Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pssst - she doesn't like being called a "crusader"

There was an article that was published Monday on Salon by Elizabeth Svoboda that deals with neurodiverity.  All in all if was mostly balanced account presenting an accurate view of what the some of the debates  and issue surrounding this concept are about.  I think it was a little too kind to the neurodiverse side but I don't think that will come as a surprise to anyone who has read some of my prior posts.

The article is well enough written that I can't really add anything to it - not unless I wanted to highlight how poor my writing skills are in comparison.

Definitely worth reading so go read it.

If you paid attention while you were reading you came across the name Michelle Dawson.  You may have missed it if you blinked, so here is the part that refers to her -
If autistic-rights advocates win their court battles, many treatment programs could stop receiving government money. In 2004, for instance, autistic-rights crusader Michelle Dawson convinced the Canadian Supreme Court to overturn an appeal that would have provided state funding for ABA therapy.
There is approximately one line in there that references her directly - a little over 20 words.  

Ms Dawson apparently found this statement to be offensive and written a rebuttal letter that is posted on her blog.  To rebut 20 words she has written, well I stopped counting after the first page.

She starts with a "falsely characterized" followed by a "I was never interviewed' and "I am not a crusader".  She goes on to review what she feels her role in the Canadian court case was and to reiterate that she is not part of neurodiversity or any other movement - she is apparently a movement all of her own.  She then goes on to describe her moment in three simple points - those point are a topic for another day.

In closing she ends with -
The standards currently applied to autistics are such that you are free to misrepresent me, and major legal decisions and issues, and so on, all you want. There's nothing I can do except put accurate information on the record, again, even though it has been here all along, for anyone who takes autism seriously.
I am not sure what autism has to do with the feeling that a journalist has misrepresented you - I thought that could  pretty much happen to everyone.  I am also not sure why she felt the need to write a lengthy letter over one sentence.  

Perhaps she was feeling left out of the debate since she views herself as a side of her own.  But since the article was about neurodiversity, a movement she proclaimers herself to not be part of, I don't see what the problem is.  

I was not interviewed for the article nor was I quoted (not that I have any reason to think I should have been or anything to add to the discussion) so should I be upset about that? 

I think the real problem here is that Ms Dawson really, really doesn't like to be called a crusader and tends to overreact when that word is used.
The truth can do that to a person.

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