Saturday, February 19, 2011

Why I never liked the neurodiversity movement

From an abstract:
Neurodiversity has remained a controversial concept over the last decade. In its broadest sense the concept of neurodiversity regards atypical neurological development as a normal human difference. The neurodiversity claim contains at least two different aspects. The first aspect is that autism, among other neurological conditions, is first and foremost a natural variation. The other aspect is about conferring rights and in particular value to the neurodiversity condition, demanding recognition and acceptance. Autism can be seen as a natural variation on par with for example homosexuality. The broad version of the neurodiversity claim, covering low-functioning as well as high-functioning autism, is problematic. Only a narrow conception of neurodiversity, referring exclusively to high-functioning autists, is reasonable. We will discuss the effects of DSM categorization and the medical model for high functioning autists. After a discussion of autism as a culture we will analyze various possible strategies for the neurodiversity movement to claim extra resources for autists as members of an underprivileged culture without being labelled disabled or as having a disorder. We will discuss their vulnerable status as a group and what obligation that confers on the majority of neurotypicals.

Expect the neurodiversity movement to demand of the wider society that disruptive autistic behavior be tolerated and eventually embraced. Expect autistic people to demand that the the majority accommodate their environment so that loud noises and other things don't bother them.

Many handicaps can have a silver lining. People with Down Syndrome are known to be happy and loving. Autistic people can be highly intelligent and interesting in their own quirks.

That shouldn't mean that we don't treat their handicap as a handicap, or their inappropriate behaviour as inappropriate behaviour.

The Human Rights Complaints are not far behind.