Saturday, February 20, 2010

Astrid's spin on neurodiversity

I see a blogger named Astrid has put an absolutely phony baloney spin on what ND represents. She states:

Neurodiversity” has never been a unified movement. It is an ideology of acceptance and respect for human and civil rights regardless of neurotype. Neurodiversity as an ideology has nothing to do with how well someone can live a “productive” life by neurotypical standards if provided with certain accommodations.

I will state that I agree with the first sentence. Neurodiversity involves different individuals with different takes on a variety of fronts and there is no general consensus, though there are many similar ideas involved. Though as one of my readers, Marius Filip, who lived in Romania (a communist nation at one time) aptly put it, communists are not united either. A Maoist is not a Stalinist or a Trotsky, etc. Though ND's consistently hide behind the smokescreen of civil and human rights, there is no evidence for this. ASAN only campaigns against perceived slights against autistics, such as the ransom notes campaign or derogatory use of the R word in movies in spite of Rahm Emanuel's use of this word and Ari Ne'eman's lack of response, most likely due to his anxiousness to grab that post in Obama's administration that he is up for appointment for. They care not about the right of an autistic not to be segregated from peers as they support full funding of the IDEA which ensures that parents will send their kids to special ed schools and ABA treatments for which no evidence exists of efficacy, particularly in adult outcomes which have never been reported in the literature. In fact the campaign to turn autism from a medical disease into a civil rights crusade is nothing but a smokescreen.

In terms of how productive a life an individual can live by societal acceptance, Astrid ignores Larry Arnold's statement about the social model of disabilities which basically says when barriers are removed autistics can do just fine. She ignores David Andrews statements about influences society has on performance, as well as Ari Ne'eman's same statements. Not to mention the despicable "no myths" video when Ari said it was a myth that autism was no tragedy and there was no hope. Not to mention Ne'eman's difference does not equal disability statement which was later changed to difference only becomes disability when not accommodated for.

Astrid goes on with these incredible statements:

It has nothing to do with whether we are the next step in evolution, somehow superior to neurotypicals, whether autism causes us to possess strengths, or whether it is a disability. It has nothing to do with whether certain current or future treatments for autistic symptoms are necessary or desirable. It has nothing to do with forbidding any research on autism.

Astrid apparently has not read the various things on the internet about the alleged autism of Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Isaac Newton, Steven Spielberg, etc. and how their "autism" enhances their superiority and how this is a justification against curing autism. She has not read Frank Klein's old website where he stated that autism equaled genius and greatness in spite of the fact he himself was on the dole and apparently incapable of holding down a minimum wage job. Astrid has apparently not read the statements of Judy Singer (originator of the term neurodiversity) in which she states that Asperger's is not a disability, nor Ari Ne'eman's (current spokesman for ND movement if anyone is) about how difference is not disability. She apparently does not know about Ari Ne'eman lobbying the federal government to put a moratorium on genetic research. She has not read the autistic bitch from hell's propaganda that the only thing on autism speaks agenda is to find a prenatal test so autistic fetuses can be aborted. One wonders what cave Astrid has been holing herself up in that she has not seen all of the protests against autism speaks and all the hatred and anger that this organization receives because it funds autism research. Astrid is apparently unaware of the statement by autism researcher Kate Plaisted Grant in response to the recent study showing improved social behavior among high functioning autistics with oxytocin treatment:
This recognition of difference, rather than illness or deficit, views autism as a way of thinking that allows greater understanding of certain aspects of the world than many neurotypicals are capable of, and that society benefits greatly from the contribution of these skills,"

Astrid goes on to say:

In fact, if the so-called “neurodiversity movement” truly was what MJ and other people outside of, and even within the “movement” see it as, I would not have considered myself a part of it.

Then my dear Astrid, perhaps you should reconsider your position as a neurodiversitite. Perhaps you really are not a believer in neurodiversity if you don't agree with any of these positions that have been so pervasive within the ND movement. I concede I don't know what all your exact positions are on these issues, assuming you are being honest (certainly a dubious assumption where any ND proponent is concerned) then perhaps you really don't believe in neurodiversity and in actuality you should consider the company you are keeping. For it is clear to this blogger you are out of the neurodiversity mainstream if you do not agree with these positions.

Similarly, if I, exercising my relatively “high-functioning” autistic privilege, erase your child through the reasoning I use to base autistic acceptance on, point it out. Do not use my, or anyone else’s, erasure of your child as a reason to discard the entire ideology of acceptance, or to decide that it is not for your child. The conditional nature of some pro-neurodiversity arguments may not suit your child, but this means these arguments are exclusionist, rather than that your child does not have the same rights we do.

