Written by a guy who actually says he really misses gender essentialism, he basically explains that autistic boys are really just smart, and autistic girls are actually disordered, because there are no brainy girls who struggle with socializing or communicating and boys are just like that.
Also gives cover to those people who want to claim self-advocates are too functional to be on the spectrum and generally fills me with rage.
Wow, I was a Decemberists fan before, but now I love this guy.
I’m sympathetic to the writer; he seems to be writing with the best of intentions. But as a fellow parent of a kid on the autism spectrum, of a kid who does listen to how his disability is represented in the media, I have very little patience for people who write about autism the way this guy does — and very little patience for the outlets who publish it. Not only does the writer make an off-the-cuff suggestion that vaccines cause autism, but he equates “deadly diseases” such as HIV to autism, which is awful. Language like that is not only harmful to the autistic community, it spreads bad information to the public at large. It’s irresponsible journalism. To publish it is irresponsible editorial work.
The Huffington post has ALWAYS been terrible about this. They fully support psuedoscience and have published all kinds of anti-vaccine nonsense. Don’t read them.
I do like Colin Meloy 100% more now.
Autism Speaks is probably the most well-known charity out there when it comes to autism. Just because they have the most media coverage and celebrity support does not mean they are a good organization.
- Autism Speaks does not have a single autistic member on their board.
- Autism Speaks only spends 4% of their budget on “family services”.
- The majority of Autism Speaks’ money goes toward research, and the majority of that research is to find a way to rid the world of autism, and thus, autistics.
- Autism Speaks produces advertisments, small films, etc. about what a burden autistic people are to society.
- Autism Speaks was responsible for “Autism Every Day”, which featured a member of their board talking about contemplating murder-suicide of her daughter in front of her daughter. This has now be removed from Autism Speaks’ Youtube channel but can still be found elsewhere.
- Autism Speaks is responsible for the atrocity known as “I am Autism”, a short film comparing autism to cancer, AIDS, and blaming autism as the reason why marriages break up.
In short, Autism Speaks makes it much harder for those of us who have autism to be taken seriously. Autism is considered to be a child’s disease (not that it’s even actually a disease at all), and you will often hear people say “where are all the adult autistics?” Well, we’re right here in front of you. We may have been misdiagnosed with learning disorders, mental retardation and other mental illnesses when the diagnoses of autism, PDD-NOS and Asperger’s weren’t as precise (or even existent) as they are now. We vary in where we fall on the spectrum. Don’t make assumptions about us because we can use a computer.
For further reading, here are a few resources about Autism Speaks:
Editing the original post so that I can include which Autism related charities to support. Let me say that besides the first one, all of them are very parent-oriented organizations, meaning that adult autistics may have issues with them. These are ones that I have either heard recommended highly by autistic parents (meaning autistic people who are parents, not “autism parents”) or that I’ve personally interacted with. None of them are perfect, but these are far better places to donate your money if you’re looking for a charity to support.
The ARC (this is not autism specific, but our local one has a couple of autism-specific events, so was worth including).
Hello. I am Anique, I’m twenty-two years old, and I live in a guided living complex for people on the autism spectrum.
I didn’t get my diagnosis until almost four years ago (yes, indeed, I am one of those, an autistic adult) and really, not much has changed for me. I never identified as “diseased”, because autism is not a disease, and thus, does not need to be cured. I, and many other autistic adults, am happy the way I am.
When my counsellor asked me “if there was a cure, would you want to be cured?” I told her, with all my heart, no, I do not wish to be cured, because I’m not sick. My brain works differently, but I’m not sick.
All this, really, just leads up to what I want to say.
Hello, I am autistic, and Autism Speaks does not speak for me. Really, I’d rather be listened to than spoken for, and this, dear whomever reads this, is what Autism Speaks does not; listening to autistics.
Despite the fact that no credible medical evidence remains of an autism-vaccination link, anti-vax conspiracy groups like Generation Rescue continue to frighten parents into denying their healthy children vaccinations against childhood illnesses.
This is the result:
Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. — mostly babies and toddlers — were coming down with whooping cough each year when vaccines against “this menace,” as one newspaper called it, were introduced in the 1930s and 1940s. A childhood scourge for centuries, this sometimes fatal disease seemed destined to become little more than a memory in the U.S. — with only about 1,000 cases nationwide over the next 40 years.
But the number of reported cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has resurged.
In Michigan, 315 cases were reported in 2008, according to the state Department of Community Health. A year later, the incidence of whooping cough had nearly tripled to 902 reported cases. And by 2010, the number of reported cases in Michigan had risen to 1,564.
Similar outbreaks have been seen in other states as well. In California, nearly 10,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in 2010 — the most since the 1940s, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ten babies died.
Nice work, anti-vaxxers.
#actuallyautistic is a space for autistic people. You’re allowed to read. In fact, if that’s all you’re doing in the tag, keep doing that. However, it’s come to my attention that some of you are encouraging other non-autistic people to post in the tag.
