Friday, May 1, 2009
Not Children: Tony Attwood Still Doesn't Get It
Some people have the idea that adults with disabilities should be treated as if they were children. This demeaning attitude often manifests itself in claims that people with disabilities are unsuited for, or too immature for, marriage and relationships.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is seeking, by way of a petition to Dr. Tony Attwood, to bring attention to the harm done by prejudiced stereotypes that characterize people with disabilities in such terms. Dr. Attwood has a long history of associating with hate groups that spread such stereotypes. In May 2000, he made this statement:
"...if I'm talking to a mother who has say two children, one with Asperger's syndrome, and a husband who I suspect with Aspergers and she says I've got two children, I say well actually you've got three children in some areas..."
Well actually, no, Dr. Attwood, she doesn't; and such prejudices have no place in marital counseling for people on the spectrum, or for anyone else. When so-called support groups encourage people to treat their spouse or partner as childish and incapable because of a disability, and when psychologists suggest that the person with the disability is to blame for all of the problems in the relationship, this is wrong and it has to be stopped. Period.
In his response to ASAN's petition, which we received yesterday, Dr. Attwood continued to assert the baseless claim that "...stress within a relationship between an adult with Asperger’s syndrome and their partner can lead to the neurotypical partner having signs of a clinical depression."
No, Dr. Attwood, being married to an Autistic person does not make someone sick. And our community will not tolerate this libel any longer.