Woot! Autistics and Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism editor quoted in New York Times
Posted Apr 07 2012 8:04pm
A story out today by Amy Harmon of the New York Times, The Autism Wars , takes on some of the discussion ongoing about the new prevalence numbers out from the CDC. It is well worth the read.
What caught my eye, as one could tell from the title of this article, are paragraphs like these:
But Zoe Gross, 21, whose autism spectrum disorder was diagnosed at age 4, says masking it can take a steep toll. She has an elaborate flow chart to help herself leave her room in the morning (“Do you need a shower? If yes, do you have time for a shower?”). Already, she had to take a term off from Vassar, and without her diagnosis, she says, she would not be able to get the accommodations she needs to succeed when she goes back.
Those numbers are, of course, dependent on the definition of autism — and the view of a diagnosis as desirable. For John Elder Robison, whose memoir “Look Me in the Eye” describes his diagnosis in middle age, the realization that his social awkwardness was related to his brain wiring rather than a character flaw proved liberating. “There’s a whole generation of people who grew up lonelier and more isolated and less able to function than they might have been if we had taken steps to integrate them into society,” he said.
“The term has become so diffuse in the public mind that people start to see it as a fad,” said Emily Willingham, who is a co-editor of “ The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism .” “If we could identify individual needs based on specific gaps, instead of considering autism itself as a disorder, that would be preferable. We all have our gaps that need work.”
In the past, many media outlets would (a) fail to seek autistic input and (b) seek input from autism parents with rather strong political agendas. Amy Harmon has been writing about autism for the Times recently and has articles focused on autistics, so I am not surprised by the tone of this article. But I do see this as a step forward in American Media coverage of autism news.
(note: I know three editors from the Thinking Person’s Guide team and have met Mr. Robison).
Read it too and was very happy to see it!
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