UK Homeopathic Grifters Try to Kill Autistic Kids

The “Autism cure” industry harms kids and uses ableism to fuel their grift. Case in point:

Smits, the creator of CEASE therapy, wrote in his book that “all kinds of detoxification reactions may occur” as a result of the treatment. Most common is fever, he said, which “should not be treated with medication, as it is a healthy reaction of the organism and not a disease! … Eliminations like diarrhea, flu, expectoration, and bad-smelling and cloudy urine should also be left alone, because they are a part of the healing process.”

One child he treated had diarrhoea that “relieved his system so much that his autism almost disappeared instantly”. After 10 days, however, his mother was so concerned that she took him to the doctor, who gave him immodium to stop the diarrhoea.

“Almost immediately the child had a setback and became autistic as before. The diarrhea was a perfect detoxification for his bowels and brain. Neither the doctor not the mother understood this, and the medication interfered with the progress of the cure,” claimed Smits.

I am not going to get into the big homeopathy debate, but this … surely this we can all agree is wrong and should be stopped.

Verne Troyer, RIP

Eugene Grant reacts to the death of this actor with dwarfism:

I hate the character Mini-Me – the replica, the biddable pet, the victim of violence made to appear funny. But I was moved and saddened to hear of Verne Troyer’s passing and to learn more about his struggles. I am thinking of those who knew and loved him, those he knew and loved, those who now have an empty space in their life. It should not take the death of a member of the dwarfism community to prompt a sincere and meaningful discussion about the prejudice and discrimination many dwarf and disabled people face in their everyday lives. But it is a discussion we really need to have.

Don’t Normalize Murder: Dallas Filicide

The Dallas Morning News has a piece on parents, as they age, contemplating murdering their adult kids. Explaining away these murders as understandable, however, promotes the notion that it’s a reasonable act. The risk of contagion with such reporting is high.

Reporters: read ASAN’s anti-filicide kit before writing about filicide, please. And if you are going to write about the murders of disabled people talk to the experts on preventing the murders of disabled people (i.e. ASAN is a good start). Talk to disabled people. The story above quotes a parent who runs an organization, which is fine I guess, but talk to disabled people.

Koch on Campus: ASU Version

Around the country, the Koch Brothers are donating to universities to create right-wing-only counter institutions within more open institutions, creating precisely the kind of ideological bubble they claim to deplore. Here’s the latest from Arizona State University.

I served as the director of the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University from 2012 to 2017. I had a unique vantage point to watch the birth of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

The new school came in the wake of the creation of “freedom” centers largely funded by the Charles Koch Foundation: The Center for the Philosophy of Freedom at the University of Arizona and the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty and the Center for Political Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University, the latter nested within our school in the form of a certificate program and contributing faculty.

I welcomed the new perspectives the center and faculty brought to our curriculum. I felt then as I do now: we are strengthened by all forms of diversity.

Welcoming Koch gifts undoubtedly came with risks, then, as it does now. The Charles Koch Foundation has infused existing college curriculum with libertarian ideology by supporting strategic hires of new professors in existing departments in universities and colleges across the country.

More recently, it has circumvented history, philosophy, economics, and political science departments altogether by financing the creation of new schools and departments that contain only professors that share their conservative views. These are troubling trends.

The Right Wing on Campus

They’re coming for your student government.

“The American right, aided alas by far too many allegedly centrist writers, keep attacking left-wing academics for what the right wing is actually doing. Right-wing provocateurs and their violent supporters are what’s threatening free expression on campus—not safe spaces or trigger warnings. Christian schools make students worship the flag and believe in hyper-specific theological dogma (it’s often not enough to worship Jesus; you have to worship the right kind of Jesus), enforcing groupthink to a degree impossible at secular universities. Now, Turning Point wants to take over your student government as well, to make sure that only the right groups get funding.”

Asperger and Nazi Collaboration

At long last, Herwig Czech’s study of Hans Asperger’s complicity in Nazi eugenic programs was published. My understanding is that he has been talking about his findings for some years, but only allowing select authors to view his documents. There’s also a new book by Edith Sheffer, who wrote this op-ed. The book comes out in May. The news, thanks to Czech, is not a surprise, but of course it’s generated significant news coverage.

I’m recommending folks read this stunning conversation between Steve Silberman and Max Sparrow. Sparrow writes, “It is deeply subversive to live proudly despite being living embodiments of our culture’s long standing ethical failings.”

And then read this twitter thread by Ari Ne’eman for an overview of what this finding doesn’t mean for diagnostic shifts.

More to come as I carefully read the article and Sheffer’s book.

The Ship Who Sang: AT in SF

I wrote about John Scalzi’s assisted tech series, Lock In and Head On. It’s an interesting series from a disability culture series in many ways, but especially because there’s so little sci-fi really focused on assistive tech as a major plot issue. There’s lots of assistive tech around sci-fi, but not as a central point. I wrote about an old favorite from when I was a kid:

While many works of science fiction explore the transhumanist potential of separating the mind from the body, I struggle to think of many that engage such premises through the lens of assistive technology. Anne McCaffery, one of the most famous speculative fiction authors of the 20th century, did so in her Ship Who Sang series. In McCaffery’s universe, physically disabled babies are euthanized unless their minds are sufficiently exceptional. The brains of those lucky few are implanted into life-supporting shells to become organic computers, and some of them get to become spaceships and roam the universe. Those novels were published in the 1960s. I read them in the 1980s, as a teenager, and thought them marvelous. Today, I shudder. I’m not alone. In an essay titled “The Future Imperfect,” Sarah Einstein explains why that universe feels so grim to contemporary readers: “In McCaffrey’s world, disability is so depersonalizing that the very promising are rewarded with slavery and disembodiment; those who don’t pass the test for these rewards are put to death.” The problem is that McCaffery—like me as a teenage reader—didn’t really understand that The Ship Who Sang isn’t a tale of liberation; it’s a horror story.

Got any others? The VISOR in Star Trek: The Next Generation had its plot moments (and was inconsistently written). Others?

#AbolishICE: Man with Down Syndrome Threatened with Deportation

I am so angry. There are so many outrages. But this one … ICE is magnifying the vulnerability of this Latinx disabled man. Meanwhile, based on the reporting, it feels like things were going pretty well for him with a strong support structure and a job locally.

“Just following orders” is not, and never has been, a moral statement. When this era ends, we’re going to have to abolish ICE. It needs to become a consensus position. And the people who did this are going to need to find other lines of work.