Note: We excerpt this opinion piece in the Scientific American blog for your review. The content is indeed in keeping with the POV of many (most) of us at Age of Autism. I wish the author had referenced Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted's book, "Denial How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future," which attests to and delves into the severe damage done to progress for autism by the neurodiversity movement in its political and media driven form. We want pride for our loved ones on the spectrum, and our readers on the spectrum. We respect their right to feel a connection to their autism, just as a hearing impaired person feels part of the "deaf" (I apologize if this is the wrong word usage today) community. To deny the right to change, improvement, amelioration of negative aspsects of the diagnosis, medical care, safety legislation and housing choices that meet the needs of the range of the spectrum is akin to saying you are a feminist, but ONLY the most radical, "boys are stupid throw rocks at them" version. This isn't the American way. We are a nation of free choice. We're supposed to be, at lease.
The Neurodiversity Movement Should Acknowledge Autism as a Medical Disability
By Yuval Levental on
The autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen published an article, “The Concept of Neurodiversity Is Dividing the Autism Community,” where he defends the neurodiversity perspective. There are several specific arguments in his article, but overall, he views autism as a biological difference, not a disability.
Aiyana Bailin, a disability rights advocate, wrote a response titled “Clearing Up Some Misconceptions about Neurodiversity,” where she claims that while she supports neurodiversity, she believes that autism is best understood through the social model of disability. This means that the negative aspects of autism are caused by a lack of external accommodations, such as in improper work environments.
Advocating for medical research, former president of Autism Speaks Liz Feld has stated that one third of people with autism also have a seizure disorder, half suffer serious digestive complications, 49 percent wander, and more than 30 percent are nonverbal. Feld claims that no accommodation could solve those specific difficulties, and that they interfere with their quality of life. In 2018, the National Council on Severe Autism was founded to take action regarding those concerns, with its founder, Jill Escher, stating that “For countless families devoted to the well-being of their disabled loved ones, the daily challenges can be overwhelming, and the prospects for the future extremely bleak.” Read more and please comment with a suggestion to read Dan and Mark's book at the SciAm site here.