to themselves only of course)

but what about us?

K B said...

I was out of the country when this story broke, and I live 3 doors away from Patrick Fuglei and know the family. The OP had a couple mistakes or misunderstandings in his post, that I feel I can help illuminate.
1. Patrick was not mainstreamed unsuccessfully "because his parents wanted him to be". He was able to be mainstreamed - and only for part of the day, the rest was spent in "resource" - because his parents got a lot of help for him before he entered school, preparing him for school, and during his early years in school. He was one year behind his age cohort in school because of his "differing abilities". Until 8th grade, he was doing fine in "regular school".
2. Pat and his mother are both in Arizona with his grandmother. So he does have ONE parent with him.
3. His parents hope to bring him back to his hometown for high school next year, at a high school with the same "ironic" name, but in a different school district. This school has a history of acceptance of diversity, and the hope is that Pat will do fine there.

It's just a shame that his 8th grade classmates made it so he couldn't have made it through middle school here, too.