A Response to Eileen Lamb’s Article “Autism and the Dangers of the Neurodiversity Movement”

This article is long. It used to be longer. The original intro is now its own article exploring the division between neurodiversity advocates and everyone else. It can be viewed by clicking here.

Instead of pointing fingers at anyone or laying blame anywhere, this article has one aim: to demonstrate how autistic people would read Eileen Lamb’s article. The author of this article is listed as “NeuroClastic.” It is a summation of discussion among our contributors who discussed this article at length.

While we certainly don’t speak for all autistic people, we are a very representative sample of people at all points on the spectrum. So, while there are going to be a few autistic people who will disagree with this article, the comments will likely indicate how the vast majority of autistic people would react to Lamb’s, “Autism and the Dangers of the Neurodiversity Movement.”

It Begins…

Before Lamb even starts into her article, there’s a plug for her upcoming book.  Autistic people are already going to be reacting with suspicion to this because if someone is selling something, then they have a motive.

Information-sharing and facts are sacred to us. If you’ll notice, there are no ads on NeuroClastic. We sell no merchandise. There are no fees to access our materials. Our contributors are volunteers. There’s a reason for this, and it’s probably a major contributing factor to why 85% of autistics with at least a 4 year university degree are unemployed.

We are not salespeople in personality so much as we are scientists. We like to present the information and have it stand on its own.

A person who will sell something under the headline of a sensationalized title related to an extremely vulnerable population is already someone autistic people don’t trust.  We are critical thinkers. We have to know why someone does something.

Exploitation is a cardinal offense which is dramatically against our neurology and our values. The “aut” in autistic has the same root as “autonomy” for a reason. We value personal autonomy and privacy highly, and that goes for all persons, no matter the age or ability level.

Our neurotypical parents, teachers, and employers don’t always love our reluctance to perceive or respect ranks. This contrast is one way neurotypical and autistic parents tend to differ in parenting styles and philosophies.

Because we’re not as predisposed to social ranks, it’s not as important to autistics for our children to be “normal.” Overwhelmingly, we embrace difference and value it. We like differences.

A Massively-Relevant Disclaimer:

Autistic people are hard on each other. We aren’t polite and don’t sugarcoat so much in the insider community. Our communication styles are intimidating to neurotypicals, so we change our approach and try to soften our speech for them.

But when we confront each other, there is little instinct to be polite.

And the world compares autistic people. We are rare in the general population, so the whole of us are judged by the actions of whichever autistic person someone knows. Because of this, we tend to be ruthless about keeping each other righteous.

Lamb knows this.

So, let’s break down Lamb’s article a piece at a time:

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while but didn’t. I couldn’t. Partially because I was scared of the backlash, partially because this topic makes me feel deep emotions that I don’t like dealing with — from feeling angry to sad and everything in between. Today I want to shed some light on the dangers of the neurodiversity movement.

-Eileen, the writer of controversy

“Scared of the backlash”

This is not language that is natural to autistics. It sets off alarm bells to us. We do not prioritize our own emotions over logic, and we don’t talk about our emotions in the same way as neurotypicals. If we do, we’re acting.

We talk about what is fair and just instead of the emotional collateral of something.

This seems like language that isn’t ours. It’s not relatable to us. It’s one reason that we often are misinterpreted by non-autistic people as being unfeeling or rationalizing. We feel intensely, but our values come before those emotions.

We also don’t generalize like this.  A movement is not an organization with a set of guiding principles.  It’s a direction towards a goal that many people want to see happen. The individuals participating in a movement are not representatives of the movement.

Also, to be “scared” of autistic people is very against autistic values, too.  Autistic people are under extreme threat, and being talked to harshly on the internet is not high on the list.  Other autistic people are not our enemies.  People period aren’t our enemies.  Principles and practices, systems and institutions are our enemies.

Lamb then posts a series of Twitter messages from autistic people.  Most of the comments are noble. Some are a bit cringe-worthy.

“He’s a human being.  You’re grotesque.”

“It makes you a horrible parent if your autistic kid knows you’re grieving for a non-autistic child you never had.”

If you hear about child abuse, rape, or murder, you probably feel extreme ways about the person who committed those offenses. To autistic people, regarding your autistic child as a disappointment or someone to grieve, exploiting their autism for emotional validation or product placement, and sharing the dehumanizing details parents often share about autistic children is a cardinal offense.

A lot of autistic adults, probably the majority, can tell you what it was like to be the scapegoat child and the disappointment in a family of non-autistics– which is why we are so intent on helping parents to not make those same mistakes.

Making Money from Autism by Exploiting… Everyone

Autistic people know that most neurotypicals see autism as a tragedy, and that’s unfortunate. Autism is only a tragedy in tragic contexts.

In many contexts, it’s an asset and a bliss. In the autistic community, our relationships are formed quickly, they are profound without any layers of social plastic, and we love and connect intensely. We are instant family.

The reason this happens is we have been on the other side of the world, isolated, where no one understands us and where traits that are prized and valued in our community are seen as deficits and mourned in the broader world.  We relate, and that’s rare before we find our way into the community.

We know, better than anyone, how it feels when family members aren’t relating and bonding in a natural way with their autistic loved ones.  For allistics to relate requires them to go uncomfortably against their neurology and do things that feel counter-intuitive. To a neurotypical person, not making eye contact and not verbalizing emotions or cuddling feels like a failure to connect.

Conversely, to an autistic person, forcing eye contact feels like agreeing to be someone else in order to make others feel comfortable.  Autistic people feel hopelessly sad when others fail to understand the deep emotional connection and relevance of their special interests and how those things serve as complex metaphors for something deeper.  Those statements of fact don’t have spoken emotion in them, but it’s implied and provides a context to discuss the abstract and find the patterns in human behavior and experience.

Autistic people badly want to help non-autistic people understand their children. It’s literally of life-and-death importance and will increase the happiness of parents and their children.

But, autistic people communicate with intensity.  They get frustrated by needing to say the same things over and over.  They’re traumatized. They don’t want to repeat what parents should (in autistic perspectives) already know: that autistic people are not broken neurotypicals.  They’re different altogether in many ways, and that’s okay.  It has to be.

Eileen Lamb knows this.  She knows at a sophisticated level of nuance exactly why neurotypical parents grieve and exactly what they want to hear.  She also knows at a sophisticated level of nuance exactly why autistic people are so desperate to be heard and are so passionately intense.

And she knows how to provoke autistics with just the right words to elicit an emotional response from them.  This whole article is a compendium of that. She also is fully aware that neurotypical people don’t understand or know about the complexities and the work of the autistic community to make strides in acceptance and human rights for autistics.

So, she speaks the language of the neurotypical.She exploits them, too. She sends the message, “I’m a mommy like you, just a little awkward, and I’m autistic. Everything you’re saying is okay. Those autistic activists are crazy and mean bullies. Keep doing what you’re doing, and while you’re at it, buy this product from my sponsors.”

The point: Autistic people don’t believe Eileen— or any autistic person— feels they can’t communicate non-verbally with another autistic person. We can.

And the right thing to do is teach non-autistic parents how to speak the language of their autistic children.

Buy This Product from my Sponsors

Eileen Lamb is a brand.  She’s a business, managed by Shine Influencers.

She advertises products in the guise of personal blogs… like her book which is scheduled to come out soon.

Or Ball mason jars, the Portal from Facebook, Maty’s natural health drinks, or Vibes ear plugs.  If it’s relevant to the product, she starts her blogs with something like, “I’m a mother to a severely autistic child.”  

Then, she uses her son’s private struggles to sell products like the Goally scheduling device to pair with ABA therapy and the Vibes ear plugs. To even mention her son, to us, feels like a disservice to her child and a violation of his privacy.

In one blog, she talks about potty training her “severely autistic” son, about whom she discloses that he still occasionally pees himself and wets the bed.  This blog is to sell Conni’s waterproof bed pads and training pants. She photographs her six year old son in his training underwear for the blog.

To autistic people, many of whom as college-educated adults still sometimes experience occasional incontinence, this is unconscionable.

It’s a private and embarrassing medical condition associated with sensory processing disorder. What is going to happen when his school-aged peers see that he’s been wetting the bed or wearing potty training underwear? How will he feel about this when he’s an adult?

And autistic people are harder on Lamb because she says she is autistic.  She knows what she does is extremely offensive to autistic values and that autistic people find it harmful.  Instead of course-correcting, though, she found a way to monetize the conflicts between autistic people and neurotypicals by using herself as confirmation bias.  “If Eileen Lamb the autistic person says it’s okay, then it must be okay.”


It’s not okay.

But moving along…

What’s the Neurodiversity Movement?

Lamb’s next portion of her article asks what the neurodiversity movement is.  Here’s a quote from the blog:

What is this thing, you may ask? At first glance it seems like a good idea. Autistic individuals fighting to get autism recognized as something to not be ashamed of, fighting for autistics to not be seen as less-than and not bullied. Cool, right? Of course. I’m all for that. Charlie, me, and all autistic people, we are just as cool and worthy of being loved and respected as anyone else.

Autistic people are rolling their eyes at this point.  We know what’s coming next.

Here’s where it gets tricky: the majority neurodiversity proponents that you can find under the hashtag #ActuallyAutistic are extremists. Not only are their views on autism harmful, but the vocal ones, in my experience, have been very vicious, and constantly attack autism-parents and autistic adults who disagree with them on social media. I’d go as far as to call it harassment in many instances. But here, I’ll try to go through each of their arguments separately.

What the hell?

#ActuallyAutistic is a way of signaling on social media that you are actually autistic. That is literally all it means.

To claim that the majority of autistic people using that hashtag are extremists is to say that autistics are mostly radical bullies. She has established herself as the safe, relatable autistic woman, to attempt to bias parents and loved ones of autistic people to not trust or listen to other autistic adults (and teens). She painted autistic people as monsters.

We’re not.

“The vocal ones”? You mean the ones trying hardest to make things better for people with disabilities?

Autistic people do not “constantly attack” people who disagree with them on social media. It’s fair to say many of us are blunt, but our “attacks” are not attacks on people, they’re attacks on oppression. Sometimes, people are oppressive, and they get called out in all manner of colorful language. Eileen Lamb hears from autistic people all the time because she is purposefully provocative.

Most of us at the Aspergian had never heard of Eileen Lamb until she called out one of our contributors.  So, we responded to her article on Twitter.


This got us banned. But, the people she’s swearing at and provoking to swearing aren’t being banned. This is because she needs more fodder for her screenshot collection, we presume.

What’s ironic is that she’s the dog whistler for the Autistic Dark Web (ADW), a very small, very radical/extremist group of people who claim to be autistic and some parents of autistic children.

ADW is widely-regarded as a hate group. They relentlessly attack and troll autistic people on social media, especially those who are vulnerable. They discuss women’s looks, promote incel ideology, and are alt-right extremists in beliefs.

Some of Lamb’s most dedicated followers are among their ranks.  Here are some screenshots from the Autistic Dark Web, since she is so against trolls and vile online comments from bullies…

neurotypical bullshit

Eugenics, much?  Then there’s this little nugget to someone Eileen Lamb Tweeted today:


But you blocked The Aspergian on Twitter, Eileen.

Then, Eileen makes a post on her page with screenshots of the “attacks” against her.  It’s mind-boggling what she finds to be attacks:


Well… yeah.  Those aren’t attacks.  Attacks are not reactions. Attacks are first strikes. Attacks are against a person, not against beliefs or actions. Someone needs to teach Eileen the difference between attacks and responses. Eileen is the attacker.

Those are benevolent truths.

Autistic people know the consequences of what happens when parents don’t better understand their children’s behaviors and communication styles (even non-verbal communication). The Aspergian hears from parents all the time who are lamenting that they wished they had the information we share when their children were younger, and they feel terrible about their choices. Sometimes, it’s too late, and their children are permanently estranged or no longer living.

We want to help.  Desperately.  This is why we’re so passionate… because we have seen a big picture that isn’t pretty, and we want to save as many people from those realities as possible.

Here are some quotes from some non-autistic parents and loved ones about how learning from autistic people helped them relate to their loved ones:

I found it really helpful to read perspectives from autistic adults because they are able to describe the kinds of experiences my son has in a much clearer way than a child can. He is still figuring life out and has needs but isn’t always able to describe his feelings or know what he needs to help in a situation. Adults who have had lots of time to learn about themselves can give a lot of really helpful ideas about supports. Also I can learn from others’ experiences and try not to repeat the mistakes of previous generations.

-Lisa Rose, mom to 10 year old autistic son, USA

I feel more confident as a parent because of the feedback I’ve gotten from autistic adults. I was able to let go of the fear mongering and “doom and gloom” mindset that I felt in the early stages. Too many professionals made me feel like there wasn’t hope for the future, autistic adults changed that.

-Holly, 30, mother to 5 year old autistic son

I reached out to autistic adults for assistance with my recently-diagnosed 2.5 year old. He stims by hitting his head, and since we live in an apartment, our downstairs neighbor was complaining about the noise. It is also hard to watch your child hit his head that hard to go to sleep or deal with too much sensory input. Autistic adults were able to give me similar stims to redirect him instead of head-banging. He now swings in a quilt and asks for that instead of banging his head. Without the help of autistic people, I don’t know if we would have found a safe way to redirect his head-banging so quickly. The members understood why he did it and knew what substitutes may be best instead of trying a million different things recommended by his therapists, who are great but don’t always have the same insight.

-Samantha, mom to a 2 year old autistic son, USA

My son has autism with PDA (pathological demand avoidance).  I totally had to learn a new way of thinking: reducing demands, how I worded things (I tended to use a lot of idioms)… Could what I say be misinterpreted? Use of humour.
When his anxiety was building up, how could I bring it down!?
Learnt a new language with words like propreception, interception, and synesthesia.
My son (9yrs) and I are trying to work things together. I make mistakes still, but I apologise immediately. We try and follow a peaceful parenting approach.
I’ve learnt that he needs to know he’s loved, especially as he had a hard time at school. We home educate as he can’t cope in mainstream and the SEN schools in our area don’t really get PDA.

-Eirlys, Cheshire mum of a 9yr old autistic PDAer

I looked to autistic adults for insight when I realized how much they understood and related to my kids. I wanted to understand like they did. I have learned so much to help my kids. What I wasn’t expecting was how much my perspective changed, which is way more than I was looking for or expecting. Life-changing. Very thankful!

-Nanci, California, USA. Mom to 2 amazing autistics, ages 17 and 21

As a child I could see someone in distress, I would sit with them quietly until they could let me know what they needed. My autistic brother taught me this. I gained a better relationship with my brother as a child sitting and playing a football manager game that I had no interest in than any other activities. I learnt to meet people where they were to build a connection, and that is such a valuable skill for life. My brother who was resigned by professionals to needing to be institutionalised for life influenced so much of my life and has gone on to live a very full life of his own. I went on to work with autistic people, I built great relationships because I listened to them and they to me. Respect doesn’t cost anything, it shouldn’t be lost because of a stereotype or a label. My own autistic child has grown up in open discussions, he’s been enabled because I’ve asked the questions, listened to the answers no matter how it’s been communicated and I continue to listen to autistic voices because they’re important, because they come from experience, because a person’s communication is valuable to human connection. Why wouldn’t you want a connection with someone who sees the world differently from you?

For every parent who has battled with a child’s tantrums or meltdowns, no matter their neurology, for every professional who has seen someone struggling and wondered how to help, for every person who has a problem and can’t find an answer, for every walk of life there is a lesson to be learnt. Learn how to listen, learn how to be there without imposing, learn patience, learn valuable life skills.

-Sally, UK

I’ve always believed kids were worth listening to, but hearing how differently autistic people experience the world made me know that in order to be a good mom, I have to listen to how my son experiences the world. Otherwise, I can’t help him with his specific struggles or make him feel supported. Also, I REALLY appreciate the autistic people who explained why ABA isn’t good.

-Dee, mom to an autistic son, USA

I was introduced to [ a social media group ] as mother with a four year old who was recently diagnosed as autistic. The “experts” strongly suggested ABA therapy, as it may be the difference between my son ever having his independence or not. I was, of course, blindly chasing ABA therapy. Autistic adults have given me another perspective, the one that will probably most closely match how my son will feel in 10, 15, or 20 years– a perspective that encouraged me to use my own critical thinking and logic. A perspective that may have saved my relationship with my son, his own self-esteem, and my pride as a mother. While sometimes it is hard, I always want to believe I know what is best for my children, I have learned so much about parenting my son. And I learned from people who didn’t study a book, but actually walked the road my son is on, and they are advocating for him to have better than they have had themselves.

-Lacey S., mother of an autistic son, Oregon, USA

You get the point… hopefully, you also get the point that non-autistic parents are allowed to talk about autism.

Moving along with Eileen’s blog… she goes into a list of things neurodiversity proponents believe.  I’ll quote them if you can stomach it.

“Parents shouldn’t be allowed to speak about autism.”

-said no neurodiversity advocate ever, at least none that our members have ever heard.  Let’s see how many times people have said that…


So, one person said that, and it was Eileen Lamb.

Then, Lamb goes on to cite one of our contributors, Christa Holmans (also known as NeuroDivergent Rebel) after Eileen has claimed autistics are hostile and exclude people who “express any morsel of negativity about autism,” deeming them “martyr moms.”

