Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Amanda Baggs Wired Article

So I finally get around to reading the Amanda Baggs article in this month's Wired only to find out, of course, that the thing is posted online.

I think the most fascinating thing in the article is mention of the closest I have seen so far to a SECOND Amanda Baggs - namely someone named Michelle Dawson.

Now unfortunately Michelle Dawson doesn't blog as often as Amanda, but there was something about the article that really caught my attention. It said, "Michelle Dawson doesn't drive or cook. Public transportaion overwhelms her."

Interesting ... now The Old Man drives and cooks, although the way he drives and cooks would scare the average person on the street to death. And public transportation certain has overwhelmed him from time to time.

Of course, if you have any Google Alerts on "Amanda Baggs" set up for the last couple of weeks you have been treated with a most FASCINATING barrage of "Oh what a fascinating video Amanda made," peppered with the usual ranting of a certain individual who seems convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Amanda is not autistic AT ALL.

Now there has been some traffic associated with some of those posts that have caught my attention because the concepts have come up before. Mainly it seems to be that many people with autistic children don't believe Amanda's case is very applicable to the situation of their own children at all.

Yes, there does seem to be a WIDE range of functionality associated with this condition.

There have been those of course who have complatined severely that the Dustin Hoffman performance in Rain Man was not very representative of real-life people with autism, and yet, let me tell you, I shot almost bolt-upright in my seat when I saw that movie - "That's The Old Man!"

Minus the not knowing what to do when a smoke alarm goes off.

On the other hand - I take that back.

If a smoke alarm went off The Old Man might not stand there and beat his head, but I'd put 80:20 odds that he would have to call ME first before figuring out that he needed to call 911.

Are these people "low-functioning autistics", "high-functioning autistics" or severe Asperger's cases?

Amanda once told me, "Here's the deal ... I think it's ALL autism." But, even if it's not, how anyone can say that a person exhibiting such behavior is not in need of assistance is quite beyond my capacity.

And perhaps it's not - perhaps whatever has afflicted my father, my cousin, my great-uncle, and countless other people I have known has NOTHING to do whatsoever with the condition that leaves children utterly unable to communicate and constantly frustrated to the point of needing to hurt themselves.

But even if that were the case, that doesn't change the fact in the slightest that those individuals should be entitled as human beings to the understanding and assistance they need ...

Labels: ,


At March 10, 2008 at 10:19 AM, Anonymous mand said...

""... I think it's ALL autism." But, even if it's not, how anyone can say that a person exhibiting such behavior is not in need of assistance ..."

Hear hear, it's not the label that matters.

I'm inclined to agree with Amanda - it's all on a sliding scale, which is why they call it a spectrum. Someone can have a diagnosis but need no support, or have no diagnosis but need loads of support in daily life.

At March 10, 2008 at 11:03 PM, Blogger Foresam said...

Amanda Baggs is not autistic.

At March 11, 2008 at 6:19 AM, Anonymous mand said...

1. What do you think she has got, since you don't think it's autism?
2. What are your (relevant) qualifications?
3. As i said yesterday, it's not the label that matters anyway.

At March 12, 2008 at 4:05 PM, Anonymous Amanda said...

I find the description of Michelle as "another Amanda Baggs" pretty odd.

I am starting to wonder how much you have read by autistic people. I co-run a whole list for autistic people who have trouble with daily living tasks, and it's enormous. It's even known that autistic people's abilities when it comes to daily living have less relation to our academic abilities than non-autistic people. There's a pretty wide bunch of people in our mailing list, and not all of us have the exact same sort of trouble with daily living, nor the exact same distribution of skills in general, etc., but we all have various problems with those things or we wouldn't be on the list. And there's a lot of us. It's nothing special about me and Michelle, certainly.

At March 13, 2008 at 7:19 AM, Blogger Axinar said...

Yes, that was a bit of an overly broad generalization.

What I meant was Michelle seems to be another example of someone with very, very high skills in certain specific areas who is also quite impaired on "Activities of Daily Living".

Much of course like The Old Man which is what got me interested in these issues in the first place ... :)

At March 13, 2008 at 2:38 PM, Anonymous Amanda said...

Yeah, off the top of my head, there's Laura Tisoncik, Denise DeGraf, Jim Sinclair, Cal Montgomery, Kim Duff, Joel Smith, and those are just a few people I can think of who've got writing on the web and who fit that profile. It's pretty common.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker