7/23/2009

Human Capacity and a call to action

Updated and revised as of Jul 24

Yesterday, I tried to place a comment at AoA. I think it's important to acknowledge when AoA manages to run an article that isn't hate-filled or chockful of inaccuracies. For a Crosby piece, this one did fairly well at making the case that Asperger Syndrome is a disability and people with the condition should qualify for services and do. He went on to argue against his mythical ND movement, and I argued against that in my comment, but I didn't go into great deal on Crosby's piece. Yesterdays's blog post was just a quick little thing to note that even when I try to post something generally positive and favorable towards AoA over there that they won't put it on, but let hate-spew on, which was never addressed by another commenter. My original blog post is in blue so that readers know what was up yesterday.

Crosby: AoA and another good article:

Jake,
You did a very nice job with this.
I don't think all individuals who support accommodation and acceptance of people on the spectrum who get the label of ND are of the belief that ASDs are not a disability. Just as people with ASDs are on a spectrum of differing levels of functioning, people involved in the autism community are on a spectrum when it concerns how best to serve that community. One can advocate the idea of a neurological difference while not dismissing disability. The point is to increase acceptance, minimize discrimination, and make society more receptive to all individuals, regardless of their level of functioning.


http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/07/why-asperger-syndrome-is-a-legal-disability.html#more

And Roger, proving AoA isn't about to drive traffic to me: they won't post the above, but they'll post this:

"Nuerodiverse is a psyop brought to you by our government and pharma. Anybody who falls for the neurodiverse movement is disabled because they lack judgement and reasoning ability. Honestly, people who cannot function are not some higher form of exisitng or whatever nonsense they spew. I honestly don't listen, it's like saying cancer is a kiss from God. Nuerodiverse only exists on the internet, not real life. Nobody would look at a brain damaged person (sorry Jake) and think it's a good thing. Sad that the argument has become well you're less brain damaged so it's ok. "

AoA, keep proving what you are about. You're doing a good job of proving my point made here:
http://counteringageofautism.blogspot.com/2009/07/why-not-let-it-on-when-im-going-to-put.html.

Keep spreading the hate. Even when you manage to let a good article on.


In the comments section, jypsy provides a good rebuttal to Crosby's inaccuracies regarding ND. While it appears that each "side" of the neurodiversity equation has its extremists, neurodiversity, as I believe I have written previously, is like ASDs, a spectrum.

Neurodiversity.com on its intro page has "honoring the variety of human wiring." For me, to be a supporter of neurodiversity means that I accord all people regardless of their level of impairment, their diagnosis, their issues, a respect and appreciation for their value and worth, for their rights to be treated with dignity and compassion. The failure to see others who are different as inherently equal in value to oneself, is to be anti-neurodiversity. If Crosby, Best, Mitchell, and others can redefine neurodiversity to be this mythical movement in which its followers do nothing for their children to help them achieve their potential and far worse than that, then we can redefine anti-NDs. And I will.

Best wrote on this blog this comment: "The problem with this deranged statement is that autism is unacceptable. It should never be accepted, only cured and eradicated. Actual autistic people are not simply cognitively disabled. They are cognitively blown away. They have no cognitive function that remotely resembles any human capacity."

I let this comment stand because it meets my comment guidelines, which are lenient, with a rule of 5. This, while containing no name-calling or outright personal abuse, meets my criteria for being considered comment 3 of the 5 Best will be allowed. While I will not directly address Best until there is a retraction of his hateful name calling on his blog and here and an apology for the abuse, I will address the comment itself.

First, "autism is unacceptable."

This is an imprecise statement. The suffering that autism may and does cause for individuals is unacceptable. If the suffering is caused by hate rants like the above, then the suffering is not an inherent feature of autism and lies instead with the people who utter it. The discrimination suffered by people on the spectrum is unacceptable. The lack of acceptance and basic human dignity is unacceptable.

"It should never be accepted, only cured and eradicated."

I think there is much offensive here, but let me start with the idea that autism shouldn't be accepted. What does that mean? Does it mean denial? Best has made clear that he believes all autism to be mercury poisoning. That's it, that's what autism is. I argue mercury poisoning is mercury poisoning and autism is autism, two different things entirely.

Best would have people believe that accepting autism means not working with children on the spectrum to help them achieve their full potential, that it means leaving them as they are and offering no intervention. This is his mythical ND movement.

What about "cured and eradicated"?

To Best, autism/mercury poison should be cured with chelation, and I believe, lupron, as well. Failure to provide this is child abuse to Best. Autism is not mercury poisoning and no "cure" exists, although there are certainly children who do incredibly well as they grow up and see huge improvements in functioning due to intense early intervention and continued supportive therapies. The degree of impairment varies widely and the number of comorbid conditions varies, as well. This impacts the level of improvement some will see over time. Profound intellectual disability does coexist with autism, and improvement may not be significant for some.

So what about eradication? Nasty word, nasty concept, that. What is Best suggesting with the use of this term? That where it can not be cured, it should be eradicated? How? What does he mean by this specifically?

"Actual autistic people are not simply cognitively disabled. They are cognitively blown away. They have no cognitive function that remotely resembles any human capacity."

Okay, going on the assumption based on Best's previous comments here, I believe that he is restricting actual autistic to the most seriously impaired and for which he is blaming mercury poisoning. He does not appear to ascribe to the notion of current accepted definitions of ASDs by the neurological or psychological communities, or even particularly with AoA's positions. So, if you restrict your view to Best's view that it is that small proportion of profoundly autistic and intellectually disabled individuals who are his focus, his comment still remains deeply offensive.

Human capacity? I believe this statement reflects more on Best than it does on the individuals he is referring to. My mother has approximately two decades of working as a nurse at a local assisted living center for the mentally and physically disabled; my husband worked there as direct care staff for over two years. Because the first decade of my mother's work at the ALC was while I was a child, I grew up around the profoundly disabled. Human capacity? Oh, my. That and so much more. A capacity for profound joy, for simple appreciation of human kindness. And Best would say these profoundly disabled individuals have no human capacity?

There is no doubt that there is a sizable proportion of our society who is dismissive and cruel towards those who are disabled. This says far more about them than it does the disabled. We have to stand up to these bullies. We have to say that all people are valuable. We have to teach our children to not only value others, but to stand up to such blatant hateful discrimination when they see it. Abuse occurs when the people who care for the disabled who need 24 hour care are allowed to not see these individuals as human beings who have value. Best and his fellow hatemongers foster this idea that the disabled lack human capacity. They perpetuate this abuse.

This is unacceptable and must be countered wherever and whenever it is seen.

12 comments:

jypsy said...

I pointed out a while ago, with many references, that Mr. Crosby's assertion about ND and "disability" were false. (http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/05/an-open-letter-to-newsweek-magazine-on-possible-neurodiversity-coverage.html?cid=6a00d8357f3f2969e20115707763b9970b#comment-6a00d8357f3f2969e20115707763b9970b)
I'm curious why he, and others, still cling to this belief.

Foresam said...

"neurodiversity is all about making the world a more accepting place for the cognitively disabled."
The problem with this deranged statement is that autism is unacceptable. It should never be accepted, only cured and eradicated. Actual autistic people are not simply cognitively disabled. They are cognitively blown away. They have no cognitive function that remotely resembles any human capacity.
Stop lying Jypsy.

kathleen said...

excellent point jypsy..thanks

kathleen said...

Well said Kim..As always a beautiful counter.
I will say this though. All the logic in the world rarely changes a persons point of view. People believe what they WANT to believe-it is safe. By questioning your belief system, you have to question yourself. For some that is just too difficult, too scary. They would rather lash out-hide behind anger and vitriol. That way, people will look at the angry and oft time vile statements instead of at the person behind them.
When a place moderates their comments-and I do understand the need for moderation (keep the vile off!)..when they moderate in order to keep other points of view from being seen-what does that say? They have an agenda. One that they don't wish to be questioned.

Mom26children said...

On AoA today, a mother from England wrote about her "awful" vacation with her Autistic son...
I am curious, after reading what she wrote, why
she bothered having children at all !!!

Foresam said...

Kim,
Following doctors' advice and tossing "vegetables" like my son into asylums at age 3 is my idea of abusive. In fact, tossing them into asylums to be drugged into oblivion for the rest of their lives is what I consider abusive at any age. That's what happens with kids like mine. That is their destiny and that's what Neurodiversity does not want to change.

