Saturday, June 20, 2009

Neurodiversity : Stop the Hate

Some days it doesn't pay to read anything online. I ran across this post written by Jonathan Mitchell at Autism's Gadly. Mr. Mitchell is, for those of you who do not read his blog, at adult with autism who writes about issues surrounding autism and, while I do not agree with everything that he says, I do think that he makes a lot of good points and is worth reading. But I digress.

His post was a rebuttal to something posted at that was targeted at him specifically. I was intrigued so I went to read the original post here. I wish I hadn't.

The title of the thread is "Autism Suck-ups" and was written by someone calling themselves "Sadderbutwisergirl", it starts out with -
Have you guys ever heard of curebie autistics? Personally, I hate it when they spread around the drivel of hate groups such as Autism Speaks and so I've put up a special place to complain about them and (the following is optional) put them in categories based on this criteria. I'm going to start off by complaining about Jonathan Mitchell. It sickens me how he says...
The post then continues in an attempt to dissect statements Mr. Mitchell has made with some, well, interesting results. For example, on the problems living with autism?
He blames his being autistic for all of his problems and doesn't consider that the problems may be due to discrimination rather than the fact that he is autistic.
Self-injurious behaviors?
I can come up with an easy answer for that one: If society is changed, people won't see the need to dope them up with behavioral meds and do all kinds of psychologically harmful things to them to get them to stop them from banging their heads. ... Whenever I catch her trying to headbang, I just turn her face so that she is looking towards me and tell her "no." I then give her a hug to make her feel better...
On wanting people with autism to be able to talk?
There we go again with the disgusting crap about how only "a normal speaking person" deserves to be emulated. This destructive drivel has been the justification for the harm of so many autistic persons.
On diagnosing long dead historical figures as having autism?
While it is not possible to confirm that Einstein, Jefferson, and Newton were autistic after they ve been dead for so long, they do have some autistic traits and you can't really confirm that they were "normal" either, so shut your trap.
The most disturbing statements come later in a later post in the thread by the same author -
I find it to be really disturbing that he is spreading the idea that the autism community's problems are caused by the fact that they're autistic and you're right. He is wrongfully removing the blame from the neuromajority supremacists to fix the problems that they created. That would be like a Nazi Germany-era Jew obstructing any anti-Nazi resistances, saying that the Nazis are only trying to help the Jews by exterminating them, giving money to Nazis in the upper echelons because he considers them to be his friends, joyfully going to the concentration camps, and gleefully jumping into the crematorium. If there are any Holocaust survivors reading this and feeling appalled, I apologize, but I'm trying to prove a point here. The Nazis weren't trying to help the Jews at all. All they were doing was depriving them of their civil and human rights and ultimately their lives systematically. To me, an autistic person spewing this kind of crap out of their mouths is just as strange, disturbing, and sickening as the example of the Jew happily accepting the atrocities that the Nazis have done to him.
I am sure that most people reading this can see the insanity of the statements above.

The problems experienced by individuals with autism are not due to a systematic discrimination in society but rather because autism is a profound disorder. (Although society as a whole does need to learn to tolerate and accept what comes with autism).

If your child has self-injurious behaviors they most certainly don't stop just because you tell them "no".

Being able to talk or communicate effectively is not an optional skill for surviving in the world, especially if you want to be able to live independently.

I don't think that anyone who lives with autism on a daily basis really cares whether Einstein had autism.

And most importantly, people with autism are not a persecuted minority nor is there even the slightest relation to the horror that Jewish people experienced in Nazi Germany.

Autism is not about civil rights, it is about treating a serious disorder.

So who would such inane things and spout such nonsense? If you click on profile for "Sadderbutwisergirl" you see that this person is a 15 year old girl. Assuming that the profile is correct, these are some rather extreme views for someone so very young. I have to wonder if her parents know what she is doing online.

I think it is obvious that someone who is 15 is unlikely to come up with this stuff on their own; they have to be parroting what they have heard or read elsewhere. I guess the new slogan for neurodiversity is to get 'em while they're young and hook 'em for life.

So I guess I am a little confused, is neurodiversity about acceptance or is it a cult?


  1. Thanks for the plug, MJ. When I first read what was written about myself and responded, I did not know how young this gal was. I did not bother looking at her profile. Someone else emailed me telling me her age before you posted this.

    This is one of the hardball tactcts of club ND. Spreading prpopaganda to youngest, most vulnerable people they can find so they can increase their army of internet warmongers and hatemongers.

  2. Jonathan, I have to confess that when I first read some of your accounts of the hostility from ND crowd I thought you were exaggerating somewhat.

    But, after seeing what this person wrote about about you, I think if anything you are understating what you are saying.

    The immaturity this girl's rant is completely off the charts and what she is saying is far outside the bounds of any sort of polite, or even civil, conversation.

  3. Yes, I've noticed that most ND supporters are quite young and becoming younger and younger everyday.