The following post was written by a regular contributor Yuval Levental.
Please go to the following url and sign your name: https://www.change.org/p/paramount-pictures-do-not-produce-neurotribes-which-is-a-book-about-autism-by-steve-silberman-as-a-movie?source_location=minibar
Steve Silberman is an autism writer that trivializes the disabilities that autistics face. When he was criticized for not including descriptions of low functioning autistics that wear diapers and bang their heads in his book Neurotribes, he said in an interview that these behaviors aren’t damaging, that “Disability is Part of the Human Experience” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2015/12/17/why-you-should-buy-neurotribes-for-everyone-on-your-christmas-list/#5d5138f0b639). Additionally, the writing style of the book is hopelessly disorganized and chaotic.
Now, Paramount has acquired movie rights to Steve Silberman’s book “Neurotribes” and is setting up the movie adaptation (http://variety.com/2017/film/news/paramount-lorne-michaels-utism-book-neurotribes-movie-1202472447/). There is no reason that this book should be made into a movie, as the content is very misleading and the author is only concerned about his own image, as opposed to the real lives of most autistic people, their families, and examining the genuine history of autism.
Silberman is judgmental towards his critics, and cannot keep his story straight. On one hand, he called one blogger “lazy and dishonest” for wanting more representation of low-functioning autistics in his book, saying she simply flipped through the index to make her claim (http://www.autism-society.org/news/interview-of-steven-silberman/). He only profiles in detail one low-functioning child, saying that the parents should only accept his autism, but without discussing any possibility of a future cure. Most of this interview focused on how he wanted to falsely glorify autism.
On the other hand, he claimed in a comment (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2015/09/16/jonathan-mitchell-on-neurotribes/#comment-13720) that his book portrays “autism as a profound and pervasive disability that deserves more scientific research, better treatment options (particularly for associated conditions like epilepsy), and social accommodations comparable to other disabilities such as being blind or deaf.” This is in contrast to the post above – not to mention that he didn’t correctly identify the review’s correct author (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2015/09/16/jonathan-mitchell-on-neurotribes/#comment-13727)! He then claimed that he made his position very clear, and that anyone that didn’t agree didn’t read the book.
Additionally, the book Neurotribes claims that many famous figures in history were autistic, but does not give much evidence to support those claims (http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/209/4/353). The evidence that he provides is very vague, practically claiming that being introverted and highly mathematically gifted makes one autistic. Diagnosing famous people requires careful, clinical observation, but Silberman seems to ramble about those people for many pages. Silberman also gives a distorted portrayal of Leo Kanner as unsympathetic towards autistics, using cherry-picked evidence. Dr. James Harris at Johns Hopkins, who worked with Dr. Kanner, refuted Silverman’s mischaracterizations of him in a detailed review in the AACAP journal and listed the citations (http://www.jaacap.com/article/S0890-8567%2816%2930280-5/abstract).