Has Astrid ever been in special ed? Is she nonverbal or incontinent or have the same sort of problems of Sam Best, Connor Doherty or Dov Shestack? How can she speak for these people? Certainly John Best, Jon Shestack and Harold Doherty are not abandoning the idea of acceptance for their child, quite the opposite. They just don't believe that someone should speak of autism from an insider's point of view when these people (including Astrid) have nothing in common with their children.

As I have stated in my essay, neurodiversity just say no, most ND's (Astrid herself is a prime example of this) are very unrepresentative of autistics at large. They are predominantly high functioning women, though the ratio of high functioning autistic males to females is at least 10 to 1 as has been reported in the literature. The majority of them probably never spent a day in their life in a special ed school as I have or have had the same challenges in life that I and most other diagnosed persons on the spectrum have had. So, no, we can disregard what they say about autism if they are talking about autistics other than themselves.

Astrid attempts to put up the traditional neurodiversity smokescreen and extols the bullpuckey arguments that ND's always give to their movement and she does a damn lousy job of it. She also completely disregards the hatred of individuals like Clay Adams and Phil Gluyas who like to be abusive and insult people's parents. She ignores Kowalski and Turner who have stated that parents of autistics who want to cure their children are like members of the KKK forced to raise black children. She ignores the statements of the autistic bitch from hell that autistics with whom she does not agree with should be lined up against the wall and shot or strangled to death and turned into cat food She ignores Sadder but Wiser girl's statements that autistics who wish to be cured of their condition are like Jews who aide the Nazi's during world war II and would gladly jump into the crematorium themselves.

It is pathetic that ND has to stoop to such nonsense to justify themselves and does such a lousy job of it.


Larry Arnold PhD FRSA said...

There is no getting it with you is there.

Autism does not disappear when barriers are removed, who said it did.

Barriers refers amongst other things to the institutional mindset that refuses to educate autistic children in an appropriate or evidence based manner.

I think Judy Singer would have understood that too, and anybody who has spent any time applying the social model in a real advocacy context of securing rights and services.

Trouble is that you always want to see me through a special pair of spectacles of your own making, in that your theory of mind is so vastly superior to mine, in that you know what I am thinking better than I do!

Impairment is one thing, it is a negatively nuanced difference measured from a presumed funtional norm. Disability is another, disability is the degree to which that impairment is magnified by the failure to grant appropriate, services, care and interventions.

It takes a revision of the conventional mindset to see that maybe, but then science takes a revision of the everyday mindset too, to think outside of the commonplace, for instance that the sun appears to circle the earth, and to be able to realise that egocentric perspective is not the objective truth.

jonathan said...

Autism does not disappear when barriers are removed, who said it did.

No you never said the autism disappears but you have implied in various writings that the disabilities and impairments disappear.

Impairment is one thing, it is a negatively nuanced difference measured from a presumed funtional norm. Disability is another, disability is the degree to which that impairment is magnified by the failure to grant appropriate, services, care and interventions.

You are engaging in the same semantic spin as Astrid. Disability is impairment. You have clearly stated to me that the disability and impairment from autism would disappear if the barriers were removed, disability and impairment are the same thing in that context as in your country of the blind analogy in which you are so confused you think that Welle's was writing a treatise on the social model of disability rather than a parody of an old expression.

Larry Arnold PhD FRSA said...

Oh yeah and this whole notion of yours then, what is it.

Do nothing at all and wait for a cure?

If you lose a leg, that is a difference, don't tell me it is not, because if it were not then two would equal one. It is a downright nuisance when you need two legs for ideal locomotion, but I don't hear calls to wait until there is a stem cell cure cloning new legs, oh no, that would be ridiculous. One provides a prosthesis or a wheelchair, and then ensures the environment is as suitable for that as it is for ordinarily ambulant people.

Where the hell you got the idea that the social model is a do nothing policy I don't know!

Larry Arnold PhD FRSA said...

Jonathon, you do not understand linguistics and semiotics do you.

Fine you don't most people haven't studied them, but take it from someone who has, the concept of seperating disability from impairment is conceptually a valid one even if the language of it is confusing, something I too have complained about.

Forget Welles, read Finkelstein instead. Parables are parables, literary fictions that are instructive in some way, not historical representations of something that actually was.

I give up, there is another parable about a blind man who is cured, it's in the Bible. From that parable we get the expression that there is none so blind as those who will not see. That is to say real blindness is a metaphor for something worse.

jonathan said...

