There is a war on at present within the Autistic community. One side advocates Autism as a disability requiring medical treatment. The other side advocates Autism as a human difference. Both sides insist the other is wrong in all respects and are holding the community back and hurting Autistics everywhere.
The reality is that both sides have a point. There are disabling aspects of Autism. We wouldn’t have low functioning Autistics if this wasn’t true. The real explanation lies in the fact that there is a difference between an origin and a symptom. The origins of Autism are genetic. The disability aspect is the next step – the difference between the higher end of the Spectrum and the lower end. This is the one mistake that those advocating medical intervention are making – intermingling the two.
On July 17, 2019, Yuval Levental wrote a piece titled “The Neurodiversity Movement Should Acknowledge Autism as a Medical Disability”. His position, from the position of a self proclaimed critic of Autism advocacy, is not tenable. He quotes a former Autism Speaks president over disabling aspects that are not a part of Autism itself, but rather co-morbid conditions with separate medical explanations that can and should be treated separately. Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, have medications available and can also be subject to excess stress in the same way. Digestive complications have many different causes that are also medically amenable. Both link to Autism via one genetic factor – sensory sensitivity. This leads to sensory overload and pushes the young Autistic down the Spectrum. The way to reverse that overload is to treat the co-morbid condition. It has nothing to do with Autism at the core. That can not be touched.
The issue of wandering and being non verbal also have non Autism origins, but react against Autism in the same way as the medical co-morbid conditions. Wandering is caused by sensory overload in the home in general – parents doing the wrong thing and the child wanting to just get out of there. Autistics need space and depriving them of that space is a sensory overload. Being non verbal is a symptom of a sensory overload, and that overload could come from anywhere. We have six senses – the basic five, plus instinct. Instinct is the sense that is treated with ignorance. Autistics have instinct issues that have to be learned manually. It’s not automatic, especially in the social sense. And when that non existent instinct is called upon, a sensory overload is possible if not likely. And again, that can come from anywhere.
The National Council on Severe Autism is a misguided group. It’s leader, Jill Escher, holds to the view that Autism is DNA damage – a claim that has not been verified except through wholly unreliable anecdotal evidence. While most argue the idea of supports for Autistics at the lower end of the Spectrum has value (and it does) this has to be done from an angle of knowledge. If the knowledge isn’t there, or the “knowledge” isn’t correct, mistakes are inevitable leading to a worsening of conditions for the Autistics concerned. That can’t be allowed to happen. The challenge that Escher spoke of in the article written by Levental regarding challenges daily is correct. But going in the wrong direction will just make those challenges even worse than they already are. The answer to Escher’s question “if my kids don’t have autism, what do they have?” is “Your kids are Autistic and are suffering from a sensory overload. You need to find that sensory overload”.
Levental claims that there is no evidence of the co-morbidity factor and it’s all about Autism. He is equally coming from a knowledge-less base as Escher is – biased for his own personal reasons and experience, and drawing on the experience of those who are equally biased against Autism due to the same factor – the lack of knowledge. Autism is defined in the behaviours. A set of five of them – all of which need to be fulfilled to be diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum. But there is a strong belief that each individual behaviour can be found in all human beings without exception. That is the genetic connection that should be researched and confirmed as the true origin of Autism. This is how having a genetic history is not always an accurate indicator.
Levental also spoke of high unemployment and social isolation among Autistics as being bad compared to other disabilities. It isn’t great, but there is a reason for this. It’s all about fear. The community fears Autism – a factor far more pronounced than other conditions. And people like Levental, Escher, Thomas Clements and the others aren’t helping with this negative perception. We need to stop the fear. And that starts with true understanding of Autism. All Levental wants to do is criticise. He has no answers. And that is because he doesn’t really understand. Neither do the others. True solutions to all parts of the Autistic Spectrum lie in understanding and acceptance. The rewards will follow. That is not fascist or eugenicist. They are the fear factors that the aforementioned people thrive on, not those who appeal for the rights of Autistics to be who they are – Autistic and proud. We are different, not less.
This article was originally written and submitted to the Scientific American for publication there at the end of July. For reasons unknown it has not been published – so I have published it here instead.
I skimmed an article on the Spectrum News website yesterday, which Michael John Carley in the comments called “naive”. I tend to agree even though the facts given were more or less right. The trouble was there was a lot missing from the war.
Michael identified one – the lack of mention of Autism Speaks. Bob and Suzanne Wright did huge amounts of damage to the Autism “brand” (for want of a better word) playing to people’s fears and trying to garner money for research to find a cure. And it worked. Money came rolling in, and people started to believe that Autism could and should be cured as a disease when it shouldn’t and isn’t.
Naturally this got many who understood Autism at the coal face angry. Ari Ne’eman led the charge in the United States, and it’s a shame that Autism Speaks at that time didn’t have their charity status taken off them as a hate group – something that apparently could have been done. But no one bothered. And now since Suzanne’s passing and Bob’s departure from the board things have improved somewhat, even though they still have a long way to go – certainly to eliminate the stench they have left in their wake. At least the money is now going to support services and not research into a cure.
One of the big errors that those who support a cure make about neurodiversity is that it’s a “movement”. It’s not. It’s practical fact. All human brains are different as seen on the page on it on this blog. They go down that track because they see the claim as trying to normalise Autism into something not to worry about. That’s not true at all. In fact speaking for myself I find that offensive to the max. What people don’t get is Autism is not all about what you see in a person on the Spectrum. It’s about what’s underneath. The base of the condition. It’s all the same in every Autistic. What’s different is the next step – the expression. And this is where the variations come in with a single factor at the source of it – sensory sensitivity. No or little sensory overload means high functioning (ie like my good self). Major sensory overload means low functioning. And all points in between.
The base condition is what needs to be understood first and the lack of understanding is at the very core of the war Spectrum News is talking about. People don’t want to understand and prefer their own interpretation or that of quacks who don’t understand either. That brings in the anti vaccine fools claiming vaccines cause Autism, or other fools who make other environmental claims. The one that irks me the most aside from the vaccine BS is the claim of DNA damage – and that’s where the criticism is coming for the National Council on Severe Autism, courtesy of their co-founder Jill Escher. She’s not the only one. Another co-founder, Feda Almaliti, insists that the only treatment for low functioning Autism is Applied Behavioural Analysis, and that’s not true either – especially if it is used as an aversive. It can also be used in reverse which is possible, but the bottom line is that it does nothing to fix the problem that caused the regression down the Spectrum in the first place – the sensory overload. Then of course there’s Alison Singer, who has never revoked her claim in the Autism Speaks video “Autism Every Day” about wanting to drive herself and her Autistic child off a bridge. Amy Lutz should choose better company.
What Amy wants herself is admirable – better supports for low functioning Autistics. I’m all for that and so should everyone else. Yes, even at the expense of the high functioning because the fact is they need it more. I’m not saying the high functioning should be ignored (heck no!) but put it this way. In 2007 Australian organisation AEIOU did a study identifying the expense of bringing up an Autistic child and helping an Autistic adult across the Spectrum averages out to $5.8 billion a year. Based on Australia’s population at the time and the then prevalence rate of Autism that came to about $29,000 per Autistic per year. Now I could do with a leg up financially but I don’t need that much. About $10,000 would be about right. And there are those who don’t need it at all because they’ve found their niche and have a job and so on. Now on that basis, my lower amount would push $19,000 to a lower functioning Autistic making $48,000. And remembering those that don’t need anything, low functioning Autistic need even more. And that is fair enough.
The trouble is Amy must think that no one on our side of the war supports what she wants. There are some who are opposing guardianship orders for low functioning Autistics, with the reason being “Were they consulted?” What if they can’t communicate at all? Those Autistics do exist. By all means try to find a way, but the first part of that is to find the cause of the sensory overload that put them there to begin with. With adults at the lower end of the Spectrum, this is almost impossible. If one can’t communicate with the Autistic, what choice does one have? As long as all points of the law are followed through to the conclusion, no one has any reason to object.
Will there be a truce? At present the answer is no. Simply because there are a lot of stubborn people who just refuse to fully understand the whole deal. I have tried. I have identified the bad people and the good people, and made a couple of changes over the years when I find out something about someone that I didn’t know before – such as the person’s true commitment to diversity and respect for it. One thing I’ve found in common with those on the wrong side of the fence is that they have very little tolerance in diversity in general. Homophobia is present. So it misogyny. There is even racism. It’s not something you find on the right side of the fence although as I said there are exceptions as I have found. But those exceptions are always limited to just one aspect and not the whole mess of them.
I believe I have the answers. My problem right now is getting that message out there. It’s improving, but I won’t stand for people (looking at one in particular) trying to gag me. Those people are scared of me because I’m telling the truth about Autism, and about the people I have criticised over the years. I don’t believe I can win the war by myself. That’s idealistic to the max. But I can do my bit. And it’s going to take time.
Meanwhile – there will be no truce. Not while Autistics are suffering at the hands of idiots who think they know better when they have no idea what they are doing.
