Saturday, May 28, 2011

Medical Model of Autism Embraced by Neurodiversity Blogger Kev Leitch?

- Comment by Neurodiversity Blogger Kev Leitch of LBRB on the recent paper indicating that children have been compensated for what, based on an analysis of the symptoms, appear to have been autism disorders.

Neurodiversity, to the extent that it has any meaning at all, opposes the medical model of behavioral and intellectual disorders.  Kev Leitch of LBRB has been a prominent Neurodiversity autism blogger.  It came as a pleasant surprise to me to see that Kev does in fact accept that autism is a medical disorder despite his ND leanings.  Kev has always been solidly in the autism is a gift ND Camp ( Or as Estee Klar argues autism is a joy):

To cure what? Good question. Some believe that autism and its attendant comorbidities are interchangeable. That constipation and a different way of looking at things are the same thing. That dyspraxia and a lack of imaginative ability are the same thing. Others believe that the two things are quite separate. That the comorbidities that are attendant with autism in some people cannot be used to define autism. That the condition of being autistic bequeaths gifts as well as troubles (and it does bequeath troubles, lets not pretend it doesn't) and that keeping the troubles is a small price to pay for keeping the gifts.
Kevin Leitch"

It is difficult for me to rationalize the view that autism is a gift with the concept that autism is a medical disorder for which one must receive a medical diagnosis  before being considered autistic.  Admittedly I lack Kev's intellectual flexibility.  He might well be able to reconcile these diametrically opposed concepts but I can't do that.  I can't embrace two diametrically opposed concepts as both being true.  I have always viewed Neurodiversity ideology as inherently irrational.  

If autism is a gift why does someone have a medical  diagnosis? People don't seek medical attention because they have a gift.  We sought medical attention for our son 14 years ago because, even at 15 months of age, it was clear that he was not developing ordinary speech for a child his age and was not even acknowledging our presence when we tried to play games like peek a boo with him.  We were not seeking an autism diagnosis for him, I did not even know what autism was.  We wanted to know if he had medical issues. Ultimately after observation and testing he was diagnosed with an autism disorder.   Our son is a gift. We enjoy our every minute with him, even the challenging times. But his autism disorder itself is not a gift. It is a medical disorder which limits very seriously his ability to enjoy an independent life or to understand the world in which we live.

I can not reconcile the concept of a medical disorder, obtained because of serious functional and developmental limitations, with the concept of a gift.  Perhaps ND ideologue Kev Leitch is finally moving away from his embrace of the contradictory mess known as  Neurodiversity.  Perhaps.


Claire said...

"Admittedly I lack Kev's intellectual flexibility." I just think that's funny.

jonathan said...

Kevin Leitch, though his daughter is almost completely nonverbal, has stated that he would only seek a cure for his daughter if she asked him to. How much sense does that make? So if the rest of his way of thinking is in line with this, there is certainly no logic to his thinking.

Minority said...

There is actually intellectual consistency here. The rules are:

1) if vaccines are involved it isn't autism.

2) if any other toxic substance for which a particular company could be held responsible it isn't autism, either.

Minority said...

Sorry for posting the same thing twice, it looked like it wasn't working. Hate that!

Anonymous said...

Diane Sawyer hit the nail on the head a few years back, when she interviewed Ari Ne'eman and Kristina Chew (I believe), that their attitude was "a beautiful way of justifying heartbreak." She saw right through their B.S. too.

Leitch is no different. These people are in complete and total denial. They go to great lengths to write about how severe autism is joy and a gift. What kind of parent/person would truly believe this?

Sadly I think kids of parents like this will be sorry when their kids reach adulthood. No one is going to view their severe autism and extreme behaviors as a gift then. So, so sad for their kids.

michael said...

The way I see it is that ones greatest weakness can also be ones greatest strength and vica versa - its a double edged sword.

I see my childs autism as a sever disability that I am doing everything in my power to assist him with. At the same time perhaps it is a crucial aspect of what makes our child such a loving happy go lucky care free child.

Saying this, it does not help when he is crying at 3AM and cannot tell you what is bothering him.

Or when you have to make him his own supper cause he refuses to eat so many things.

trainspotter said...

I think one of the problems is that people can't seem to seperate the 'person' from the 'label'.

1. Autism, as it was originally defined, is a severe disability. Anyone who has a grown child with autism, who still needs full supervision for their safety, knows this is true. BUT that doesn't mean our children aren't gifts.

2. For those with high functioning autism that feel they are gifted and not disabled... maybe it's time to embrace a new label. Say "I'm gifted", or "I'm pleasantly neurotic". Your label isn't who you are... you aren't 'autism'.

Anonymous said...

Ok everyone on this planet is different we all know that. Acceptance of this diversity is essential to a functioning society. Who are the most vulnerable people? Children, disabled and elderly of course. When everyone and and their brother is diagnosed with autism as it is today, it either means that the spectrum has become too wide or their is some kind of toxic environmental epidemic going on. Social problems, sensory problems, shyness, lack of self control when not in the extreme are are part of the human condition. But, when clear textbook autism is obeserved or when a person needs lifetime supervision then these people are in need of a safe place to live with good activities that will help stimulate their minds. They just cannot be left after the age of 22 with no where to go. Nothing to do. No more friendly teachers, no job to do, no purpose in life.It is sickening that there are only a few options for these people and most of these options are frightening.

Unknown said...

first of all I encourage everyone to read extensively before making up their minds about what is going on out there as far as disease; children, or adults;

if our goal is health and well being, self actualization, and happiness of our children and ourselves we need to open up our minds to new ideas even if at first they seem bizarre; it will not hurt you; you already have your existing beliefs; you can always go back to it's safety' nothing lost; but by remaining open we may learn something new; something we never thought about that can help us; what is wrong with that?

attacking point of views we do not understand yet is not going to help our children and ourselves;

so my reaction to these comments is read read read;

educate yourself on as many opposite views with calm fairness good listening and a prayer for guidance from above;

your goal is to investigate the truth for yourself'

there is a book out that I recommend to every one to read; on surface it may seem it has nothing to do with this discussion; but it has;

it is an eye opener; the book title is "whole" by Dr. Campell. a cornel professor of nutrition; it

is not his view on proper diet to free us of many disease that interests me but his accurate communication of the science, medicine, and what is been feed to us in the name of science that interests me here.
I also have a position on this matter; I do believe all humans are gifted; read Howard Gsardner's work on multiple intelligence;

the real problem the way I see it is this

:we are trapped in a mind set of our time;

it is not slavery or what happened in Germany in second world war to Jews and minorities it is the new face of slavery labeling and drugging our kids all with the best of intentions;

Autism in my view is a complex mess of many things lumped together;

it is the new elephant in the room and the blind man;

so many things have been unfortunately limped together:

such as:
-a personality type (introvert)
- a different learning style (visual/spatial)
-a sensitive physiology that is reacting greatly to us poisoning our environment
-a unique brain that is wired differently not bad nor good but different
-most probably presence of unique forms of gifted still not clear to us on superficial examination
-super sensitive sensory system and many behavior that goes with that for the individual to maintain optimal functioning
-and sensitivities to food or external toxins that could be addressed under healing paradigm 9medical amongst just many)such as nutritional.

I suggest we separate as many strands or threads in this mess; place each element on the table; and then also increase our powers of observation;

your clues and empowerment source is right in front of you staring in your face

your child is the answer to all this confusion

become the world best expert on your dear child

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