Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tony Attwood FAAAS Poetry Slam

There has been a lot of discussion on Wrong Planet and other sites about ASAN's petition calling on Tony Attwood to stop associating with FAAAS and Maxine Aston, to which Attwood replied by attempting to defend those associations via a form letter on the FAAAS website and other places. ASAN reposted and critiqued the letter, and by now this online war of words has been going on for two months. Attwood still hasn't seen fit to simply pick up the phone and call Ari Ne'eman, which gives the rather unfortunate impression that he can't bring himself to speak with a self-advocate as an equal.

As several people have pointed out, the petition was never intended as a personal attack on Tony Attwood, but as a constructive criticism. To be clear, my posting on the subject isn't motivated by any grudge either; in fact, I have to give him credit for his high level of energy, chutzpah, and crowd-pleasing skills. He is a masterful promoter. Because he has been so successful in positioning himself as a trusted figure in our community, however, I feel very strongly that Attwood has an ethical responsibility not to abuse that trust by associating with those who would harm our community.

The content of his website clearly reveals that such associations are still ongoing. As of today, a Google search showed 39 results for FAAAS on Tony Attwood's website. On one of his pages, Attwood touts an anthology of horrid poetry and essays called "The Book of FAAAS," which includes an article comparing autistics to prickly cacti and their non-autistic partners to wilting affection-starved roses. I'm not going to quote from it, out of consideration for readers who might not have a barf bag handy.

But it got me thinking, why should FAAAS have a monopoly on bad writing and ridiculous analogies? As I see it, we should create our own collection of sorta kinda poetic stuff making clear what we think of the situation. Feel free to post 'em in the comments, dear readers. Literary talent is definitely not required. Here's my contribution to get things started:

SKUNK CABBAGE

In yonder swamp skunk cabbage grows,
With shiny leaves of gleaming green.
The stench makes plain it's not a rose,
No matter how much it may preen.
Its foul reek assails the nose,
And many voices call for change.
Will Attwood listen? No one knows.
His lack of action's mighty strange.

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70 Comments:

  • I couldn't resist.. I decided to write a haiku that is written for both sides as long as you reverse the words!

    Deprived understanding
    Infectious toxic relationship
    Love Asperger's

    Asperger's Love
    Relationship toxic infectious
    Understanding deprived

    By Anonymous Melody, at 7:32 PM  

  • Thanks for this post, abfh. That rose/catus "poem" was just indescribably awful. Wow. I think I need to go reread Wordsworth in order to get the foul taste out of my mouth.

    Great job illuminating the issues with FAAAS, as always.

    By Blogger Sarah, at 7:46 PM  

  • Actually, roses aren't frail, wilting or overly demanding plants to grow, and many types of roses have just as many thorns as a cactus. I love to grow roses, as they like full sun and they like a lot of air circulating, and they have fairly deep roots and are thus somewhat drought, wind and heat-resistant. If you live in Australia, it is now time to prune your roses. Roses like to have some limbs hacked off in the winter-time, and they thrive on manure. What this means in terms of poetic metaphors I've no idea.

    I gave up on Dr Attwood as a true advocate years ago, but his body of work can't be dismissed holus-bolus.

    By Blogger Lili Marlene, at 2:30 AM  

  • "Roses like to have some limbs hacked off in the winter-time, and they thrive on manure. What this means in terms of poetic metaphors I've no idea."

    I have a number of ideas, as - I am sure - do you....

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 3:30 AM  

  • I tend to agree with Lili. As much as Tony's association with FAAAS and Maxie Pastie (sorry - poor attempt at humour) stinks to high heaven, his work in promoting the understanding of Aspergers in particular is second to none. There's a reason why he is much in demand on the lecture circuit. Not many men in his position get to speak at the National Press Club in Canberra.

    I guess it's a case of - if you want straight information about the condition, Tony's your man.

    But if you want advocacy for those on the Spectrum - he goes to the bottom of the list. In light of this situation.

    By Blogger Timelord, at 8:07 AM  

  • In our backyard a poppy grew
    Tall and strong and grand
    Under its shade, two ugly weeds
    Their foliage splayed and fanned.
    The faaaster weed had once been tough
    But hadn't long to live
    Terminally ill, and struggling
    Its power was tentative
    The other weed had cadd worm
    And was an ugly blighter
    Its roots were fed by casuistry
    But cash made it a fighter
    The gardener, though, had checked these weeds
    And one day, feeling stroppy
    Took out his trusty secateurs
    And cut down the tall poppy.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 8:21 AM  

  • Roses are red, FAAAScists are lying
    They're selling baloney, but nobody's buying.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:04 AM  

  • "They're selling baloney, but nobody's buying."

    In which case, there's no problem, then? Logically.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 10:26 AM  

  • Barbara, I'm rather curious as to how many people actually have bought "The Book of FAAAS." Do you know?

