Saturday, November 06, 2010


There was a time when a civil dialog sprung up between some of us within the “curebie” community on the one side and a few members of the neurodiversity community (the folks who preach that the dignity of being autistic outweighs the value of recovery or cure) on the other side. This blog was one of the places where those discussions took place. Eventually, the thin patina of cordiality broke down, and the discussions ended.

Two issues were raised by some members of the neurodiversity crowd that seemed to play a large role in the cold shoulder that eventually was turned in my direction. One was my refusal to “disassociate” myself from another blogger who was vociferous in his belief in a vaccine-causation theory and in the necessity of cure, but who I would nevertheless describe as being not-at-all-representative of the feelings of most of us in the cure community. I saw no reason to disassociate myself from someone I did not consider myself to be associated with in the first place. (To be truthful, they also said I should disassociate myself from J.B. Handley; in that case, we had no formal association but I would have been proud to have had one.)

The second issue that seemed to fester within the neurodiversity crowd was my reluctance to immediately label the killing of Katie McCarron as a “murder” before all the facts were known and the matter had been adjudicated. Eventually, the legal process took its course, and I then felt it appropriate to comment on the justice of the outcome. The response from those who had been so critical was a resounding “whatever.”

Those incidents immediately came to mind as I read a recent blog post by Jonathan Mitchell. Jonathan is the author of Autism’s Gadfly, and he identifies himself as an “Autistic who wishes a cure could be found.” That obviously places him at odds with the neurodiversity crowd, and not surprisingly, he has been the object of their frequent scorn.

In this post, Jonathan commented on the lack or reaction to the recent arrest of Nick Dubin, a psychologist who has aligned himself with the neurodiversity movement. Dr. Dubin has been accused ⎯ and I stress that it is only an accusation at this point ⎯ of downloading child pornography. More to the point, Jonathan’s recent post was not about the arrest itself (although he has written about that previously), but rather to point out the lack of any reaction from the leaders of the neurodiversity movement, with whom Dr. Durbin associated himself.

Here’s the real meat of what Jonathan wrote:
Outside of the right not to be murdered, it would seem the right of disabled children not to be sexually molested would be about the most important of human rights that these august individuals would be crusading for. You would think that they would comment on this latest news story.

Consistent with my past conduct and still-held beliefs, I will not join Jonathan in commenting on the possible guilt of Nick Dubin. I’ll let the judicial system do the work it’s designed to do. But I think Jonathan raises a very fair question with regard to Kevin Leitch, Michelle Dawson, and others in the neurodiversity movement. If you’re going to decry criminal conduct that has not yet been adjudicated as such; if you’re going to call for others to disassociate themselves from people; well, you can’t just reserve your outrage for situations involving the other side.

Although Jonathan doesn’t use the word, what we’re really talking about is hypocrisy. It’s something I’ve talked about before. And it’s one reason we see such polarization in the ongoing discussion of important questions and issues.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a whole lot of time just this second to give this the response it deserves. However, I'll say this and be back later. Hopefully. Part of autism involves not being able to see both sides of an issue. Tunnel vision if you will. I know this as I am also autistic. It's that whole lack of empathy thing. Not seeing what the other is up to. I'm not sure it's so much hypocrisy as it is a lack of human interdynamics and the appropriateness of responses in given situations. You're expecting too much of them. Truly.

I have to side with the curebies though. As an autistic, my whole life has been one of incompletion and unmet goals. My IQ tests at 4.5 sigma over mean and yet the longest I've ever held a job is a couple years. I'm always the patsy, the victim, the one holding the bag as it were. I am determined to give my children the appropriate tools to deal with life and the NT world. To allow them the independence, TRUE independence I and most other auties will never have. The unemployment stats for aspies/auties speak for themselves in this regard. I don't think 'acceptance' of my children by the world should mean they get a check just for breathing air and being autistic. I don't want them beholding to strangers. I want them to make their own decisions and be *good* at it. I don't want them to be toileted by strangers when they're 40 and I'm dead.

bbl, hopefully.

11/9/10, 9:49 PM  
Blogger Wade Rankin said...

Just to clarify, some of the people mentioned by Jonathan Mitchell in his post, and some that I am pointing the finger at, are indeed adults who have identified themselves as being on the spectrum. But not all. Most of the people I have in mind are, rather, neurotypical (whatever the hell that means) themselves and are parents of autistic kids.

11/9/10, 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am still planning on a lengthy email and/or reply. Bad time of year for that kind of free time though :)

Hope you're having a great holiday season! (even with the inevitable dietary excursions)

--previous anon poster

12/14/10, 11:49 PM  

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