Did the IACC act in bad faith?

17 Jan

A slew of Press Releases from Safe Minds and the NAA appeared today decrying the IACC’s re-vote on two pieces of autism/vaccine research. SafeMinds say:

In a highly unusual departure from procedure, government representatives to the Federal Interagency Autism Advisory Committee (IACC) voted this week against conducting studies on vaccine-autism research despite approval of the same studies at their prior meeting. The research was supported by numerous autism organizations and requested by IACC’s scientific work groups and Congress

NAA said:

In an unprecedented move on Wednesday, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) removed previously approved vaccine safety research from the Strategic Plan for Autism Research objectives…. The committee’s action is in direct opposition to the majority of its public members who support vaccine research, and to the Congressional directive of the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (CAA) which specifically called for research into “potential links between vaccines, vaccine components, and autism spectrum disorder.”

So, there’s a number of issues that need addressing. Lets take them in the easiest to address first.

1) The allegation that the re-vote is ‘highly unusual’ or a ‘departure from procedure’ or ‘unprecedented’.

Well, it may well be unprecedented. Thats because this is only the second time that vote was taken on this issue. The first time they voted one way, this time they voted another. If this was the 300th vote then NAA might have a point. As it is, they don’t. They’re using these as Scare Words to make the situation sound alarming.

I’ve talked to a number of people who attended the IACC meetings both in person and via the phone. The claim that the re-vote was a ‘highly unusual departure from procedure’ is rubbish. Why? *Because there is no procedure* . One person I spoke with said:

[There is]…no requirements other than to vote on approving or not approving the plan. There is not even a requirement to vote on individual initiatives!

Another person said:

[T]here are some rules–e.g they can’t hold a meeting later than the agenda says. In December, Lyn [Redwood] was calling for people to work into the night, but Insel canned it saying the rules are very clear on that.

But in the matters of voting, re-voting etc everyone was in total agreement. There is no procedure. This puts an instant black mark against the NAA and Safe Minds c;aims and reveals it as an attempt to hype up the situation by using Scare Words.

2) The claim that the CAA specifies vaccine specific language

The NAA say in their press release that:

The committee’s action is in direct opposition to…the Congressional directive of the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (CAA) which specifically called for research into “potential links between vaccines, vaccine components, and autism spectrum disorder.”

This is quite simply not true. Nowhere in the CAA is that sentence used. In fact, nowhere in the CAA do the words ‘vaccine’, ‘vaccination’, ‘immunize’, ‘immunization’, ‘inoculate’, inoculation’, ‘thimerosal’, ‘mmr’ etc appear. Don’t take my word for it. Download the Act and search for yourself. I guess somehow, the NAA made a terribly unfortunate accident and confused the CAA itself with this Senate discussion _about_ the act. A discussion which has no bearing whatsoever on the legal _contents of the Act itself_ .

3) The insinuation that because _they_ voted for vaccine specific research, that they speak for the majority of the autism community

The NAA’s press release quotes a Ms. McIlwain as saying:

It’s no wonder parents around the country are questioning vaccines when government agencies refuse to investigate legitimate vaccine safety concerns

Safe Minds Lyn Redwood said:

“Advocacy groups and legislators have been marginalized in this process.”

As we’ve seen, legislators have not been marginalised. Certain advocacy groups may well have been. Boo-hoo. Its about time we asked ourselves the question: do these co-called advocacy groups actually accurately represent individual opinion?

In the Summer of 2008, the NIMH asked for public comments about the IACC’s Strategic Plan. This was following the NIMH’s Director Tom Insel statement to Lyn Redwood of SafeMinds during the Nov 21st 2008 IACC meeting:

We’ve received public comments on both sides and comments that make it clear that vaccines have no place in this report.

If one visits the public comments page (see link above) and does a search for the word ‘vaccine’, this is what you get:

Out of 148 total responses, 52 (35%) specifically mention vaccines, asking for research. 18 (12%) specifically mention vaccines, asking for the IACC in various ways to discount the vaccine idea. This leaves 78 (53%) who are so uninterested in the vaccine idea they don’t even mention it.

