Harold Doherty last week built himself an army of strawmen in order to demoinse the neurodiversity movement. I and many people left comments that were never published so I wrote the above linked post to demonstrate to Mr Doherty how illogical, ill-thought out and just plain old wrong his points were. He never responded but it seems Mr Doherty is never one to let a little thing like accuracy cloud his opinions.
Today I see a post entitled ‘Is The Neurodiversity Movement Ashamed of Lower Functioning Autistic Persons?’ to which the short answer is ‘uhhh, no – whatever gave you that idea?’
Luckily Mr Doherty proceeds to tell us what gave him that idea. Strawmen ++
It seems at times that the Neurodiversity Movement is ashamed of the lower functioning members of the autism world. Autism is defined by the ND movement as simply another natural variation of human wiring.
No it isn’t. That is one _aspect_ of what autism is.
“Autistic intelligence” is defined as a different, perhaps even a superior form of intelligence.
Might be. There seems to be good evidence for extraordinary mental skills in some autistic people.
Doubt is cast on whether lower functioning autistic persons even exist by the more strident ND’ers.
Really? Where? Who says that?
Even autistic persons who have demonstrated no communication skills, engage in seriously and repetitively self injurious and dangerous behavior should not be treated or cured in the view of the ND movement.
Ditto. At some point Mr Doherty you’re going to have to start _providing some sources_ – all this alarmist arm waving is mildly entertaining but ultimately just silly and self defeating.
Recently CNN’s Dr. Gupta featured the story of Amanda Baggs, diagnosed as being a low functioning autistic person, but clearly very intelligent and, with the aid of technology, an excellent communicator. The implied message – even low functioning autistic persons are really quite intelligent and do not need a cure or treatment.
Nothing at all was implied. It seemed quite clear to me. Amanda does not need a cure. I believe she has had some treatments of mixed efficacy at various points in her life. Your implication seems to be – and feel free to turn up and correct me if I’m wrong – that silly old Amanda can’t possibly know what’s good for her and she can have no empathy with other low functioning autistic people, whereas the Great Mr Doherty knows all. He knows for example that silly old Amanda doesn’t know what’s good for her.
Unfortunately Dr. Gupta played into this denial of the existence of truly low functioning autistic persons by continuing a long history of media focus on autistic savants and other high functioning autistic persons while ignoring the sometimes brutal realities which confront low functioning, seriously disabled, autistic persons.
Yeah, or maybe we could discard the conspiracy theory and conclude that this particular piece wasn’t about that aspect of autism?
My autistic son, Conor, is a low functioning autistic person who brings me great joy. I delight in talking about how happy he makes me every single day. But, unlike members of the Neurodiversity I am not ashamed to admit the severe challenges he faces in life and I am not afraid to talk about them publicly.
I wonder how Conor feels about that and whether Mr Doherty would care?
Anyway, the point is that no one I know is ashamed to admit the severe challenges autistic people face in life. In fact, that’s kind of the point. To highlight these kind of things. Here I’ll say it in the plain English that I reserve exclusively for people incapable of appreciating shades of grey:
Autistic people face severe challenges in life. I am not ashamed to admit this publicly. I am however, afraid to talk about them publicly because when I did, various people who wanted to cure their kids were vicious about her. So now I and my wife talk about her in a private closed access blog which is open to friends and family only.
Unless such public discussion takes place there will be no improvements for Conor and other autistic persons like him. Of course that is exactly why the Neurodiversity movement attempts to censor such discussion.
I love accusations of censorship that come from men like Mr Doherty who actively censor their own blogs and refuse to participate in debate. Its always good for a chuckle.
I _think_ Mr Doherty is alluding to the revulsion some of us have for Autism Speaks and their one sided propaganda piece ‘Autism Every day’. We don’t want to censor it Mr Doherty. We (all 748 – so far – of us) want to expand it to truly reflect the reality of ‘Autism Every day’. Not just the self pity bits. If you don’t want these parts included then I think you need to carefully look at how that holds up against your accusations of censorship.