Autism Diva: Kelloggs Just Trying To Help

22 Jul

_The following is taken word for work from Autism Diva’s blog. I’ve turned off comments here and strongly encourage you to comment at Diva’s place._

If you follow autism news and/or gossip you may have heard that Autism Speaks is working with the Kellogg’s cereal folks to promote Autism Speaks as a mainstream authority in matters autistic and to alert parents of young children to early signs of autism. Of course, anything coming from Autism Speaks will be agitprop slanted toward invoking fears of the faux-epidemic of family-destroying body-snatched-children. Autism Speaks both promotes and denies the faux-epidemic out of alternating sides of it’s corporate mouth. The Kellogg’s cereal folks are doing their part by donating space on the sides of their cereal boxes to an Autism Speaks ad.

The ad reads:

Do you know what autism is? Autism is a neurological disorder that impairs communication, behavior, and social skills. It’s the nation’s fatest growing serious developmental disorder, with a new case diagnosed every 20 minutes.

(Apparently they left out this part: We here at Autism Speaks are hoping to get that number up to one every 10 minutes so we are alerting parents to the early signs of autism since many autistic children are really not obviously autistic so that they don’t get diagnosed until after they enter first grade … so much for the unmissable “train wrecks” hype.)

More from the cereal box ad:

Do you know the early signs? No big smiles or joyful expressions by 6 months. No babbling by 12 months. No back and forth gestures, such as pointing and waving by 12 months. No words by 16 months. Any loss of speech or babbling at any age. These are just a few of the possible early signs. If you have any concerns, speak to your doctor about screening your child. Please…Don’t wait.

And then there is some stuff about tax deductible donations, trademarks belonging to Autism Speaks and Copyright (c) 2006″ and the website’s address again.

(This is a screenshot of the homepage after the introductory flash animation thing–accompanied by some sorrowful nursery-like music–where you can read about how their orgnization presumes to speak for autistics who can’t)

It’s a frightening thought that people will read those possible early signs of autism and the ominous sounding statement of how autism is such rapidly growing phenomenon on the side of a cereal box and actually go to the Autism Speaks website and there be terrorized by that disgusting video “Autism Every Day,” among other negative propaganda.

If the cereal box reading parents do go to the website and watch that video, they will learn that in time their now lovable (if odd or silent) toddler wil become someone who along with thousands of others just like them have the potential to destroy the very fabric of society, not to mention the mom’s status as owner of a perfect star of a child. Ladies-who-lunch will learn that they should forget those days in the upscale neighborhood coffee shops wherein they can brag about how smart, gorgeous and advanced their child is. Other moms who never had that as a goal, they should forget about everything sweet and good related to having a child period. To elaborate on David Kirby’s fave expression, Autism Speak’s message is: “Moms (and dads)! Welcome to the ‘hell that is autism’.” Is that really the introduction to autism that parents of young children not yet diagnosed, that may not even be autistic need?

The website has links to “resources” available on the web for parents, even a page with links to blogs: here. Unfortunately for the parents none of them are Autism Hub blogs where the bloggers tacitly announce that they “don’t need no stinking cure” for themselves or their children, but they do want understanding and support for the complex problems that often surround autism. One of the three blogs linked to on the Autism Speaks site, one run by a serious mercury mom, has been inactive for quite a while.

Of course, in the view of mercury grand-dad Bob Wright and his mercury daughter the site would be remiss if it didn’t give some space to promoting the USVICTMS (Ultra Sneaky Vast International Conspiracy to Thimerosal Manufacturers Shield) and they do so by linking to various thinly veiled antivaccine organizations and other spreaders of conspiracy theories, such as “Coalition for SAFE MINDS.” Autism Diva believes that it’s the Mr. Wright’s mercury daughter on the video who implies that there was something evil and preventable that “stole” something from her child. Please check Kevin Leitch’s recent article on conspiracy theories and the mercury parent paranoid worldview.

One of the pages on the Autism Speaks site has a button that says, “Email us your thoughts.” It’s a link to an email address: editors@autism speaks.org. Feel free to email them your thoughts. Short clear, respectfully worded thoughts will probably have the greatest effect.

A group of autistic advocates and calling themselves the Autistic Social Action Committee would like you to consider writing to the the Kellogg’s folks. Autism Diva is not a member of the committee, but is placing their request here.

If you would like to tell the Kellogg’s people that you think they’ve made an error in linking themselves to Autism Speaks and it’s openly negative and thinly veiled paranoic view of autism and it’s causes–that could do great harm to many people, autistic or not–you could write to:

Kellogg Co.
One Kellogg Square
PO Box 3599
Battle Creek, MI, 49016-3599

A representative of Kellogg’s has politely answered a question from an autistic advocate regarding the cereal boxes. That representative said that the boxes have already been printed.

Autism Diva found the following name and address that might be useful to those who wish to register disappointment at Kellogg’s association with Bob Wright and his badly misnamed organization as well as its close ties to antivax conspiracy mongers.

Tim Knowlton, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility
Phone: (269) 961-3799
E-mail:media.hotline@kellogg.com

Please, if you call, email or write to Autism Speaks or Kellogg’s, use your polite “voice” and present your concerns with dignity and show that you are interested in ethical and accurate representations of autistics, young and old.

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