Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Again the question of neurodiversity and "human rights"

When I first began writing this blog, I gave a response to an angry rant by one Michelle Dawson claiming that because I was opposed to neurodiversity-the idea that autism is a disorder and not a normal genetic variation or an alternative form of brain wiring-that I'm opposed to the idea of "human rights" for autistic people.

Recently this phony baloney strawman issue has come to the fore again. This was in response to an article written by a young woman on the autism spectrum who writes under the pen name of Gwendolyn Kansen.  This article got a fair amount of traction on twitter and Facebook and recently appeared high in the google news search under "autism".  Because Ms. Kansen's article made somewhat of an impact, some people in ND felt they should attack her.  Though I don't agree with all of Ms. Kansen's article, she does make a few valid points.  She gives a lot of examples of how autism can be extremely disabling and an intrinsic disorder, rather than something that can be accommodated for by society and cease to be disabling.  For this reason, some individual in the neurodiversity movement who refuses to even sign an internet stage name has tried to refute Kansen's point, by repeatedly stating that this only means she opposes "human rights".

I believe that all people (not just autistic people) have the right not to be discriminated against and treated with dignity.  This does not mean that the American's with Disabilities act give those on the autism spectrum the right to behave however they please on a job, despite what Ari Ne'eman has stated about "social architecture" and overlooking social unpleasantries in the workplace.

In the case of McElwee the federal court of appeals ruled that overlooking autism when the individual who behaves badly on the job and makes untoward advances to women is not a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.  Nor can someone just ask for understanding on the job and expect to be accommodated when they are ill-suited for the profession.

In the case of wandering, it is not a violation of an individuals rights to protect them from drowning or being run over by a car as various members of the neurodiversity movement have suggested.  Parents have a right to place their child under a conservatorship if they can't take care of themselves.  It would be a violation of their right to be alive if they were not protected from wandering in spite of Neurodiversity's unsuccessful attempt to eliminate the wandering codes some years ago.

I do agree that children have the right not be shocked at the Judge Rottenberg center though I suppose it's still legal in that state, though illegal in california where I live to do that.  Hopefully the FDA or state legislatures elsewhere will take care of that.

Though I can't argue about the strawman the author repeatedly says of Gwen Kansen (and others myself included) wanting to deliberately violate the rights of autistic people, let's examine some of the points they make.

Because Kansen and others point out that many autistic people have IQ's below 70, she does not mean that they don't have human rights, only that neurodiversity is violating their right, by speaking for them on the subject of a cure or other autism-related issues when they are ill-suited to do so due to having an intellectual disability.  So if anyone is the human rights abusers it's ND.

When Kansen writes about experiences she had with a bad boyfriend, she is not saying she is opposed to human rights, but only that autism has issues that are intrinsic to itself that can't be accommodated for.

The police did not have the right to "summarily execute" Kayden Clarke, but if he really did try to attack them with a knife, they did have a right to shoot him to save their own lives.  If this is what really happened, then it's not a "human rights" violation as the author states.

Kansen also points out the case of Sky Walker, who was so severely disabled by his autism, he killed his own mother, but then the author of the rebutting article just turns this around and mentions the red herring of the disabilities mourning list of all the autistic people who were killed by others stating that she and I are opposed to autistics having the right not to be killed by their caretakers.  Only a member of the ND movement would be capable of this sort of sophistry.

I won't go into the other specific points, but this article again sums it up linking to another article stating that all of these problems autistics have could be solved if they are accommodated for and their "human rights" were not violated.  I'm still waiting for the neurodiversity movement to be more specific about how i'm opposed to human rights, or more importantly to state how and why autistics could be accommodated for and how this would solve all of the problems and challenges that autistics have, as Ari Ne'eman, and other members of ND, including someone the author links to in their articles states that autism is only a disability because it has not been properly accommodated for and it would cease to be a disabling condition if this would happen.

However, what about my human rights.  Do I have the right not to be called all manner of names like "asshole", "butt wipe"  "turdball" because I disagree with them publicly.  Do I have the right not to have them write libelous statements about me, make fun of my disability and state that I would choose to have this handicap because all or most autistics want to remain autistic.  Or stating that I'm like a jew who sympathized with the nazis during the holocaust.  Or calling my mother bad names or stating that she's a threat to the autism community as one individual commented on Newsweek's site after they published an article profiling me.   

Before neurodiversity uses the strawman of "human rights" again, I feel they should do a better job of respecting mine.