I never said do nothing. I am willing to do all I can for those that are disabled. The problem is these things are offered in lieu of a cure and Ari Ne'eman and others have clearly stated that because these things are available that a cure is not only unnecessary but morally reprehensible (Ne'eman's words). I do not agree. I do not believe that most persons with a legitimate ASD will be able to function in society on par with a typical or healthy (even though I know you find the term "healthy" offensive) person. This is why the search for a cure is necessary.

The existing alternatives, in my opinion, have very little if anything to offer. Even without the elusive cure perhaps better treatments can be found through the science which autism speaks and other organizations which ND protests so much. ND wants to stifle these and claim this research is not necessary and that autistics can do just fine without a cure or even improved treatments that may be found in the future.

Larry Arnold PhD FRSA said...

Foresam, do you know what you have just said.

More than forty years ago the first Autistic society in the world was formed, by parents, like you. They would not accept from the authorities, and this was back in the Bettelheim Era remember, that any child was ineducable.

This is a principle I believe in too, and I tell you those parents would kick your ass from here to eternity if they ever got hold of you denigrating there kids.

Which of cares more for the future of ALL autistic kids, is not the question, the fact that your delusion is denying some of those kids an education and respect is.

Adrianna said...

What a world we could live in if everyone who needed accomodations could get whatever they needed at any time.

Wait...Whose going to pay for you to live on the dole and produce "differently-abled" children who will also live on the dole? Whose going to pay for expensive accomodations for these people to hold jobs, which won't guarantee your ability to hold any job you want anyway?

I wish NDs would stop pretending that the government (and taxpayers) just s*** out money.

And I'm tired to NDs assuming that we WANT to sit around and wait for other people to provide for us. I'm tired of them assuming that we "value" the lessons that being disabled teaches us-to work hard, to be tolerant, etc. unlike those spoiled, selfish NTs.

You wouldn't force your child to starve so s/he would learn the value of budgeting for food or learn empathy for victims of famine, would you? You don't deliberately force children to live through major adversity. Sure, NDs can learn those valuable lessons if they want, but they'd be stupid to intentionally make their lives more difficult.

John Best said...

Kids had much less mercury shot into them to cause autism when Bettleheim was around. Kids like mine were completely incapable of learning anything at all before chelation. Whatever amount of mercury caused your brain to be scrambled was a lot less than kids got in the last 20 years.

Again, shut up until you learn as much about autism as I have.

Droopy said...

The author said...

"[edited so my reply fits]... I don't hear calls to wait until there is a stem cell cure cloning new legs, oh no, that would be ridiculous. One provides a prosthesis or a wheelchair, and then ensures the environment is as suitable for that as it is for ordinarily ambulant people.[...]"

A far more accurate analogy from your;s would be :

What makes the very least sense of all would be when two legged people try to represent the one legged in order to say that one-leggedness is a wonderful thing and people have a 'right' to stay that way that defies any efforts to find future remedies that might bring the one-legged closer to the truly two-legged experience, that this should be forbidden,

trying to prevent that 'stem cell research' and or any other efforts while at once demanding that those who are in fact one legged just give way, sit in the proverbial penalty box of life and wait while the two legged take up existing provisions that two legged don't even need, while at the same time claiming the two experiences are afterall one and the same (a spectrum of leggedness?) is whats really crazy.

and having a leg missing isn't a 'difference' its a disability and it continues to be a disability no matter how many prosthetics you acquire, how people carry you over the hurdle, remove the hurdle, and 'understanding' and 'social provision given, etc etc
These do not magically equate nor will they ever, the two legged experience.

Its actually you guys who are saying otherwise (I wish you'd read the words you yourself are putting out, because that is where I am also reading it, its not "jonathan having a cognitive deficit' -- its what you are actually saying, and if its not what you mean, then try again -- and read my other reply to this very issue I made in another thread).

Since Neurodiversity types don't need any assistance and don't have disabilities its no wonder that you think a disability should be looked at as a 'social model' or a 'social issue'

but it is a medical issue, and these labels you guys adorn yourselves with so proudly (and then get so mad because the labels identify deficits and disabilities)

should stop and think for a moment where these labels exist, why they do (and why its where they do) exist.

Medical conditions are not supposed to look like flowery little philosophical life-affirmations, you don't (or at least most rational people, Neurodiversitees excepted!) go to an educator, a doctor, supports providers because they are 'well'

They go to gain assistance with problems, disorders, challenges, disabilities, and so its only fitting and sensible that these are exactly what are described, for that very purpose.

I really think you people with nothing more than a social issue (and that's what the vast majority of Neurodiversity have and are looking at by the vast majority your own descriptions)

should voluntarily remove yourselves from the medical book (DSM) and the medical community and leave these to those of us for whom the medical model certainly does apply.

