Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yet another attempt by neurodiversity to bring back Bettelheim

I have been told by at least a couple of members of the neurodiversity movement who have links to the autism hub (hub of hate would be a much more apt name), and whom Kathleen Seidel* has deemed as members in good standing, that the reason for my problems is not a neurologic impairment that incapacitates me but rather that I had a mean domineering mother who taught me to hate myself. It was because of her attitudes that I have all of these problems and unhappiness. They have gone even farther than this calling my mother "a witch" "a shrew" and a "yapping bitch" claiming that because I never happen to mention my dad in my posts that he must have been driven off by her.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? No, probably not. It does to me however, because I actually lived through the Bettelheim era as a toddler and small child in the late 1950s and 1960s. I spent approximately ten years in psychoanalysis and had to hear about how my parents went to paint our new house and neglected me and this is what caused my problems. I had to hear about how they happened to let me see my sister naked (my sister is three years younger and the onset of the autism happened around the time she was born) that I noticed she lacked something I had (I think most readers can guess what this is) and that I believed they had cut hers off and that I had worried my parents would cut mine off.

My mother had to hear this shit and it was psychologically damaging to her also. Sometimes she would actually break down and cry during her meetings with my psychoanalyst when she would hear this stuff. The fringe cult of neurodiversity which has done absolutely nothing to benefit persons with autism and related disorders yet has caused immense harm and damage to those on the spectrum and their families has done another thing and that is attempt to bring back this era that I and my parents actually lived through.

It seems that the hub has yet two new additions to their merry band of hate mongers that they have added to their hub of bigotry. two august bloggers who call themselves Turner and Kowalski These two allege (in an apparently intentionally incoherent rant) that parents of autistic children who wish a cure for their children and are unhappy about their child's autism are like members of the Ku Klux Klan who are forced to raise black children.

This type of drivel is read by young impressionable people who are unhappy with being autistic because it has made their life difficult and admittedly they themselves have faced discrimination in the past from society which has caused them to be embittered. I see that the teenage ingenue "sadder but wiser girl" who in the past has compared me to a Jew that helped Nazis kill other Jews in the past has weighed in:

Wow. That was quite a rant. I had to read it thrice to understand it, what with all the fucks and the color switching. But it was very accurate. The Autism Speaks people do sometimes remind me of KKK members forced to raise black children. About the Godwin’s Law thing, you didn’t even mention the Holocaust, but this situation strangely is comparable to the Nazis spreading hate speech about Jews.

Neurodiversity claims they want to make autistics have a good image, but we seem from posts such as Kowalksi and Turner have written and the impression they have made on a minor child, it would seem neurodiversity and the autism hub only tarnish the image of persons with autism and make us look spiteful and hateful and bigoted.

Dave Seidel: If you happen to read this. You are not doing autistics and their families favors by linking blogs that spew out this hateful crap. But it figures, as you really know nothing about autism except having a couple of quirky kids.

The ND movement has been getting more press and media attention. They have been getting more power and they even conned autism speaks into donating half a million dollars to their cause.

When Andrew Solomon's article about Ari Ne'eman and the rest of the ND movement came out, Lenny Schaeffer was quoted as urging Solomon not to write about these people because of the harm they do. I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Schaeffer. I hope the ND's continue to get even more media publicity. I hope more people will write about them. As they become well known people will read the autism hub and read insane blogs such as Kowalski and Turner's odditorial board and they will get bad publicity and most sane people will realize what a scam the whole ND movement is.

*Addendum: I have been informed by Dave Seidel that his wife, Kathleen, has no role in actually running the hub, and the Seidels do not unilaterally decide who can or can't join, but this is done by mutual consensus of hub members. Therefore I have edited the content of the original post putting a * by Kathleen's name in the first entry, striking out a reference to her in two other entries and addressing my comment originally directed to both Kathleen and Dave solely to Dave as an administrator of the hub. Regardless of how members are chosen to be listed by the hub, as at least one of the hub administrators I feel he bears at least some responsibility for the content of blogs that are linked to the hub. Since he refuses to justify his actions to me and won't denounce the Kowalski and Turner post, I believe I can still hold him complicit with the posting of the idea that parents who wish to cure their autistic children are akin to members of the KKK who are forced to raise black children.


Dave Seidel said...

For the record, Jonathan, blogs are admitted to the Autism Hub by consensus among the existing membership. Kathleen has no role in the Hub other than as just another member, and she has, by her choice, never participated in this process, so her approval or disapproval is not and has never been a factor in which blogs are added to the Hub roster.

Unknown said...

Thanks for bring this disgusting development to public attention Jonathan.

jonathan said...

Dave: You and Kathleen are now owners of the hub, transferred from Kevin Leitch, correct? You can delist blogs, correct? You are either Kathleen's husband or are Kathleen herself using her husband's account to post this, correct?

Or assuming you and Kathleen don't have power to unilaterally delist blogs and you and she run the hub, perhaps you can justify to me why the hub is not morally complicit with hate mongering when they allow stuff like Kowalski and Turner's post to be listed and they don't delist a blog that spews out such bullpucky and influences teenage kids to respond in such an inflammatory way. Perhaps this can be explained to me.

People are judged by the company they keep, perhaps you can justify for me why the hub should be taken seriously by anyone and anyone who has a blog on the hub including you and kathleen.

Maddy said...

