Sunday, January 21, 2018

letter to congress person/senators regarding IACC and Sam Crane's unprofessional behavior

I've written the following to my congressperson and senators:

I’m an individual with an autism spectrum disorder that wishes to bring to your attention, problems with governmental autism policy, specifically with the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.  This committee conducts policy recommendations for the federal government.  The CARES act mandates that at least two individuals purporting to be on the autism spectrum are appointed as public members.  So far, seven individuals who are opposed to curing and treating autism have been appointed, who believe in a philosophy called neurodiversity which purports that autism is not a medical condition, but an alternative form of brain wiring.  Zero pro-cure, anti-neurodiversity autistics have been appointed as public committee members, though two have been nominated and turned down.  I think this is totally unfair and it is not within the spirit of the law as the CARES act states that the viewpoints of committee members should be fair and balanced. 

Furthermore, the two current autistic committee members, John Elder Robison, and Samantha Crane are very functional people who appear to have no overt disability.  In fact, John Elder Robison has stated he has no disability.  Samantha Crane is a very successful Harvard trained attorney. 

Apparently, a person who purports to be autistic who wants to serve on this committee only has to self-identify and not provide any proof of a professionally obtained diagnosis.  I asked them about this on social media and John Robison claimed that I was insulting him.  Samantha Crane stated that there was no reason she should have prove her autism and made the false statement that she was not appointed to the committee because of her autism.  Though Ms. Crane said she’d release her medical records to the IACC upon request, but not to the general public.

I write you this letter, urging you to introduce legislation to amend the CARES act to require public members of the IACC with an alleged autism diagnosis produce proof of professional diagnosis to the committee and the general public, and explain to the stakeholders in the autism community how autism has impacted their life and disabled them.   

I wrote to the IACC via their invited public commentary that I felt the autistic public members should provide proof of a professional diagnosis and explain how in spite of their apparent functionality, how autism is impacted their life and how they are the least bit similar to the 99.9% of autistic individuals they serve and state they represent.

Afterwards, Ms. Crane, on social media, made the false statement that I was “told to mind my own business” and that “I was harassing the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee” for writing polite and invited public commentary that she did not happen to agree with. 

I don’t believe that people who are stakeholders in the interest of a public committee should be spoken to this way, on social media, or anywhere else.  I’m hoping you can write the acting Secretary of HHS, and the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and deal with Ms. Crane’s absolutely unprofessional behavior.  I also feel the house and the senate should investigate the IACC and how the Department of Health and Human Services is vetting public members of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee and also introduce legislation to change the law, requiring autistic committee members to provide proof of a professional diagnosis and explain to stakeholders how their autism handicaps them.  Your help in this matter is appreciated

Jonathan Mitchell
Here's Ms. Crane's tweet:

For those who feel as I do, I urge you to write the congress, the department of HHS and the president, and send comments to the IACC about this and maybe we can do something about this.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Tenth Anniversary of Autism's Gadfly

Today marks the tenth anniversary of my first post on autism’s gadfly, after I moved my blogging from Jonathan’s Journals,  the short-lived predecessor to this blog I used occasionally on my stories website.

I posted my second entry on January 20, 2008, where I discussed whether or not being opposed to neurodiversity meant being opposed to human rights.

Ten years seems an appropriate milestone to celebrate an anniversary, but to discuss the issue more thoroughly, some backstory is needed.

In 2002, I was on the national radio show Studio 360, plugging my first (and failed and unpublished) novel, The School of Hard Knocks about an 8-year-old autistic boy’s experiences in an abusive special education school, as well as a satirical take on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  An individual named Tim Boucher was so impressed with my interview, he built me a website which became, where I published some of my short stories and non-fiction writings.  It also had a journal section powered by blogger, that I wrote in sparingly.