This has the effect of actively denying autistic people our safe space. A safe space that we created to get away from the harassment and bigotry both low and high level that infests the #autism tag now. Any time you tell someone who isn’t autistic who is tagging their material #actuallyautistic that they should keep doing that, you are actively working to deny autistic people the right to our own space. A space we created, in part, to escape bullying and harassment. By denying us this space, by encouraging people to intrude on it, you are denying us the ability to protect ourselves against bullying and harassment. Don’t do that. Stop doing that if you have. Better, if you have, publicly retract that.
Non-autistic people talking about autism have the #autism tag, and nobody’s going to complain if you post there as long as you don’t post bigoted shit.
People, what the living fuck?
There’s no link between vaccines and autism. It’s been proven.
If I sound pissed off it’s because I fucking am. An unvaccinated child can still infect a vaccinated one. And my vaccinated kids are out there in the world interacting with other kids. In California.
Still don’t believe it the facts? Okay, I asked this once before and I’ll ask it again: Even if there was a link between vaccines and autism, would you rather have an autistic child or a dead one?
(via Boing Boing)
few things make me rage as much as this. These idiots are endangering children’s lives.
California has a ten-year-high number of measles cases this year, and it’s not even over yet. The US as a whole is at a 15-year high. Measles can cause pneumonia, brain injuries, and death.
Outbreaks can occur when just 5% to 10% of a population are not vaccinated, according to the CDC. In California last year, 11,500 kindergartners started school with vaccine exemptions, up from 8,300 in 2007. In Los Angeles Unified School District, 30% of kindergartners at Topanga Elementary Charter School began school without shots, as did 43% at Ocean Charter School.
In some schools around the state, the rates of unvaccinated children are even higher. For example, 84% of kindergartners at Yuba River Charter School in Nevada City and 63% of kindergartners at San Geronimo Valley Elementary School in Marin County started school without getting their shots.
I wish we could prosecute people like Andrew Wakefield, who falsified research on a non-existent vaccines/autism link for profit, for manslaughter.
I wish we could prosecute people like Andrew Wakefield, who falsified research on a non-existent vaccines/autism link for profit, for manslaughter.
For Parent Advocates (abled parents of disabled children) who seem to be unaware that self-advocacy exists and how important it is, what resources should I recommend? And what self-advocacy centered groups are you aware of?
1. Autism Speaks talks about us without us. Not a single Autistic person is on Autism Speaks’ Board of Directors or in their leadership. Autism Speaks is one of an increasingly few number of major disability advocacy organizations that refuse to include any individual with the disability they purport to serve on their board of directors or at any point in their leadership and decision-making processes. In large part this is due to Autism Speaks’ public relations strategy of presenting Autistic people as silent burdens on society rather than human beings with thoughts, feelings and opinions.
2. They use fear and stigma to try and raise money off the backs of our people. Autism Speaks uses damaging and offensive fundraising tactics which rely on fear, stereotypes and devaluing the lives of people on the autism spectrum. Autism Speaks’ advertising claims that Autistic people are stolen from our own bodies. Its television Public Service Announcements compare having a child on the autism spectrum to having a child caught in a fatal car accident or struck by lightning. In fact, the idea of autism as a fate worse than death is a frequent theme in their fundraising and awareness efforts, going back to their “Autism Every Day” film in 2005. Indeed, throughout Autism Speaks’ fundraising is a consistent and unfortunate theme of fear, pity and prejudice, presenting Autistic adults and children not as full human beings but as burdens on society that must be eliminated as soon as possible.
3. Very little money donated to Autism Speaks goes toward helping Autistic people and families: According to their 2008 annual report, only 4% of Autism Speaks’ budget goes towards the “Family Service” grants that are the organization’s means of funding services. Given the huge sums of money Autism Speaks raises from local communities as compared to the miniscule sums it gives back, it is not an exaggeration to say that Autism Speaks is a tremendous drain on the ability of communities to fund autism service-provision and education initiatives. Furthermore, while the bulk of Autism Speaks’ budget (65%) goes toward genetic and biomedical research, only a small minority of Autism Speaks’ research budget goes towards research oriented around improving services, supports, treatments and educational methodologies, with most funding going towards basic research oriented around causation and genetic research, including the prospect of prenatal testing. Although Autism Speaks has not prioritized services with a practical impact for families and individuals in its budget, its rates of executive pay are the highest in the autism world, with annual salaries as high as $600,000 a year.
— Ari Ne’eman, ASAN President.
This seems pretty relevent!!!
I find it terribly ironic that they are called Autism Speaks, when they do almost nothing but silence people on the autism spectrum. And do they even acknowledge the existence of autistic adults?
Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, Pediatricians Do: By J.B. Handley
Our community has been giving pediatricians a hall pass for far too long.
If a doctor sticks six vaccines into a child while the child is taking antibiotics for an ear infection and Tylenol for a cold, he’s not a doctor, he’s a criminal, and should be hauled into jail on the spot for assault and battery. If the child also happens to have eczema, long-term diarrhea, and has missed a milestone or two, perhaps the charge should be attempted murder.
As you know, pediatricians do just this and more every day. How do we stop this recklessness?
