The DLM5: Dr. Laurent Mottron's Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Advantages
If you authored or coauthored several journal articles a year over many years, involving high functioning, highly intelligent persons with autism and surrounded yourself with very intelligent, high functioning autistic researchers would they influence your perception of autism? In the case of psychiatrist, and anti-autism cure, anti-ABA activist, Dr. Laurent Mottron, who has published many journal articles involving high functioning autism participants, the answer is yes.
Dr. Motton has acknowledged repeatedly that his perception of autism has been influenced by his professional relationship with the very intelligent, high functioning autistic Michelle Dawson. In his latest comment in the journal Nature Dr. Mottron states that the half dozen autistic persons who form part of his research team are "typical autistics".
As the father of a son who is not one of Mottron's "typical autistics", who is in fact one of the approximately 70% of persons with Autistic Disorder (not autism generally) who also have intellectual disabilities and is severely affected in his understanding of the world and his daily functioning skills I am left shaking my head once again at Dr. Mottron's characterizations of autism. Once again, prominent media headlines around the world are screaming the Mottron mantra that autism is an "advantage".
Dr. Mottron acknowledges that many with autism are considered intellectually disabled although he expresses his doubts about the figures, saying he doesn't believe them. His vague caveats about the serious challenges faced by so many with autism are buried in the article and do not form part of the autism is an advantage headlines.
Maybe Dr. Mottron should start hiring some of the many persons with Autistic Disorder and intellectual disabilities, including some of the adults living in institutions including psychiatric hospitals. Maybe he should get out of his lab and join one of the search and rescue teams that are regularly called out to find autistic children who wander away from home and school. Perhaps he could join the tertiary care team at the Stan Cassidy Center here in Fredericton and help the autistic children and youth with severe behaviour challenges that they treat. The caseload the Stan Cassidy handles is so overwhelming that the administration had planned a few years ago to disband the autism team because the workload was so great it was threatening its ability to provide other services offered by the center to persons with neurological injuries. The autism team was continued after public opposition led by parents of children with autism, parents who have to deal 24/7 with the daily realities of their children's autism disorders.
I am surprised Dr. Mottron is not fighting the American Psychiatric Association's proposal to combine the various autism disorders into one new Autism Spectrum Disorder in the DSM5, the proposed new version of the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. After all "typical" autism for Dr. Mottron is not a disorder, it is an advantage.