I guess the irony of being an advocate for the acceptance of people with Asperger's while at the same time bashing their less fortunate peers is somehow lost on her.
With this rant, Ms. Fjeldsted joins the growing ranks of aspie bigots who think that they are better than the rest of the people on the spectrum and should not be lumped in with "them". Like other bigots before her, Ms. Fjeldsted is laboring under the false impression that Asperger's Syndrome is currently a separate condition from the other types of autism and that the upcoming DSM V is going to force people with Asperger's to be lumped in with the rest of the spectrum.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Asperger's is already, by definition, a form of autism. It is included in the current DSM IV under the pervasive developmental disorder category along with autism, pdd-nos, Rett Syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder. It is this group of conditions that make up what is typically called the "autism spectrum".
So sorry Ms. Fjeldsted, if you have a diagnosis of Asperger's you are already one of "them".
Factual problems aside, the rant is quite entertaining in its own way, with some breathtaking statement of intolerance such as -
As someone with Asperger’s, I am strongly opposed to this proposal and I firmly believe that autism and Asperger’s should continue to be classified separately. This proposal will do more harm than good because it will further perpetuate stereotypes and misunderstandings about Asperger’s, it will serve as an insult and a mockery to those who are severely affected by Asperger’s, it will cause further confusion and ambiguity in diagnostics, and it will attack the identity in which many Aspies, like me, take pride.and
First of all, many Aspies already suffer enough from the negative stigma and stereotypes society holds against them. To call Asperger’s “high-functioning autism” or “a form of autism” will only contribute to this stigma. The label of Asperger’s at least gives observers the impression of intelligence and ability. But, when most people think of “autism,” they think of someone who should be institutionalized and cannot live independently. Therefore, if people with Asperger’s are merged under the autistic group, brilliantly gifted and capable individuals could be unfairly stereotyped as incapable and unprofitable.You really have to read the whole piece to get the complete picture, these snippets cannot do it justice. The overall tone is elitist and the whole thing is one big insult and stereotype aimed squarely at people who suffer most from autism.
I am not the only one who found this post insulting and, in what is probably a record for the Autism Speaks blog, there are 74 comments on the post, the overwhelming majority of them being highly critical.
I am not sure what I find to be more troubling here - the fact that there are so many aspie bigots like Ms. Fjeldsted out there or that Autism Speaks gave one of them a platform for their bigotry.
To its discredit, Autism Speaks did respond to the angry comments with a comment of their own -
It is noted that these words are the opinion of the author, not necessarily representative of Autism Speaks. We aim to present a variety of opinions from members of our community. The author’s viewpoint is simply that – her opinions.So their response was a very lame "we didn't say she did". While I can understand that people have a variety of opinions, Autism Speaks should not be in the business of giving a platform to an opinion that is insulting and demeaning to the group that they are supposed to be serving. Autism Speaks needs to grow a pair and take a stand against stupidity like this. Bigotry against people who suffer from autism is not a valid viewpoint.
I wish I could say that opinions like Ms. Fjeldsted's are rare, but they seem to be becoming increasingly common. I think the neurodiversity movement is in large part to blame for this with their absurd notion of autism being just a difference. It is one thing to accept people as people, limitations at all, but completely another to romanticize a medical condition like autism. Autism is a very serious development disorder that causes major problems for those affected. It is a medical condition that requires treatment and a cure, not some civil rights movement.
So Hannah Fjeldsted, if you want to take pride in being an "aspie" and want think of it as you "identity" and don't want to be lumped in with those others, you know, the ones that belong in institutions, here is my suggestion.
Get the hell off the spectrum and go find some other group of disabled people to insult. People with autism and their caretakers have enough to worry about without having to deal with your bigotry.