This morning I wrote about Dr. Bryna Siegel of the University of California, San Francisco. Siegel recently suggested to The Daily Beast that people with Asperger's syndrome can't have secretaries, and The Los Angeles Times that people with autism can't have friends. But she has made a series of bigoted statements regarding autistic people that go back for at least a decade.
From 2002, to USA Today:
"It's as if they do not understand or are missing a core aspect of what it is to be human; to be and do like others and absorb their values," says psychologist Bryna Siegel, director of the Autism Clinic, University of California, San Francisco. "Their worlds are more barren, their social world is very distorted, and they come out of their world not when you want them to, but when they want to."
From 2007, also to USA Today:
Bryna Siegel, director of the Autism Clinic at the University of California-San Francisco, concurs that an Asperger's parent would be rare, and she knows of just one short-lived marriage. Recently she does more "un-diagnosing" than diagnosing, she says.
In a 2007 article in The San Francisco Chronicle, Siegel suggests that it is good and healthy to look at autism as karmic punishment:
Never one to ignore ethnicity, Siegel homes in on the family's Hinduism. "The Hindu frame of mind enables them to accept the trajectory," she says, "and that's a good thing. It means they're not constantly disappointed by the kid."
Flipping through his records, she notes that the patient's fraternal twin died at birth, while the teen himself had hovered precariously close to death after suffering oxygen deprivation, a factor that is now associated with autism. "Interesting," she remarks. "You know, if that had been an American family, they'd have sued the hospital."
The father had asked her opinion, she says, on whether his son would be suited to working in his school doing photocopying. This, too, provokes another disquieting comparison with Americans. "Parents here would be saying, 'Is Xeroxing all he will ever be capable of doing?' " But Hinduism is about karma, she says. Accepting the teen's autism is a chance to redeem karma, "so the next generation might bring good things."