To top it off, they've recently come to realize that neurodiversity is actually studied by scientists and sociologists. To be clear, neurodiversity is not the opposite of anti-vaccination. One has little or nothing to do with the other. Anti-vaccination has to do with causation, science, autism quackery and public health. Neurodiversity is a social concept, essentially independent of causation, which is not exclusive to autism by any means. Anti-vaxers, nonetheless, see neurodiversity as a threat for various reasons that are beyond the scope of the post.
In my last post I wrote about the BRAINHE Project report on neurodiversity. There's one paragraph in the report that I think is worth quoting again.
13 of the participants viewed their neurodiversity as an entirely negative matter. These participants frequently used negative or medical terminology when talking about their labels which indicated that they felt in some way broken or damaged. Of the 13 students who had this view, 8 indicated low academic self-esteem and expressed confusion and uncertainty about their future plans. Participants who viewed their neurodiversity as a difference which included strengths were more likely to have higher academic self-esteem, to have experienced unpleasant epithets from teachers and to have a clear ambitious view of their future.
Jon Mitchell reacted to this report, and I already discussed that. It's not surprising that AoA'ers would also react. To do that, they brought out their token Aspie, one Jake Crosby, who writes for AoA from time to time. I hadn't heard of Jake Crosby previously, but I guess we can add him to the short list of autistics who actively oppose neurodiversity, and who always happen to be high functioning.
Jake Crosby's article, titled "The Age of Neurodiversity," is filled with errors. I'm saying it's filled with errors because I'm giving Mr. Crosby the benefit of the doubt. I could just as easily have said it's filled with lies and misrepresentations. Any other major blog (or "internet newspaper") would be embarrassed to publish an article with these many inaccuracies. Let's go over some of them.
[Paul Offit] strangely cites two neurodiversity moms, Kathleen Seidel and Camille Clark for medical evidence, neither of whom have any medical background.
I've read False Prophets and my instinct was that Mr. Crosby was mistaken. I read it again just now, and at no point are Kathleen or Camille cited as experts who provide medical evidence. They are in the book simply to show that not all parents of autistic children are anti-vaxers.
He would simultaneously oppose any alternative therapy or pathological theory for autism, however effective or true, even if it is on the basis of what a few ND moms say.
I haven't seen any evidence that Dr. Offit would oppose any "pathological" theory of autism. Reading False Prophets gave me the opposite impression. As most doctors, he most likely sees autism from a purely medical perspective.
As to opposing "alternative" therapies that are "effective and true," that's an oxymoron. If a therapy is shown to be "effective and true," it's no longer an "alternative" therapy. It's simply a therapy. There's no evidence that Paul Offit would oppose therapies that are "effective and true." In fact, he seems to favor ABA because he's been led to believe it's effective, even though he is, in my view, mistaken in that regard (as high quality evidence on the effectiveness of ABA is lacking.)
In his final chapter, "A Place for Autism," Offit continuously touts the views of the five autism parents he dedicates his book to, the majority of whom believe in neurodiversity while the remaining have pharmaceutical industry ties.
Other than Kathleen and Camille, Dr. Offit's book features Peter Hotez, Professor of Microbiology and Tropical Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine; and Dr. Roy Richard Grinker, Professor of Anthropology at George Washington University. I don't know about Dr. Hotez, and doctors are obviously bound to have connections to the pharmaceutical industry (just as, say, the Geiers do) but I seriously doubt Dr. Grinker has such ties.
This is strange, as apparent confidence or career ambition does not dictate real success or happiness.
This is a perplexing statement. It does not make sense, first of all. If you have zero confidence and zero ambition, it's improbable you will achieve much, regardless of how smart you are.
More importantly, there's a significant body of science on the effects of self-confidence on success, failure and performance. Mr. Crosby might want to read up on that before making statements that are nonsensical.
After a closer look of the study, “Student experiences of neurodiversity in higher education: insights from the BRAINHE project,” I quickly noticed that not all the people in the study were autistic. For one, it was published not in a journal about autism, but dyslexia. In fact "Dyslexia" is the name of the journal. It was not even focused on autism.
This discovery is kind of funny. It shows that Mr. Crosby has no idea what neurodiversity is. As the word suggests, neurodiversity is about, you know, neurological diversity. It's not a concept that is married to autism. The fact that neurodiversity as a term was coined by autistics and is most often discussed in the context of autism is of interest, but ultimately immaterial. It's good to see that researchers are applying the term broadly, as they should.
This is how the researchers define neurodiversity:
Neurodiversity is an umbrella term for many types of learning difference.
The study is about neurodiversity, not about autism. I'm not sure what's so hard to get about this.
Furthermore, this study does not contribute to how prevalent the idea of "Neurodiversity" is within the autistic community because this study examines six autistic people.
So? However prevalent the idea of neurodiversity is among autistics now, what the results of the study tell us is that it's in everyone's best interest for it to be more prevalent among anyone with a learning difference. From the study, it appears that the split on views is about 50/50 among those with learning differences.
Presenting it as if it reported that autistic students and graduates adhere to neurodiversity is a misrepresentation within the article that cited it.
The article that cited it was actually quite critical of neurodiversity. At no point did it make it sound like most autistic students adhere to neurodiversity. That's simply a fabrication. The following is what the article said.
According to recent research, people with autism who accept the neurodiversity platform have more self-esteem, and have more academic and career ambition that those who see autism as a medical condition with its array of disadvantages. In one study, students with autism who held the latter view more often applied for special assistance and monetary allowance through disabled students programs. Not surprisingly, most neurodiversity advocates with autism are high functioning, with little to no significant intellectual impairment.
I don't know if Mr. Crosby was pressured to produce his critique, and had a hard time coming up with proper arguments to refute the research in question. Either way, his critique is a complete disaster, and frankly, he should be embarrassed.