Autism, disabilities and the upcoming presidential election

The current presidential election will be a historic one. Besides the fact that Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be elected as a candidate for president by a major political party, the current election provides a major contrast among the candidates’ experience, philosophies, and temperament. Of major consideration to many families like mine is: Who would be the better candidate to support the rights of disabled individuals? In this regard I have to express a bias in favor of Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump crossed the line when in November of last year he mocked a disabled news reporter.

Serge Kovaleski is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter for the New York Times. Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital contracture of the joints, that affects one of his arms. His condition makes him occasionally  move his arm involuntarily. Over the years Kovaleski interviewed Trump on a dozen of occasions and was on a first name basis with him. Unfortunately Kovaleski incurred the wrath of Trump after questioning his remarks of having watched in New Jersey, N.J., as “thousands and thousands of people [primarily Muslims] were cheering” the collapse of the World Trade Center following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks ( ). Trump never apologized having mocked Mr. Kovaleski; rather, he denied the incident and in his usual ranting style went on to further insult Kovaleski saying that he should stop “using his disability” to “grandstand” ( ). Mr. Kovaleski took the higher road and did not conduct any interviews answering Mr. Trump behavior. (Note: The incident of Trump mocking Mr. Kovaleski can be seen at: )


Picture above: «You gotta see this guy…» said Trump as he mocked the disabled reporter.


The behavior exhibited by Trump is perturbing and has been consistently so. After recently disparaging a Gold Star Muslim family he went on to deny the whole incident and then sought help from Republican Congressmen to back him up in assailing the Khan family. He also explained to the media that he had made many sacrifices by being a successful businessperson- to which many reporters expressed that Trump does not even know the dictionary meaning of the word «sacrifice». After his remarks were repudiated by the general population and even Republicans, Team Trump formulated a strategy of slandering the Kahn family by suggesting ties with terrorist organizations ( ). Although most of America saw right through the Republican smear campaign, there were many gullible individuals still creating reverberations with slanderous accusations in social media.

This is not the behavior of a champion of the people. He is certainly not the person I would like fighting for the rights of the disabled. Hillary Clinton has spent a significant portion of her lifetime fighting for the disabled. Indeed, Hillary’s first job out of law school was with the Children’s Defense Fund ( ). As a senator she was a cosponsor of the IDEA Full-Funding Act, the Campus Care and Counseling Act of 2004, the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act of 2004, the Mental Health Parity Act, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Hillary developed and co-sponsored the legislation authorizing 1 billion dollars in research on autism. As Secretary of State she has worked on global human rights initiatives and supported the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (for more information regarding her work with disabled individuals see ). Many advocates of disabled individuals support Hillary and during the Democratic Convention she showed her interest and passion in trying to help them. According to many, Hillary Clinton has released the most detailed policy document on autism in US presidential history ( ). The plan has been hailed by both scientists and autism advocates as being a step in the right direction ( ) (Note: Personally I think the same is overambitious but this, if anything, is a good thing). In contrast, Donald Trump has argued that building ramps in his buildings is a sign of his generosity and compassion despite the fact that it is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that requires him to provide for such accommodations. “And as Think Progress notes, Trump was not even being completely truthful about his compliance with that law. People with disabilities have successfully sued a Trump property company and production firm in recent years for unfair treatment that violated the ADA”. Lastly, Trump’s idea for helping autism is to appoint Michael Savage, a radio host with no medical background, to head the National Institute of Health. «Savage has called autism «a fraud, a racket,» said PTSD and depression sufferers are «losers,» advised people not to get flu shots because you can’t trust the government, theorized liberals have been driven insane because of seltzer bubbles, claimed President Obama was intentionally trying «to infect the nation with Ebola,» and once told a caller he was a «sodomite» who should «get AIDS and die» ( ). I am at a loss of words in trying to explain Trump’s way of thinking. If elected president he will certainly tear the fabric that holds American research as the gold-standard in the world.

Trump is a seriously deranged individual. Therapists have already weigh in on his narcissism. Howard Gardner a professor at Harvard Graduate School of education says that Trump is “remarkably narcissistic”, while clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis says he is a “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder…[to such an extent] that I am archiving video clips of him to use in workshops”. In an article written by Henry Alford it is stated, “That mental-health professionals are even willing to talk about Trump in the first place may attest to their deep concern about a Trump presidency” ( ).

Trump’s narcissism is best qualified as «malignant» in character, a condition closely tied with bigotry.  Dr. George Simon, a leading expert in disturbed character/personality, has written about Malignant Narcissism at the core of psychopathy.  According to Dr. Simon, «It’s one thing to think really highly – perhaps even too highly – of yourself and to be self-centered. But it’s quite another to view others with disdain or even contempt because, after all, they’re just not you. A pathological degree of grandiosity (i.e. malignant narcissism) is always at the root of bigotry» ( ). This helps explain Mr. Trump’s intolerance for other people’s ideas, religions, race or disabilities which by definition constitutes bigotry.


Picture above: Narcissus, for whom the word narcissistic is derived from, was a handsome young man in a Greek myth who fell in love with his own reflection. In eerily similar fashion Trump is unable to resist looking at a TV monitor when the same is broadcasting his image.

There are also many discussion as to whether Trump is a pathological liar. He seems to go from lie to lie even when he has been corrected and seems to know better. He is very authoritarian and does not care for the opinion of other people that have corrected him. A comprehensive fact checking from Politico reveals that Trump will lie on average once every five minutes ( ). On the span of a week Donald Trump will state publicly many dozens of statements that are mischaracterizations, exaggerations or simply falsehoods.

Trumps personality disorder seems cemented when considering his lack of impulse control. The link between personality disorders and impulse control is clear ( ). In Trump’s case, he lacks the ability to think ahead and instead says whatever is in his head at any particular time. In many pathological cases, this is done because it makes the person feel good at that particular time an they thus disregard consequences. Lack of impulse control is also closely tied to impulse spending, a characteristic that may help explain Trump’s multiple bankruptcies. Unfortunately lack of impulse control is also tied to reckless risk taking, a catastrophic trait for any presidential candidate.

It is of major interest to this particular blog the suggestion that Donald Trump himself may be seriously mentally handicapped. When Trump is talking he uses simple words consisting primarily of one or two syllables. Rarely will he use words that have 4 syllables and then uses the same ones repeatedly (e.g., tremendous). Linguistic analysis reveals that his word usage and sentence construction are at a third grade level (see ). His lack of vocabulary skills (usually correlated to intelligence) may be due to his lack of reading as most of his education apparently derives from watching TV. Reporters have jokingly speculated that Trump has not read a book since the sixth grade ( ). His lack of education makes him clueless in regards to national and international affairs. Reporters call him devoid of any ideas regarding policies and his multiple mental impairments make him incoherent when talking (Note: Please listen to the following extraordinary interview: ) Not surprisingly Trump has denied access to his college transcripts -as well as his tax records.

Many people have described Trump as having the attention span of a gnat. He will repeatedly change his focus of attention during sit down interviews ( ) and can’t speak with a baby crying in the audience ( ). Tony Schwartz the ghost writer, meaning the person who actually wrote «The Art of the Deal», gives an interesting insight to Trump claiming the book should have been entitled “The Sociopath”.  During a recent interview Schwartz said, “…that it’s impossible to keep him focused on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes” ( ). (Note: you can make a checklist regarding the symptoms of a sociopath and see for yourself whether Trump complies with diagnostic criteria ).

It is difficult to see where Trump lies in regards to personality disorders and mental handicaps, especially if someone has not examined him personally. However, he seems to have traits that would put him in a mix of disorders, not one, but many. What is really apparent; however, is that he is a seriously disturbed individual who will not have the best interest of disabled individuals (or Americans in general)  at heart.

Trump mocks reporter

Trump has said that he has the most loyal people because, «I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters» ( ). This is not loyalty  but rather the support of either gullible individuals or bigots just like him.  It is time to think about making our world better and showing Trump our utter disgust with his narcissistic and sociopathic viewpoints.

7 Respuestas a “Autism, disabilities and the upcoming presidential election

  1. though I agree with many of your assessments about Trump, I do not agree that Hillary Clinton would be any better (if not worse) in implementing any positive changes that would help people with disabilities, particularly autism. She takes advice from Ari Ne’eman who have members in his organization who have mocked my disability and insulted my parents. Ne’eman in fact has stated that he does not believe autism and Asperger’s are disabilities and then lied about it and tried to cover it up when I blogged about it at the time the senate was considering confirming him to a post in the government. Clinton has advocated spending money on doing an adult prevalence study which I believe it a waste of taxpayer money I do not believe the ADDM program which spends millions a year to find prevalence in 8 year olds does anything to help autistic people with housing, etc. I do not believe an adult prevalence study (perhaps modeled after Brugha in the UK) would find any true prevalence in an adult population.

