NOTE: Thanks to JB Handley for sharing this on his FB wall. I was unfamiliar with Thomas Clements. Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted wrote a book about the Neurodiversity movement that tackles exactly what Mr. Clements is writing about as a man with autism himself. Many of our kids are severely affected. However, not all. Some of our AofA family have Asperger's, are married, have kids, careers and so do (or will) their children. We never want to disrespect the ability of anyone with autism. Nor can we ever forget that for most - many - autism is a serious, life-altering diagnosis that affects an entire family. Enjoy this piece and feel free to comment here and then to say hello to Mr. Clements on his post as well. KAR
The Problem With The Neurodiversity Movement
By Thomas Clements
Every morning when I wake up I feel a heavy sense of trepidation as I contemplate the complex series of social interactions I will have to navigate in order to make it through the day at work. Being on the autism spectrum makes me instinctively averse to the superficial chit-chat I am expected to engage in in my job as a retail cashier. To my mind at least, small-talk serves no real practical purpose. It just makes me feel on edge and increases my overall stress levels as I expend huge amounts of cognitive energy decoding idioms and non-verbal communication. Unfortunately, retail work is about the only employment option available to me at the moment because my Asperger’s Syndrome affects my ability to relate to others. Because of my condition, I am prone to be blunt, sometimes to the point of rudeness, which is a personality trait that tends not to sit especially well with many members of the so-called ‘neuro-typical’ or non-autistic world.
As a relatively isolated 20-something Aspie with few friends, I decided to take to social media in the hope of finding a community into which I could assimilate and no longer feel like a routinely-shunned outsider. In online autism circles, I frequently came across the term ‘neurodiversity’, a term used to denote a collective of atypically-minded people with a range of conditions including ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, and autism. The aim of the movement is to celebrate these distinct conditions as natural variations in the human genome rather than viewing them as pathological disorders deserving of medical interventions and cures. The term itself can be attributed to Judy Singer, an Australian social scientist on the autism spectrum, who wished to encapsulate a notion of neurological difference across humanity akin to the variation we see in plants and animals in biodiversity. The term was an instant hit and went on to spawn a left-wing political movement inspired by past and present civil rights causes. Indeed, the aim of neurodiversity is to champion the rights of ‘neurodiverse’ individuals in society and campaign to achieve the correct accommodations for them in the workplace and the wider society in order that they may live rich, fulfilling lives. The idea of curing conditions like autism is anathema to neurodiversity advocates, who often compare such a notion as akin to curing homosexuality, which was considered a psychiatric disorder until the late 80s. Read more here.