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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 63
Gender: Male
Posts: 25,534
Location: Long Island, New York

25 Jun 2017, 12:31 am

Autism Without Fear: (On the Eve of ASA’s Annual Conference…) Autism Is Not Bipartisan Anymore

Michael John Carley is the Founder of GRASP, a School Consultant, and the author of “Asperger’s From the Inside-Out” (Penguin/Perigee 2008), “Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum,” (Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2016), and the upcoming “’The Book of Happy, Positive, and Confident Sex for Adults on the Autism Spectrum…and Beyond!” He also writes the Huffington Post column, “Autism Without Fear.”

The editorial argues that bieng non partisan was a good strategy but not now.

Quite frankly, straddling the fence and avoiding taking a stance on a controversial issue has been ASA’s raison d’etre since its inception.

Remember that for decades, ASA was the only autism org that existed, and that its budget has always been heavily-dependent on dues-paying memberships. So if ASA relies on those fees, why would they risk alienating half of that budget by having an opinion on a potentially-divisive issue, no matter how imperative the issue might be? Since their founding in the 1960s, this was a strategy that worked for them.

But then in the early “oughts,” new organizations sprang up. And these new orgs WERE taking stands. My GRASP in 2003 objected to “cure” talk, and wanted adult concerns to stop being ignored. Then Autism Speaks popped up with oppositional beliefs surrounding cure-based research in 2005. Another peer-run org, ASAN, emerged in 2006 (whose leadership has to be applauded for never neglecting to issue statements)…

The effect was that ASA, by comparison, was shown to be paralyzed and ineffectual. While ASA didn’t offend anyone, they didn’t really participate either. Whether the new conversations/debates surrounded language, genetic vs. environmental origin, aversives, what research is useful vs. what research is not…By their silence, ASA was perceived as hiding from controversies. The organization almost went under ten years ago as a result, as members ditched them in favor of orgs that had dared to excite them.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman