Saturday, October 5, 2013

John Robison to teach course on neurodiversity

I came across this article stating that well-known Asperger's author John Elder Robison is going to not only teach a course on neurodiversity but is going to be a scholar in residence at William and Mary College in spite of the fact that he never completed high school. 

Aside from the obvious inanity of a high school dropout being a college professor, the article lists Robison's definition of neurodiversity: 

Neurodiversity is the idea that humanity is by nature neurologically diverse – we have different ways of thinking that are founded in structural brain differences – and that diversity is essential to our success as a species

This is a different definition than Michelle Dawson gave me which states the neurodiversity is the idea that neurologically divergent people have basic human rights.  It also differs from the Wikipedia definition:

Neurodiversity is an approach to learning and disability which suggests that diverse neurological conditions appear as a result of normal variations in the human genome.[citation needed] This term was coined in the late 1990s as a challenge to prevailing views of neurological diversity as inherently pathological, and it asserts that neurological differences should be recognized and respected as a social category on a par with gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status.

Neurodiversity is also an international online disability rights movement which has been promoted primarily by the autistic self-advocate community (though other disability rights groups have joined the neurodiversity movement). This movement frames neurodiversity as a natural human variation rather than a disease, and its advocates reject the idea that neurological differences need to be (or can be) cured, as they believe them to be authentic forms of human diversity, self-expression, and being.

So, it would appear the gist of ND as we know it is that certain individuals should live their lives as cripples and be handicapped. 

So, essentially what Robison says is that if certain individuals were not disabled(he has stated he no longer has any disability whatsoever) we'd have some sort of failure of the homo sapien species.  I'm curious what Robison believes would happen to our species if autism and other neurologic conditions were cured.  I'm also curious as to what scientific evidence he can provide that this would be the case. 

Robison, who serves in an advisory capacity to autism speaks as well as the federal government, has stated his beliefs on whether or not autism is a disease and whether or not a cure should be found:

All of the science to date says autism is founded in structural differences in the brain. Differences are stable things. They are not diseases in need of a cure. Taking away the difference is – to me – tantamount to changing to another person. In any case, the idea of such brain configuration is in the realm of science fiction today.

Robison, who is not disabled (by his own say so) seems to have a flippant attitude toward those of us who are disabled and who would want a cure for our conditions.  So, I have to wonder if this course Robison will be teaching will state that kids who pound their heads into walls, can't speak, wander off and die in accidental drownings and are hit by cars are not diseased.

This Curriculum and Robison's involvement in it is insulting to me as an individual who is disabled and has to live a less satisfying life than someone who is not neurodivergent. 


Ian MacGregor said...

My sister is facing her fourth battle with cancer, or as I choose to call it mitotic diversity. It will probably kill her this time, but isn't all diversity good?

All diversity is not good, nor are all taxes bad, nor were all congressional earmarks wasteful.

How can I compare cancer with autism. Autism after all is not fatal. Well yesterday, a 12-year old young man was reported missing in the morning, he found in the evening running in the lanes of a freeway. Last night he was in critical condition. He was on that freeway because of his autism. Neurodiversity nearly got him killed. As it is he's in an induced coma.

Even when it doesn't kill it so often leaves its victims unable to function. My daughter cannot communicate, nor perform the most basic of functions without help, others may not have suffered the same degree of intellectual disability or perhaps none at all, but still have problems with holding jobs or maintaining relationships.

There should be a huge outcry for a cure.

Mr Robinson can choose not to avail himself of a cure if it be found. He should not be campaigning against it.

Let it be known I am talking about a search for a real cure or preventative measures, not the quackery prevalent today.

I don't think it is impossible if we put our resources behind it. An international collaboration found the Higgs boson last year. We need the same type of collaboration working on a cure.

Anonymous said...

Except they won't. The system is more interested in funding the kind of science that keeps the elites of our country (USA) in domination over our planet. That's because it's a lot more profitable to keep on treating symptoms continuously than to truly be able to cure disease or disability, since medicine in America is seen as a commodity, not a human right as it is in a lot of other countries, even in places such as Mexico, where they were able to grant their citizens universal care last year. The choice in this country is either to live & let die as autistic or 'accept' neuro-insanity(I mean neurodiversity. That is the only choices available when someone lives under a system that practices neo- Austrian school of economics, but goes by Cultural Marxist thought.