Other People's Words

Transcript: Tony Attwood's July 21 appearance on the AWA podcast (Part 2 of 2)

Posted in Uncategorized by Tera on July 26, 2009

Here’s a transcript of Tony Attwood’s appearance on the Asperger Women’s Association podcast at Blogtalk Radio. This is the second half of the podcast; part 1 is here. If you’ve noticed any errors I’ve made, please let me know:

Sharon daVanport: Hey, Doctor Attwood? I just wanted to say that I know your time is limited and I’m sorry, I was like watching the chat room, the switchboard and I wanna be able to wrap things up for you so that you’re not late. I know you have to get out the door in just a couple minutes, and Ari–

Dr. Tony Attwood: I do indeed, yes.

Sharon daVanport: Yes, and Ari did say that he would stay and answer a few questions for some of the people in the chat room, and any of the callers who are calling in. I don’t know what your time limit is there, but I have someone who’s a big supporter of yours, Dr. Attwood, and who would like to speak with you on the phone. Is that okay? He actually has a question for Ari, so if I can bring him on, he can ask his question and then you can say your goodbyes. Can we do that?

Dr. Tony Attwood: Okay, that’s fine. Yep.

Sharon daVanport: Okay, all right. I’m going to bring on–this is the [area code]. Let’s see here. All right, [area code]?

Chris: Hello, Sharon?

Sharon daVanport: Yes. [laughter] Is this Chris? Hi.

Chris: Yes, thank you.

Ari Ne’eman: Hello, Chris. Thank you for joining us.

Chris: Uh, Tony, all I want to say, is I think that you can best support us by supporting our family members, which is exactly what you’re doing. I’m autistic, I’m an Asperger’s by the way, I’m on the spectrum. I’m a great supporter of yours. Out of all the resources we have, I think our family and friends are the greatest resource we have.

You know, it’s very hard living with someone on the spectrum, and that’s just a reality. It has [nothing?] to do with blame, it’s a reality. And I think when you support one of our family members, either through your association with FAAAS or through your conferences, you’re multiplying your effectiveness a tremendous amount. You help 10 NTs, they go back and help 10 or more family members. It’s a huge help to us. I know that you help thousands of people annually through your tireless work, and I want you to know personally that many of us know and appreciate these efforts. We owe you a tremendous amount. We do not…we are not all supporting Ari or ASAN, and I hope that’s very, very clear to you. We owe you a great debt of gratitude.

Tony Attwood: Thank you. I appreciate that very much, and know that was extremely heartfelt. My own view is that I have dedicated my life to help other people understand and appreciate those with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The presentations I give very much give energy and heart to family members. It gives them ideas, it gives them explanations and so on. That is my goal in life, really, is to help the world accept and encourage those with Asperger’s Syndrome. I know it’s a trite statement: to realize their potential. But, basically, for people with Asperger Syndrome to be happy and valued.

Sharon daVanport: Thank you, Dr. Attwood.

Chris: [unknown] that recognize that, thank you. I’ll see you in Portland, by the way, Tony. I’m gonna be at the conference on Thursday.

Dr. Tony Attwood: Okay, see you then.

Ari Ne’eman: We’ll see you in Portland, too, Dr. Attwood.

Dr. Tony Attwood: Oh, Ari, so you’re coming there as well?

Ari Ne’eman: No, but some people from our organization will. So, look–looking forward to it.

Dr. Tony Attwood: Okay, now, Sharon, I must dash at this stage, but thank you for allowing this conversation to occur.

Sharon daVanport: Well, I really thank you so much, and AWA thanks you, and we’re very excited. Our executive director, Yvonne, whom you know, she will be attending the conference in a couple weeks in Brisbane, Australia: the first ever autism women’s conference. So, AWA will be represented there, and she’s so much looking forward to meeting with you when she’s there. And thank you so much, Dr. Attwood.

Dr. Tony Attwood: Okay.

Sharon daVanport: You have a safe rest of your trip, okay?

Dr. Tony Attwood: Sharon, just before you go. One of the things that we’re looking at is the possiblity of doing a woman’s and girls’ conference in America next year.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, that would be wonderful.

Dr. Tony Attwood: The intention being then to record it so that it can be used by other people to really address those particular issues, which I think need to be raised in their own right.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, well, we’ll stay in touch with you about that, definitely, Dr. Attwood.

