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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Texas Lawmaker on the Spectrum

The Politics of Autism, I write:  "Support from the general public will be an important political asset for autistic people. Another will be their sheer numbers, since a larger population of identified autistic adults will mean more autistic voters and activists"

Lauren McGaughy reported last week at The Dallas Morning News:
A Texas lawmaker spoke publicly for the first time Thursday about his struggle with autism.
Rep. Briscoe Cain revealed he has Asperger's Syndrome during a speech on the House floor marking Autism Awareness Month. Flanked by his colleagues at the front microphone of the chamber, the Deer Park Republican said it was time for him to tell his story.
"I, along with countless others who experience these challenges brought on by Asperger's and autism, communicate and express myself in a way that's different from others. If I don't maintain eye contact with you, it's not an intentional nonverbal cue of disrespect. Body language, reading it, and appropriate use of it does not come naturally for those on the spectrum," Cain said.
 "Members, right now I suspect many of you are thinking to yourself, 'So that explains it.' And yes, your assumptions are correct — that's why I'm highly intelligent," Cain joked. "The media doesn't often get it right, Fox News included. But when they portray every person with Asperger's as some sort of eccentric genius, well, then, they probably got it right. ... The bottom line is if I have to go to the back mike with a point of order that might potentially derail your bill, it's probably just a big misunderstanding. So just go with it.