    By Blogger abfh, at 1:10 PM  

  • Hi abfh - I've looked on Amazon, and from what I can gauge there, it may have sold 2,500 copies worldwide in 6 years.

    It's pretty appalling.

    So whoever said that we're not buying is spot on the nail.

    Books are not moneymakers, unless you have a bestseller, or a good advance on royalties. But JKP rarely gives advance on royalties, which is why most of us avoid them, unless it's a reprint or a UK only sale.

    Karen may have made, in all, a maximum of $200 per annum. Recently, I'd say, far less.

    See? negative messages don't sell.

    FAAAS is dying. Their 'best' hope is conference sales.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 1:41 PM  

  • PS, Please don't quote me. Recently there's been a little too much of that in ASAN, including leaking personal emails and upsetting some of my very dear and valued friends.

    As I'm a professional writer, everything I write is protected by copyright laws, over and above any general Telecommunications laws, and of course, what we Brits call 'manners' :)

    By Blogger Barbara, at 1:49 PM  

  • I would say the subject of relationships and AS is Dr Attwood's Achille's heel. He writes crap and speaks garbage on the subject, and he does not warn his readers or viewers about the scope of his knowledge, which I would suggest is seriously skewed and limited. I wonder what do others think of his relationship advice in the video posted at "Autism Hangout"? Has anyone read his chapter about long-term relationships in his book "The complete guide to Asperger's syndrome"?

    By Blogger Lili Marlene, at 3:14 AM  

  • "I would say the subject of relationships and AS is Dr Attwood's Achille's heel. He writes crap and speaks garbage on the subject, and he does not warn his readers or viewers about the scope of his knowledge, which I would suggest is seriously skewed and limited."

    not gonna argue with you on that. me and my ex-missus read the book he wrote with Henault on the topic of sexuality and relationships... pretty grim, really.

    on the other hand, my ex-missus actually researched the topic - with real Aspie people - and wrote a good paper on the topic that got published in Good Autism Practice. on the back of that, and training courses she developed on it, she became one of the top people on the topic in Finland.

    much of what Attwood has to say doesn't get to her audiences.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 8:35 AM  

  • "I wonder what do others think of his relationship advice in the video posted at "Autism Hangout"?"

    not sure i actually dare watch that... might end up vomiting :/

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 8:36 AM  

  • Mr Andrews, would you be referring to the paper titled "Relationship problems of adults with Asperger’s syndrome" in Vol 8, Issue 1, May 2007 of Good Autism Practice? It might be a good paper (I haven't read it), but I guess the paper wouldn't answer the question of what proportion of people with AS have relationship (or lack of relationship) problems? Are these relationships shorter or more likely to break up than relationships between memebers of the general population? The big issue that I have with any clinician writing about any topic based on only clinical and/or anecdotal evidence is that it potentially fails to report about a large and importantly different population of people who never meet clinicians or come to their attention. The autistic people that Dr Attwood or your ex never write about could be a more happy or functional bunch than those who do supply the raw material for clinical writing. I'm sure you are well aware that studies based on self-selected subject groups are very suspect and are potentially seriously misleading.

    By Blogger Lili Marlene, at 11:50 PM  

  • Sorry, it couldn't be that paper as I've found a reference to the author, and it's Dr Attwood. So much for my Googling skills!

    By Blogger Lili Marlene, at 11:55 PM  

  • "Sorry, it couldn't be that paper as I've found a reference to the author, and it's Dr Attwood. So much for my Googling skills!"

    Indeed it wasn't that paper. I'll try and find the title. Her paper took issue with Attwood's tendency to pathologise the emotional response style of the autistic person (which is seen by many clinicians as 'parasitic', a term I myself find offensive and abhorrant).

    *goes to look for GAP issue in question*

    Here's the reference:

    Developing expressions of sexuality: the perspective and experience of able autistic people (Heta Pukki, 2003) Good Autism Practice, Vol. 4, Issue 2; pp. 60-65.

    She mentions the ever-present attitude towards autistic experience of emotion as having been pathologised by clinicians, and seen by them as deficiencies. This, she says, "seems to imply belief in an inherently inferior or pathological quality in the autistic person's emotions, instead of just immaturity and inexperiences compared to same-age peers, or difference in the ability to express emotions and find reciprocal relationships". (p. 61)

    She recommends that the experiences and perspectives of autistic people should be collected and that these should form the basis of educational materials for others, rather than the clinical ideas developed by many professionals (which are based on a negativistic attitude towards the perspectives and experiences of autistic people).

    Heta's paper was probably the first published paper written on this issue that was actually researched qualitatively, with a view to understanding those experiences and perspectives, rather than trying to impose a view from outside/above.

    Her view is practically diametrically opposed to Attwood's (and would be total anathema to Aston).

    As for Attwood's paper:

    "It might be a good paper (I haven't read it), but I guess the paper wouldn't answer the question of what proportion of people with AS have relationship (or lack of relationship) problems? Are these relationships shorter or more likely to break up than relationships between members of the general population?"

    To be honest, you're not missing much. As to your questions... they are not really answered (he does mention the lack of research on this issue, to be fair to him; but his reference points for people are the groups that we don't particularly like and which I'd rather not give publicity to by naming them). Personally, I find Heta's paper to be a more useful one for people to read: she suggests how that research might be done qualitatively, and how the information gained might best be used to improve the quality of some aspects of other people's lives. Attwood merely points people to those two groups whose ideas are not exactly based on anything good.

    Heta shares the same view on the issue of clinical writing that you have (as indeed do I). What we see in Kanner's and Asperger's work is very much a qualitative approach, and in Kanner's follow-up paper from 1973 we see at least some influence from the developmental approach (in which Kanner acknowledges the role that the autistic people themselves had in their own developmental and educational gains... it's likely that he and Asperger were the last writers to have that extent of positivity towards autistic people, that didn't pathologise absolutely everything that we do, or think or feel).

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 3:55 AM  

  • "The complete guide to Asperger's syndrome"

    Just noticed this title...

    who the fuck could write such a book? the issue's too bloody complicated! even 2000 Aspies could not do a complete guide!!!

    i don't like titles like that... they DO mislead!

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 4:30 AM  

  • How come Judy Singer, the woman who coined the term "Neurodiversity" agrees with FAAAS?

    By Blogger Foresam, at 10:43 AM  

  • Don't get me started about Judy Singer, mate! She doesn't speak for me.

    By Blogger Lili Marlene, at 10:58 AM  

  • And she didn't really coin the term Neurodiversity, either; that's a bogus claim. Harvey Blume was the first to use it in an Atlantic Monthly article in 1998.

    By Blogger abfh, at 11:41 AM  

  • Harvey Blume used the term after Judy Singer had a conversation with Harvey about it. She didn't bother taking issue with him about using it after she coined it.

    The point though, is that you folks who disagree with Singer have perverted the whole meaning of Neurodiversity. That's why you should call yourselves "Neuroinsanity" instead.

    By Blogger Foresam, at 12:44 PM  

  • Hey Foresam, are you and Judy Singer best buddies nowadays? That's good to know. Maybe you'll discredit her by association just as effectively as you made Generation Rescue look like complete fools with all your ranting and raving.

    By Blogger abfh, at 1:28 PM  

  • ABFH,
    I don't know Judy. I've only read some of her words.

    It wasn't my fault that the people at AOA decided to support Neurodiversity. They made themselves look like fools by doing that. All I did was report on their idiocy and disassociate myself from them.

    By Blogger Foresam, at 4:01 PM  

  • David, thanks for posting about that paper; it looks really interesting.

    (Also, Lili, I like your point about the similarities between roses and cacti! I think a lot of the worst writing about relationships falls into the trap of assuming that the two partners --- whether we're talking about autistic/NT pairings or just plain old male/female ones --- have nothing at all in common and cannot possibly relate to each other as human beings, a la "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.")

    By Blogger Lindsay, at 5:50 PM  

  • "She doesn't speak for me"

    nor for me....

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 8:32 PM  

  • I have a metaphor for FAAAS: necrotizing fasciitis.

    By Blogger geosaru, at 12:03 AM  

  • I'll have to consult our fine collection of medical reference books and texts to find out what that means.

    By Blogger Lili Marlene, at 3:19 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 5:44 AM  

  • "necrotizing fasciitis"

    it's a seriously nasty disease process where muscle tissue dies in situ... while the patient is still alive.

    saw a picture of it once in Nursing Times ... fucking horrible and scary!

    there's an involvement from some bacteria, which eats the tissue.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 5:51 AM  

  • Sanity Pending,
    Since we know that mercury kills brain cells as part of the process in causing autism, that should scare you too.

    Perhaps when too many of your brain cells were killed, you just don't have the capacity to know you should be scared.

    By Blogger Foresam, at 9:17 AM  

  • "Onstage, Attwood is ideally suited to his audience, mostly professionals who deal with people on the autism spectrum, parents, and a few AS individuals.

    The information is dense but structured, the delivery spiced with pathos and humour, with mime and performance acts such as Spot the Aspy.

    For this routine, Attwood apes the carriage, ambulation, and focus of an adult AS male — back rigid but tilted slightly forward, arms and legs straight, laserlike eyes gazing at a point on the ground two metres in front of him. The laughter is rich with recognition.

    'nuff said.

    By Anonymous Mark TW, at 2:21 PM  

  • "Since we know that mercury kills brain cells as part of the process in causing autism, that should scare you too.

    Perhaps when too many of your brain cells were killed, you just don't have the capacity to know you should be scared."

    Since we know that mercury doesn't cause autism, your comment has absolutely no relevance here.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 8:39 PM  

  • Sanity Lost,
    Of course it's relevant, David. How will you help the good people from FAAAS to cure their brain damaged spouses if you can't update your knowledge about how autism is caused?

    By Blogger Foresam, at 9:55 PM  

  • "Of course it's relevant, David. How will you help the good people from FAAAS to cure their brain damaged spouses if you can't update your knowledge about how autism is caused?"

    Vain attempt at hiding an ad hominem attack behind ... actually, behind nothing... pretty lame, really.

    Sad thing to feel you have to do, really. Have to wonder if you're really worth talking to.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 2:08 AM  

  • Foresam AKA John Best Junior is lying about Autism. He needs to do a complete update on his knowledge. Trouble is - he's too stubborn to do so. He won't be educated further and insists that anyone who goes back to school at his age or thereabouts is dumb because they must have failed at school originally.

    Here endeth the lesson....

    We learn, Best. You don't. End of.

    By Blogger Timelord, at 8:10 AM  

  • Having a Master's degree in the Psychology of Special Education, I have to agree with Phil Timelord there.

    Nothing else I can say to amplify that.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed. (Distinction), at 9:05 PM  

  • I am not going to bother to respond to foresam, there is no merit to responding to people that talk out of their anus.

    As for Atwood, I am now disillusioned. So much for a reputable and respecable source. It also seems that Atwood has no way of explaining how Aspie women function in relationships and focuses on the folks with the XY chromosomes.

    By Blogger NightStorm, at 12:04 AM  

  • When yet to you
    Our facade is prickly
    Like that of a cactus
    Grown in desert abandon

    Only do we look like so
    For your epees
    Are forever embedded into us.

    *When you attack us
    Your weapons remain
    To create your virtue
    Undying, unending,
    Unbelievable

    (So, how was that? I think we really are thought of as cacti cause they attack us with no sign of future removal of the weapons)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:46 PM  

  • Re ASAN v Tony Attwood: this is becoming a witch-hunt and a bully-boy tactic beyond belief. Tony has been 'cloned' on Twitter (currently being investigated by lawyers) by an ASAN member(?) and an ASAN member has sent out 5 scurrilous emails about me to my academic establishments, which this has nothing to do with, as they have pointed out. An ASAN member has now started a new blog attacking Tony Attwood.

    A quote re the new blog, “However, whilst the last three points are ones I agree with, the rest of the article looks like a hate post, and we need to be very much at a distance from doing that... try to substantiate your claims (links to the source?), and be careful: if he so chose, he could take action.” The blog writer is the one who has sent out the strange hate emails against me, which have been not been accepted by my university, nor by Tony Attwood, to whom they have also been sent (????). This is even more strange. The blogger in question admits that he has threatened me with physical violence, and thinks that’s OK. It’s just as well that I truly understand and accept AS, because if these hate emails had been sent out by an NT, and if these threats had been made by an NT, I should have had no hesitation in reporting this to the police. But why should I feel this compunction to understanding? It’s actually dawning on me that in doing this I am patronising and kind of pitying autism spectrum people. I should respect them enough to know that they can have, perhaps, malicious intent, sometimes.

    I had this in an email: "I am concerned about how savage some parts of the ASAN campaign are becoming. It's like there's no stopping them now. I fear that they will not only hurt many well-meaning contributors along the way, but eventually they will completely discredit themselves and this will hurt them more.

    They're showing that an AS person with awareness and a sense of power can actually choose to take out a vendetta against those who they perceive are in their way. It's concerning. They secure rights and protection, silence their perceived enemies ... and then become monsters without accountability. Not healthy.”

    How amazing that AS people, in attempting to show themselves as kind and honest (as they almost always are) are unable to portray themselves as such in a major hearts and minds campaign. They appear to let themselves down, and just go out to hurt. This isn’t good. It’s spiteful, cruel, and illegal. I thought that’s what we were fighting against?

    Correct me if I’m wrong. Please.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 7:41 PM  

  • Barbara,

    You have a personal dispute with another blogger. That is between you and him. It has nothing to do with me, or my blog, or ASAN, or any other third parties.

    I am going to caution you: My blog is not an open platform for your personal feuds or anyone else's, and any further comments making potentially libelous accusations of illegal activity will be deleted.

    By Blogger abfh, at 9:55 PM  

  • Barbara, no one does righteous self-pity with subtle threats like you! Do you really think you will score any points among autistic readers with your emotive prose? Just shows how much of an AS expert you are!

    By Blogger Lili Marlene, at 11:20 PM  

  • This isn't personal, abfh. I don't care, for myself, what people want to throw at ME. That has never been a problem for me. In my job, it goes with the territory. My post here is about the broad picture of the ethics of this campaign, as it is being currently organised and implemented.

