The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Community News Network

January 17, 2013

Slate: Is the neurodiversity movement misrepresenting autism?

(Continued)

Despite this overwhelming evidence, the cases discussed above have had a huge impact on the autism community, which has increasingly been divided between those who consider autism a disability and those who believe it is merely a different, not worse, way of thinking and interacting with the world. This latter position is espoused by the autism rights movement, also called the neurodiversity movement, which has evolved over the past two decades from an ad-hoc association of individuals with high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome and their families into a powerful lobby led by organizations such as Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and Autism Network International. ANI's founder, Jim Sinclair, wrote the famous 1993 essay "Don't Mourn for Us," which accused parents who long to cure their children's autism of really hoping "that one day we will cease to be, and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces." Today, neurodiversity activists sit on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (which advises the National Institutes of Health on how to allocate its autism research budget) and the National Council on Disability.

Since its inception, the movement has been lambasted by parents of lower-functioning autistic children for pursing what they consider to be an exclusionary agenda focused on civil rights, societal attitudes and support. These advocates, such as Harry L. Doherty, who writes his Facing Autism Symptoms in New Brunswick blog about life with his autistic son, Conor, say that this "irrational" mission distracts and draws funding from research on medical treatments and possible cures.

But to counter these critiques, there is always Amanda Baggs to echo the popular neurodiversity argument that handicap is in the eye of the beholder: "I find it very interesting by the way that failure to learn your language is seen as a deficit, but failure to learn my language is seen as so natural," she has written. Or there is Larry Bissonnette, who (through FC) proclaims, "We are one branch of many on a . . . diverse and wonderful beauty tree." Lower-functioning autistics, it seems, are on board with the movement after all. (Sue Rubin is a notable exception, in that her writings (through FC) reflect a strong desire for a cure, but she often pops up in these debates because of her apparent capabilities.)

Text Only
Community News Network
Featured Ads
Promotions
Poll

What's been the primary cause of the Texas Rangers' poor first half of the 2014 baseball season?

Too many injuries
The loss of Nolan Ryan in the front office
Questionable decisions by general manager Jon Daniels
On-field decisions by manager Ron Washington
Key players just aren't producing
All of the above
     View Results
Facebook
Must Read
Photos


See more photos and purchase prints here.

AP Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide