Ignorance adds to stigma, again.

12 Dec

The Los Angeles Times has started a new series on autism. The opening piece is Autism boom: an epidemic of disease or of discovery? It’s a tough piece to write: how to discuss the fact that a big factor behind the rise in autism diagnoses is sociological (which is accurate and good to get out there) without fueling the “parents just want to milk the system” mindset (which is inaccurate and stigmatizing).

I wanted to write about the piece but, instead, a comment has caught my attention. Sue Basko who, by her comments, is rather ignorant about autism and the services/supports available, left the comment below:

Many parents today want a diagnosis of autism spectrum for their child, not only because there is a great deal of funding allocated for services for those children, as the news article explains, but also because this qualifies the child or family to collect a good SSI payment each month. If a family can get a few kids diagnosed with such things, the family can live off the payments. This was caused because welfare payments are so low, welfare is so hard to get, and intact families with both parents present do not qualify for welfare.

The real story would be to check out what percentage of families with child with an autism diagnose are collecting SSI. That is where you will find the real secret behind this “epidemic.” Also, school districts that will receive extra funding for each child with autism will be far more likely to make such a diagnosis.

When I was a kid, there were kids who kept track of details, counted things, paid little attention to others, and seemed socially awkward. There were called future accountants.

I realize there are actual cases of autism, which seems to be a form of retardation. A lot of this spectrum stuff, I think, is based on wanting to collect available funds, without regard for the fact it stigmatizes the children for life to have such a diagnosis.

Anyone who writes a scathing reply should reveal if their family is collecting SSI or if they or their school is in any way collecting funds based on autism.

In a recent comment on her Facebook page, she writes:

THIS MAy not be a big deal for others, but my blog got 800+ hits in the past 16 hours. It means so much to me that people read what I write.

Given this, I am bringing what she writes to a larger audience: the readership of Left Brain/Right Brain. In doing so I am breaking a good rule: don’t blog (or tweet) while angry.

I find it ironic, to say the least, that someone who is actively contributing to the stigma of autism is using this as part of her argument.

Somehow I have missed out on the cash cow that my kid presents to me. I am not able to “live off the payments” that are offered. Heck, I’ve never even been offered SSI (Social Security’s “supplemental Security Income”).

Ms. Basko would be well advised to re-read the article she commented upon. Here’s one segment I would highlight:

Analyzing state data, he identified a 386-square-mile area centered in West Hollywood that consistently produced three times as many autism cases as would be expected from birth rates.

Affluence helped set the area apart. But delving deeper, Bearman detected a more surprising pattern that existed across the state: Rich or poor, children living near somebody with autism were more likely to have the diagnosis themselves.

The rise in autism diagnoses in California has occurred in wealthy areas (for example, West Hollywood), urban areas, and less so in racial/ethnic minorities and people in rural areas. Hispanic immigrants, legal or not, have actually avoided seeking out services due to Proposition 187.

67 Responses to “Ignorance adds to stigma, again.”

  1. Autismum December 12, 2011 at 22:52 #

    WOW! I cannot believe the ignorance of some people and how quick they can be to rush to judgement. Clearly Sue Basko does not understand just how hard it is to get ANY kind of diagnosis and how bereft and lost this can leave many parents and people with autism (as well as other conditions/needs) who simply cannot access services. I’ve heard ridiculous excuses for not diagnosing children, to take the example of my son, I was told “He’s too happy to be autistic.” If any parent WERE to start the diagnosis process with their eyes on a financial prize I doubt they’d break even after appointments, missed work etc, etc, etc that’s without the soul destroying repetition and hoops to jump through. You do it cos you need to.
    Gob smackingly myopic!

  2. goddessoflubbock December 12, 2011 at 23:22 #

    Wow. To see people actually state they think an autism dx is some sort of lotto hit is disconcerting at best.

    This woman has clearly managed to be in one of the minority of families not touched by autism.

    My family did qualify for SSI. I was the breadwinner, DH had to quit his job to stay home for DS, attend the many meetings at school, dr appts, on and on. Mostly the SSI was spent on classes at our local university. Enrichment classes for our Aspie who was lightyears ahead of his teachers in topics like science.