Or, to put it another way, 65% of responders did not ask for vaccine research.

I think this is pretty clear. When 65% of people who are interested enough in autism to respond to a request for public comments don’t ask for vaccine research then the 35% who do cannot claim to be in the majority, or to hold the leading opinion on the matter.

So lets recap. The re-vote was not unprecedented. It did not go against procedure. The CAA does not mention vaccines anywhere in the entirety of the bill. The majority of people who are interested in autism aren’t interested in vaccine research.

101 Responses to “Did the IACC act in bad faith?”

  1. Another Voice January 18, 2009 at 10:22 #

    I am surprised that the IACC Strategic Plan only received 148 total responses. The comment period extended for months, a number of blogs provided links and addresses; along with pleas that encouraged readers to respond. What an absolutely underwhelming message to send to the government.

  2. Ringside Seat January 18, 2009 at 10:40 #

    I think Safeminds and the others are pissed because they had already written their press release saying that the IACC had decided to back research and that this showed the government knew that vaccines cause autism.

  3. John Fryer January 18, 2009 at 15:27 #

    OK Kev

    So tell me the benefits of putting thimerosal in vaccines again?

    Everyone has been exposed to mercury vaccines but the answer to autism is not monocompartmental.

    Huge exposures to mercury occur if you live near power stations. So how close are you to mercury emissions?

    Look to your environment.

    Look to your exposures.

    And look to those who know.

    More than 100 of those comments KNOW vaccines are involved and they said so.

    It may not be breaking FAITH.

    But as sure as EGGS are EGGS IACC are DEAF, DUMB and BLIND.

    Oh, and can we have simple answers to two questions in my message.

  4. alyric January 18, 2009 at 15:43 #

    why are safeminds and a rabidly anti vax organisation like NAA on the IACC to begin with? From the beginning they’ve been attempting to hijack the middle ground and appear to be mainstream. That little trick with the language of the CAA is typical misrepresentation of the facts. So why are such irresponsible people there?

  5. HCN January 18, 2009 at 20:53 #

    From a another evidence free rambling from John Fryer “So tell me the benefits of putting thimerosal in vaccines again?”

    How about you tell us what the levels are presently in pediatric vaccines?

    In the mean time I present a page with all the answers that have been given to you several times. It just needs you to actually comprehend the words on the page, and open your mind to actual logic:
    http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm

    Though you will probably ignore it and continue to post your clueless ramblings.

  6. mayfly January 18, 2009 at 23:56 #

    The question is whether hr question on vaccines has been asked and answered. Certainly those supporting the hypothesis have very little upon which to stand. I thought there was an on-going study which would have made the autism/vaccine connection even more untenable. What happened to that study?

    Also is there any study which would satisfy Safe Minds and Operation Rescue?

  7. jon Mitchell January 19, 2009 at 00:12 #

    Also is there any study which would satisfy Safe Minds and Operation Rescue?

    nope nothing will ever convince those people so what’s the point.

  8. mike stanton January 19, 2009 at 09:02 #

    hi Jon,
    I agree with you entirely. But for the benefit of any visitor who is new to the “autism wars” the benefits of thimerosal are simple. It allows multi-user bottles of vaccine to be used without the risk of contamination. These are cheaper than the single use vaccine shots and are a boon in many countries that cannot afford the expensive thimerosal free vaccines.

    BTW I still have not heard from autism Speaks about their procedures for employing or consulting with autistic people. As they have already answered one of your emails why don’t you try and see if you have better liuck than me?

