Autism speaks picks up part of tab for Alex Plank videos
Posted Aug 04 2010 12:00am
As regular readers of autism's gadfly know, I have written about how neurodiversity idealogues Laurent Mottron and Michelle Dawson have been awarded half a million dollars in funding from autism speaks in spite of the fact they are opposed to the idea that autism is a disorder or disease and this is the basis of autism speaks fundraisers.
Below you can view one in a series of videos made by neurodiversitite Alex Plank and Jack "Cubby" Robison.
You notice this video deals with Wired Magazine writer Steve Silberman, author of the infamous "geek syndrome" article that appeared in that magazine nine years ago or so stating his ambition to write a book detailing the great achievements of those with asperger's throughout history and how many scientific discoveries were made by those on the spectrum.
You can check out the credits in the beginning and at the end of the video and you will notice the logo for Plank's website wrongplanet.net. You also note the logo of another famous autism organization.
Checking with Cubby Robison's father, John Robison, I wondered if autism speaks had funded this video given their name appears in the credits. The answer would seem to be in part yes, they underwrote some of the travel expenses and possibly some other things for Plank's and Robison's video.
We have seen in the past that Plank has wrongly accused autism speaks of intimidating a blogger and getting a website to stop the sale of his t-shirts. Two years after the fact Plank still has this false story on his website and has never offered a retraction or apology.
He states Actually, most autistics feel that these nonprofits are doing a disservice to those living with Autism by running campaigns that dehumanize people with the condition and painting an inaccurate picture of what Autism is like. For example, Autism Speaks, the largest Autism organization in terms of financial capital, has no autistic employees and no board members with the condition. They disallow autistic individuals from speaking at their conferences with the rationale that "it wouldn't be appropriate." While a lot of the research they fund may be conducted by good scientists who are unaware of the organization's political slant, Autism Speaks' end-game is establishing prenatal screening. Any good that comes from this research is consequently undermined by the negative messages they send.
In addition to being impressed by Alex's omniscience in knowing what most autistic people think, I am intrigued by the old neurodiversity fear mongering maligning autism speaks by claiming they are trying to establish prenatal screening to abort autistic fetuses when there is no evidence to suggest this whatsoever. I have to wonder why autism speaks would pick up the tab for a person who has treated them in this manner and makes the nasty inflammatory statements that Plank has made about their organization and even written libelous things about them in the past.
It is embarrassing to admit that Robison asked me if I would consider participating in an interview. For a brief moment I said I would consider it though they would have to come here to Los Angeles to interview me. I now realize it was a mistake on my part to consider it for even a moment.
There are autistic people who can't speak and who self-injure themselves and when most of us are unemployed and autism speaks talks about the importance of employing persons with autism in their autism in the workplace dog and pony show in spite of the fact there is not a single example of a person with autism as far as I know who has obtained a job due to any action of autism speaks. There is the fact that many of us can't find romantic relationships, can't get things done during the day, have phobias and have trouble functioning. Gadfly wonders about the priorities of autism speaks and why these videos would be financed in any way shape or form. What would parents such as the well known KGAccount who makes videos of her very low functioning son who will likely never function at a level of an Alex Plank or Jack Robison think if they were donating to AS and participating in walks for the organization if they found out their money was being spent on videos putting such a positive spin on Asperger's. I can only wonder what in the world autism speaks is thinking or why they would consider this money well spent.
I guess there are just some things in this world I will never understand.