The thing is, martyr moms are defined in Christa’s post, which Eileen screenshots.  Does Eileen really think her readers can’t read? Is Eileen cashing in on the fact that people will just blindly believe her accusations when she literally posts evidence which demonstrates the opposite of what she claims? Here it is:


It doesn’t take a gestalt leap to see why this would offend Eileen.

As long as a mom doesn’t build her whole identity around her child’s autism, then she’s not a martyr mom. In fact, Christa has started groups for neurotypical allies.

But Eileen proudly hashtags #martyrmom on social media. She also hashtags #NDcult. She paints neurodiversity proponents (NDs and NTs) as a cult. Classy, Eileen.

Let’s look at some traits of cult leaders:

  1. Garners a following by encouraging rebellion against an established group by villainizing the established group
  2. Exploits others for money or sympathy
  3. Manages cult following by playing a victim
  4. Hypersensitive about managing how others see them/their image or public persona
  5. Feels entitled to praise and sympathy
  6. Becomes angry and insulting when challenged; exiles or outcasts/punishes those who challenge them
  7. Hypersensitive to criticism
  8. Theatrical and hyperbolic to establish self as the center of attention
  9. Communication is one-way and does not listen to or respect others’ communication
  10. Makes an enemy out of those who criticize
  11. Ranks people as superior and inferior and denies those deemed inferior a voice or autonomy
  12. Closely monitors communications and manages public information
  13. Uses platform to advance an agenda
  14. Uses agenda to advance power/money
  15. Is expert at playing the martyr to solidify a following
  16. Isolates the group from the mainstream
  17. Makes self appear different from others like an acceptable “everyman”
  18. Uses sycophants and “fans” to do their dirty work
  19. Tailors leadership to draw in people with low self-esteem or those who are vulnerable
  20. Promotes an us v/s them mentality and insists that others started the “fight”
  21. Shows love and affection to those who most strongly support them.
  22. Distorts facts and truths to create a narrative of victimhood.
  23. Provides members with the illusion that they are doing everything right and only there will they be validated.
  24. Creates a belief system that is employs exploitation and confirmation bias of the prejudices, insecurities, and fears of followers
  25. Does not accept responsibility or only issues passive-aggressive apologies

Her second point:

“Severe autism doesn’t exist.”

We have a ton of articles about this already, but the best place to start if you want to learn why autistics counter the word “severe” is this article about what the spectrum really means. Eileen knows about autism and that it’s a lot more complicated than being verbal or not, but she banks on (pun intended, as in ‘makes money from’) the fact that most non-autistic people don’t understand what autistic neurology really means.

She is using her son as an ambassador of difficulty and proof that autistic people can be severe because they can’t care for themselves– and he’s what, six years old?

Eileen says, repeatedly, that Charlie can’t communicate at all.  This really bothers autistics because everyone communicates.  There are an infinite number of ways to communicate which don’t require words. Our contributors can tell you about some of those ways.


Note, non-autistic mothers, that @ClearAutism is not autistic. That is a neurotypical mother of an autistic child. Autistic people love her, too. Lamb is the one who makes an enemy out of people who disagree.

Yet, in lots of her blogs, Lamb describes Charlie communicating just fine. When he repeats words his dad tells him to say, he gets excited and claps. That’s communication. The frustration and meltdowns he experiences that she puts on blast… that’s communication, too.

Lamb has since deleted that interchange, though.  Presumably because it would look bad for this reason:


She’s engineered quite a dramatic, sensationalized saga of victimhood vs bully. And, she sure knows how to get attention. She wants WaPo to advertise her book, too…

But, she mentions ABA so many times, The Aspergian is beginning to wonder if she is sponsored by an ABA provider.  There sure are a lot of ABA services and behavior analysts sharing her posts…

We know that she ties in ABA with products she peddles on her blog, but is her motive to throw that keyword in there just for search engine optimization, or she is in bed with factions of the multi-billion dollar worldwide ABA monopoly?

We also believe that @ABA4ALL_UK is a front for Autistic Dark Web. Look how they talk to autistic parents:

We’ve put out a request for information from her employer, Shine Influencers, but haven’t yet heard back. So, we’ve filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Federal Trade Commission. We’ll let you know something as soon as we know something.

Eileen’s next point:

“Autism is not a disability, it’s a gift.”

They don’t see autism as a disability so they don’t see a need for medical research, therapy, or a cure. Totally their choice. If there were a cure, I’d take it for myself. I’m high-functioning, but autism affects me in ways that hinder my own happiness. ND activists call people in favor of a cure ableist, eugenists, [sic] and nazis. [sic] They fail to realize that for many autistics, autism is a severe impairment. There are many autistics with self-injurious behaviors, no way of communicating (whether verbal or non-verbal), and no self-care abilities. For these people, the chances of living an independent life are close to 0. The #ActuallyAutistic [sic] speak from a place of privilege of being able to speak about their views online. Some see autism as both a difference and a disability.

-Eileen Lamb, the new Karen

I have never met someone who says that autism isn’t a disability at least some of the time.  They say that it is a difference and not a “disease.”  Because– it’s not a disease. It’s often a disability, especially depending on the environment and demands an autistic person has to meet.

Neurodivergence is how someone’s brain is wired.  Some parts are more developed and some are less developed than a typical brain.  Some parts are more connected, some are less.  Some things are processed in different parts of the brain for autistic people. This produces a different profile of the brain with different strengths and weaknesses from the majority.

A cure would mean that someone is able to re-wire a brain and to cause some cortices to be more developed and some to be less developed.  Look at this graphic demonstrating language processing differences in two subtypes of autism:

See how the brain on the left (Factors 15 and 33) is processing language in the upper right quadrants? How would one “cure” this person, since that’s a fundamental trait of his or her autism?  Damage the right brain?  Remove that cortex and implant it in the left?  See how, again on the left (Factor 15) there is no connectivity on the two left quadrants?