Clearly I am out of the loop.

farmwifetwo said...

It completely turned my stomach. So because I am educating my son's, teaching them life skills and the 3R's, trying to allow them to grow and become functioning members of society instead of living out their lives in a group home or residential facility... I'm a racist??

And Sarah ( wonders why ASAN and it's ILK aren't getting the big donations that Autism Speak is... just read their members blog postings... and yes, it's not on their site but as Jonathon says "You are judged by the company you keep".

Adrianna said...

Even though I believe in Neurodiversity, I avoid Neurodiversity writings at all costs. I also refuse to read autobiographies from autistic people, especially those who have neurodiversity leanings.

I feel that, as a rule, people who are neurodiverse vastly oversimplify autism issues and that I have nothing in common with them in terms of what I experience.

I was recently officially diagnosed with autistic disorder not otherwise specified. I had been evaluated as a child and placed in special education for a different diagnosis (speech/language disorders not otherwise specified.)And I have to say that even though I don't want to be cured, I do have issues that I want ameliorated, and I have ever sympathy for those who do want to be cured.

I have trained myself not to stim if I need to do something else, and to give myself breaks so I can stim. I learned sign language so I can communicate if speaking is too hard. I trained myself to write neatly by using my left hand to facilitate my right hand. I had parents who gave me plenty of space so I couldd recharge. I had a lot of advantages growing up, learned a lot of tricks, and my autism is not particularly severe.

That said, I still struggled quite a bit and do today. I am forever grateful for early intervention because it opened up the world of language and in doing so, gave me endless opportunities that I would have never had. Quite frankly, if you don't have language, you don't have anything.

And I'm tired this crap that just because you communicate differently doesn't mean that you are hanicapped. Humans were designed to communicate in certain ways. If you cannot do so, you are handicapped.

It is one thing to speak in a language other than English or to talk with your hands rather than you mouth. But if you do not have the most basic vocabulary or an understanding of linguistic structure, you're handicapped. If you can't meet your basic needs because of it, you're handicapped.

How can you fight for disability rights if you act like being handicapped is a reason to be ashamed?

Dave Seidel said...

Jonathan, perhaps you can try re-reading what I wrote, for comprehension this time. Kathleen has no role in running the Hub, and never has. I do have a role, but I am neither the only administrator nor do the administrators make unilateral decisions without consulting the membership.

Regarding your opinion of the blogs on the Hub, frankly, I don't care what you think. I have no obligation to justify anything to you.

That's my last comment here.

De Chao said...

Your Psychoanalysts were anal retentive-- Now, please; you don't have to rag on all neurodiversity activists. I'd probably be shunned myself if half MY ideas were known.

--Suzaku Williams

Jake Crosby said...

Great post. You ought to submit this to Age of Autism, Jonathan, and let more people know about your story.

Jack said...

Mr. Mitchell,

What are you referring to here:

"they even conned autism speaks into donating half a million dollars to their cause."

jonathan said...

jack: For details, read this post

Anonymous said...

Levine says as mental illness more profitable, we are seeing more of it -

And this news account reports more autism -

-so apparently somebody's making more profits off autism. Is this immoral?

jon Shestack said...

what are you referring yo when you say that As gave the ND movement half a million?

jonathan said...

Jon: I already posted the answer above here it is again Autism speaks has given half a million dollar grant to neurodiversity researcher laurent Mottron, who does not believe autism is harmful and who says it is not a dysfunction

De Chao said...

Neurodiversity activists are the Bettleheims of our day.You really need not say any more than that both are equally as wrong headed,and use equally as flawed a model of autism and its causes.

Science has flaws. I'm willing to admit that. Science will happily admit to potential flaws. That's basic; like an algebraic one. Willingness to look for flaws in one's science is what makes it science. However, I haven't studied too much. I'd like to do some (a lot) of experiments.

Bettelheim said that Autistic minds were made worthless because of their mothers, right? I would like to say that Autistic brains have concentration based issues that make it easier to be overstimulated, and societal issues that force them under the NT mold of learning, and makes it a lot more difficult. I would like to do research based on this ideology ( proofs, then maybe meds for the concentration; research on learning to see if better ways of educating could be done... It might even be effective for LFAs. :P

Say what you like; everybody's unique, even those who fit into a stereotype. You're not Alison Tepper-Singer. You're not a DAN doctor. You're not John Best. I'm not Gareth, Amy, or Ari Ne'eman. I wouldn't judge you as a sickening mother, based on the former. Not even as a horribly sickening idiot like Best. Not as a geekish imbecile who can see less than two feet out of his mental box.
Nope; you're easy to misunderstand. You want an erasure of symptomology for something that doesn't necessarily always cause pain (I can't give you the study, but I can say that it's something that I can use to come up with a testable hypothesis.), and you're also not keeping an open mind to understand what causes certain things that you'd like to be rid of.

If you can almost always fix a problem experimentally (changing a detail to see what it'll do, experimenting, perfoming the various math functions on certain factors) you want to look at the issue from an outside perspective, so that you don't leave anything on the wrong side. Algebraic scientific experimentation, dude.

But seriously, I have met ND activists who said NTs were doing the best they could for nonverbal kids, and that makes me sick. Besides, has anybody considered that the OTHER people who try to speak out (parents) are mostly NT? How invalid are THOSE comments? Shouldn't a majority of researchers at least be on the spectrum?