Some years later, I wrote my initial critique of the movement I loathe so much: Neurodiversity: Just Say No.   Harold Doherty read my article and publicized it on his blog.  This initiated some controversy among ND proponents who were not happy with my essay.  This included the famous autistic autism researcher Michelle Dawson.  She stated that she wanted to comment on my article, but that my Jonathan’s Journal did not have commenting and that Doherty would not allow her to comment on his blog.  Others wanted to comment.  I decided to start a more traditional blog that allowed commenting and I moderated comments.

Michelle Dawson engaged in an online temper tantrum, stating that because I moderated comments, she would not comment on my blog and that I was an opponent to human rights, though she acknowledged she did not know what rights I specifically opposed.  I turned off  moderation and invited her to comment on my blog, but she still declined.

After some of the nastier ND’s began to be extremely abusive to me, I turned comment moderation back on.

It’s been an interesting decade.  I’ve discussed a variety of topics in my blog posts,  but the majority of posts dealt with taking on the neurodiversity movement.  I began to grow a small following and started receiving several comments on various blog posts.

A variety of coups took place.  I found out from Steve Shore that Ari Ne’eman would be in Newsweek.  I wrote about this asking for equal time.  After Barack Obama appointed Ne’eman to the National Council on Disabilities, he denied that he’d ever said autism was not a disability while the senate decided whether or not to confirm him.  I exposed statements where in fact Ne’eman did say that autism and Asperger’s were not disabilities.  After publishing them on Gadfly, Ne’eman attempted to re-write history by editing one of the essays where he said autism was not a disability.  Left Brain/Right Brain’s Matt Carey publicized the edited version, denying Ne’eman ever stated autism was not a disability  Ne’eman, while denying he’d said autism was not a disability, acknowledged he’d made a mistake in the words he used in his essay, admitting that he could have been construed as implying it.  He further stated that if that was the worst mistake he’d ever made in print, he’d consider himself lucky.

When someone was using to threaten to carry out a mass shooting, I publicized this in my blog and reported the individual to the FBI.  They apparently contacted the Swiss authorities where he lived and he was dealt with.

I’ve received a lot of flack from various people due to my blog posts.  I’ve tried to keep a cool head, though sometimes I failed and I regret that.  This happened when I was being mocked and insulted on the Whose Planet is it Anyway blog run by “The Autistic Bitch from Hell”.  I didn’t turn the other cheek and wrote angry and inflammatory things back.  I won’t offer apologies for my behavior, but I will offer regrets.

The media also took an interest in my blogs and writings.  Andrew Solomon in his New York Magazine article on Neurodiversity gave me token mention to provide faux balance.  He also mentioned me in his book, Far From The Tree.  Benjamin Wallace also mentioned me and what I’d written about Simon Baron-Cohen in another New York Magazine article.  A journalist in Australia also mentioned me on the website of a public television station article.  A British journalist was going to interview me for the Sunday London Times, but that fell through.  I published an article in Los Angeles Magazine.  I was also on the NPR show, morning edition talking about donating my brain to science (regrettably Autism Speaks).  Robia Rasheed used this to inspire the first scene of the first episode of her Netflix show Atypical.  My desire for equal time in Newsweek was also granted some years later and the magazine did a profile about me, though they insulted me in the print edition with the title a hater’s guide to self-hating.

Though I can point to a few accomplishments, there are also the failures.  For the past ten years, I’ve blogged against the neurodiversity movement, trying to show how flawed it is.  Despite this fact, my pleadings seem to have fallen on deaf ears (though I may have figuratively preached to the choir who embraced some of my messages).

I never dreamed that the federal government would embrace neurodiversity and appoint several ND proponents to government posts relating to autism and appoint zero pro-treatment, pro-cure advocates.  I never dreamed they would rename the Combating Autism Act to the CARES act because the term ‘combating’ offended neurodiversity proponents.

I never dreamed that the Autism Society of America would have people like Alex Plank and Steve Silberman as keynote speakers at their conferences.

I never dreamed that Autism Speaks would give up the search for a cure and prevention and change their mission statement, and appoint Nds to their board of directors  However, given their half million dollar grant to Laurent Mottron, their putting John Robison on a science advistory board, and their funding of Alex Plank’s inane Autism Talk TV, I guess it should not have come as a shock.

Last but not least, I never dreamed the media would fete Steve Silberman and his book Neurotribes, enabling it to become a New York Times best seller.

I suppose nobody ever said that life was supposed to be fair.

Another interesting event happened yesterday which appropriately gives good culmination to my tenth anniversary.  At yesterday’s meeting of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, John Robison mentioned comments I’d written to the agency, where I said the U.S. government should concentrate on doing science research that will lead to treatments and cures for autistic individuals and not concentrate on neurodiversity and accommodations.  He also noted the comments I made that he and fellow IACC member Samantha Crane should provide proof of a professional diagnosis of autism or forfeit their seats on the committee.  Ms. Crane also mentioned the fact I’d written to Dr. Joshua Gordon about her and JER’s attitude, and that she should release her medical records to Dr. Gordon, showing a professional dx as a condition of her serving on the IACC.  She stated she would not release her medical records.  In some subsequent interactions on twitter she stated that she was not appointed due to her autism, so her diagnosis had no relevance.

This is outright dishonesty on Ms. Crane’s part, as the law specifically states that autistic persons are to be appointed to the IACC, ergo a large part of the reason she and Mr. Robison are there is because of their alleged diagnoses of autism.

I don’t understand how two such functional individuals, one a graduate of Harvard Law school, merit a diagnosis of autism, and I feel they should explain it to the public they serve as well as provide the IACC with documentation from a clinician they’ve been diagnosed.  I don’t believe this is asking for too much.  However, Robison and Crane think so, though Crane stated she'd release her medical records to the IACC if asked, but not the general public.  In addition, my emails to Joshua Gordon, the acting secretary of HHS, and president Trump asking them to do something about this remain unanswered.  This is the way it goes.

Ms. Crane and JER are not the only individuals whose autism I’ve expressed skepticism over.  My detractors have occasionally turned this on me, saying that people could express skepticism toward my alleged disability and say Jonathan Mitchell can’t be autistic for xx reasons.  I should provide some sort of proof of my diagnosis.

Though, unlike Crane, Robison, and others, I’ve never used a dime of taxpayer money to promote my agenda, my critics are absolutely right.  It was a mistake for me to question others’ dx without providing some evidence of my own.  Therefore I’ve rectified the situation and uploaded some paperwork from the Courchesne research group of my diagnosis that I used in my Disability case several years ago.  I welcome anyone whose autism I’ve expressed skepticism of to do the same.

John Robison has repeatedly criticized me for only writing negative things about the neurodiversity movement on my blog and not trying to do something positive for the autism community.  I’d much rather be a brain researcher, geneticist, or a wealthy philanthropist and do research to find answers for developmentally disabled people, or fund the research or fund jobs programs and housing for autistic people than engage in angry tirades against the neurodiversity movement. However, I don’t have the millions of dollars of autism speaks.  Unlike James Simons, I’m not a multibillionaire, and I sure don’t have the resources of the federal government.

My ambitions to go to graduate school and become a brain researcher, experimental psychologist, or what not, didn’t pan out, so I can’t do research that might help ASD people at some point in time.

However, I do feel my work in exposing the nastiness and dishonesty of the ND movement is important and I feel it does good to point out all the harm they’ve caused and how their influence in both the private and public sector are impeding research into autism that could lead to scientific advances that can help those of us affected and their families.

Contrary to what some of the nastier Nds have asked me and/or written about me, I’m not a parent disguised as an autistic person writing these things.  I don’t forge positive comments on my blog.   I’m not paid to write these posts by Autism Speaks, Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, or Jill Escher or anyone else ND’s have accused me of accepting money from.  

So, though I’m not blogging as much anymore, I will continue to speak out against ND from time to time, and maybe, on occasion, write blog posts on other topics also.  Anyway, happy tenth anniversary to Autism’s Gadfly and We don’t need no stinking neurodiversity. 

