Jake Crosby has an article today over at AoA titled "Autism, Asperger's: Who is Truly Disabled?" Last week, AoA ran a letter by a man with autism and multiple health problems. Apparently some of what was said by Kulp irritated Crosby, leading him to comment over at Jonathan Mitchell's blog post on the Kulp letter (http://autismgadfly.blogspot.com/2009/07/roger-kulp-published-on-age-of-autism.html):
"Aren't you offended by it? He says we are not truly disabled!!!" Crosby then followed this post with a response to Jonathan's comment back to him with the longer:
"Jonathan, I had a speech delay, too, not as severe as yours, but it was clinically significant. My pediatrician referred me to speech and language specialists. I have the original report from my hospital saying I have a speech/language delay. I wrote about it in my letter to Newsweek that both you and Mr. Kulp are aware of. Yet, I later received an Aspergers diagnosis. You were also in special ed. for around the same number of years I was. I also assumed you had Aspergers not just because of my own circumstances but because that is what the reporter said during your NPR interview. I am sorry if I have spoken incorrectly about your diagnosis, though the latter reason for my assumption was due to what I heard on NPR, making that the radio's fault, not mine. Whether or not you have been re-diagnosed with Aspergers like I was is not for me to judge, though evidently you have not. I am empathetic to Mr. Kulp for his horrific condition, but his offending a subset of people with autism on AoA is not excused by that. Nothing is. This has happened on several occasions now. AoA is so desperate for anti-ND autistics it will even go so far as to allow comments and posts from someone who puts others down. That is not excusable either. While I tend to agree with you about people like Ari Ne'eman probably not suffering from autism as badly as we have, I really feel that is missing the big picture. The real problem with Neurodiversity isn't that its governed by people who maybe higher functioning than us, let alone those who cannot speak for themselves. The problem is that it is run by minority afflicted with autism attempting to impose its views and agenda on EVERYONE with autism, kind of like how the Bolsheviks took over Russia after the Tsar abdicated. Putting down everyone with Aspergers just because the majority of autistic NDs have Aspergers is prejudiced, mentalist, and wrong."
Kulp's piece is here: http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/07/a-refrigerator-mother-adult-with-autism-speaks-out.html. Apparently, this is what gets Crosby all upset: "For far too long nondisabled (Yes I'll say it people with Aspergers are NOT truly disabled.) neurodiversity types have been the only voice of autistic adults out there."
So, Crosby vented, stewed, and wrote his new piece for AoA, which meanders a bit and instead of confronting Kulp head on with his above beef, Crosby puts out that it's all the fault of neurodiversity movement who are trying to speak for everyone (I have not seen that, but maybe I don't have an axe to grind with this -- I think adults on the spectrum who have healthy self-images and are arguing that they are valuable individuals in their own right is a good thing).
Then there's the jockeying for who is more disabled. If you are on the spectrum and you want a cure, then you are more disabled than those who are in the neurodiversity movement who want supports, accommodations, treatments, and acceptance. It's the oneupsman game. I'm more screwed up than you, so I better represent what everyone on the spectrum is and wants.
Listen, trying to argue you're more disabled isn't about adaptive coping, accepting oneself, loving oneself and working to be the best person you can be. It's about whining, getting attention, and living in misery.
Seeing yourself as disabled is a choice. You could see yourself as having challenges, having issues, having some limitations. Completely different can of worms there.
My Bobby isn't going to achieve Independence, isn't going to hold a job out there in the wider world, may not marry (but maybe!), but I'll be double-damned before I ever allow himself to identify as disabled. He is a happy young man who realizes he has a few more challenges than many, but also knows that there are others with greater challenges. He focuses on what he can do, how he can help others at the day center he attends, and on being the best him he can be.
Attitude means everything. And changes everything, even if it changes none of the actual circumstances.