"My identity is attached to being on the autism spectrum"
Ari Ne'eman, New York Times, Nov 3, 2009
If you ever wondered why some autism self advocacy groups like ASAN, and some self advocacy leaders, like Ari Ne'eman, protest and exert pressure to prevent discussion of the harsher realities faced by low functioning persons with autistic disorder, particularly those with Intellectual Disabilities, you now have the answer.
Ari Ne'eman and some other autism spectrum self advocacy groups who protest realistic depictions of persons with low functioning autistic disorder like to identify with autism but not with those who live in institutional care or otherwise lack their own considerable intellectual, communication, social .... and ... self promotion skills. Parents talking about the harsh realities of their own children's severe autistic disorders just isn't a feel good experience for the very high functioning Ari Ne'eman and other "autism spectrum self advocates".
Fortunately for Ari and company the New York Times, the New Yorker, CBC and other mainstream media are happy to indulge their whims as the NYT almost confessed in A Powerful Identity, a Vanishing Diagnosis :
Asperger’s has exploded into popular culture through books and films depicting it as the realm of brilliant nerds and savantlike geniuses.
I say almost confessed because while the NYT points out that Asperger's has exploded into popular culture through books and films it does not mention that media organizations like the NYT, the New Yorker and CBC, also dote on the Asperger's and High Functioning Autism end of the spectrum while ignoring the harsh realities of those with severe Autistic Disorder. The result, with organizations like Autism Speaks bowing to pressure from groups like ASAN, is that the most severely autistic persons remain hidden from public view in institutions or in their parents' homes ... they remain the Invisible Autistics. Meanwhile Mr. Ne'eman, barely autistic, revels in the media spotlight ... his identification with his own self defined autism spectrum intact.