The Autism Rights Movement Editorial

In the article titled Autism Rights Movement featured in the May 25, 2008 issue of New York Magazine, Andrew Solomon discusses the three sides to the Autism debate: Autism Spectrum Disorders are believed to be caused by environmental toxins (vaccines) which need to be cured; genetic factors that need to be investigated through the genome; and those that believe that Autism is genetic and should be left untouched because it is just NeuroDiversity. The three sides go to battle over what is right.

For the purpose of this article many people feel their side of the issue on Autism whether it is an epidemic caused by environmental factors, hereditary researching for gene therapies, or hereditary and leaving the issue alone calling for NeuroDiversity is a debate for the ages. A cause for Autism is important to know about, but what is more important is to understand people who are on the Autism Spectrum now from infants to senior citizens who need the support and proper help. In my opinion NeuroDiversity is very important for all of us to understand since there are many different types of diversity including cultural, religious, racial, and even sexual orientation diversity, however, NeuroDiversity relates to everybody.

Initially in the article, the NYU Child Study Center ransom notes from December 2007 were discussed. This describes the Autism Spectrum and makes them feel as if they can’t function in the world. It believes that there should be a division between Autism Spectrum and Neurotypicals. This is segregation, which implies that people on the Autism Spectrum are incapable of living on their own. Besides, segregation always led to discord. Autism Vaccine Activists have to realize people on the Autism Spectrum are Human beings with feelings and opinions too. The most important quote from Jim Sinclair from 1993 in his “Don’t Mourn for us” speech was cited in the article and highly reputable by many people. This is a heart wrenching quote. I am glad it was written into this article because Jim Sinclair really tells everybody the personable feelings that Spectrumites have. As one person says to another, “I am a person, and I have feelings too.” The Autism Spectrum community wants to make sure we are helping each other out not trying to dissolve one another.

Many Vaccine Activists claim the Spectrumites that believe in NeuroDiversity, are not really Autistic at all! The Vaccine Activists belief is that NeuroDiversity Activists give lower functioning people with Autistic Disorder a real reason to feel they can function like a regular person. The Vaccine Activists need to realize individuals on the Spectrum can have dreams and goals that hopefully can be achieved one day. These individuals are capable of achieving what they want in their life, if they have the support and help to move toward the goals they desperately want. It just takes the right kind of commitment, patience, and learning to achieve their goals. When I saw Autism: The Musical, I saw that kind of patience, commitment, and learning. Since the Spectrum is so broad, people need to understand that not everyone will learn the same way; it is an individualized learning process.

Learning processes that many Spectrumites have are based on their own special interest, an intense preoccupation or obsession on a particular topic. Spectrumites talk about being in constant motion. Spectrumites become so knowledgeable that they have or show intelligence, often of a higher order of that topic. This is even more advanced then the Neurotypicals. Since many Spectrumites begin school with Neurotypicals at a young age, they are misunderstood by their learning process because they don’t want to learn the many academics because they are incapable of focusing within the structure of the classroom that is designed for a Neurotypical child. The lower the functioning of Spectrumites, the more they are intensified in their interest and if you disrupt them, they become agitated. Many people with lower functioning Autistic Disorder seem less likely to function in the world at a very young age all throughout life than say someone like me with Asperger Disorder. It takes practice and guidance. I had guidance from my mother and now I have guidance from many other different people especially from a program in New York City called Adaptations. Many people on the Autism Spectrum need to be taught to adjust to the majority Neurotypical world we live in. It is highly important to be interdependent like most people are in the world.

People on the Autism Spectrum like myself have the task to teach others about the spectrum. Then we won’t be afraid to express our deep thoughts and feelings. Both the Autism Spectrum and the Neurotypical community are very broad and diverse. The clinical, educational & lay people must realize treating someone who is on the spectrum requires different protocol than treating a child with mental illness. Realizing this will give a boost to self-esteem to anyone on the Autism Spectrum since many people like myself on the spectrum have low self-esteem.

New York Magazine stresses acceptance of everybody in this world instead of a life where many Spectrumites like myself had a life of cruel and unusual circumstances. People run away without looking back to try and help, but people must ask any Spectrumite if they need help. I have seen too many times where Neurotypicals poke fun and bully people on the spectrum including myself. It hurt me when this happened and hurts when I hear it happens to other people as well like Alex Barton in Florida.

When I read the article, it felt like the author, Andrew Solomon is in the process of learning about the Autism Spectrum because he began realizing that it may not be an epidemic after all. There still needs to be more work done so that we all can live a better life in this world. Many things need to be done in order to achieve a way to less frustration for all of us and not to be afraid of making mistakes because mistakes are a part of life.

It seems to me that some parents are afraid to start to teach their child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. They are afraid of the many obstacles they will encounter, but any journey in life always brings obstacles. Families must deal with many different kinds of obstacles. These obstacles strengthen people, it doesn’t hurt them. If the child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder succeeds at some special interest the world will reward and admire him. then he or she will become like the great people who had an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Success does not come easy and one usually encounters many obstacles. To me, Autism Vaccine Activists are too afraid to face these eventual obstacles. It is human nature to know what caused what, but in the end it really does not matter at all except giving the love to the infant, child, adult, or senior who are on the Autism Spectrum and have a safe, happy, and prosperous journey through the child’s life to adulthood.

out, J

Read New York Magazine from last week and you will see the article done by Andrew Solomon on Autism Rights Movement. I hope you enjoyed reading the editiorial.

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4 thoughts on “The Autism Rights Movement Editorial

  1. nmay

    Thanks for the post…really interesting read and delineation of the various beliefs regarding autism. There is actually and excellent debate about the potential link between vaccines and autism at http://www.opposingviews.com/questions/are-autism-and-vaccines-linked. Multiple experts from both sides weigh in on the relevant points and provide rebuttals to each other’s arguments. There is a guy named Kevin Leitch who is really creating a lot of debate by taking on the groups who believe autism and vaccines are linked.

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