Neurodiversity autism author and ideologue Steve Silberman ALMOST acknowledged the common sense reality of differences in autism function levels but at the last minute he turned and walked away once again. In an article at Scientific American titled Contributors Lee Billings and Steve Silberman talk autism, space travel, and extraterrestrial life (Part 1) Silberman talks briefly about the realities of low functioning autism and how the challenges they present COULD lead one to conclude that there really are differences in functioning levels. Then he abruptly struts away and denies those same differences. He, once again, takes the decidedly Non-Scientific American ideological perspective that parents and clinicians who recognize differences in functioning levels are simply wrong and that the high functioning autistic persons he knows and adores who claim that HFA and LFA are meaningless labels are right:
Silberman's claim is that because some persons once considered low functioning went on to communicate and excel in life it is therefore wrong to distinguish between low and high functioning autism disorders. This claim is absurd and lacking in common sense. As he has stated some persons with LFA have difficulty with the most basic functions in daily life like toilet training. Some engage in serious self injurious behavior. He could also have mentioned the autistic adults who live their lives not with assistive technology but in assisted living in varying levels of residential care including full time 24-7 institutional care. The realities of life for these people by any common sense measure are fairly described as low functioning compared to the very high functioning Friends of Silberman club ... the Robisons, Grandins and Shores.
Steve Silberman either lacks common sense and can not distinguish between these different functioning levels or he has simply chosen to turn and walk away from that truth in the interest of promoting his career and books as a leading author of the irrational ideology known as Neurodiversity. His public denials of the challenges, the more severe challenges facing low functioning autistic persons puts him in the group of people who are obscuring public discussions about the natue of autism disorders and the needs of those who suffer from low functioning autism.
I have visited Low Functioning severely autistic adults living in psychiatric hospitals. I have talked by phone with Michelle Dawson and I have met John Robison at the recent IMFAR conference in Toronto. I have met very capable persons with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers here in New Brunswick. These people are much higher functioning in their abilities to function in the real world than those living in residential and institutional care and Steve Silberman should know that.
Shame on you Silberman.