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Comment on: Diagnosis of autism, abortion and the ethics of childcare in Yoruba culture

Commenting on Matt Carey’s post (see reblog link) has reminded me that autism researchers and practitioners need to think about the worldwide impact of the discourses and approaches we promote. Devaluing people with autism is one product of the “autism industry” that I would like to see banned from export.

Left Brain Right Brain

I have an email alert from PubMed for autism. I’ve seen a few very problematic papers go by over the years, but this one really bothers me. The study is from Nigeria, home of much of the Yoruba people. I have not seen the full paper, but from the brief abstract it appears that the Yoruba people have developed moral principles that create an accepting environment for autistic children. They believe in “equality of humans at birth” and “solidarity”. The author of the study appears to take the position that “despite these justifications” there is a need for a “contextual rethinking” which would allow for aborting fetuses deemed to be at high risk for autism.

Note that there is not existing test to determine that a fetus is at high risk for developing autism. And even if there were, really? We need contextual rethinking to allow for abortion of…

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