10 August 2013

Critiquing Temple Grandin

Trigger warning for ableism.

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Temple Grandin. Image description: A headshot of an older white woman with very short, somewhat curly, brown but graying hair, looking directly at the camera. She is wearing a cobalt blue collared shirt and a silky black scarfy tie thing. Behind her is a wooden fencepost with rope draped over it.


Temple Grandin is widely recognized as the world's most famous autistic person. She's written a number of books about autism, regularly travels around the globe to give talks at conferences, and was even the subject of a documentary on her early life (eponymously titled Temple Grandin). Other autistic people, as well as folks outside the community, have written on a number of aspects of the troubling things that Temple has said or the way in which she is positioned in rhetoric on autism both in broader society and within our own community.

I have several criticisms of both Temple Grandin's positioning as well as her positions.

Because Temple Grandin is functionally the world's only famous autistic person (and certainly the most famous), what she says about autism is taken as gospel, regarded as absolute truth, and frequently generalized as if representative of the experiences and views of every other autistic person on the planet. This is despite the fact that her experiences are inextricably linked to her race, her class, and the time period during which she came of age -- not to mention the inevitable tensions that come with being the first widely-recognized autistic to speak on an autistic experience.

What Temple Grandin has said about autism is frequently extremely ableist, classist, and otherwise very problematic. Because of her prominence on the world stage, her international acclaim, and her extremely high levels of visibility and name recognition, her ideas have proliferated quite abundantly. Yet this is also due in part to the fact that her positions render her an acceptable autistic, a well-behaved autistic willing to conform to hegemonic normative standards and compliance as ethics. In other words, Temple Grandin's articulated ideas about autism and autistic people fit into the pathology paradigm that dominates autism discourse.

Temple Grandin is frequently tokenized or used as a nice window-dressing -- to borrow Jim Sinclair's term, she is frequently paraded at mainstream autism conferences and symposia as a self-narrating zoo exhibit. Because she is autistic and her statements align with those articulated from an ableist sensibility, neurotypicals advancing the views that autism presents a problem of pathology can claim authenticity or legitimacy for their position through Temple Grandin's reiteration of the same sentiments.

Temple Grandin believes that "high-functioning" autistics are talented, intelligent, and necessary to human survival, while "low-functioning" autistics cannot function or live independently, and thus should be cured in the present and prevented from existing in the future. Both I and others have thoroughly deconstructed the false dichotomy of high and low functioning, but suffice it to say that such claims not only reinforce ableist hegemony, but also reinforce a capitalist notion of success and value in that only people who can produce are worthy of inclusion in society; all others are burdens.

Her belief that nonverbal autistics are tragic and pitiable evokes a sense of moral disgust and outrage, particularly when coupled with the many voices of nonspeaking autistics demanding a claim to voice, to agency, to capacity -- asserting competence, self, and pride.

Her belief that the only autistics who ought to be considered valuable and thus valued are those who have a job and learn to function within neurotypical norms is colored inescapably by classism and ableism -- the very systems of oppression that serve so frequently to reinforce the violence of capitalism.

Her belief that autistic children should be conditioned to normalize their behavior, communication, and movements for the sake of indistinguishability alone is profoundly ableist and disappointing, especially when considering the long history of violence exacted against disabled people for the crime of failing to uphold hegemonic standards of normativity.

Temple Grandin poses an answer to the question of whose bodies/minds ought to be valued and whose ought to be discredited and removed for the good of society. Her answer is a deeply disturbing one, and must concern those of us who wish to see the deconstruction of societal ableism, because both her own rhetoric and how she is rhetoricized serve only to perpetuate it.

125 comments:

  1. This.

    "This is despite the fact that her experiences are inextricably linked to her race, her class, and the time period during which she came of age..."

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    1. I love being a Self-Advocate, I love Empowering people with All forms of Autism, but I have to say where I live some of the Biggest Support I get for Self-Advocates and the Rights of the Disabled comes from Libertarians and some of the Language used here would create Debate where I don't need it cause I need all the Allies I can get for Self-Empowerment and having a right to fullfuling lives where I live so as much as I understand where Lydia is coming from at times I can't use this as a jumping off point to talk about the Empowerment of people with Autism cause some of those allies would see this Article as an attack on the principals of "Negative" Liberty

      Also to Autism Speaks supporters, Don't Treat us like X-men, Treat us like men and Woman with Bill of Rights Rights.

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    2. Also I am in an Area where Self-Advocacy is new, and is seen as something cool and something that needs to be done but I have to do a lot of Public Education on what people with Autism want and how we want to be seen and show that we are more then the things people have read and seen about and that it is a Specturm we are all not Temple G or Rain man.

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    3. im moderate tu hfa-whil temple is mi herohe needs tu see all autistik ppl as deserving tu liv a decnt quality ov life an as equals wth in our spectrm an lik bill i tu lov doin advocasy ase its needed badli

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    4. We are all Deserving and WE need to have the right to live our lives to the best.

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    5. Where has Temple ever said ANY Autistics don't deserve to live a decent quality of life? She has never said that. Ever.

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  2. This one post is enough to make me want to find the time to read every single thing you have written. It's stunning.

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    1. Thanks, Jeanne! Can I point you to the thing on the sidebar titled "Stuff I Wrote That I'm Proud Of"? Those are some of my personal favorites from things on this site.

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  3. I find this post intriguing, yet more of a critique on society (and its laziness) rather than on Temple herself. When coming from a place of fear, I can agree on becoming afraid of what one person says becoming "gold" to society. It's frightening when our own beliefs and experiences are challenged. But that's just it. Temple is speaking about her own beliefs, what worked for her. (Lazy) people can believe what they want, but the reality is, the world is a scary place when people can't simply take bits and pieces from others experiences and throw away what doesn't resonate. The "us against the world" mentality is what gets us into trouble, I find. But MY belief is (and it's only my belief), the more of us who can open up and share our experiences, the better the world will be (for our people and those who are seeking to understand us). Temple has helped me greatly to understand visual thinking, however, I totally disagree with some things she believes. But I'm not warning others to stay away - that would be unfair and would also discount their own intelligence. Totally just my own take! And totally well written. :^) Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Looking forward to reading more.

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  4. Hoooly crap, there is a lot of academic lingo and jargon in this article. I checked the "Definitions" page because I wanted to share this article with my friends on Facebook, and I also wanted to make sure it was accessible to them in terms of reading and understanding. It's difficult enough to grapple with intersectionality of oppressions, but to also have to figure out what the "pathology paradigm" and "rhetoricized" mean at the same time can kind of throw folks off. I know I personally had a long time coming with the words "hegemony" and "agency"—it took a long time in college for me to really grasp what those terms mean because people kept using them and when I asked, no one was able to really explain what it meant.

    Perhaps some of these concepts could be described with a little less academia?

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    1. As the person responsible for coining the term "pathology paradigm," let me try to demystify that particular bit of jargon...

      The pathology paradigm is the set of basic assumptions underlying the mainstream view of autism and other neurological variants. Those assumptions can be summed up as:
      1.) There's one "normal" or "healthy" type of brain.
      2.) If your brain differs substantially from "normal," there's Something Wrong With You.

      Neurodiversity activists are out to create a cultural shift from the pathology paradigm to the neurodiversity paradigm, which is based in the idea that there's not one "normal" or "right" kind of brain, any more than there's one "normal" or "right" culture or ethnicity.

      Hope that's of some help!

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  5. Well written! Don't let people tell you to dumb things down. Help them learn up. As an autistic academic myself I've worried about people trying to make me a shiny autistic, or to have people take my personal opinions on autism as more than my personal opinions. Perhaps, using her own hierarchical marginalizing structure, she's not as high functioning as she thinks if she cannot realize the damage she is doing. I heard that her mother's also posting interestingly problematic things as well.

    Look forward to reading more of your critiques.

    Jason

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    1. ^This comment is hfa elitism. If you think writing something to the level of someone who's not as "academic" as you are is "dumbing it down" then you have some ablist in you. How rude.

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  6. Been to several Conferences that Temple has been at, I have never in person heard her Disparage anyone with any form of Autism, eather High Functioning or low Functioning, Also her Success is the fact that she is Succeeding where others says she couldn't cause of what she has and who she was supposed to be.