How does one “cure” that, or why even would they want to?  People with brains like this are often prolific writers.  There can be benefits to having limited or no connectivity for some processes and tasks.  It means simultaneously processing information in different parts of the brain in different ways.  It’s a whole different way to exist from the norm, but it is isn’t always negative.

See how absurd the “cure” talk is?  One doesn’t need to be a scientist to understand that brains cannot be “cured” of their way of function.

People with neurodivergent brains are valuable to society.  Extremely.  They always have been. Autistics were responsible for some of humanity’s greatest inventions, art, literature, music, and innovations. 

These differences are disabling in some contexts and assets in others.  But, there is a zero percent chance that a neurodivergent person’s brain can be rearranged, re-connected, and differently-developed.  Even if this were possible, it would change that person’s core self.

So, the neurodiversity movement is about asking people to accept these differences and to embrace the positives and accommodate the negatives.  Sometimes, as with any disability, the impact these differences has on a person is devastating; often, the devastation is more a result of intolerance than of any natural deficit. 

If a neurodiverse person experiences pain and overstimulation from florescent lights, then it is a simple fix to change the lights to LED.  Environments are easier to rearrange and change than brains. It should be easier to change perspectives and expectations than it is to re-form a person’s literal brain.

“You can’t love your child if you don’t like autism.”

This is Eileen’s next point.

I really wish people understood that you can be sad about your child being severely disabled and still love him with every fiber of your being. Hélas, they don’t. I love Charlie so much, and everyone who knows me know that is true. But if I could take his pain away, and give me a way to communicate, I’d do it in heartbeat. I hate autism often. My autism. And Charlie’s autism. It’s fine if you like your autism but don’t attack people who don’t.

-Eileen who hates her autism

Strawman Eileen is at it again. She missed her calling with Hallmark cards (next sponsor?). No one sane has a problem with someone being upset when his or her child suffers. It’s lamenting and grieving, in a public way, that you didn’t get the child you wanted that is a problem.

Wishing to remove someone’s autism is wishing to remove their core self. It’s not separable. Removing someone’s arms and legs is not removing their identity or self or personality. Removing their gall bladder, a kidney, and a lung will not remove their core self. A heart transplant does not change someone’s core self.

To remove someone’s autism, you would have to remove their brain. Since that isn’t possible, making a living or social structure centered around complaining about someone else’s disability and how it impacts you is– well, just wrong.

“ABA therapy is torture.”

True dat, Eileen.

We have some articles on ABA. You can read them here and here. We really don’t need to reinvent that wheel.

But, she goes on to say:

There are more issues about which I disagree with them. For instance they think the puzzle piece symbol is harmful, as well as functioning labels and the terminology “person with autism.” Basically, they’re mad at the world, and bully everyone who disagrees with them.

-Eileen the instigator

Ya’ll, seriously. This literally is hilarious, like she is writing a parody. She has put every single talking point here to drum up as much drama and harvest as many screenshots as she can. Is someone paying her for them?

Autistics bully people for disagreeing with them? I could have sworn that I’ve read a good couple hundred articles about how much more often autistics are bullied than neurotypicals… but Eileen isn’t concerned with facts.

Please share. It’s time to speak up for those who can’t!

This is Eileen’s last subheading. She implores her audience to share. What autistics see:

Please share. It’s time to make autistics mad so I can sell more books and sponsored products to gullible neurotypical parents!

She closes with this, like an altar call from a fiery televangelist [with autistic interpretations in bold]:

I know it sucks and you may be afraid of repercussions, [you may be afraid blunt people will disagree with you] but if you agree that autism is a disability [that’s all of us, Eileen], if you agree that severe autism exists, [I’m severe AF, Eileen] if you agree that ABA therapy is useful [for casinos and advertisements] and not abusive, and that parents should be allowed to speak about autism, then share [promote my book for me]. While people who know about autism understands that #ActuallyAutistic views comprise a minority, the rest of the population doesn’t because the #ActuallyAutisitc’s [sic] voices are so loud. [HELL YEAH!] We take the risk that autism will be misrepresented and misunderstood even more than it is now. [Wait… autism will be misrepresented by autistic folk? You need to enlist non-autistic majorities to help you represent autism? What the hell kind of sense does that make?] Severe autism exists. I see it everyday.

Let’s overpower this dangerous neurodiversity movement. [Overpower autistic people? Too late, there, Eileen… we wouldn’t need a movement if we had more power. Dangerous to what? Your ego? Book sales? Pee pad sales?] I know we are a silent majority [A SILENT MAJORITY!?!? ARE YOU SERIOUSLY MAKING THE MAJORITY OUT TO BE THE VICTIMS, CULTY McCULTERSON?] but because of the bullying the #ActuallyAutistic community is putting us through, many of you have chosen to stay quiet. I get it, guys. I do. [ Read: you’re easy bait for me if I pretend to give you emotional validation. Free publicity! ] It’s hard to get insulted online. [So, so hard…] It affects me too, but we’ve entered a vicious cycle. We need to speak up. I need you. Autistics who don’t have the luxury to speak or express themselves on social media need you. [Be the hero for people who never asked you to be the hero, because my luxury hotel sponsorships depend on it.]  You’ve got this. We can do this together. Speak up!

Real Talk

And, she finishes with some links from her sycophants, the hate group that is the Autistic Dark Web…

Make no mistake, the ADW is attempting to use their diminutive numbers to upend the neurodiversity movement. Eileen publishes three incendiary articles on three hot button topics in three days to whip up a frenzy of a publicity stunt. They’re working hard at it, bless their hearts.

Autistic people and their allies are feeling unsafe right now and afraid to use social media because of these people.

So, Eileen… from The Aspergian, you are officially the new Karen.

If you’re being harassed by the Autistic Dark Web, please contact The Aspergian. We are just getting started with this story.

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30 Responses

  1. This was a great read, especially after first checking out the article you’re responding to. I admit the way you deconstruct her talking points and I learnt a lot about an online world I’ve been thankfully out of touch with until now.

