Courting the Disability and the Classroom

It has been noted recently that blogging is losing its appeal among young people, and if you don’t grab the irony in that claim, chances are you aren’t cut from the gen-x age cloth.  Myself – I am new to the practice of blogging, less new to text thread posts in newsgroups and Facebook fan page threads, but that’s another blog entry.  What has struck me, maybe in a somewhat quasi-romantic fashion, is how small that blogging community actually  is.  Now, before plowing into the firestorm Ari Ne’eman (National Council on Disability) found himself in; I should first disclose, to the reader, an article I found in the research for this blog from journal Disability Studies Quarterly (Vol 28, #4, Fall 2008) available online

at www.dsg-sds.org, reference http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/146/146.

The article, “Growth of Neurodiversity in Society and Academia” is everything an article should be and more.  For those that care to get a primer, some basics, on the American history (recent) of the disability known as “autism” – not extensive, but a good brief – this article is a must read.  It specifically touches onto the higher education dynamic, changing culture and the emergence of “neurodiversity.”  The article’s authors are Scott M. Robertson and Ari D. Ne’eman.  For me, I found some endearing humor in a passage at the thought of this “Autreat” conference, “where autistic people and non-autistic allies gather in a sensory-compatible and socially friendly atmosphere.  Participants of the conference wear colored badges (red, green, yellow) that indicate their communication preferences; the different the different colors convey whether autistic people don’t want to be approached (red), only want to be approached by people they know (yellow), or want to be approached by everyone (green).”  Man – if I could get that system going here at CSULA for everyone on campus…I’m just sayin; that non-coffee day – boom, out the door I go with my red badge.  Any way without further digression the article makes this point; “The growth of this autistic disability culture and the maturation of the autistic self-advocacy community have resulted in numerous implications for service delivery for autistic people”   Just like that, I’m glad to be an American, because evolve is what we do.  Now, that said; headlong into politics – and of fellow blogger Dana Commandatore.

February 5th 2010 brought the NJ Voices Public Blog, entry “Christie, Coast to Coast” by Ethan Ellis.  The implications of the issues surrounding the noted people, will, affect the health care reform debate – specific the ‘crossing-states’ coverage ideas, and even the ‘public option’ proposals.  Ellis’s blog,


as it should, treads lightly on the political scene of disability policy, and it makes no bones of at once tipping his hat to Dana Commandatore (son with autism),  in praise of Ari Ne’eman – this a reflection of the complications in any clear liberal or conservative views, as both Commandatore (“inclusive education” http://www.salon.com/env/feature/2009/04/27/autistic_culture/advocate )   …and Ne’eman                                   (‘cure-is-for-cancer-not autism’ stance advocating “not at changing them into non-autistic people” http://www.autreat.com/)  are pitted against, very, very different viewpoints, such as as both Jenny McCarthy (Solon suggests ‘she jump off a cliff’) and New Brunswick lawyer Harold Doherty (‘it’s a disease – find a cure’) represent.  Thus, those ‘numerous implications for service delivery for autistic people’ — namely a quality education is at stake.  Rather than, fielding my usual comment that avows this and ridicules that posture on the issue of identity politics (in part to dissuade emotive flame replies), this blog entry will simply ask the reader: What political party stands with people with disabilities? By that I mean, BEST, stands with advocating inclusion and cultural awareness — and why.  Unlike some respondents I won’t mention by name; if your reply is free from name-calling and/or berating, I will promptly post it (within a few hour from submission).  In particular I welcome CSULA students and Facebook fan page readers.  Is the GOP, less Sara Palin, considerate of disability rights, and does the democrats erroneously assume an allegiance from disability advocates?  Could the healthcare reform effort affect education?  Hit me up, and tell me what’s up with this crazy world.


1 Response to “Courting the Disability and the Classroom”

  1. 1 jameysmom
    23/02/2010 at 9:36 am

    Neodiversity? I don’t see it in the Ari Ne’eman crowd. At least not until they openly acknowledge people like my son and quite discriminating against him. My videos on you tube of my severely autistic son who suffers from self injurious behaviors have been obsessively attacked by some in the neodiversity movement. Like children having a tantrum, they repeatedly give thumbs down to anyone who applauds me for showing real sides of real severe autism. This is very telling. This shows these alleged advocates for autism are probably not autistic. Consider Rain Man, could U imagine this sweet guy (based on real life person) trolling you tube and attacking a mother like me who has been through hell trying to help my son? It wouldn’t even occur to him, or even Temple Grandin, who has severe Aspergers, to act like or do this. But so called “auties” and “aspies” who hate my guts now, are on a rampage to villify me and downplay my son’s condition because it threatens to expose their narrow driven movement that FAILS or willfully ignores autistic peole like my darling son. Please go to you tube and see the video “autism epidemic out of control.” Many of my friends and family members are helping me spread word about this because it is really scary that such hate, intolerance and outright mean spirited attacks would come against me and my son or anyone else who is dealing with serious issues like self injury. We just want to be included. Why such prejudice against us from the neodiversity crowd? Why such hate? Mockery? It is simply unreal that these neodiversity nuts are even posting things on “wrong planet” like “the mother must feel guilty” or she’s got munchasen by proxy, or “she’s whacked.” This is often funny to me, actually, as I gather their comments and really look at the kind of spirit they have. It is not one of helping people like my son. It is not empathetic. Nor considerate. Nor of love. They are driven by a spirit of self-preservation. They have an agenda. They’ve fooled a lot of people. And cases like my son are driving them crazy. So, they want to shred us. Shut me up. It won’t work. In fact, it will work against them. Some, however, in the neurodiversity movement are really kind, honest and open minded people who have Aspergers and actually acknowledge my son’s severe autism and support us, and for that I am grateful. I wish they could all be so honest and kind. I have a close relative with Aspergers and he in no way would ever downplay my son’s autism or attack it because it made him look bad.

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