Addendum: Now Ms. Samantha Crane is stating that I'm harassing the IACC by writing invited public commentary which is polite albeit critical of some of its members and the organization's procedures:

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Neurodiversity proponent Nick Walker wants to make me a criminal for my speech.

Nick Walker is a neurodiversity proponent whose profile and exposure has recently been growing.    Mr. Walker, who claims to be on the autism spectrum, has a rather interesting background for an autistic person He's a sixth degree black belt in aikido and owns and operates his own dojo.  He also owns a publishing company and is a college instructor at two colleges.  He has a wife and a daughter.  Though he's written prolifically about neurodiversity, as far as I know, he's never described on what basis he's been diagnosed as autistic (assuming he's not self-diagnosed) or how autism manifests itself in his life.

Mr. Walker has also complained about Temple Grandin and John Elder Robison, referring to them as "tame autistics".  Apparently, they are not strident enough in promoting the neurodiversity movement or adopting a bellicose enough attitude to suit Saint Nick.  Based on some of my behavior on the internet over the years, I don't think he could say that about me.  Though our ideologies are diametrically opposed, I think Walker or anyone else would have a hard time calling me a tame autistic.  If anything, I've been a pretty controversial and wild autistic. 

I recently renewed my interest in Walker as some months ago (though I was not aware of this until recently) he was claiming Autism in a Different Key authors John Donvan and Caren Zucker were in the process of making an anti-neurodiversity documentary.  This was something I'd be interested in seeing.  He warned neurodiversity proponents about this, urging they not consent to be interviewed by the authors as they would present any pro ND in the most unflattering manner possible.  He correctly states that Donvan and Zucker presented Ari Ne'eman in an unfavorable manner in their book.  It could be argued it was well-deserved, and if anything they were being charitable to Ne'eman in not presenting to their readers how truly bad he's been over the years. 

If they're making this documentary, I'm curious why they didn't contact me.  After all, I've had a pretty high profile as an autistic anti ND activist.  I've been profiled in Newsweek, I've been on public radio shows and the Autism Live podcast, presenting this.  Or perhaps Donvan and Walker don't want to get my side of the story, assuming this statement is not a fabrication on Walker's point.  I won't provide the link to it, but the interested reader can certainly find it on YouTube and other places.  I'll be interested to see if this documentary Walker claims is in the works will ever be made.  I guess I'll see it if it is and it's available to me. 

My interest was particularly piqued by some of his writings in a piece titled "five steps toward autism acceptance."  He states: 

Individuals and organizations that speak of autism as a “disease” or “tragedy,” and that talk of “curing” it, should be prosecuted for hate speech and incitement to violence, just as if they were advocating a “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem"

I have repeatedly said that I believe autism is a disease, a tragedy, and I've brooked no quarters in stating that I want to cure it. According to Nick, I should be a criminal and I should be prosecuted and apparently imprisoned.  Apparently, Walker has never heard of something the people who founded this nation more than two hundred years ago wrote called the constitution.  The very first amendment to the constitution gives us the right to free speech.  Apparently Walker would like us to live in stalinist Russia.  As a Jew, I'm also offended that Walker would bring my ethnicity and the holocaust into this. I strongly suspect that Walker is not Jewish unlike myself. 

Walker is certainly not on the fringe of the neurodiversity movement.  His neurocosmopolitan website is frequently quoted by individuals as giving valid information as to what the neurodiversity movement itself is about.  It appears high in the google search on neurodiversity.  

I feel the same way about describing autism as an alternative way of being rather than a disorder or the statement that people who want to cure autism are advocating prenatal abortion and genocide.  But I would never advocate denying an ND proponent their free speech, no matter how vehemently I disagree with them. 