    It saddens me that people of such ignorance have a voice to spread it. I’ll bet she also thinks everyone with handicap parking and no wheelchair is faking!

  3. sharon December 12, 2011 at 23:37 #

    This is a very frustrating narrative.
    I blogged about this when Allen Frances came out making similar accusations a while back so my comments remain the same,

    • Sullivan December 12, 2011 at 23:53 #

      After reading her facebook page, she’s clearly a troll. I regret giving her more attention. She can’t back up her claims. She’s just posing speculation as fact, but will neither support what she says nor back down in the light of evidence. Heck, she didn’t even understand the very article she was commenting upon.

      She’s big on the occupy movement. I sent her a tweet about what would she do if people decided to occupy her front yard. I shouldn’t have done it, but I want to see if she claims that as a “threat” (which would mean she doesn’t understand the occupy movement at all), or if she understands that she is using her position of privilege (which I assume given her ignorance of disability issues) to increase stigma.

      • Sullivan December 13, 2011 at 00:36 #

        “troll” may not be the accurate label. She clearly spoke from ignorance. The question is whether she’s up to admitting the mistake.

  4. Liz Ditz December 13, 2011 at 01:42 #

    Sully, thank you for writing this. I was so irate last night that I couldn’t form a coherent sentence.

    Sue Basko is 1000% ignorant about autism.

    I left two messages on her FB page herein

    Wherein she brags about confronting somebody who was upset about her comments. Let’s see what happens.

  5. Science Mom December 13, 2011 at 02:10 #

    I’ve got to hand it to you Liz, you were far more gracious than I could have been. This woman makes such astoundingly ignorant and offensive statements about autism, diagnoses, services and families of autistic children and then compounds her contempt with obnoxious taunting of those who call her out. Her ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ appear to be in like company. Blech.

  6. stanley seigler December 13, 2011 at 03:14 #

    sad society is on basko’s side…they would rather give tax breaks to the rich folks than quality programs for special needs folks…they (our compassionate, christian, conservatives) consider them “useless eaters”…

    stanley seigler

  7. Liz Ditz December 13, 2011 at 03:52 #

    Thanks ScienceMom! I was wearing my TPGA editor’s hat. It’s related to the attitude that Pete Wright (Wrightslaw) teaches for discussions with the school about your child with disabilities: a combination of Miss Manners and Columbo.

  8. Science Mom December 13, 2011 at 04:06 #

    @ Liz, she deleted your excellent comments.

    • Sullivan December 13, 2011 at 04:13 #

      Luckily, I had a browser window still open with the comments

      • Sullivan December 13, 2011 at 04:22 #

        Oddly enough, she left up her own dismissive comments. Someone called her to complain about her comments:

        Sue Basko lol. SHe said she cried when she read what I wrote and told me to get educated. I told her to go get herself educated, even read the news article.

        To which a FB friend said:

        Ernesto Camacho Well sadly some people feel that different oppinions equals ignorance :/

        She responded (and this is where it got embarrassing for Ms. Basko)

        Sue Basko lol — Hers does. hahha.

        and then:

        Sue Basko No, seriously, this is a topic that NEEDs to be addressed.

        But, when this topic was addressed, politely and accurately by Liz Ditz, she deletes the comment?

      • Sullivan December 13, 2011 at 04:30 #

        and more, referring to the fact that the woman who tried to contact Sue Basko was crying:

        Amy Basko Gudmundson Cried???!!!, I know people that would disagree with you on everything, but cry????wtf? get life.

        to which Sue Basko responded

        Sue Basko ?@Amy – lol I thought same thing.

        I wish Ms. Basko well. Mostly I wish her the courage to confront her ignorance.

  9. Liz Ditz December 13, 2011 at 04:28 #

    AND blocked me! Wow. Now she’s vexed me mightily.

    I also can’t find the original comment on the LATimes page….wonder if she deleted that too.

    That’ll larn me to take screen shots. I got lazy yesterday.

  10. Chris December 13, 2011 at 04:38 #

    And people wonder why I don’t do Facebook.