  9. jypsy January 19, 2009 at 14:00 #

    BTW I still have not heard from autism Speaks about their procedures for employing or consulting with autistic people. As they have already answered one of your emails why don’t you try and see if you have better liuck than me?

    and me

  10. jon Mitchell January 19, 2009 at 16:55 #

    Hi Mike and Jypsy: Sometimes I run into Jon Shestack and Portia Iverson at autism functions in Los Angeles who started CAN and are on the board of AS. I know them but not really know them well and on rare occasions I go to out of town autism conferences and see people from autism speaks. If I run into them or someone else from autism speaks again, I will tell them that certain people are curious as to why no autistics are on their board of directors and try to find out the answer. Other than that, I am not going to put anymore effort into it since it is you who are more curious than I am and care more about the answer to this question even though you don’t like the organization and disagree with their goals of curing and preventing autism, so as I said before, I believe the onus is on you guys, not me. If I ever see Jon or Portia again I will let them know people are curious and want an answer though and if I ever get an answer I will post it on autism’s gadfly.

  11. jypsy January 19, 2009 at 17:12 #

    Wow… it would have taken far less time, energy & words to just email AS and ask that simple question. As I see it, having already asked them numerous times, “the onus” is on them to answer, not on me to keep asking. You are the one who blogged about this saying we should contact them – seems you care enough. I’ve certainly never blogged about it.

  12. MJ January 19, 2009 at 17:33 #

    Are you filtering your comments now?

  13. Dedj January 19, 2009 at 17:34 #

    There’s no reason why anyone should have to put effort into finding out information that equivilant organisations proudly make freely available through their online and offline publications.

    AS is lagging behind and has no excuse. End of case.

  14. Kev January 19, 2009 at 17:41 #

    @MJ: no, why?

  15. Joseph January 19, 2009 at 20:51 #

    @Jon: Autism Speaks should hire you as an autistic consultant, don’t you think? First, you largely agree with their approach to autism (although they seem to be coming out as anti-vaccine, judging by their last press release). Second, you said you don’t have a job right now. I mean, how hard can it be? They don’t have to assign major responsibilities to you or anything like that, if you aren’t interested in that. In my opinion, you should pursue it. Seriously.

  16. Ringside Seat January 19, 2009 at 21:48 #

    I wonder if HHS would have made this move without knowing what was about to be handed down by the special masters in vaccine court.

    Does anyone know whether judgments are circulated in advance to the parties? Sometimes they are just to catch typos and stuff.

    It would seem a bit strange if the SMs said vaccines caused autism and HHS said they weren’t going to research them any more.

    Just a thought.

  17. MJ January 19, 2009 at 22:39 #

    Thought I submitted one yesterday but it never appeared.

  18. jon Mitchell January 19, 2009 at 23:39 #

    yes, joseph, i agree they should hire me, but i don’t think they will and i don’t think they would listen to my ideas opposing their lobbying for these insurance reforms, opposing funding research involving vaccines and opposing funding neurodiversity concerns such as michelle dawson and the mottron lab.

  19. Sullivan January 20, 2009 at 00:08 #

    Does anyone know whether judgments are circulated in advance to the parties? Sometimes they are just to catch typos and stuff.

    Yes–they are given time to ask for sections to be redacted, for example. Based on the record, it sees reasonable that the Cedillo decision has been read by HHS and the Cedillo family.

  20. Kev January 20, 2009 at 00:51 #

    @MJ: I apologise. I’m having my perennial spamming issues which means I have to put really harsh rules in place (I have three separate plugins running to try and control it) . They _do_ catch friend and foe alike I’m afraid (ask poor Socrates who always gets caught) and I don’t see a lot of rhyme or reason for some comments being caught.

    Thing to do is make a copy of your comment and if it doesn’t appear, mail it to me. I _will_ post it, I promise.

  21. alyric January 20, 2009 at 15:51 #

    Jon

    AS wouldn’t want you because you oppose funding Mottron. It looks like a decision based in spite. Sure, you talk about neurodiversity but I bet you couldn’t define that term as say Michelle has done so neatly. On Michelle’s definition alone you’d look pretty silly opposing anything. What after all is the problem with autistics having human rights just like everyone else?

    What’s the problem with getting a better understanding of how autistics think and perceive as Mottron is doing? Looks like good practical stuff to me and that’s why AS would not hire you. You’re way out there on the fringe of rational.

  22. jypsy January 20, 2009 at 16:20 #

    On January 21st 2008 on Michelle’s board I said to Mr. Mitchell:
    “It appears that you and I have different definitions of neurodiversity. Can you define neurodiversity if it differs from Michelle’s definition?”

    He refused to answer. I’d like to repose that question here.

  23. Anne January 20, 2009 at 20:41 #

    “Yes—they are given time to ask for sections to be redacted, for example. Based on the record, it sees reasonable that the Cedillo decision has been read by HHS and the Cedillo family.”

    A few days ago, HHS filed a consent to disclosure. Because the special masters have the Cedillos’ motion for an interim award of fees, a motion to compel HHS disclosure of time and costs, and of course the merits of the case to decide, it’s not possible to tell what decision HHS has agreed to make public. But it could be the actual decision in the case.

  24. jon Mitchell January 22, 2009 at 06:19 #

    Hi Jypsy: I just read your comment here asking me for my definition. Did you happen to watch the good morning america show that ari neeman and kristina chew were on. I don’t know if they air it on Canada or not or if you have heard of the American television personality Diane Sawyer who is well known here. I agree with her definition that she gave on the show after Krisinta and Ari’s appearance: “A beautiful way of justifying heartbreak” Ms. Sawyer couldn’t have put it better.

  25. jon Mitchell January 22, 2009 at 06:25 #

    Well Alyric, we agree on something. You are probably right, that is one of the reasons AS would probably not want to hire me, though there are many others besides those. if AS wants to continue funding the Mottron lab that is their problem not mine. You read my critique of michelle dawson’s sole peer reviewed publication and all of the flaws in it. You read my quotes on the spin that they gave to the media.

    Aside from that, there is the more obvious fact that they have collaborated with morton Gernsbacher who claims autistics need acceptance not cure, also writes that severely emphasis mine, autistic people have made great contributions to science and art. When I wrote Dr. Mottron asking her for examples, she refused to answer. Dr. Mottron and Michelle and Mottron have also written articles claiming that a condition that causes people not to speak, to be institutionalized for life is not harmful in one of their peer reviewed publications.

    This is obviously a slap in the face of these people who go on AS’walks, thinking that the money they and their loved ones are contributing are actually going to research that will help cure and prevent autism, AS’ stated goal. It should not be hard to understand even for you.

  26. Joseph January 22, 2009 at 13:06 #

    Dr. Mottron and Michelle and Mottron have also written articles claiming that a condition that causes people not to speak, to be institutionalized for life is not harmful in one of their peer reviewed publications.

    So autism causes people to get institutionalized? I thought people caused people to get institutionalized. Otherwise, there’s no way to explain the success of the de-institutionalization movement, which has probably done a lot (a lot) more for the developmentally disabled that the disease model of disability.

    I bet that in poor countries not a single autistic person gets institutionalized.

  27. alyric January 22, 2009 at 14:51 #

    1. “Dr. Mottron and Michelle and Mottron have also written articles claiming that a condition that causes people not to speak, to be institutionalized for life is not harmful in one of their peer reviewed publications.”

    I’ll have to see a reference to go with this statement, for obvious reasons.

    2.What is this in reference to exactly?

    “A beautiful way of justifying heartbreak”

    3. Not surprising that she??? Mottron didn’t reply though ‘refused’ is a bit strong. You had no right to one since you threw in ‘severely’ without definition and no statements had been made in those terms. That tactic is very like attempting to define the entire human race in terms of its most handicapped individuals. Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it?

  28. jypsy January 22, 2009 at 15:04 #

    2.What is this in reference to exactly?

    “A beautiful way of justifying heartbreak”

    I haven’t yet checked to see what Ms. Sawyer’s reference was but it is Mr. Mitchell’s definition of “Neurodiversity”.

  29. jypsy January 22, 2009 at 15:18 #

    Diane Sawyer’s comment was in reference to “acceptance”

  30. jypsy January 22, 2009 at 15:34 #

    Here’s the full quote:
    Dr. Chew says “Acceptance to me is the beginning of hope”
    Ms. Sawyer’s co-host(?) says: It’s a radical way of looking at autism Diane but these people say it’s needed, that, you know, there’s so many things we’re overlooking in this illness in our search for a cure
    Ms. Sawyer says: “yes, but, you hear them say they wouldn’t change anything and I keep wondering is it in some ways a beautiful way of justifying heartbreak”
    For the full context, watch it all here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=5033594&page=1

  31. Michelle Dawson January 22, 2009 at 15:39 #

    I glanced at Mr Mitchell’s lengthy post about Dawson et al. (2007) and could not locate anything of merit in it. Sadly, Mr Mitchell has chosen not to provide genuine criticism. Instead he assumes that because the findings don’t conform to his political views, the authors (and, necessarily, the reviewers and journal editor) must be dishonest.

    Mr Mitchell also wants Autism Speaks to abandon anything resembling credible peer review (which serves to protect and benefit autistics) in favour of research funding decisions based on Mr Mitchell’s political views. He wants Autism Speaks to stop being a credible research funding body with a credible peer review process.

  32. jypsy January 22, 2009 at 16:27 #

    Mr. Mitchell has met Dr. Mottron, I’m guessing “she” was a typo. He knows he’s not a she.

    Mr. Mitchell has elsewhere (today) posted quite a strong opinion about who he believes belongs in an institution, how they should be treated there and why they belong there.

  33. Billy Cresp January 22, 2009 at 22:16 #

    “credible peer review (which serves to protect and benefit autistics)” Ms. Dawson, why don’t you take your own advice and consider some criticisms (which I think are very valid) about your own research, instead of pretending it’s unquestionable because your research helps promote your views?

  34. alyric January 22, 2009 at 23:25 #

    I don’t see it as a definition of anything as much as an interpretation of the motives of non cure believing parents. It doesn’t work there either since Ari also said this

    “”I think that one of the key issues to remember is that anti-cure doesn’t mean anti-progress,” he said. ”

    That gets ignored.

  35. alyric January 22, 2009 at 23:31 #

    Kev

    I know the Hub isn’t into censorship but can we make an exception for Cresp? Really, his comment is sense free and just nasty, in ways tha jon’s definitely are not.

    • Kev January 23, 2009 at 00:20 #

      I am considering it yeah. I’m not sure what he’s adding here (other than spite).

  36. jypsy January 22, 2009 at 23:48 #

    “I don’t see it as a definition of anything as much as an interpretation of the motives of non cure believing parents. It doesn’t work there either”

    I agree, especially as it was uttered by Ms. Sawyer. However, if it is Mr. Mitchell’s answer to my question, I’ll take it, even if it is a year later and doesn’t seem like a definition either. In an effort to understand what he is talking about (i.e. “we don’t need no stinkin’ neurodiversity”, “no rational person would believe in neurodiversity”) I will now replace “neurodiversity” with his definition.

  37. alyric January 23, 2009 at 00:26 #

    jypsy

    where did jon post about institutionalisation?

  38. jypsy January 23, 2009 at 00:33 #

    Alyric,
    here: http://autisticbfh.blogspot.com/2009/01/carley-fighting-autism.html WARNING: the comments (by a number of people) are *very* ugly.

  39. Joseph January 23, 2009 at 01:48 #

    For anyone interested, the 3 main criticisms of Dawson et al. by Jon are the following:

    1. The study excluded non-idiopathic autism.
    2. The male:female ratio is too high compared to that of other studies you find in the literature.
    3. The adult autistics in the study scored at about the 50-percentile in Weschler IQ testing.

    #1 is nonsense. It’s perfectly common and valid to have those types of exclusion criteria. Other studies can and should look at other groups.

    #2 is argued by Jon because Lovaas (1987) had a similar problem. In Lovaas (1987) the male:female ratio is crucial, but not because it differs from that reported elsewhere. It’s crucial because the groups differ in their male:female ratio, which means group assignment was biased. In Dawson et al. there’s no such demonstration of bias, since there’s only one group of autistic children and one group of adults. Who knows why the male:female ratio is skewed. There could be all sorts of (valid) reasons for that. But yes, it would be good if a follow-up looks only at autistic girls, for example.

    #3 suggests that the adult autistics in the study *might* have been higher functioning than the norm. However (1) there’s no evidence this is the case for various reasons, (2) there’s no reason to think higher functioning autistics would have a wider gap between the Weschler and the RPM, hence biasing the results, and (3) the adult results of the study were not the main results, just a corroboration.

    That’s basically what it amounts to.

  40. Billy Cresp January 23, 2009 at 01:50 #

    alyric, censorship is either used or it isn’t. You can’t deny repressing dissent by calling the thing that is being suppressed something that seems horrible. If it’s nasty to try to point out likely hypocrisy, and to urge someone to act responsibly as a researcher with media and public attention should, then I’m guilty as charged.

  41. alyric January 23, 2009 at 02:34 #

    I had to wade through muck to get this – very nasty comments from all sides and far too much testosterone flying around:

    “Gluyas, if your mother had put you in an institution where a wingnut like you belongs, you would not be in the position you are in right now. You would be in a straight jacket without access to a computer or internet connection so you would not constantly be making the complete jackass out of yourself that your moronic behavior is doing”

    Hard to believe that an autist wrote that, but he did, which shows the ‘no standards required’ approach to discussion. And this is the guy who thinks that ND folk are the first to spill hatred; not likely.

  42. alyric January 23, 2009 at 02:36 #

    Billy

    If you would progress past the snide generalisation to a specific criticims your troll persona would hold less sway over your credibility.

  43. Billy Cresp January 23, 2009 at 03:15 #

    alyric, what snide generalization? I want to know why Ms. Dawson should just brush off criticisms of that highly discussed and known study of hers. I have doubts about the study’s results because of the criticisms I read, although I don’t claim with certainty that the Raven’s and Wechler score disparity is insignificant.

    Because of lack of representative samples in the study and other things, I don’t think the study should be considered conclusive on the matter and shouldn’t be publicized as such. But I haven’t seen it publicized in a way that includes appropriate skepticism. I don’t see how she has done anything to acknowledge the limits of the study’s conclusiveness to prevent the results from being misunderstood.

    I think it’s important for results of studies like these to be interpreted with prudence, as I’m concerned about how perceptions about research will affect the understanding of autism and what is done about it. I think I’ve explained my view in this post and in my other one.

  44. Michelle Dawson January 23, 2009 at 06:21 #

    Mr Cresp assumes that I dismiss criticism because I’m dishonest, etc. This is like Mr Mitchell’s certainty (which seems to be chared by Mr Cresp) that because he does not like the findings in a published paper, then the authors (and, of necessity, the reviewers and journal editor) must be dishonest (etc.)

    Also, I don’t consider false claims to be a valid basis for criticism. For just one example, Mr Mitchell claims I support the “social model” of disability. I’ve criticized this model in both my formal and informal work, something I’ve mentioned to Mr Mitchell several times.

    Mr Cresp’s and Mr Mitchell’s views are based on their apparent opposition to established standards re methodology in cognitive (and many other) studies. This would include, for just one example, Mr Mitchell’s position that the Wechsler manual should be ignored (and possibly, the Raven manual also, if he is objecting to the use of percentiles). I do not see this as genuine criticism for which a response would be useful.

    Mr Mitchell’s criticism about gender includes this statement:

    “The adult control group consists entirely of males. The study says they were recruited from an advertisement in a local newspaper. I wonder if it is possible that this newspaper is Dr. Mottron’s favorite French Canadian porno rag.”

    There is no reason to respond to statements like this, which demonstrate Mr Mitchell’s (and possibly Mr Cresp’s) own standards.

