Neurodiversity vs. pro-cure: general thoughts?

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danieltaiwan
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16 Mar 2010, 7:54 am

I'm pro neurodiversity. I'm not damaged or inferior to anyone else but not superior. SOCIETY needs to change not us. Also so called low functioning autistics can be actually very smart. They may not be able to speak but many learn to type and can express their views. Procure groups like Autism Speaks portray us as inferior and something to be pitied.



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16 Mar 2010, 12:12 pm

zombiecide wrote:
Asp-Z wrote:
Autism isn't a disease, it does not need a cure.
It is not helpful to assume that being more demanding for being understood will change anything when the other person can not relate.


It wouldn't fix the problems, but it'd sure help them. Autism discrimination happens a lot and most people don't even think they're doing anything wrong, because the general public know very little about autism past what they see in the film Rain Man.

With more education, this will improve.

As I see it, this is like any other type of discrimination. If it's acceptable (as racism and sexism used to be), nothing will get done about it. If it's viewed as a bad thing, and people know it's not right, it will eventually make it unacceptable in society.

Will it stop completely? No, of course not. But it will help things a lot.

I agree with the saying "autism isn't the tragedy, ignorance is the tragedy".



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16 Mar 2010, 12:41 pm

DavidM wrote:
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We need more people with disabilities in the world.



Only somebody with no empathy for others' well-being would say that. :(


And only someone who doesn't get that being disabled isn't some kind of horrific tragedy would say that. Right now lots of disabled people face a world that wishes we didn't exist, a world that portrays our lives as a fate worse than death, and then we face all kinds of evilness up to and including being killed with near impunity. In an ideal world where people weren't taught to be horrified by disability, and where ableist discrimination was brought to a minimum, then more of us would exist. Because fewer of us would die of abuse neglect or suicide, fewer of us would be murdered, and fewer of us would be aborted by parents who were counselled by default that this was the best choice because a life as a disabled person (or parenting a disabled person) must be a terrible thing.

So yes, there ought to be more of us, because right now societal conditions cause us to die or be aborted at rates that are an injustice in themselves. And it's too much empathy, rather than not enough, that leads me to that conclusion.


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16 Mar 2010, 1:03 pm

Hearing about discrimination of those with Autism or Aspergers makes me wonder if I should get an official diagnosis. I agree, I do not want to be cured. I'm not broken. I'm just different. I do not want to be forced into being cured. If that doesn't work, what then, tatoos and concentration camps?



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16 Mar 2010, 4:56 pm

Wow, I was expecting some interesting responses, but what everyone's been saying is fascinating!

I'm definitely pro-neurodiversity, and I don't agree with the idea of prenatal testing and the Autism Speaks-like sentiments... But after I met the father of twin autistic boys who were more low-functioning than I've ever seen, I can't help but side with him a little bit when he says that he wants his kids to be able to function and be happy. It's just such a huge spectrum, and if you try to prevent one type of autism from occurring (through prenatal testing, etc), you might eradicate every type, including AS...

I don't want a cure. but I also don't want to hold back kids who might be unhappy from becoming happy. I dunno... It's such a tough issue.

Do any of you mind if I quote some of these responses in my blog? :)


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16 Mar 2010, 5:34 pm

InaWoodenHouse wrote:
Wow, I was expecting some interesting responses, but what everyone's been saying is fascinating!

I'm definitely pro-neurodiversity, and I don't agree with the idea of prenatal testing and the Autism Speaks-like sentiments... But after I met the father of twin autistic boys who were more low-functioning than I've ever seen, I can't help but side with him a little bit when he says that he wants his kids to be able to function and be happy. It's just such a huge spectrum, and if you try to prevent one type of autism from occurring (through prenatal testing, etc), you might eradicate every type, including AS...

I don't want a cure. but I also don't want to hold back kids who might be unhappy from becoming happy. I dunno... It's such a tough issue.

Do any of you mind if I quote some of these responses in my blog? :)


I think LFA parents are in a tough spot. I think LFA kiddos are in an even tougher spot.
I don't think LFA should be eliminated either... I mean, some of the posters here have it and are perfectly happy as they are-just frustrated that they are viewed as miserable or a waste of space.

I don't think that at all... I think that they have a lot of very valuable points to make, and have learned from them.

It's hard for the parents, I suppose, because to them, there is just nothing going on in their heads or whatnot, so they cannot see how their child could possibly be happy... I can't say I would see things that way, because of... well, here really. Had I not had the experience to see what some of them think first hand and all, it would be rough. Mainly because I rely so heavily on verbal communication... and I'm kind of ashamed of that to be honest.

Had I not come here, I would likely have the view everyone else has of them. But through here, I've learned soooo much, and am thrilled when I get to see a response from them.

By the way, no, I'm not trying to distinguish myself from them... I'm happy to be part of a group that includes them.

I don't think prenatal testing of any sort, even if it would determine the typical "functionality" of someone, is a good idea... There are a lot of voices out there waiting to be heard, but ignored because nobody will give them the tools to use, or write them off from the start... and that is sad. It's also sad when the notion is immediately dismissed if someone does find a way of communicating.

Granted, there are a lot out there that very well might be miserable. I can't say, but I certainly wouldn't want to take away the chance... I mean, heck, even NTs can wind up completely miserable a lot of the time.

I do think a valid test should be how well someone would be a parent, lol. I mean, we have a lot of really lousy parents in our neighborhood... letting their children run in the middle of the street after dark while cars are flying through... kids doing all kinds of horrible stuff and if you address the parent, then you are the one with the problem, not them... it's a mess. If someone isn't up for that task of what possibilities could be, then maybe they just shouldn't have kids... I hate to put it that way, but there are just so many possibilities of what could be... it really needs to be taken into consideration. It's really bad when you have a problem with a child at school and the teachers/counselor automatically go, "oh... THAT family".


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16 Mar 2010, 5:56 pm

I am more on the neurodiversity side of the argument because I don't want to be cured personally. I don't see neurological disorders as a "disease" of the brain as such but a type of brain. And there are lots of different types of brains with excesses and lackings in different areas, and in the neurotypical brain those areas are more balanced in their abilities which is why there are more of them. On the other hand people with autism may be lacking in the sociability and emotional intelligence but can often have certain areas that they excess in like a talent or having a very high IQ. People with mental retardation e.g. williams syndrome have very low intelligence but at the same time are very empathetic and sociable people.

But I'm not completely anti-cure, if someone wants a cure that's fine with me. I don't want one but if someone else does then I can't complain at them for it can I?


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16 Mar 2010, 7:16 pm

InaWoodenHouse wrote:
Wow, I was expecting some interesting responses, but what everyone's been saying is fascinating!

I'm definitely pro-neurodiversity, and I don't agree with the idea of prenatal testing and the Autism Speaks-like sentiments... But after I met the father of twin autistic boys who were more low-functioning than I've ever seen, I can't help but side with him a little bit when he says that he wants his kids to be able to function and be happy.


The thing is, though, is being cured the only path to having a happy life? IIRC 80% of people with a serious disability like quadraplegia(sp?) adjust back to about their original level of happiness after about 2 years (presumably assuming that they're given what they need).

And since that person's kids are already in the world, would the money be better spent looking for a cure, or on ways to help accommodate them into an independent life? More money to genetics research, or some funding to reduce the price of AAC (speaking) devices from the insanely high costs they have now? (There's some executive functioning assistance software I could use, but it's $2800!)

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It's just such a huge spectrum, and if you try to prevent one type of autism from occurring (through prenatal testing, etc), you might eradicate every type, including AS...


Well yeah, but imagine being autistic but not AS, and hearing that... "We can't eradicate all the autistics, because some of them might be 'good ones,' who are worth something, unlike the rest of them..." Societies have a really bad history of what happens when some people are considered not worthy of life like everyone else. It always leads to horrible things -- and a slippery slope, so no one is for-certain safe from being on the wrong side of the line. Personally, I'd rather go with assuming that everybody is valuable, and not go preventively offing anyone.

And once "LF" autistics are gone, who is the new bottom-of-the-barrel? While there are talented AS engineers (for example), there are also perfectly NT people who are also talented engineers. They also outnumber AS people 10-to-1, so proportionally fewer of them need to be uber-geniuses to outnumber the AS uber-geniuses. The harsh reality is that all the AS people in the world could disappear, and the world would likely continue on just fine. It's nice to think the sky would fall and volcanoes would erupt upon the the aspie genocide -- but I doubt it. So I don't think the "genius" stereotype is really going to save anybody when it's their turn to be the worthless ones. That kind of thinking just needs to be stopped before it starts.

Quote:
I don't want a cure. but I also don't want to hold back kids who might be unhappy from becoming happy. I dunno... It's such a tough issue.