    By the way, my son is considered to functional to qualify for the state’s Department of Developmental Disabilities. Unfortunately he may now qualify for SSI due now that his genetic heart condition is making it impossible for him to even walk to the bus stop. Oh, and I have been a bit distracted since Labor Day Weekend due to his cardiac issues (I have a stack of forms from two university clinics to fill out in front of me).

    I wonder what she thinks of those kids with physical but invisible disabilities.

  11. Liz Ditz December 13, 2011 at 04:44 #

    I bet since she blocked me on FB I can’t see her comment. HAH! Ve haf wayz.

  12. Kaade December 13, 2011 at 08:11 #

    The fact that Basko is an entertainment lawyer could help to explain the sorry state of corporate-produced music.

  13. ebohlman December 13, 2011 at 08:14 #

    Autismum: rush to judgment is spot on; Rush Limbaugh has done more than anyone else to promote the notion that childhood disabilities are primarily a tool for parents to collect welfare benefits. It’s a total staple of right-wing talk radio (along with the notion that most childhood disabilities are the result of mothers using illegal drugs).

  14. farmwifetwo December 13, 2011 at 14:49 #

    She is right in one respect…. in the Ontario school system the ONLY dx that will get you some piddling services is an ASD one. My cousin – who is a teacher – was told to get her severely ADHD son an ASD dx so they could help him.

    BUT, due to the “autism is a difference” crap, those with children with Asperger’s have lost their Disability Tax Credit… and FWIW… that’s a good chunk of your taxes returned at the end of the year. http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3211701

    The money is hard to come by, the services moreso.

  15. missmayinga December 13, 2011 at 17:14 #

    To be honest, I doubt that the “autism as difference” crowd is really at fault here – they don’t really have too much of a presence in the political mainstream, as far as I know. More likely, it’s a budget thing – I’m not sure what it’s like in Ontario, but here in the US, services for people with disabilities tend to get the cut pretty often.
    FWIW though, from my experiences in that crowd, they’re mostly talking about changing the social perception of autism – not necessarily how/if it’s treated. Of course, the problem is that both of those things – the “pathological” perception and the access to treatment – are tied to its legal and medical classification as a disability. There’s a similar discussion in the trans* community about whether or not gender identity disorder should be in the DSM – some people feel that classifying it as a mental illness is insulting, along the same lines as classifying homosexuality as an illness; but other people are afraid that removing the diagnosis will make it harder for people to obtain the services they need.

  16. Kassiane December 14, 2011 at 10:01 #

    Yes, keep beating up that nonexistent straw aspie.

    There’s no one demanding fewer services for autistics, at least no one actually autistic.

    inb4cutesieclub & other inanity

  17. McD December 14, 2011 at 10:52 #

    Ignorant is right. We don’t get any benefits other than teacher’s aide, respite care and school holiday program. We are grateful for these as they are help us cope with the additional demands of a child with ASD, but none are any form of payment or benefit to the parents (apart from assistance with the child). What an idiot statement!

    At our last assessment for Intellectual Disability services the assessor warned us that we may not qualify for services for much longer. We have been getting (self-funded) ABA behavior therapy since the lad was two. He is doing great academically – in the top half of his class for literacy and numeracy. But he needs a one-on-one teacher’s aide – to keep him on task. In the absence of the aide he is prone to running out of the class to the nearest mud puddle, has taken all his gear off, streaked around the school, and on one occasion jumped into wet concrete.

    Because he is doing great academically, he apparently not longer qualifies as “intellectually disabled”. The various public services have no category for a behavioral disorder -absent ID- that prevents participation in schooling. Without the teacher’s aide he could not go to school at all. He goes to a Catholic school, and they have really been fantastic accommodating special needs kids(they have one other autistic, a blind kid, and a really small little person kid – not sure what to call a 5 year-old little person, other than very little). They put a swimming-pool-standard fence around the whole school for my boy – he is a runner. Without constant supervision in class, he is simply up and out of there.

    But because we have done so much work, and the lad has shown he is academically capable (when he is not streaking around the school naked) he is at risk of losing services. At our last search-and-rescue police call-out, the lad was found 4 hours later, 6km from home, stark naked on his scooter. In spite of his entirely a-social behavior, he doesn’t fit any normal definition of disability. We just got back from end of school mass at the cathedral. At the important bit where the priest was holding the wafer aloft and some magic was happening (in case you have not worked it out, it is my husband who is the Catholic) Marcus decided to start screaming “donuts! donuts!” Then started insisting we go to Macdonald’s (my bribe for wearing uniform at that time of night)

    Could have been worse, last Christmas he was dragged in screaming “No Jesus, No Jesus!”.

    I invite anyone who thinks Marcus just has a “trendy” diagnosis, to come and babysit for any evening. Marcus has “broken” one live-in nanny and a number of after school carers this year.

  18. Kassiane December 14, 2011 at 18:41 #

    I’ll babysit! Not because I’d ever think he has a trendy dx (I mean, really…I cannot believe people think that) but because I like hanging out with autistic kids. And I’m very high energy.

    /only half kidding

  19. Calli Arcale December 14, 2011 at 21:47 #

    In addition to the ignorance about how difficult autism really is for a family, two thoughts pop into my head:

    1) If a hypothetical family is getting the diagnosis purely for monetary gain, then it stands to reason they don’t have a very severe case. After all, a severe case would have gotten the diagnosis (under the sort of logic displayed in that comment, anyway). In which case, why does she think they’d qualify for SSI?

    2) Living off of SSI? Seriously? What part of “supplemental” is confusing? I have a good friend who gets SSI because he is blind. He is able to hold down a full-time job, but he can’t drive and he needs a lot of assistive devices. This limits the sorts of jobs he’s able to get, as our public transportation in the Twin Cities frankly stinks. He’s in IT, and he has a supportive employer, but if it weren’t for SSI, he wouldn’t have been able to survive financially. It’s not a very big check, but it helps a great deal.

    I know there are a few people who somehow manage to game the system and live off of welfare, but I’ve never met one. Everybody I’ve met on welfare and/or disability and/or social security as their sole retirement income is barely scraping by. A couple of them are on food stamps. Yet the extreme right lunatic fringe treats these people as the anomaly, even though they are the vast majority of the users of the system, and are perfectly willing to throw them under the bus to fight the indignity of taxpayer money funding a bunch of conniving layabouts. (Which, oddly enough, to me seems like a better description of the financial CEOs who got their golden parachutes funded by TARP.)

  20. Stephanie December 14, 2011 at 22:56 #

    It’s amazing that she thinks she’s lifting herself up in others’ eyes by making ignorant, inflamatory and stigmatizing generalizations.

  21. Science Mom December 14, 2011 at 23:56 #

    It’s amazing that she thinks she’s lifting herself up in others’ eyes by making ignorant, inflamatory and stigmatizing generalizations.

    You mean that the number of hits on your blog isn’t a good metric for how speshul you are? [/sarcasm]

    • Sullivan December 15, 2011 at 00:16 #

      She has spent a considerable time contacting as many of Liz Ditz’ twitter contacts claiming, well, all sorts of things.


      Over 100 tweets to Liz’ contacts. Over 10 hours on twitter focused on this.

      Her facebook page is back up, and edited. She removed the comment to the LA Times. She added a post about her support of an autistic inmate in Illinois, and added what I would say are defamatory comments against Ms. Ditz.
      (Ms. Basko may be unaware that Ditz is a real name. Pronounced “Deetz”.)

      Sue Basko, Lawyer for Music and Film
      URGENT INFORMATION: Dear Friends and Followers, My family and I are being stalked by a direly mentally unstable woman. I have contacted law enforcement authorities. If ANYONE of you is contacted in any way by a strange, hostile person, or has such a person send you messages or posts, PLEASE let me know so I can let police know. This is a VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION and I am sorry to have to let you know this way. This person uses MULTIPLE profiles and names — some women of different ages, some men and even an “organization” or two. She is DANGEROUS! Any “weird” posts appearing here are from this person. Sorry again, and please be aware of this horrifying situation.

      As you can see from the screenshot above, Ms. Ditz’s comment to Sue Basko on Facebook was quite clear and polite. She used her real name, and only her real name.

      I wish Ms. Basko well. I wish her better.

