Monday, February 07, 2011

Autism Realities, Vulnerability and Astrid's Misrepresentations

I do not pretend to be a fan of Neurodiversity ideologues who distort the realities confronted by persons, like my son, who are severely autistic. For the most part I have come to expect such distortion from ND bloggers and ideologues.  Occasionally though I am surprised, taken aback, when someone who appears to demonstrate balance deliberately misrepresents a comment I have made here at Facing Autism in New Brunswick. 

Some are just plain dishonest and self serving in their misrepresentations of autism disorders while others are sincere and do not intend to distort facts when commenting.  Until today I had always thought of Astrid, At Astrid's Journal, as someone with whom I could  disagree but respect her opinion, notwithstanding her ND ideology. Now, I am afraid to say, Astrid has posted a comment, once again about one of my comments, only this time she intentionally distorts what I had said.

In Severe Autism Reality 2007 Flashback - Long Island Autistic Woman Beaten by Attendants in Group Home I talked about the abuse that is a reality for some severely autistic persons. The simple point I made was that for some autistic people abuse is one of the challenges they face, it is part of their reality, living in a dependent care situation, and unable to  communicate when being abused.  For some communication in the ordinary conversational sense is not possible.  Nor can some communicate on the internet as Astrid does.  That makes them  particularly vulnerable to abuse.

That is what I said. That is all I said. It is common sense. It is obvious.  It is something that I fear when contemplating my son's future.  

I did not say, as Astrid alleges in her comment  Disability Doesn’t Cause Abuse  that severe autism CAUSES abuse.  I said it makes many who suffer from severe autism  VULNERABLE to abuse. Astrid distorted what I said and suggested my comment meant something other than what I said by indicating that I blamed the victims of abuse for the abuse they suffer.

Astrid also stated that she was "up in arms" over my comment.  Well here's a news flash for Astrid ... I am "up in arms" over her misrepresentation of my comments.  


astridvanwoerkom said...

Thanks for this post. I was taken aback by your comments and repetitions that abuse is an autism reality, when in fact it is an abuse reality that autistics (including "higher-functioning" autistics, might I say) are more vulnerable to. But I'm willing to admit that I took your title and introduction to the news story too literally. I will add a link to your response to my blog post.

Stephanie said...


I am both an advocate of neurodiversity and the parent of a severely autistic son, and I have to agree with your choices to bring attention to these issues, and even the way you chose to title your original post.

The vulnerability to abuse and the need for protection and monitoring for abuse are realities for people with severe autism.

The possibility that someone will abuse my children, and that I will not know and they will not be able to tell me, remains one of my biggest fears. And they live with me. I honestly do not know how I will cope with that possibility if they move to a facility and are still not able to protect themselves.

This is not the total reality for individuals with severe autism, but it is a part of the reality and we'd be irresponsible not to admit that or to fail to do our best to address it.

J.Benson said...

As a parent of a child with severe autism and friend and advocate to many more, I wholeheartedly endorse your cause. Not a big fan of neurodiversity either. It's a doctrine of denial in my opinion. An opinion to which I've earned the right.

Abuse is a sad, sad reality of, not just the severely autistic, but the non-verbal. It's happening in school systems as well. Those who cannot say what's happening to them are targets, and autism has nothing to do with that cold hard fact. In nursing homes, stroke victims who cannot communicate face the same perils. Advocates are imperative.

The bravest thing we can do is speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and I applaud your choice to do so, not just for your son, but for mine as well. Thank you.