Saturday, November 27, 2010


This month on Injecting Sense: The Radio Edition, we'll be talking with John Gilmore, the Executive Director of the Autism Action Network. We'll talk about advocacy in general, and discuss the battle for insurance coverage in New York. Join us this Sunday, November 28th, at 1:00 p.m. EST, on Autism One Radio (or catch it later in the AO Radio archives).

Thursday, November 25, 2010


This holiday weekend, several movie theaters in the AMC chain were supposed to run a pre-movie PSA prepared by SafeMinds. The message was simple. If you really have to have a flu shot this year, make sure you get one without thimerosal. It might cost a bit more ⎯ and heaven forbid, the manufacturer’s profit margin might not be as large ⎯ but it’s worth it.

Well, that message didn’t sit too well with some folks. There was an orchestrated effort to register complaints, and AMC decided that they wouldn’t run the PSA’s after all. Now this is a chain whose local theaters routinely run ads for political candidates. Some recently ran a spot for Glen Beck’s show. And this was too controversial for them?

The complaints were misinformed, and resorted to the pandering, shorthand label of “anti-vax.” Below, you can see what AMC was afraid to show you. And I defy anyone to explain how this spot is in any way “anti-vaccine.”

I don’t know what ad AMC will show instead. What I do know is that I won’t be there to find out.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


There was a time when a civil dialog sprung up between some of us within the “curebie” community on the one side and a few members of the neurodiversity community (the folks who preach that the dignity of being autistic outweighs the value of recovery or cure) on the other side. This blog was one of the places where those discussions took place. Eventually, the thin patina of cordiality broke down, and the discussions ended.

Two issues were raised by some members of the neurodiversity crowd that seemed to play a large role in the cold shoulder that eventually was turned in my direction. One was my refusal to “disassociate” myself from another blogger who was vociferous in his belief in a vaccine-causation theory and in the necessity of cure, but who I would nevertheless describe as being not-at-all-representative of the feelings of most of us in the cure community. I saw no reason to disassociate myself from someone I did not consider myself to be associated with in the first place. (To be truthful, they also said I should disassociate myself from J.B. Handley; in that case, we had no formal association but I would have been proud to have had one.)

The second issue that seemed to fester within the neurodiversity crowd was my reluctance to immediately label the killing of Katie McCarron as a “murder” before all the facts were known and the matter had been adjudicated. Eventually, the legal process took its course, and I then felt it appropriate to comment on the justice of the outcome. The response from those who had been so critical was a resounding “whatever.”

Those incidents immediately came to mind as I read a recent blog post by Jonathan Mitchell. Jonathan is the author of Autism’s Gadfly, and he identifies himself as an “Autistic who wishes a cure could be found.” That obviously places him at odds with the neurodiversity crowd, and not surprisingly, he has been the object of their frequent scorn.

In this post, Jonathan commented on the lack or reaction to the recent arrest of Nick Dubin, a psychologist who has aligned himself with the neurodiversity movement. Dr. Dubin has been accused ⎯ and I stress that it is only an accusation at this point ⎯ of downloading child pornography. More to the point, Jonathan’s recent post was not about the arrest itself (although he has written about that previously), but rather to point out the lack of any reaction from the leaders of the neurodiversity movement, with whom Dr. Durbin associated himself.

Here’s the real meat of what Jonathan wrote:
Outside of the right not to be murdered, it would seem the right of disabled children not to be sexually molested would be about the most important of human rights that these august individuals would be crusading for. You would think that they would comment on this latest news story.

Consistent with my past conduct and still-held beliefs, I will not join Jonathan in commenting on the possible guilt of Nick Dubin. I’ll let the judicial system do the work it’s designed to do. But I think Jonathan raises a very fair question with regard to Kevin Leitch, Michelle Dawson, and others in the neurodiversity movement. If you’re going to decry criminal conduct that has not yet been adjudicated as such; if you’re going to call for others to disassociate themselves from people; well, you can’t just reserve your outrage for situations involving the other side.

Although Jonathan doesn’t use the word, what we’re really talking about is hypocrisy. It’s something I’ve talked about before. And it’s one reason we see such polarization in the ongoing discussion of important questions and issues.