Here’s the article I’m talking about from Spectrum News;
This is really getting out of hand. I can’t stand people who lie about Autism, and the latest fool who has to be brought down a peg or ten is East Lansing, Michigan resident Yuval Levental.
My focus in this blog entry is about his tweets on Twitter. Now I can only see his original tweets and retweets (some of which had replies that could be seen I would point out) and not his responses due to the fact that I am not on Twitter, but there’s been enough there since the beginning of 2019 to know that he is dangerous.
It achieves what it says! Inclusion in the American university system for Autistics who otherwise could not get a look in! Levental is opposed to this obviously!
Here we go again trying to undermine the Bill Gates Autism DX. And another user got him a beauty with proof and he ignored it!
It was proof he has Autistic traits! And when these specific traits were pointed out?
Yes – for an Autistic person!!
I only caught this reply because Levental retweeted it, and Steve Silberman did NOT lie! Levental hasn’t proven his case in that regard at all!
He never said that! He said and I quote “Remember when America was capable of doing truly awesome things, instead of blundering and blathering across the world stage and exporting racist lies?” And don’t forget – given his Wikipedia conduct from awhile back over the White Pride and Black Pride articles, Levental has already shown himself to be a closet racist!
I’ll have a look at this blog entry if I have time, and as some may know I’m not much of a fan of Attwood nowadays due to his support of hate speech (calling it “venting”) and his support of the non existent Cassandra Syndrome. But he has got a number of things right.
Hopefully Attwood ignores him.
The link goes to an article on the National Library of Medicine website in America which Levental willfully misinterprets. It speaks of genetic conditions that are NOT part of humanity’s natural variation. Autism IS part of that natural variation!
No, it’s because you should not be eating gluten free food without the help of a nutritionist! Lowering energy is a bad response that should not be treated like he has! Gluten Free is a quack treatment for Autism and should not be used for that purpose as it is inviting nutritional difficulties that can be avoided with proper guidance.
I put this here because I want Levental to see it. I’m calling you out. It’s time you learned the truth about Autism because as of right now, you don’t. You’re promoting the wrong people as reliable sources about Autism, when you should be listening to those who have taken the time to understand what it really is. People like Steve Silbermen, Ari Ne’eman, the rest of the ASAN executive, John Elder Robison……and me. Not biased bitter unresponsive fools like Mitchell, Clements and their ilk. Neurodiversity exists (see the page on this blog for the correct definition) and that is that.
(And I know you’re looking, Levental! Defend yourself in the comments! Stop hiding like a coward!)
I am typing this entry having just had my personal account on Facebook suspended for 30 days. I know why. Someone just didn’t like being called out. It happened just because I linked a blog entry by Fiona O’Leary calling out John Greally and his cronies as bullies trying to control the Autism advocacy sphere by banning functioning labels. You can’t do that, because functioning labels have a legal purpose. It’s why we have various versions across the western world of disability discrimination law, and the UN declaration on the rights of the disabled.
Here is Fiona’s blog entry;
There is nothing Greally can say to defend that. It’s not on. He calls himself an advocate, and yet he bullies people who are on the same side. Never ever do that. The only Autistics who need to be bullied are those who bully, and those who are a genuine threat to the community (that is – those who are demanding a cure as an example) although that has to be handled correctly. You start by correcting them on crucial points. That’s not bullying. But Greally doesn’t take that first step – he goes straight to bullying out of sheer paranoia – again as ably demonstrated by Fiona’s blog entry.
But let’s go more recent – when Fiona published this screenshot;
Absolutely clear. Fiona asked the question on her timeline who was on her friends list that couldn’t be trusted. That screenshot IDed the moll without a doubt.
When I first found out about the nonsense with Greally I unfriended him and blocked him. I also unfriended his partner – guess who? Emma Dalmayne. Here’s the proof.
See the red boxes. Trouble was I forgot to block her as well, leading to this;
As indicated I blocked her.
I also told the owner of the Neurophobia page to be wary of her. The co-owner, Lindsay Mohler, quickly wanted proof and I linked her to Fiona’s blog entry adding that Dalmayne was giving tacit approval to it. That is what got Dalmayne upset and led to my 30 day suspension from Facebook. I had time to follow up with Mohler even putting a screenshot to show Dalmayne lying.
The call out was the blog entry above – clearly Dalmayne was lying. Result – I was blocked from the page. That makes Mohler part of the problem as well, although it could have been Greally who is a co-owner as well. Doesn’t matter – Mohler is complicit.
