A little bit of a misunderstanding

My post the other day about parents giving up their autistic children got some attention. I won’t tell you who in particular paid attention to it and even threatened to kill me because, like many such cowards who say those things and then hide behind First Amendment guns and “Second Amendment Remedies”, giving him more attention only inflates one ego in the discussion. Instead, I’d like to give attention to a reader who would like to remain anonymous because he is not a public person, but he is an avid reader (or so he says) of the blog. He also has begun to re-think his stance of vaccines as a causal agent of his child’s autism. This person sent me the following e-mail:

“Mr. Gaines. I want you to know that I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I find it very informing. Even with your snark and coarse approach to dealing with vaccine skeptics like me you still manage to teach me a new thing once in a while. You’ll be happy to know that I’ve now given my child the two MMR shots because he was exposed out here in Cali. He cannot affort (sic) to be sick from measles right now, and, even if vaccines did cause his autism, how much more damage can the MMR do? I do take offense to your post about wanting us autism parents to walk away from our children. How dare you? The system could never take care of our children like I do. I work a part-time job so I can stay home and take care of [redacted child’s name]. I am a loving parent, and I will never ever ever ever give him up. He is not dead to me either. I hope you reconsider your stance on wanting me to give up my child cause I wont.”

If you pay attention to all the hints I’ve left on the blog, you can figure out how to email me. Continue reading

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The real fight in the autism community is acceptance, equality, and advocacy, not vaccines

While we, the scientists and reality-based people, are fighting back the claims and misinformation of the anti-science and anti-vaccine groups and their activists, there are issues that need addressed in our society when it comes to autistic people. Those issues don’t have to do with complicated concepts like immunology or chemistry. They don’t have to do with abstract concepts like whose feelings get hurt by using “autistic” versus “person with autism.” No. These issues are simple, from a certain point of view.

In the United States, we have these sets of laws at the local, state, and federal level to require employers to pay a certain wage to their employees. We call this the “minimum wage,” and it’s been holding steady at $7.25 at the federal level. States and local governments may require higher minimum wages (e.g. San Francisco has it at $10.55 this year), but all wages have to be at least $7.25 to comply with federal law. Well, not all wages.

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