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Discussing Intellectual Disability and Autism Invokes Hostility: The Laurence Arnold Example

Posted May 10 2010 3:04am
"The difference with us and Harold Doherty for instance, is that do not draw a line above a notional IQ of 70, or a given level of functional speech and say, I don't care about the rest of you. We care about everybody."

Laurence Arnold,  In Regione Caecorum Rex Est Luscus , May 10 2010 

  I don't know what facts, if any, that Larry Arnold bases his conclusions on. I don't know how he has concluded that I do not care about high functioning persons with autism spectrum disorders.   For the record though he is wrong.   

As a member of the Autism Society of New Brunswick I  worked with a gentleman with Aspergers who was a major contributor to our organization and to the Canadian Senate committee that examined a number of autism issues in Canada.   I consider him a friend, from whom I learned much and have great respect for what he has accomplished. As a lawyer I have provided legal services to some persons with autism disorders, including Aspergers,    on a pro bono basis.  Since Laurentius Rex is fascinated with Latin he will know that pro bono is derived from the Latin "for the public good" and means in everyday language without compensation or free of charge.

I am not offended by Mr. Arnold's comment even though it is wrong.  It will be accepted without questioning by other members of the Neurodiversity  ideological segment of the  autism community.  Others will not even notice it.    I have had many nastier comments made about me than that by members of  the  "Neuordiversity" community.   

I include Mr Arnold's comment for two reasons. The first is  the relatively civil  language used. The second, but more important reason, I highlight Mr. Arnold's comment  is that it illustrates the anger felt by many persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses and  high functioning abilities toward any mention of Intellectual Disability in connection with autism.   I write often about the very clear association between Autistic Disorder and Intellectual Disability.   That is enough to invite  personal attacks and   has invited some angry responses in much less civil language.

To me it is obviously more than just co-morbidity, more than just  mere coincidence, when 75-80% of persons with Autistic Disorder also have Intellectual Disabilities. Simply pointing that out is enough to invoke hostility, even gently expressed hostility, from members of  the Neurodiversity community. Laurence Arnold doesn't approve of my discussion of Autism, specifically Autistic Disorder, and Intellectual Disability.  He is not alone in his disapproval.   

Mr. Arnold is free to react with hostility to my discussion of these related conditions.   He will be joined by others less civil in language than he but I will not be dissuaded.  I will continue to talk openly and honestly about Autistic Disorder and Intellectual Disability. 
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