Who does more for autism, Person A, Person B, or Person C?
Person A – “[Redacted]… you truly have no idea how wrong, destructive and awful your writing is to children like mine. [Redacted] was severe when we started, and now he is happy, verbal and mainstreamed in a 4th grade classroom with an aid. Your opposition to biomedical treatment for children with autoimmune disorders, mito disorders, chronic viral and bacterial infections, and who have been poisoned (all of which resulted in neurological regression) is the avocation of child abuse and neglect! It is a joke. It is pathetic. It is cruel.
‘Stop healing children! I declare it unscience and disallow it! Quick… get a petition out there to say we disapprove of making children healthier! Don’t even TALK about new possibilities for children with autism! Put them in a closet and ACCEPT that they will stay sick, unhappy, aggressive, disconnected, confused, obsessed, anxious, afraid and stressed out beyond measure! To do otherwise is anti-science and means you hate children with autism!’
SHUT UP [REDACTED]! SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!
Autism One is freaking awesome. And strange how you don’t mention that professors from Harvard also come, and that the keynote address is being given by a Nobel Prize winner.”
Person B – “OK, let me be clear: I think [redacted] is a blowhard liar, a vaccine profiteer and apologist, and every time he opens his mouth he disrespects my son. When the final chapter is finally written on this man-made autism epidemic, I will do everything within my power to ensure that [redacted] is remembered by history as one of the most sinister, dishonest, well-funded talking heads pharma ever produced, and that his efforts served to afflict so many children with autism who may otherwise have avoided it.
In one of the most absurd snowjobs ever put on the media, [redacted], a doctor who has never seen a patient with autism, never treated autism, and never published a study about autism, is somehow considered to be an expert on autism. Given his status as a multi-millionaire vaccine patent holder who has had much of his career supported by Merck, this isn’t just absurd, it’s highway robbery, and yet the media persists, and rarely even mentions [redacted]’s Mount Everest-sized pile of conflicts.”
Person C – “Over the last decade, we have seen growing public attention towards the autism spectrum, in part driven by rising rates of diagnosis. Although additional public attention has provided an opportunity for greater visibility to the idea of autism, such visibility historically has not translated into attention or resources on the issues that matter most to Autistic people and our families.
There are a variety of reasons for this – one of the most prominent of which is the history of under-representation of adults on the autism spectrum in policy conversations about us. Additionally, one of the most important things to remember in discussing federal policy regarding autism is that the vast majority of publicly financed resources that those of us on the autism spectrum interact with carry the word disability rather than the word autism. As a result, my testimony will touch on both federal policy that is specific to autism as well as general disability policy issues, such as Medicaid, that significantly impact Autistic people and our families.
First, the majority of federal attention focused on autism in particular comes in the form of research funding. While we have been pleased to see an increase in federal autism research dollars over the course of the past decade, it is very important that we evaluate how we are spending that money. I am a big believer in the old maxim, “In God we trust, everyone else please bring data,” so let’s turn to the data and see what it shows us.
Of the approximately $217 million dollars that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invested in autism research in 2010 (the most recent year for which data is available), only a meager 2.45% went towards improving the quality of services and supports available to Autistic people and our families. Only 1.5% went towards research that addresses the needs of Autistic adults. When compared to research on questions of causation, etiology and biology and diagnosis, the percentage of the autism research agenda focused on the actual needs of Autistic people in order to improve their quality of life is miniscule. We are pro-research, but the research agenda must be re-balanced to incorporate both causation and quality of life.”
This is a trick question because the answer very much depends on your worldview. If you believe that autism ended your world and you need to make someone pay for it, then Person B is doing more for autism.
If you believe that autistic people need to be included in discussion on autism, need to be helped to live better lives, and that autism needs to be de-stigmatized, understood, and accepted, then Person C is your champion.
If you like your advocates to be as disjointed as bat guano, Person A is your gal.
What I’m getting at is that there are many, many things you can do to help people with autism. Pursuing a debunked scientific theory (the one that MMR causes autism), one that has been found to be a fraud (also the one that MMR causes autism), does not help people with autism. It really doesn’t. It doesn’t because you’re wasting money and resources in chasing a ghost. Ahab had a more tangible adversary in the whale than Persons B and A and their pursuit of vaccines and vaccine manufacturers.
Person C, on the other hand, is a bright, articulate, intelligent adult with autism who is making sure that people with autism are heard and understood, that the condition known as autism be demystified.
So who’s your autism advocate?