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    1. I agree. I have heard her advocate for ALL Autistics, and has clearly stated that given methods to overcome communication and sensory issues they can display average to above average intelligence. She always says that Autistics should be recognized for their abilities, rather than their limitations. She has never wanted a cure for Autism, or said that Autism is tragic... So I'm not sure where most of the information in this article is coming from. Temple has dedicated her life to helping Autistics, and her experiences have changed the face of Autism FOR THE BETTER. She doesn't deserve this kind of bashing and slander.

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    2. I've read several pieces of her writing, including her book "Thinking in Pictures," and Lydia Brown is absolutely correct. Grandin has regularly written about so-called "high-functioning" autistic people as if they're more intelligent and really, more evolved in general, while disparaging "low-functioning" autistic people as truly disabled. She even suggested that vaccines and other chemical pollution might be responsible for turning a would-be "high-functioning" child into a "low-functioning" one. This feeds into the myth that "low-functioning"/"real" autism = brain damage, and it also lends credence to the anti-vax movement, which is responsible for several disease outbreaks due to a failure to vaccinate children, and which is backed by no scientific evidence whatsoever.

      This isn't "slander." Nothing in the post is factually inaccurate. It's a critique of things that Grandin really has written and said, and it's being written by another autistic person. Why is their perspective less valuable than Temple Grandin's?

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    3. If I may ask, when were those statements published? I'm just curious because it may be another example of using old data by the anti-vax movement. That said, I do agree with you on it not being slander and with Grandin's words being in need of critique.

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    4. The updated edition of Thinking in Pictures was published in 2006.

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    5. She always struck me in person as someone who wants people to Succeed no matter there label, She uses High and low Function as ways to talk about the Differences in Autism and she is talking to a vast Abundances that may think the high end isn't Autism at all, I run into that at our local Autism Confernce here.

      Lydia has a right to write this Opinion and state what she thinks but Temple has given voice to many and hasn't been on the Cure bit she is publicly aganist it, she has stated that she Personally thinks that there might be a Environmental Component to Autism but she Isn't sure, just cause that is her opinion doesn't mean that she is Resposable for Anti-Vax people Twisting her Opinion into fact that they do a lot of cherry picking Option and theory as fact.




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    6. Would somebody PLEASE provide some direct quotes, because I have seen/read Dr. Grandin's work, and have yet to find anything that you are saying. You are making accusations and judgments against her based on interpretations rather than what she actually said.

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  7. Not only do I agree with the sentiments and examples given, I also am delighted to hear many of the points I have attempted to make in debates and discussion expressed so eloquently.
    Thank you for this.

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  8. This articulates well why I've felt uncomfortable reading much of what she says.

    Have you considered putting together a longer, more detailed version of this -- which could include reference to, and analysis of, specific statements (with sources)? I, for one, would be interested.

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    1. At the moment, all of my copies of Temple's books are in a different state than the one in which I am physically located, so I can't make a comprehensive sourced list.

      But here are two quotes from Temple courtesy of Amanda Baggs:

      From the updated edition of Thinking in Pictures:

      Page 56:

      "There is concern among people with Asperger’s that genetic testing could eliminate them. This would be a terrible price to pay. Many gifted and talented people could be wiped out. A little bit of autism genetics may provide an advantage though too much creates a low-functioning, non-verbal individual. The development of genetic tests for autism will be extremely controversial."

      Page 122:

      "Many individuals with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s feel that autism is a normal part of human diversity. Roy, a high-functioning autistic, was quoted in New Scientist, “I feel stabbed when it comes to curing or treating autism. It’s like society does not need me.” There are numerous interest groups run by people on the autism/Asperger spectrum and many of them are upset about attempts to eliminate autism. A little bit of the autism trait provides advantages but too much creates a low-functioning individual who can not live independently. The paradox is that milder forms of autism and Asperger’s are part of human diversity but severe autism is a great disability. There is no black-and-white dividing line between an eccentric brilliant scientist and Asperger’s.

      "In an ideal world the scientist should find a method to prevent the most severe forms of autism but allow the milder forms to survive. After all, the really social people did not invent the first stone spear. It was probably invented by an Aspie who chipped away at rocks while the other people socialized around the campfire. Without autism traits we might still be living in caves."

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    2. Ah, I certainly understand books being scattered -- thanks for response and the quotes.

      I've definitely seen her "There's no black-and-white dividing line between Asperger's and computer geeks/brilliant scientists" line in multiple places. Which is problematic in itself. But then she seems to think that there *is* some back-and-white line between good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable, just enough and too much autism? Um....yeah, this is really problematic.

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  9. "Temple Grandin is functionally the world's only famous autistic person"

    I didn't read any more after this. Clearly, the author doesn't know what they are talking about or they have an odd view of what fame is. Either way, that piece of a sentence discredits the author and makes them unreliable.

    I wonder how many Facebook followers or appearances on television shows Carly Fleischmann needs to have before the author considers her famous. How many books she needs to coauthor?

    How many Nobel Prize nominations does Jacob Barnette need before he's famous?

    Are Dan Aykroyd and Bill Gate not famous enough, or is it simply that they haven't openly talked about autism enough?

    Is it because Temple Grandin had a movie made about her? Raun Kaufman had a movie made about him (Son Rise), how is he not considered famous?

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    1. "I didn't read any more after this."

      That discredits the commenter and makes them unreliable, since the commenter is willing to give up after reading only several sentences into a post and smugly concludes that there can't be any merit in the piece if it has at least one thing with which the commenter disagrees.

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    2. On Jacob: enough that people actually know his name? Folks are having to google him.
      Dan: I need to google him.
      Bill: He's NOT KNOWN AS AN AUTISTIC PERSON because no one actually knows if he is and it's not on the Wikipedia about him or anything.
      Raun: Again, need to google the name.
      Nah, for fame as an autistic person, the author has some clue what she's talking about.

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    3. The thing here is, when a person "comes out as" Autistic, the response they get is not "Oh, like Bill Gates?" or "Oh, like Raun Kaufman?" or any of these people. At this point is ALWAYS, "Oh, like Temple Grandin?" or "Oh, like Rain Man?" As far as real people go, Temple Grandin is the go-to reference point for autism and Autistic people at this point. That may be starting to change, but it hasn't yet, especially for people who either have almost no information about or only know the "Awareness" version of autism.

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    4. I read the entire article, and it's full of false accusations against Temple Grandin. Temple Grandin doesn't disparage anyone for their level of functioning, and has said that she believes those considered to be "low functioning" can indeed possess average to above average intelligence given modes of communication and sensory integration. Temple NEVER advocated for a cure, either... Temple is not the only known Autistic in the spotlight. What about Carly Fleischmann? Or Tito Mukhopadhyay? They are both widely known Autistics who were considered "low functioning."

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    5. I'm autistic and female, and I often hear Temple Grandin's name brought up when I tell people I'm autistic. And she's been on the scene a pretty long time, longer than most others.

      And Melissa M., it's pretty clear that you're looking for things to hate about this post.

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    6. To Anonymous: "That discredits the commenter and makes them unreliable, since the commenter is willing to give up after reading only several sentences into a post and smugly concludes that there can't be any merit in the piece if it has at least one thing with which the commenter disagrees."

      Okay I read the article to make you feel better. The whole article consists of twisting her words. It was also boring and poorly written.




      To Alyssa: You obviously do not keep up on current events. Jacob made headlines when he was nominated. I can't believe you had to google Dan Akroyd, as famous as he is.



      Shain: People have made that comment to me about Temple Grandin as often as they had made about the others listed.


      Melissa M: I agree.


      Anonymous: I think Melissa M has the right to her opinion on the article as much as the writer of the article has their opinion of Temple Grandin. At least Melissa M didn't feel the need to take the author's name and twist all the words in the article around into her own article "critiquing" the author.

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    7. "Okay I read the article to make you feel better. The whole article consists of twisting [Temple's] words. It was also boring and poorly written."

      To Anonymous on August 11, 2013 at 11:12 PM:

      Okay, I read your entire reply to make you feel better. You claim that "the whole article" consists of "twisting [Temple's] words", but could you please provide one specific citation of Temple's words that were allegedly twisted by the author?

      Unless of course you were simply making a vague assertion in the hopes that no one would call you out on it. In that case I guess you can just admit to being a pathetic troll.

      Your reply was also boring and poorly written. Ahem ad hominem...the mark of a desperate troll.

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    8. It's cool that you live in a place where people know a lot more about autism and Autistic people than the average person. Still, the only person on that list besides Temple Grandin who's a household name in general is Bill Gates, and 1) he's not confirmed to be Autistic and 2) he's not treated as the go-to guy on autism in this culture, to which all other Autistics' experiences are likened (and yes, this is a thing that happens). Temple Grandin has a significant amount of cultural power - surprisingly more than possibly even the average "autism parent" - and there's a lot of responsibility that comes with that, which she doesn't wholly seem to recognize in some of how she frames and discusses things.

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    9. as a person who is NOT autistic, i asked some of my also not-autistic/neuroatypical friends to name a famous person who is autistic.

      the result? the ones who could name ANY person at all with certainty (15-20 out of around 30 people) named only one: Temple Grandin. 1 person said, "dan akroyd? didn't he say somethin about being autistic or something?" one. so, out of thirty people, about two thirds could positivley identify a "famous" autistic, and all of them save one named only ONE person. that's a small personal survey, but i think it's telling. we are all well educated, intellectual type people. we are not ignorant to nuero issues, and many of us have friends or family members that are nueroatypical.

      saying that temple grandin isn't the "most famous autistic" is really denial on your part. just because YOU know a bunch of autistic people you consider "famous" doesn't mean that in the general population, they are famous, or even KNOWN.

      i mean, i know a whole SLEW of folk and LGBT positive bands, that are more listened to and acknowledged in my area, but i woudl say if you said, "name a band with lesbians in it" most people would say "Indigo girls!" even though they are not listened to nearly as much in my circles as other bands.

      sorry, but temple grandin is absolutely the most "famous" or broadly known autistic, and probably for most people the ONLY autistic person they have read about.

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  10. I second the assertion that saying "I didn't read any more after this" makes one look ignorant.

    Lydia's point was that Temple Grandin is the only household name known in large part because she is autistic. She is the go-to reference point these days whenever someone wants to know about autistic behavior. Dan Aykroyd and Bill Gates are known for other things, and their real or alleged autism is merely a curious side note. Bill Gates' Wikipedia entry doesn't even mention Autism or "Asperger's."

    I didn't recognize the name Jacob Barnette until I Googled the name just now and remembered that he was that wunderkind who was mentioned briefly in the news a while ago. Hardly a household name comparable to Temple Grandin. For better or for worse, all the Nobel nominations in the world does not make one widely known.

    I had never heard of Raun Kaufman or the movie you mentioned, but from what I'm reading, he seems to be all about "curing" Autism, which makes him a eugenicist in my book. I for one am quite glad he's not terribly famous, at least among my generation.

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    1. The reason she is the biggest (but not only) household name for Autism is because she was the first to shatter the stigma that Autistics have limited potential. She is a pioneer worthy of respect, because she has paved the way for many Autistics to pursue success where the world would've never allowed it otherwise.

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    2. Except if you actually read her, she doesn't say that ALL autistic people have normal/unlimited potential, only those at her "functioning level" or above, who receive early intervention therapy like she did.

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    3. I can't believe there's another person that isn't up with current events. Jacob was all over the news. People at work approached me about it. You are misinformed about Raun Kaufman. His is no more a eugenicist than your every day ABA therapist. He has success with Son Rise therapy, much like others have had success with ABA.

      Since people felt I needed to read the article, even though right at the beginning I found an obvious mistake, I read the article anyway. It was poorly written and twisted the words of Temple Grandin around. I think the author didn't sign his/her name to it because he/she knew it was BS.

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    4. “Since people felt I needed to read the article, even though right at the beginning I found an obvious mistake, I read the article anyway.”

      You should generally read things in their entirety before dismissing them in their entirety. Moreover, the “obvious mistake” is an arguably true statement not an obviously false one.

      “It was poorly written…”

      A poor substitute for substantive criticism. Troll.

      “…and twisted the words of Temple Grandin around.”

      Citation please? Or at least provide a single example.

      “I think the author didn't sign his/her name to it because he/she knew it was BS.”

      The author’s name is Lydia Brown, which is prominently displayed on the site.

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    5. Eugenecist or not (and given the heavy bias towards normalcy/"indistinguishability from peers" I would not be surprised if that's a prevalent belief, if not by another name), ABA and its supporters have other problems. See Julia Bascom's "Loud Hands" for example.

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    6. Melissa M.--yes, she is worthy of respect. That doesn't make her immune from criticism. She's a public figure.

      Any of us who write or speak or publish for the public make ourselves open to criticism of our words and ideas and their implications.

      I respect Ms. Grandin on a lot of levels. And I find a lot of her statements really troubling and in need of critique.

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    7. Dan Akyroyd has self-identified as having Asperger's, but he doesn't seem to talk frequently about it. I would doubt that *most* of the movie-going public even knows he's on the spectrum; he's certainly not famous *for* that in the way that Grandin is.

      Musicians Moby and Adam Young have also openly identified themselves as Asperger's, but I similarly doubt that their names are what springs to mind if you ask most people to name one famous autistic person.

      Bill Gates has *never* identified himself as being on the spectrum--it is entirely popular speculation that he is. (And frankly, I think it's an incredibly unfair thing to do to someone, to publicly identify them as autistic against their apparent wishes.)

      I would have no idea how many Nobel nominations one needs in order to be famous, particularly since Nobel nominations are kept secret for 50 years after they're made. Most people wouldn't know who most of the Nobel Prize *winners* even are off the tops of their heads. I don't, and I at least listen to the announcements every year; most of the general public probably doesn't even do that.

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  11. I agree with almost all of what you've written, but I have three comments.

    1. As I understand the term, the movie "Temple Grandin" is not a documentary. It is a movie about her young adulthood, adapted and played by actors and using a script.

    2. I found some of the academic jargon difficult to access.

    3. I think the title of your piece is misleading. This may be a difference in the way I think of words versus how you think of them, but I still want to comment. Your piece isn't about critiquing Temple Grandin The Person, it is critiquing her ideas, statements, and the function she plays in society and the roles society gives her. These are all valid things to critique. The title, "Critiquing Temple Grandin", however, makes me think you're going to critique Temple Grandin as a person, as in critique the essence of her humanity or attack her personally. As I said, you have not done this, and I think your critiques of her ideas and society's ideas about her are valid. Were you to critique her as a human being, or anyone else for that matter, I think that would be highly innapropriate, objectifying, and disrespectful.I think a more accurate (if longer) title would be "Critiquing Temple Grandin's Ideas and Ideas About Temple Grandin".

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    1. That's just the difference between "critiquing" and "attacking" someone. The author is doing the former, so I think the title is appropriate.

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  12. I think there is room for interpretation. We simply do not know if kids and adults on the severe end of autism are happy living their lives. I do not say thaat they are 'bad', or 'damaged', or should be eliminated. Aside from a few adults who have learned to type to communicate, (and if you say we can't generalize from who Grandin is to who everyone else is, then we cannot generalize from a few people who type), we know that many people on the severe side of the spectrum are unable to live independent lives, limited in what/how they eat, what/how they choose....would any of use choose to live like that? I think not. And if you are an adult person with autism who strongly believes in neurodiversity, as I do, then ask your self: "Would I trade places with a guy in a group home who is dependent on a caregiver for bathroom use and food prep and all his activities of daily living?" would you answer yes? Because I would not. I am happy to support all persons with challenges and recognize that we all deserve a good life, but trade places? Not in a milion years. And I don't think Temple is advocating for eugenics for people diagnosed on the severe end, but is telling it like she sees it.

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    1. Would you trade places with me? I have what a lot of people have told me is one of the more severe cases of Sensory Processing Disorder they've ever run across. I also have two visible disabilities - cleft lip and palate and ectodermal dysplasia - which make most people assume I can't speak or eat (or think...) properly offhand. I have a number of other chronic health problems as well, which the average person wouldn't necessarily know.

      Most people's answers to the above would tend to be no. So am I supposed to take from that fact, based on the logic presented above, that, because other people wouldn't want to be (like) me, I should be changed, or that there should be no more people like me?

      Because that is what's being discussed here. The following quote from 'Thinking in Pictures' does not confine itself to "Well, I sure wouldn't want to have the experiences of a 'low-functioning' Autistic!," nor is it going to be taken to mean such by most people: "In an ideal world the scientist should find a method to prevent the most severe forms of autism but allow the milder forms to survive."

      The basis for the worth of people as individuals or a group shouldn't be how much other people find their existences to be comfortable or palatable from their (the viewers') perspective.

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    2. That's right--we simply do not know (in a lot of cases). Shouldn't we try to find out, before we determine their lives to be not worth living?

