The Importance of Free Speech in Autism Discourse and Beyond: A Curious Case for Compassion and a Stepping Stone to Finding Your Place in the World

REBLOG: An interesting read and an interesting take on the topic of Neurodiversity.

Ad Astra Autistic

Note: For clarity’s sake, the “hard” position of neurodiversity is one that opposes any form of treatment or even the possibility of a cure for autism. I have seen neurodiversity advocates from time to time say things like “There is no such thing as therapy for autism that respects autistic ways of being.” The “soft” position is one that recognizes that autistic people (and autistic traits themselves) have value and contribute to society, yet recognizes that autistic people can have varying levels of disability ranging from mild to severe. Many autistic advocates – even those of the very public face of the neurodiversity movement – are a mix of these two positions to varying degrees.

This essay is about how I came from a harder leaning position on neurodiversity to a very soft one thanks to the beauty of freedom of speech. Although I’m going to talk about free speech…

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2 responses to “The Importance of Free Speech in Autism Discourse and Beyond: A Curious Case for Compassion and a Stepping Stone to Finding Your Place in the World

  1. Agreed. A (rare) balanced take on the topic.

    Still, it seems to me the surface level issue is one of free-speech. The fundamental issue is that people weave narratives/stories and hold on to them like gospel truth. No human is exempt from this phenomenon. The narrative that grips the neurodiversity movement is that there is no biological basis for autism. This is the telling line:

    “While neurodiversity advocates agree autism is a congenital condition”

    And this is what leads them astray. The scientific literature is looking at many environmental triggers that can lead to regressive autism, including pesticides, phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls, solvents, air pollutants, fragrances, glyphosate, metals, especially aluminum used in vaccines as an adjuvant, acetaminophen, parental age, cesarian section and more.

    Over time as more people realize autism isn’t just “something you are born with,” but instead can be the result of an increasingly toxic world that can affect typical brain function, will it make as much sense to advocate for altered brain function that is the result of, say, PCB exposure?

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