Dr. Tony Attwood: Yeah. Okay, thanks Sharon, and fairwell to Ari.

Ari Ne’eman: All the best, Dr. Attwood, and, yes. I hope you enjoy your dinner plans.

Dr. Tony Attwood: Thank you. Okay, bye.

Sharon daVanport: All right. Ari, you still with us? Chris, you still with us?

Ari Ne’eman: I am indeed.

Chris: Yes, I am.

Ari Ne’eman: Oh, Chris, you had a question for me. By all means, ask.

Chris: I have a whole bunch of ’em, but I’m not sure how many we’ll get to, so–

Ari Ne’eman: …We’ll leave it to one, because I think there are some other callers, but I’m very eager to hear your question, Chris, and thank you.

Chris: My main question is: is the only issue here legal? Are there no other issues? Are there no other valid concerns? Is Asperger’s only affecting us? Like, I just can’t believe really…there are a lot of family members that are trying their best and doing their best, and all I’ve heard is, you know, the legal issue, and that’s it. So I’m gonna say: Do we have any responsibility whatsoever to try and address the legitimate concerns and the legitimate difficulties that others have?

Ari Ne’eman: Well, I think we do. I think we certainly do, Chris. And, you know, the greater part of my advocacy is around issues that are oriented to things that I think that self-advocates and families are equally concerned about. Sometimes the families are more concerned about. I’ve always been–

Chris: You said that that’s your opinion, that you try and advocate for things you think they are concerned about. Has there ever been a poll done or any questions to find out what they are concerned about and whether you’re on the right track?

Ari Ne’eman: Well, there’s never been a longitudinal study–

Chris: No, no, no–

Ari Ne’eman: –but I think it’s a safe bet that parents are concerned about [Crosstalk Then:] Look, are you gonna let me finish, Chris, or are you going to–

Chris: Well–

Ari Ne’eman: –interrupt me?

Chris: Well, I–okay, go on.

Ari Ne’eman: I think it’s a safe bet that parents are concerned about education policy and things like restraint and seclusion. I think it’s a safe bet that spouses are concerned–

Chris: No.

Ari Ne’eman: Well, I guess it’s possible that parents aren’t concerned about special education policy and they’re not concerned about their kids getting restrained–

Chris: [Is there something?] on your website [now?] [Is there something?] on your website [now?]

Ari Ne’eman: But there’s not really a scientific way to try and find out what the great majority of parents–

Chris: Look at reality, Ari. Look at reality.

Ari Ne’eman: I would say, looking at reality says very clearly that parents are gonna be concerned about their kids being restrained and secluded and–

Chris: That is your opinion–

Ari Ne’eman: –abuse in schools.

Chris: And how…and let’s say, I think there’s how many in the States? 250 million? Let’s say–

Ari Ne’eman: There’s 380 million.

Chris: Okay, thank you. 380 million. 1 in 100 has Asperger’s, so that’s about 3.8 million. Of those 3.8 million, how many do you think are restrained?

Ari Ne’eman: Well, according to…I can’t get an exact statistic, but according to the National Disability Rights–

Chris: [unknown[ those 3.8 million are a lot more concerned about adequate services, about respite care for their parents, about vocational training–

Ari Ne’eman: Actually, we advocate for all those things, too. In fact, one of–

Chris: Advocating is asking other people for things. I think advocating is pretty darn easy. You can sit in an armchair, you can say “Give me this, give me that.” [unknown]

Ari Ne’eman: Well, no, Chris, have you ever tried advocating? Cuz I would say, speaking as somebody who has dedicated quite some time to working to try and fix the very significant problems that prevent those families and autistic people from getting access to services, from stopping abuse, which is endemic according to the leading authorities in this nation, and according to no less an authority than our own Congress and Secretary of Education.

I would say that those things are pretty hard. I don’t think that the disability rights movement, which has consistently worked to change the situation for people with disabilities in this country are a group of armchair generals. And I think we work with service providers. We work with support organizations–

Chris: I’m not saying that’s not important. What I’m saying is, in the grand scheme of things, in terms of the number of people affected, and their needs today…Obviously abuse is a tremendous issue. I’ve read some of those studies. I know what’s going on. I know it’s horrible.

