March 16, 2015

DiversityTreeThe suggestion that the human genome is a diverse and forever evolving is a concept embraced when discussing the term neurodiversity. Conditions like Autism and ADHD are viewed as naturally occurring changes within the human genome, and that they have been prevalent since the day dot.

The human species is a collection of diversity, and human brains are no different. We are all a culmination of genetics, up bringing, culture, education and circumstance.  We are an incredibly diverse species and all the aforementioned factors make an individual.

Although a hotbed of fiery debate within the autism community the foundations of neurodiversity is continually backed up by more research science, the recognition that autism, ADHD and other “pathologically diagnosed” conditions are a result of genetics, coding and environment as opposed to any damage caused by, for example, vaccination.

The term neurodiversity itself dates back to at least the late 1990’s but has come to the fore in more recent times, but there is a whole audience of people, neurotypical and autistic who have never heard the term before.

In this series we explore a number of voices from on the spectrum who are at opposing sides of this debate and hope to give a broader insight into the world and debate surrounding neurodiversity. The first article is from Jonathan Mitchell, who was recently featured in Newsweek and who rejects neurodiversity. The second is by Philip Gluyas, also mentioned in the Newsweek article, who has won two court victories over two American cure proponents for defamation.  Both have strong and opposite views on the subject.

Due to the contentious nature of this series, comments are closed on individual articles but we encourage all comments (which are moderated) on this opening post.

We hope that you enjoy what we bring to the fore.

About the author 

Shân Ellis

Shân Ellis, is a qualified journalist with five years experience of writing features, blogging and working on a regional newspaper. Prior to working as a journalist, she was a ghost writer for top publishers and was closely involved in the editing and development of book series. Shân has a degree in the sciences, and 5 A levels. She lives in the UK and is the mother of an autistic child.

  • Seems like I can’t even discuss autism anymore without everyone in ear shot confiding to me that they think they are, or might be autistic too. The story usually goes that they have felt different, quirky, geeky, bullied, silenced, underappreciated, unrecognized, even out right superior, in some fashions as compared to other children growing up.

    I find the sheer number of people so eager to claim a developmental disorder disturbing, sickening, and quite telling of human nature. Seems these are quite ‘normal’ experiences. What makes all these people autistic then? Well, a psychologist would likely say that most people have some deep-seated need to feel important, ironically most autistics I have personally met do not have this personal desire, to be in the limelight per se. I call it the John Elder Robison Complex, or JERC, for short.

    This JERC phenomenon began after Robison became the poster boy for the now defunct autism disorder labelled Asperger’s. Ironically, he more than likely does not meet the new criteria, and probably never met the previous criteria either. The man has socialized in rock stardom since he was a teenager. I fail to notice any social disorder in John Robison’s life, and I have researched his background as thoroughly as one can without seeking government clearance.

    I am grateful that autism awareness acceptance is taking hold within the general public. And I am sure that these people can relate to some of my issues on the surface. Autism is after all just typical human traits gone awry, so of course many will commiserate to an extent. But they fail to take into account that the scope and scale of disorder that autism has on an individual, often leaves them unable to effectively relate their thoughts, feelings.

    In this way the general public misjudges the impact this developmental disorder has on an individual in reality. And it tends to negate most beneficial aspects of awareness, because now it’s not taken seriously as a debilitating disorder. It’s analogous of Geek Syndrome, It’s quirkiness, it’s eccentricity, it’s intelligence (oddly) ETC. It’s just insane and I don’t blame the public for not falling in-line with the neurodiversity movement which spur this misconception forward with self-vested interest. John Elder Robison at the helm. What JERCs!!!

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