‘Jenny McCarthy can go jump off a cliff’

Autistic culture movement embraces differences rather than searching for a cure

According to the adherents of a growing autism culture movement, Jenny McCarthy has it all wrong. The comedian, whose son is autistic, made headlines with her assertion that childhood immunizations are to blame for autism. But these critics say her accusations send the wrong message; that autism is a disease that needs to be cured. Instead of striving to turn autistics into “neurotypicals”—or what some might call neurologically “normal”—these groups are heralding “neurodiversity.” As Salon writer Elizabeth Svoboda explains, “the movement aims to redefine autism as something to be valued and protected, not obliterated.”