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Salon's Elizabeth Svoboda Provides Balanced Picture of Autism and Neurodiversity

Posted Apr 28 2009 11:25am
I was interviewed by Elizabeth Svoboda for her feature on Neurodiversity " I am not a puzzle" and I am impressed by the balance shown in the article for which that interview was conducted.

I have complained in the past that Neurodiversity gets a free ride from the mainstream media (especially Canada's publicly funded CBC) and is permitted to misrepresent the nature of autism. Few in the media even question the right of some persons with Aspergers or High Functioning Autism to speak on the behalf of all autistic persons including lower functioning persons with Autistic Disorder, like my son, with whom they have very, very little in common.

In addition to presenting different perspectives Ms Svoboda's interview allowed some Neurodiversity leaders like Ari Ne'eman, the ASAN leader with Aspergers Disorder, to go on the public record with their distorted representations of Applied Behavior Analysis, the empirically backed autism intervention that has helped so many children with autism disorders and serious deficits to acquire skills and reduce dangerous self injurious behaviors. As his quotes in the Salon article show, Ari Ne'eman relies on outdated caricatures of ABA, arguing erroneously and with nothing to back it up, that ABA, as practiced today, still relies largely on aversives.

I thank Ms Svoboda and for practicing real journalism. Unlike the CBC, which routinely promotes Neurodiversity on its English and French radio and television programs, En jeux, Quirks and Quarks and prime time news features like "Positively Autistic", Salon. com has offered a balanced, professional view of this misguided ideology and some of its leaders.


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