Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interesting video from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network

In my most recent post of a few weeks ago, I suggested that the Autistic Self Advocacy Network try to engage in a positive message to solicit charitable donations to their organization rather than tearing down Autism Speaks. 

Apparently they may have taken my suggestion to heart using this video to promote their message. 

In it they use an animated version of a prototypical autistic person which as far as I can tell is a fictional amalgamation of a number of alleged characteristics of autistic people but is probably nothing like any real autistic person, particularly very much unlike the membership of ASAN.

This person is a girl, completely nonverbal, diagnosed as autistic at the age of two.  Though she is unable to speak, she uses a computer on which she can type fluently.  She also has synesthesia and can utilize this as a superior ability to learn words.  Her parents completely accept her, though her brother and some of his friends seem to misunderstand some of her behaviors.  She hates autism speaks and is against them trying to change her autistic behavior. 

I've been to presentations on facilitated communication where they did not bring any autistic persons who used this technique, though alleged there were autistics who could type fluently.  If these people exist then I wonder why the FC proponents did not bring them in so I could get a demonstration of this technique.

I've seen one autistic individual accompanied by an aide who held his hand, while he allegedly typed out messages on a ouiji type board that was not an electronic communicator or computer.

I've seen a few other autistics who couldn't speak but could type out a few simple words and sentences on communication devices.  The words and phrases were quite limited and nothing close to fluent communication.  

One exception to this rule that I've seen first hand is Tito (I don't remember his last name), a boy (probably now young man) from India who was able to type out stuff with one finger using a communicator.  His communication is quite fluent though he has little or no spoken language. 

I've yet to see a single example of a nonverbal autistic person who could type out words fluently on a computer using touch typing with all fingers.  Until I see such a person, I'm going to be cynical that even one of them exists. 

Even more astonishing, this animated individual represents the viewpoint of ASAN, yet is so much unlike the vast majority of the membership of ASAN all of whom are quite verbal.  They were probably mostly diagnosed with Asperger's without a speech delay rather than autism with a speech delay (assuming they were diagnosed at all, other than by a self-administered online quiz or by themselves). 

This video was apparently made to solicit donations to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, who, in the past, have accused Autism Speaks of being Robber Barons who, according to their convoluted logic, somehow steal money from communities and spend it inappropriately.  As I've said before, I don't understand ASAN's reasoning behind this. 

For anyone who wants to view the video, I've linked to it above, enjoy.