The “Articles of Understanding” that GRASP and Autism Speaks have written, are not about understanding at all. The only thing they will promote is misunderstanding on all sides.
Alison Tepper Singer’s article can basically be reduced to the old, “LFA bad. HFA good. Don’t you get it yet?” stereotype that looks good on paper if you don’t understand what’s behind it. I emailed her urging her to read Getting the Truth Out, but I never received any particular reply. Her argument shows no subtlety or understanding of the real issues, just the standard and fairly naive response that of course people would want to cure someone like her daughter, who she portrays in an entirely negative light (and with the standard litany of “shocking” descriptors). Not that portraying her in an entirely negative light is so surprising in someone whose only stated reason for not killing her (obviously very loving, by the way) autistic daughter is because she has a non-autistic daughter at home.
Carley’s, though, is little better. He also discusses those he regards as LFA, but seems to not have spent enough time around us to do more than repeat hackneyed stereotypes. Happy in our own worlds? Give me a break. Not that, given the hostility I’ve heard about (from several GRASP members) in parts of the GRASP community, towards non-speaking auties, most of them have probably never even met one of us. And that “white-walled room” on my website is my living room. I don’t really find the concept of so-called regression all that frightening (or all that accurate).
So the entire debate between the two of them, as regards those of us who have at some point or another been labeled low-functioning, is between “Low-functioning autistic people are bags of misery and dysfunction,” and “Low-functioning autistic people are ‘happy in their own worlds’.”
Sorry, but, both of you? It’s way more complicated than that, and portraying the divides in the autism community that way (as well as the divides in what people think of those labeled at some point as low-functioning) does a total disservice to all of us. And makes a horrible organization sound more “understanding” than it is, merely for patronizingly informing us of the existence of people who can’t speak etc. (trust me, lady, I’ve noticed).