  2. I love my tribe! I especially appreciate the way you break down what a cure for autism would mean for the *autistic person.* People clearly did not consume enough sci-fi literature as children.

    There are so many other great points here, I’ll be using this for work, with proper citation of course.

    1. Thank you so much, spiercerocks! Let us know how it goes when you share it!

  3. Just one example of hypocrisies I read in the article:
    you claim that some text is “not an attack,” yet the line immediately preceding(!) your this claim is a literally an attack calling someone’s heart “immature and self-centered.”
    You guys are giving a lot of power to this Eileen person by writing this absolute tome about her.

    1. No one claimed this article wasn’t an attack, Steve. 🙂 Eileen Lamb has vast power and is a powerful voice for the Autistic Dark Web. Attacking her ideas is paramount, as ignoring them won’t make them “go away”.

    2. You’re missing the entire point of that bit; that’s not hypocrisy, that’s a disagreement between you and the author over what constitutes an “attack.” The part you’re talking about lays out WHY the author doesn’t consider it an attack; I won’t repeat it here because the author already describes the differentiation in detail.

      If you want to argue against the author’s interpretation/definition of “attack,” you should refute the reasons given for the framing and explain WHY that line should be considered an “attack.” I know allistics have a dysfunctional theory of mind that mostly involves assuming everyone else thinks exactly what they do (which ironically has historically led allistic researchers to conclude that AUTISTICS have no theory of mind, because we have a more accurate cognitive model that actually recognizes that other people are different and may not share our exact cognition), but you have to realize that other people don’t actually think your thoughts, so you need to explain your reasoning if you want anyone else to understand it, not just make unsupported assertions as though they are self-evident (your reasoning is only evident to you until you explain it).

  4. “Never wrestle with a pig. All that comes of it is, you get dirty, and the pig likes it.”

    Your cause would be better served by writing a clear and concise article that argues rationally against the principles she espouses. This “he said/she said” format continues to let her be the one driving the narrative, it’s counterproductive to how you want the Neurodiversity movement to be seen if you’re trying to increase support. Your cause is supposed to be bigger than that. Show it. Twitterfights should stay on twitter.

    1. Now this is a change of gears, friend. Before, you thought we were too apologetic and holding back too much. This has gone way beyond Twitter, though.

    2. I think this piece is an excellent counter-argument. And it was incredibly informative. I had not heard about an anti-ND movement, and it’s upsetting. It’s a call to educate, support, and fight for the autistic people in my life. My son does not need a cure. He isn’t diseased. He needs a world that understands him and accepts him as he is.

  5. Really enjoyed reading this incisive and logical (hurrah!) response. Can I, however, make one comment? I’m autistic, and late diagnosed, so probably have a fair bit of internalised ableism going on due to years of survival masking, but I have experienced being shut down by a prominent Twitter autism community member. It really was a painful experience. I’m learning about my own condition, have no time for the autism is a tragedy brigade and am fiercely proud of my autism, but the exchange I had on Twitter with this person really made me feel knocked down and afraid to ask questions or explore ideas. Genuinely interested to hear your thoughts, but be kind as I’m clearly a bit sensitive 😉.

  6. “Instead of pointing fingers at anyone or laying blame anywhere, this article has one aim: to demonstrate how autistic people would read EILEEN LAMBS ARTICLE?!?
    I’m confused…”instead of pointing fingers at anyone….let’s just publicly roast Ms Lamb..🤔

    I’m sorry, I understand you don’t agree with her POV but I find when I read an article I don’t agree with I either stop reading and move on or just delete the article…this is just wrong.

  7. technically, you can KIND OF do the rewiring, but it takes getting a traumatic brain injury/stroke/similar. based on my experience as someone who’s had a TBI it is anything BUT a cure and in my case it probably made me *more* neurodivergent, or at least seriously impacted my life.

  8. I looked Eileen Lamb up, but didn’t bother opening any of her articles.
    BUT she seems to be unaware that ‘Autism’ is not a single defined thingie.
    We cannot find any one single thing that defines autistics, and we don’t know what causes it.
    Personally, as a person who is considered Asperger’s by some, with both parents who would have been defined as ‘Asperger’s’, with two nephews who have been ‘diagnosed’ as Asperger’s, who are both quite different from each other, all I can say is that we are a widely varying lot.
    As for other forms of Autism, they are ever MORE varied. Some might be no more than ‘mentally retarded’, some might be acquired brain damage, some might be just being different and having different values than their parents and social milieu have.
    I can see ‘intervention’ being needed when a person cannot live unaided. It might mean life long care, but If intervention can help these people live life to the fullest, isn’t it a good thing?
    Otherwise let us weirdos, and odd bods and absent minded professors alone with all our foibles.

  9. Well, I’m in agreement that autism shouldn’t be used to exploit individuals on the spectrum or make a profit.
    But that said, I have to be in disagreement about the cure thing. I want a cure, simply because I hate having an invisible wall around me and a communication barrier that prevents me from making appropriate social connections with people in this world. It’s cost me so many jobs and friendships, as well as opportunities. It’s made finding a good paying job, and keeping one a struggle. Even if you change the “lightbulb” for one person, it might bother another, so you aren’t fixing the problem at all.
    No, I wasn’t “brain washed” by neurotypicals, this is a personal want. I’ve had to learn, despite my own tendency to have “black and white” thinking that it isn’t all black and white when it comes to something like this.
    As far as rewiring the brain goes, sorry but autism is not what I am at my core. I am not my autism. I have autism, and I prefer to think of it as a separate thing from my personal existence. It wouldn’t change who I was, I’d still be a huge cat person and have my personal interests. Even neurotypicals have “special interests” after all, they just don’t fixate on them like we do. I’d like to be able to do that, have my special interests without being so fixated that it’s hard to concentrate on or learn anything else.
    And I’m also very much ruled by emotions. Yes there are things that are logical to me that are important to me and not to other people, but I think having a cure would be a more logical thing. At the very least, let it be a choice and may it be a choice made by the person on the spectrum because that’s the person it would be effecting. Don’t halt progress because you’re afraid of change, and trust me that’s one thing I’m afraid of myself. But I want to take the wall down. I want to walk outside of it and it holds me back from my true potential.