But I’m just speculating that the vast majority of parents with Asperger children, that’s not their primary concern. If you’re in that situation, it’s a tremendous concern. But for the vast majority, I think that there’s a lot more efforts that could be put into, you know, providing services, advocating for–

Sharon daVanport: You know, Chris, I would say–

Ari Ne’eman: Chris, we are engaged in those efforts. We recently fought to get billions more dollars for IDEA and to make it easier for families to get that money spent on services for their kids.

Chris: Okay.

Ari Ne’eman: We’ve fought for the extension of more supports for adults across the spectrum, and we’ve often been fighting side by side with families. So I think, Chris, in a very real way, you’re making a straw man argument here, because all those things–ranging from respite care to services and supports, to other areas–we’ve fought for those things. Not only that, but we’ve actively participated in trying to make those things better, not just by working with Congress and legislatures, but by working with provider organizations, by working with family organizations.

We’ve never said that families and providers shouldn’t have a voice at the table. The problem is, right now, the voice is all families and providers, and we believe…It’s a novel concept in the autism world, Chris, but we believe that it makes some sense to have autistic people involved when you’re talking about autism.

Chris: [unknown]

Sharon daVanport: Chris and Ari, I just…I think this is a great conversation, but I don’t wanna ignore everyone else–

Chris: Sure.

Sharon daVanport: But I do wanna say one thing on…just to kind of bring together what both of you are saying. I do understand, Chris, where you’re coming from. On one hand, I truly do. And I also understand, as an autistic individual, what Ari is saying. We get the same thing when it comes to AWA. We’ve had many, many people say: “Well, why do you have an organization that’s just for women?”

Chris: Okay.

Sharon daVanport: And it’s really not just for women, because like Dr. Attwood has expressed, and many other experts in the field of autism have said, that when you understand the distinct qualities and the unique qualities that are attributed to females–more likely attributed to females on the spectrum–it’s gonna give us a greater understanding of the spectrum as a whole.

Chris: Right.

Sharon daVanport: So, because we’re under-represented in this community, and usually diagnosed later in life, it does make sense to have an organization where we can, you know, facilitate all of that information and those resources. So, I know…I do appreciate ASAN and the fact that they give a voice to me. You know, when I wear my hat [for the?] ASA and our organization stands for certain things, you know I…and we don’t advocate, I’m not in a position where I can do that. However, as a person and an individual outside of the AWA, there are many causes and things that I’ll render my opinion for–

Chris: Right.

Sharon daVanport: –and give statement to, so I can see both sides of it, I truly can.

Chris: Right.

Sharon daVanport: And I really appreciate you calling in.

Chris: So ASAN plays a role, AWA plays a role, FAAAS serves a role. Family members have needs, women have needs, autistic people have needs. They all [serve?] a valuable purpose. Thanks, Sharon.

Sharon daVanport: Thank you for calling in, Chris. We have a couple other callers, so–

Chris: Oh, I really appreciate it.

Sharon daVanport: Okay, you’re welcome. I’ll see you over on Twitter. [Laughter]

Chris: Okay. Bye.

Sharon daVanport: Okay, alrighty. Bye-bye. Okay, Ari. How are you doing there? [laughter]

Ari Ne’eman: Oh, I’m doing quite well.

Sharon daVanport: You’re not overstimulated yet? My heart was pounding for a little while there. I…

Ari Ne’eman: Aw, no.[unknown] When you work in the field of advocacy, you have to learn to have a thick skin.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Ari Ne’eman: The bottom line, as far as we’re concerned, though, is that we as a community need to come together in order to try and change the picture for adults and young adults on the spectrum, and children, and our families. And we’re stronger when we’re coming together. We’re stronger when we’re not simply accepting things the way they are, but we’re working in a collaborative fashion to make real change in our society. That’s always been my vision. That’s always been ASAN’s vision, and more importantly, that’s been the vision of the autistic community, which I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to be a participant in these past several years.

Sharon daVanport: Right. I know we covered this in your first interview with AWA Radio a few weeks ago, but I’d like for you to touch on…well, elaborate, really, on what you were just saying, and bring it into line with the objection that Chris had, and the concerns that he had. If you could explain to our listeners why an organization like ASAN…why it’s important to understand what you do and how you even benefit people who are the very people who may stand against you. Who say, “Well, we don’t want you to speak for us.” Can you tell them how important it is politically to have an organization that says, “Even if you don’t stand for us, we’re giving you a voice, whether you know it or not”? Can you elaborate on that?

Ari Ne’eman: I mean, personally I think ASAN speaks for the people who support ASAN, and no one organization, and no one individual can speak for everybody. That’s why I encourage as many autistic people and non-autistic people as possible to get involved and to be active. Um, but I will say that, you know, in a very real way, we’ve been advocating with the cross-disability community–

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Ari Ne’eman: –and with the broader autism and autistic community for those very things, like services and supports.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Ari Ne’eman: You know, I’ve personally traveled to IEP meetings and used the experiences I’ve had as somebody who’s having my own, to try and help parents get the services that they need for their child. And at the same time, you know, I’ve also tried to work with adults on the spectrum to get the services we need from systems which often don’t understand us, like Voc Rehab–

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Ari Ne’eman: –and others. So, it’s certainly true that we need to be out there, and we need to be advocating to get the things that are available. But we also need to be trying to make more things available, and to do that requires some level of advocacy. There’s a phrase that Ed Roberts coined, and Ed Roberts is a really good model here, because he not only was an excellent advocate, but he helped create one of the most important disability support infrastructures: the Independent Living Centers. And the phrase is “advocrat”; it’s a mix between “advocate” and “bureaucrat.” And it’s a position that many disability rights advocates often find ourselves in, because we have to work on both trying to get people services and supports, which is a huge part of our work, and–

Sharon daVanport: How do you spell that, Ari? Advocrat. Is it A-D-V-O-C-R-A-T advocrat?

Ari Ne’eman: Uh, yeah. Yeah.

Sharon daVanport: Okay.

Ari Ne’eman: It’s sort of a made-up word, but I think it’s one that describes to some extent the sort of stuff that we in the disability rights community have to do fairly well.

Sharon daVanport: Right. I gues the point that I was trying to make was the point that even if some people may not agree with the concept of ASAN and bring up some points that maybe Chris was saying, it doesn’t nonetheless mean that the work that you’re doing doesn’t benefit them in some way, the political work thta you do, and like you said, with the cross-disability community, and going to Washington, and some of the laws that you’re supporting to get passed, you know, and what ASAN has attached their name to has benefited everyone in the autism community greatly. And that’s more or less the point I was trying to make, is that–

Ari Ne’eman: Well, I appreciate that, Sharon, I really do. And in another way, I also really appreciate Chris’s comments, because I think Chris is putting lie to one of the things that FAAAS puts out there: that autistic people are unempathetic, and aren’t concerned about the problems facing family members, and–

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Ari Ne’eman: –and non-autistic people. Now, we’re certainly concerned about those things in our advocacy and our support activities, but Chris has shown that he as an autistic person is so concerned about it that he’s making it his first priority. I may disagree with how he interprets that, I may disagree with how he mischaracterizes our work, but at the same time, Chris himself, as an individual, is an excellent example of why the characterization of autistic people that FAAAS puts out is false.

Sharon daVanport: Okay.

Ari Ne’eman: Do we have another caller?

Sharon daVanport: I do. I was gonna say that.

Ari Ne’eman: [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: We’re gonna go to the phone lines right now, because we do. We have quite a few callers here. We have a caller from the [area code] that I’m going to bring on. [area code], you’re on the air.

Katie: Hi, this is Katie.

Sharon daVanport: Hi, Katie.

Ari Ne’eman: Hello, Katie.

Sharon daVanport: How are you? [Laughter]

Katie: I’m good. I had a comment, like a long time ago, and now the conversation’s changed [Ari, Sharon, and Katie laugh]. But I was gonna say that…in regards to Tony Attwood and everything, I think what he was saying about, “Oh, you know, it’s good to be a support organization, to help people.” Yeah, that’s great. If FAAAS was only a support organization, sure, we may not agree with all of their views, [but?] I don’t think…at least I as a person wouldn’t have as big of a problem with them. What I have the biggest problem with is institutionalizing…you know, writing discrimination into the law. And although Tony himself says he doesn’t condone that, he is attaching himself to an organization that does, and you can’t separate the support group from the political advocacy that FAAAS does…[they’re?] the same thing. I mean, if they split off into two groups and called them two different things, that would be different. But, I think that–

Ari Ne’eman: –That the right hand knows what the left hand is doing, exactly, Katie.

Katie: Yeah [unknown] that saying, but, yeah.

Sharon daVanport: And that brings me back to how Dr. Attwood was explaining the political differences. And perhaps, you know, I can’t speak for Dr. Attwood and I’m not gonna…am by no means doing this at this point. It just makes me wonder, though, if, because he does live in a different country and he may not know, you know, the political atmosphere that–

Ari Ne’eman: I think when you attach yourself–

Sharon daVanport: Pardon me?

Ari Ne’eman: [Laughter]

Katie: I don’t think he’s that dumb.

Sharon daVanport: No, no, no. I’m not saying. That’s not the point I was…I’m sorry, Katie, I probably didn’t make myself clear. I wasn’t making that…I wasn’t alluding to that or even…trying to even say that, you know, I felt that he was unaware. I think he brought out the point that he was aware that there are political differences, but he was basing his role…now, I could be wrong. He could correct me in an e-mail or call me about this. I think he was basing his role as an advisory board member as someone who clinically advise[s?]. Now, isn’t that what he stated, or did I misunderstand…

Ari Ne’eman: I think that’s some level what he said, but I guess, if that’s what he’s saying, then I have concerns with the kind of clinical representation of how FAAAS characterizes the spectrum, too. FAAAS does continuing education; FAAAS allies write things in social work and family law journals, so…and many of those things are patently inaccurate: that present autistic people as incapable of empathy, that go back to the old Thoery of Mind canard, which good research disproved some time ago.

Katie: Right. And, Ari, I wanna agree with you here, that, like, you know, FAAAS is putting all this stuff out there that’s not true. And Tony himself [unknown] may not agree with those statements, but he’s not really doing anything to change what FAAAS is putting out. He’s still aligning himself with them. And that’s what I have a problem with.

Ari Ne’eman: Well, in fairness, he got the name changed. I mean, 5 years on the advisory board, he got the name changed. [laughter]

Sharon daVanport: You know, maybe that’s indicative of the fact that they do listen to him. We can be happy about that, if they’re…

Katie: Yeah.

Ari Ne’eman: I don’t know how…I mean, to what extent that’s true. I think if you’ve been involved with an organization that’s literally trying to write discrimination into the law for over 5 years, and the only thing you’ve done is to make it have a better name? I think you have more of a responsibility to the people you’re talking about.

Katie: Yeah, and he’s [CROSSTALK] [unknown] Dr Attwood is saying, “Oh, I’m just a supporter.” I mean, he’s saying: “Oh, I have nothing to do with the political stuff. I’m not responsible for that. All I do is help people.” But, I think he does have a responsibility.

Sharon daVanport: And I do think that…did you not?…and I don’t know if I’m coming off like some Polyanna kind of person here, and I don’t [laughter] want people to misinterpret, you know, my stand on this at all, you know. I mean, I really do not agree at all with FAAAS, and it really is something that has, on a personal level has, you know–and this is personal, this is not an AWA statement, this is Sharon DeVanport–I have to say that, you know, it’s extremely troubling to me. I will say that.

I do, however, have to say that it does give me great encouragement that Dr. Attwood…I did specifically ask him–I don’t know how many of you might have heard this, it was right before I brought Ari on–I did specifically ask him if he would consider, you know, stepping away from FAAAS or any organization if he saw that they were not going to heed, you know, his suggestions on changing the language; on changing the views. And he did say that he would. I’m wondering if, you know, just the latest points that Ari has brought up, and the gravity of all of this, and the attention that it’s gotten, I’m just hoping that, if FAAAS doesn’t make any changes like that, then we can look forward to seeing Dr. Atwood, you know, continue his–

Ari Ne’eman: It didn’t sound like it, but we…you know, hope springs eternal, Sharon.

Sharon daVanport: Right [laughter].

Ari Ne’eman: I guess, to me, my concern here is…I remember some of the first advocates who raised concerns, and a lot of the first advocates who were raising these concerns weren’t actually autistic people. They were actually spouses and family members of autistic people who, you know, were quite vocal in saying: “The way you’re talking about our spouses and our family members isn’t accurate.” And FAAAS’s response to that was to write off those complaints, and, in fact, to state that autistic people–because they generally characterize any of their critics as autistic people, regardless of whether or not they are–are incapable of understanding other people’s point of view.

