A Touch of Alyricism

Dedicated to the equally fascinating topics of autistic advocacy and the 'sisterly sophistries' of radical gender feminism. Other topics may occasionally crop up. Contactable at alyric@gmail.com


Polemicist since Grade 8

Monday, October 13, 2008

What sort of an advocate is this?

On this day of Thanksgiving in Canada, one would think that most people would reflect on what’s right with their world, an opportunity to be an optimist if only for a day. For some, this is never going to happen. No matter how much it would be in their interests to join in the celebrations, if the good things do not precisely match their specifications then there is nothing in it for them to be thankful about. Such a dog in the manger attitude matters not at all, unless you claim to be seen as an ‘autism advocate’, in which case it matters a great deal.

Harold Doherty claims to be an advocate for autism in Canada, but take a look at his reaction to Michelle Dawson’s success in her Canadian Human Rights Tribunal case against Canada Post. His blog post covers all the tried and true strategies of dishonest folk everywhere; quote mining, lies, defamation and an appeal to the readers worst instincts, though the attempt at the latter is so juvenile, the persuasion value is probably nil.

It must be noted that everything Harold writes should be seen through the filter of his personal agenda, which is that if the family, for whatever reason, decides that their offspring is too much of a burden, then the State should provide care. Basically it’s a return to institutionalisation. Naturally any attempts to understand autistic people or refer to aspects of autism that may be positive or even neutral are to be undermined at the first opportunity in case some official takes note and might think that institutionalisation may be highly inappropriate for autistics, simply because they are autistic. That an autism advocate has such an attitude is passing strange but this is Canada, where as Michelle Dawson has remarked with considerable accuracy:

““Autism advocacy” is the widespread effort to make the world as free of autism — that is, of autistic people — as possible. “

Quote Mining

Interestingly, Harold’s quotes cover those aspects that mitigate Canada Post’s actions or highlight the disability factor. Do read them, What is entirely absent are those aspects of the case that are so important to parents who know, not merely fear, that their offspring are going to face that same sort of discrimination in the workplace. That the Tribunal recognised the following is pure gold to worried parents:

“the Tribunal finds it disturbing for the future of autistic people that they be seen because of their condition to pose a threat to the safety of others and some form of nuisance in the workplace. An employer has a duty to ensure not only that all employees work in a safe environment but also that ill perceptions about an employee's condition due to poor or inadequate information about his disability lead other employees to have negative and ill-founded perceptions about him.”

What sort of an advocate is this?

Lies and Let’s do a spot of defamation

Harold Doherty does not like Dr Laurent Mottron and he frequently and probably erroneously attributes an anti-ABA position to him. In order to bring his name into disrepute, Harold is not as careful as he ought to be. Though ‘care’ may be insinuating that Harold is simply careless rather than adopting the age old tactic that if you sling enough mud, some of it will stick eventually. Be that as it may, Harold once again gets the facts wrong:

“The expert evidence was provided solely by a Dr. M called as a witness by Ms. Dawson. Dr. M. was qualified as a credible expert witness by the Tribunal despite his close ties to Ms. Dawson:pertaining to Ms.Dawson’s condition.”

Ms Dawson didn’t call any witnesses and Dr M, otherwise known as Dr Laurent Mottron was there in his capacity as a well known and highly regarded researcher, in other words, as an expert on autism. Insinuating that his credibility could be compromised by his working relationship with Ms Dawson is Harold’s little stab at defamation. Note, it looks like Harold has cleaned up this post somewhat. The original accused Michelle of having covered up her role in Auton. That’s the real deal in legally liable defamation.

What sort of an advocate is this?

Juvenile Dementia

The majority of the post is devoted to taking pot shots at Dr Mottron. Most of this is incredibly juvenile and in the form of references to the ‘mysterious Dr M’. This is surprising because Dr Mottron’s testimony to the Tribunal is incredibly informative about autism (see pages 24 to 29). What parent wouldn’t want to know about this information. It’s not as if there is such a pile of it to be found. Harold’s reaction is to harp on yet again about the statement made by Dr Mottron and Michelle that to search for a cure is nonsensical. This is hardly controversial no matter how Harold likes to spin it. We have no way of curing a brain configuration laid out in the first trimester of gestation, which is what a cure necessarily entails. It cannot be done, not now and not for the forseeable future.

What sort of an advocate is this.?