On Fiona’s timeline someone tried to say that The Greally Team had nothing to do with it all. She didn’t believe it and wanted proof. As of now there is none, and someone else pointed out that if there was any truth to the tale, Greally and Dalmayne would be falling over themselves trying to clear their names. But they aren’t. That’s tacit approval at best. At worst it’s an admission of guilt. And it’s bullying within the Autistic community that our haters will be loving.
So here’s the deal. Greally needs to be isolated. So do everyone who supported this attack on Fiona, and remember that saying nothing and supporting Greally in other respects is support of this attack. Like it or not. Autism is a Spectrum. It is neurodiverse. True support of neurodiversity includes acknowledging the existence of labels and using them to our advantage. Do not push them aside like they don’t exist, because that’s a win for the haters. We are different. Nothing can change that, and that in itself is a label. Wear it with pride.
Attacking like this will be stopped. I guarantee it, if I have anything to do with it.
I did a recce on Twitter through Jonathan Mitchell’s account just to see where things were on his January argument with Samantha Crane and I came across his replies to Thomas Clements – and what I read from Thomas was disturbing and something we can do without in the Autistic community.
What about those who can’t speak for themselves? What about those who can but lack the borders required not to offend others? I for one will speak on behalf of them – and against them in the process because they need to be put in their box. Thomas is in effect wanting to allow those who want a cure to be able to speak without being attacked for it. For instance, in reply to the above tweet;
Not to mention, when looking further;
They won’t speak out because of this non existent cult! That’s disgraceful, Thomas! They’re afraid to speak out because of the hate that exists for Autism outside amongst the neurotypicals. The very hate that anything negative about Autism (whether it’s true or not) that lot thrive on. It has to stop! We need positivity within the entire Autistic community and no exceptions. Having people pop up with negativity sets that effort back – and that’s why some go down the path of ostracising. Now as a general rule I’m against that, but there are individual exceptions – not withstanding the fact that many basically put themselves in that position by just being stupid (cases in point – Jonathan Mitchell, Yuval Levental, Oliver Canby and worst of the lot Christian Chandler).
This hate has to be stopped, Thomas. It’s harming all of us ultimately. And yet you want it to continue by default by trying to promote an individual upon individual thing – which in theory would be fine, but like all things in practice it’s not. Far from it. Like it or not we are being put in a box. That’s how society works. Now putting us in the wrong box (that is – something to fear and to be cured et al) should be fought. We are human beings. We are different, not less. Society wants us to be less and we should fight that – side by side. You have the right to be yourself, and no one can take that away from you. That’s always been my saying since before I was even diagnosed in 1997. I was saying that as far back as 1988! But being yourself does come with a caveat. Do not break the law (civil or criminal) and do not upset others in the first instance and learn from your mistakes. If others upset you that changes the playing field and you have every right to strike back. But only if that is justified.
Bottom line – stop allowing haters the room to talk. They are harming us. Yes I mean all of us including you – like it or not. If you want to take that as me talking for you then fine – because that means you aren’t willing to listen and learn from your mistakes. It’s a mistake to allow hate for Autism to fester in the community, and nothing can change that fact.
It was recently brought to my attention that a number of people are giving credence to the idea that the MTHFR gene is a player in the genetic make up of Autism.
The basis of this claim derives from the racist view that Autism is damage. It’s not. It is human difference, difference that commands respect. Anyone who goes down this damage path is therefore a racist as it shows zero respect for our rights as human beings.
MTHFR AKA Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase is the coding for the gene. A deficiency in this gene is rare, but it can be treated easily and quickly. There have been people who have blamed this gene on every disease on the planet, which is frankly a joke and makes no sense because that makes a mockery of the claim that exists that it is only present in 50 percent on the population.
According to the ever reliable Science Based Medicine website, this rubbish started with a naturopath named Ben Lynch. A naturopath. Of course. Up there with all the quacks of the planet who think they know better than properly trained scientists. He runs a site called “mthfr.net” and runs through a plethora of lies about what the gene is responsible for. He only has an undergraduate degree in cell and molecular biology, which by itself is worthless. It needs back up and all Lynch has is a degree in Naturopathic Medicine from well known alternative medicine institution, Bastyr University. He has no fellowships, and has done no residencies or post undergraduate studies in genetics. He has never published anything in the field that has been peer reviewed. All he has is the dreaded anecdotal “evidence”, which as we know is worthless without proper back up and investigation.
There is an Australian website that needs to be called out as well; “mthfrsupport.com.au”. It supports the view that Autism is damage and not difference. Not only that, it supports Methyl B12 as a treatment, consistent with the deranged view of John Best Junior! So much for that for credibility! If it wasn’t for the fact that Autism is not recognised as a protected group by hate laws (something I am trying to find a way to change) I’d be reporting this site as a hate group to the Human Rights Commission.
