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An Open Letter to Newsweek Magazine on Possible Neurodiversity Coverage

Newsweek By Jake Crosby

I have just heard from a friend with autism that Newsweek Magazine might be publishing an article by Ari Ne'eman, neurodiversity advocate and founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. (HERE)  People with autism who support neurodiversity gained considerable attention in the mainstream media, in sharp contrast to those of us with dissenting opinions who have tried informing the media of this discrepency in the past, but to no avail. I'm still hopeful of the possibility that Newsweek Magazine will be different, so I sent the below letter to the magazine's email address:

Dear Newsweek,

I am a 20 year old sophomore at Brandeis University, and a sufferer of Asperger Syndrome, the mildest form of autism. I'm writing in response to a rumor circulating around the internet, which may or may not be true, claiming that you are going to run an article written by Ari Ne'eman, neurodiversity advocate, leader and founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) and junior at the Baltimore County campus of the University of Maryland who also has my same diagnosis. Is this the case? Neurodiversity is an ideology supported primarily by some autistic individuals and parents who do not believe that autism is a disability, and opposes any potential cure. People professing this belief have gained wide coverage in the media, such as interviews with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appearances on ABC's Good Morning America, as well as an article for The New Yorker Magazine to name a few.

However, most autistic people, at least ones I have met, do not believe in neurodiversity.

Yet, it appears there has been a mainstream media blackout on those of us within the community who publicly disagree with that point of view. I am among such people, and it is therefore my belief and those of many others that the opinions of autistic people and their experiences have been misrepresented by the media for giving neurodiversity proponents within our community all the air time, leaving none for the rest of us. As a result, advocates of neurodiversity have been allowed to redefine the public's perception of how people with autism feel about their disabilities. Their agenda and misguided beliefs denying the disabling aspects of autism, while opposing a cure, have given others the impression that autistic people are satisfied with their conditions just the way they are. That could not be further from the truth, I can tell you that I as well as many others with autism do not see it that way and would like our autism to go away. We have frequently tried alerting media venues such as this in the past, particularily those which have given coverage entirely to neurodiversity advocates and none to us, including ABC and CNN, asking for fair and balanced coverage. So far, these requests have gone unanswered. Yet, I feel confident that in spite of the poor luck we've had, there will eventually be a news source which will do the right thing and respresent our views. I am hopeful that Newsweek will be such a source.

Along with their views on a cure for autism, as well as its disabling nature, Neurodiversity advocates carry a variety of other controversial views. As well as denying that autism is a disability and asserting that it should not be cured, neurodiversity advocates are also in complete denial that there is an epidemic of autism and that it could have any environmental causes, citing "greater awareness" for the growth. As much as I would like to believe that there are more autistic people my age since I was born at the end of '88, right before the autism cluster, no one who has claimed this imaginary population exists has actually been able to locate and rediagnose these people. Claims made by Ne'eman and others that autism has simply replaced other labels such as "mentally retarded," citing decreases in the mental retardation label with increases in autism is dishonest and inaccurate. The rate of autism, as demonstrated by Dr. Craig Newschaffer, exceeds that of mental retardation. Furthermore, the mental retardation label has merely been replaced with that of developmental delay, explaining the decrease in the use of the former label. However, neurodiversity advocates will show tables that only portray the graphs of autism and mental retardation, leaving out developmental delay altogether, and have even been displayed on the MSNBC website. This is a lie by omission, and the corrected version of these graphs is available on the Thoughtful House website. Meanwhile, as the autism rate is skyrocketing at a rate similar to obesity, public health officials have done nothing.

Neurodiversity only adds insult to injury, especially when Ari Ne'eman uses his own experience of first being labelled ADD, then rediagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, to support epidemic denialism. I do not know Ari's full story, as I cannot speak for him. However, I can give you a thorough run-down on my autistic experience. I was born in 1988; at the age of 2 and a half, my pediatrician referred me to developmental specialists as the result of early developmental delays I had with speech and language.

When I was brought into New York City to see a psychologist at age 3, he predicted I would be diagnosed with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) when I was older, explaining to my mother that I was on the Autism Spectrum. My young age at that time was probably the reason why he did not give me a diagnosis in writing. That was in 1992, two years before the DSM-IV came out listing PDD-NOS and Asperger Syndrome as a diagnosis as part of a PDD/ASD category.

People like Ari will often use the DSM-IV's availability to support their contention that there is no epidemic by claiming that the addition of PDD labels as opposed to just classic autism came with the introduction of this manual, causing the growth. Having been associated with a PDD label before that, however, I can tell you that I am living proof that these labels had already existed before the DSM-IV's introduction. Sure enough, as the doctor predicted, I was diagnosed with a PDD: Asperger Syndrome at the age of 8. Unlike Ari, no one ever mistook me for someone with ADD, although I was diagnosed with a co-morbid Auditory Processing Impairment. To my knowledge, Ari Ne'eman had no early speech or language delays, which is perhaps the reason why he was initially given a different label, NOT a result of greater awareness.

As well as having difficulty learning to talk, I also suffered from other problems later in life such as emotional and academic problems that frequently plague those with autism. I was in a self-contained educational environment from pre-school through eighth grade. During the later years of that period, I had to deal with horrible bullying and discrimination for my disability. I have suffered through terrible meltdowns, which when I was younger often struck on a weekly basis. I can now proudly say that I have gotten over many of my struggles related to emotional regulation and successfully fought my way out of special ed. Yet, my disability remains a daily and overbearing hindrance to both my academic and social success. I still find that poor social skills, anxiety, executive function, perseveration, and remaining emotional difficulties all get in the way of my quality of life.

Neurodiversity proponents will blame society for issues such as mine for not being as accommodating. Yet, if there really is nothing wrong with us as they say, then there would surely be no need in asking for accommodations from society. Now I have turned down accommodations offered by my university despite qualifying for them, although it is because I feel having them won't help me in the long term, not because I am in denial that autism is a disability as they are. It would therefore seem as though people like Ari would be among the last to request these if they felt so strongly about autism being a natural variation as opposed to an unnatural disability. This is yet another flaw in neurodiversity logic and a complete self-contradiction of their belief system.

While I have felt at times that the way society has treated me for having autism has caused greater difficulty for me than autism itself, that is not how I feel at this stage in life, nor would it change my perspective on having autism if I did. That is because autism is an actual medical problem, not merely a neurological difference. Nutrition-related problems are a huge factor, and I can base that off of my own experiences. I take literally dozens of vitamins each day. Each vitamin does its role in helping me function more proficiently, I know this because whenever my vitamin load has been reduced, I often start to experience more neurological problems.

Perhaps the single greatest success I have had with any biomedical treatment however was with methylated injections of vitamin B-12, which literally made it possible for me to no longer need the aide I was given as a freshman in high school and allowed me to move into all honors classes and work independently the following year. It's been 5 years and I've been taking MB-12 shots ever since. When I miss a shot, I find that my condition rapidly deteriorates, which often serves as a reminder that I've missed one.

This safe intervention is exactly the kind of help autistic children need, but unfortunately the kind that neurodiversity proponents actively try to discourage them from getting. However, even those friendly to neurodiversity within the autistic community are beginning to dissent from this approach Ari and others take, and are starting to realize the importance of biomedical treatment, including people I have talked to within Ari Ne'eman's ASAN.

As for autism causation, I feel there are environmental factors at work here, and that they are the cause for the skyrocketing autism cases. Mercury in vaccines is a significant factor. The neurodiversity group is in deep denial of this, as it jeopardizes the very foundation of their argument, which they support by citing studies with fatal design flaws that bias the methodology and render the results useless, that were done by funding and authors with pharmaceutical industry ties and those to a corrupt public health system. I have written extensively on this subject for Age of Autism, where I serve as a contributing editor. As you know, AoA is a website managed by journalist Dan Olmsted that runs articles concerning the topics of autism. It is read by millions of people, including those in medicine, public health, and the autistic community. I have written on a diverse range of topics including my own experiences with autism, neurodiversity and the role mercury plays in autism causation. My articles can be found here:

http://www.ageofautism.com/jake-crosby/

I am well aware that you have given coverage to Age of Autism and quoted Dan Olmsted in an article you ran about Paul Offit, the man who made a profit of at least $29 million off the diarrhea vaccine he patented through Merck, whose position on the ACIP at CDC allowed him to open the market up to his product by voting for RotaShield, later banned, and advocate that his vaccine for rotavirus was different from the previous one. He also authored "Autism's False Prophets," which I read. 

Unfortunately, I have not been as active as I would have liked since I am in college and just declared my major in history. However, if you want to publish an alternative point of view from an autistic person that is not consistent with the one-sided coverage always given to neurodiversity in the mainstream media, I will be more than happy to provide you with one on autism relating to personal experience, causation, epidemiology, treatment and the need for a cure. Since causation is most controversial, I could still run a story tackling neurodiversity on other issues related to autism if you want, or focus more on the other issues as I have done in some of my articles for AoA. If not, I urge you to at least find someone with an Autism Spectrum Disorder whose views are in opposition to those of Ari Ne'eman and neurodiversity. If not me, I know there are others willing to represent our side of the issue. Otherwise, you will be doing what all the other media groups have done before you: misrepresenting the views of autistic people. Furthermore, getting a new point of view across from individuals afflicted with autism will open up some badly-needed dialogue from within the community as well as ignite greater interest from the general public.

If you decide to not only represent alternative viewpoints fairly, but choose to represent the counterpoint to neurodiversity, feel free to contact me. You can email me either to the address from which I am sending this letter, or my Age of Autism account which is:
jcaofa@gmail.com Thank you, I hope we can get in touch.

Sincerely,

Jake Crosby, Age of Autism, contributing editor with autism

 

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The article on neurodiversity was in New York Magazine, not The New Yorker, my fault.
http://nymag.com/news/features/47225/

At any rate, the Ari Ne'eman article this letter anticipated has been running in Newsweek for about two weeks now.
http://www.newsweek.com/id/197813

Medicaid: The greatest treatment funding secret ever concealed (hint: it's not just for poor people) was presented at AutismOne on Sunday morning. It was well-received and gave action steps for parents across the USA to take so that their children can enjoy the same treatment opportunities that children in Pennsylvania have enjoyed since 1992. Visit www.ibc-pa.org for more information.

"is that he(Ari) bases the fundamental core of his own cause on accepted medical facts."

Err...no he doesn't. How many experts you know of are saying autism is not a medical mystery that needs solving?

Isn't it funny how an entire post can be conveniently summed up into two simple quotes:

"Acknowledge that the neurodiveristy movement is not a movement composed of one view but of many differring ones"

First the ND movement claims autism is not a disability, I criticize them for that position, then they come back and say I'm wrong, that they do believe autism is a disability, and call me ignorant for reiterating their previous position. I remind them of their previous position, and then they just tell me that there is no particular ND position on whether or not autism is a disability. Now what do you call that: my failure to acknowledge their point-of-view, or repeated goal-shifting?

"We know the media is primarily in the business of making money, but the media cannot do that unless they take a stance that is in general favor of established medical science."

Exactly, because they are in need of advertising dollars from the pharmaceutical industry, that defines "established medical science." If I tossed even more money at the media, they would represent my side more.

I think the problem here, Jake, is that if you are going to say that you want a treatment or cure for autism, and that you oppose the views of the neurodiversity movement, you have to do two things:

1) Acknowledge that the neurodiveristy movement is not a movement composed of one view but of many differring ones, some of which dovetail with yours, even if they do not overlap, and

2) Recognize that the "cause" of autism that you describe (vaccines) - and the biomedical treatments and vitamin supplements you claim have worked for you, are not recognized by government bodies and institutions - thus most media outlets will not take you seriously despite your earnestness.

You may not like what Ari Ne'eman says or does, but the thing that gives him influence and power in government circles, and the thing that keeps him in the media limelight, is that he bases the fundamental core of his own cause on accepted medical facts.

For you to attain the media attention you seek, you have to first scientifically disprove the accepted facts or alternatively make your own facts appear as credible as the existing ones. The media would flock to you on that basis alone.

Alternatively, you would have to back up your point of view with the actual citations to the facts which you believe so the media could critically analyze your point of view.

We know the media is primarily in the business of making money, but the media cannot do that unless they take a stance that is in general favor of established medical science. They are unlikely to shift their viewpoint until such time as the science upon which you base your own treatment trumps that which is accepted.

Simply prove that your science works and the cameras and reporters will focus upon you.

And no, your own testimony cannot be regarded as "fact" by the media for the simple reason that it is anecdotal and subject to your own personal bias.

You must produce the science, demonstrate that it has been peer reviewed and duplicated in the laboratory.

It's a difficult task. But I am sure you are up to the challenge.

Good luck!

First, I've never stated which overall has been worse, my disability or society's reception to it, secondly, if a "cure" really is not an issue for anybody in ASAN, then Ari Ne'eman would not have said that autism is not a medical mystery that needs solving in the Newsweek article.

I read your letter and you are certainly free to feel that having autism has been a far bigger problem in your life than people’s reaction to it. I was attempting to explain the perspective of diversity studies to point out that the issue is beyond whether a person is actually disabled or not. I and many others do not feel that we are disabled and we wish to pursue our interests within the context of social advocacy. Whether or not autism is caused by vaccines or might theoretically be cured at some point does very little for me as an adult so what I am going to focus in on is helping people in my situation deal with the day to day issues of their situation. We do not claim to represent anyone outside of ourselves and those who wished to attach themselves to our movement so please do not begrudge us our pursuit of our own self interest. We are not trying to hold anyone else back.

You said:
"the difficulties coming from that disability are outweighed by the limitations placed on that person by society."

Ben, it still doesn't seem like you've read my letter. I heavily urge you to, because it will give you a much better understanding of my stance. On your own blog you said you read Jenny McCarthy's book, why can't you read what I wrote?

Excerpt:
"While I have felt at times that the way society has treated me for having autism has caused greater difficulty for me than autism itself, that is not how I feel at this stage in life, nor would it change my perspective on having autism if I did."

I am absolutely, 100%, against the mistreatment of autistic people. When idiots like Michael Savage publicly spew their prejudiced filth, I am among the first to lash back against such mentalist fools. This, however, should have no bearing on medical progress for autism. It is an autistic person's right to reduce the symptoms of autism as much as possible if he wants just as it is his right not to be abused.

ASAN does not insist that all of its members be on the spectrum we particularly wish to include the significant others of those on the spectrum such as parents siblings and spouses. ASAN includes a wide variety of views on autism including those who would view it as some sort of disability. Part of the issue is how one defines a disability. The basic premise around disability advocacy is that whatever disability a person has, and at the end of the day everyone has some sort of disability, the difficulties coming from that disability are outweighed by the limitations placed on that person by society. Take for example a person who is deaf. Now he may be able to read lips and he may be able to speak clearly enough to make himself understood, but his speech sounds a little funny. Because of this he might not be able to get a job. The problem in such a case is not that he has a hearing disability but society not being willing to tolerate people who are different. This is a form of prejudice no different from being anti black or being anti gay.

Ben,

Not all neurodiversity advocates given news coverage say they are autistic. Neither Kathleen Seidel, mother of a son with Aspergers, nor Kristina Chew, mother of a son with classic autism, have said they have ASDs themselves (that I am aware of).

Autism Speaks is one advocacy group, if they don't have any autistic members it is probably because its position does not match up with those of autistic people. The media has an obligation to present all positions fairly, which it has not done. By presenting only one point of view and ignoring others, it's giving the false impression that our community takes one whole collective position towards neurodiversity.

I do not recall using the words "mental illness," as that's a very loaded term. I have, however, described autism as a disability, disorder, and condition. These words, I feel, will make others take us more seriously, because they convey all the challenges that we have to face on a daily basis that others do not.

I appreciate your offer of membership, but I will respectfully turn it down. While we both believe in self-advocacy for autistic people, what I'm advocating for and what you're advocating for are in opposition to one another.

Getoffofitalready
I do not think that McCarthy believes that autistic people are intelligent enough to have a concept of neuro diversity. Her ideology cannot allow for the possibility that autistics have a notion of self and a theory of mind.

Jake
The media is very willing to have non autistics attack neuro diversity. You are upset that they do not allow autistics to speak up against neuro diversity. If you want someone to blame how about going to groups such as autism speaks and ask them why they are not willing to put autistics in advocacy positions. Here is the trap of your beliefs as long as you believe that autism is a mental illness why should anyone take you seriously. It is like the black person who believes that blacks should just shut up and go back to the cotton fields. The guiding principle of ASAN is that autistics, no matter what they think of neuro diversity should have control over their lives and be able to advocate for themselves. How about if you joined us. We may disagree on many things but we, unlike the mainstream autism movement, we believe that you should be able to say your piece.

How can Jenny McCarthy be anti-Neurodiversity when she's never mentioned the word "neurodiversity" or the name of anyone involved in that movement? You're too funny.

Ben, reread my letter. I am not trying to get Newsweek's editors to print an article by Jenny McCarthy. I am trying to get them to print an article by an autistic person who simply does not believe in neurodiversity, myself or otherwise. As you are well aware, not all autistic people support such a philosophy. By ignoring those of us that don't, however, the mainstream media is portraying us as if we all do. That is a misrepresentation of the autistic community. The media is defining the public perception of our views, not us. Doesn't that, in and of itself, go against your group's purported promotion of self-advocacy?

The claim that people who oppose neuro diversity are not getting their voices heard in the media is a downright lie. Here in Columbus we started a chapter of ASAN precisely to oppose Autism Speaks which had a major rally at Ohio State where President Gee spoke. Of course Autism Speaks is on the moderate end of the anti neuro diversity crowd. What about Jenny McCarthy? How many books has she written so far and how many times has she gotten on Oprah? How about this for an exchange, Ari Ne'eman gets a regular spot on Oprah and Jenny gets a Newsweek article.

Hi Jake,

Your letter gave me chills; my 6 year old little girl actually has a laundry list of conditions....Angelman Syndrome....ADHD....Speech Apraxia...."Autistic Features"....Metabolic Acidosis... Extreme Yeast Overgrowth and IBS just to name a few...

This is exactly what she would say if she could say it! I get so infuriated with all of the people around us who feel like we should just accept our little "retarded" daughter the way she is. Well we do accept her, they DON'T! They are the same ignorant people who will look at me like a bad mother when she has a meltdown in Walmart! We don't need to get with the program, they need to get with the program... ALL CHILDREN WITH ND'S are PHYSICALLY ILL!!!!!

You wouldn't tell a parent of a child with cancer to accept the disorder, move on and not to waste there time with radicals who believe in a cure or any treatment at all!

How many of you out there supspect that autism is the result of a stroke! When I take my son to the doctors I don't say he had a reaction to a vaccine- I say he had a DPT shot and six hours later he had a stroke. SO how do doctors treat for stokes, do they even treat babies or even recognize the fact babies have strokes. Do all strokes lead to a disability, or are some people lucky enough to over come. Trouble is not only is it a stroke but there is also some lingering health issues with the immune system and energy (mitochondrial) system. Vitamin B 12 shots! Thanks for that information that could be helpful.