    Clinton has stated that wants to help autistic people find jobs with legislative programs and under the American’s with disabilities act which would do nothing to help with jobs and has made the claim that autistics have superior abilities which would help them find jobs. Also has stated wants to legislate bullying out of existence which is unrealistic.

    In short, she has made all sorts of pie in the sky autism proposal recommendations which have no chance of helping anyone on the spectrum and she listens to leaders of the neurodiversity movement for policy recommendations. This means if she’s elected neurodiversity will be even more prevalent in society and government, so I don’t think she’d be good for autistic people either.

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    • Johnathan basically beat me to it.I can only add as someone from the socialist/»far left» side of the tracks,I have a long litany of reasons why I would usually never vote for a Republican or Democrat,but Hillary Clinton is especially bad.I can now add what I see as Clinton’s cozying up to ASAN and neurodiversity to this already lengthy list of reasons not to vote for either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump.

      I would love to see some of the particulars about this «Autism Works Initiative».What sort of jobs are included? How would «challenging behaviors» be addressed on the job?

      Much of what is discussed here

      Seems to be done under the framework of the ACA,only expanded to autism services.From what we know about the ACA/Obamacare,it has been fraught with all sorts of both direct corporate welfare to the insurance companies,as well as increased incidence of fraud.The only system that is going to be completely free of this,is one that gets private insurers completely out of all aspects of treatment and therapy.100% single payer,Medicaid for all or a UK NHS style system,like Bernie Sanders wanted.We can all see how well that went over.Wouldn’t want to upset the donors and lobbyists,now would we?

      I think the research by Traolach S. Brugha,et al in the UK
      did a pretty good job of what it set out to do,but in order to do a thorough job,you would also have to screen prison populations,older adults in nursing homes,etc.

      We may not have much to worry about from Mr. Trump,if his campaign continues on the self-destructive path it has been on in recent weeks.I do worry,however,how some of his more extremist supporters might react if he were to lose.

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      • Great comments. I know that Ari Neeman has been getting near, probably shooting for a job within the administration. However, she has also received backing from other autism groups. ASF is the farthest away from neurodiversity and Alison Singer is a big backer of Clinton. In regards to the particular of the plan, I already said that it was overambitious (probably naive), there are many gaps in the same. This is better than Trump’s plan, which is no plan. Aside this all, by now you know me. When Trump mocked a disabled individual, he mocked my grandchild. The fact that he denied the whole incident and further insulted the reporter, didn’t make him a powerful man, it made him less of a man.

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  2. Predicting long-term future events is impossible, however, past events strongly suggest lady Clinton will be elected, and again based on her past events, I suggest she will likely increase the NIMH budget.

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  3. This!!! A thousand times over, this!! When 50 national security experts in his party, tried and true Republicans speak out against him and their perception that he will be a danger to our country, we should all be listening.
    He has the mentality of the bully. His treatment of the parent with a baby at his rally really sets off my alarm bells. It’s like the bully telling the nerdy kid, «Sure, you can play with us,» but then he turns around and uses it as an opportunity to pick on the kid, » Ha ha, you believed me that I actually wanted to play with you. Get out of here loser »
    It’s not just the fact that his executive functioning was derailed by a crying baby (although his impulsive comments, twitter rants, and apparent lack of attention do speak to poor impulse control) it’s the fact that he lied so easily to make the parent feel like it was OK, and then publicly mocked her for believing his lie. The public mocking of a new parent that came to a politically rally with their small child so that he or she could still be involved in politics, is despicable. That, and his mocking of Mr. Kovaleski, are true examples of bullying behavior. I may have left the GOP in the 90s, but I never thought of Bush, McCain, or Romney as bullies. I didn’t agree with them, but I wasn’t so frankly terrified of what would happen to our country if they became elected.
    And the thought of Michael Savage at the head of the NIH? I hadn’t heard about this before, and it is frankly chilling.

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  4. Pingback: The Face of Donald J. Trump | Science Over a Cuppa·

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