As there is nothing else to back this up by anyone independent of Lynch, this has to be put down as rubbish. Autism stands as is – a genetic difference. I am still yet to get a counter to my theory of the true origins of Autism – the behaviours. To repeat; a diagnosis on the Autistic spectrum requires a certain number of behaviours (five). It is possible to have less than five and not be Autistic. I firmly believe that every single human being on the face of the Earth has at least one of the behavioural traits. No one has none of them. I stand by that as the true genetic origin of Autism and – as Stone Cold Steve Austin would say – that’s all I got to say about that!
It came to my attention that William Shatner – Captain/Admiral Kirk from Star Trek, the title role of TJ Hooker and most recently Denny Crane in Boston Legal – had posted his support for Autism Speaks on Twitter and attracted quite the reaction from those who know that Autism Speaks is not the supporter of Autism that he thinks they are. I asked someone to tweet this to Mr Shatner and I hope he reads this and understands (I have left Twitter myself).
Many in the Autistic community are offended by Autism Speaks. They have a history of hate ridden conduct, misrepresenting Autism as all world bad and needing to be cured and prevented. They claimed that Autism holds families prisoner (the Ransom Notes campaign), and causes many other family issues including divorce and other related issues (see the I am Autism video). These are offensive claims that are 100 percent false and they are claims that Autism Speaks have never apologised for.
Shatner claimed that we should report Autism Speaks to the IRS. Why? What can the IRS do? They are powerless because of something called the First Amendment. Further, the fact that Autism Speaks removed the words “cure” and “prevention” from their mission statement will now protect them if action could be taken. The reality is that the previous campaigns I mentioned were not withdrawn because of orders from authorities. They were withdrawn because of the backlash from people like those who have criticised Shatner on Twitter.
Now some of the language that was used wasn’t appropriate – such as this from Samantha Barnett;
@WilliamShatner And Autistic people have been opposing them for a decade. Shut the [beep!] up and listen to the people who actually have to deal with this shit
Now I can understand why Shatner would treat this with contempt and the same applies to anyone who dropped the F bomb or the S word. But this tweet from Latino Sci-Fi Geek was spot on;
@WilliamShatner That #AutismSpeaks Puzzle symbol is kind of the autism equivalent of a nazi swastika to jews.But people aren’t aware of that
Now here Shatner got it wrong, calling the analogy “offensive”. What’s offensive is the past history of Autism Speaks openly encouraging the eugenic elimination of the Autistic community. That’s exactly what the Nazi’s tried to do to the Jews. It’s historical fact. Looking for a cure and trying to prevent Autism is attempting to eliminate a section of the community. We are human beings and we are different in our own way. The Jews are human beings as well and different in their own way. It’s the same with every different aspect of the human race, and Autism Speaks wanted to wipe us out. That’s the reason why the analogy is correct.
Ari Ne’eman then tweeted this;
@WilliamShatner is yelling at Autistic people for trying to educate him about Autism Speaks. Not a good look, Bill.
I wouldn’t agree necessarily that Shatner yelled, but many would have seen his responses to those who tweeted him in the vein of anger and contempt. Words on a screen can be seen as yelling even though it isn’t intended. That’s the Autistic mind making a different interpretation, and Shatner didn’t see it – and blocked Ari in reply after accusing others of bullying him. As long as bad language wasn’t used, he wasn’t bullied. People were exercising their right to free speech and to educate as many tried to – and indeed as I am trying to now. Fellow ASAN member Amy Caraballo saw the issue and said this;
@WilliamShatner Yelling is necessary because history has proven many aren’t listening otherwise. Point in case. #learnsomething #nothingaboutthemwithoutthem
I can attest to that. There are many who are not listening and are harming the Autistic community. Again, this is the history of Autism Speaks – they have caused anger with their contemptible conduct, particularly from their co-founder the late Suzanne Wright. She produced videos that lied about Autism and promoted fear for the condition. Autism Speaks have relied on the fear factor to gain the donations they have. Fear creates hate, and hate leads to suffering. (Yes I’m quoting Yoda from Star Wars but it’s spot on)
Shatner queried “neurodiversity’s” tactics. A correction, Bill – neurodiversity is not a movement. Please don’t make that mistake. Neurodiversity is a concept, meaning “neuro” (as in brain) and “diversity” (as in difference). Also note that the vast majority of people on Twitter who had a crack at you were NOT members of ASAN. The goal of ASAN is to promote Autism in the correct manner, making it a competitor to Autism Speaks. Attacking Autism Speaks is just part of the job that is needed to stop the hate they have promoted, and it appears to be working as Autism Speaks is showing signs of change. And other organisations have also been attacked by ASAN, such as the Judge Rotenburg Center.
This tweet was Shatner was disappointing;
Complete misrepresentation of what actually happened but apparently they learn from the founder that if you misrepresent; you get sympathy.??
Bill, with all due respect you missed the point. This is a mess that started when you provided a symbol that is seen by many as offensive. It happens. Please understand that Autism Speaks has a history of misrepresenting Autism and that is what this is all about. You were seen as supporting said misrepresentation, and there are many who get angry automatically as a result. Anger doesn’t look good obviously, but I ask that you understand the anger. You don’t need to agree with it. That’s up to you. But if you understand it you’ll get the idea and realise why you were jumped on. Your late Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy portrayed a character that is seen to represent Autistic traits. Data from Star Trek Next Generation is seen in a similar light. Autism Speaks sees Autism only as low functioning and doesn’t recognise the sum of us who carry ourselves in similar ways to Spock and Data.
It’s a shame you felt you were being bullied. We have been bullied by Autism Speaks, and we’ve been sick of it for many years and know only one way to fight back. You got caught in the cross fire and I plead with you to review your support of Autism Speaks. I hope I have your understanding with this blog entry.
I’m doing a majority cross post on this one on both my Autism and my political blogs, with only difference being that on the political blog I’m talking about two issues whereas on the Autism blog it’s just the one – Hillary’s policy on Autism.
I finally got the link to the policy that I thought I’d lost. It was given to me by Cube Demon, and it’s also on Jonathan Mitchell’s blog but I forgot about it. It would of course been easier if Nick Walker had just given the link. I can safely say that his belief that Hillary is against Autism is 99 percent wrong, and that’s good enough for me. The Autistic community should vote for Hillary, and I’ll show her positives shortly.
But let’s put the other candidates in their box, and it naturally starts with Donald Trump. That idiot supports the bunked idea that vaccines cause Autism. Those of us with a brain know that it’s not true. He thinks that changing the vaccine structure will make a difference. It won’t – not one iota. Autism is genetic in origin and that is a fact that he ignores totally. He has nothing for us – at all.
Jill Stein, the Greens candidate, doesn’t have a specific platform on Autism it would appear. But she has used one word to describe it that makes her an enemy – “epidemic”. That’s the same as calling Autism as disease, which it’s not. So at present at least she is a threat to us. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, also doesn’t have a specific platform on Autism. Unlike Stein there’s nothing at all as a guide. It’s the same with Darrell Castle, from the Constitution Party. He though may have some understanding at least as a lawyer who has a policy within that structure on getting Autistics Social Security Disability Insurance. Mind you having said that he has Asperger Syndrome listed separately when it shouldn’t be because of the DSM-5.
So the only person with a detailed policy on Autism is Hillary Clinton. And it’s a winner.
- Screening and Awareness – Boost early screening rates with a nationwide outreach campaign; and Promote multi-sector awareness campaign.
- Autism Treatment and Insurance Coverage – Improve access to autism services in the ACA marketplace and through private health insurance; Increase state compliance with Medicaid coverage requirements for children with autism and other developmental disabilities and create an autism-service-access scorecard that makes state Medicaid compliance publicly accessible; and Work with the Department of Defense to ensure military families have full access to autism services through TRICARE, the health care program dedicated to service members, veterans, and their families.
- Safety and Services for Children and Youth – Enact the Keeping All Students Safe Act; and Protect children with autism from bullying in their classrooms.
- Community Supports and Services for Individuals Transitioning into Adulthood – Launch a new Autism Works Initiative consisting of a post-graduation transition plan for every student with autism aging out of school-based services and a public-private partnership with employers; The importance of a transition plan; The importance of public-private partnerships; Combine the Autism Works Initiative with new legislation to fund employment demonstration grants for individuals with autism and other disabilities; and Increase housing opportunities for autistic youth and adults.
- Caregiving – Encourage all states to enact ABLE legislation and ensure consumer protection for ABLE account beneficiaries; and Provide new support to caregivers.
- Research – Significantly increase funding so that the government can invest more in autism research; and Call for the first-ever adult autism prevalence and needs study.
- Enforcement – Ensure states meet their obligations under IDEA’s Child Find Program to identify, screen, and refer children with disabilities for services; Ensure access to assistive technologies; Enforce mental health parity protections; Continue vigorous enforcement of Olmstead; and Dedicate new funding to autism protection and advocacy.
