Friday, March 22, 2019

Comments by Stephen Shenfield

Showing 5 of 5 comments.

  • I’ve been reading the story of a girl with Aspergers syndrome who is forcibly “treated” with and eventually killed by psychiatric drugs for seizures that she probably didn’t even have. The story is told by her mother, a Danish teacher named Dorrit Christensen. The title of the book is “Dear Luise.”

  • Recently I was looking for a local group that might give me support in my effort to lose weight. I did find a group that meets regularly in a nearby hospital, but it too was based on this 12-step system. I am against this system because instead of empowering people it reinforces their feelings of powerlessness and teaches them that they must rely on an external power, i.e., God.

  • One expression of attitudes toward suicide is the silencing of references to the cause of the death of the person concerned. It is never mentioned in obituaries or at funerals or memorial meetings, although the perceptive observer might infer the likelihood of suicide from the very fact that no cause of death is given.

    When a close colleague committed suicide at an institute where I worked, I offered to organize a meeting to talk the matter through but was told by the personnel manager in no uncertain terms that I would do no such thing. I came to an agreement with her and the director that I would observe the norm of public silence but conduct an investigation and send a report of its results to those colleagues who wanted to receive it. That meant first sending a note informing them that I had prepared the report and asking them to return a slip saying whether or not they wanted to see the report. Every single one of them replied yes! So much for the rationale of keeping silent in order not to disturb people. In fact people are disturbed by the silence as well as by the suicide itself — they want to know and understand (although complete understanding is unattainable). Afterward some colleagues thanked me and said my report had greatly helped them.

    The director also arranged for a close friend of our deceased colleague to come and talk with us informally. She assured us that the suicide had nothing to do with how any of us had behaved toward him, because a number of us, including myself, feared that we might be somehow to blame.

  • Thank you for drawing my attention to this group. I agree with what seems to me their basic philosophy — autistic people should be accepted as they are. Both the use of drugs and manipulative “educational” methods have their roots in the assumption that “bizarre” behavior is intolerable and must be suppressed. The underlying problem facing autistic people and all others who are different from the norm is intolerance of human diversity.

    Thank you, everyone else as well, for your solidarity and kind words.