Wednesday, August 29, 2007

(Non)Sense and Sensibility



This week, in a move that can only be described as "Out of this world", the lawyer for Lisa Nowak (the former astronaut who stalked and assaulted the girlfriend of a fellow astronaut) is laying the grounds for an insanity defense because she:

...suffered from major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia and "brief psychotic disorder with marked stressors," defense attorney Donald Lykkebak wrote. ...

In the court document, Lykkebak also indicates that Nowak may suffer from Asperger's Disorder. ...


Of course this is not the first time that some form of autism has been linked with criminal behavior. The Virginia shootings a year ago were a classic example. One wonders when "autistic bashing" will fall out of favor, but I guess we should expect it when there is a vocal minority in families affected by autism that uses derogatory language when referring to autistics.


Meanwhile, much more down to earth (in oh so many ways) was a story recounting how a brother of an autistic person and some of his friends just finished roller blading from Florida to Maine in the U.S. (2000 miles/3200 km) to raise funds and awareness about autism. Their group they formed is called "Rolling for Autism".

Dan Tatar (whose brother Ben is autistic) and four friends from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. made some comments at the finish line of their journey:

..."It's not a disease; it's not an illness. It's something that a lot of people have. They're interesting people; they're great people. The support network of their families and friends is incredible. That's why these people are so successful," he said, as his brother Ben hollered "Yeah!" to the crowd. ...


One of the above stories will be picked up by major news outlets, and the other, while it had significant support from a number of individuals and groups, is likely destined to be seen by a much smaller audience. I encourage all to check out the Rolling for Autism website, and drop them (or your favorite pro-autism group) a donation. Positive voices need to be heard and supported.

11 comments:

David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

"One wonders when 'autistic bashing' will fall out of favor, but I guess we should expect it when there is a vocal minority in families affected by autism that uses derogatory language when referring to autistics."

Whilst ever the likes of JBJr exist, it's never going to stop.

Joseph said...

When the next thing comes along. A generation back it would've been schizophrenia.

This is just starting for autism.

Steve D said...

Thanks for pointing these out. I love the story about the roller bladers.

Bink said...

I supported the Rolling For Autism team and hope others might as well. Dan sent me a very thoughtful email when I questioned one of the sponsors of their site. I am glad to see people trying to raise funds to try to support autistic people, not eliminate them.

Fore Sam said...

David,
I only use derogatory language to describe phoney autistics whose deranged rantings are harmful to real autistics.
I use exact language to describe the horror of autism which is useful in pointing out how desperately a cure is needed for everyone on the spectrum, even you.
I try to help those with a diminished capacity, such as yourself, realize that living at full capacity will improve their lives.
I hope that clarifies things, Dave.

kristi said...

Awesome! Awareness is the key.

Do'C said...

I use exact language to describe the horror of autism which is useful in pointing out how desperately a cure is needed for everyone on the spectrum, even you.


Fore Sam,

The lab called, the humancy dececny chip was successfully installed and you brain is ready for pick up in will call.

Fore Sam said...

DoC,
Lying to people about the cause of their condition is not what I consider human decency.

Club 166 said...

Fore Sam,

I deliberately allow people a lot of leeway to discuss ideas. Personal attacks are not allowed in my house.

You crossed the line with your first post, and deserved what you got back in return.

Now just stop, before I'm forced to ban you from here.

Thank you.

Joe

Joeymom said...

Just stopping in to say hello. Hope you're having a good week, and that Buddy Boy is settling back into school nicely.

That Rolling For Autism is cool. i hope Andy takes his role as brother so well. So far, he seems to be feelign a little left aside, despite now having his Mommy all to himself all day again. But then, he's three years old. ;)

Club 166 said...

Sweet Pea gets her nose out of joint sometimes, too. She was complaining the other day that she wanted to be autistic, too, so she could go on neat field trips like Buddy Boy did during his Autism day camp this summer. I guess that's a good thing.

Joe