  22. Liz Ditz December 15, 2011 at 01:17 #

    This person uses MULTIPLE profiles and names—some women of different ages, some men and even an “organization” or two. She is DANGEROUS!

    I like the way I have superpowers (and I’m not even autistic!) I have the power to post to her facebook page using her identity! I have the power to appear as multiple identities!

    But seriously, I do hope her family members are aware of her behavior.

  23. Science Mom December 15, 2011 at 01:29 #

    Oh my goodness; she’s off the rails. If there is anything I can do to help you Liz, please let me know.

  24. passionlessDrone December 15, 2011 at 01:49 #

    Seriously you guys. I don’t do facebook, as a rule. But I am totally willing to log in to slam this fucking idiot. I also don’t twitter, but I am also encouraged to try it out just to blast her account with nonsense. I know you aren’t supposed to fight crazy, just get it out of your life, and maybe they’ve found me on a bad day or something, but I’m feeling sort of cantankerous towards this individual and more or less appreciate the idea of pushing her buttons.

    – pD

    • Sullivan December 15, 2011 at 02:38 #


      she will just claim you are another ‘nym for Liz Ditz and ratchet up the attack again.

    • Sullivan December 15, 2011 at 02:48 #

      I’ve tried to find out where she gets her ideas about SSI. For those who have tried to find out about what she thinks, you are aware that she is big on the occupy movement.

      She is concerned that there are groups who are goading others to do illegal acts. And, that these people are on SSI with mental disability involving paranoia. Here is a segment of something she wrote recently:

      1) Real AGENTS PROVOCATEURS — “REVOLUTIONARIES or “TERRORISTS” – Some people actually belong to a supposed revolutionary or terrorist group. These groups are real. The FBI and NSA keep lists of them. The vast majority of these groups are just a bunch of hot air and usually boring as all get-out, self-important, and often, from my observation, with main members who are on SSI for some mental disability that involves paranoia. So while they have no job, they have plenty of time to be a “revolutionary” and talk big. Others are professors or part-time professors with secure jobs. Others work for non-profits. Others are retired. What I am saying is that most of them are not risking much by getting you to do something stupid.

      emphasis added.

  25. Liz Ditz December 15, 2011 at 02:32 #

    Hi ScienceMom and PD!

    Thanks, SM, but I’m fine.

    And PD, I’d really prefer it if you leave the woman alone on FB. It seems clear she has issues. I don’t want to provoke another storm — or even litigation stuff. I just don’t need that in my life now.

  26. Liz Ditz December 15, 2011 at 02:33 #

    PD, I should have added, I appreciate your support. Feel free to come over to my blog and vent righteous indignation — but I am editing out her name and I’ll modify any cusswords.

  27. Liz Ditz December 15, 2011 at 02:47 #

    ColoradoMom has written a great post:

    There’s an excellent open letter to the entertainment lawyer, An Open Letter to Sue


    It ends:

    I plead with you to not only retract your statement (and subsequent laughing at us on your facebook profile) but to also issue an apology. Not to me, not to the other parents you hurt, but to our children. Don’t you think my son has enough to deal with in his life? He doesn’t need to grow up knowing people like you think he’s any less of a person because of a disorder he has that makes him think and act differently than you.

    I also encourage you to spend time with a family that is living with autism, even if it’s for a few hours. Try going to the grocery store with them, or to a speech or behavior therapy session. Try sharing a meal with them or even just sit and chat for a few minutes. I guarantee you will have a different view on families dealing with autism if you cared enough to know what they deal with everyday.

    Go over and read the whole thing & leave a comment

  28. Liz Ditz December 15, 2011 at 03:18 #

    Evidently there were some ehm…. heated emails being exchanged between the entertainment attorney and at least one if not more mothers of children with autism last night.

    This might explain why she thinks I use multiple identities, or felt threatened.

    • Sullivan December 15, 2011 at 03:27 #

      Is it too much to ask that she apologize to you, since you were not the source of those emails? Can she be convinced of that fact?

  29. Liz Ditz December 15, 2011 at 03:45 #

    I just sent you the emails. I don’t think she’s …. well, you read the emails.

    And for everybody else reading along, Sully knows me personally, and is qualified to evaluate the statements she made about me in the emails.