    The campaign itself is, I believe, and perhaps I'm wrong (which is what I say in my post and ask others to correct me) not about issues, but ad hominem, (when it should be ad mulierem) this time.

    I have only very rarely encountered any AS failure to be fair, just, and honest. That is the quality I most admire in those on the spectrum, and why I've sold almost everything I own, in the last three years, to see me through a totally unfunded PhD, in which I say exactly that. I currently 'enjoy' abject poverty, because of my passion to get this point across, academically, before I die.

    The spectrum view accords exactly with my own - that we should all be totally forthright, but totally fair. Maybe that view is as a result of my own non-NT makeup. Who knows? But my lifelong experience of invisible disability certainly informs my view, as does the knowledge that unlike those on the spectrum, my condition and the fact that I live alone, makes me liable to sudden death. And maybe I've outlived my usefulness? I hope I can finish this PhD first.

    I DON'T do petty squabbles, gossip and crap. I do ethics and passion and honour and intellect.

    I am opposed to the manner in which this campaign is being run. That's all. Is that OK? Can I say that?

    By Blogger Barbara, at 2:12 PM  

  • You're welcome to discuss the issues all you want, Barbara. However, to be blunt, your previous comment was conspicuously lacking in such discussion. It consisted almost entirely of gripes about another blogger's alleged activities, some possibly libelous claims, and an attempt to smear all ASAN supporters with guilt by association.

    Also, your perception of "the manner in which this campaign is being run" is incorrect. The petition addressed the issues directly without resorting to ad hominem attacks, and ASAN has not been telling bloggers what to write. All of us are independent individuals who have made up our own minds about what we think of the situation. Bloggers who support the petition are not under the control of ASAN or anyone else.

    Although some people might have posted ad hominem attacks (not surprising, the Internet being what it is), that doesn't mean anybody was directing them. There's no evil Illuminati conspiracy here...

    By Blogger abfh, at 3:10 PM  

  • Abfh - please do me the honour of accepting that I am not stupid. Nor have I ever been libellous. I am very careful about what I say, since I do this as a living, and know exactly what does, and what does not, constitute both libel and slander. I never say anything I can't prove with documentary evidence. I am very keenly aware of the law, as I have been a broadcaster, and journalist for over 30 years, and have never put a foot wrong, nor have ever had a complaint against me. I apply this absolute and trained knowledge of the law to what I post on internet forums

    And I don't gripe. Not my style. I'm not bitter or angry, I'm just completely honest. Griping is for those who have an axe to grind. I don't.

    Please don't imply that I am a conspiracy theorist, either. This is so far from the truth as to be a slander in itself. I am totally backed by empirical evidence.

    And I hold the empirical evidence that I told both you and Ari, over many careful and correct emails which took my time and energy, that there were many factual errors in what was being said about this entire campaign. And still, both in the latest releases, and in Ari's podcast, the misinterpretations of the true facts continue.

    I am very clear about this. And I know that I have made it clear to ASAN. I have the proof.

    I just want fairness.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 4:09 PM  

  • David Andrews wrote:

    "Heta shares the same view on the issue of clinical writing that you have (as indeed do I). What we see in Kanner's and Asperger's work is very much a qualitative approach, and in Kanner's follow-up paper from 1973 we see at least some influence from the developmental approach (in which Kanner acknowledges the role that the autistic people themselves had in their own developmental and educational gains... it's likely that he and Asperger were the last writers to have that extent of positivity towards autistic people, that didn't pathologise absolutely everything that we do, or think or feel)."

    My PhD is in the tradition of both Kanner and Asperger, and is qualitative, because with such a heterogeneous and relatively small sample cohort, quantitative research is fairly meaningless, in particular the Lovaas and Lovaas-inspired studies. We need to investigate process, and lived-life experiences, so I'm doing a phenomenological study in the style of Alfred Schutz ('The Stranger') tracking the beliefs of 5 children/young adults on the spectrum (aged between 7 and 22 2f:3m), together with the beliefs of their parents, and the beliefs of their teachers. I wanted to see where the gaps are.

    The research so far is very illuminating, and certainly shows the gaps, which in some cases have never been identified before.
    However, we MUST say that this is just THESE 5 people, their teachers and parents. It is not applicable in general. It's just, as Kanner's and Asperger's studies were, case studies.

    Both Kanner and Asperger are my benchmarks - I wish others could learn from them! I have recently been taken on as a book reviewer for the Times Higher Education Supplement, and was asked to contribute to The Canon, which is a section in the supplement which asks leading academics what their most inspirational book has been. I chose Kanner's 'Childhood Psychosis: Initial Studies and New Insights' which is a collection of 16 of his papers, published in 1973, and now out of print.
    It is the most amazing book I have ever read. It contains the text of his 1958n Maudsley Lecture - a brilliant polymath overview of the history of child psychiatry.

    I have made a case for its reprint. I hope someone listens.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 5:47 PM  

  • Barbara, false claims of illegal activity constitute libel in most countries, including the United States. You asserted, without any factual basis that I can discern, that "the ASAN campaign" was "illegal." ASAN is a corporation and as such can file lawsuits.

    Although I don't expect that Ari would have any interest in suing you for making the comment or me for allowing it to remain on my blog, that doesn't mean it is acceptable to make such comments.

    With respect to factual errors, you mentioned in an e-mail that the petition's use of the word "decade" could be misleading because the 1999 conference referenced on the FAAAS website was not in fact organized by FAAAS. In response, I edited a post that I had written about the petition to remove the word "decade." Ari was not able to edit the petition itself because the site where it is posted does not provide that capability.

    As I see it, whether the FAAAS-promoted conference that Tony Attwood attended in 1999 was organized by Karen Rodman or Maxine Aston is an irrelevant detail anyway, given the fact that the petition calls on him to put an end to his associations with both of them.

    I'm aware that you wish to draw different conclusions from the facts and that you have argued at length for doing so, but that is not the same as identifying material factual errors.

    By Blogger abfh, at 8:03 PM  

  • "You asserted, without any factual basis that I can discern, that "the ASAN campaign" was "illegal." ASAN is a corporation and as such can file lawsuits."

    You didn't ask me what the factual basis was, though, did you? :)

    Do you think that threatening people with physical violence is legal? As contextualised as part of this campaign?

    Then I would have to disagree with you. Sorry.

    Let's do this honourably, and if we have to disagree, let's do that honourably, too.

    The early workshops for partners were run by the National Autistic Society in the UK, not by Aston or Rodman. They were held in 1999. This is an important fact, not a detail. It is that the NAS initiated them and gave its huge credibility to this issue. The NAS brought in Tony Attwood and asked him to get associated with their partner group, which at that time was called Asperger Backup, and run by a woman called Brenda Wall, in association with Lorna Wing, Francesca Happé and Uta Frith.

    The FAAAS conferences which were a US spin-off from these started in 2000. Tony Attwood addressed four conferences: 2000, 2001, 2003,and 2005.

    I think this is the information I have given before?

    Thank you

    By Blogger Barbara, at 8:04 AM  

  • Barbara I think it would help your case if you provided a few links so we can make up our own minds. Just saying stuff without that may well be what has ABFH's nose out of joint (apologies if this comment is out of line, ABFH!).

    By Blogger Timelord, at 9:11 AM  

  • That's fine Timelord.

    Barbara appears to be referring to a threat that was made against her personally by another blogger, with whom she has an ongoing feud, earlier this year. It was not "part of this campaign" and had nothing to do with my blog or ASAN. To the best of my knowledge, no threats have been made against Tony Attwood by anyone.

    By Blogger abfh, at 10:13 AM  

  • "Barbara appears to be referring to a threat that was made against her personally by another blogger, with whom she has an ongoing feud"

    I do not have an ongoing feud with anyone,nor do I ever need to have. Please don't infantilise me.

    This threat was made in the context of this campaign. Tony Attwood was appearing in Cambridge on May 13th. I was travelling with him from Norwich on May 12th. So, is THIS a threat, ABFH? Maybe I'm reading it wrong? It's on your blog - April 20th, 9.56 am.

    " Attwood will be speaking with me in Cambridge on May 12th.

    (Whether he likes it or not).

    I promise you all these concerns will be raised, if necessary at the top of my voice.

    There's far, far too much debate, and not enough arse kicking."


    It's certainly not in the spirit of an honourable campaign

    By Blogger Barbara, at 10:28 AM  

  • "Barbara I think it would help your case if you provided a few links so we can make up our own minds. Just saying stuff without that may well be what has ABFH's nose out of joint (apologies if this comment is out of line, ABFH!)"

    Which links would you like? Here is the 1999 link about the NAS workshop. Most of the stuff I know because I was around at the time, and interviewed Brenda Wall for a women's magazine. Woman's Realm, in 1998. I knew all of, or know of all of the protagonists in this scenario, and was even asked to cooperate with Sheila Jennings Linehan on her paperin 2003. I refused in no uncertain terms

    "Tony Attwood, Ph.D.

    03.22.1999 Conference - Transcript

    "This transcript is from a "Practical Strategies Conference" geared to help partners of people with Asperger's Syndrome. This transcribed conference featured Dr. Tony Attwood and was recorded at the National Autistic Society in London, England on March 22nd, 1999"

    http://www.faaas.org/doc.php?24,95,847738p,faa845937,,,Doc,page.html

    http://www.faaas.org/doc.php?29,159,947891p,faa845937,,,Doc,page.html

    By Blogger Barbara, at 10:44 AM  

  • So someone has threatened to heckle the prof at one of his many speaking appearances? SO FRIGGIN' WHAT?? Heckling is now illegal? In what country? I don't know of any democratic country in which heckling a controversial speaker is illegal or is regarded as a serious "threat".

    Go got nothing, Barbara!

    By Blogger Lili Marlene, at 11:21 AM  

  • Further info on the FAAAS conferences, which I've just found through trawling through my old emails from Tony Attwood in 2005. No one who presented there got paid. It was more of a workshop about AS, and sometimes about relationships. The 'conferences'were never more than 50 or 60 people, and were sometimes taped or video-taped.

    That was very much in line with the way the NAS ran them in 1999.

    Can I again make it clear that I have absolutely NO time for the foul offensive papers etc published on FAAAS and Alyric asked me to try to get one of them (Shiela Jennings Linehan) removed from the NAS website in January 2006. I've just found the email I sent to Mike Stanton about it on Jan 6th of that year.

    I'd also like to point out that these papers - the ones which are so offensive - are also available on the ASPIRES website. Check it out. I don't think that site has ever been mentioned in the course of this campaign.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 11:27 AM  

  • "So someone has threatened to heckle the prof at one of his many speaking appearances? SO FRIGGIN' WHAT?? Heckling is now illegal? In what country? I don't know of any democratic country in which heckling a controversial speaker is illegal or is regarded as a serious "threat"."

    No Lili, not at the speaking appearance, which was on May 13th, but on the night before that in a private citizen capacity. That is different. Please take a little time to read carefully.

    Thank you.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 11:31 AM  

  • It's my understanding that the heckling in question -- which, once again, was not planned as part of an organized campaign -- never actually occurred. There's definitely nothing illegal about a bit of Internet hot air.

    By Blogger abfh, at 1:51 PM  

  • Also, I've been told that the issues with the ASPIRES website are being discussed privately.

    From my perspective, this is about as low-key as a protest campaign can get.

    By Blogger abfh, at 1:53 PM  

  • "Also, I've been told that the issues with the ASPIRES website are being discussed privately.

    From my perspective, this is about as low-key as a protest campaign can get."

    How nice. Now that is kind. And that is the way it should have gone. You can't be kind to some and not to others. Because that's hypocritical. Oh, and it's also political.

    I've fought against this kind of political carp all my life. I've marched and fought against racism, sexism, wars and bombs. And I've watched politicians keep some people in their back pocket, protected, and wage war on others. But, you know, if you miss us at the back of the bus, we don't miss what politicians, whether they're McCarthy, who wouldn't let me into the USA because my dad was a commie, or Nixon who played footsie with people's lives, or Bush who created a war for oil, do to us. Ari Ne'eman is a politician. I saw his Twitter feeds.

    And now he's quietly negotiating with Roger N Meyer, while putting Carol Griggs and Tony Attwood into the firing line - for his own purposes. Seen it before. Too many times. Politicians have NO morality.

    I have never stood quietly by while political animals try to shaft us. They're just a bunch of liars, trying to make a career out of our ass-licking. You know what? I don't believe them. I shall never be a commie lackey like my dad. But I shall never stop fighting against unfairness and double standards.

    You just told me all I want to know, and suspected, about this campaign. It's total hypocrisy. It's a cherry-picking exercise. It's a career move.It's everything that's wrong with 21st century immorality.

    It's dishonest.

    You really shouldn't have told me that ASPIRES was off the hook and in the back pocket. That was unwise.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 4:33 PM  

  • "It's my understanding that the heckling in question -- which, once again, was not planned as part of an organized campaign -- never actually occurred. There's definitely nothing illegal about a bit of Internet hot air."

    If it's a public threat to a private citizen - yes there is. It's illegal. Hot air doesn't come into it. It's harassment.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 4:41 PM  

  • Barbara, as I have mentioned before, similar efforts were made to discuss these issues privately with Tony Attwood, by many people and for many years. His failure to take action was made public only after it had become very clear that he had no intention of responding to private appeals.

    ASPIRES is not "off the hook" or in anyone's "back pocket." As a matter of fairness, they should be afforded the same opportunity that was given to Tony Attwood, and which he repeatedly chose not to accept.

    It's no secret, either. Many people know that the issue has been discussed at ASPIRES, just as it was widely known for years that Tony Attwood had failed to take any action in response to the community's concerns about FAAAS and Maxine Aston.

    By Blogger abfh, at 4:56 PM  

  • "If it's a public threat..."

    It wasn't. Suggesting that concerns would be raised is not a threat. And my recollection is that there was some confusion about the date of the event; I believe that the comment was intended to refer to questions raised at the event itself, which could not possibly be construed as harassment.

    By Blogger abfh, at 5:02 PM  

  • "It wasn't. Suggesting that concerns would be raised is not a threat. And my recollection is that there was some confusion about the date of the event; I believe that the comment was intended to refer to questions raised at the event itself, which could not possibly be construed as harassment."