So, it’s sort of a sweet scam where you can find it, because according to their logic, no criticism…no response that we can ever make to them can be a legitimate one, because, according to them, we’re simply working on faulty wiring. So that’s why I’m not terribly encouraged by the prospect of any internal change there. But, you know, I share your hope, Sharon, that Dr. Attwood will change his point of view on this. I’m not quite as optimistic, but I share your hope.

Sharon daVanport: Well, well thank you. I’m glad that you do. We can agree on that one, right, Ari? [Laughter] We’re gonna be hopeful, okay? Maybe me a little bit more than you, but that’s what makes our differences. [laughter from Sharon and Ari] I do wanna ask if you’d do somthing for us, Ari, for our listeners before I bring another caller on. Could you let our listeners know where they can go to read up on some of the points that you were making that are concerning to you about FAAAS? Do you know the–?

Ari Ne’eman: Well, they should come to our website at www.autisticadvocacy.org, and we have a link to our petition around encouraging Dr. Attwood to dissassociate himself with hate organizations. We have a link to our response which sources much of the things we are referring to here. So, um, yeah, by all means, come to www.autisticadvocacy.org or e-mail us at info AT autisticadvocacy DOT org. I’m running behind, but I would be willing to take one more caller. Excepting, of course, that it will have to be necessarily brief.

Sharon daVanport: Okay, so, I’ll bring a caller on and they’re gonna have to be brief, so let’s see…

Katie: I’m still online, so you should probably boot me off if you haven’t.

Ari Ne’eman: [laughter] Oh, Katie, thank you for joining us.

Sharon daVanport: [area code] you’re on the air.

: Hello? Is this on? [CROSSTALK] Oh, yes, I had to switch phones, because I ran out of batteries.

Sharon daVanport: I recognized the area code, I knew it was [place,] but I didn’t see that…it was usually from a different number that you usually call from.

Yvonne: Oh, yeah. This is my personal private number. One of the things I want to say, what I see in all this is, I think Dr. Attwood is taking the stance of what many attorneys do when they have to represent clients who are murderers, who are serial killers, anything like this. I’m serious.

Ari Ne’eman: Geez. I just said they were like the KKK, you’re saying they’re worse. [laughter]–

Sharon daVanport: No, no, no. This isn’t [unknown].

Ari Ne’eman:I thought I’d gone too far. [Laughter]

Yvonne: Ari, Ari, I didn’t say FAAAS–

Ari Ne’eman: I know, I know. I’m just fooling. I’m just fooling. Don’t worry.

Yvonne: A lot of professionals feel they have to be impartial, and so they will try to help even organizations that they don’t necessarily agree with what they have, especially when they’ve morphed like they have in the several years with the group of few women who came on who have very new dregrees, very limited education…I mean not education but experience, and they’re flooding the market with papers that, if you read their references, it doesn’t really follow Dr. Attwood, they stem off of it. And most people don’t eve read the reference; they see “Attwood” there and they assume that he’s acknowledging that.

Many attorneys go through this when people say: “How can you represent a pedophile? How can you represent someone like this?” And they have to put themselves in a place where they’re non-objective and do their professional work. I feel this was the approach that Dr. Attwood was in this taking, but, you know, that is something he’s gonna have to deal with. I also see where they are using him. And he’s gonna call it as a little “poppycock” or whatever the term–

Ari Ne’eman: He’s letting himself be used. He can–

Yvonne: Well, people need time. People need time to look at their professional approach to it, because attorneys will not give up a case that the public absolutely has convicted the person [unknown]–

Ari Ne’eman: Well, attorneys have a moral responsibility to represent their clients–

Yvonne: So do psychologists. So do psychologists.

Ari Ne’eman: If Dr. Attwood views FAAAS as a recipient of mental health services from him in a professional capacity, I will not argue. But I guess I haven’t interpreted his comments that way. But at the same time, you know, the bottom line here is that it is a free country, and Dr. Attwood is free to affiliate with FAAAS if he so chooses. But the flip side of that is that we, as people who have to face the consequences of his decision, we are free to make what judgements we will as a result of that.