    I don’t expect an apology.

    • Sullivan December 15, 2011 at 03:58 #

      A I said above: I wish her well. I wish her better.

  30. Parent December 15, 2011 at 06:01 #

    We can’t stop here – this is bat country!

  31. Liz Ditz December 15, 2011 at 06:47 #

    Hi Parent — thanks for all your comments chez moi, and the support.

    As it turns out, noted blogger-of-truth ToddW of Harpocrates Speaks has done just that with How Not To Make A Fool Of Yourself On The Internet. I’m really greatful.

  32. Quokka December 15, 2011 at 07:31 #

    Man this makes my blood boil. I am a registered psychologist that works with families of children with disabilites and you know what Sue – they are regularly reduced to tears of frustration at the blatant discrimination and just plain narrow mindedness of people like you! The arrogance of people who think they know the lives, pain, struggles, achievements of other families not like theirs is intolerable.

  33. julia December 15, 2011 at 09:12 #

    So, so sad all of these misunderstandings, the world seems rife with them now. Then the over-reactions leading to more non-understandings. Does this lawyer need to hit one of those clown punching bags that stand back up for more abuse multiple times? [Here it is: “Bozo the Clown Bop Bag Inflatable Punching Toy”] then take many extra deep breaths ?

    This is so bizarre to me.—Does her Hollywood work predispose her to think up such foolish scenarios [that you of all people would be a dangerous stalker?]? Humans are so variable, changeable, protean, changing, inconstant, varying, wavering, mercurial, fickle, capricious, unsteady, unfixed, unstable, uncertain, undependable, unpredictable, fluctuating, vacillating, mutable, chameleonic, chameleon-like a species. [yeah, I had to use the whole thesaurus entry to express my frustration]

  34. Clay December 15, 2011 at 10:40 #

    So, so tired of the ignorance of people like Sue. Got tired of dealing with them some time ago. It seems so futile to try to educate them.

  35. julia December 16, 2011 at 00:54 #

    O.K. I **think** I have a theory here explaining her behavior. She is a Hollywood lawyer. She gets business by her reputation [just like movie stars I guess]. Her name is connected to her reputation thus her livelihood. So, in this case what would rescue her? She does not want to go to the trouble of changing her name so, her only option is to make it a “he said, she said” [she/she in this case] situation. To admit her mistake would brand her as heartless and ignorant [rather than clever –like she thot she was]. So, she dreams up an explanation that would leave her reputation an “out”. The **other** person is a stalker [just like movie stars get, right?] and is trying to make her look bad. So, if potential clients see “the screenshot” she can just say that it is all made-up by an “evil” person. The idea of “reporting to the FBI” attempts to make her story believable because that is what you do with stalkers, right?

    This all may be obvious to some people, but I have to spell it out for myself to solve this mystery of human behavior. Posting it here would help confirm [or not] that my thinking is not way off because of my ASD. I wonder if this is the kind of thinking she uses to advise her high-profile clients. So sad that this is what the world has come to.[?] Twisted!

  36. Sullivan December 16, 2011 at 01:26 #


    that’s as good as anything I can come up with.

    Of course, she could have just said, “Hey, you know what? I didn’t really think this through. I’m sorry.”

  37. Andrew December 16, 2011 at 02:38 #

    “Evidently there were some ehm…. heated emails being exchanged between the entertainment attorney and at least one if not more mothers of children with autism last night.

    This might explain why she thinks I use multiple identities, or felt threatened.”

    Ah. She finds it easier to imagine that there’s one insane person out to get her, than that she’s offended a large community of people with her ignorant insults.

  38. Quokka December 16, 2011 at 04:47 #

    Hi Sullivan – I don’t get why it is so hard for people to say exactly that. I have been working with families and people with disabilities for over 20 years and sometimes I get it wrong. I make an assumtion or misunderstand about what needs to happen next or what matters most to them right now and I simply look them in the eye and say – sorry I made a mistake, have you got time right now to talk about it?

    It is good to be reminded that I am no expert on anyone elses family or needs.

