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Jonathan Mitchell is an autistic author and blogger who advocates for a cure for autism.[1][2] He opposes the neurodiversity movement. He is one of the more controversial figures among autistic bloggers because of his hatred of autism, his view of autism as a disability, his desire for a cure and his constant attacks on respected individuals. He writes stories, blog posts and books as his primary interest and is also interested in the neuroscience of autism, having done basic research and even participated in autism research.[3]

Early life

Jonathan Mitchell was born in 1955. As a toddler, he smeared feces[4] and threw tantrums, in addition to having interests in watching his parent's record player spin and lining blocks end to end. His parents took him to a psychoanalyst, who blamed his mother, Norma. Mitchell's parents considered institutionalization, but eventually they decided against it and tried to cure him instead as Norma had decided the psychoanalyst was right - totally against what other more caring and interested parents did presented with the same issue at the time. He was only diagnosed with autism at the age of 12 by a psychiatrist, contradicting another claim that he was diagnosed at the age of 3. He then attended mainstream and special education schools, where he faced expulsion for behavioral problems in certain instances, but was also bullied by other students.[5][6] He has worked in the past doing jobs such as data entry, but he claims he was fired too many times for being too loud and making too many mistakes - as many as twenty jobs he tries to lead us to believe.[7] There is no proof of this claim. Mitchell currently resides in Los Angeles and has a degree in psychology.[8] He lives from his parents' money, being given $26,000 a year[9] having been denied an application for Social Security Disability Insurance due to his clear ability to engage in research.[10][11]

Views on autism and neurodiversity

Mitchell has described autism as having "prevented me from making a living or ever having a girlfriend. It's given me bad fine motor coordination problems where I can hardly write. I have an impaired ability to relate to people. I can't concentrate or get things done."[12] He has stated that compared to the experiences of other disadvantaged groups, his deficits are social in nature, and that he has attempted to join support groups but always ends up lonely.[13] This is because he refuses to adjust to his condition, a legacy of his upbringing - for example bemoaning his stimming habit of twiddling with a pencil and with shoelaces as though it was a bad thing.[14] He projects hate and scares away members of the opposite sex. In an interview on a web TV show called Autism Live he rejected the idea of finding love late in his life.[15][16][17] His blog "Autism Gadfly" represents being a willful nuisance - the very definition of Gadfly.[18]

His catch phrase is "We don't need no stinkin' Neurodiversity".[19] Conversely he describes neurodiversity as a "tempting escape valve", claiming that “most persons with an autism-spectrum disorder have never expressed their opinions on someone’s blog and never will"[20] - a view absolutely contradicted by many autistic bloggers and online activists. He states that neurodiversity has no solution for low-functioning autistics[21] when in fact this is a typical hate line and completely untrue in that it misrepresents what neurodiversity actually is. Phil Gluyas corrects Mitchell directly, stating that "Jonathan Mitchell’s doctrine of “We don’t need no stinking neurodiversity” is actually about the misnamed neurodiversity movement. I am not a member of such a movement because as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t exist."[22] In one of his essays, “Undiagnosing Gates, Jefferson and Einstein,” Mitchell claims that it is unlikely that Bill Gates has Asperger syndrome because of his successful social relationships and success in business[23]. This shows his blind hatred for the condition as a successful career overcomes any social issues that may present themselves. He also has stated in this essay that parents’ expectation of savant abilities for their autistic children “provides fodder for the special educators, special education attorneys, ABA therapists etc., to legitimize their profits and to encourage the false hope ... that so many parents of these children have.”[24] This also misrepresents autism and promotes it as only a low functioning condition, contributing to the fear that established enemies like Autism Speaks thrive on.

Mitchell has written an essay on his website titled "Neurodiversity: Just Say No."[25] In it he tries to give reasons why the concept means nothing, but he only succeeds in complaining about his own lot and doesn't address the core concerns for the Autistic community.

