“Talking about things like treating and curing autism is a really toxic narrative”
The main complaint here seems to be that this kind of thing is “ableist.”
The College Fix reports:
Harvard panel on autism postponed after student complaints: ‘violently ableist’
A Harvard-affiliated medical center has postponed a panel discussion on autism after a petition demanded the school “publically [sic] withdraw support” from the event.
According to The Crimson, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center decided to hold off on the panel titled “Autism Awareness: Thinking Outside the Box” after the Change.org petition got over 1,400 signatures of a requested 1,500.
“One of the panel’s goals is to highlight methods of ‘treating’ Autism,” the petition reads. “This is not only violently ableist but scientifically incorrect. Phrases like ‘winning our war against autism infer countless problematic narratives and demonize neurodivergent and Autistic people for simply existing.”
The petition goes on to claim phrases such as “how to communicate” and “savant autism” imply an “alien-like nature” to those with the condition.
The Sadhguru Center for a Conscious Planet, part of Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospital and host of the event, apologized for “any unintended distress.” In a statement, it said “We are pausing, deeply reflecting and learning before we consciously take next steps.”
Petition creator and Harvard student Kristin King said the event was “problematic from the get-go” due to the panelists’ language and the fact there were no featured autistic speakers.
“Talking about things like treating and curing autism is a really toxic narrative,” King said. “There isn’t anything wrong with being autistic. That’s something that autistic people have to say every single day of their lives.”
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