This is all fantastic, but there is a single hole. In Safety and Services, the protection factor for children is limited to the classroom. It should include the Internet as well. Not only that, bullying is not limited to children on the Spectrum – there should be protection for adults as well.
Nick Walker claimed the Hillary Clinton called Autism a burden. The only mention of “burden” in the policy was the financial burden Autism places on families. And that burden is not caused by Autism itself. It is caused by societal and governmental neglect, and in the case of certainly the latter Hillary is covering that. In 2007 AEIOU valued that burden in Australia at an average of $5.8 billion AUD a year. Based in pure population that would put the US at $75.4 billion AUD or about $56 billion USD. Actual spending at present in both countries is well below that level, but in America at least Hillary seems to be committing to that. Any mention of the word “burden” in future by Hillary has to be taken in that context.
I also want to talk about the research. It does talk about genetic markers which can be dangerous, but as there is no mention of any particular target that’s not a problem. There is certainly no mention of pursuing a cure as a result of said research.
Bottom line – Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who is serious about Autism.
The author of the lauded best seller “Neurotribes” is coming to Australia as a keynote speaker of Autism Victoria’s bi annual Victorian Autism Conference on September 1 – the first day of a two day conference in Melbourne. And he will be here.
The Change.org petition started by Yuval Levental (under the name “Y L”) is a complete waste of time, and amounts to bullying, harassment and also libel.
I’m not going to link to that petition, but here are the lowlights of what was said;
1. Steve does NOT trivialise Autism. He pays it the proper and correct respect. Levental does not.
2. Disability IS part of the human experience. The human experience is all about diversity, and Levental opposes diversity. His editing on Wikipedia is proof that he is a racist.
3. There is plenty of evidence that many famous figures in history were Autistic. If Steve chose to be vague about it that would have been because it wasn’t really important to the present day.
4. Employment of Autistics rely on the employers, and Levental trying to shut Silberman down will have an adverse effect on an already serious problem with attitude towards Autism.
5. The rise in the prevalence of Autism in Silicon Valley is not about birth rate. It is about those who live there, but were born elsewhere.
6. Autism Victoria AKA AMAZE does recognise the negative effects of Autism. It also recognises the positive effects and provides balance. Levental opposes that balance.
Levental is trying to create the same fear for Autism as the late Suzanne Wright did. He is the one who should be stopped and he will be. I have reported the petition to Change.org for a policy violation (bullying and harassment) especially given that this is the second time Levental has tried to stop Steve from speaking. He has every right to speak on Autism, and Levental has no right to stop him. He is speaking the truth about it, and Levental is a biased narrow minded bigot who doesn’t want to know about the positives. All he wants is a cure and he’s not going to get it. Neither is anyone else who wants it, because it is impossible.
I welcome Steve to Australia. He has an important message to give and I would have been there if the Conference wasn’t so expensive to attend. I was only able to attend in Ballarat in 2012 thanks to some free tickets being available through the local group. He doesn’t trivialise Autism. He tells the truth about it. He is worth listening to for the understanding of the Spectrum as a whole. Any parent who claims that Autism is a struggle needs help, and is harming their own child with that attitude.
I have to put this here and I have asked either the other admins at All About Anti Vaxxers or Sam Redfern to link this – as from what I’ve been told she has bailed after being given quite the bake on Facebook. Jodie, you need to read this and understand what you are doing wrong.
First off, here is what she said;
I think it’s a possibility that regression is a separate issue to autism and the cause of regression is different to the cause of autism.
I think it’s also possible that people with a genetic predisposition to autism may be more likely to experience regression.
Another possibility is that this subgroup of children who regress are not born autistic and the regression coincides with the onset of autism.
Unfortunately none of the research that I have read focuses solely on the regressive group or the ID group other than Dr Deisher’s research, which excludes the high functioning group and shows a link between autism and vaccines that contain human DNA contaminants due to the use of fetal cell lines in the manufacture. I understand that this theory cannot explain autism in the older generation of autistics although both viral and autoimmune encephalitis can also be caused by some wild viruses and explain regression. Some live viral vaccines can cause encephalitis too regardless of DNA contaminants.
I would like to see more research that focuses on the ID group and/or the recessive group.