Criticism and opposition

When Newsweek announced that they would profile Jonathan Mitchell, critics of him emailed the article journalist urging her not to write about him, saying among other things “He is a hater. He hates himself.” and that "he blames being autistic rather than blaming a world that is not set up for autistic people." Phil Gluyas wrote that Mitchell is bitter "because he was brought up that way by his mother after she was blamed for his autism when he was first diagnosed back in the 1950s. She tried to cure him, instead of (helping) him to adjust like a good mother would have"[26]. Gluyas writes a reply blog to Mitchell's called "Mitchell's Gadfly" where he contradicts as much of Mitchell's commentary as he reasonably can[27].

Mitchell has also claimed to face outright hostility from other members of the neurodiversity movement, writing satirical songs about him or comparing him to a "Jew that sympathized with Nazis" among other insults. His father, Jack, has described him as going overboard when he responds to hostility but says he can't blame him for wanting a cure.[28] This is the attitude that has made Mitchell the hater that he is - no encouragement to overcome the negatives and adjust to the positives of being on the Autistic Spectrum.

Mitchell is also friends with Yuval Levental and Oliver Canby and has not reacted to any of Canby's antics, indicating support for his conduct.

Blatant attacks

On September 14, 2008, Mitchell did something that he shouldn't have done - supported John Best Junior by opposing the "vilification" of Best by members of the forum at Wrong Planet.[29] This in effect means that Mitchell supports attacks on the Autistic community that demean and degrade it. He also degrades people himself in a case of severe hypocrisy. On July 7, 2010, Mitchell suggested that autistics would benefit from being converted from straight to gay.[30] On October 22, 2014, Mitchell made a pious hope that "neurodiversity" will be seen in the same negative light as "retard" or "the N word".[31] He has directly attacked individuals by name, including but not limited to Michelle Dawson,[32][33] Matt Carey,[34] William Stillman,[35] John Elder Robison,[36][37][38][39][40] Ari Ne'eman,[41][42][43] Steve Silberman[44][45][46] and Michael Carley.[47] He also attacked Temple Grandin in a book titled "American Normal : The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome" accusing her of making generalizations and bragging, saying that he doesn't have a visual imagination and that her generalizations trivialize his suffering - not realizing that his lack of visual imagination came from his upbringing and not his Autism.

His friend Yuval Levental has been editing Wikipedia trying to favour Mitchell and play down the likes of John Elder Robison, Wrong Planet, Jim Sinclair, Amy Sequenzia, Ari Ne'eman and other related articles promoting autism in a positive light, even referencing a Mitchell blog entry to justify the lack of reliability in Wrong Planet's material.

On January 21, 2017, Mitchell published an open letter to the new President of the United States, Donald Trump.[48] In this letter he effectively called for the closure of the IACC and compared autism to diabetes in terms of the requirements of a committee, in the process undermining his claim that people trivialize autism by doing exactly that himself. He also used the letter as an excuse to again attack Ne'eman and Robison, as well as Noah Britton and Matt Carey via the so-called Neurodiversity movement and putting it down.

On May 31, 2017, Mitchell published a blog post criticising an attempt to remove a book called How to prevent autism from the Amazon website, calling it "censorship" and opposing the move without realising the damage such a book can cause.[49]

Special Interests

Mitchell writes as a primary interest, having written three novels, 25 short stories, while his blog contains over four hundred blog posts. However none of the novels have been properly published, only self published. He is one of the more controversial voices in the autism blogosphere for wanting a cure, discussing the need to consider the long-term effects of autism.[50] He was interviewed on Studio 360 on one of his novels, The School of Hard Knocks, and another novel of his is The Mu Rhythm Bluff.[51][52]

Jonathan Mitchell is also interested in the neuroscience of autism. He seeks to understand how his brain works, having taken neuroscience classes in the past and has also volunteered for MRI research studies. To help with future research for a treatment or a cure, he has volunteered to donate his brain to science.[53] He has exchanged emails with neurologist Marco Iacoboni with questions about mirror neurons. Additionally, Mitchell is interested in the work of Manuel Casanova, a University of Louisville neurobiology professor. Mitchell reads Casanova's research studies and Casanova has described Mitchell's critiques as more thorough compared to his own colleagues.[54] It is this work that was the cause of Mitchell not succeeding in his application for Social Security Disability Insurance.



yes, Ivar, my mom is still living, she was a nice mother and her attitude towards autism was like mine, that it is a horrible disability that needs to be cured. She also tried to get help for my perceptual motor problems with tutoring and sent me to some special education schools and looked for medications or other treatments that could alleviate my problems but there were none that did any good.[55]

This is proof that he has been brought up to hate, and that his mother hates him.


I was a special education in the 1960s for 8 years there is no evidence that techniques have improved or that social skills helps.[56]

The 1960's was not a reliable time for special education. We have gone beyond this now.


We really suffer because a lot of us can't make a living or find a girlfriend[57]

This in effect means that we have no right to such a thing.


  1. "The Debate Over an Autism Cure Turns Hostile" Newsweek
  2. "I have decided to take a more active advocacy role . . ." Look me in the Eye
  3. "The Debate Over an Autism Cure Turns Hostile" Newsweek
  5. "The Debate Over an Autism Cure Turns Hostile" Newsweek
  6. "Autism: Still waiting" Los Angeles magazine
  7. What neurodiversity means to me – by Jonathan Mitchell
  8. "Shortage of Brain Tissue Hinders Autism Research" NPR
  9. "The Debate Over an Autism Cure Turns Hostile" Newsweek
  10. Autism Gadfly: SSDI appeal turned down
  11. Mitchell's Gadfly: SSDI Appeal Turned Down
  12. "Shortage of Brain Tissue Hinders Autism Research" NPR
  13. "The Debate Over an Autism Cure Turns Hostile" Newsweek
  14. What neurodiversity means to me – by Jonathan Mitchell
  15. My interview on autism live on the subject of neurodiversity
  16. autism live interview about my novel
  17. Autism Live Interview
  18. Second definition
  19. Blog sub title
  20. "The Autism Rights Movement" New York Magazine
  21. "Autism: Still waiting" Los Angeles magazine
  22. The true neurodiversity – by Philip Gluyas
  23. Undiagnosing Gates, Jefferson and Einstein
  24. Anthony Baker (29 November 2007). Autism and representation (Reprint ed.). New York: Routledge. p. 236. ISBN 978-0415806275
  26. "The Debate Over an Autism Cure Turns Hostile" Newsweek
  27. Mitchell's Gadfly
  28. "The Debate Over an Autism Cure Turns Hostile" Newsweek
  32. Does being against neurodiversity mean being against human rights for the disabled?
  33. Michelle Dawson's research: Intelligent Autistics or Neurodiversity Propaganda?
  34. Matt Carey's bizarre take on the cause of bullying of autistics
  35. William Stillman's prediction falls flat so far
  36. John Robison to teach course on neurodiversity
  37. John Robison's take on neurodiversity
  38. John Elder Robison's take on 1 in 68
  39. point by point rebuttal to John Robison's IMFAR speech
  40. American Psychological Association gives John Elder Robison and neurodiversity the seal of approval
  41. Neurodiversity can be profitable: Ari Ne'eman gives himself a large payraise
  42. Ari Ne'eman and ASAN try to take over CARES act and exclude pro-cure autistics
  43. Is Ari Ne'eman qualified to give input on autism research?
  44. Silberman's play of the refrigerator mother card and my one star review of neurotribes
  45. My unprinted letter to the l.a. times regarding Steve Silberman's op-ed piece on autism speaks
  46. Steve Silberman's bizarre take on Kanner's work and influence in the field of autism
  47. Mike Carley's bizarre take and poor taste on the passing of Suzanne Wright
  50. "Autism: Still waiting" Los Angeles magazine
  51. "The Debate Over an Autism Cure Turns Hostile" Newsweek
  52. "On the Spectrum" Studio 360
  53. "Shortage of Brain Tissue Hinders Autism Research" NPR
  54. "The Debate Over an Autism Cure Turns Hostile" Newsweek