I recently posted a list of "Neurodiversity's 10 Autism Commandments| . While referring to themselves as autistic persons, or their children or clients as autistic, based on autism disorders, from the DSM-IV, Neurodiversity (ND) advocates don't actually consider autism a disorder and object to others speaking of it as such. Hence the first of ND's 10 Autism Commandments. After reading a comment on the blog site of Neurodiversity Hub blogger Steve D of "One Dad's Opinion" I was startled to read his interpretation of a recent autism conference hosted by USD Autism Institute in which, according to Steve D, the message of the conference's "Prime Movers" was:
"we need to move away from the "deficit model" of autism. The DSM-IV-r defines autism specifically by what autistic people cannot do compared to NT's (by the end of the conference, I must state here, EVERYONE was using the term NT - ever since Amanda's video was shown. Amanda - it really does work - you know, Getting the Truth Out :) ). This, in their view, improperly biases observers to look for "voids" of good behavior or existence of "bad" behavior - without ever considering the root cause of any given behavior at all. It leads to the (classic behaviorist) conclusion that "If I can just isolate this one behavior and eliminate it, my subject will become less autistic."
(highlighting added for emphasis - HLD)
Well, here is a news flash for Steve D and the "Prime Movers" of the conference. Parents seek medical attention for their children when they exhibit "deficits". That is why autism diagnoses are made. Because children show "deficits" such as lack of speech and other communication, lack of social interaction, even with parents, repetitive self absorbed behavior, self injurious, even life threatening behavior, and aggression towards siblings, parents, teachers and school mates. My son Conor has many strengths. He is a great and tremendous joy in my life. But I do not and can not ignore the reality of his "deficits". It does me no good, when Conor grabs my arm or head as I drove the family car, or puts his hand through a window, again, to think of Conor's many strengths and pluses. It is his deficits, his autism deficits, with which I have to deal. It is those deficits which resulted in Conor receiving professional attention and an Autism Disorder diagnosis.
Steve D mentions "epiphanies" in his commentary. Personally I hope that some day Steve D and the Neurodiversity movement have a different sort of epiphany and stumble onto a "concept" they have long abandoned and forgotten - reality.
University of San Diego
School of Leadership and Education Sciences
Summer Autism Conference
People Not Packages: Dynamic Approaches to Personalizing Supports for People with Autism
July 9 – 11, 2007