I have recieved an email criticising some comments that I made on the BIAW forum relating to Aspergers Syndrome or High Functioning Autism. The author of this email interpreted my comments as ‘making jokes’ at the expense of individuals who suffer from these conditions, and vowed to forward her email, or a variation of it, to others on the island in order to expose me as someone who denigrates these conditions. It is as a result of this email that I feel it necessary to clarify my comments and apologise for any misperceptions resulting from them.
I would ask that readers review the thread on BIAW were the comments were made, however I will also copy and paste them here. I have also posted a follow-up comment on that thread similar in effect to this one. I should note that I post on that forum under the pen-name ‘Crimson Dynamo’, which is more an accidental pen-name than anything else, and I have never hid behind it; I am quite open as to my identity.
The offending comments on that thread were:
No offence, but I do sometimes get the impression you may have a form of Aspergers syndrom. I’m not saying that to be mean or anything, it’s purely just an impression I get sometimes, based on my own experiences with people with it.
I just want to be clear that I don’t know this guy from Adam, and I am not belittling Aspergers syndrome. It’s just an impression I have. But then, I tend to think most Randroids have it…
[The second statement was in reaction to a fellow poster there clearly misinterpreting my original statement as intending to be a joke.]
I think it is important to stress here that I am quite familiar with Aspergers Syndrome and High Functioning Autism as a whole, as well as autism in general. Sufferers of these conditions are within my close social network, or closely related to them. Indeed, the reason that I mentioned it in the post itself was because I happen to know a fellow Bermudian who has a mild form of this condition, who also happens to espouse Objectivist ideologies (which the person the comment was directed at also does) and I suspected the two were the same people. It was sort of a friendly sounding out of the individual in question (who posts on BIAW, as well as here infrequently, under the pen-name J. Galt).
I had thought that I had made it clear in my initial statement, and explicitly so in the second one, that I was in no way attempting to denigrate the condition. I apologise unreservedly should people have perceived that I was indeed denigrating them.
I should also say that I only know three Objectivists personally, of these one is the individual mentioned above who I know to have a mild form of this Autism. The other two share characteristics related to the syndrome, although I concede I have never confirmed this with them. It was on this basis that I suggested that ‘I tend to think most Randroids have it’.
I hope that I have cleared up any misunderstandings on this issue, although I am quite happy to further expand on it should readers have any further concerns. I also hope that readers and those who may recieve emails accusing me of ridiculing autism feel confident to hold me to account.
Having said the above, the issue does provide the potential to develop a better understanding of the complex issues relating to autism in our society, and I would be delighted should readers want to discuss these issues here. To that end I would also like to direct readers to the site of BASE – Bermuda Autism Support & Education. BASE does alot of excellent work relating to autism in Bermuda and I encourage readers to contact them for more detailed information.