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Monday 18 October 2021

Neurodiversity. A valuable concept: but it has an inherent danger

When faced with a failing, but still powerful and highly manipulative medical system, it is necessary to examine any new terminology that suddenly appears with regard to health. One such medical term is "Neurodiversity". It has been variously described, but the 'Genius Within' website provides a good comprehensive definition.

    "Neurodiversity is the concept that all humans vary in terms of our neurocognitive ability. Everyone has talents and things they struggle with. However, for some people the variation between those strengths and weaknesses is more pronounced, which can bring talent but can also be disabling.

    "Neurodiverse / neurodivergent people tend to find some things very easy and other things incredibly hard. This usually leads to an inconsistent performance at school or work.

    "Neurodiversity can be a competitive advantage when the individuals are in the right environment, making use of their strengths, instead of constantly trying to overcome challenges. To achieve this we must create inclusive spaces to work and learn that reduce disabling factors and amplify diverse abilities.

Given this definition I have no problem with the concept of Neurodiversity. Indeed, it is an approach to life that seeks to adopt a positive view towards all people, focusing what what every person has to offer than any deficit they may have. It seeks to avoid the problem of dealing with people as a merely a member of a 'minority' group, and all the stigma this can entail. Genius Within say that its aim "is to work towards a world where all variations in the rich tapestry of human cognition are accepted and enabled."

Yet Neurodiversity has been controversial among disability advocates. Those opposed to, or have doubts about the concept point out that it does not reflect the realities of individual lives, especially those people who have high support needs. I share this concern; but my issue is somewhat different.

I wholeheartedly applaud any other effort to avoid and overcome the problem of stigmatising minority groups whether this be through sociability, learning difficulties, attention span, changeability of mood, and other issues regarding mental functioning. Indeed I welcome anything that removes the social barriers to the acceptance and full involvement in social life of any individual.

Genius Within says that neurodiverse, or neurodivergent conditions include a variety of physically 'invisible', but ever-growing conditions such as:

  • ADHD (affecting 5% of the population)
  • Autism (2% of the population)
  • Dyslexia (10% of the population)
  • Dyspraxia (5% of the population)
  • Tourette syndrome (2% of the population)
They add that 7% of the population now have mental health needs, and 5% of the population have an acquired brain injury. So the neurodiverse population is a significant, and a growing one.

My quite specific problem with the definition of neurodiversity is given by the 'Understood' website which states that:
    "Neurodiversity is a viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits."

The conditions listed above as neurodivergent are not "normal" conditions. They have a relatively modern rise to prominence. They are essentially new diseases, either previously unknown, or whose incidence have become more widespread in recent decades. Why is this? What is the pathology. Something has caused them. And my argument is that it is always vital we seek to find the causation of any illness.

So if neurodiversity is used to challenge the view that neurodevelopmental disorders are pathological, that knowing about the causation is not important, if we accept that they are "normal", medicine will be unable to progress.

My first contact with the concept of neurodiversity was in response to a blog I wrote, several years ago now, on the link between autism and childhood vaccines. I was taken to task by someone who told me that autism was NOT a disease, or an illness, but a gift. She said that she loved her son, and did not want him to be associated with being sick, or in any way abnormal. 

This made me realise that we were speaking about two quite different things. She was talking about the love she had for her son, and how he should be treated. I was talking about the pathology of the condition with which her son had been diagnosed.

There should be no conflict between these two approaches, the one can progress alongside the other. She should be able to love her autistic son, and I should be able to look at the cause of her son's condition. The two tasks were not mutually exclusive.

Treating the person as "normal" is important. Treating the condition itself as 'normal' risks failing to examine the cause of the condition - and doing away with it.

I understand that neurodiversity is especially popular within the autism rights movement. And this is my worry. My concern is that 'neurodiversity' will be used by the Conventional Medical Establishment (CME) to deflect attention away from the causation of these conditions, not least autism. 

The CME already denies vehemently any connection between autism and childhood vaccination. The rise of autism has been alarming, and it continues to rise. Yet when asked about the cause of the autism epidemic the CME says (quoting the UK's NHS):

          "The exact cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is currently unknown. It's a complex condition and may occur as a result of genetic predisposition (a natural tendency), environmental or unknown factors."

How a disease, unknown prior to the 1940's, can have a 'genetic' cause is not explained. Yet it would appear that the CME does know that it is NOT childhood vaccines. It dismisses any link out of hand!

          "In the past, a number of things were linked to ASD, but extensive research has found no evidence to suggest that any of these contribute to the condition."

Yet there are, in fact, 160 research papers that supports the vaccine / autism link.

I would hate to think that the neurodiversity movement would be taken over by the CME. There is a real danger that the pharmaceutical industry might want to 'support' the neurodiversity movement, another part of its programme to deny medical harm caused by adverse drug and vaccine effects. It provides them with an attractive argument. "Autistic children are lovely, loveable people; we should spend our time loving them, not asking questions about why they developed autism".

So Neurodiversity could become an excuse for pharmaceutical denial. We don't need to look at the pharmaceutical causes of autism, in case links are found with vaccines, or paracetamol, or antidepressants, or any other drug. We do not need to look at the pharmaceutical causes of Tourette's, in case links are found with drugs like Amphetamine Sulfate, Benzphetamine Hydrochlorideor, Cylert, Pemolline, or vaccines.  

And the same applies to any of the other conditions under the umbrella of neurodiversity.

The CME message would be clear. "We have to accept that we will all be ill, and that there is no treatment for these conditions. We don't need to know about causation. It is sufficient just to love people, don't bother to look at cause. And if you (the neurodiversity movement) do this, we will support you movement with money."  This is exactly what it has done with many health charities, and patient support groups. 

The pharmaceutical industry is highly profitable, the most highly profitable industry of all; and it uses its money to divert attention from its direct culpability in the causation of illness.

I have never known anybody who has purposely set out to have a child who suffers from any condition, neurological or any other, because they are lovable. Good parents will love them, of course; and value them, of course.

But causation should never be dismissed; we should not allow anyone who has caused any medical condition to deflect attention away from their culpability; we should not allow drug companies to get away with any patient harm that may have been caused by their highly profitable drugs and vaccines.