Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Autism "Is What It Is", More Silly Neurodiversity Nonsense from Kev

Kevin Leitch is up to his usual nonsense.  This time, at Opposing Views,  he asks whether "autism is a disability" and he gives his helpful answer that "autism is what it is, like the colour brown or the shape of a circle.  My reply to Mr. Leitch's silly comment on OV, edited slightly, follows:

"Kevin Leitch has asked whether "autism" is a disability. After asking this silly question he then gives a silly answer - autism is what it is, like the colour brown or the shape of a circle. His answer is meaningless.

For persons with mild Aspergers Disorder their "autism" may not be a disability.  For one of the 80% of persons witth Autistic Disorder who are intellectually disabiled and have communication deficits, their Autistic Disorder is obviously a disability.

For a child who wanders away to freeze to death in a  snow storm, or into automobile traffic or drowns in  local swimming pool,  autism is a disability.  For a child who bites his hands and wrists, chews the  cheeks of his mouth, starves himself to death because of extreme aversion to food tastes and textures autism is a disabililty. For the autistic adults who live in institutional  and residential care autism is a disability.  For the 80% of persons with Autistic Disorder who are intellectually disabled, autism is a disability.

Even Michelle Dawson, the former Canada Post employee, now an "autism researcher",  has acknowledged that autism is a disability when she filed a human rights complaint on the grounds of disability when CPC discriminated against her and harassed her on the grounds of her disability - her autism. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that Ms Dawson had been harassed because of her disability - her autism disability.

"[2] In her complaint, dated August 9, 2002, Ms. Dawson alleges that the Respondent discriminated against her on the basis of disability, in breach of section 7 of the Canadian Human Rights Act in that it failed to accommodate her disability (autism). Ms. Dawson further alleges that the Respondent subjected her to harassment on the basis of disability, contrary to section 14 of the Canadian Human Rights Act."

"[220] The Tribunal thus finds that Ms. Dawson's disability was an important factor in the way she was treated by the Respondent in relation to the above mentioned events and that the Respondent's conduct amounts to harassment and contravenes section 14 of the Act. "

Dawson v. Canada Post Corporation, 2008 CHRT 41 (CanLII) 2008-10-03
Kev Leitch's question about whether autism is a disability is  asked without reference to the hard realities facing many autistic children and adults.  It is asked without reference to legal findings that autism is a disability.

Kev Leitch's question whether autism is a disability "is what it is", like the colour brown, or the shape of a circle, the question ,and Kev's silly answer, are absurd nonsense.

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farmwifetwo said...

Why do they dislike admiting it is a disability. What do they think they are going to achieve by claiming it isn't?? Certainly not improved services. Gov't's look at "difference" and wonder then why people cannot manage, cannot work, why do they need disability payments/supports.

It's a disability, you can't tell me differently. Yes, it has it's "good" points. But the disability out weighs them 100 fold.

Sun night I had the younger read his bible passage at church. I helped him point at the words and we'd only practiced it 3 times. Except for Abraham and decendents he did it very well. The remainder of that hour he stimmed. Bounced, flapped, giggled, fussed - never bad, but never still.

Yes, he can read, and read well. But if he can't handle the most basic social situation in a tiny church with family members that make up 80% of the congregation, during a carol service... How can he be independant??? And why is it "ok" if he is not??

They refuse to answer that question.

Anonymous said...

"Good points" to autism Farm Wife? Really? What the hell are they because I'd love to know too. Love my kid, hate the autism.

Unknown said...

Great post...

AutismOnABudget said...

Hmmm. I guess I find good points to Autism too. I am not sure I want it 'cured' either. My child and her Autism and her intellectual disability are so innocent. I treasure that. She is also honest in ways no one else is. She puts me in touch with the real truth of what is going on. I could go on but...
Do I think there will be a 'cure' for Autism someday? Probably. And it will save money and heartache. It will also get rid of a unique group of people and I am a little sad for that.

Unknown said...


Thank you for expressing your opinion. I can not pretend though that I understand or agree with your views.

I love my son the way he is. But I want the best possible life for him. If a cure OR a treatment that rendered his ability to participate more fully in life, to live independently became available I would want those opportunities for him.

Some day I will be gone and he will be living in the care of strangers ... if he is lucky. There is nothing cute about about that reality.

Unknown said...

I used to think that autism is what it is. I'm an aspie, I know Kev, I understand what he means. But I'm right in the middle: difference versus disability.

I see how autism is a different perspective, how autistics can be such beautifully unique people that the world would be worse without.

But then I can see the disability in my partner's grandson, how seizures related to his autism completely rule his life. He's not even given the opportunity to enjoy life because he has so many of them and is literally unconscious for so much of his waking life.

"Disability" and "difference" are just words. It doesn't change that these are unique beautiful people, and it doesn't change that life can have considerable challenges in store for them.

Autism isn't separable from the person. It's not a blanket laid over their true personalities; they are just who they are. That doesn't mean they can't change and gain skills. But that doesn't mean they're less autistic and more themselves.

It's ironic how cutthroat parent groups and adult autistics can be towards one another when, in all simplicity, they want the exact same things: for autistic people to live good fulfilling lives. It's just that parents are more concerned with the practical things: How will my child live? Where will they go to school? Will they ever have children of their own? While autistic people are usually just fighting to finally feel ACCEPTANCE. To finally be who they are without someone bullying them or ostracizing them.

I want my partner's grandson to live a good life-- to have that opportunity. Because it kills me to see him drifting off into another seizure time and again. But I also want parents and families of EVERY autistic to understand that the more "autism" is demonized as though it's some separable entity from your children, the more you will ostracize your own children. You can't help but bring home that message even if you try not to.

Every child wants to be accepted for who they are. Autism is who these children are.

De Chao said...

"For persons with mild Aspergers Disorder their "autism" may not be a disability. For one of the 80% of persons with Autistic Disorder who are intellectually disabiled and have communication deficits, their Autistic Disorder is obviously a disability."


80%? Um, check this out.

Unknown said...

Zhu Que

The link you provided was not to a specific autism prevalence article. The 80% figure I use refers to the 80% of persons with Autism (not Aspergers) who have intellectual disability according to the 2006 Senate Brief of the Canadian Psychological Association.

It is also a reference to the December 2009 study results reported by the CDC which indicates Intellectual Disability in a range of 29.9 to 51 % for ALL persons on the Autism Spectrum. Since persons with Aspergers, by definition, do not have Intellectual Disability then the estimate would be approximately doubled for those with Autistic Disorder or 59 - 101%. The CPA 80% figure is right in the middle of that range.