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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Explaining Asperger's as Autistic

Original post on LJ May 28, 2008 as Explaining self-definition

For those who don't follow my Twitter or Facebook, I've started to get a little more involved with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and related Autism Rights Movement groups, even commenting on the recent profile piece on Ari Ne'eman by Newsweek, found HERE.

So if you look at the comments for that article, I define myself as autistic, and then the rather infamous John Best makes attacks my person, claiming that since I do not act in the manner of his autistic son, that I couldn't possibly be autistic, and therefore am a child abuser and harming autistic children.

Actually, you can't see that post of his anymore: a friend of mine on Twitter had it reported as abuse and it's been removed But if you scroll down to his attack on Ari Ne'eman and read that, just add a description of his son (being nonverbal, mentally disabled, smearing feces on the walls, unable to pass kindergarten, and mercury-poisoned) as being the criteria for autism, and you pretty much have it. Edit: Oh, he's reposted it again.

His other post about me is still there, proving that John Best is at least as capable of internet research as Jenny McCarthy in finding recent information. He links to the Kerry's Place page from three years ago, which is a very small local newspaper article interviewing me, more or less to promote the Spectrum Art show that I started up. In the actual interview, I did describe the specifics of my diagnosis more thoroughly, but since it was a small newspaper, the focus was on our goals with the art show, which was to promote more positive awareness of autism.

Oh, a note to my potential defenders: Do not engage John Best in a confrontation. There's really no point. He makes himself look ridiculous without our help. He's just annoying because he's a very active TROLL in the autism community, dedicated to trolling Aspies and Neurodiversity advocates. And curing his son with Chelation, leeches and exorcism. That's right, he looked up exorcism to cure his son. And selling his brand of Chelation, apparently. Because we're all mercury-poisoned, according to him.

Anyways. I refrained from commenting on his posts about on the sites itself. But I thought it would be a good idea to address the issue of my self-definition of an autistic adult, for the curious and those who actually take the time to look me up properly.

It's rather simple. I consider myself to be autistic. As pointed out, I'm diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, not Autism Disorder. Well, yes, I don't have AD.
However, Autism Disorder, or "classic autism", Asperger Syndrome and PDD: Not Otherwise Specified are grouped together under the heading of Autism Spectrum Disorders. So it is perfectly reasonable that I label myself as autistic, as my specific dx falls under a category with Autism in the name. And if you REALLY want to be specific, one will notice that I'm purposely using lowercase letters to refer to my as autistic, as opposed to referring that I am Autistic.

To me, the difference is a matter of the specific diagnosis. I am not Autistic, meaning that I don't have Autism Disorder, but I am autistic in that I am diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. So, I am Aspie and I'm autistic. I use the term autistic because I'm not sure whether everyone knows that the term Aspie is a nickname that some Aspergeans(?) refer to ourselves. Never mind that not all of us even like the name Aspie, and so it's not consistently used. Thus, the term autistic.

Edit: I couldn't resist. John Best showed up on the Autube website, and I decided to address him at least once. My comment, should it be removed from the site:

(Edited for clarity, both here and on the site)

Yeah, that was funny, what you said about me on the Newsweek piece. Your views on autism is quite well-known, so I see little reason for your persistent commenting and attacking of persons on this site, and politely ask you to remain on topic with the issue being discussed.

However, since you have taken the time to repost your comments concerning me on Newsweek and on here, I will address some of them. This will be the first and last time; no matter what you say from here on, my opinion on the matter will remain unchanged.
This may not be the place to do so, so I understand if the moderators of this site do delete this post.

About your insistence that I stop for referring to myself as autistic: you seem to forget that Asperger Syndrome is under the category of Autism Spectrum Disoders, as well as Autism Disorder and PDD: NOS. Therefore, it is accurate as well as acceptable that I consider myself autistic. In my definition, I would call your son Autistic, as, if I am reading your blog correctly, your son is diagnosed with Autism Disorder, also known as Autistic Disorder.


No. I will not stop referring to myself as autistic, and I'm no where near abusing your son, given that I've never said a word to, physically touched or even been in the same city as your son. And if you'll notice in my Newsweek comment, I say "I can speak for myself". I have never stated that I speak for your son. Rather, I speak for myself and for/with like-minded autistic individuals. Whether your son agrees or disagrees with me is his choice.

Also, even if you are a properly educated expert on ASD, it is very inappropriate for you to try diagnosing a complete stranger on the internet without knowing their complete background and behavioural history, just as it would be completely inappropriate of me to diagnose yourself with Asperger's given your obsessiveness of these issues and narrow-minded focus, as well as taking your theories of mercury-poisoning at face value and pointing out that by your own theories, you too are mercury poisoned.

And at any rate, we've both have been distracted from the issue at hand here. So now that you have sparked a reaction from me, please do address the matter of whether you think autism is accurately portrayed in the media.

Have a nice day,

You can look up the exchange here: http://www.autube.tv/

There you go.

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