All of the psychobabble about early intervention and a myriad of behavioral treatments have to be judged on their merits. The fact is that none of those behavioral "treatments" work at all in the most severe cases of autism. I used them for years and they were 100% useless.
Chelation worked. Neuroinsanity claims it does not work at all. No matter how many people testify that it works, Neuroinsanity's unvariable position is to state that it is dangerous and does not work. This is simply not true and every neuroinsane psychopath knows it.
There is nothing offensive about how I portray autism. If you will not enumerate the depth of the problem, you can not ameliorate it. I am offensive to Neuroinsanity because my words do not make allowances for their deception of obfuscating the differences between autism and Asperger's whereby they refer to every person on the spectrum as autistic, whether they have a PhD and lots of friends or not. The term "autism" only applies to low functioning people. That is the definition. That is why there are different categories in the DSM for PDD/NOS and Asperger's. They are not "autism".
Since people with autism will never function like humans on any level, that is how the condition must be described to spell out the pure horror of it...and every attempt must be made to improve that condition of abject horror.
I addressed your request for an apology on one of your previous posts. Maybe you have not seen it. BTW, you sound like Phil Gluyas with that.

KWombles said...

As a general note, I read all comments made on my post. I also do my best to keep my word: when I say I will or will not do something, I do my best to keep to it.

I'd point out, though, if someone has made the argument that autism is mercury poisoning and can be cured by chelation, then this would be all over the news and big pharma would be all over it since big pharma makes the chelating medications. Think of the profits to be made from that.

From http://www.aap.org/publiced/BR_Autism.htm:

"Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of related brain-based disorders that affect a child's behavior, social, and communication skills. They include 3 of 5 disorders known as pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs). These are autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, and PDD-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Autism spectrum disorders are lifelong conditions with no known cure. However, children with ASD can progress developmentally and learn new skills. Some children may improve so much that they no longer meet the criteria for ASD, although milder symptoms may often persist."

KWombles said...

Jeanette,

I glanced over that new piece and thought, okay, here we go again. I get it. I really do. It's why I don't travel with my children. Really.If it isn't going to be fun for anyone, why do it to them? What struck me was how hard she anticipated it being because they'd all have to talk to each other. Imagine that!

Mom26children said...

Kim,
I do not think the mother's are writing about their children's struggles at all...they are writing about their own. God forbid !!!
When we go on vacation, I anticipate the best from my kids and so far, they have never let me down.
We always try to prepare them in advance so they are ready to go.
I took Kiernan in for dental surgery today. The nurses asked me if he was always this calm. I told them for the most part...I mean, he has his moments...but, so do I. He was a good boy !!!
When the mother, on AoA, was "talking" about her child pooping and peeing his pants...it was not about him at all..it was how it was an inconvenience for them. I wonder how this beautiful little boy feels ?

Thelma said...

Thelma's been wanderin' alookin for foresam. Shoulda known he could be found over here makin' trouble. Thelma's got a question, foresam. If that chelation you keep going on about fixes the problem, both your kiddos, they all better? Or are ya actually factually saying that your youngin's "will never function like humans on any level"? Thelma's gotta reckon that be far from the case. Thelma knows special; I done known me a fair amount of folks who needed extra help from people about 'em, and every one of 'em was human, no matter how special.

See, Thelma reckons the sayin of such just means you the one with the problem.

Thelma's gonna go see where else she can find ya, foresam.

On a side note, for the lovely ladies who comment over here, Louise thinks we need to lighten up on the drinkin or get better taste on the booze choices, so I'm trying internetz therapy. Find a dumbass, skip the liquor, and mess with the dumbass. It sounds more like a drinkin' game to Thelma, but Louise said that's what left her all passed out by my feets the other night. She won on the dumbass findin' on the upside.

Thelma thinks there's some fine ladies here; she's enjoyin the dunbass huntin' ya'll be doin'. I reckon ya could be a bit more blunt, though, huns. It ain't never hurt nothin to be flat out honest and call a dumbass a dumbass. Ya'll try it. I saw way back where KWombles called a fella a chickenshit and a frakkin ass. Pure-dee bootiful! Try it some more, huns. It's liberatin'. I swear it, clean sober and all.

Sirenity said...

Kim, yet another well written post!
I agree wholeheartedly.

Positive side, blogs sprang up all over with parents offering the more rational look that includes a postive outlook, not just the wailing.

Keep up the woo fighting!

Mom26children said...

Kim,
Powered by Cowardness is a NOBODY...
the only reason she brought your children into the picture is because she is so afraid to confront you as an adult.
It is not hard to figure out who this person is..they are the same person who is to fragile in mind and soul to confront you as a mom to a mom.
Powered has just given a piece of herself to us...she showed us how not to be....
Thanks Powered....keep showing your true self over at John Best's site...where you hate your children with Autism...
OOPS, my bad
Where Hating autism is okay !!!