  39. David N. Brown December 16, 2011 at 06:45 #

    I met an aspie who said he met someone else (NOT w/ASD) who actually quit his job when he found out he could qualify for some kind of government disability payouts (not sure if it was SSI). The result was that he was leaning on the guy I talked to for a place to keep his stuff. Possible moral: Living off wellfare may be a myth, but it’s a myth strong enough for real people to try it.

  40. Craig Willoughby December 16, 2011 at 15:29 #

    I know I don’t agree with a lot of what is said on this site, or on Liz Ditz’s site. But the ignorance that this woman spouted in that article infuriates me.

    Yeah…I had my son diagnosed with Autism so that I can get the benefits…uh huh. Maybe she should tell SSI that so that I CAN get benefits. I pay for most of my son’s ABA, OT, PT, and medications out of pocket because SSI says that I “make too much money.” Yep, rolling in the dough here.

    In other words, I’m behind you guys 100% on this one, and I appreciate Liz standing up and saying something to that insulting woman.

    I don’t think we’ll see an apology, but I appreciate what you’ve done nonetheless.

  41. Liz Ditz December 17, 2011 at 19:49 #

    Thanks Craig.

    One of the reasons I stood up is that your story is so common, but the myth of autism-diagnosis-for-parental-enrichment seems really common. It’s infuriating.

  42. Prometheus December 17, 2011 at 20:47 #

    Having fairly recently gone through the process of getting an autistic person qualified for SSI, I actually laughed at Ms. Basko’s comments.

    To begin with, a “diagnosis of autism” counts for nothing in getting someone qualified for SSI. You need to document specific disabilities – e.g. speech impairment, intellectual impairment, etc. – that prevent the person from working. Simply being diagnosed as “autistic” gets you nothing.

    Secondly, even with full disability, SSI pays a bit over $600 a month, less (a bit over $400 a month) if the person is living with family (or not paying room and board for other reasons).

    Obviously, Ms. Basco was speaking from a position of ignorance. Her continued defense of her indefensible statements are a vain attempt to avoid admitting that she is an ass.


  43. MarsupialMama December 18, 2011 at 22:24 #

    I’ve just randomly been contacted by this woman who told me that someone I respect very much in the autism community is stalking her so she’s reported her to the FBI or something. I find this all pretty bizarre.

    • Sullivan December 19, 2011 at 04:36 #


      Ironic, isn’t it. “This woman” is spending considerable time sending messages to people. And “this woman” is accusing another of being a cyber-stalker.

  44. Anne December 19, 2011 at 12:13 #

    Now “this woman” is commenting on Harpocrates’ blog accusing Liz of spending 6 years destroying the “rescue team” therefore dooming thousands of innocents to agony and death.

    This is some serious delusion goin’ on.

    Don’t know how to link to specific comments, but she posted at 4:11 and 4:15 on December 19th.


  45. Science Mom December 19, 2011 at 14:09 #

    Deranged psycho. That’s all I have.

  46. daedalus2u December 19, 2011 at 16:49 #

    Maybe she is trying to destroy her online reputation so that when she turns on her mad media lawyer skillz and fixes her online reputation everyone will be impressed.

  47. missmayinga December 19, 2011 at 17:16 #

    Man, I haven’t seen an internet meltdown like this in ages.

    Popcorn, anyone?

  48. Liz Ditz December 19, 2011 at 19:40 #

    Hi Anne & all:

    Here’s Snopes on the person I am alleged to have “destroyed”.


    • Sullivan December 19, 2011 at 20:03 #

      Aha! you run Snopes too, don’t you? It’s the only answer that makes sense. Or, fits the story that someone is trying to create.

      • Sullivan December 19, 2011 at 20:21 #

        I regret the above comment. The fact is, the attacks being mounted by this woman are serious and increasing. They are well past being laughed off.

  49. julia December 19, 2011 at 20:30 #

    Her posts on Harpocrates are filled with vitriol and all caps typing. Who looks more like a person who would stalk another person? Either this person is dealing with delusions or she is doing damage control for her reputation as a Hollywood lawyer.


  1. Why I Write This Blog | Welcome to Aspieland! - December 13, 2011

    […] Ignorance adds to stigma, again. (leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk) […]

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