All Choked Up: New CDC Director and Mandatory Screening Proponent Robert Redfield Gives Tearful Oath of Fealty to “Data-Driven Science” and Vaccines
Do as I say, Not as I Do


Aimee Doyle

@Greg -

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You make some good points. Just want to make one clarification.

It's the neurodiversity crowd (not me) that says autism is a difference, not a disability. I do think that for the majority of individuals with autism, the condition is a disability. However, I do think there are levels of disability, and I am open to considering exceptions to the idea that autism is always a disability. Individuals such as Temple Grandin do seem to think differently (she calls it "thinking in pictures"), and she has parlayed that ability into a very successful career as an animal behaviorist. I don't think she sees her autism as a disability, and it could be argued that it doesn't seem to affect her life in a negative way. But I could be wrong - I don't know her, although I have heard her speak and I have met her. But then again, she doesn't talk much about severe autism.

But I do hate the LIUB campaign and the bluewashing of autism.


Aimee, rather than sharing my opinions,  I was merely reciting the contradictory memes that we hear this time of the year with Autism Awareness. I will say though that I respectfully disagree with you that high functioning, succesful autism can be seen as a difference.  Autism is always a disability, regardless of whether the autistic person was able to overcome his challenges, and even thrive.

As well, even if it can be shown that autistic individuals on a whole have made great, unique contributions to the world... (I am being cautious here because I am weary of the tendency to seize on every famous eccentric figures, past and present, slapping them with armchair autism diagnosis, and pointing to their accomplishments as great autistic achievements!)  Even if it can be shown that autistic individuals have made great contributions to the world, I would still say that doesn't dismiss autism as a disability.  Your disability may endow you with unique, even savant talents, but, again, that does not make it not a disability.

As to the neurodiversity crowd not having any time for your son, I would also say that doesn't surprise me.  Speaking of BS, neurodiversity is the epitome of BS.  What the neurodiversity proponents don't get, or want to get, is their agenda is an impossibility.  They speak of wanting mutual coexistence for the different neurologucal states in the same way we expect mutual coexistence with races and sexual orientations.  Reflecting further, they shoud realize mutual coexistence for those variables is  possible because they are not in profound conflict with one another, naturally infringing on each other.  A white person can live with a black person, respecting his rights, because that co-existence is not naturally at odds.  Accepting a black peson does not involve giving up your whiteness; same with accepting a gay person does not involve a straight person giving up her straightness.

The autistic condition and the neurotypical one on the otherhand, for the most part, cannot coexist because they are in inherent conflict, so it's often
 a case of one having to yield to the other.  Think about it, if we are calling for mutual acceptance for different neurological states, should that neurotypical mom's desire to not be beaten to a pulp by her autistic son be respected?  How about her desire to not have to look after him well into her old age?  Perhaps we should quiz the neurodiversity proponents on this.  Do they believe that neuro-acceptance should be a two-way street, and autistic individuals should respect the rights and wishes of neurotypicals? This may all sound rather facetious, but I don't know what better way to callout the absurdity of neurodiversity.

Of course that mother will have to cede her rights and desires to her son's condition.  That's what you do with autism, and especially challenging autism. When intervention meant to correct it --defeat it!-- fails, often the only option left is to accommodate it. 

Let's be clear also that accomodation is not the same as respectful coexistence, but, instead, is a matter of surrendering. Should the neurodiversity proponent argue that accomodating autism is the same as respectful coexistence, then I would charge that not only is their agenda apsurd, but it's also disingeneous.  Accomodating autism is a matter of yielding, surrendering to autism, and in that case neurotypicalness is the loser. Again, being that the two neurological states are at profound odds, it can only be a win-loss relationship.

Aimee, that those high functioning, neurodiversity backers don't ever seem to want to bother with your son can be seen as consistent with my argument.
  Even they realize that being around a low functioning autisitic person will infringe on their high functioning, nearly neurotypicalness, They are well aware that happy, mutual coexistence with your son is not possible, so they don't bother.

cherry Misra

Sometimes it helps to simplify an issue. This takes me back to about 1996 in my nursery school in New Delhi, when for the first time ever a mom came to me and told me straight up that her child was autistic. I stood for a while, looking at her son and thought "Autism? ..... This is brain damage "

Shelley Tzorfas

Light it up Blue is good for getting "Blue Balls."

Aimee Doyle

@Greg - "it's also a time to see autism as a 'gift' and celebrate the great accomplishments that autistic people have given the world. "

I can see that for some individuals, autism is a difference, not a disability, and that autistic individuals have contributed much to science, art, etc. That is worth celebrating. I am also with the neurodiversity movement on the need for more and better supports and services.

But there's a difference between "difference" and "disability". I don't see the same acceptance from the neurodiversity movement for those of us who have severely impaired kids. Generally I've gotten "he's only self-injurious and aggressive because you don't love and accept his autism." Really, thought mom-blaming went out with Bettelheim. In my experience individuals who are high-functioning don't want to hear about severe autism, don't want to spend any time with those who are severely autistic, and do little except criticize parents of severely autistic kids.

@Greg - also curious about what you see as the "tremendous strides that have been made in understanding the condition." From my experience, with a few notable exceptions, most doctors are clueless, and could actually care less about autism.


Joanie, I am afraid 'incongruity' doesn't do autism awareness and the LIUB campaign justice.

With autism awareness we sound the alarm bell at the steep increase in autism diagnosis over recent years, but we also exercise caution that there may not have been a true increase. Autism awareness means acknowledging the challenges of autism and the tremendous hardships that families are facing caring for their disabled kids, but it's also a time to see autism as a 'gift' and celebrate the great accomplishments that autistic people have given the world. Autism awareness involves seeing the tremendous strides that have been achieved in better understanding the condition, but it's also an occasion to concede that we still don't know what causes autism, or even what it is.

Joanie, autism awareness and the accompanying LIUB campaign is a blackhole of utter confusion and stupidity, and from which no sense or reason can escape.

Aimee Doyle

Sort of interesting that the Neurodiversity movement protests autism awareness month and the whole "light it up blue" campaign . Instead, they promote "Autism Acceptance" month.

Why should I accept the fact that, because of my son's autism, he did not graduate from high school; will never go to college; will never fall in love and have a relationship or family; will not have a career; and will not even have paid employment (it's been difficult to get even regular volunteer work for him). He will not have a community, since the neurodiversity movement, which pays a lot of lip service to "all autistic individuals" doesn't typically include individuals like my son. At events for autistic individuals (all of whom are way higher functioning) he has been ignored. No one higher on the spectrum has ever offered to be his friend or spend time with him.

Why should I accept this?


Think about what this media campaign is NOT saying:
They're NOT saying "LIUB for a *CURE*", or "LIUB for *TREATMENT*", or even "LIUB for JUSTICE."
All they are saying is LIUB, LIUB, LIUB, LIUB, etc., etc.,
That means this VERY well-funded media publicity campaign is ONLY about some vague
"awareness", and NORMALIZING the abnormal....
Hey, if it's "always been here", and the dramatic rise in ASD is just "better diagnosing", then
"they" must be doing a good job!
But it's hard to fool AoA people.....

Joanie Calem

Yes...the incongruity of the whole campaign always leaves me shaking my head. Why aren't people connecting the dots?


Given the prevailing narrative that autism has always been around, just misdiagnosed, what really does the LIUB campaign stands for anyway?  Apparently, it means that since the dawn of mankind researchers and scientists have missed that a certain sect of the mentally retarded population are more inclined to lack social skills, communicate poorly, and engage in repetitive behaviour.  And now that they've -finally!-- made this 'brilliant" discovery, they want to pay homage and respect to these people by lighting up landmarks and buildings around the world blue. 

How can anyone reflecting on the campaign in this way not left feeling dumbfounded and astounded?  First, dumbfounded and astounded that humans -- especially those who are supposed to be the brightest amongst us -- could be so stupid, and  amazed that now they seek to celebrate their stupidity!  Second, dumbfounded and astounded that they're paying this special respect to only these newly 'discovered' mentally retarded people, and which means they're gravely disrespecting the rest!

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