Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Autism speaks picks up part of tab for Alex Plank videos

As regular readers of autism's gadfly know, I have written about how neurodiversity idealogues Laurent Mottron and Michelle Dawson have been awarded half a million dollars in funding from autism speaks in spite of the fact they are opposed to the idea that autism is a disorder or disease and this is the basis of autism speaks fundraisers.

Below you can view one in a series of videos made by neurodiversitite Alex Plank and Jack "Cubby" Robison.

You notice this video deals with Wired Magazine writer Steve Silberman, author of the infamous "geek syndrome" article that appeared in that magazine nine years ago or so stating his ambition to write a book detailing the great achievements of those with asperger's throughout history and how many scientific discoveries were made by those on the spectrum.

You can check out the credits in the beginning and at the end of the video and you will notice the logo for Plank's website You also note the logo of another famous autism organization.

Checking with Cubby Robison's father, John Robison, I wondered if autism speaks had funded this video given their name appears in the credits. The answer would seem to be in part yes, they underwrote some of the travel expenses and possibly some other things for Plank's and Robison's video.

We have seen in the past that Plank has wrongly accused autism speaks of intimidating a blogger and getting a website to stop the sale of his t-shirts. Two years after the fact Plank still has this false story on his website and has never offered a retraction or apology.

Alex Plank has some choice words about autism speaks apparently

He states:

Actually, most autistics feel that these nonprofits are doing a disservice to those living with Autism by running campaigns that dehumanize people with the condition and painting an inaccurate picture of what Autism is like. For example, Autism Speaks, the largest Autism organization in terms of financial capital, has no autistic employees and no board members with the condition. They disallow autistic individuals from speaking at their conferences with the rationale that "it wouldn't be appropriate." While a lot of the research they fund may be conducted by good scientists who are unaware of the organization's political slant, Autism Speaks' end-game is establishing prenatal screening. Any good that comes from this research is consequently undermined by the negative messages they send.

In addition to being impressed by Alex's omniscience in knowing what most autistic people think, I am intrigued by the old neurodiversity fear mongering maligning autism speaks by claiming they are trying to establish prenatal screening to abort autistic fetuses when there is no evidence to suggest this whatsoever. I have to wonder why autism speaks would pick up the tab for a person who has treated them in this manner and makes the nasty inflammatory statements that Plank has made about their organization and even written libelous things about them in the past.

It is embarrassing to admit that Robison asked me if I would consider participating in an interview. For a brief moment I said I would consider it though they would have to come here to Los Angeles to interview me. I now realize it was a mistake on my part to consider it for even a moment.

There are autistic people who can't speak and who self-injure themselves and when most of us are unemployed and autism speaks talks about the importance of employing persons with autism in their autism in the workplace dog and pony show in spite of the fact there is not a single example of a person with autism as far as I know who has obtained a job due to any action of autism speaks. There is the fact that many of us can't find romantic relationships, can't get things done during the day, have phobias and have trouble functioning. Gadfly wonders about the priorities of autism speaks and why these videos would be financed in any way shape or form. What would parents such as the well known KGAccount who makes videos of her very low functioning son who will likely never function at a level of an Alex Plank or Jack Robison think if they were donating to AS and participating in walks for the organization if they found out their money was being spent on videos putting such a positive spin on Asperger's. I can only wonder what in the world autism speaks is thinking or why they would consider this money well spent.

I guess there are just some things in this world I will never understand.


Kent Adams said...

Alex looks so fashionable in his lacoste polo and $900 French frame glasses and sporting that tan. Come on, how can he not speak for all autistic people?

Oliver M Canby said...

Hey Jonathan. Why did you disable comments?

jonathan said...

I did not disable comments for this thread. Apparently earlier this afternoon there was some sort of glitch in blogger. At least on this thread. That's all i know about it.

Oliver M Canby said...

Hey Jonathan. The comments are still inaccessible from the main page. You have to click on the article to get to them. Also, this is kind of off topic, but did you know that your story "Mr. Twiddle" is on a neurodiversity website? It's a slightly different version than on your website, and I was wondering if you were aware of this. This man is staunchly neurodiverse, and even has a story by the Autistic Bitch from Hell who's actually Meg Evans, so I doubt you'd have consented to him putting your story on his website. Please fill me in on the details if there are any.

jonathan said...

Hi Oliver I have tried the comments, without my google sign in just commenting anonymously from the home page and they work fine, I may have to try to go to the library and use their computer on monday. I am not sure what the problem with the commenting is that you are having, maybe it is at your end. I really don't know anything about it other than that. Maybe some ND has hacked into my account.

Yes, I know about Mr. Twiddle being on Bonnie Ventura's web page and I consented to having it there. Though I have disagreed with what Ms. Ventura has said and also autism diva, whose blog you may not remember because she has not posted in a long time I did have a somewhat friendly relationship with them at one time and Ms. Ventura said she liked my short story and asked me if she could post it on her page and I consented.

A few years ago, some person in the ND movement was accusing me of lying about having been in a special ed school because I went there prior to enactment of the IDEA in 1975, claiming there were no special ed schools then until I showed him the website of my "alma mater" showing that it was established in 1948 making him eat my words. Ms. Ventura stuck up for me in a private email saying her parents had talked about putting her in special ed so she knew i was not lying and she criticized this person and I appreciated it. This was a factor in consenting to have my short story printed there.

If you or anyone else thinks I have sold out because of this I don't know what I can tell you.

Anonymous said...

The first 10 mins. of the clip, Alex jumps in by trying too hard to
be funny. Why does he even cover his mouth while he's imitating the
lame Autism Talk TV slogan? That's a gay mannerism, and he needs to learn how to control them better.

Next, even when selecting the "Show All" option on the video,
the picture isn't centered enough.
No wonder he couldn't major in film & media studies!

Now, when talking about this video, was it necessary to make a big deal about why it's the 7th video. Just look at how abnormal it is for him to express himself!

Ok, now I'll have to disagree with
Steve Silberman on what he says about people on the autistic spectrum contributing to society. Actually, he has the whole concept backwards because it's the Internet that's making things easier for aspies to survive in the workforce. If it weren't for technology, the world would be more difficult for autistic people. It's not that most aspies in general invented technology; only exceptional ones who were able to do so despite their disability.

Now here's the funniest part of the whole video:

Jeff pointed out about the time Steve bought them lunch when it was actually dinner. It sucks being corrected, doesn't it? Well, maybe if autism could be cured, you wouldn't be corrected nearly as much! Oh, then before that line, Alex uses the word "scoop" for a second time in a row when he should have referred to this as being "the first step".

I also love how Alex points out that the dinner was expensive and for the way he said it! LoL! Was that necessary to say? Come on! Why would I want to know that? At least the train part was interesting, but that's not because I'm autistic and I'm supposed to love trains. Loving trains, particularly in autistic children, is about as common as everyone loving ice cream!