The degree of arrogance displayed by more than a few who claim to be “experts” with decades of hands on experience in the field of autism is absolutely staggering. Their arrogance is only rivaled by their mindset of assuredness. They are unwavering in their absolute knowing about a neurology that continues to baffle the best neuroscientists in the world. These practitioners not only speak from a place of “authority” they are imperious, contemptuous and profoundly scornful of any who suggest they might want to consult with a few people who are actually living their lives with the neurology these so-called experts claim to understand and know all about.
We have run into more than a few of these professionals over the years. These are the people who fill me with fear. They come into contact with hundreds and thousands of children over their decades of “expertise” and it terrifies me. They win grants and are paid to speak at conferences. Their opinions are sought by a great many. They swagger about with their self importance, wearing their years of working with the Autistic population as though it were a badge of honor. They think nothing of grouping an entire neurology into a small, convenient box labeled “autism”.
They smirk and posture and plaster their walls with their many credentials and degrees. They make sure everyone understands exactly how many years they’ve been working in the “field.” They say things like, “autistic children are…” accuse those they disagree with of “falsehoods” and go on at length about how they know what “autistic children” want, need and care about. They are profoundly dismissive of those who actually ARE Autistic and who dare question or disagree with them. Instead of listening to the very people they claim to know so much about, they silence with words of contempt. They attack. They strike out, bring in reinforcements of like-minded colleagues. Sometimes they even target someone, almost always someone who is autistic, and try to do damage to them by contacting their employers, or those they have professional contact with.
I used to be shocked that such people would choose to be in a profession where the people they are supposedly wanting to help, end up being the very people they silence and hurt. It used to surprise me when I would read comments by people who have no trouble using language either written or spoken to get their point across, dismiss and question someone who does not enjoy the same ease with which they do, to communicate. I used to be naive enough to believe those calling themselves an “expert,” and had degrees suggesting study and dedication in their given field was further evidence of their title.
I used to believe in a great many things.
*This post is not about any one person, but about the dozens of people I’ve met over the years who fit the above description. There are many people, both autistic and non autistic, who have dedicated their lives to autism, who (thankfully) do not fit this description. They are open to new ways of thinking, they are actively listening to those who have different experiences than their own. All of them are engaged in learning, discovering, uncovering more information and examining what they think. They are operating from a place of humility, and to those people I am profoundly grateful.
Cart Before the Horse Research ~ By Michael Forbes Wilcox