Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Autism Awareness Month, and some things to avoid.

I am glad someone reminded that we have now shifted into Autism Awareness Month.

Autism is one of those evolving topics of medical science. We continue to learn about it, how it manifest, and how we treat it. Still, it does get a certain level of coverage, and hype. So it is good to have times when we can pause and cut through hyperbole, conspiracy, and outright lies, and talk seriously and scientifically about an issue like this. (Granted of course their is an ever important human element to always remember.)

So, their is a lot of garbage out there about autism. One area of particular concern to me is in the quest to understand what causes it to occur. This is because in an attempt to answer that question some decide to attack science and the medical establishment. Specifically, some like to attack the administering of vaccines. There have been continuing attempts to try and tie vaccination to autism. From vaccines in general to mercury to thimerosal. But all research says the claims do not hold up. But the claims continue, like that vaccines contain antifreeze. And the result is parents scared to treat their kids, and illnesses getting spread. This causes a lot of harm, and isn't helping to end autism, or help autistic children.

This obsession diverts focus from the areas where their has been real success in helping autistic people, and keeps money from going to the real issues that need addressing. One group tied to these claims is Autism Speaks. The group doesn't have a good record. And it's been aggressive in pushing anti-vaccination messages. They have not been a good resource for autistic advocates.

So, please, learn about autism. And avoid sources, like Autism Speaks. There are many bad resources around, and people eager to profit off the desire to help children. You can find all manner of claims. Harmful claims. Claims desperate people can cling to, not knowing better:

So find good sources. Here are some resources you can try:

If I come across some other good resources, I'll add them.

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