    1. I am on anti-depressants, They do NOY make any difference to me depression per se, but they DO help me behave in more social acceptable ways, which does make my life easier

    2. I understand that you’re not at peace with your autism, and therefore not at peace with yourself. But you need to take a good deep look inside you. It’s not your autism which makes your life horrible. It’s something much more personal.

    3. I think if you’d like to identify as having a disorder, that should be your right. But there are consequences to creating cures that you individual capacity cannot prevent – one of them is the likelihood that adult parents will choose to “cure” a child of autism without their input before the age of majority.

      To me, as an autistic person, that would be a type of eugenic genocide. It would unmake people like me. My people would stop existing.

      I think there is something deeply sinister about that concept. And because I know that we live in a world where transgender children can’t even obtain hormone suppressants in their teens to allow them to choose which puberty they go through I have no confidence that our medical professionals will protect the right of autistic children to choose or not choose to be autistic based on their own preference but will instead allow them to be violated by the will of their parents. I think it will be exactly as horrific and degrading and coercive as my transgender experience has been.

      Transgender kids cannot be cured against their will. Because medicine has built into it’s rules around the care of transgender people rules about the desires of the individual. When you are transgender, YOU choose, or you don’t get the treatment. Nobody can force a child to transition without obtaining their consent first.

      But autistic children don’t have these rights. We are routinely coerced into treatment. That is the very premise behind interventions like ABA. We don’t get a say. Children will run into traffic trying to escape… and then be ordered by the court to receive the treatment anyway.

      In the eyes of the court, an autistic child is an unperson. And unpersons, like people subjected to forced psychiatric holds or criminal incarceration are not offered the same rights of autonomy even the average *transgender* child is offered when saying yes or no to a treatment. I mean, you have to be some kind new level of marginalised when transgender people have more rights than you do.

      I can’t imagine a worse horror than to be deprived of my freedom of choice in such a way as an individual, especially as a child. The degradation is complete. I am an unperson if I can be ordered to be cured.

      I don’t want that for anyone’s autistic child. I’d rather there be NO cure at all for *anyone* than have ONE person cured against their will. Until society has changed to the point where autistic children can veto treatment plans, and children are not routinely subjected to cure before the age of consent I do not want any kind of eugenics-capable solution.

      If we cannot allow people the freedom to exist on their own terms, who are we as a society? If people must be “fixed” to be allowed to exist in peace and prosperity, what does that say about our society as a whole?

      Is your problem really with your autism… or what society has made you to suffer because you are autistic? Is the problem your autism…or is it society?

    4. So, to be very clear, the position of the people arguing that a cure is neither necessary nor desired is that the problems you cite can and should be solved by changing social norms that pose problems for you (and me, and most of us) rather than trying to change the brains of people for whom those social norms are problems. The argument is not that nothing should be done to address the problems you note, but that inducing brain damage (or even inducing nondestructive plastic reorganization, though this is a speculative possibility, as structural reorganization is only observed in cases of traumatic brain injury at present, partly because it would violate medical ethics codes to induce potentially harmful changes in a functioning brain) to make someone like you or me conform more easily with existing social norms is both ethically objectionable and may be impossible*. Further, you would be a different person. Reorganize your brain structure and neural functioning to “cure” the autism, and you will no longer feel the same, think the same, or relate to others the same, altering both the cognitive and social elements of identity i.e. who you are. Which is actually what you want, per your description – “I hate having an invisible wall around me and a communication barrier that prevents me from making appropriate social connections with people in this world.”

      If nondestructive plastic structural reorganization were possible (along with whatever chemical changes would be needed to alter the underlying mechanism that gives rise to autistic development patterns in the first place), you *might* retain your experiential memory, though it’s also possible that the changes to structural organization and neurochemical functioning would impact memory retrieval/recreation, causing you to interpret and reconstruct memory data in very different ways than you presently do or to be unable to recall memory data at all, which would then also impact the personal experience element of identity. There is no particular reason to think that you WOULD still be a huge cat person – perhaps your fondness for cats depends on the way you process what they look like, how they sound, how they feel, how you relate to their behavioral cues, all of which would be altered – or retain other interests; there’s no guarantee you’d even know what a cat was, what your name was, where you were born, who your family members are, etc. Given the observed impacts of autism on different kinds of language processing, I’m not even sure we can know that you’d retain any language abilities you currently have if the developmental effects of autism were altered, and we KNOW there is a limited period of plasticity for intrinsic language processing; you might wind up with an even greater communication barrier than you presently have. Or not – again, all of this is currently speculative, because we don’t have a verified, unified theory of autism yet.

      It’s perfectly reasonable, normal, and understandable to want to be able to connect with people more readily and easily. It’s perfectly reasonable, normal, and understandable to want to be able to find and occupy a social niche where you can feel useful, valued, productive, and that allows you to secure the material resources to survive. If it’s even possible, we’re likely decades away from being able to alter the brains of autistic adults to function exactly like allistic adults, so a “cure” would almost certainly be a neonatal or prenatal intervention that would continue throughout childhood (and perhaps all of one’s life, depending on the mechanisms ultimately responsible for the developmental difference) long before you could personally seek brain alteration. While the proponents of the neurodiversity movement generally oppose such a goal, considering it unethical and detrimental – there are contextually beneficial elements to autism, as well as contextually debilitating elements, and some of these can be the same element in different contexts – I do think that people of good faith can maintain differences of opinion on the ethics of childhood interventions to alter development (in fact, socialization is ALWAYS an external intervention intended to produce a particular developmental outcome within a normative range, so I don’t even really think it’s an option to intervene or not; the question is what the goals of our interventions are and why), so that’s a debate we can and should have, without presupposing a particular moral judgement.

