Wednesday, 7 August 2013

We're What? A What? - Extremely Offensive Article

So, today I was going to post an article about the beauty of noticing all the little details in life. And then I came across this. I just can't write about anything else until I've mentioned it. This is an article linking autistic males with an increased chance of being pedophiles. It, without any evidence, claims autistic adults are stuck with a prepubescent sexuality which leads them to seek out child pornography online. I'm sorry, but what? Would you like to be any more offensive? But there's more.

I could perhaps understand, though still be offended by, this article if it had come from some hidden person in the blogosphere, or a discredited scientist. But this came from Eustacia Cutler, one of the world's most well known autism 'experts', and the mother of Temple Grandin. As such, the average person looking for information on autism will simply take her word as gospel, which could do enormous damage to the awareness efforts of autistic self-advocates when they suddenly find themselves labelled 'pedophiles'. Look at what she actually says:
Though now equipped with a full-grown body and full-grown sexual drive, many ASD males are stuck emotionally at a prepubescent age. They look like grown men, but inside they’re only 10 years old. They don’t want adults to show them how sex is done; they want 10-year-olds to show them. Back in school when they were little and the other kids played “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine,” ASDs were left out. Now at last they’ve found a way to join the old childhood game and it’s with their trusty friend, the computer.
 This entire paragraph is a straight up lie. Yes, autists can be emotionally immature, but to claim that 'many' of us, implying a large proportion, are not only immature but prepubescent emotionally, is just insulting. And then to link this with pedophilia by claiming we want to be shown sexuality by ten year olds? That's not just insulting, it's sick. And still it goes on!

Before she makes this astounding claim, she already manages to massively insult every autistic person on the planet, including her daughter, with this:
'Along with struggling with social spontaneity, ASDs also have trouble with context, i.e. the relationship of one object to another, of one situation to another. So does a computer. A computer cannot distinguish the relevant difference between a misspelled e-mail address and bringing a gun through airport security. Nor can a computer deal with random. At best it carries a program that imitates random. Ditto those on the autism spectrum.'
So, apparently we're all computers too. Now she's saying we have a complete inability to distinguish between little problems and massive ones. Sure we have some problems with change and perspective, but unable to tell between a typo and a terrorist? That's not us. She even states right at the start that there are few arrests on record, and not enough data, but still she continues to call it a 'disturbing trend'.

We do get given a couple of 'facts' though. I give the inverted commas because one isn't even true. Have a look at this:
'Moreover, where there’s autism there’s a divorce rate of 80 to 90 percent, and that means that spectrum boys are being raised by single mothers. Absentee dads are not likely to be around at the critical moment.'
Wow! This is a massive problem! Look at that divorce rate! Except it's not true. Divorce rates in families with autism are nowhere near that high. The other fact is technically true, that few men attend autism conferences. But could that not be because they are working? Perhaps the husbands of the women there wanted to be there, but decided that one parent could go while the other stayed at home, maybe even to, I don't know, care for their child?

So, to recap, according to Cutler we're infantile computers who cannot comprehend adult emotions, destroy families and lack fathers, and who want children to teach us sexuality via our obsession with computers and child pornography. Again, wow. I think awareness just took a huge step backwards.

I'll leave you with this article by Forbes contributor Emily Willingham, which does a much better job of dissecting this article than me. I hope all of you understand just how ridiculous this article is, and realise how damaging it could be to the autistic community if people believe it.

I hope you come back soon, and sorry for the depressing article.


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