According to your line of thinking
You don't need nor do you want a medical diagnosis, so why even have it, why bother with Aspergers and most of all why bother with Autism?

Go talk in general terms about social issues and injustices, heaven knows there are plenty enough of them in this world to talk about and to be truly Neurodiverse" you'd include issues that are global and impact everyone

in that way you (collectively) really could truly be of benefit to all, and a harm to none..

Go forth then be all-purpose social activists and prosper, (with my personal blessing if you do!)

but please, leave the specific issues of the medically disabled which by your own definitions you do not share and therefor should not speak as direct representative of), to the medical and disability community -- please.

Droopy said...

Adding -- (for clarity)

it makes no sense at all to seek out what is a medical diagnosis -- then bitch because a medical diagnosis is exactly what you got.

If you don't like the medical model then nobody's making you use it (so a professional diagnosed you, you have the option to say "no I'm not" "that's not me" -- it doesn't have to define who you are.)

You guys were closer with calling yourselves having "Geek Syndrome" and "Nerd Syndrome"

Not only was that using the same concept someone like Ponce and myself are using, the "taking it back" concept (see that other thread),

when anyone and everyone associates themselves with "Nerd" or "Geek" or "odd man out" or any other, they do so far more honestly and truly inclusively

Hell even I could join up with a "Nerd squad" and honestly so -- and without violating anyone else

you want the validity, some sort of power, credibility or backing, the 'oomph' that having a formal medical label diagnosis provides, but then you want to tear down and dig and claw at just why that 'power' and 'oomph' you seek is there in the first place

and in the process you're trying to defile and dig and claw and tear the same thing down and drag a whole second set of people (Autistics) you're trying to take with you -- and what you're tearing and ripping at is something that we really need

Even if you continue to insist that myself, Jonathan and whoever else 'just aren't getting it'

Consider that the world at large isn't 'getting it' either and this very concept you are spouting is currently being used to deny people supports and services, myself as one of them

I an a nonverbal person who is completely dependent an AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) device (typing-style) to communicate,

yet I have been informed by an agency from whom I need services (ironically one of which would be to help me maintain repair and replace my communicator as/when needed), that I

"don't have any substantiation or qualitative expressive language deficits"

How can that be you may ask?

This is where the concept you are stating comes directly into play, Lawrence.

the concept that because at least some barriers in some settings are removed, my communicator exactly parallels and is the same in every way to your throat and mouth verbalizing skills

Is this because they too 'aren't getting it'?

Even you, Mr typewriter toting man, ever tried typing (on anything) while walking? ever tried to converse this way?

Even at my rate of typing with occasional bursts that can reach 150 wpm -- sometimes, there are issues (quite a few in fact, many having to do with the technicalities of using the device, many others a result of the disability that requires its need in the first place) and while it is adaptive (as in adaptive technology), it is really in no way the same as verbal speaking.

There are people who frequent Jonathan's blog here who've had both telephone and face to face conversations with me who could tell you.

Here on a forum such as this is yet again a 'very different deal' from my communicator, I can type and communicate as well as anyone. here we are all on a truly even playing field.

Does this mean then that I no longer need a communicator?

I hope you are getting just how ridiculous these questions and circumstance I now find myself in are.

The reality is then if we're not getting it, then my experience unfortunately demonstrates all too well that 'the world' does not seem to be getting it either, Lawrence, and its being used to keep me personally specifically from things I need

and if the world isn't getting it (and some of us are actually hurting as a direct result), then maybe, just maybe its really just you.

Stephanie said...

I enjoy reading Astrid's blog because she is obviously very intelligent and writes good posts, even if I don't always agree with them.

I also believe that she currently lives in an institution because she was unable to live independently. I also remember reading another piece of hers (perhaps not on her blog) where she stated that she couldn't understand why she couldn't be involved in Neurodiversity even if she isn't independent and is unsuccessful.

So, perhaps she became angry because ND didn't want her and she wanted to be a part of it. But she has obviously decided to be a part of it anyway.

Her definition of ND isn't so bad, it is just too bad not many NDs seem to agree with her, seeing as they didn't want her as part of their "movement."

Astrid is also blind (in case you didn't know).

jonathan said...

Stephanie: Sorry to hear all that about Astrid. I never really read her blog much, except one time when she mentioned me and wrote some critical things about one of my gadfly posts which i did not respond to.

I wish her well and my criticisms of her were not personal.

As far as her blindness is concerned I am reminded of the Helen Keller quote you have on your blog and feel it may apply somewhat to Astrid