      And if you personally want to be a test subject for experimental adult interventions to alter your brain organization and cognitive and sensory processing, I’m not going to try to stop you, just like I’m not trying to stop anyone from taking SSRIs or stimulants or psychedelics or anything else they think might help them cope with cognitive or behavioral patterns they find distressing. I do think that you – or anyone – should do so with an understanding of exactly what you’re trying to achieve and what’s actually possible; given your description, it seems to me that the way people talk about a “cure,” even in the hypothetical/aspirational sense of what might be possible in the next several decades, is unrealistic enough to be very misleading. I personally view changing society to better accommodate autistics so that we DON’T experience such difficulties with relationships, employment, etc. is both politically preferable and much more likely to succeed. I won’t demand that you embrace the wing of the neurodiversity movement that rejects any calls for a “cure,” but we’ll be ready to welcome you to our coalition if you do change you mind.

      I want all of us to have to struggle less; I want allistics who face various struggles to have to struggle less. Social change is how we get there.

      *A “cure” for a pervasive developmental difference that affects so many elements of structural organization in the brain would likely require very early intervention so that development occurred along normative lines in the first place. While the brain retains some degree of neuroplasticity throughout life, and people with brain trauma can be rehabilitated in ways that allow functioning areas of the brain to take over processes usually carried out by damaged areas, the degree to which this is possible is limited, requiring similar areas as substitutes; for example see this discussion of potential and limits in motor control rehabilitation – https://www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour/05/42/4/pdf/hallett.pdf . And the functioning of the substituted areas is rarely normative: this is why, for example, older adult learners of secondary languages never reach the level of proficiency of primary language learners, and many always have to actively translate between a primary and secondary language rather than thinking directly in the primary language, because the brain areas for intrinsic grammar processing lose plasticity after adolescence.

  10. “Plus I don’t believe that autistic people block people. That’s NTs for you.”
    Yeah, because a need for safety from those that harass others is an allistic trait that absolutely ^never^ occurs in the autistic population. (-_Q) So much fail.

    1. Autism is such a varied thingy. BUT — especially for those with no experience of ‘people with autism’ — some of them can be very very frightening.
      I would plea with people her to stop using ‘neurotypical’ as an insult. There is a continuum from boringly normal to having some strange interests or habits, getting up on out booby horse (especially at inappropriate times), to finding social interaction frightening (and get a reputation for being antisocial), to have breakdown in public, to being mad enough to be hospitalised.
      We all do as well as we can.
      Those who we classify in our minds as ‘neurotypical’ might be fighting any number of demons. Indeed some of these ‘NT’ people might be having far more serious problem than you are.

      1. I DO wish we has an edit option here — I’ve got dyslexic fingers 🙁 “HOBBY” horse of course 🙁 I am the booby 🙁

  11. I agree that the rebuttal is useful. But, but… stereotypes about autistics are not, and neither are sweeping generalizations.

    I’m alexithymic myself, like a lot of autistics. But I’m also older, and have learned over the years about emotions, naming them, and understanding how they affect me. Even though they remain blurry and hard to grasp I can address my emotions as concrete and factual things, in addition to my values. This does not make me not autistic.

    I have blocked people online and cut ties IRL when my well-being was at risk (because I can now have an idea of my emotional state and what is unsafe for me, yep). It’s not an NT thing to block people. Where did that idea come from?

    I know super social autistics. Autistics who rock at organizing social events. Autistics who are stars in the media.
    I’ve also known some dishonest, or manipulative, or self-promoting autistics, and some who will throw a tantrum (not a meltdown) when another autistic person wants in on the conversation that affects them. We are not all virtuous. This doesn’t make anyone non-autistic.

    I believe that tagging all autistics as virtuous is a slippery slope. We’re allowed imperfection and errors, too. Some autistics have personality traits that don’t fit in with the image that we have of our way of thinking. That is diversity, too.

    1. THIS!

      I’m autistic and I’m a highly emotional person and suffer from a mental illness due to child abuse and personal trauma. When I’m out in public, NTs think I’m “too reserved” and “quietly polite”, but in reality, I’m actually masking myself. I also hate conflict and was a victim of online harassment in the past and sure, I don’t mind get into debates, but if people just personally attack me or threaten me, of course I will block them because they take a toll on my mental health. I thought that part of a response is unnecessary in my opinion because it paints us like we’re a monolith.

  12. As a neurotypical person raising an autistic child with ADNP syndrome, I find that my child is essentially entirely left out of the neurodiversity movement. Zella is 6 years old with the intellect of a 15 month old. She has mobility issues and will likely never run and play. Zella is completely non-verbal and although we have tried countless times to potty train, she wears diapers and likely will for the rest of her life. She will never live life independently and I worry constantly about what her life will look like when my husband and I are gone. Just once I would like to be able to say out loud that I would do ANYTHING to allow Zella to live a life she actually enjoys…call it a cure or not. But instead I’m berated for acting like there is anything even wrong with Zella to begin with. I really wish there was an understanding that because this spectrum is so damn broad that there is no one size fits all answer here. I’m sure someone will lose their mind when I say we are headed to New York next month to take part in a 5 week drug trial for Zella.

    1. ADNP is a genetic disorder, not a neurodiversity.
      People with ADNP are ALSO autistic (or display similar traits to autism); it’s a comorbidity – not the cause of the disability.

      The physical and intellectual disabilities are related to the ADNP, not the autism. Getting help for ADNP is very different to trying to bully an autistic person into not appearing autistic for the comfort of the NT people around them.

      Good luck with the drug trial, I hope it can help both of you.

  13. Do you have a copy (screenshot / transcript) of the original article?
    It looks like she’s deleted it from her blog.

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