Friday, May 1, 2009

Autism Today?

Autism Today sent out a mass email to recruit people to be part of a panel based on the premise of cure for autism. Do I want to be on their cure panel? I don't think so. Their email and my reply.


As a valued friend of Autism Today, you can make a difference!By joining Find A Cure Panel for parents and caregivers of people with Autism, you will be empowered to share your opinions in vital research.What's more, for each survey you complete Autism Today will make a minimum donation of $10 directly to the KEEN Education Foundation on your behalf.Registering is fast, free, and your privacy is completely protected.
HERE to sign up now, and thank you for your continued support!Sincerely,Autism Todaynews@autismtoday.com2016 Sherwood Dr #3Sherwood Park, ABT8A3X3
Autism Today:
Once again I am appalled at the way so-called pro-autism organizations are decidedly not pro-autistic. You are defining this panel around cure ideology which most autistic adults find at the very least frightening.

I am also diagnosed ADHD and I have to tell you how different the ADHD community is from yours. Take a look at CHADD, the major national ADHD organization ( It is entirely inclusive. Not only are adult ADDers considered essential to any advocacy groups but many, many of the theorists, researchers, and prominent clinicians are ADDers themselves: Ned Hallowell, John Ratay, Sari Solden, and Terry Matlin, among others. Stephen Shore and Liane Holliday Willey are perhaps the only two invited to the ball of the "autism Community." Perhaps if we all could become cognitive psychologists we would have the kind of critical mass to change the discourse on autism. In the meantime we look on in dismay and fear, for ourselves and the youngsters who are deemed unacceptable as-is.

The ADHD inclusivity keeps the cure hysteria to a minimum because people such as those I've mentioned are far from interested in being cured. In fact, the only place for cure rhetoric in ADHD is in quack internet ads. There is a growing pride in what ADDers are capable of even with severe problems like the statistically significant correlation between ADHD and marriage failure, incarceration, accidental death, and employment instability (e.g., likelihood of being fired), and particular torments suffered by ADDer youngsters: bullying, punishment for misbehavior, severe underachievement.

I'm not entirely sure what accounts for the disenfranchisement of autistic adults or the semantic lunacy of an "autism community" hospitable to everone EXCEPT autistics, but my best guess is an entrenched cultural belief that popularity, or perhaps, likability is what defines a whole person, Willie Loman in overdrive. If one cannot be likable, he or she is fatally flawed. Or maybe the culprit is stigma, pure and simple. I think there may be other issues in the personal narratives of parents that will never be resolved as long as they can hope for a cure.

In the meantime what does Autism Today have to offer me? How can I be sure your organization won't militate against my needs and deepest hopes? In terms of your list memberships and magazine subscriptions, what's in it for me?

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