ND not denying autism is a disability? What a joke!

They may accept it formally, yet their very attitude speaks loudly about their denial.

"Autism is a disability" and "acceptance, not cure" is an oxymoron.

If something is a disability then it has bad effects. If it has bad effects, it has to be eradicated.

Something cannot be both bad and good into the same time.

If it's bad, then shun it - if possible. If it's not bad, then stop asking for help because of it.

Imagine the society conditioned its help and assistance upon the acceptance of a cure, if available. Would there be any "autism pride", "autism acceptance" and the like?

I doubt it very much.

I believe the good common sense would prevail: autism is a serious disorder, it impairs people by attacking their brain and we must do everything we can to counteract it with therapy and - when possible - a complete cure.

Neurodiversity advocates do NOT say that autism is not a disability; in fact, they claim and value their status as people with disabilities. Your profound misstatement of this fact undermines your credibility as an advocate for your perspective.

"My intent was simply to point out that Mr. Crosby's statement (about neurodiversity)...is incorrect and inaccurate..."

but...if it weren't for the first use of the word which denies autism is disability, you wouldn't even be using it.

@rileysmom
you said:
"Once again, Zoey and Jypsy and any other ND reading this statement...IT IS HIS CHOICE."

Once again, I said:
"I have argued for many, many years to have autistic voices not only heard but listened to."

"I absolutely recognize Mr. Doherty's rights and every other parent's rights, whether I agree with them or not."

you also said:
"Zoey and jypsy...just take a hike. This is so obviously not the web site you're looking for. If your intent was to come here and piss people off then fine but it just goes to show that it matters not if you have ASD and like it, it shows you know how to show your ass to people that don't agree with your views."

I'm not sure what you're trying to say there but I will assure you my intent was not to "piss people off". My intent was simply to point out that Mr. Crosby's statement that "Neurodiversity is an ideology supported primarily by some autistic individuals and parents who do not believe that autism is a disability, and opposes any potential cure." is incorrect and inaccurate and while I absolutely support his right to state his opinions wherever & however he wants, I think it will only serve *all of us* if statements such as these are accurate. If I were to make a statement, defining the "biomedical autism community" or the "anti-vax community" or something similar (unlikely given I don't even know the name I'm supposed to use for your "side", the "anti-ND movement"??) and I was so blatantly inaccurate, I would wish to be corrected and shown where many of you made public statements contradicting my claim. Any argument I would be trying to make could only be made stronger if my claims were accurate.

I did not come here to argue with any of you about your choices, methods, beliefs etc. and I didn't. I made it clear I absolutely recognize your parental rights whether I agree with them or not.

Thank you Ms. Stagliano for allowing my comments and thank you to all who read (and even considered) what it was I actually said. I'll take that hike now.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms here.

I'm sorry, I meant to say ROAD to recovery. It's been a long day of stimming and squealing. I do believe both of our collective "last nerves" are a bit frayed!!

sad but true...
WOW very powerful and well said thank you for putting into perspective. I never looked at it that way.
And Zoey...it was my post not Jake's about what my son wants...
YES HE wants to be recovered and it has nothing to do with YOUR choice...it's HIS and HIS alone. I am just the vehicle that he will use on his rode to recovery. I am his mother and that is my job. I will give of myself to make his life MORE...because HE wants MORE.
Once again, Zoey and Jypsy and any other ND reading this statement...IT IS HIS CHOICE.

@ sad but true what you are saying is false, those of us especially in the upper spectrum can make decisions for ourselves, & here is the link for Daniel Tammet, in fact he is tutor to many ppl, get your facts straight...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Tammet
http://www.optimnem.co.uk/blog/ (his personal blog)

Daniele,

I know an actor who played a comic film character who had a stutter. When the film came out, the actor received skeins of angry letters from individuals with dysfluencies. Apparently quite a few used the "racial minority/gay rights" platform for comparison (not new, huh?) and told stories of discrimination and genuinely awful suffering. He replied to every single letter, explaining that he had suffered from a stutter since childhood, had empathy for anyone who'd been scapegoated, but had worked for years to clarify his speech. He suggested that if these people spent more time working on their communication than trying to make the world adapt, things might work out better.

I remember specifically asking him about the civil rights/racial pride comparisons some of the letter writers used. He snorted and said they should ask James Earl Jones what he thought of the analogy. Jones had also had a severely disabling stutter and had spent years in therapy to work it out so that he could, in part, go on to be a well known advocate for human rights.

Autism is much worse than a stutter in most cases. As the effects of global warming looms and the threat of resource shortages become a more real possibility every day, the world simply cannot afford so many disabled individuals. It isn't just autism which has risen exponentially in the past fifty years-- every form of mental disorder has. There won't be enough to support them all.

The very small fraction of individuals with autism who make up the "adults with autism" population may not be able to recover themselves and should be aided and respected as they are, but if they had the wits to make the choice and could improve their health to lessen the taxpayer burden, they would have the moral responsibility to do it. Parents of effected children have a moral responsibility to try to recover their children, for the sake of the child, for the sake of society-- and to find the cause. Because no matter how you slice it, most of the few adults with autism who exist live on the dole, cannot live independently. No matter how well suited and "respectful of their differences" the therapies and resources were, this would scarcely change. And as the epidemic of children with autism comes of age, it's going to crush the system.

I will never support forced medical treatment. If an adult with autism doesn't wish to attempt recovery for themselves, I don't think bystanders can have anything to say about it. If parents don't want to heal their children, I don't think it's the government's role to force them. But I don't necessarily admire the choice if the individuals making the choice have the cognitive ability to understand the options.

The average person might occasionally coo over the videos of Daniel Tammet reciting (not discovering, curiously enough) Pi, but at the end of the day, if they had to kill someone or eat rotting human feces to prevent their children from having autism, they would. This will NEVER change. The average member of the ND movement has no clue how they're being used as a diversion from the chemical causes of the disorder. When industry is done with you, when you've served your PR role and gotten the public to ignore hypervaccination, mercury pollution and other facilitating culprits, you'll be dumped at the side of the proverbial public relations road like dead bodies.

Whether the ND know it or not, parents and self advocates who are fighting against the industries responsible for the disorder and trying to stop the epidemic are actually serving the welfare of all individuals with autism.

