Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ari Ne'eman to be nominated for membership of National Council on Disability

Ari Ne'eman to be nominated for membership of National Council on Disability

There has been an announcement that Ari Ne'eman, the Founding President of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN), will be nominated by President Obama for a key posting in the Obama Administration, as a member of the National Council on Disability.

In April of this year Ne'eman and ASAN were at the centre of some controversy when ASAN launched a petition to ask Dr. Tony Attwood (a Queensland psychologist who has an international reputation as an Asperger syndrome expert) and Dr. Isabelle Hénault to stop associating with anti-Autistic hate groups. Radio interviews with Dr Attwood and Mr Ne'eman and a short discussion between these men from around this time are still available for downloading and listening from the website of the Asperger Women Association. As far as I know the issue between ASAN and Attwood and Henault has not been resolved. ASAN has also condemned unethical practices and publicity stunts of the infamous organization Autism Speaks. ASAN has been inolved with a number of protest petitions.

In May 2009 Ne'eman was profiled by Newsweek magazine, and the views of ASAN and Mr Ne'eman have been represented in publications such as New Scientist, The New York Times and Time magazine.

My only reservation about Mr Ne'eman's appointment is that he is a board member of the Autism National Committee (AUTCOM), an organization that is associated with facilitated communication and is also associated with Amanda Baggs, a subject that has been debunked by science and a person who's credibility has been quaestioned by many people.

Despite these reservations, I was pleased to find out about this news and I wish Mr Ne'eman the best of luck.

Read about President Obama's announcement here:

and at the blog Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Asperger Women Association Radio Show

Newsweek magazine
Erasing Autism: Scientists are closing in on the genes linked to autism. So why is Ari Ne'eman so worried? by Claudia Kalb
List of living famous autistic people continues its inevitable growth

My only possible claim to fame in this world is my autistic habit of compiling lists of neurologically eccentric famous people. The very first posting that I made in this blog (back in 2006), and the reason why I started this blogging caper to start with, is my largest list, a list of famous autistic people. More recently I created a list of famous synaesthetes, which has proved to be most popular. I've had a couple of goes at listing famous living people who are or might be autistic, as identified by themselves or published sources. This month I have added another famous name to my list of famous living people who have Asperger syndrome or who are possibly autistic to any degree, bringing the total to 31 famous people (including five Australians and one New Zealander). They are a most lively and fascinating and controversial group of individuals.

I'd like to thank all of the famous people in my lists, and any others that I don't know about, who have spoken openly with journalists about Asperger syndrome, or who have discussed in their own writing the experience of being autistic in an autist-hostile world, or their own suspicions that they are somewhere on the autistic spectrum. The message is getting out that there are millions of people like us, and our talents and grievances can no longer be ignored.

Clever, Creative, Controversial: A referenced list of 31 famous living people who have been identified in any way as autistic, to any degree, during any period of their life, including famous people diagnosed with Asperger syndrome (AS)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The most interesting books that I have read in 2009

Coyle, Daniel
The talent code: unlocking the secret of skill in maths, art, music, sport and just about anything else. Random House Books, 2009.

Fitzpatrick, Michael
Defeating autism: a damaging delusion. Routledge, 2008.
[essential reading if you have a child with an autism diagnosis or work in the area of autism]

Goldacre, Ben
Bad science. Harper Perennial, 2008, 2009.
[A lot of this book is only of much interest to Brits, but there's still enough other stuff worth reading.]

Harpending, Henry & Cochran, Gregory
The 10,000 year explosion: how civilization accelerated human evolution. Basic Books, 2009.

[politically incorrect but most interesting]

Kirsch, Irving
The emperor's new drugs: exploding the antidepressant myth. The Bodley Head Ltd., 2009.
[Much of what we have been told about depression and the new antidepressant drugs are lies. How did this happen?]

Turin, Luca & Sanchez, Tania
Perfumes: the guide. Profile Books, 2008.
[Who would have thought that an authoritative book that rates and reviews perfumes would also inspire more laughter than many of the books classified as humour?]

And some more books that I hope to read soon

Cowen, Tyler
Create your own economy: the path to prosperity in a disordered world. Dutton Adult, 2009.

Cytowic, Richard & Eagleman, David
Wednesday is indigo blue: discovering the brain of synesthesia. The MIT Press, 2009.

Smith, Vernon L.
Discovery - a memoir. AuthorHouse, 2008.