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.


spacecadet262 said...

Another example is Carly Fleischmann, an autistic young woman who cannot speak and has written a book. While I have not read the book, I did read Temple Grandin's most recent book "The Autistic Brain" in which she discusses Carly Fleischmann's book. As I recall, Grandin states that Carly wishes she could be cured of her autism. If all this is true (I have no idea whether it is or not), this would drive a stake into the neurodiversity movement's claims that all non-verbal autistics do not wish to be true.

Anonymous said...

@ Roger Kulp, also let's not forget all the sensory issues that comes along asides, as well as the mental retardation that's there, even after all all the alternative I.Q. testing is taken into account. This video strikes me as propaganda for how as wonderful autism is, as like if so is down syndrome, cohn's disease, HIV/AIDS,etc too. But ASAN's real mission however isn't all about helping autistic as such as part of a broader strategy by various 'victim' groups, whether it'd be GLBT, obese people, other disability,immigration rights,etc to achieve equality, via bringing everyone else down down with them to their level, as if it'll somehow make society a better place for everyone, by everyone being diseased, deformed, disabled, different in some way that is. & this is the ideology behind it all. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_School which like regular marxism is an impossible pipe dream as we all know too well, with me having an even more of a problem with the former. Meanwhile countries such as China, Russia ,whom were fortuitous enough to never go through the 1960s new left 'revolution' as it were, aren't so buying into the PC non-sense. What happens when they finally start to catch up to us in terms of GNP #s & also sci-tech prowess as well? Is America going be left behind because 'rights' groups such as ASAN have succeed in allowing everyone becoming dysfunctional? This whole victim rights thing is part of what is making,along with so many other things as well, America going down the sh!thole. WAKE UP America, while we still have time, before it's too late.

M.J. said...

What a lovely video misrepresenting non-verbal autism. The person in the video can't talk but of course they can use language perfectly well via other channels. I wish it were that easy..

Shanti said...

So Sam. Are you saying that you've had no seizures, no sleeping issues, no elopement issues, no meltdowns, no problems with self-control, no need for mendications, no learning disabilities beyond speaking and apart from disliking loud video games almost no sensory issues? And all your parents had to do was buy you a computer and let you have at it? No pain-stakingingly long hours of expensive therapy either? Gee, that makes you unique!!
That said, I think there are a few people with non-verbal or low verbal autism that can type. Naoki Higashida, the author of The Reason I Jump and Ido Kedar, the author of Ido in Autism Land, come to mind. I don't know if any that can type with all ten fingers, but this does help them communicate. Still, autism difficulties are not limited to speech. Although communication abilities are a positive thing they do no make autism as natural and healthy as being female.

Socrates said...

Here's a real blog by a real non-verbal autistic woman called Emma. It tells a very different story to ASAN's narrative. It's worth reading every post of the blog.

This is autism.

Socrates said...

Idiot boy forgot the link: Emma's The Residential Autist http://theresidentialautist.blogspot.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

The Example in the ASAN video or using Carly Fleischmann as an example for autism, is like using Michael Jordan as an example of a typical person playing basketball. It's deceitful.

Anonymous said...

Now with this return to open warfare tactics, idly wondering if Autism Speaks still allows Neurodiversity 'autistics' to run roughshod all over the Autism Speaks forums (where for so long they've been allowed to run unchecked, to freely and openly harangue and torment parents and anyone else not of their particular bent).

Melt Olckers said...

To touch type with all fingers takes training. I had it as school subject, and it was not easy to master.

As for a non-verbal autistic person that can communicate with electronic devices I would refer you to Canadian Carly Fleischman who by the way is also a university student in her second year.

She is not the only one as I have seen other non-verbals using electronic devices such as laptops and tablets to communicate and even give a lecture. One incident I am aware of that I have seen was two men from England.

This is not anecdotal but proven fact.

M.J. said...


From what I understand Carly Fleischmann has troubling speaking because of her oral-motor oral-motor apraxia. There is a large difference between a person who can't talk because of something like apraxia and someone who can't talk because autism has disrupted their basic communication skills.

In the first case you would expect the person to be able communicate via other channels as it is only the specific method of communication that is disrupted while in the second case that isn't the case.

I went into more depth on the subject and the differences here -