I wonder how long it will be before Walker is appointed as an autistic member of the IACC.  How long will it be before Autism Speaks has some involvement with him or maybe appoints him to their Board of Directors?  Will the Autism Society of America have him as a keynote speaker at one of their national conferences?  I wonder when I'll be imprisoned for stating my beliefs about autism because it's hate speech and I'm inciting violence.  The way things are going in the autism world, it might not be a long way off. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

i've received first social security payment

About five months ago, I wrote a post stating that I'd been approved for retirement social security.  I also stated I might write a follow-up blog post when I'd received my first payment.  Well, this is it.  I'm happy to say it appears to have been transferred into my checking account.  I was pleasantly surprised at how efficient the whole process was, considering that the U.S. Govt. is involved and the four and half years I spent trying to obtain it early in the form of disability.

I wanted to write another post because, while I may not have had a whole lot of accomplishments in the now relatively long life I've lived, this one, I feel, is significant and I have some pride in it.

As I wrote in my previous blog, for a typical person, receiving retirement social security is another milestone in life, although probably the last one before they die and not really a big deal for them and an everyday occurrence.  

For most people diagnosed on the autism spectrum, this is not a typical milestone.  Unemployment rates between 85 to 90% are reported.  A number of individuals with autism that I've met in real life and have encountered on the internet have been on SSI and have never had "substantial and gainful" employment as defined by the social security administration.  Others I know, have been turned down.
I was very lucky to have supportive parents over the years, but there was still a question of whether or not I would have to apply for SSI and have to live on $900 a month from the government and not be allowed to have support from my parents, be only allowed to have $2,000 in the bank, and have other problems involved with having to be on SSI.

Fortunately, as I've mentioned before, I was able to work sporadically from age 24 (when I completed college) to age 51(when I retired from my last paid employment).  However, it was very tough and I was fired from more than twenty jobs and may be in the Guiness Book of World Records for most jobs fired from.  Working was an incredible struggle for me and I really suffered psychologically from all my firings and the other problems I had in various workplaces over the years where things got so bad I was forced to quit.  

During the last nine years or so that I worked, I did medical transcription working from home as an independent contractor.  Therefore, I had to pay twice as much into social security as a statutory employee to get the same amount back as the statutory employee.  

After I stopped working, I tried to get SSDI, which unlike SSI, has no means test and not the same rules as SSI does, except you're limited in how much income you make from working.  After a four and a half year fight, I did not prevail.

However, though I'm not getting quite as much as an SSI recipient would, it's close.  I'd be getting more than the SSI recipient had I waited until age 66 and 2 months to claim benefits, but chose not to do that.

One of the nastiest individuals in the neurodiversity movement and one of my greatest detractors claimed that I could easily do a menial job and keep it, but because I'd gone to college, I felt this was beneath me.  This is absolutely untrue, as I worked in a warehouse loading merchandise onto industrial palates as my first job and I applied for a job as a delivery driver when I was having problems with transcription jobs before I got my last independent contract gig.  I would have done a menial job if that would have been easier and one I'd be less likely to be fired from than a transcription job, but there is no way this would have happened contrary to what some people's personal opinion of me is.

Others have espoused nasty attitudes toward non-working autistics.  When I described what my situation was on Facebook in one post, a nasty ND called me an enabler and a quitter.  Blogger and Autistic Self-Advocacy Network supporter, The Autistic Bitch From Hell   wrote a blog post stating the reason some pro cure autistics protest ASAN's actions is because they're lazy loafers who are worried about losing welfare benefits because they won't take responsibility for their lives if they're forced to work.

Some of my readers may remember the blog post I recently wrote about the article Ron Sandison wrote where he and Temple Grandin criticized autistics who weren't working and the insensitivity and callousness Autism Speaks displayed when they published the post on their blog.

I only wish the guy on Facebook, the autistic bitch from hell, Mr. Sandison, Temple Grandin, and the geniuses who run the show at Autism Speaks could have felt my pain and humiliation at being fired from so many jobs.  I wish they could have felt my pain from the bad treatment from I received from the California Department of Rehabilitation when I was first trying to learn medical transcription.  I wish they could feel my pain when I tried to learn computer programming and could not do it.  I wish they could have felt my stress anytime a supervisor walked by me and I was scared they were going to call me into the office to fire me.

I'm proud that I tried my best to work and had some success.  Whatever happens during the rest of my life I'm glad I had one accomplishment and can point to a positive resolution. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Upload of paperwork from Eric Courchesne's lab with ADOS confirmation of autism dx

Approximately eleven years ago.  Autistic conference speaker Tom Mckean created a hornet's nest when he wrote a letter to autism conference organizers stating that he believed that autistic presenters at conferences should release paperwork to speak to prove they're not self-diagnosed.  This generated the ire of neurodiversity proponents who felt McKean was singling them out.

Recently history has repeated itself when comments Jill Escher made to the IACC were read, suggesting that her severely autistic children's problems were not the same as those of extremely high functioning individuals.  This prompted autistic public members of the IACC to suggest they had similarities to Ms. Escher's children as well as other individuals gravely impacted with autism, yet one individual did not want to seem to go into what their challenges were

Though I disagree with Mckean that private individuals presenting at conferences paid for by private funds should be expected to turn over diagnostic paperwork or letters from doctors, I believed that autistic people appointed to government posts who make policy recommendations on how Taxpayer dollars are allocated to autism research and funding are a different case.

I expressed this thought on twitter, suggesting that public members of the IACC who are appointed because they are autistic provide the government with paperwork showing a diagnosis or even possibly make the record public someplace.  This ignited an internet war where I was bombarded with critical and even angry responses from a variety of people.  Some of them pointed out that if I were saying this should be done that I,  as an allegedly autistic person, should do the same and release my own paperwork to the general public.

Unlike the autistic public members of the IACC, I've never used tax dollars to promote my agenda.  However, I felt these people did have a point.  I've promoted myself as a somewhat public autistic person over the years, self-published a novel as an autistic person and have also appeared on national radio shows and was profiled in a national magazine as an autistic person.  I feel that I should be accountable as possible as an autistic person.

Though I was not diagnosed in early childhood as people did not know much about autism in those days, I was diagnosed later in early adolescence by my psychiatrist at the time Richard Casady.  Some years later, in 1977, Dr. James Simmons also diagnosed me.  To the best of my knowledge, no paperwork is available from either of these doctors.

However, when I needed to get on my parents medical plan as a disabled dependent, Samuel Sapin, my former pediatrician who knew me as a toddler in the late fifties when I was severely autistic and unable to talk, wrote a variety of statements to Kaiser so I could get on my parents' medical plan as a disabled dependent.  One of these statements goes back to 1985 or earlier which I presented to the California State Department of Rehabilitation when I was getting services from them.  Later in 1989, when I was first a research subject of the Courchesne lab, I presented it to them.  Later, in 2004, the bureaucrats at Kaiser wanted another letter.  I used this when I applied for disability in 2007.

I don't have the first of Dr. Sapin's letters handy, so I published the one in a blog post he wrote in '04.  I was kinda traumatized and stressed by the internet flame war and controversy that my suggestion initiated.  Also, the statement had my medical record number and my mother's as well as other info I was not sure I wanted on the internet so I deleted the post as well as two others that were critical of one allegeldy autistic public member of the IACC.  

However, I recalled I also had paperwork from the Courchesne lab and an evaluation I underwent with Dr. Alan Lincoln that they wrote to use in my disability case of some years ago.  Here is the paperwork.  The first paper has my social security number on it which I crossed out for obvious reasons.  The interested person can see that this is confirmation that my autism was confirmed according to ADOS criteria.  At some point, when I can figure out the best way to do it and get Dr. Sapin's earlier letter, I might upload that as well in this or another blog post. I realize this may not satisfy my numerous detractors in the neurodiversity movement, but here is some paperwork on my autism evaluation which I hope will provide some accountability of myself as a genuine autistic person who is not self dxed.  


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Interesting day with John Elder Robison

No, reader, your eyes are not deceiving you when you read the title of this blog post.  I spent a good portion of my day today with John Elder Robison.  Before you stop reading this post because you think I sold out to the neurodiversity movement along with Autism society of america, Autism Speaks, and the federal government, I assure you I'm still the same pro-cure, anti-neurodiversity guy I was yesterday before I met JER in person for the first time and have been for years.

Though I've had my differences with John in the past, he's always been cordial to me and has been willing to listen and let others with a viewpoint that does not agree with his tell their side of the story.  This is in contrast to other neurodiversity proponents who do everything they can to censor me and prevent my POV from becoming known. 

John told me he'd be in los angeles at a presentation and invited me to come.  We'd known each other in cyberspace for years, but had never met in person.  I accepted his invite, and decided to put our differences aside.  We met and shook hands and he told me that he was interested in having me speak to people at the conference and show them the divergent viewpoints of those of us on the spectrum. 

I was a bit concerned that Alex Plank might show up and there might be some problems, but I'll write about this a bit later. 

I listened to him lecture in the auditorium and was a bit surprised when he said he knew autistic people who lived in the los angeles area and mentioned me by name and pointed to me.  I raised my hand and some of the audience clapped and he spoke about how much I hated my autism and wanted a cure. 

Shortly afterwards, Mr. Plank did show up and JER pointed him to the audience to.  Then, to my surprise, he invited Alex and myself to join him on stage.  The audience asked us some questions and the narcissist in me enjoyed getting some attention. 

We spoke of the problems of employment of autistics and I stated there was no simple solution, except for teaching an autistic a marketable skill and having them work at home if they could, such as what I did during my last nine years or so of being employed when I did medical transcription at home. 

Alex Plank commented that since he was self-employed, he didn't have to worry about being fired.  I was curious how Alex supported himself.  Someone in the audience shared my curiosity. and asked him about this. Plank stated that he made money from advertising revenue on WrongPlanet.

After the presentation, JER spent some time signing his books for people who went to the conference and he and I chatted a bit.  I was hesitant to talk to Alex, but he made a few comments to me and I spoke with him. 

JER asked me about my online friendship with Manuel Casanova and we discussed that a bit, but not in great detail.

I then brought up Roger Kulp's name telling him how much I wanted Roger to have a more visible position in the autism world and wished that he could have been on Autism Speaks' Board.  John said he believed at some point Roger would be appointed to something, but I was rather skeptical about that, and told him Roger had basically told me he accepted the fact the federal government and Autism Speaks were not interested in hearing his pearls of wisdom and he'd moved on.  I said that I wished Roger could have been there with us.  Robison said that if and when he's in Roger's hometown he'd be interested in contacting Roger and getting together with him.

Robison also asked me about my online friend Yuval Levental and I told him what I thought Yuval was doing now.  Yuval has been a very devoted fan and sort of my self-appointed publicist and I've appreciated the fact that Yuval would spend the time he has trying to help me get out the word about my novel "The Mu Rhythm Bluff" and my perspectives about autism.   

Without going into all the details of our chat, John Robison stated that he didn't believe that I should fight with neurodiversity proponents and that I should try to work with them on a common goal.  I explained to him that I did not want to work with people who were abusive to me and insulted my parents. 

This is when my interactions with Alex Plank became a bit more interesting.  Alex pointed out that he was an ND guy but had never insulted me.  I then pointed out that he'd banned me from his website, which seemed to surprise JER, who said "really?" and looked to Plank was was nonplussed.  I also said that I'd constantly experienced rude behavior from some of WP's denizens, being called a minimally educated sociopath and such.  Plank pointed out to me that with thousands of members he could not control their behavior.  I replied that I judged people by the company they kept. 

Alex went on to apparently extricate himself from William Freund and Hans Peterson, two wrongplanet members who went out and murdered people, explaining that just because out of many members a couple of them turned out to be murderers, this was no different than the general population.  I disagreed with this, believing the percentage of killers on WP exceeds that in the general population, but did not want to be antagonistic, so I said nothing.  Then Alex added that did not make him a murderer.  I responded that though I'd had many disagreements with him, he was certainly not a murderer.  In spite of the strong differences Plank and I have had (even moreso than with JER) we managed to stay cordial to each other, so my worrying about a bad confrontational situation with Plank proved to be for naught.

Before we called it a day, I asked Robison if he had any proof that the Georg Frankl that Kanner had worked had also worked with Asperger. I'd looked at Steve Silberman's bibliography and other references and I could not find that proof.  Robison pointed out to me the article he'd written about the subject which I read but don't recall him ever providing that, so I said I'd read it again.  There is supposed to be a transcript of when Frankl applied for a position in North Carolina and I said that I'd look into it. 

Well, I hope no one thinks I'm a sellout for spending time with Robison.  I had no ulterior motive if anyone wants to think that.  A good day seemed to be had by all and again I'm glad I got along okay with Plank. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

deactivating my facebook account for censorship of pro autism cure post

I just wanted to let my readers know that I encountered a facebook group autism acceptance (or something like that) who had a post asking why any autism group would promote a shirt advocating for a cure for autism and ergo the destruction and killing of autistic people.  It was captioned with the following photo:
This is a photo of actor Vin Diesel wearing a shirt advocating for a cure for autism .  This generated a flurry of angry comments protesting a cure and claiming those wanted a cure wished to destroy autistic people.  Some people alleged that this was photoshopped and Mr. Diesel never actually wore this shirt, i don't know if that is true or not.  

I made the mistake of posting a comment on this page stating that though a cure may be considered politically incorrect, it was a nice thought and that if people did not want a cure for autism they should not get one. 

I then copied and pasted this photo on my own facebook page with a similar comment.  I was shocked to find that at least one of these neurodiversity people reported this to facebook and had my post deleted. 

I was so shocked and angry over this injustice that I posted that I was seriously considering deleting my account.  One individual commented that some neurodiversity people had started a page entitled "Mothers who hate their autistic children" which was apparently one of the well-known attempts by some neurodiversity activists to bring back the bettelheim era.  They would say things like some mothers wanted to cure their autistic children because they hate them.  They filed a report with Facebook who responded that this did not rise to their definition of hate speech and did not delete the page.  But apparently if someone posts a polite comment and photo like this, this constitutes hate speech from Facebook's point of view. 

I wrote a post stating that I was considering deleting my account I was so angry over this, though some people urged me to stay on.  I requested an account delete but it usually takes two weeks or more to go through and you can cancel before deleting your account.  I decided there might be an alternative explanation for this like a DMCA violation of posting this photo, so I cancelled the delete and told people I would stay for the time being. 

I thought this originally because the photo was taken out of the original post I got it from, but I just think the page owner found it so offensive she coudldn't stand looking at it.  So, it seems unlikely there is an explanation other than the fact facebook engages in censorship of anti-neurodiversity pro-cure posts even if they are polite.

 I've now decided on a compromise.  Instead of deleting my facebook account I deactivated it, meaning that I put it in abeyance for an indefinite period of time but I can always go back and put it back on if I want.  So this way, I won't lose data if I want to go back in and get some old photos or some other data I have on my FB page.  I can also restore the page if I change my mind. 

There is no point in participating in facebook if they are a pro neurodiversity organization who engages in this type of censorship.  Now the ND's have succeeded in getting autism speaks to abandon the search for a cure and the federal government to abandon combating autism, they've now suceeded in getting facebook to delete any pro-cure posts that they report to them.  At least they were not successful in getting my newsweek profile killed. 

So I guess if anyone gives a shit about me they can see what I post on twitter, which does not seem to engage in the petty censorship that facebook does. 

I enjoyed logging on to facebook and looking at some people's pages and chatting with people and all the other perks involved in being on facebook.  I guess the ND's can take some satisfaction in that they've delivered another blow to me and unfettered speech.