In the midst of a not-so rationalist society the learned elite of autistic individuals, the few, have launched a reformation movement that has been conveyed primarily through autobiographical accounts and the public media. On my part I am sure that autobiographical accounts are usually biased and that science by press release is not acceptable evidence for anything. Written evidence after all needs to be communicated and the majority of autistic individuals exhibit language/communication impairments. Thus the records that we have at present on neurodiversity are the records of an elite, those that stand at the top.
One of the curious struggles within the autism community has been the misrepresentation of opinions of the pro-neurodiversity elite as being representative of those at the bottom. Neurodiversity allows you to see and experience autism through dark and hazy tinted glasses. To those participants in the neurodiversity movement the ancient Greek aphorism “Know Thyself” has been transfixed as portraying a battle against the hostility of the world and the terror or anxiety that modern medicine conveys to them. Instead of surrendering to facts they instead feel empowered to claim not normality but superiority. They escape from reality to an ephemeral world for which they boast but can’t prove. They have replaced reality with a philosophical construct moving from deductive reasoning to inductive reasoning and their horizons do not extend beyond this mental construct.
The neurodiversity movement coveys no oceanic feeling (a term popularized by Freud) or feeling of an autism world beyond them. They define themselves as defenders of autism and with the emergence of the Internet they have found virtual reverberations as to their thought process. This has been a rather violent movement whose main intent has been to overpower the thinking process of the autistic community by a few anointed ones who claim sacred knowledge of medicine by the sake of their diagnosis. The only thing they have accomplished is the creation of a split in the autism community that allows for themselves and nobody else.
Neurodiversity is a catastrophic movement for autistic individuals in general. It is reminiscent of the early religious accounts of Jewish people claiming the existence of a Messiah who would take them out of oppression, out of slavery, and restore their rightful life in society. Are they “The Last of the Just”? What gives them the right to carry the weight of the autistic community on their shoulders? By claiming that autism is not a pain or a handicap to some do they change medicine? Do they erase the existence of seizures, mood disorders, impaired attention, learning difficulties, or sensory abnormalities in a majority of autistic individuals?
Michel Foucault, a social theorist, described how Europe started monitoring itself and society with the institution of mad houses or asylums, with those who inhabited the same serving to entertain the visits of the higher classes. In the neurodiversity movement the elite few use the ones at the bottom for their own entertainment. Neurodiversity is a social club where many of its participants are non-autistic individuals claiming to be autistics. For those within the neurodiversity movement who are truly autistic, it empowers them, gives them control of chaos, because once having been considered by society as having a disease or disorder they now feel authorized to establish a contrarian course of action.
Neurodiversity is a world of excesses, ruled by black and white principles. They call for a strict interpretation of what is autism and how autistic individuals should live. Carry with you a portfolio and get a job! You have special skills- use them! Do they believe that an inability to get or hold a job infers a flaw in that person’s character? In effect, many of the points of the neurodiversity movement are made for theatrical rather than just reasons. These people who once felt marginalized by society now occupy center stage. Now they “confess” to have superior powers and instill fear on those they believe used to question or control them. In this way they appeal to the imagination, a conflagration between half-truths and reality. Rationality is set aside and meaning is attained only in their own minds.
Unfortunately the leaders of neurodiversity movement have been given power and representation in regulating bodies thus taking away the ability to take action on pressing issues. They do so because they have popular support stemming from both movies, like Rainman, and the layman press. In this regard we are all complicit. So they take away the possibility of doing research on sensory issues and/or treatment trials (e.g., seizures) leaving the most vulnerable autistics as their target. We therefore have to take a closer look at the victims of this movement, those who literally can’t speak for themselves.
Neurodiversity is a reformation against the orthodoxy of medicine. It is an awakening caused by suffering. Some time ago they would have been labeled as eccentrics or reactionaries. However, there is a duality to the world that needs to be accepted. Taking a decision or arriving at a position is an iterative process of choice and action. Ideas and concept may evolve depending on how we communicate with others. Unfortunately autistic individuals within the neurodiversity movement have an impairment of communal sense making. The idea of continually reassessing a situation with others and the environment may take longer to process and in this regard a common mental map does not emerge or may be fragmented. There is no collective mind but rather impaired situational awareness. In a team environment decisions may be made primarily by trust and this is what is lacking in the neurodiversity movement.