This week, A.D.H.D. plus, why doesn’t Autism Speaks just change its name to Autism Parents Speak, the New York Times humanized a white supremacist, Ruth Bader Ginsburg inexplicably was able to line up two complimentary cases in the Supreme Court schedule as a lawyer, and the GOP tax scam has a nasty tax on disability.
This Week in A.D.H.D.
On an unrelated note, I had someone “help” me clean up over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. While I am generally appreciative of any help, I couldn’t even begin to explain to this self-appointed helper how different an A.D.H.D. brain is, so I resigned myself to hunting for all of the items that were “cleaned up” for the next few weeks.
This Week in Autism
2. Autism Speaks, lightning rod for criticism in the autism community, released the results of its research survey last month. This was a survey to the autism community about what research the organization should fund. The group provided a breakdown of those who completed the survey. Less than 10% of respondents are on the spectrum. With that said, here is the summary of responses. The “other” category, that is not an autistic person, family member, researcher or clinician, had more representation in the survey than autists.
In the detailed analysis document, pages 15-16 were of particular interest to me. Page 15 reviews top answers to a question about which areas of study were most important to those taking the survey. A top response was treatment for issues that impede life without changing the overall autistic personality. Page 16 is a review of topics those responding to the survey felt Autism Speaks should avoid funding, and the result was research with the goal of trying to cure or prevent autism. While I thought some of the questions and responses were bizarre and even self-serving, like the question about whether grant recipients should be required to fundraise (36% of “other” category voted yes for this vs. around 21-27% of the remaining named categories).
While Autism Speaks is trying-ish, I think we all will probably take these results with a massive boulder-size grain of salt, perhaps a salt lick. At the end, the research survey analysis addressed the one obvious takeaway—autistic people rated most of the research topics listed as less important than all other categories of interested parties—and chalked it up to many autistic respondents who, it was implied, purposely skewed the survey. In fact, the author of the question-by-question analysis seemed to think these autistic respondents considered most research a “personal attack.” In fact, that’s exactly how it was phrased in the summary. This was a petty, unnecessary comment. It was quite telling.
Autism Speaks, facing a barrage of criticism that they suck all the fundraising dollars for autism into their cure-focused research and “advocacy,” decides to do a survey about future research priorities. But fewer than 500 out of 6,000+ responses are from actually autistic people. Seventy-three percent are from family members.
This lip service toward including autistic viewpoints in their work is not enough. Autism Speaks could clear up their publicity problem very quickly by real outreach to autistic advocates. They could have kept the survey open until half the responses came from autistic survey-takers. Why can’t A.S. see the issue with not having a collaborative relationship with the very group they are supposed to help?
This Week in Badassery
3. Notorious R.B.G. in her pre-SCOTUS life, featured in the More Perfect podcast this week. The story of how she managed to get her case argued the same day as another important case for her cause. To this day no one knows how she did it, but she saved the other case, that of frat boys who had to ask women their age to buy them beer due to sexist (against men) liquor laws, and in the process won intermediate scrutiny for laws restricting by gender.
This Week in Racism Reporting
4. 30 for 30 podcast covered Trayvon Martin’s murder in “Hoodies Up” episode. Here’s the picture that they discuss.
The podcast was a well researched story of how NBA teammates took a stand as part of the public outcry to the murder of Trayvon Martin during the NBA All-Star game. This is a sports channel that has recently suspended an employee who talked about political news. But even they can do better than the New York Times, a newspaper that decided to write a profile piece on a white supremacist and then write this in response to widespread criticism.
Suffice to say that an ESPN 30 for 30 podcast shouldn’t be showing up the NY Times.
By the way, this piece nukes the meritocracy idea once and for all, including citations from the Times that could have and should have been used to refute many of the blatantly false assertions by the supremacist profiled.
This Week in Disability
5. Rebecca Cokley talks tax on disability in this thread.