March 20, 2015

Respecting other people`s opinions.

I understand fully that some of the things I have said in these articles might be controversial.  It is important to remember though that even when I have said something is my opinion, I have made sure that is has been shared by other autistic people.  Although, I do fully expect to receive some negative feedback from pro-neurodiversity, and anti-neurodiversity camps, I am not writing this section to try to protect myself from this.

I watched an interview with Jonathan Mitchell where he said that after he had made his points about neurodiversity and disability, he was insulted and attacked on-line, even being compared to a Nazi sympathiser.  Now I disagree fundamentally with what he said – in fact, we could be seen to be representing two completely contrasting sides of a debate – but I don’t have any personal ill feelings towards him.

I believe that the autistic community should engage in a sensible, and grown-up debate around these important issues – there is absolutely no need to start throwing insults around just because somebody has said something we disagree with.  Everybody is guilty of this from time to time, but it really doesn’t help the debate.  When I see people who are on my side of this argument posting personal insults to those who aren`t, it actually makes me sympathise more with the person they are insulting.

I am not bothered what anybody says to me – unless something I say is criticised by the majority of autistics readers, then I am ok.  But I simply wanted to make the point that even though this debate needs to be had, and there are a lot of strong feelings on either side, let`s try to keep it civilised, and sensible.  With this being the internet I imagine that a lot of people won’t be able to do this.  But hopefully the majority of us will.


It must be apparent at this point that I do believe in neurodiversity.  I think that most autistic people do.  It is obvious that autism isn’t a disease, or a virus of some kind – it is a variation in the workings of the brain.  And neurodiversity promotes respect and equality – two traits which I don’t think can ever be bad.

Without getting in to politics, it is important to remember that whenever any group campaigned for equality throughout history there have been problems, and opposition.  This doesn’t mean that equality isn’t right; just because others don`t agree with a concept doesn’t mean that it is flawed, or wrong.

And people who do believe in neurodiversity should be willing to continue arguing its case, however much negative attention this brings to them.

About the author 

Paddy-Joe Moran

Paddy-Joe Moran is a nineteen year old author of two books and blog writer with Aspergers from the U.K.

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