  45. Michelle Dawson January 23, 2009 at 08:27 #

    I posted a comment here (at 06:21:34) in response to some statements that have been made. But this comment was moderated (no idea why). I wonder whether this one will be moderated also, but here goes. Anyone interested in reading my commment can find it on the TMoB board.

  46. Joseph January 23, 2009 at 14:29 #

    @Michelle: I’m sure it was spam trapped because of a particular word in the quote by Jon Mitchell.

  47. alyric January 23, 2009 at 15:47 #

    Billy if you can’t get out of that generalisation ditch the best thing is to simply leave you there. You’re too vague to be able to discuss anything.

  48. Michelle Dawson January 23, 2009 at 16:19 #

    Thanks so much Joseph–I hadn’t thought of that.

    Apologies for quoting Mr Mitchell, but I wanted to show the kind of statements that are praised by autism advocates but that I don’t see any way or reason to respond to.

  49. daedalus2u January 24, 2009 at 01:44 #

    I have read Dawson et al 2007. I have read other papers by Dawson and by Mottron. It is body of work that is quite important. It is work that is essential to understand in order to understand the causes and consequences of autism. It is work that is on the cutting edge of autism research. It is work that is beyond the capabilities of many autism researchers. Not that other researchers couldn’t do the studies or replicate the results; other researchers wouldn’t have conceived that this research is important or even possible.

    The data from this work shows that considering autism to be any sort of neurological “damage” is simply wrong. Not unkind, not demeaning, not morally reprehensible, but scientifically wrong. This work refutes the hypothesis that autism = damage. How can “damage” produce superior abilities? It pretty obviously can’t. There is other work with animals that shows social isolation results in neurodevelopment changes that result in superior cognitive abilities in non-social cognitive tasks. Those researchers called those superior abilities deficits too.

    This type of work is essential to understand in order to develop techniques and a social structure to facilitate and enable each individual with autism to reach their highest potential.

    That is what autism advocacy is about, configuring society so as to facilitate each person with autism reaching their highest potential. Who could argue with that? Apparently, people such as Mr. Mitchell.

    I looked at Mr Mitchell’s post regarding Dawson et al 2007. It reads like the diatribe of a denialist. Someone with fingers in their ears shouting “La La La La La, I can’t hear you”.

    There is another term (besides Quisling which I like better) that is used to refer to a member of a discriminated against group who allies with the majority and becomes a rabid discriminator him/herself. That term is House Negro. The term is very well defined by Malcolm X and is discussed in a blog by the name of The Field Negro. It refers to terms from US history, during slavery. It doesn’t have the connotation to military occupation that Quisling does.

    The Field Negro blog is quite good. I didn’t link to it for fear of activating the spam filters. It is the whole first page of google hits.

  50. Billy Cresp January 24, 2009 at 06:51 #

    daedalus, what makes your opinion about how their research is so indispensable so valid? Why does Mottron do so much of his research only on high-functioning autistics? How could such research be generalizable and applicable to autistics as a whole, if it only included HFA?

    The data from the study does not show that it is wrong to consider autism as neurological damage. That study hasn’t been replicated and doesn’t have a representative sample. Just because a group has a higher score on one test than on another, doesn’t mean that the average score of that group on the test that they scored higher on is higher than the average score on that test for the general population. The average score on the Raven’s for autistics can’t be discerned from this study, which should be regarded as preliminary. Maybe a better study on this could better confirm that study’s conclusions.

    Besides, a superior ability coexisting with an impairment, doesn’t mean that damage would have caused the superior ability or that damage didn’t cause the impairments. What if all of the abilities would have been high if the possible damage hadn’t happened, whereby the damage only decreases some abilities but not others?

    “That is what autism advocacy is about, configuring society so as to facilitate each person with autism reaching their highest potential.” What if many with autism don’t have enough potential to reach? Society can’t make that better.

    I don’t like how you pretend to be so nice about autistics while you use such disrespect towards a real autistic in addressing his criticisms of the study.

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