I agree that vaccines are not proven to cause regressions to the frequency claimed. Like my son, there are many who experienced a recognised regression that is currently considered ‘of unknown cause’. While a cause remains unestablished it’s unproven one way or the other if vaccination has or hasn’t played a part or caused the regression. The vaccine my son received prior to the regression can cause regression due to viral or autoimmune encephalitis. You are correct in saying there may be another cause but since vaccination is the most obvious cause due to the temporal association I am pursuing that possibility further at the moment and the medical professionals recognise it is a possibility. The geneticist we saw last year said after finding no abnormalities during genetic testing that my sons condition may not have a genetic cause, and this geneticist is aware of the ASD in our family. When I go back later this year I will question him further about whether he means the ASD, the ID or both. I, like you, see the ID as a severe form of autism rather than a separate condition which would mean that a regression is either the cause of the autism or making a very mild case of autism much worse.
Your sensory overload theory is only a theory and not a proven possibility like the theory I have mentioned. For that reason and the reasons I already mentioned I find it hard to seriously consider. Could you explain how you came up with the theory? I’m trying to establish why it would be any more credible than past theories like refrigerator mothers that are now known to be incorrect. I have given it some thought but I still don’t fully understand whether you mean something psychological, physical or either as a source of regression and why you even believe this to begin with. I also don’t know what you mean by reversing it. I’m interested in your mention of the sixth sense as I remember my eldest telling me to look at a man that wasn’t there when he was little. My severely affected son can be in fits of laughter like he is being tickled to death even though he is alone. I’m not sure if it’s a surge of brain chemicals because doctors just say that’s common with these kids. Do you have any thoughts you’re happy to share?
Now before I go to my response, there was some interim material. It started with one of the AAAV admins calling her out on the comment that “Another possibility is that this subgroup of children who regress are not born autistic and the regression coincides with the onset of autism” calling it rubbish and that there was no possibility of it at all. I repeated that in my reply as you’ll shortly see. Jodie asked if AAAV felt the geneticist was wrong and referenced this person as “highly trained” and AAAV answered “Yes” and added that Autism has no genetic identity so the geneticist wouldn’t know. Jodie agreed that there was no genetic identity and used that to assume that the whole thing was still up in the air, causing Sam Redfern to roar in and tell her that there was no alternative explanation that was valid – and that “Wild speculation based in emotional anecdotes don’t count”. Jodie countered by suggesting she had provided other valid explanations – totally ignoring Sam’s note about anecdotes, and AAAV shot back that she’d provided no valid explanations. She tried to counter again by claiming that genetics didn’t explain developmental regression, and AAAV rightly pointed her to my sensory overload theory and told her to read it again and this time pay attention to it. Jodie is yet to respond and I suspect she has indeed left the thread. Steve Pemberton linked a superb article from The Conversation to back up the genetics argument and AAAV advised that I would be told about it – and of course I have been.
So here is my response to what she said.
This comment I’m responding to is utterly offensive in so many ways. For a start, AAAV is right. That is impossible. Autism is genetic, and no exceptions. Steve’s link is superb. If Deisher is saying otherwise, then that means she is another in a long line of quacks who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Vaccines are a compound and have no such contents in that compound form. That is basic chemistry. Just like salt and water. You don’t judge them on their chemical content, so you don’t judge vaccines on their chemical content either. Your son did not get encephalitis from the vaccine you think caused the regression. That’s impossible. It is NOT the most obvious cause. The most obvious cause is sensory overload and you really have to wrap your mind around it because again – it makes the most sense.
You wasted your time going to a geneticist, because that sort of person can not possibly see any obvious difference without knowing where to look. All brains are different. There is no brain that is exactly the same in any human being – Autistic or neurotypical. A regression is impossible without the existing presence of Autism. It can not be created in that way. No Autism – no regression. Simple.
You will consider sensory overload, because you have already accepted the existence of sensory sensitivity, right? The two go together – cause and effect. The more sensory sensitive one is, the more likely a sensory overload. Again – that’s where you need to be looking. It’s so simple I just can’t understand why you can’t see it. Or is it a case of you won’t? Sensory overload has nothing to do with the bunked fridge mother rubbish – if anything that idea would cause a “sensory underload”. Yes I made that up in order for you to get the idea. It’s all about one of the six senses being overloaded and the brain can’t take it. Stress is an example of the sixth sense being overloaded. What happens when you are stressed? It hurts right? Multiply that a few times for your high functioning kids. Multiply it thirty times for your youngest. Brain chemicals have nothing to do with it. It’s the brain itself. Your youngest may be laughing without an apparent reason because he has simply thought about something and loves it. It’s random because his brain is still overloaded so there’s no way of telling what actually he was laughing at.
It looks to me like you’ve got a lot to learn about Autism. Just looking at your kids clearly hasn’t taught you enough, and you’re clearly reading the wrong material.
And that is that.