The Deafening Sounds Of Silence in the Autism Community: Why Is Half the Community NOT Talking About Zakh Price?

December 30th, Robin Hansen covered Zakh Price's story on Examiner. The neurodiverse community quickly took notice and began blogging about, began to get involved, forming facebook groups, writing emails, donating, and in general agitating with the local media and local personnel involved in the matter, trying to get notice and attention for Zakh and his grandmother, as well as help.

The only person I can find from the "We hate neurodiversity" side who picked this story up was Jonathan Mitchell, after Ari Ne'eman put out an email  and alert requesting ASAN members email the principal and superintendent. Mitchell's main focus, though, was not on Zakh Price, but instead on Ari Ne'eman's inconsistencies. To Mitchell's credit, he did allow my comment on last night with a link to the Zakh appeal for folks to donate. Mitchell is the ONLY person on the "other side" who has covered this at all, even if his coverage is not what we might have hoped for.

Age of Autism has been dead silent. Not a peep. Not a word. The closest that particular section of the autism community came to discussing this was Bensmyson going over to the Channel 5 thread and quickly turning it into an antivaccination screed. In fact, before the thread disappeared, Tre Benson (bensmyson) had written this actual wackaloon statement: "This is the future, this is the epidemic each of you are responsibl e for as the direct result of herd immunity. Get used to it because as long as ignorance and denial continues to fester in your school system and children like Zakhqurey are victimized by the school system it will suck dry the tax dollars you work so hard for."

Doherty, who's usually willing to cover this kind of thing, is instead stuck on Ari Ne'eman's unsuitability for the Council on Disability and why the neurodiverse community isn't covering the conviction of a conspiracy to murder his parents. Not a peep from him, either, except at Mitchell's blog, where he accuses Emily, Socrates, and me of "cheap personal shots." I noticed Mitchell had screwed the pooch on this. Does Doherty not get that phrase? Perhaps he's overly literal and thinks I'm accusing Mitchell of actual intercourse with a dog? Here, Doherty, is what that phrase means:

"Screwed the pooch," meaning "made a terrible mistake," is a cleaned-up paraphrase that author Tom Wolfe popularized. Wolfe's book "The Right Stuff," which dealt with the early years of America's manned space program, used the phrase "screwed the pooch" in describing a calamitous error made by Mercury Astronaut Gus Grissom.
How is that a cheap personal shot? Only in Doherty's reality.

It is beyond mind-boggling the comments that the ONE post from the folks who label themselves anti-neurodiversity has generated.

What about the autism community's bastion of neutrality, Lisa Jo? Not a peep over there, either. I had to join the facebook page to place a link to the facebook group for Zakh, but you have to go looking for it to find it.
It's not readily viewable by any means.

The anti-neurodiverse advocates (let's call them that) continually get what neurodiversity means WRONG. They whine and bitch and moan, but they do not act. They do not work to make the world a better place. If they think that's what harping on Ne'eman or neurodiversity is, they are sadly mistaken.

They should pay close attention to Stephanie Lynn Keil, who (while she not may be sure of neurodiversity) DOES act. Does attempt to make a difference. She has a lot to teach them about action. She's donating to a cause she cares about; she's volunteering. She is making efforts to make her life and the lives of others better through advocating for more discussion of abuse and self esteem issues. Kudos to Stephanie!

I challenge the other side of the autism community, those who think vaccines cause autism, those who won't take a stand, and those who just want to see autism eradicated (or cured), to get active in this. Staying silent on the issues regarding Zakh Price doesn't say much about your character. It looks like sour grapes. It does. "Oh, if the neurodiverse community is advocating, we're going to badmouth them and the boy and stay silent."

In a backhanded way, Doherty, by tweeting a link to this blog, has passed this story on to 782 people:

"KWombles ducks issues re Asperges man convicted of conspiring to murder his parents http://tinyurl.com/ygzhy7a #Neurodiversity #autism."

Too bad he won't cover the story directly.


Liz Ditz said...

Thanks for posting this. I've been sniping via Twitter but no action.

It is shameful that Age of Autism and Generation Rescue have been silent on this case.

Socrates said...

I have Low friends in High places. I'll mail them.

Caroleark said...

Hello everyone! I'm Zakh's Grandma.
Please don't let my autistic son go to juvenile hall/state hospital because of a disagreement about autism.
Please unite to save one of your very own. It doesn't matter where he stands...in fact he doesn't stand for either child, but he DOES stand for autism.
Please help...SAVE ZAKH!

Stephanie Lynn Keil said...

There are A LOT of issues surrounding the autism community so not everyone will be able to cover it.

I'm not planning on covering the Zakh case because I am doing something else that is equally important: you can't do everything and it would distract from my goals.

I did donate money, though, and joined the Facebook group.

KWombles said...


Sweetie, you took action, and you didn't announce it to the world; you took it and did what you could. You stand each day, despite your own adversities, and are working in your own way to make the world a better place. I wasn't placing you with the deafening sounds of silence; your presence on the facebook group is appreciated and noticed.

No, we can't each cover all stories, but the fact that Mitchell, Doherty and Age of Autism all cover stories about autistic people who have had tragedies or misfortunes occur and have all previously advocated on behalf of these people(usually to ask where ND is on this) and chose, with the exception of Mitchell, to speak out on this issue is glaring in its silence. And deplorable. It decries a true interest in helping and advocating for all autistic individuals.

There's a divide in the autism community that is based on false assumptions. The biggest false assumption is that there are only two sides: those who want a cure at all costs (anti-vaxers and pro-curebies like Mitchell and Doherty) and those who disagree with the idea of a cure (the magical mythical neurodiversity movement to which anyone who objects to the word cure is summararily assigned to).

I've spent much of my very brief blogging adventure to trying to explain that respecting the individual's innate worth and value is not the same as doing nothing to help. In fact, it is the antithesis of that. If you respect people, you want to do what you can when you see them in a difficult situation. You do what you can. Maybe that's simply treating them as worthwhile, valuable members of society who have the right to be accepted and appreciated. Maybe that's all you can do. Other times it's doing more, working heaven and earth to make a change, a difference.

This young man and his family are in a pickle. You know, Stephanie, how many people, across "party lines" are working to make a difference. It is unacceptable that AoA and Doherty are silent on this simply because neurodiversity advocates are working to make a difference. They are aware of the story and yet have remained silent. Haven't joined, haven't shared the story, haven't backed their rhetoric with action.

Sadderbutwisergirl said...

Hi. I have a blog here and I'm adding the fundraiser widget to my sidebar along with Zakh's story. Do you mind if I quote what you said in that comment there?

storkdok said...

Thanks for standing up for our kids! This is so wrong, and I hope, Carol, that you will be able to find a lawyer quickly.

Btw, my 8 yr old spectrumite has memorized "The Right Stuff" (NASA obsession). He knows what "screw the pooch" means.