Autism’s Politics and Political Factions: A Commentary
(Can be found in Kindle and paperback here.)
Three Excerpts from “Autism’s Politics”
“Autism’s Politics” #1:
Self-diagnosis is specious and unreliable. Aside from that, a self-diagnosis is not recognized as an official diagnosis by medical professionals. My opinions about self-diagnosis are shared by many others in the autism community at large.
My further opinion is that, for their own good, people who self-diagnose who are told repeatedly by medical professionals that they don’t have autism would be wise to listen to the diagnosticians rather than themselves. And if these self-diagnosed people, after being told by many doctors that they are not autistic, “diagnosis shop”, and find one lone doctor who tells them they are autistic, they would be wise to question whether or not what that one doctor is telling them is true.
On a related note, we cannot put much faith in a self-diagnosed individual if they disbelieve the majority of qualified medical practitioners who tell them they don’t have autism, and who instead choose to believe their self-diagnosis to be accurate.
Similarly, I don’t believe anyone can take a self-diagnosed person’s “personal experiences with autism” seriously until they are truly diagnosed.
I have been circulating in the autism community online since just about the time the internet became widely used.
Sixteen years ago I was seeing kids joining autism forums who were saying things like “I’ve been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, but I think I’m really autistic because people don’t understand me. I’m going in for testing to get checked for autism.” Invariably, people like these reported that autism was ruled out, but, interestingly enough, more diagnoses were tacked on that were behaviorally related.
One woman specifically, who now claims to be an “autism warrior” was diagnosed as being psychopathic, and this diagnosis, to my knowledge, remains unchanged to the present day. “Autism” as far as I know, was never her diagnosis, yet she claims to be autistic.
These “posers,” many of whom have been repeatedly -and in no uncertain terms- told by licensed board certified medical professionals that they are not by any stretch of the imagination autistic (regardless of whether or not they were previously “diagnosed” by school psychologists) are now giving lectures, making tapes and videos, writing books, and billing themselves as “autistic life coaches” and “autistic advocates.” Some of them are now running -or serving in leadership roles in- autistic advocacy organizations.
“Autism’s Politics” #2:
Interestingly, perhaps the two most vocal factions against therapies of any kind seem to be self-diagnosed autistics, and wannabees. Apparently, these people want the “perks” that come with autism…but not the treatments that come with the diagnosis.
“Autism’s Politics” #3:
Some neurodiversity activists like neurotypicals. Others dislike them. But most recognize that in order to succeed in life, ignorance of what autism is needs to be countered with honest efforts to inform.
But some neurodiverse people use neurodiversity as a platform to campaign for selfish wants, rather than the needs that most autistics may have. The common justification for this selfishness is usually that it is the most intelligent autistics who wind up speaking for those affected with autism, and just like an army travels on its stomach, these intelligent autistics need to have their “needs” satisfied so they can be the most effective at advocating that they can be.
Thus neurodiversity activists can be regarded either as autism’s soldiers, or a quasi-political class.
What they really are is a combination of both.
Supposedly working independently of one another, in reality, many autistic advocacy organizations have moved their way into the neurodiversity arena and are now cooperating and collaborating ring masters of the advocacy circus. When an autistic advocacy organization issues a blanket statement that most on the spectrum feel to be wrong -such as the idea that autistics need to be seen as members of a cultural minority instead of people with a disorder or disability- and the rest of the heads of the neurodiversity movement parrot this concept to the public, it’s plain that the neurodiversity movement has been corrupted if not taken over.
In response to this assertion, autistic advocacy organizations and autistic advocates will say that many neurodiversity activists have very high intelligence quotients, and this is justification enough for them to make pronouncements on behalf of all autistics without even consulting them.