      Also, in how many cases can people not live independently or semi-independently or interdependently or in a way more to their own liking, not because of the severity of their condition but because of how other people's low expectations have limited their choices and opportunities?

      We simply do not know.

      We DO know that abuse of developmentally disabled people is rampant in places like group homes, which has far more to do with why I'd be reticent to trade places with somebody in one, than anything having to do with severity of autism.

      If I were somebody else and not me, then I have no idea what other joys and pleasures might be present in my life.

      I wouldn't even trade places with you. I don't expect that you'd even trade places with me.

      I don't think Grandin THINKS she's advocating for eugenics, but I don't think she's really thinking through the implications of her position that "mild" autism should be allowed to survive for its usefulness, but "severe" autism that makes people unable to speak or live independently should be cured.

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  13. The claims against Temple Grandin in this article are inflammatory and slanderous. She has never even remotely suggested the "removal" or discarding of anyone. Temple Grandin has never said that a person's worth is related to their level of functioning, and she has never even implied that "low functioning" Autistics weren't valuable. She has never said that they cannot function, or that they should be normalized. In fact, Temple Grandin says over and over again that they should NOT be normalized, that society should embrace their talents and abilities rather than focus on their disabilities. She does encourage treatments that help Autistics overcome challenges that get in the way of their abilities (i.e. sensory therapies), but that's for the benefit of the Autistic, and is not the same as "normalizing" them. She has said time and time again that given a way to communicate and overcome sensory issues those considered to be "low functioning" aren't low functioning at all, and can demonstrate average to above average intelligence. I just watched a documentary called "Talking Back to Autism" where she expresses that very clearly. When she speaks about Autism being tragic she's referring to the Autistics whose symptoms are so severe that it makes it hard for them to live happily. If you feel no pity for those who can't live happily, or if you feel no pity for the families who are devastated by their inability to cope with Autism then that makes YOU the insensitive one! She has never said Autism itself is tragic, and she has not advocated for a cure. The reason Temple Grandin is a token to society is because she beat the odds, and thus changed the face of Autism, shifting it from a very negative stereotype to one where Autistics can have limitless potential. For that she deserves some respect, not bashing. She has a voice, and she's using it to spread an understanding of Autism to the general public. She has also donated herself to science to help professionals develop treatments that are more efficacious. Her work is dedicated to helping Autistics, and helping NTs help Autistics... Not "ablism." While she is not representative of all Autistics, it has been made clear that Autism is a spectrum. It makes me sad that anyone, especially an Autistic, would lash out at her for what she is doing, but Lydia seems to lash out at EVERYONE. Whenever I read anything of Lydia's the only message I take from it is that she has a deep hatred for white wealthy people, and anyone who expresses an opinion that's different than hers. When an Autistic spokesperson spreads nothing but negativity and animosity they are creating a very harmful representation of Autistics to the rest of the world. The dialogue needs to be about how to help each other, not spreading more hate.

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    1. slan·der
      /ˈslandər/
      Noun
      The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation.
      Verb
      Make false and damaging statements about (someone).

      The statements in this article are not "false." They are INTERPRETATIONS of actual statements (which you yourself can look up and read or hear)that Grandin made. Stop using a word if you don't know what it means and can't use it correctly, please.

      You clearly hate this blog. Why do you waste your time doing what is essentially trolling here? F*** off, you're derailing.

      Delete
    2. Also, even if Lydia were making false statements harmful to Temple Grandin's reputation on this blog, the correct tort for defamation (harmful untruths) would be libel (print or broadcast) and not slander (spoken).

      Delete
    3. "The statements in this article are not "false." They are INTERPRETATIONS of actual statements"

      Where are Temple Grandin's ACTUAL statements? For all I know the author could interpret all this from a statement like "I like horses". You could interpret anything how you want to.

      I have never read anything stating that Temple Grandin has said "nonverbal autistics are tragic and pitiable evokes a sense of moral disgust and outrage, particularly when coupled with the many voices of nonspeaking autistics demanding a claim to voice, to agency, to capacity -- asserting competence, self, and pride." Why would she have met with Carly Fleischmann if she believed that to be true?

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    4. Anon, see quotes below. Also, stop being a total ass. kthnx!

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    5. "[S]he has never even implied that 'low functioning' Autistics weren't valuable. She has never said that they cannot function, or that they should be normalized. In fact, Temple Grandin says over and over again that they should NOT be normalized, that society should embrace their talents and abilities rather than focus on their disabilities."

      And then,

      "When she speaks about Autism being tragic she's referring to the Autistics whose symptoms are so severe that it makes it hard for them to live happily."

      ...An inconsistency. I have found one.

      The fact that people fail to see that talking about others as if they are tragedies and can't live happily is harmful is exactly the problem here.

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    6. I have to say her most Resat talk I saw on youtube about 'The World needs all kinds of minds' doesn't fall into the Eugenics Category .

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    7. Shain, don't twist my words, they are very literal here. I said that it makes it HARD for them to live happily, not that they CAN'T live happily. There's a difference between saying someone symptoms are tragic, and saying that person as a whole being is tragic. I'll be the first to say that when my sensory issues are so bad I can't leave the house or have a good time it is TRAGIC, and no I'm not living happily at that point. Does that make sense? The problem here is people are taking very black and white statements, and putting their own spins on it.

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    8. Context is important. No one's arguing that sensory issues, or being nonspeaking in a speaking world, or any of that is not difficult. The problem is that these statements are being made in the context of a larger and/or wholly different discussion, where it frequently does come to whether we or certain segments of our population deserve to exist as we are and with what level of interference. To pretend like that discussion isn't happening, or to act as if it isn't and make statements that play into it, is irresponsible, especially when you've been given a forum for what you have to say.

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  14. Great post! Well done, Lydia!

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  15. Hmmmm.... This article doesn't contain any quotes from Temple Grandin. It doesn't have any citations to show how the author obtain this information. How do I know that these are Temple Grandin's actual beliefs? There is nothing to show how the author came to these conclusions.

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    1. See above where, in response to Anonymous' post on August 11, 2013 at 12:22 PM, the author quotes from the updated edition of Temple Grandin's 'Thinking in Pictures':

      Page 56:

      "There is concern among people with Asperger’s that genetic testing could eliminate them. This would be a terrible price to pay. Many gifted and talented people could be wiped out. A little bit of autism genetics may provide an advantage though too much creates a low-functioning, non-verbal individual. The development of genetic tests for autism will be extremely controversial."

      Page 122:

      "Many individuals with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s feel that autism is a normal part of human diversity. Roy, a high-functioning autistic, was quoted in New Scientist, “I feel stabbed when it comes to curing or treating autism. It’s like society does not need me.” There are numerous interest groups run by people on the autism/Asperger spectrum and many of them are upset about attempts to eliminate autism. A little bit of the autism trait provides advantages but too much creates a low-functioning individual who can not live independently. The paradox is that milder forms of autism and Asperger’s are part of human diversity but severe autism is a great disability. There is no black-and-white dividing line between an eccentric brilliant scientist and Asperger’s.

      "In an ideal world the scientist should find a method to prevent the most severe forms of autism but allow the milder forms to survive. After all, the really social people did not invent the first stone spear. It was probably invented by an Aspie who chipped away at rocks while the other people socialized around the campfire. Without autism traits we might still be living in caves."

      Hope that helps.

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  16. I'm not sure how the author got all that from those statements. I guess people will interpret things how they like.

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    1. "I'm not sure how the author got all that from those statements."

      I don't think the author intended to draw "all" of her claims from ONLY the excerpts quoted above. These are merely two examples that serve to illustrate part of the point that the author was trying to make.

      "I guess people will interpret things how they like."

      The author, by providing these examples, shows that she has at least some textually supported basis (evidence) for making her claims about Temple Grandin. Saying that "people will interpret things how they like" can be said about ANY interpretation. If you have a competing interpretation, or if you wish to criticize, object to, or reject the author's claims, then you will need to find some kind of substantive reason (argument and/or evidence of your own) to do so.

      Delete
  17. HI There Lydia...long time no see.

    See you are still spreading hatred here and providing yourself as an example that discredits Autistic People everywhere.. Thanks a lot... You are not even autistic as far as I can see.. All I see is Narcissism... Please get over yourself if you will...

    I spent months here trying to show you light and you insist on walking in darkness... I pray for you... that is all..

    You will never likely come close to walking in the light that Temple Grandin does... She has never said a personal negative thing about any human being... She's right up there with your Muslim prophet... as well as the guy called Jesus.... You bring Shame on you dear.... It's up to you to clear up your Karma... Good luck friend...no hard feelings...but a wake up call might help the potential that you do have for light...

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    1. Um... Actually, Lydia is voicing something that a number of people in the Autistic community feel, which is that Temple Grandin is tokenized and often says backward and ableist things that are taken as gospel by the Autism Community (note, not the Autistic community) because they play in so well with the attitudes they already have. No hatred is coming into play here. This post is actually quite calm and level-headed and it engages with Grandin's rhetoric, not her character.

      Furthermore, who the blazing fuck are you to question Lydia's diagnosis. Diagnosis challenging is pretty much considered an unforgivable sin in the Autistic Community because of how profoundly gaslighting it is.

      Moreover, you are not qualified to diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder, nor would Lydia having such a diagnosis invalidate her beliefs. This widespread use of "narcissism" as an insult is profoundly ableist.

      Also, "I pray for you" is a statement that should never be said passive aggressively and you blaspheme whatever god you pray to by using prayer with xem as a weapon against someone.

      Delete
    2. 1) The first rule of Autism Club is you don't discount other people's being Autistic. You disagreeing with someone's beliefs on autism politics != them being less Autistic than you or anyone you agree with.
      2) O Self-Appointed Mentor, O Mighty Arbiter of Light and Dark, may I humbly suggest that you consider picking one religion to misappropriate for your purposes rather than throwing a mishmash in there in hopes that it makes your point more valid. Or preferably none, actually. I do not think this thing called karma means what you think it means, and, admittedly without being a religious scholar, I don't think that either Jesus or Muhammad would consider critiquing someone's views OR the cultural power they've been given to be any grave moral transgression.
      3) What definition of "Narcissism" are you using? Because nothing that can be gleaned from this post would support, for instance, a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which capital-N Narcissism would suggest was the implication here.
      4) I really, truly doubt that anyone who's ever lived has never said a negative thing about another person.
      5) Interesting interpretation of "bringing shame upon oneself" you have there. Generally people who bring shame on themselves don't get to go to the White House or give keynote addresses as a result of their supposedly shameful actions - and I fail to see how bringing to people's attention the problems with what happens in the world and how these things are framed is shameful.
      6) Arguably you do all the same things in this post that you accuse Lydia of doing, at least by your own definition. Your post was at least as harsh as hers. So that makes you all the things you say to her, plus a hypocrite.

      Delete
    3. I think Lydia has the Right to state her Opinion, I love to see a online talk in between Lydia and Temple G, cause maybe talking to each other they might be able to understand where each other comes from and understand that they both may have different POV.

      Delete
  18. Hi Gals...I'm talking to a part of Lydia that you are probably not fully aware of..just between me and her in public if you will..something for her to remember to help her out in the long run... All this rhetoric means nothing...

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    1. I'm her fucking partner. Who are you?

      Also, if you're going to do this in public, other people are going to get involved. If you want this to be a private conversation, then make it a private conversation. You don't get to shame someone in public and then act like it's just between you and the other person.

      Delete
    2. If this is just between you and her, you shouldn't be doing it in public. Whatever you're trying to accomplish by pillorying Lydia in public, you should know that it isn't working.

      Delete
    3. Chavisory, I hope you can comprehend what I am doing here and what I have been doing here and other places you have seen this name for many months now after you read the totality of my comments here today... Part of this ending visit here on the Autistic Hoya..Lydia.. is to thank her, in a way that you might not be able to comprehend.. but that is how love works...in the greater scale of love that most people are not humbled to experience in life...

      Delete
  19. Hi dear person Shain and Heldenautie...I am defending my friend Temple Grandin...she is too busy actually helping real human beings to take time to defend herself against ignorant accusations...You guys don't even understand what the full Autism Spectrum means..

    For instance there is a genetic disease associated with PKU that directly causes an extremely disabling form of Autism... And yes that form of Autism has been cured through research...the type of research that Autism Speaks funds to help these people avoid human pain and suffering... My child died as a result of a co-morbid condition that directly causes Autism... There is no person in this thing called the Autism Community voicing these ignorant accusations that is diagnosed with any of these severe forms of Autism... I stand up proudly to help these people like my child...I don't play children's games...

    I alone as one person have destroyed the hatred for Autism speaks from this female dominated internet clique that has a variety of disorders many of which has nothing to do with Autism at all...

    You can't touch me I am Titanium...

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    1. 1) You know me how that you know what I do and don't understand?
      2) You've destroyed nothing. The self-advocacy community still has nothing resembling warmth for an organization that talks about us as a problem.
      3) If there are health problems with which autism is one part of or incidental to, that is NOT autism. No one's saying that something that kills someone shouldn't be dealt with. We're saying that our identities and lives aren't less or invalid because we're different, which is what a lot of the curebie stuff translates to when you get down to it.
      4) Nice sexism and assumptions about people's gender you've got there...
      5) A lot of us have got a lot of other stuff going on. Ableism as manifested through people's actions tends to cause all sorts of awesome things like PTSD, and other kinds of anxiety, and depression, and traumatic brain injury... fun, right? The results of this doesn't make what we say invalid. If anything, the fact that we've come through in one piece, even with these metaphorical scars, is to our credit.

      We have been touched. We have survived. We won't be destroyed, or allow other people to destroy those like us. Can you say the same?

      Delete
    2. Love it an Autism Speaks Supporter , so rather then say we have a right to have lives with Autism that are Empowered you want to Treat us like X-men Kate and force a cure on us? Shouldn't each person have a right to live his life to the best of his or her own Ability and use the Gift God has given him or her?

      Delete
    3. Hi there Bill and thanks as always Lydia for allowing me to participate on your blog as you already know I am a devil's advocate.

      My Autistic Savant skill is a very special one..I am gifted with the ability to see the true colors of each individual I encounter through their eyes or through their words... I developed the special lexical ability after losing the full use of my eyesight for over 5 years. Those colors are colors of the soul or Universal spirit and other labels that apply to this Universal essence of all humans and every other living and non living element of this complete existence that we experience.

      I see that you do walk in light Bill it is in your words and in your eyes that you provide in your avatar.. It is likely that your loved much by your family in young childhood...this can make all the difference in the world for one who walks in darkness as compared to light..

      Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how one looks at it...my friend...you are not a logic oriented autistic person with that strength that I am also blessed with as an Autistic...I hit the lottery, if you will, best of both worlds.. I pay it back to the Universe by helping others with every fiber of my existence...using extremely complex methods of strategy to make it happen.

      But fortunately you do have much greater powers of logic than any of your friends speaking here as is evident in the limited evidence that exists in this particular thread... continued below.

      Delete
    4. Continued here... I speak powerfully because i have complete confidence in what i do...so does Lydia...unfortunately her power is darkness...my power is light...she has the ability to spread great darkness in this life bring misery to herself and others...it is her special savant skill..I saw this months ago and understood that if this darkness was modified into greater light she could make a much greater impact in this incarnation of her life...People who walk in light will give up their light or even their life to bring others to the highest peaks of light before they themselves reach this state of endless bliss...why bother with Lydia because..she is even more that she realizes...she is not really narcissistic it just looks that way...she has laser focus in believing what it is she believes regardless if it is misguided into walking in darkness..

      Autism speaks was started by a great philanthropist Bob Wright...he has reduced the pain and suffering of many people...indirectly and directly through his vision of helping people outside his family..

      The organization is run by some of the greatest science minds that are present in the now of existence... The organization is almost flawless because this is Bob Wright's philosophy as a perfectionist leader to bring light into this world for others too.. not Unlike his friend Jack Welch that shared this vision for GE and NBC leading to messages like the ones MSNBC brought to light up the world to appreciate those that were not living in the old patriarchal ways of conservative Christianity and conservative ways in general that hate homosexuals...Muslims etc.etc.etc.

      This link below expresses what Autism Speaks believes about Autism...it is flawless in Scientific method and compassion for the full spectrum of Autism of what it is currently understood to be...

      http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism

      continued more below...

      Delete
    5. Now here is a little lesson about the diversity of Autism and the relative voices that appear in the autism community.. The online Autism Community is a mirage of people meeting online suggesting they are Autistic.. Whether or not they really are is all conjecture...

      Realistically it is comprised of almost 80% female outside of safe sites with moderators like Wrong Planet and Aspies for Freedom...