    Sorry abfh, but it is. The context is in the blogger's own blog, which is not relevant to this blog, nor should it be.

    So I've been very careful to quote, for you, only what is here, and can be accessed here. I am very fair. I need you to know that

    However, since you press me, and I have it copied, the threat was that the blogger in question, with whom, incidentally I have no issue of my own, would be waiting at Cambridge railway station for Tony Attwood on the evening of May 12th. When I said I would be there as well, the response was 'I'll see you both there'

    Now, however you'd like to construe it, it's a threat. The Police agree with me. I have shown them the evidence, and asked them not to take any steps, because right now Tony and I can deal with it. I have also shown them the harrassing 5 emails that have been sent about me to my University, to my Graduate School, and unbelievably to Tony Attwood by this blogger, complaining about me. What's all that about???

    How come? I really don't understand this. Someone is opposed to Tony Attwood, and sends him 2 emails asking him to take action against me???

    Anyway, that's a pointless road to go down, because this is not about me. And I don't care.

    It's never personal with me. Nothing ever is. It's all about issues. It's all about what we believe in and why, and whether we can defend our beliefs. I can.

    If there's a decent argument, a real difference of opinion, I may want to argue in my corner. Fair?

    But I can't cope with a na na na na na kind of stupid personal discussion. Not my style. If you can objectify and delineate the argument, please do.

    I shall in those circumstances be more than happy to go into an intellectual duel. If it matters to you, engage me in discussion and let it be honest. And bear in mind that I might disagree. And there should be no problem with that.

    OK?

    By Blogger Barbara, at 6:09 PM  

  • "It's no secret, either. Many people know that the issue has been discussed at ASPIRES"

    So why is Sheila Jennings Linehan's paper still in full view there? Why is Maxine Aston's paper still allowed to be accessed?

    You know, Bronwen and I went on a march to destroy all this carp, as far as we could.

    Where were you when we were fighting? Where were any of you when we tried to destroy the hate against AS partners, between us? It was a thankless task. I admired and valued Alyric, with my whole heart and soul and mind.

    Where were you? Is this all new to you? Were you sleeping?

    How have you failed to remove this evil from ASPIRES? At least Carol Griggs removed it when I asked. But it's still there on ASPIRES.

    Do something.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 6:31 PM  

  • No, as I've said several times already, your dispute with the other blogger is not "part of this campaign," and whatever might have been said in conversations between you and him does not matter to me in the least.

    And further, I agree that there has been no "real difference of opinion" in our discussion here with regard to the actual issue, which is whether Tony Attwood should end his ties with FAAAS and Aston. That hasn't even been mentioned, except in a very tangential way. I'm not interested in a personal discussion either, so I'd just as soon drop it.

    By Blogger abfh, at 6:39 PM  

  • As for ASPIRES, if you're as influential as you claim to be, perhaps you should try convincing them to remove it. You might have better luck. I'm just a blogger and don't have any influence there.

    By Blogger abfh, at 6:42 PM  

  • "abfh said...

    As for ASPIRES, if you're as influential as you claim to be, perhaps you should try convincing them to remove it. You might have better luck. I'm just a blogger and don't have any influence there."

    Fine.

    I'm thinking about Alyric and me and how we battled and I'm welling up.

    Sorry, I have to go to bed. I can't deal with this.

    By Blogger Barbara, at 7:15 PM  

  • Barbara, you're over reacting.

    Harry/Socrates (who made the comment) simply indicated that he wanted to talk to Tony. There was absolutely no threat in that whatsoever. And it's only harassment if Tony himself saw the comment and even then it would be up to him - not you. I don't think Tony reads this blog, so it's a non issue.

    You're making a mountain out of a molehill - especially as Harry never made it on May 12. Like ABFH said, it was hot air - and under the circumstances understandable.

    By Blogger Timelord, at 9:45 PM  

  • Oh, and the links I wanted were the current ones to this blog you claim is attacking Tony Attwood and to the impersonating Twitter account.

    By Blogger Timelord, at 9:46 PM  

  • Thanks everyone. It's clear you want a battle, and I don't. I think that's counter-productive in the neurodiversity culture, of which I am a part.

    I shall now do what I have to do,as there appears to be no middle ground or negotiation.

    Tony Attwood is ill, because of this. But he's not real, is he? So he doesn't matter. Nor am I. I am a screen name. And you are welcome to hurt us.

    But nice to post.......

    By Blogger Barbara, at 2:56 PM  

  • Barbara, you are the one who wants the battle, by posting comments and then not backing them up with proof. That is what took out the middle ground.

    As you have not provided proof of your claims, I now consider you to be a liar and I will be treating you accordingly from this point on. For a start, I do not believe Tony to be ill because of this battle.

    By Blogger Timelord, at 7:58 AM  

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