Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Globe and Mail Neurodiversity Article - The Aftermath

The Globe and Mail article on Neurodiversity ‘Autistics': We don't want a cure was, IMHO, a balanced presentation. I am not a fan of the Neurodiversity ideologues. But I knew when Ms. Erin Anderssen interviewed me that she was trying to do an article on their perspective. I knew that she would not write about them the way that I would and I did not expect her, as a journalist, to do that. I appreciated being given the opportunity to offer a different perspective.

It is the parents and other caregivers who have the legal, moral and practical responsibility to care for their children not internet ideologues from all parts of the globe. Nor do extremely high functioning autistic persons like Michelle Dawson, Amanda Bags or Jim Sinclair have any right to tell the world what my son and others like him are thinking or feeling. They have no idea what he wants, or thinks. They do not share anywhere near the same challenges in life that he endures.

In particular the Neurodiversity ideologues have no business pretending that ABA is an imposition of my values on my son or a failure to appreciate him. That kind of rhetoric is a crock of ..... nonsense, pure nonsense. ABA helps build skills in my son, helps him communicate and modify dangerous behaviors, end of story.

I don't want to cure any of these people. I want to help my son and other families trying to help their children. And it would be nice if the Dawsons, Baggs and Sinclairs could find some other causes to advocate for with their considerable intellectual and communication gifts. They have nothing to contribute to my son's life.

And they really don't even know what they are talking about. That can be seen most clearly in the recent American Academy of Pediatrics description, based on 5 decades of research, of ABA and its proven effectiveness in helping autistic children with lasting gains in intellect, communication and behavior; in direct contradiction to the nonsense offered by Ms. Dawson and her Neurodiversity followers.

What is particularly sad is to to see parents like Estee Klar-Wolfond who doesn't agree with the parents' perspectives seeking ABA interventions for their children, and so joins the Neurodiversity crowd in criticizing other parents. And she toes the line as written by Michelle Dawson and her followers. There is no room for dissent amongst the followers of Michelle Dawson:

See as an example the comment below, by Ms. Klar-Wolfond posted on the Globe site about the balanced article written by Ms. Anderssen, an opinion I share even though I don't share the rest of Ms. Klar-Wolfond's autism views. Then read the second comment taken from Michelle Dawson's discussion group "Misbehaviour of Behaviourists" after Ms. Dawson issued her scathing denunciation of the Globe article:
  1. Estee Klar-Wolfond from Toronto, Canada writes: Thank you for this balanced article showing the values of the autistic community. I would disagree that the 'neurodiversity movement are 'ashamed of' low-functioning autistics. It's quite the contrary. This is an issue that effects the entire disability communities -- the right to be heard regarding their perspectives, as well as to increase choice and services that assist all autistic individuals in Canadian society to reach their fullest potential. Estee Klar-Wolfond Founder/Executive Director The Autism Acceptance Project

  1. 6883

    Estee 6883

    11-05-2007 10:40 AM ET (US)
    Edited by author 11-05-2007 10:42 AM
    Actually no... I did not say it was "balanced." I said that it was the Globe's ATTEMPT at balance and as a result, was not balanced at all. The media, as I said in my blog post, attempts to paint the issue black and white as it services the sensationalism they continue to promote to sell papers. The article completely missed the point of the issues, IMO. Please re-read my blog post on it. http://www.quicktopic.com/27/H/vJvhV4fDnBgw7

I added the italics to Ms. Klar-Wolfond's two comments for emphasis, One comment complimented Ms. Anderssen's balance in the Globe article. In the second, on the Dawson discussion group, after Michelle Dawson denounced the article, Ms. Klar-Wolfond denies that the article was balanced or that she even said that it was balanced.

Unlike Ms. Klar-Wolfond I will stick to my first comment. Although I do not share the perspective of the Neurodiversity ideologues, and I would not have described them as Ms. Anderssen did, I think her article was balanced. Exactly what I would expect from a professional journalist.

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