6/03/2009

Why they don't like Simon Baron-Cohen

"Baron-Cohen will then return to his velveted ivory tower to consolidate his position as the UK’s expert on autism and continue to attract a level of research funding that other, better informed and certainly more compassionate scientists, can only dream of." Bill Welsh

http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/06/breaking-bad-news.html

Then followed by a commenter's: "There's no way he doesn't know what's thought of him by the wider autism parent community at this point. It obviously doesn't matter to him, though I'm sure he doesn't appreciate the repeated blots on his Google name search."


Unless these folks have actually taken a poll of the half-million or so families in the US dealing with autism, they have no idea of what the autism parent community thinks of Baron-Cohen. Of course, parents who believe their child has autism due to vaccine injury have no use for Baron-Cohen, as they eschew science that is counter to their belief system.

I would argue that this "wider" autism community, the one who sees DAN doctors, Wakefield, the Geiers as their heroes and their autistic children as stolen away from them by the doctors who gave their child vaccinations, has little to no knowledge of the vast, accumulating body of research into the neurology of autism. They use google, thinking that all hits are of equal merit, they favor other parent testimonials over hard, often difficult to read and understand science that can even leave someone who finds journal articles a fascinating past-time a bit overwhelmed when it goes too far beyond one's own field of expertise. And they listen to those who offer magic pills that will recover their child without the hard, often grueling work that behavioral therapy, social skills training, and other therapies can be. Magic pills these DAN docs, Wakefield, and the Geiers often in abundance. And they make a fortune off of these desperate, grieving parents.

You don't see too many parents of children with autism who accept that the cause of the autism is either genetic entirely, as it is in some cases, or genetic/environmental but not vaccine damaged, not heavy metal toxicity whining about how their child has been stolen from them, is a shadow, soulless, or mentally dead. Just those parents who are convinced that this was done to them. AoA, GR, Thoughtful House, DAN doctors feed on these people. Angry, desperate people go down all sorts of rabbitholes when they are promised quick and easy fixes.

Parents who know that nothing comes cheap, nothing comes free, and nothing comes without work don't go down as many rabbitholes. And they don't ever think of their child as better off dead.


Baron-Cohen offers a different perspective on ASDs. He posits that it might simply be a difference. He offers hope and acceptance, but those wallowing in victimhood don't want their child viewed as different. They want him fixed. Now. They don't want to consider where they might be on the broader autism phenotype and live with seeing themselves in their child.

These parents make the mistake and exaggerate what Baron-Cohen says when he postulates Asperger's as a differing ability and accuse him of not wanting treatment or intervention for those on the spectrum, when that is patently a lie. Greater acceptance by society is a key ingredient for paving the way for people with ASDs. Greater sensitivity of the issues folks on the spectrum face will make it easier for them to face those issues. Instead of always harping on the negatives, focusing on the abilities, talents, and positives will provide people with ASDs greater autonomy. Of course intervention must continue; social skills training is essential. But it wouldn't kill neuroptypicals to try toe-walking, hand-flapping and speaking in a singsong occasionally. My youngest, when I asked her why she did it, told me it feels good. I tried it, and given that I was alone in my house with my three ASD children at the time, we all had a good romp (except the boy, he just watched in boredom) and we agreed it is a fine time indeed.

2 comments:

NYtoon said...

I dont get the point of this story other than a terrible way of linking 9/11 to autism.

The relationship between bad political stories being leaked after 9/11 and the UK current scandal is rediculous. I mean what has this autism organization got to do with the UK government?

KWombles said...

None that I could see. Typical kind of lead-ins for AoA; hyperbole and histrionics and then bash the nearest scientist they don't like. Especially if the scientist doesn't espouse a vision of autism as a crime committed against a parent by big pharma and corrupt government.