We all have so much cultural programming about what a happy life looks like, and it's all very, very narrow. I think the thing is to be careful about assuming some people are miserable when we don't know otherwise. I.e. A lot of teenagers would probably decide that the average 40-year-old's life is not worth living, lol.

Quote:
Do any of you mind if I quote some of these responses in my blog? :)



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16 Mar 2010, 7:32 pm

DavidM wrote:
CockneyRebel wrote:
We need more people with disabilities in the world.

Only somebody with no empathy for others' well-being would say that. :(
Not really. Not if you consider that lately, we've been getting more people with disabilities because people who would have died of things like accidents and congenital problems are instead surviving with disabilities. People being alive is something we can celebrate.

Also, consider the sentence with this emphasis:
We need more people with disabilities in the world.
Slowly, people with disabilities have been getting into general society. We went from being hidden in back rooms to being mainstreamed some of the time and employed some of the time, and the rates of participation are rising. Currently, about 20% of people with disabilities in my state are employed; that's higher than it used to be, but there's still a great way to go. (re. employability: Most of the other 80% are employable--that is, capable of profitable work--with affordable accommodations.)

The more people with disabilities are openly participating in the world, the less people will discriminate, and the less they'll underestimate us. The more that work, the more people will know we can work. The more people with disabilities participate in the world, the more the world in general benefits from their unique perspectives.


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17 Mar 2010, 8:09 am

Neurotypicals also have different levels of functioning, only it's not politically correct to point that out.

Whether you are Autistic or Neurotypical, we should spend our whole lives bettering ourselves, learning and growing to do the best with what we are given.



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17 Mar 2010, 9:00 am

lukes_dad wrote:
Neurotypicals also have different levels of functioning, only it's not politically correct to point that out.

Whether you are Autistic or Neurotypical, we should spend our whole lives bettering ourselves, learning and growing to do the best with what we are given.


Yup! No one would call a neurotypical 'low functioning', yet many are, including supposedly mature and competent adults who get automatically listened to....


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17 Mar 2010, 1:25 pm

When I was growing up there were times I would gladly have hit myself in the head with an ice axe if I had believe DIY pschosurgery would have cured me , and I knew the exact spot.

I am so glad I didn't, life does get better if you learn to use what you have effectively. I like being me and have done for quite a long time.

I don't give a monkey's ar*e anymore if some bald baboon starts getting aggressive on sight and barring his teeth and flushing his cheeks. That's his blood pressure , his problem , not mine.


Anger and everything else- it's all in the genes you know :D



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17 Mar 2010, 1:43 pm

anbuend wrote:
DavidM wrote:
CockneyRebel wrote:
We need more people with disabilities in the world.



Only somebody with no empathy for others' well-being would say that. :(


And only someone who doesn't get that being disabled isn't some kind of horrific tragedy would say that. Right now lots of disabled people face a world that wishes we didn't exist, a world that portrays our lives as a fate worse than death, and then we face all kinds of evilness up to and including being killed with near impunity. In an ideal world where people weren't taught to be horrified by disability, and where ableist discrimination was brought to a minimum, then more of us would exist. Because fewer of us would die of abuse neglect or suicide, fewer of us would be murdered, and fewer of us would be aborted by parents who were counselled by default that this was the best choice because a life as a disabled person (or parenting a disabled person) must be a terrible thing.

So yes, there ought to be more of us, because right now societal conditions cause us to die or be aborted at rates that are an injustice in themselves. And it's too much empathy, rather than not enough, that leads me to that conclusion.


Thank you for backing me up. You're a good mate, aubuend. :)


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danieltaiwan
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18 Mar 2010, 7:35 am

lukes_dad wrote:
Neurotypicals also have different levels of functioning, only it's not politically correct to point that out.

Whether you are Autistic or Neurotypical, we should spend our whole lives bettering ourselves, learning and growing to do the best with what we are given.



Agree. Just because a person is NT doesn't mean that they are all of sudden superior and that we are inferior and unwhole.



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18 Mar 2010, 7:53 am

I believe in intervention therapy for young autistics to help them develop more normally. Like it or not people who fit into society are happier than those on the fringe, and have less baggage.
That is the "cure" imo, if you can call it that.



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18 Mar 2010, 8:35 am

I agree, Valmont, however harsh the therapy may seem, it is only meant to make life easier in the long run.

The acceptance, non judgemental approach seems to me to be the easy way out. All children need to be guided, their strengths developed, their weaknesses strengthened. A kid on the spectrum needs that extra little push, not to squash who he is, but to pick up on the things that come naturally to a typical child