Yvonne: But that happens with the victim witness program in crime. As much as I’ve worked with the victim witness program for decades. The same thing happened. You have attorneys who are representing these persons, and we developed just only like 30 years ago victim witness programs to help the people who feel that they were hurt by this; that the person gets representation from the best, and they get no one. But you have to realize that doctors as well as lawyers overlook anything they feel about that particular person’s politics, and often will approach it medically. That’s how some doctors feel. Some don’t: Dr. Phil will jump on anything that’ll give him 15 minutes of fame on his program.

Ari Ne’eman: Well, I would just wonder why Dr. Attwood can’t advise this organization without attaching his name to it. Because to me, that’s a different level here, and the responsibilities of a psychologist are different from the responsibilities of an attorney, and I think–

Yvonne: Not really, in terms of client/patient…Client/patients are the same, [they have rights?]–

Ari Ne’eman: But FAAAS isn’t his patient.

Yvonne: No, but the patients are with FAAAS, and that’s who he’s serving, and he’s advising. He’s advising those particular–

Ari Ne’eman: Didn’t he just say that the totality of his involvement was changing the name? He hasn’t been engaged in an active role within in the organization?

Yvonne: There you go. He’s just had his name on it, and probably wasn’t aware until all this came up. That happens with lawyers, and many people on boards. I see that happen on many boards.

Ari Ne’eman: But he stated, in fact, that, you know, he has had his name on it, and he’s been aware of having his name on it for almost a half-decade now, and if nothing else, he’s aware of it now; I would hope he would take some steps. But, you know, I think–

Yvonne: I think he is; I think he is. I think he’s listening to everyone….huh?

Ari Ne’eman: I think he disagrees; he says he’s not planning on making any changes there. But, you know, I do appreciate you raising this.

Yvonne: I don’t know.

Ari Ne’eman: It’s important for us to try and understand the psychology of Dr. Attwood. Certainly, realizing you’ve made a mistake is never an easy thing. You know, it’s my sincere hope that Dr. Attwood will return to us as a friend in the future, realizing he’s made a mistake, and hopefully cutting ties with this organization that preaches discrimination. But–

Yvonne: Gel. Let’s give it time to gel.

Ari Ne’eman: Yes, let’s. Thank you very much for having me on the show, Sharon. Thank you for joining us, Yvonne, and all the best. I wish our listeners all the best, and if you’ll excuse me. Have a good night.

Sharon daVanport: Thank you. Okay, Yvonne, are you still with us?

Yvonne: I am. I’m here.

Sharon daVanport: Wow. What a show we’ve had tonight, right?

Yvonne: Yes, and I think we’ve accomplished a lot. I think both had a chance to really talk, and that’s really good. I think again, in my opinion, this thing focuses back on F-triple-A-S, and how some of their members are behaving politically. But it, you know, like I said, I heard this in the legal world and the medical world. They have to look at the victim and the patient. They have to look at the person they’re representing, or they’re working as a psychologist for. And those are hard calls; they really are. And they’re legal calls there, too. If he’s giving advice, psychological advice, and things like this. I just think people need some space now to think about it.

Sharon daVanport: Well, remember the first time that I spoke with Ari on the phone about this a couple months ago. I remember the first conversation we had, and, you know, I was explaining the position of the AWA: that we’re not an advocacy organization, and as individuals, we may have our own opinions, and I made very clear to Ari, and you know very clearly how I feel, too, about this.

Yvonne: I don’t support FAAAS. I don’t support them at all.

Sharon daVanport: Right. However, though, as an organization, AWA states in our bylaws that we don’t advocate. However, as individuals, we can state our opinions–

Yvonne: Sure.

Sharon daVanport: But I just think it’s important for people to understand that, because I have been asked that, you know: “What is AWA’s position?” We simply don’t have a position. We’re not gonna make any kind of position…or take any kind of position on it as an organization, because it does state in our bylaws that we are not an advocacy organization.

Yvonne: Exactly.

Sharon daVanport: And you know what Ari said to me? I really like what Ari said. Ari said to me, “And you know what, Sharon?” and I said, “What, Ari?” and he said, “That’s why you’ve got the me’s of the world.” [Laughter from Yvonne] And I’m like, “You know what, Ari, that is right.” So if people wanna question why there are the Aris out there with ASAN, it is because there are many of us who cannot take a forward stand about some of this, maybe because we’ve [attached?] ourselves to organizations, and–

Yvonne: And I support ASAN. I do.