      Male Autistics do not usually participate in avenues like this particularly ones that are not gender neutral like I am... Statistics that currently exist supporting the 80% figure for online autism organized self-advocacy efforts among the females are also dominated by those with the reported diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome...

      It is a much different form of Autism than most... and in fact it has never been properly captured by DSMIV standards and obviously never will be in the future... the only place this form of Autism has been fully captured is in the Gillberg Criteria for Asperger's syndrome... in fact even with my language delay until age 4...I still meet all the criteria for ' Gillberg Asperger's' that actually measures what Hans Aspergers described in his lifetime pursuit to study this syndrome of great strengths in human potential and challenges as well... continued more below...

      Delete
    6. According to CDC statistics and the last statistics that will be recorded for Asperger's syndrome as compared to the other historical forms measured in the US.. Asperger's in total is 9% of all cases of Autism among children in the US...per those statistics.. Approximately 2% of that figure are females..

      So what that means is that this female dominated self advocacy effort comprised of close to 80% females which do present a different expression of Autism overall than males per present clinical studies.. is only representative of about 2% of the total Spectrum of Autism..

      In relative comparison Fragile X syndrome which is a direct cause of Autism comprises 5% of the total spectrum... Fragile X syndrome can be a very harsh experience in midlife as many of these individuals lose all their cognitive abilities and do often die in their 50's as a result of complications... This is another major focus of the Autism Speaks organization and exactly what Temple Grandin speaks to when she talks about research the kind that Autism Speaks supports to help these individuals with this specific form of severe associated difficulties with this specific genetic disease to help these people live a longer and reasonably comfortable life to enjoy with all our fellow human being friends...

      Temple Grandin is also a savant in that she understands nature and the true interplay of humans and their other animal friends...the competition for life and the understanding that all elements of the Universe work together for the greater light even when there is relative pain and suffering to endure...She loves her animal friends and respects greatly just as the American Indians did after their kills however he takes this great American Indian Animal spirit of kindness and compassion even higher insuring their death will not be as tortuous one that existed before her great light and compassion for others came into this world.. I would die to defend someone like her because he has taken great pain and suffering out of this world for all our animal friends and doe her bet positive light effort to help all other human beings... Obviously she is human and potentially will make mistakes but I do see her whole soul in her eyes and it is nothing but light in her direction of life to make this a much a better for others including our animal friends.

      Delete
    7. 'He' is what I call the spirit or christ light or whatever the label is used to describe this core element of light in everything that exists in what we view as existence.. Sorry that was a slip I try not to insert my personal beliefs in logical discussions but my light is bright enough at this point...in fact lightening bright that it spills out as light and love even when not intended..

      And yes there is a 'masculine spirit' in Temple Grandin..she is more man that women in brain gender..Relatively speaking she is a warrior of animal rights coming in to this world and the animal spirit does love her very much... I am also a protector of this animal spirit in this world..I am making a difference in all that I do..in fact I am doing it now...it is a much greater purpose in my life than anything to do with Lydia and this blog that is going to be heavily viewed because of her controversial and quite frankly illogical...hatred driven viewpoint... it is further access for this light that I share here now... Gotcha..!just want to spread light!!1 Smiles and yes I do love you too...friend and everyone else reading these words WRITE RIGHT NOW!!

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  20. You are mistaken... the difference between me and you is I can back up what I say... PKU is a cause of Autism... and it can be cured...

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12757360

    The self advocacy movement consists of maybe 10K at most...people discussing the issue on the internet... they do not speak for the other 99.9% of Autistic people just in the US out of approximately 2M people and approximately 70 million in this world we live in...

    And yes, I have destroyed the hatred for the most part...it is empirically documented...it wasn't hard to do because most of what was being said was myth are just downright lies...associated with Autism Speaks organization.. This is also fully documented and measured empirically.

    I am gender neutral myself...I know who you are...I am not mistaken as far as your biological sex. That was just to get your attention and rile you up so we could have a good disagreement and maybe learn something new, including me...I always learn something new from everyone I encounter.

    I seriously don't doubt that either three of you are autistic...again just getting you motivated to disagree with me.. It worked haha...love you anyway...

    Read my blog if you want to hear about a survivor... I dealt with the worse pain known to mankind for 5 solid years...Arguing with Lydia was just a past time to get my mind off that pain so I would not commit suicide...I do care about her as a human being and you two too...

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    1. so if we like our Autism and think people should be Valued for who they are? so what next your going to send out people to hunt Self-Advocates down who won't Accept a cure? Why must Normal be the Highest good?


      Autism Speaks seems to have a bit of Eugnics behind to solve the Problem in this case Autism we must prevent it from Existing isn't that how most Eugnics starts?

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    2. Autism Speaks seems to have some Values behind it that don't seem to value basic Human Rights or even the Bill of Rights, it seems to have more in common with the Idea of 'the life worth living..' then with ' We hold these Truths to be self-evedant'

      Delete
    3. Don't make disingenuous statements. That's what's commonly known as being a troll, and it would make you a bully if we weren't on at least equal footing here. It's unnecessary, and you cannot claim that you care about me, let alone love me, if you'd provoke me and people I care about as a means of passing your time. Speak the truth or step out.

      Your proof would seem to be disingenuous as well. The abstract that you link to claims that "the prevalence [of PKU as a cause of autism] seems to be very low." Also:

      A condition can be caused by B condition
      B condition can be cured or prevented
      != A condition (as A condition) can be cured.

      That's like saying that, if you eliminate a cause, biological or circumstantial, of depression or PTSD, you've cured depression or PTSD. It's at very least playing fast and loose with the definition of cure, if not outright false.

      Furthermore, you claim to have "empirically" destroyed hatred of Autism Speaks, despite the fact that opposition is still extant and, if anything, has the opportunity to grow further, and yet you accuse Lydia of narcissism? Again, by the definitions of narcissism I know, you're not one to talk here.

      Color me unimpressed by a trauma survivor who sides against the people with little to no power and with those who would try to harm us in the name of making something we are not.

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    4. Kate, if PKU were the cause of Autism then why do nearly all Autistics test NEGATIVE for PKU upon testing? Don't claim a cause if it's something that a) most Autistics don't have, and b) Autism still exists in absence of it... such as vaccines.

      Delete
    5. 'A' cause is not 'the' cause. This is a relatively rare form of Autism but never the less it is Autism and it can be cured.. It is a medically documented fact.

      Delete
  21. There is a segment of the population that is more prone to conspiracy theories according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Unfortunately or fortunately, if it makes you happy, from the data here as it currently exists... you guys are part of that group... What this means is there is likely no evidence I can provide that will make you believe that the fairies are not stealing your teeth at night...Just a metaphor...pleeeese do not take me seriously.

    And yes I do love you; you have no control over that. Do you understand what love is? Obviously you don't if you tell another person they cannot claim they love a relative stranger.

    I am just playing the role of devil's advocate here... A devil's advocate can be the best friend you have ever had... most people don't come to the full realization of this until years down the road...If you would like to argue further please proceed...I am the energizer typewriter.. Of course Lydia is welcome to run me off...as of course I do respect this as her blog... She is one of the few people I encountered in the Autism Community that was not afraid of my logic.

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    1. I know what love is fine enough, and it doesn't involve provocation for provocation's own sake, nor condescension that tells me what concepts I do and don't grasp conceptually, emotionally or otherwise. If someone I KNEW said something like this to me, I'd wonder who they were and what they did to my actual loved one. And you, who I hardly know... Wow. What you just said is the psychological equivalent of a massive invasion of personal space. All the not okay. What even.

      Delete
    2. Provocation used as a tool to spread light is almost always better that hate used to spread hate just for the hell of it..

      Delete
  22. I was actually glad to read this.
    Not autistic myself but a parent with an open mind and who thinks it is important to listen to and interact with autistic adults, I admit I do not understand the idolatry that is forming around T Grandin. I admit I haven't read a lot from and about her but I just felt a lack of connection or relevance for myself (that is in regards to my son). I have found a much better approach to both, his own autism and also the communication to non-autists in John E Robison.. It is indeed possible that T Grandin's fame is pushed and encouraged by certain streams in the autism 'community' because her attitudes and statements correspond with their beliefs.
    I am still recovering from shock in context with her mothers weird and public statement about adult male autists and their sexuality and am trying to NOT transmit this to my attitude towards T Gradin. But I must say I have found so many VERY interesting and insighty posts from younger autists - like you - that definitively deserve more public exposure or at least readership. It is true... sometimes your blogs are hard to read and a bit challenging (english is not my mother tongue so..argh) but it is worth it. =)
    Autism comes in so many forms and colours. I think it is obvious that ONE poster-child from the US (and who is 65 yo..)is only a very superficial way to represent the voice of autists in conferences or other public appearances..

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  23. This is all very interesting; both the original blog and the comments.
    There are some themes running through here that need to be highlighted.

    two main points need to be addressed;

    In the first place there are only two passages quoted in reply to some comments that support Lydia's contention.

    And neither do any more than express that Dr. Grandin sees that while those less severely affected may be able to apply those differences to their advantage, those more severely affected find it much harder to do so and that those are the ones who need treatments to help prevent the severe effects allowing them the ability to cope.

    The second point is Temple Grandin's stature and position as a leading example of an Autistic success and the way this is being interpreted as having racist, class, age, and ableism overtones.

    The first points are made early in the piece where the writer declares: '... despite the fact that her experiences are inextricably linked to her race, her class, and the time period during which she came of age ...'

    Yet what else is to be expected of someone talking of their own experience, this is inevitable surely, for any speaker and it is only because of that background that Dr. Grandin did succeed, because of those points and because she had a very determined and far seeing Mother.

    I wholeheartedly concur with her claims that growing up in the 50s was a great advantage. I did and am forever grateful to my parents that I was taught, manners and courtesy and how to behave either in public or on social occasions.

    It has amazed me how few of my peers over the years had that advantage; for advantage it certainly was. I had and have no fear of any occasion as I have the refuge of knowing how to play it. What is expected and how to do it. I can't help thinking what an advantage that could be for any Autistic individual.

    And my family were from working class stock.



    Lydia goes on to claim that: 'Temple Grandin believes that "high-functioning" autistics are talented, intelligent, and necessary to human survival, while "low-functioning" autistics cannot function or live independently, and thus should be cured in the present and prevented from existing in the future.

    Now, while the first part of that is true, the conclusion '... and thus ...' is far from the case and is an extremely bad example of bias.

    Dr. Grandin is makes the reasonable conclusion that high functioning Autistics (incuding those diagnosed as Asperger's) have many abilities that differ from and in some cases exceed those of the average population and that those more severely affected are do find it far more difficult to function or maintain an independent life due to those problems. Some indeed, such as the wonderful Carly Fleischmann are very able advocates for the fact that the difficulties are in communication, not intelligence.
    Dr. Grandin also is quoted as writing that: 'In an ideal world the scientist should find a method to prevent the most severe forms of autism but allow the milder forms to survive.'
    And the issue here is no doubt her use of the word prevent, yet all that means is to stop it affecting people severely, i.e. treating it which is no more than so many scientists are trying to do already. To take that as meaning a 'cull' of those severely affected is again adding far more to the meaning of what she said.

    Secondly that the original blog had no supporting evidence only the writer's bias, if not prejudice.

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    1. "And the issue here is no doubt her use of the word prevent, yet all that means is to stop it affecting people severely..."

      I think that's very debatable.

      Autistic people say often that our autism is an intrinsic part of who we are. And it doesn't break down neatly along lines of "mild" and "severe" as to which autistic people say that. Some "severe" aspect of autism could be just as valuable and intrinsic to some person as any "mild" or "positive" aspect could be.

      Most of my own autistic traits are double-edged swords...disabling in some contexts, strengths in others. You don't necessarily help someone just by decreasing the intensity of their autistic traits so they're affected less severely--the "severity" of those traits might be immensely valuable to them.

      I am all in favor of research to get people the alleviation of pain and frustration that they desire.

      But how can we be assured, even if we're only going after "severity" of certain symptoms, that we're not taking something away from someone that they wouldn't choose to give up, because that trait has a positive aspect to them that we can't necessarily see?

      Delete
    2. Chavisory, Science and the greatest science minds of our time work from waking to sleeping...each... to ensure to the best of their ability ...that the best of both worlds of strengths and alleviation of human suffering and pain are counterbalanced..

      It is not your place as an emotionally driven person to ever be able to understand the full complexity of science or what fully comprises the Autism Spectrum..

      But with some effort you can come to understand it better and have a more balanced perspective... I wish that for you my friend as you are a very nice person that can walk in light...

      Delete
    3. Just because scientists work hard and mean well (and they do, for the most part), does not mean they have enough perspective on the internal reality and desires of other people to not unintentionally do harm.

      Doctors, in particular, routinely estimate the quality of life of disabled people as lower than disabled people themselves rate their quality of life.

      I have a background in science, just fyi.

      Delete
    4. Chavisory that is a nice ideological viewpoint and in effect is definitely true for each human being including autistic people and people with any type of disability...however the system we currently have in place to explore every potential that people who are in pain and suffering have a better life is the only one and best one we have...there is always room for improvement and there is always room for mistakes...but the practice that is science and the the light that is great leads to better answers for everyone potentially involved...

      l am sure you have a background in science but I am one of the leading experts in real life on autism... I do not use my real name and never will on the internet...and better yet I am Autistic.. If you want to really learn all about Autism visit the first part of blog before I explore what most people call God...there is no challenge for my mind that is too small or too large..or for my eternal spirit or yours for that matter whether you are cognizant of it or not...How do I know I see your soul in your words...call it light or whatever you want to but it is as real as your words, letters and numbers...I am also a leading experts on that too.. of all time...How do I know 'he' ...'tells' me so....you have that potential too...it will come your way if you give it time and your own personal true will...too

      Delete
  24. Also to note Lydia, I haven't had time to read your posts lately been busy writing myself...after reading your last few posts I do see a much greater light in you than before...I wish you the best and am sorry for coming on in what sounded like an aggressive manner to you likely but it is designed for a much greater light that as a person who studies Muslim religion...I hope you can understand outside the words I deliver a fuller message in vehicle and vessel here today... I respect you very much for allowing me all the words I have shared on you blog... I do love you dear and wish you the greatest true will and blessings coming your way no matter if it comes in darkness or light...that is never my judgement or anyone else....it is between only you and your own true will..

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    1. Kate, I just don't even know what to say. This is comical. I would just be inclined to laugh if you hadn't decided first to be ridiculously abusive and gaslighty to Lydia.

      Delete
    2. HI Heldenautie, I had a vision that God was a laugh, after that 'HE' revEAled to me it is ALL A DIVINE COMEDY. If you laugh my purpose in life is achieved. Please fEel free to laugh youR head off (logic) if you will and LIVE LIGHT!!11!! AT LEAST ONE TIME IN YOUR LIFE1! LOVE YOUR FRIEND FULL NAME KATIE MIA FREDERICK! HAHA HEHE ?HUH! !HEH?

      Delete
    3. ALSO HAUTIE MY OTHER SPECIAL AUTISTIC SUPER SAVANT SKILL IS REFLECTING THE BEHAVIOR OF OTHERS BACK AT THEM... I REFLECTED BACK AT LYDIA EXACTLY WHAT SHE WAS DIRECTING TOWARD TEMPLE GRANDIN...I DON'T NORMALLY DO THAT BUT WHAT CAN I SAY I FELT A LITTLE FIREWORKY TO DAY. But seriously overall you guys are pretty cool...have a great day, if you will...

      Delete
    4. ...

      ........................................

      .......what?

      Delete
    5. Have a great day that Is All.. If you can and/or if you will... Walk in Light, Share Light, and Give Light... if you can and/or if you will... It cannot happen without passion... It cannot happen with Hate or Personal Judgement of others... Your way... Your will... Your decision... IS ALL...YOU!

      Delete
  25. this blog needs comment moderation.
    shame to the discussion go so..weird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI NIKKI? US AUTISTIC PEOPLE ARE KINDA WEIRD? SORRY IF THAT CONFUSES YOU? BUT IT IS WHAT IT IS!

      Delete
    2. I support Lydia's decision to use or not use moderation as she sees fit, but...I can't help but agree that the way in which commentary on this post lost focus was...not necessary.

      Delete
    3. Seriously?...what's necessary in life Chavisory? please brighten lighten up if you can or if you will?

      Delete
    4. Kate, I seriously do not take kindly to people telling me to "lighten up." Please do not do it.

      Delete
    5. HI Chavisory! Sorry! but you cannot stop me from loving you.. I did not tell you to do anything... I asked you very politely to brighten up if you can or if you will.. Whether or not you do... is completely up to you friend...It is your will not mine or mind...YOur words of hate or discontent cannot deter me @ALL..these are just words.. and my sword is much sharper than yours...

      Delete
  26. This is a very disingenuous post. Your writing is saturated by academic jargon, but like empty calories they do not nourish your argument. You didn't provide any quotes, citations, or context for your *assertions* of Temple Grandin's beliefs; just bias and rhetoric.

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    1. This isn't portraying itself as journalism, nor as an academic paper. Quotes supporting the position have been listed in the comments on request of others, but as far as I know, blog posts on someone's own page have never required the kind of academic rigor you're asking for.

      Delete
    2. If it doesn't strive to have any strong merit then you concede this has no credibility and is a pointless rant.

      Delete
    3. The 2 quotes that were supplied do not support the inflammatory accusations in this article.

      Delete
  27. If your definition of "no credibility" and "pointless rant" would also extend to most other blogs and newspaper editorials, which tend to have a point of view (or "bias") and are under no obligation to contain citations. But by that point, these terms basically become meaningless dismissals based on form and tone rather than actual critiques of content.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I WILL STAND BY LYDIA HERE...SHE ALLOWS FREE DISCOURSE...THERE IS NO OPINION THAT IS TOO STRONG OR TOO WEAK AS LONG AS DISCOURSE IS ALLOWED TO GAIN HIGHER MEANINGS IN LIFE! I MAY NOT ALWAYS OR EVEN OFTEN AGREE WITH LYDIA BUT SHE DOES A GREAT THING ON HER BLOG HERE BY NOT CENSORING FREEDOM OF SPEECH! THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PRIVILEGE ANYWHERE ANYPLACE FOR ANY HUMAN BEING!! SO TO PART I SAY KUDOS LYDIA YOU DO A GOOD THING HERE... SEE YA'LL LATER...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I disagree. The only opinions Lydia seems to value are ones that agree with her stance. I have tried to have constructive conversations with her, but she has never once replied to me, which demonstrates that she thinks my point of view is beneath her, unworthy of acknowledgment. After expressing my opinion on a prior blog she allowed one of her supporters to bully me for HOURS, and tell me to kill myself. She didn't delete the comments, stop the violent dialogue, and did not reply to any messages I sent asking for her to address the matter. I am obviously beneath her, only worthy of abuse. It's a slap in the face that she would condone that kind of maltreatment, and then write an article like this.

      Delete
    2. Not everyone's as battle-happy as you and I (prolly the smarter thing, actually), and just because they run a blog doesn't mean they have the spoons for a throw-down with everyone who comments.

      And if I recall correctly, the discussion you reference was the one where you came out with some backhanded feel-good crap about people being able to choose their feelings or simply get over things, and when I said that was triggering and not okay, you kept up until a couple people jumped in to ward you off. Turns out you could dish it out, but not take it, and ironically enough, you were the one who simply couldn't brush things off and feel fine about everything in the end, and then tried to make everyone feel guilty about that. Lydia wasn't responding because you'd come into her comments and started being a jerk to someone she knows and likes, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

      Delete
    3. Hi there Melissa again...Lydia can't possibly answer 100 comments and go to school and do everything at one time... She has never responded to me here...but in personal Email correspondence she took the time and detailed effort to do her best in a respectful manner to answer all the questions I had... That is the real her...this is the path she is on... and it may change tomorrow for all we know... I would not go to a person's blog if I did not think their opinions were worthwhile to hear....and I am aways only a guest in someone else's home when I visit...and certainly not always an easy guest to hear entertainment from...haha...smiles love...Overall the blogger and Facebook Autism Communities are really full of mostly mean people reporting they are autistic that will metaphorically speaking cut your throat every chance they get... Autistic Hoya is in the top ten places where people can go and express their every thought and feeling and not be afraid to get their 'throat" cut if they step out...

      of 'normed" lines...It's almost impossible for actual autistic people to be comfortable in any other environment other than ones like this one where everything goes except actual 'malware' of intentional offensive attack against others..

      Delete
  29. Lydia was quite honest in that she published a "Critique." If I may,...
    cri·tique
    /kriˈtēk/
    Noun: A detailed analysis and assessment of something, esp. a literary, philosophical, or political theory.

    Verb: Evaluate (a theory or practice) in a detailed and analytical way: "the authors critique the methods used in research".

    Synonyms: criticism - review - animadversion

    I was expecting to read one person's opinion about Temple Grandin, and I was expecting it to be not "nice" stuff. That's what a critique is. It doesn't mean the person or item in question is bad or wrong, but a critique only focuses on the negative aspects of something.

    Honestly now, a critique is not an attack. It is an exploration of the negative aspects of a theory or philosophy.

    Calm down, folks. She told you what to expect right from the get-go.

    ReplyDelete
  30. It's worth pointing out the double standard that's going on here... Political correctness is a neurotypical trait. So even if Temple had made the statements she's accused of making in this article (which she didn't) expecting her as an Autistic person to censor her point of view is OPPRESSION, and ABLISM. Temple says what she means, and means what she says... black and white, 100% literal. The problem here is you're assigning personal interpretations to things she says when there is no hidden meaning to her statements. She has never said that "low functioning" Autistics should be removed, she has never advocated for a cure, she has never said Autism is a tragedy, etc... You have yet to cite where she EVER said any of that. All you have done is put your own interpretation on what she says, and that's not a fair way to pass judgment on somebody.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you really just hauling out the tired old tropes imposed on us about how Autistics supposedly think ("black and white, 100% literal... no hidden meaning") to make an argument for why Temple Grandin can't be held responsible for what she says, and that it would be "oppressive" to expect Autistics to be able to engage in discourse about ideas on equal footing as neurotypicals? That's really paternalistic and gross.

      A critique is all about interpretations and analysis. Even assuming that an Autistic person is constitutionally incapable of understanding or intending subtext (which is patently false... people grow and change, and just because an Autistic struggles with it at one point doesn't mean that they necessarily won't develop that skill later), doesn't mean that the subtext isn't there and that the statement exists in a vacuum without cultural context. The whole point is, statements like those quoted in above comments (e.g., "In an ideal world the scientist should find a method to prevent the most severe forms of autism but allow the milder forms to survive.") have effects - whether or not they're intentional - on actual people that can be exacerbated by how much influence the speaker has or is given. Pointing that out is not censorship, especially where there's absolutely no power to back up the statement.

      Delete
    2. Where did I say that Temple Grandin shouldn't be held accountable for what she says? I didn't, which is a perfect example of my whole point. You are reading something in black and white, adding your own color to it, and then basing your judgment on your own version of what was said. My point was that there is a double standard.

      Delete
    3. You said that it's oppressive and ableist to critique, or "censor" (while no censorship is happening, mind you), what an Autistic person has to say because they're literal, black and white, etc. etc. THAT is a double standard right there, where we're being put on a pedestal of essentially not being able to understand the broader context of what we say. Neurotypicals and Autistics alike don't speak in a vacuum. Intent is not magic, and things have meaning whether or not the subtext was intended or understood.

      Delete
  31. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've heard a lot of Temple Grandin since she is so famous but I've never heard what she believes about "low function" autistic people. Hopefully more individuals like yourself will continue to be one of many voices representing the Autistic community,

    ReplyDelete
  32. This just seemed like a venomous, hate-filled post. The relevant points, that the wide nature of the spectrum is seldom represented...that higher functioning members are given the spotlight to the exclusion of everyone else...these points could have been made without the bitter, senseless attack on Temple Grandin. Sorry you're living with this much hate; I can only hope that expressing poison this ugly felt cathartic for you.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Venemous. Hate-filled. Bitter. Senseless. Ugly poison.

      Wow, you're right. This post was ALL of those things. And more! Here are MY two excerpts of venemous-hate-filled-bitter-senseless-ugly-poison from this post:

      “Temple Grandin's articulated ideas about autism and autistic people fit into the pathology paradigm that dominates autism discourse.”

      “Temple Grandin poses an answer to the question of whose bodies/minds ought to be valued and whose ought to be discredited and removed for the good of society.”

      Oh my God...*cringe*...that was some of the most venemous-hate-filled-bitter-senseless-ugly-poison rhetoric I've ever read! Which excerpts from the actual post did YOU find the most venemous-hate-filled-bitter-senseless-ugly-poison?

      Delete
  33. She humiliated me in front of 500 people. I am autistic and I rock (back and forth). She told me to stop because she was tired and could not blank it out. It is never ok to tell an autistic to stop rocking let alone in front of a large group.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who humiliated you? Lydia or Temple Grandin?

      Delete

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