Jonathan Mitchell (writer)
Mitchell in 2015
September 7, 1955
Los Angeles, California
|Years active||1993-present (writer)|
|Relatives||Melanie Mitchell (sister)|
|Autism rights movement|
Jonathan Mitchell (born September 7, 1955) is an American author and autistic blogger who writes about autism including the neuroscience of the disorder and neurodiversity movement. His novel The Mu Rhythm Bluff is about a 49-year-old autistic man who undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Mitchell was born in 1955 and at the age of 12, he was diagnosed with autism. He attended psychoanalytic therapy as a child. He also attended mainstream and special education schools facing expulsion and being bullied. Mitchell has done data entry jobs but was fired many times for his behavior. After retiring at 51 years old, he attempted to get SSDI but was not successful. He lives in Los Angeles and is supported by his parents.
Mitchell has been described by Newsweek as a controversial voice in the autism blogosphere for wanting a cure and discussing the need to consider the longer-term effects of autism. Mitchell has been criticized by other autism bloggers for his pro-cure stance. In 2015, during a Newsweek profiling, the journalist was urged by Mitchell’s critics to not write about him. In a 2015 commentary in the Huffington Post, immunologist and autism community supporter Neil Greenspan mentioned that Mitchell would be very unlikely to demand that others seek autism treatment, should it become widely available.
Responding to Mitchell's commentary on neurodiversity in the magazine The Spectator, Nick Cohen agreed with his statement that many neurodiversity advocates can hold down careers and provide for families, and cannot speak on behalf of those that are more severely impacted. Jonathan Rose, a history professor at Drew University, agreed with this commentary (that neurodiversity is over-represented in the media and at the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee), since profoundly autistic individuals have difficulty advocating for themselves. By contrast, author Jessie Hewitson described many of the difficulties associated with autism as challenges, but that his autism is "not an affliction".
Mitchell has written the novel The Mu Rhythm Bluff, which is about a 49-year-old man who undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat his autism. Regarding the novel, neurobiology professor Manuel Casanova wrote that he was impressed with Mitchell's scientific knowledge. Mitchell has been working on another novel titled The School of Hard Knocks, which is about an abusive special education school.:153 He has also written twenty-five short stories. Mitchell's writing has been compared by the novelist Lawrence Osborne to the work of David Miedzianik, a UK-based autistic poet and writer.:161
Mitchell served as a subject for an MRI study conducted by autism researcher Eric Courchesne. He has been exchanging emails with neurologist Marco Iacoboni with questions about mirror neurons since 2010. Mitchell has also followed Casanova's work, which focuses on abnormalities within the brain's minicolumns.
- Casanova, Manuel (8 July 2019). Autism Updated: Symptoms, Treatments and Controversies: Empowering parents and autistic individuals through knowledge. pp. 697, 700. ISBN 9781079144109.
- Mitchell, Melanie (1 September 2011). Complexity: A Guided Tour. Oxford University Press. pp. xvi. ISBN 978-0199798100. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- Hayasaki, Erika. "The Debate Over an Autism Cure Turns Hostile". Newsweek. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Andersen, Kurt (28 March 2008). "On the Spectrum". Studio 360. Public Radio International. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- Hamilton, Jon. "Shortage of Brain Tissue Hinders Autism Research". NPR. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
- Mitchell, Jonathan (19 January 2019). "The dangers of 'neurodiversity': why do people want to stop a cure for autism being found?". The Spectator. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- Greenspan, Neil (29 May 2015). "Neurodiversity Proponents Strongly Object to Viewpoint Diversity". The Huffington Post. AOL Lifestyle. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- Cohen, Nick (30 May 2019). "The road to hell for the mentally incapacitated". Standpoint. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
- Rose, Jonathan. "The Challenges of Writing Histories of Autism". History News Network. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
- "Letters: my autism is a challenge, not an affliction". The Spectator. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- Osborne, Lawrence (2007). American Normal: The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 978-0-387-21807-6. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
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