If my son’s pediatrician had been more careful…
Excuse me, but as I recall, the guy who said that vaccines cause autism in the first place admitted that he made the whole thing up. Furthermore, scientists here have proven that vaccines have no link at all with autism. The scientific community overwhelmingly agrees that vaccines and autism have no link whatsoever.
Your child was already autistic. It’s genetic, and just recently, another autism-related gene has been found. You already had an autistic child who happened to get a vaccine around the same time the symptoms started showing. That’s a coincidence of our chosen timing, and your child would still be autistic, vaccines or not, or even if they had gotten vaccines at another point in time.
I have to reblog this to address this person’s response.
- who is this guy who made it all up?
- not all cases of autism are directly caused by genetics. Even if there is evidence to prove this, that evidence would be looking at the cause of autism, or any other scientifically-perceived “disorder” from a specific tunnel-vision perspective. One can argue that any health challenge people face is caused by genetics. It’s a slippery slope argument because then you would support the conclusion that no one should receive healthcare, medicine, or services to support people who may be born with or may develop diseases, cancer, infections, or disorders that puts them in a disadvantage in a world that tries to separate them from a society that can’t handle them. if you do, that’s fine. to each their own.
- yes, we’ve heard the same counter-argument over and over again: scientists prove there is no link between autism and vaccines. however, by blindly believing sources citing that scientists disprove the link, you ignore the politics of the medical community. the pharmaceutical industry profits in the billions by vaccinating people. it’s a big business, and the last thing they want is someone proving that one of their most profitable products might actually cause a neurodevelopmental challenge that now affects 1 in 110 children. There was a recent case where a doctor allegedly proving the link between autism and vaccines was considered a fraud, an accusation he strongly denies. so you see, not all scientists (doctors are scientists too) believe that there is no link.
- injecting a newborn child, with a weak, developing immune system, with a dozen vaccines within a short amount of time, and on top of that being prescribed antibiotics. is that really safe? to protect from other possible diseases that may or may not occur? it’s like taking a pill with dozens of side effects to cure just one thing. i’d rather deal with the one thing or find natural alternatives to help.
- This guy. The original study is an “elaborate fraud.”
- Are you kidding me? Just about every family I know, including my own, affected by autism has some family history of it, diagnosed or not. They at least have a family history of other developmental disorders. Genes have been found linked to autism. It’s undoubtedly genetic.
- Oh please. Alternative medicine now? To paraphrase Tim Minchin, alternative medicine has either not been proved to work or been proved not to work. When alternative medicine has been proved to work, they call it medicine. Big Pharma is also a myth. Pharmaceutical companies are not swimming in cash, contrary to popular belief.
- Yes, it’s safe, and it saves lives from dying young of preventable diseases. Someone doesn’t understand how vaccines work. They are rendered harmless just so the immune system can make antibodies for it. They very rarely result in any complications at all.
sanityscraps is awesome and has a lot more patience with this person than I would. I find anti-vaxxers to be generally beyond the reach of reason, and I hold them personally responsible for the recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough that have killed young children. Your ill-informed crusade is killing children, you selfish assholes.
But just to jump on this bit: however, by blindly believing sources citing that scientists disprove the link, you ignore the politics of the medical community. the pharmaceutical industry profits in the billions blah blah blah blah I’m bored now. People’s conceptions of how the medical community works are just completely off the wall, this assumption in particular. The vast majority of medical research is conducted at academic institutions through government grants, where the pharmaceutical industry has very little if any input. There are rules about disclosing ties to industry when you publish to a medical journal. You cannot publish without full disclosure of your professional relationships including especially any money that has changed hands. They are incredibly strict about this. So all of those papers investigating the supposed link between vaccines and autism? Unless they specifically list a pharmaceutical company’s involvement, none of the authors of the paper have anything to do with the pharmaceutical industry. Much less made piles of money from distributing vaccines.
Medical research is extremely unprofitable, actually. I should know, I’ve been doing it for 10 years. You have to beg and plead for money at every turn for materials, space, employees, everything. Constantly. If you get the money one year, the next year you have to ask for it again. Your pay is entirely dependent on whether the National Institute of Health feels like giving you money. And you don’t get paid some kind of prize for publishing a paper or profit from the results, unless you go off and patent something you discover (and that’s awfully rare). Most doctors who do research have to also do full-time doctoring on the side because they don’t make any money running a research team, even if they’d much prefer doing just research. I’ve done clinical duties as well, just because the grants couldn’t cover me full-time.
You know what does make loads of money? Pimping alternative medicine cures that never have to be proven, aren’t monitored, and don’t even have to actually work for it to be sold over and over again.
You know who intended to make money from “vaccines cause autism” research? Andrew Wakefield. Who made up the original paper that caused the vaccine scare, falsified his research and got his medical license pulled for it.
Yeah, I remember this being reported here. It makes me so mad. Especially since non-hodgkin’s lymphoma in children is very curable and this boy did not have to die. I’m sure his autism played into this situation in some horrible way. Who knows, maybe the mother will reveal something at trial but I’m really glad they’re charging her with something serious. (Attempted Murder is kind of weird though - uh, he DIED, that doesn’t sound like “attempted” to me. How about manslaughter?)