Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Aurora Horror and Michelle Dawson's Bizarre Anti Autism Advocacy Rhetoric

As an autism advocate in Canada I am very familiar with Michelle Dawson's angry rhetoric in which she attacks autism organizations advocating for autism treatment for autistic children. She has campaigned vigorously and persistently against provision in Canada of ABA services for autism disorders. With the recent horror in Colorado many people have, rightly in my opinion, criticized Joe Scarborough for his irresponsible linking, even if unintended, of autism disorders to the alleged perpetrator of the massacre. I was curious to see what different high profile autism commentators were saying on the issue and was startled, even given Ms Dawson's history of negative criticism of, largely parent driven, organizations seeking ABA treatment for their children, to read her comments at her QuickTopic discussion forum "The Misbehaviour of Behaviourists": 



I have never seen an autism organization, let alone "the most important" autism organizations, describe persons with autism as "natural born criminals". I have to assume that Ms Dawson has read a critique from somebody representing an autism advocacy group who has made such a statement but I never have. 

To many in the US and around the world it may seem of no importance that Michelle Dawson would make such a bizarre statement accusing the most important autism organizations of "promoting" autistics as just naturally violent, natural born criminals.  In Canada though some of our major institutions, including the CBC, the federal government of Stephen Harper and even the Supreme Court of Canada have given her a platform to speak on the premise that she is an "autistic" and that her views are relevant to important policy and legal decision making processes.  As Jonathan Mitchell, the Autism Gadfly, has pointed out in the past the views of Ms Dawson do not prevent her and her colleague Dr. Laurent Mottron from seeking, and receiving research funding from, one of "the most important autism organizations" ... Autism Speaks.  

I assume that Autism Speaks is not one of the organizations which Ms Dawson alleges to have promoted autistic persons as naturally born criminals or, with her lofty principles, she would presumably have refused to participate in Autism Speaks funded research.  Her bizarre angry rhetoric though calls into question her ability to conduct objective autism research and should disqualify her from providing counsel to future media, government and legal decision makers.

4 comments:

Jim Reeve said...

People with autism are natural born criminals? And I suppose they also think that normal people are perfect too. Like a normal person would never commit a crime. So therefore everyone with a criminal record has autism? When does the lunacy end?

farmwifetwo said...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2012/07/27/calgary-bar-owner-scoc-death-appeal.html

Whatever.....

jonathan said...

I don't know whether or not Autism Speaks is one of the organizations Michelle Dawson is claiming are among those who call autistics natural born criminals. However, she has expressed nothing but contempt for Autism Speaks and persons who wish a cure for autism in various postings.

When I found out about Dr. Mottron being the recepient of the half million dollar research grant AS gave him, I asked her to explain this to me and if she despised autism speaks so much why she would continue working with the Mottron group and why she would not resign in protest. Her only answer was science was not politics and just because she disagreed with some of the things they did was no reason not to accept funding from them just as she and Dr. M accept services from the Canadian government when they might not share all of the opinions of the Canadian government. I'm not sure I'm sophisticated enough to understand her explanation but perhaps it makes more sense to someone else.

usethebrains godgiveyou said...

Simon Baron Cohen is one of those jerks. He's seen as "the world's autism expert", but he's kind of loony tunes. Autistic's starred in his book, "The Science of Evil"