Monday, February 19, 2007

Here there be spiders

Apparently many autism advocates hope our attention will stick to certain pages and articles on the web and that all others will be ignored. This would be a "web spider" approach?

Response to Harold Doherty's most recent effort to fix our attention can be found in Ballastexistenz, Left Brain/Right Brain, The Autism Crisis and elsewhere. If anyone wants to look.

Something similar could be said of me since I'm not extremely well read in autism news and research. I absorb the most obvious information and can only admire those who manage a larger part of all there is to know. At least I know that many of Mr Doherty's claims in his recent article are untrue. One example:

"The sirens will not talk about such realities as lack of communication, self injurious behavior, or lack of awareness of potentially life threatening dangers posed by automobiles or broken glass."

Searching my local copy of TMoB, a public discussion forum, "communication" appears in 82 of 527 digests, "self-injury" in 7. Googling "autistic" and "self-injury" returns 79,600 entries, the Autism Information Library ( top of the list.

Obviously Mr Doherty's claim that autistics will not discuss this or that is untrue. So what is he doing?


  1. Playing head games?

  2. In Ballastexistenz jypsy wrote: "Did Mr. Doherty honestly forget the *Autism Safety Training* seminars Alex & I hosted on PEI?"

    Another good question. Like autistics who disagree, the province next door exists only when there's a convenient use for it?

  3. Sorry the bold tags around "Safety" didn't work in the link above.

  4. He's doing what lawyers do, which is to deal with the "other side's" facts and arguments if you can, and ignore them if you can't. And throw in some rhetoric to fill the empty space.

  5. But Anne, he's making up the "other side's" facts & arguments. That's not rhetoric, it's BS.

  6. Well, yes, it *is* BS. It goes something like this:

    Harold: Autistic advocates ignore the serious problems of the severely, profoundly autistic, like self-injury and the need for care.

    AAs: No we don't, we *have* those problems, and we've mentioned them here, here, here and here. We've addressed them like this, this and this.

    Harold: Uh, like I said, autistic advocates ignore the serious problems of the severely, profoundly autistic ...

    The thing is, he's just going to say what he's going to say regardless of anything to the contrary that is presented to him.

    The fact that he ignores any controverting facts and argument does not mean that they shouldn't be brought out. He's trying to win an argument, so he will not acknowledge any problems with what he is saying.

    I'm not defending him; that's just my take on what he is doing.

    Harold's position on Michelle and others not wanting to help autistic people seems patently ridiculous to me, but it is a point of view that appeals to many for some reason. So it is important to counter his statements even if it doesn't result in changing his mind. Maybe others will see that what Harold is saying is a crock.

  7. Thanks Anne. I've seen letters from lawyers (in New Brunswick, coincidentally; heh) delivered to people who have little ability to decipher what they mean the letters are so thick with legal jargon. This is unnecessary but it's an example of a certain attitude. I guess it comes from being 'above' so many people, including autistics. Must be great.

  8. Yes, thanx Anne. I honestly don't understand why people do this. Mr. Doherty certainly isn't the first and as I read it the first time (aloud to my husband) my first comment was "there must be a term for this..." I was thinking Kev had that term when he presented his "Strawman" post but yesterday it occurred to me that it could just simply be a "head game". I still think it is, just perhaps the Lawyers version.

  9. Er... letters from lawyers to their own clients, that is. Sorry. And I see I've strayed off my own topic.

    jypsy, seems some folks are short on good ol' fashioned honesty. Which makes them well qualified to raise children? [sigh]

  10. Try pointing out that a "MUST READ" article is an urban legend or a "VIRUS WARNING" is a hoax on some Canadian autism advocacy lists and you're likely to get fried. The truth doesn't always go over very well here, Marty Murphy's essay on the ASO Halton page would be a case in point.

  11. Thanks for the heads up, jypsy. I wonder if Mr Doherty is simply seeking attention/traffic for his blog - a kind of senseless siren song?

  12. Who knows what motivates him but he commented on his own blog here and as I explained here and here that's not quite accurate. In fact, it would be as accurate as me saying "Mr. Doherty very recently sent me an email expressing his personal thanks for my actions". Not a lie but not really the whole truth. "Twisted" would fit. There will likely always be new people who won't realize their comments will be censored and/or manipulated. I wonder if Mr. Doherty would have allowed me to post the article with the link he found so wonderful on his list. Instead he found it as part of an *open discussion* on mine.

  13. This one bears repeating:

    spin doctor n (1984) : a person (as a political aide) responsible for ensuring that others interpret an event from a particular point of view
    - Merriam Webster's

    Thanks for the link to Adventures in the Boys Club. :)

  14. One more time.....
    I look forward to whoever takes that post apart, won't be hard to do. The strawman army just called in reinforcements...

  15. Edit of my previous comment:

    jypsy, thanks for the heads up (yet again) and for the reminder that Mr Doherty's work has been taken apart already.

    In the autism arena obviously it's a good idea for everyone to do their own research, regardless of who says what. "Trust me" isn't enough. Which reminds me of Carmen Lahaie's advice (in her ringing endorsement of DAN!, Spring '06): "humbly follow those seeking the truth".

    What would that be in the logical fallacy department? 'Appeal to religious tradition?'


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