Sharon daVanport: Right. Right.

Yvonne: Personally, and also, AWA supports ASAN, and GRASP as well.

Sharon daVanport: Right. And I just wanted to go back to Dr. Attwood, too. I really do appreciate the fact he knows. He’s very well aware of the controversy, and he still was willing to come on and, you know, speak with us about his book. You know, he had absolutely no hesitancy when I invited him to also take a few minutes at the end of his interview to speak with Ari. He absolutely did not hesitate for a moment. He contacted me right away and said, “Yes, Sharon. That would be fine.” So I really do have to say that I wanna thank him again, and let our listeners know that, you know, he did not hesitate for a moment. And he said he would be happy to speak with Ari. So–

Yvonne: I agree 100 percent.

Sharon daVanport: Right, and we just so appreciate that. Before we wrap up: I went ahead and scheduled for 2 hours, because I had no idea how long this would go or if we would have problems with connections, getting Dr. Attwood on, because I actually had to dial out and get him on [laughter]. I just wanna make sure everything is okay, but it looks like we are gonna kind of wrap things up in a few minutes.

Yvonne: Okay, so one thing before you do, I do wanna say this. I’m putting out a paper. My specialty…I’m an art historian, and art is…my specialty is aesthetics. And this is normal for the art world, where different groups or people have truths, such as doctors, lawyers or religious people will use metaphors from literature; they’ll use visual art, performing art, literature, to give an emotional attachment to their particular truth.

Sharon daVanport: What are you talking about Yvonne, when you say this?

Yvonne: Using the Cassandra metaphor. If you look online, there are like 3 different interpretations of it. There’s also a thing called the Medusa Effect. And there are five different approaches to the Medusa Effect, which I see FAAAS as possibly a lot of the women there having the Medusa Effect. But see, when you use this in a truth, let’s say, in psychological evaluation or politics or religion, it’s no longer art. People have taken that artistic thing that was subjective, and because it’s subjective, spin it into their own web of truth. And they will use that to try and convince people they are right. So it’s an emotional enhancement. And they do it and most of the times it’s okay. It’s done in passing. [Unknown] like the religious [unknown] who thought the purple Teletubby was gay [laughter]. You know.

Sharon daVanport: Yvonne, we can’t hear you, you’re totally…the phone is cracking out. It’s crackling.

Yvonne: Okay. Alright. I just wanna say that they are using this. There will be a paper out on it, and allow people to use their critical thinking skills on this. And I think that will help them to make decisions they normally can’t when it comes to subjective things like art being used in science.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. I’m looking forward to that, Yvonne. I really am. I also wanted to let our listeners know before we close shop tonight that we will be back next week. It’ll be our Monday show, regularly scheduled time: 2:00 Central Standard Time, 3:00 Eastern, and at noon Pacific. And we’re gonna have Kristina Chew on. Kristina actually is a board member of ASAN, and Kristina is a mom to a son who’s on the autism spectrum. And she is going to be talking to us about how she is guiding her son towards embracing his neurodiversity. And she has just done a beautiful job in writing and blogging about her experience and her family’s experience, and we’re really looking forward to her being on next week.

And then the following week we have Dr. Paul Offit coming on. He is the author of Autism’s False Prophets. He has actually worked for the CDC and helped develop some vaccines, so we look forward to speaking to him the following Monday after that on August the third.

So I wanna thank everyone for joining us. I’m gonna leave the chat room up for about 15-20 minutes, so everyone in the chatroom, you guys can go ahead and keep chatting for about…oh, I’ll go ahead and say 20 minutes. And I’ll let you guys know about 5 minutes before I’m gonna shut it down. I wanna thank everyone for being with us this evening; thank Ari with ASAN for joining us with Dr. Attwood, and to also give our thanks to Dr. Attwood as well. This has been AWA Radio on Blogtalk Radio, and we thank you for joining us. Good night.



2 Responses

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  1. Socrates said, on July 27, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Very much appreciate your work.

    Thanks for this 🙂

  2. daren said, on July 28, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Great post – Just subscriped to your RSS feed.. Thanks
    Very interesting post – Might be old new, but it was new to me. Thanks.

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