Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nothing to do with autism

Yesterday I returned from a conference, which took place in the rather scenic building you see here.

It's the first conference for a while where I wasn't presenting, and the first conference that has had nothing to do with either autism, disability or education so it made a refreshing change.

In fact it was a conference on research ethics in the generality, my interest in attending being informed by my increasing concern over the ethics of autism research in particular, as has been reflected here and elsewhere.

It was certainly worthwhile for me to attend for a variety of reasons concerned with my academic development, career and of course campaigning effectiveness.

Firstly and foremostly I was there to learn, to learn more about what the current discourses in ethics are, from the various philosophical, practical, legal and medical perspectives and to understand them in the context of "doing ethics" that is to say the usual procedure that any research student has to go through in order to gain approval for their particular enquiry.

Secondly it was an opportunity to step back from my current fields (although of course there are the obvious overlaps) and realise here is a new and exciting area for me to take an interest in with a variety of opportunities presented in terms of both future involvement or possible research.

And finally an opportunity to realise that I do not have to remain a "one trick pony" in terms of how I can ultimately progress beyond my doctorate, which having provided me with the tools for academic enquiry and discourse does not necessarily have to progress in the direction of autism. I have much more potentially to offer than that, and indeed given the current climate in the higher education sector I do need to consider as many alternatives as possible when looking for what follows as I certainly cannot ensure getting a post involved in education and autism specifically.

Not that I leave my autism behind particularly, because it is always there for those who have the ability to recognise what they see, and some of them certainly did see it.

The session in the pub afterwards was as instructive as any of the formal sessions (as these sessions usually are) but had to be tempered with a certain amount of curiosity about me. For instance: the following progression of beer fuelled questioning: - "I hope you don't mind me asking but ......  I hope you don't mind me asking an awkward question but .... I hope you don't mind me asking another awkward question but ..." Me: - "no I don't mind because you are obviously going to ask it anyway"

Or elsewhere the inevitable social enquiry as to what one is studying and why one is interested in it, where although it is not my intention to overtly "out" my diagnosis it does emerge as my reason and motivation for having an academic interest in autism to be followed with the sometimes inevitable comment "
"You must be very high functioning then, because you are nothing like x's autistic child I know"

Oh woe is me, out comes a long line of explanation, and the unstated response "Of course I am not like the child you know, you are obviously a very high functioning neurotypical to be at University because you are not like y's neurotypical child I know"

Children and adults, never the same the thing so why the comparison... Ho hum, that I suppose is one thing I will never escape even if I do escape into an alternate academic engagement.

Well I am Larry Arnold, I am autistic (with a better knowledge of what that means than the armchair diagnostician, or the person who has only seen one autistic person)
I am not Temple Grandin, or the rain man, or even Shakespeare's stereotypical infant "mewling and puking in the nurses arms" Have you got that yet?

My success is nothing to do with Autism, it's what I do, and if I didn't would it matter to you ?


Norton Gunthorpe said...

"Well I am Larry Arnold, I am autistic... ..."

"My success is nothing to do with Autism... ...".

I am Norton Gunthorpe, I am autistic - I have a DMS IV-TR 299.8 diagnosis.

I am Norton Gunthorpe, I am Autistic - I have a self-evident, well-attested and distinctive cognitive style that in the absence of a pathological model would still cleave me from Corpus Homo.

The truth is autism (DSM style) is on its way to the phenotypic and genetic dustbin.

If you do not realise this, then your time in the Whoop has been wasted.

A veritable Marmoset inter Silverbacks. If so, who is your Professor Feilding, I wonder?

The quesion is: Are Autistics to be extirpated along with autism?

Quo Vadis, Mr Rex? Quo Vadis?

The author said...

Quo Vadis indeed.

Constantly looking for new paths ahead of me in that Yellow wood.

An ethical dilemma, to tread down the untrodden grass or to further stamp down the grass someone else has trodden down before me, turning it into a muddy morass.

Apart from anything else I am getting very tired of the same circular arguments in autism.

I do get annoyed when someone insists that his autism has prevented him from becoming a researcher. It hasn't he has prevented himself by not investigating all the alternatives.

If at the end of the day he said that economics prevented him from being a researcher, or lack of present qualifications, or other peoples prejudices prevented him from being a researcher I'd be more willing to accept that. Those are all problems I have faced one way or another as have many others, with or without autism.

Oh dear have I said too much, do I hear the lions roaring in the arena?

Norton Gunthorpe said...

The fate of the Academic Manqué in another Timeline, is likely to be the same Gerldization, suffered by Dawson and that PhD that's shacked up with Steve.

I'd imagine soon, they'll get to the point of waving a Bursary at you.

I shall return later. I need to do some reading before continuing.

Norton Gunthorpe said...

That should of course been Geraldization.

I have Dome my Reading, and then...

I've been thinking and I've been thinking 'till there's nothin' I ain't thunk...

It maybe my Autistic hyperfocus, but I personally feel that our Great Debate is qualatively different and by far the more important, than the many other Great Debates we are currenly immersed in.

Man has truly become God. It is up to us to draft the new Vulgate. I'm basing mine on the truth:

in principio creavit Homo caelum et terram... ait faciamus Deus ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram...

So, again Dicit ei Laurentius Rex Domine, Quo Vadis?

Answers on a postcard or the back of a stickied-down greetings card envelope to the usual adress. Closing date is two weeks from tomorrow. We cannot return your thoughts but there will be a small prize for the most original.

The author said...

Is this guy in the whoop or out of it.

Vamonos Muchachos a las puertas del infierno y de regreso. (without passing Guantanemo I might add judiciosly)

And if you have never seen that movie, do. It is a classic.

The author said...

Unless you prefer this one of course

I'll leave you to judge who is a better singer from my recent selections :)

Norton Gunthorpe said...

I have to say introducing Cuba's answer to Wilfred Bramble into the discussion has non-plussed me.

My mother was quite strict about the musicians we had in the house and I had to content myself with Ernesto Lecuona - I have one of his albums from around 1954 and I'm looking forward to publishing it on the InterWebs.

Che left to show fraternal (flangernal?) solidarity with the Baboons. The cultural differences where bound to get him into trouble.

The author said...

Even in death Ernesto was like a relic of the wild west,

Compare these two iconic pictures, the latter being John Wesley Hardin, who surely existed in the 'time of the preacher'.

Even Moondog celebrated his outlaw cousin in song

The author said...

Oh well never mind Guerillas in the Mist, I suppose the question is more one of becoming a pig that walks on two legs. (so why didn't you say so!)

I have an interesting relationship with Autism Speaks and there UK offshoot, some of which is unrepeatable here for legal reasons, but I am not averse to taking there money, indeed, was Robin Hood averse to taking the Sheriff of Nottingham's money?

Rather it went on me than some crackpot researcher on a quest for some rather less holy grail.

Norton's Lost His Password said...

It is They who walk on the Two Legs of their assumed genetic superiority.

The more money extracted from Steve's wallet the better.

When I was at a 'Certain University' they were absolutely cock-a-hoop at Reagan's Star Wars plans, despite being dyed-in-the-wool tofu-weavers.

The grant applications, research proposals were despatched by the score.