The approach neurodiversity takes towards autism is that autistic people are made to think, process information, and learn in fundamentally different ways; and as such, autism is something that you work with rather than try to eradicate. For example, many people with autism are highly visual. If you are a teacher and you want your high-visual autistic student to learn, you will teach in ways that engage his visual learning style. Neurodiversity takes a very strong stand against any "therapy" that is supposed to turn an autistic person into a "normal" person.

The big problem with focusing on autism cure is that many people focus on normalizing at the expense of function and independence. For example, they will try to force a child to talk when he could learn to use sign language much more easily, and be much more independent that way than if he had to use speech--which for him is ineffective and undependable.

Neurodiversity is a natural outgrowth of disability rights, actually. Most people in the neurodiversity movement would violently disagree with "Autism isn't a disability". Many of us are disabled--some severely disabled--and it would be silly to deny it. (Some, with mild AS, aren't disabled, and would like to point out that autism isn't ALWAYS a disability. This is also true.) It's just that we don't believe disability is anything to be ashamed of; nor do we believe it's fundamentally inferior to not being disabled.

"Autism isn't a disease" is the statement we're most annoyed with, and which almost everyone in the neurodiversity movement would disagree with. "Disease" implies that our brains are not "supposed" to work this way; that normal is ideal. Autism is hard-wired into people's brains long before it becomes possible to diagnose it; in fact, from what we can tell, it's embedded in our very DNA. Teaching people the skills they need and can learn should be the focus of autism treatment. Trying to make people non-autistic is like bleaching a black person's skin so that he'll look whiter and be able to get more jobs, instead of giving him a good education and fighting prejudice so he can get whatever job he's got the talent to get.

Jake

Good post. I totally agree with you regarding the potential benefits of nutrition for optimal mental / emotional health. The issue of change of diagnosis criteria in DSM-IV 1994 was addressed by Barabaresi (2005) in the Minnesota case load. Applying current diagnostic criteria to historical records dating from 1976 onwards showed there was still a 8.2 fold increase in the rate between the 80-83 period to 95-97 one. However, there is a very strong possibility none the less that young children diagnosed today with autism have a medical condition that is distinct from firstly described Kanner 1945 one. Until we can obtain a biological marker(s) of autism there will always be some controversy about the diagnosis. Given that most likely with have a range of sub-phenotypes instead, it makes the matter more complex still to deal with. Regarding the ND movement, it would be nice to know which proportion of all ASD people they represent. As a parent, I still agree that to be given more acceptance and accomodation makes a huge difference to the ASD person.

Thank you Jake!

My son (Aspergers) is just grappling with his diagnosis (he's 7). He was weeping the other night that he so wants to be like other children and asked if there was a cure.

Thank you for your voice, Jake. Thank you for so eloquently speaking for my son.

Did Mooney not read Dr. Martha Herbert's previous article in DISCOVER?!

Way to go Jake! I hear you...I don't have autism (son does) but I do have significant case of ADD. It is a constant struggle every day to keep on top of things. I know a lot of other people with ADD and we all lament the way this condition limits our abilities....you never hear any of us be like "Isn't this neurodiversity great? I'm loving having ADD!" I don't know a single person who wouldn't get rid of it if he or she could. But, that's us. I do respect their (Neurodiversity's) right to feel the way they do about their own lives. What I don't like is that they try to speak for ALL people with Autism. My son is barely verbal, has horrendous GI issues, seizures, and cannot verbalize what hurts. I don't think he's sitting around going "I'm loving this Neurodiversity" either. He identifies himself with Humpty Dumpty and asked me if "Alex fell of the wall?", so what does that tell us about how he feels?

@ Jake is the cure what you want or what your son wants?

Thank you so much, Jake. Something rings from your writing voice and the logic you use-- reminds me of George Orwell's essays. I think you're going to endure.

The neurodiverse movement makes no sense, so it has to be an astroturf movement--concocted, brewed, stewed over, calculated. The movement as a whole is rapidly becoming autism's answer to NAMI, the drug company "mental health drug" front group now under investigation by Grassley. Most of the public members of ASAN have no idea what ends they're being used and moved around for, just as the "plebe" members of NAMI had no idea. ND is selling identity.

There are many rumors about Ari Ne'eman on the web-- that he developed OCD after being put on Ritalin as a kid and had his diagnosed "upgraded" to Aspergers. I have no idea if bears out but it's not unheard of. Ritalin causes stereotypies and robotic behavior, aggression, tics, social problems, etc. Since autism is only determined behaviorally, I guess if it looks like autism it IS autism but, like with Amanda Baggs and her LSD history, you have to wonder about how "genetic" and verifiable some adult cases are if they took so long to be diagnosed.

There are other rumors that he's the son of someone with influence in government (not sure which government) and that he was seen in a chatroom scheming on ways to equate the ND movement to gay rights.

Who knows if any of it's true, but I do know a few things about him from my encounters with him. He's shrewd. He doesn't give a rat's ass about children in general and only concerns himself with his own status and the image of autism, which he's branding like a veteran ad exec.

Ne'eman takes partial credit for shutting down the NYU Child Center's "ransom campaign" where billboards in NYC were covered with fake "ransom notes" from various childhood psychiatric ailments. The autism poster read something like, "I have your child. I will make sure he never communicates or makes friends...I am autism" or some nonsense.

Ne'eman et al. had no objection to the real problem with NYU Child Center-- which is that the center was performing a dragnet to bring more kids in for profitable diagnosis and drugging. The center's grossly industry-conflicted director, Dr. Harold Koplewicz, wrote a book saying that nothing-- not even child molestation, violence, losing a loved one, etc.-- can cause distress in children unless the child had an "underlying genetic brain chemical imbalances" which needs, accoring to Koplewics, lots and lots of drugs.

To Ne'eman, the only thing objectionable about the campaign was the depiction of autism as a disease or something negative.

I know this is true because, on a listserve centered on rescuing a boy with aspergers from forced institutionalization and forced drugging, Ne'eman habitually herded the list members away from discussing negative drug side effects or the need to curtail the use of these drugs on children-- despite the fact that the parents of the boy were reporting the drugs were nearly killing their son. Ne'eman flung around contentious, bullying accusations that negative information on prescription psych drugs come from "Scientology" and that listmembers should avoid straying from "mainstream medical" concepts (I think he even wrote "evidence based medicine").

From the way he lectured and patronized others on the list, I thought Ne'eman was about fifty years old. But no, he's quite young and will be around for a while.

Not as long as Jake, though. Truth tends to have more staying power.

Go Jake!! WHat interesting insights you provide for the concern over the increase in autism. I wish you well in your BA. My daughter loves history, too! I have the feeling that you will make history. Thanks for taking the time to advocate.

Jake
How did you get so cool anyways??? Thank you once again for your continued insight. It is greatly appreciated in our home.
Zoey and jypsy...just take a hike. This is so obviously not the web site you're looking for. If your intent was to come here and piss people off then fine but it just goes to show that it matters not if you have ASD and like it, it shows you know how to show your ass to people that don't agree with your views. I will have my son in ABA and I will search for the CURE my son so desperately WANTS, because unlike you, he doesn't like ASD.

Jake,

Like David Kirby's piece on Discover Magazine,the theme here seems to be on honest and truthful reporting. I also hope that Newsweek will contact you.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feeling about the environmental aspects of autism --including vaccines. Your efforts are very well done and very much appreciated.

Clearly I am speaking for myself, quoting others who speak for themselves, and clearly not speaking for "all persons who believe in the concept of neurodiversity"

"some neurodiversitites do not believe autism is a disability."

No argument there.

Some "neurodiversitites" (I assume that is a supporter of Neurodiversity") believe autistics are superior to non-autistics. I'm not one, no one I have regular contact with is, and that belief does not define "Neurodiversity".

Some "neurodiversitites" do not believe in God - again, atheism does not define Neurodiversity.

We are not all the same. But if we all support Neurodiversity there must be something we all agree on. Use that to define it. If Mr. Crosby wanted to address "people who don't believe autism is a disability" it would be most accurate to address them in just that way, would it not?

Again, my point is about accuracy. It would be more accurate to say "Neurodiversity is an ideology supported primarily by some autistic individuals and parents *some of* who do not believe that autism is a disability, and opposes any potential cure." However, that is so watered down it says nothing and clearly does not define Neurodiversity (or anything else).

Thank you Jake.

I hope Newsweek takes you up on your offer.

You are an amazing young man. I am fascinated to learn more about your life with aspergers and your views. I look forward to your next piece on AoA.

Jake, your writing is a breath of fresh air! Thank you for speaking up. I hope that NW is smart enough to listen... I look forward to your continued contributions at AoA---thanks again for all your work!

oh I see so what this site is doing they are manipulating all info that doesn't agree with your philosophy even if quackery & not the only truth about Autism...

ADDED: That's the end, Zoey. We have no need to link to sites that go against our philosophy. Our readers are smart enough to find all opinions on all sides. Thanks for commenting. I don't often give commenters any explanation, I'm trying to accommodate you pleasantly.

KIM

From Judith Singer's website:
Coming from this multi-layered background I want to encourage the development of new 'ways of seeing" that depathologise AS as much as possible, which is why I pioneered the idea that AS should be seen as a neurological minority rather than as a "disability". But I have now come to the conclusion that balance requires us to acknowledge that that not all is for the best in this brave new world that the "neuroscience revolution" delineates.

We see from this paragraph, that Judith Singer, the person who originated the term Neurodiversity, without question looked upon it as defining autism spectrum disorders as Not being disabilities. Clearly Jypsy is mistaken about all persons who believe in the concept of neurodiversity, certainly about the originator of the term. Jypsy is entitled to her own beliefs, but based on at least what Judith Singer says, many persons can get the idea that at least some neurodiversitites do not believe autism is a disability.

Hi, Zoey. Kim here. You're welcome to comment but so you know, we don't link to those sites. Didn't want you to think we'd just moderated you out for nothing. Thanks for reading Age of Autism.

Kim Stagliano

here is the real link to ASAN which wasn't posted!
http://www.autisticadvocacy.org/
besides the news blackout is not true most ppl choose not to listen to the truth in favour of fear from flawed data!

@Mr. Crosby - "I do not know what you support or subscribe to, but the views you have expressed here do not match up with Ari's."

And, as I have illustrated, your definition of "Neurodiversity" does not match up with the actual views expressed by a number of people said to be part of the "neurodiversity movement" and "supporters of Neurodiversity". I have been labeled as one of these people ("supporters of Neurodiversity") for a number of years. I don't think you'de find anyone who would tell you I'm not part of this "ND Movement".

So, perhaps, as I originally stated, you need to find an accurate definition of Neurodiversity to replace the inaccurate one you used.

If you wish to address Ari's views, or ASAN's, then address them as his, or ASAN's, not "Neurodiversity's". Ari did not invent Neurodiversity, in fact Neurodiversity was very frequently discussed 4 years before Ari ever appeared on the scene. He represents himself and ASAN. If you believe that there is more than one "kind" of Neurodiversity ("whatever kind of neurodiversity you believe in is not the same as Ari's") then, for the sake of accuracy, maybe you should make that clear and make it clear which "kind" of Neurodiversity you're talking about.

Hi again, everyone, I have Aspergers' with 2 nephews in the spectrum, & very big supporter of Neurodiversity, I support the ASAN group because they more open minded than some groups like Autism Speaks & Generation Rescue who seen Autism as something that should be elimination & will air there propaganda to cover up scientific & other opinions that oppose them & nothing these 2 groups are nothing but fear mongerers & don't make informed decisions about Autism for the sake of Eugenics & perfect children. I think that parents should accept their children & work with there children, My heart goes out to these parents who are recieving ill informed info from these groups & cover up & call names to opposing parties, like a corned rat.
Thanks again your friend, Autism leader & someone who cares about rights in the Autism spectrum Zoey

I do not know what you support or subscribe to, but the views you have expressed here do not match up with Ari's.

"Hi jypsy, I didn't mean to associate you with views which you don't have, but whatever kind of neurodiversity you believe in is not the same as Ari's" (Mr. Crosby said)

"jypsy's comments do not match with what is known about Neurodiversity." (Mr. Doherty said)

So is the logical conclusion then that I am not part of the "neurodiversity movement" and/or do not support/subscribe to Neurodiversity?

jypsy's comments do not match with what is known about Neurodiversity.

Neurodiversity advocates such as Ari Ne'eman expressly state that "WE" don't want a cure, as though they are speaking on behalf of all persons with ASD's.

If Neurodiversity has ANY meaning in connection with autism disorders it is the opposition to treatment and cure of autism disorders.

jypsy is a regular contributor to Michelle Dawson's anti-ABA forum "The Misbehaviour of Behaviourists" and frequently cites Ms Dawson's anti-ABA, anti-treatment positions.

No one to my knowledge is trying to force treatment or cure on jypsy, her son, Ari Ne'eman, Michelle Dawson or any other perons with HFA or Aspergers and yet these persons regularly appear in public forums opposing such treatment which is usually being sought by parents on behalf of their children.

Some Neurodiversity advocates may acknowledge that autism is a disability but they do NOT accept that it is a disorder. I suspect that may be why some persons with an Austism Spectrum Disorder do not want to identify their specific ASD - so as to avoid describing their condition as Autistic DISORDER. They prefer to use the term "autism" which is not in itself a category in the DSM.

jypsy's friend Michelle Dawson appeared as an intervener in the Supreme Court of Canada to oppose government funding of ABA which was sought by parents for their children not for Ms Dawson or other adults with ASD's.

The SCC overturned the decisions of the lower courts on the basis that it is the role of provincial governments in Canada, not the courts, to determine what constitutes medically necessary treatment. In the absence of discrimination with respect to a legislatively determined medically necessary treatment the case failed.

Thus the SCC determined that there is no substantive right to medically necessary treatment for autism disorders independent of a legislative decision to classify a treatment as medically necessary.

Hi jypsy, I didn't mean to associate you with views which you don't have, but whatever kind of neurodiversity you believe in is not the same as Ari's . He is one of both an anti-cure, and an anti-disability perspective, which is what I was referring to. Take this Good Morning America interview, for example, where the caption below reads; "There's nothing wrong with us! Autistic and proud of it!" Does that sound like the kind of thing a person with autism who believes it's a disability would say?
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=5033594&page=1

I'm aware that not all neurodiversity supporters are completely alike as I have stated in my open letter for example about how some that I know are beginning to realize the importance of biomedical treatment. I regret the misunderstanding.

@ Hera - no doubt many things can be said about "some in the neurodiversity movement" however I was correcting inaccurate statements made about *me*, not anyone else. If you are implying that Michelle Dawson's Supreme Court intervention, where she opposed both sides, took away access to ABA then I think you should read the case's decision again. The parents demanding ABA were not able to make their case, that's why they lost. Michelle opposed the Government in that case as well as the ABA parents.

@Becky - I did not ever speak for your child, nor deny your child anything. Please re-read my comments.

I have argued for many, many years to have autistic voices not only heard but listened to. I fully support Mr. Crosby's right to say anything, write anything, be published anywhere. I think the more voices that are heard, whatever their opinion, the better. I was merely pointing out that his definition was inaccurate, that people I know in the so called "neurodiversity movement", myself included, agree that autism is a disability, and it's in everyone's best interest to make one's argument using accurate information.

I made no personal attacks on anyone. I did not speak for anyone but myself. Any words in the links I posted, to show the many people who acknowledge autism *is* a disability, belong to those individuals.

Thank you, Jake, for writing this excellent letter!

Jake thank you so much for speaking your mind so eloquently. I am an undiagnosed mother of some ‘quirky’ kids. My oldest had gastro-intestinal problems when she was three years old that led us to seek the help of a specialist. It was not unusual for her to go ten days without a bowel movement. It was her GI specialist who first suggested to us that she might have autism, although she was never subsequently diagnosed. The idea at that time—that my firstborn might have autism—wasn’t as shocking to me as you might imagine, because, you see, I’ve often felt that I’m high on the spectrum myself. I will say this, though--it was terrifying.

There is something else that I would like to say. I never met, until I was in my mid thirties, another adult with aspergers. As far as I knew I was the only person like myself out there, when I was a child and through my young adulthood.

My children and I have all been lucky enough to have escaped the worst of the environmental effects that I believe contribute to autism spectrum disorders. But other children and adults have not been so lucky. The idea that children who go ten days without a BM are merely expressing genetic ‘diversity’ makes me furious. The idea that children who have the immune system of an aids patient are merely ‘diverse’ makes me livid. The idea that children who cannot communicate beyond yelling, who spin and bang their heads and smear their feces on the bathroom walls are merely ‘diverse’ makes me want to bang some heads. (Not my own.)

Autism is a spectrum disorder. And yet this is what the neurodiverse are suggesting when then speak of not wanting a cure--that it is somehow normal for a person to do these things, to behave in these ways and to have these kinds of digestive troubles, never mind the neurological ones.

I don’t understand what motivates these people, just as I don’t understand what motivates those in the ‘autism support organizations’ who’ve done everything within their power to censor anyone who speaks of vaccine damage.

I certainly hope that Newsweek sees fit to publish your letter. Please keep us posted.

Not sure if this article is part of a series or not ... but is related to issue at hand. Didn't see autism specifically mentioned (but may have missed it) - focused more on mental illness (which I don't consider ASD to be).

Listening to Madness
Why some mentally ill patients are rejecting their medication and making the case for 'mad pride.'

http://www.newsweek.com/id/195694/page/1

Ooops, sorry the spelling mistakes:P

I meant "writing" twicw:)

Jypsy-
If a child has ANY disability there are promising treatments for, what parent WOULDN'T seek to help? It shouldn't matter what the disability is...that would be discrimination. Autism is a disability...children with autism deserve treatment AND acceptance. It does not need to be either/or. If you as an ADULT choose not to treat your disability, that is your prerogative. Don't speak for my child....and don't deny my child the right to treatment for a disability you are perfectly happy to live with.
It's the equivalent of an amputee who chooses not to use a prosthesis telling the world no other amputees need prostheses either...that we just need to accomodate better and be more accepting. Advocating that the world should be their 'hands' for them...instead of the allowing them them their own hands and the independence those hands would provide.

great letter Jake. For jypsy: I think in any viewpoint, people can represent a spectrum of views.
However it is a fact that some in the neurodiversity movement campaigned to TAKE AWAY help from autistic children,and actually lost some children in Canada access to ABA.
My son has a different neurological disability from autism, but there are many challenges that are similar.
I love his beautiful little crippled finger and toes, but when a surgeon was able to help fix them somewhat, I loved that he could now hold a pencil.
I love his courage when he tries to work around his severe apraxia to tell me what happened at school today: and I am so happy for him when he gains a little more ability to speak.
When he was young,and a surgeon said he had seen similar children with the same high pain tolerance self injure to the point of cracking their skull open,I would hold him in my arms when he had a melt down in public,away from the concrete, and watched him slam his little tiny fists into his face again and again. And prayed he would not realize that he could use his nails to gouge his eyes out.
And yes, when radicals from the neurodiversity movement expain how incredibly lucky children are to have these disabilites and how good it is to make sure they don't get services,sometimes it gets a little hard to take.

Mr. Doherty is incorrect in many of his statements about me, my beliefs and my positions.

Autism is a disability. My son's disabilities are obvious to anyone who has met him or anyone who has taken the time to read his blog or view any of the over 70 YouTube videos in my account.

Neither my sons nor myself desire a "cure". That does not make me any more "anti-cure" than it makes me "anti-tomato" or my son "anti-lobster". We don't want a cure, thank you, you are free to pursue one. I'm not sure what your definition of "treatment" is but it's likely things you consider "treatments" have been part of my sons' lives as well as my own.

I absolutely recognize Mr. Doherty's rights and every other parent's rights, whether I agree with them or not. I also recognize my own right, as a parent, to express my own opinions, protect my right to choice, and correct inaccurate statements about myself and my children.

My only point in writing is that Mr. Crosby's definition is inaccurate. I believe accurate information will only serve to help everyone.

There was nothing in my comments about "fairness", my comments were about "accuracy".

Jake, thank you for taking the time to share this ariting with us. You seem to be a remarkable young man with so much to offer people and families dealing/coping with autism.
I look forward to your next writng:)
Oh, and the big media folks may not fairly display more than one viewpoint, but you do and I am thankful!!!

@ jypsy--

Thanks for your post and many links. As a parent of a child who has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS and classic autism by two different professionals, I'd like to comment on several things you posted:

"neurodevelopmental disability" -- Most of us at this site see that as an outdated label that comes from the unfortunate but historic placement of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the DSM IV.

Our current understanding on autism is that children are born with a genetic susceptibility to the disease that is triggered by environmental influences.

Our treatments focus on bio-medical interventions, sometime supplemented with medications developed for neurological and psychiatric uses. But most parents want their children off these psychotropics, if possible, as soon as possible.

"indistinguishable"--if we use this word, it refers to disease symptoms, not to our children's personalities.

If you have a really bad case of excemea and are my child, I would address those symptoms so that your skin would hopefully look "indistinguishable" from normal skin. If I can achieve that, then as my child you would likely have healthy skin.

In autistic children, some of the symptoms we are trying to "extinguish" are extreme and can be critical to a child's health and safety (uncontrolled diarrhea, lack of speech) and some are milder (photophobia, lack of eye contact) but still critical to a child's development.

Please keep these differences in mind as you consider these sick children and our desire to reduce their symptoms, which often indicate the enormous stress their bodies are under and pain they are feeling.

Wonderful piece Jake. I hope they contact you.

Thanks Jake, for your thoughtful article. Neurodiversity is a double-edged sword and I oppose it. On the one hand, I am all for fighting for acceptance and the rights of autistic individuals in society... but at the same time... I see children like my daughter struggle and suffer so much... one would be a monster not to allow her the treatments necessary to give her the freedom of independence.

Autism is a multi-factorial, whole-body disease affecting brain development and function. Neurodiversity doesn't want people to know that. They want us all to believe it's a purely genetic, natural variation in how the brain is structured... and some would argue that it's even a good thing... and they try to drag cerebral luminaries like Einstein into their ranks... after all... why shouldn't we let them all be Einsteins, right???

My daughter is NOT on track to be another Einstein. She also cannot read, write, type or express herself like the self-righteous neurodiversity advocates who want me to leave her just as she is.

I say THANK YOU to Jake Crosby for speaking out against the repressive Neurodiversity ideology.

http://autisminnb.blogspot.com/2009/05/repressive-autism-advocacy-asan-does.html

Jake Crosby does not have to take any lessons in fairness from jypsy who acknowledges that autism is a "neurodevelopmental disability" but does not state that it is a neurological disorder.

More importantly she implicitly opposes treatment and cures for autism disorders. If there is one tenet of the ND ideology which appears to be consistent amongst the various expressions of that belief system it is the opposition to treatment and cure of autism disorders.

Nor does she recognize the right of parents to seek treatment and cures for their autistic disorders of their children.

While she objects to a direct comparison to cancer she does not go on to acknowledge the very serious challenges faced by those persons more severly affected by autistic disorder who, unlike her friend Michelle Dawson, whom she references often, and on this comment, will face much greater challenges including in some cases life in institutional care.

Fairness? In ALL fairness jypsy is not the one to be lecturing on that subject.

Great work! I'm thrilled you are a part of the AoA team!

THANK YOU Jake!

"Neurodiversity is an ideology supported primarily by some autistic individuals and parents who do not believe that autism is a disability, and opposes any potential cure. "

Jake, I'm not sure where you got that idea but time and time again many, many people who would be called "Neurodiversity supporters" have said autism *is* a disability.

For example:
From http://autisticbfh.blogspot.com/2007/11/unfashionable-abilities.html :
"Every now and again, someone misrepresents the neurodiversity movement by claiming that its adherents believe autism is not a disability, but a wonderful gift and the next stage in human evolution. Without fail, several pro-neurodiversity bloggers respond that they don't believe any such thing - ­that yes, autism is a disability, but that it is OK to be disabled, and that neurodiversity is all about making the world a more accepting place for the cognitively disabled."
(See the comments as well)

From http://autisticbfh.blogspot.com/2007/09/left-hand-of-equality.html:
"Most of our potential disabilities (of which there are many)"
(See the comments as well - like "If autism is not a disability, I would not be disabled by it, and all of the tasks he performs for me related to autism (waking me up on time because I cannot hear the clock, getting me out of overstimulating situations, refocusing me when I 'tune out' in the middle of doing something, etc) become parlor tricks- and I lose my right to take him in public." )

From http://www.geocities.com/arthurstroud@prodigy.net/turfwars.html:
"I don't believe that anyone using that term is implying that autism is not a disability. "

From http://joyofautism.blogspot.com/2007/03/rebuilding-autism-foundation.html:
"In sum - with the negative marketing of autism as a fate worse than cancer, even though autism is a disability not an illness, discussing our children in pejorative terms in public, or for the purposes of obtaining public funding, and with interventions to render the child "indistinguishable" from others – does the end justtify the means?"

From http://thiswayoflife.org/blog/?p=136:
"Also, before you hurl "neurodiverse" at me as an insult, I'll remind everyone that I do think autism is a disability - so be cautious before you oversimplify my views!"

From http://autismcrisis.blogspot.com/2007/02/autism-advocates-do-not-take-autism.html:
"Autism, like Down syndrome, is a neurodevelopmental disability."

If you are going to define "Neurodiversity" I think it's in your best interest to do so accurately.

go get 'em, Jake!

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