Sunday, July 25, 2010

On My Recent Conference Presentation

My Autreat presentation went pretty well, I think. I uploaded the slides to the conference's Yahoo group, if anyone's interested.

Or, alternately, feel free to ask and I'll send them to you.

On the flip side, things have been extraordinarily hectic here. Between an "interesting" (one of my professors has decided that deducting points from my grade for autistic literalism is acceptable behavior), being swamped with schoolwork, and being otherwise preoccupied, I haven't really been able to spare much energy for blogging.

That said, however, I really should have written more. Sorry.

In any case, I just realized that I'd only posted one of the two essays I sent in as supplementary material for my presentation. As such, I'm posting the other:

How does it harm autistics?

Pseudoscientific medicine intended to "cure autism" harms autistics in a wide variety of ways. First and most obviously, the treatments themselves are often harmful. The financial harm to families is often substantial, with many families spending simply absurd amounts of money – some even mortgaging their homes – to pay for "treatments" that can be considered fraudulent at best. Many pseudoscientific treatments require considerable effort to implement while delivering illusory or placebo-equivalent benefit (or even producing harm). Families become emotionally invested in the method, and are often incredibly disappointed when it doesn't work. Sometimes the family avoids this disappointment by seeking out ever deeper and darker depths of woo.

The acceptance of pseudoscientific medicine promotes substandard care due to undertrained practitioners who bypass the relevant licensure requirements. It imposes double-standards on pseudoscientific and scientific practitioners, standards which inevitably favor the pseudoscientists and undermine the constant efforts of scientific practitioners to improve standards of care. It provides false knowledge of how to deal with real problems, and encourages people to ignore, disregard, or remain ignorant of a wide variety of standards of medical and research ethics, and encourages default logic in treatment.

It provides countless confounds to research aimed at helping professionals understand and help autistics and interferes with the conducting of such research, making it harder for genuine scientists to recruit participants.

It encourages the reification of autism, demonizes our neurology, and acts to dehumanize autistics. It promotes a culture of desperation and prevents acceptance of our differences. It legitimatizes the exploitation of us and our neurology by various political groups. It even distracts from real issues and endlessly complicates the discussion on autism.

Perhaps it is more meaningful to ask, "How doesn't pseudoscientific medicine harm autistics?" It would certainly be a far shorter list.

It's worth noting that the list in the presentation itself was longer -- I added several items after I wrote the above. Sometimes "Gyah" doesn't quite cut it.

No comments:

Post a Comment