Response to Jake at Age of Autism

14 Jan

Jake Crosby has written a fairly humdrum piece about me which contains a few errors (as do some of the comments), most notably his claim that he’s tried to contact me. I’ve not recieved any contact from him at all either to my personal email nor via the Feedback widget. If Jake wants to contact me to discuss his piece I’m more than happy to do so – you can get me at kevleitchATgmailDOTcom.

The piece itself is a rehash of some of the early comment threads on here – I used to think vaccines caused my child’s autism, then I changed my mind. Jake speculates about why that might be without coming to any firm conclusion.

34 Responses to “Response to Jake at Age of Autism”

  1. Dedj January 14, 2010 at 17:36 #

    Aside from the idiocy of calling a change in viewpoints that took seven months ‘sudden’ (part of the definition of flip flop) there’s even poorer logic in the responses.

    Apparently living in the same county as a Prof. you’ve probably never even heard of is justification to imply that you’re scared of prosecution. All unreferenced and unvalidated of course.

    And Jake ‘not sinking’ to ‘thier level’ by ‘namecalling’? Do none of the readership at AoA ever google Jake to see what he gets up to elsewhere?

    Needless repetition, logical fallacies, and a highly suspect and/or incompetant abscence of decent references to your actual words in context. Par for the Crosby course I’m afraid.

    You can bet Jake won’t ever dream of attacking any parent who ‘flip-flop’ed the other way. Yet he feels fully justified in implying that your ND beliefs are based on guilt. Even if they were, that doesn’t make the beliefs themselves wrong. That’s probably why Jake hid from saying anything openly.

    He’s targeted you because of your status within the community. It speaks volumes that he had to go back nearly 6 years to find anything at all.

  2. RJ January 14, 2010 at 18:06 #

    “I used to think vaccines caused my child’s autism, then I changed my mind.”

    That seems to be a very difficult concept for Jake and readers at AoA to grasp. Imagine…after one examines the evidence, they form a conclusion that is different from their initial thoughts. AoA cannot accept that (and, in fact, use your example to simultaneously 1) corroborate their beliefs 2) discredit your position because it has changed). Learning is a growth process that requires input. They exhibit a pattern where they look for “evidence” to support their initial belief and discard/discredit information that is contrary to this position. It’s obvious how this will lead someone into the wrong direction, certainly not toward the truth.

    I’m waiting for the day Jake and the others at AoA, who purport to be involved in autism advocacy (even though they focus on vaccines, even for adults and do not cover the most important research in autism genetics, diagnosis, brain imaging, etc.) give us a firm theory as to how EXACTLY vaccines cause autism (a theory that can be tested thoroughly to their hearts content). Is it MMR? Is it mercury? Is it too many too soon? Is it aluminum? Is it the antigens or vaccine formulation components? How do these ‘toxins’ or the immune response alter synapse formation in parts of the brain, leaving others unaffected? I’d really like to hear about what this is all about and not how doctors are corrupt, autism is a product of big pharma profiteering/conspiracy, how the CDC/WHO/NIH/IOM/AAP/AMA, etc. are all inept and do not understand.

    Instead, what we have from them is a bunch of rants from angry people looking for someone to blame for their situation, regardless for its basis in any type of fact or reality for that matter.

    Nonetheless, I commend you Kev for your work toward autism awareness and advocacy.

  3. Nicky M January 14, 2010 at 18:37 #

    I would imagine there are far more parents out there who have had the same kind of change of mind, especially after the initial diagnosis stage has passed, they then move through the grieving process, and are able to accept and love their children for who they are.

    If only there was actually any credible evidence that correlates with what the anti-vaxxers believe, I would love to read it, and I may well change my mind again. (That’s simply being open minded to credibility, it’s really not that difficult).

    What I don’t understand is why Jake wasted so much time compiling that post about Kev, whose only crime was to get off the woo train. Seriously, have they nothing better to do? (Although it could be seen as a back-handed compliment that they want to write about Kev like he’s such a big threat).

  4. Fielding J. Hurst January 14, 2010 at 18:38 #

    Hi, Kev. Your story sounds a lot like mine related to the Dtap. Does your daughter have seizures?

  5. bones January 14, 2010 at 19:02 #

    This was my attempted post, though i don’t know why I bothered…

    Is there a point to this blog, Jake? I find it sadly hypocritical and cowardly (and typical) that this site has no problem criticizing neurodiverse supporters, yet won’t allow these same people to post comments. Of course, shameless and spineless as you are, you and your ilk have no problem posting on their sites. Go figure….

    No evidence to support your bombastic claims – just a lot of ambiguous statements, ill-supported allegations, and fear mongering. Same sad, long story for the past decade. Afraid of open dialogue, you just keep hiding behind the security blanket that is your web site(s).

    Let me know how that works for ya….

  6. Socrates January 14, 2010 at 19:10 #

    Of course Jake pontificates from the lofty heights of having walked a mile in your shoes.

    Just how much did you make from “sold off his ownership of the Autism Hub”? And did it come with a money-back Guarantee?

    In the Early Days you made a magnanimous overture of friendship to the Beast of New Hampshire – you may be equally humane in your approach to Jake. Please don’t.

    Keep him awake for a couple of days and then lock him in a room with an angry Autistic child that needs changing.

    He’s no business showing this level of disrespect to someone who’s survived difficulties that are quite literally beyond his comprehension.

    I’ve added him to my Little List.

  7. Sullivan January 14, 2010 at 21:38 #

    What an odd post by Mr. Crosby. I don’t see how this helps his point–a parent who thought that his child’s autism could be a vaccine injury took some time and decided otherwise.

    When a parent decides that vaccines are bad after reading AoA and other sites, they call that “becoming educated”.

    It really does show that they are closed minded. They only accept their own explanation.

    I guess they figured none of us ever took a look at the vaccines-cause-autism theory with an open mind. Boy are they wrong…again.

  8. Alison Singer January 14, 2010 at 21:42 #

    What a strange story. Many parents question whether vaccines are involved in autism because of the media coverage of the issue, but then they read the science and realize the studies are there and the science clearly indicates no causal role for vaccines. Kev, although I find your point of view refreshing and your posts unique, I dare say you are hardly alone at coming to this conclusion. Jake will have to try harder next time. -Alison

  9. Dedj January 14, 2010 at 23:26 #

    Even stranger are the responses.

    Apparently the ND movement is a front for Big Pharma. Yup, even the anti-psych anti-pharm people are a front for Big Pharma.

    Oh, and ‘most’ of the content here is about AoA. Including the stuff that isn’t. So, basically out of the last 10 articles, the 1 that was about AoA constitutes the mathmatical majority.

    And the science doesn’t get mentioned here, and that includes when it does.

    The supporters of AoA have in one thread managed to re-invent the value of 1, the definition of religion and have expanded the meaning of pharma-shill to include people that oppose pharmacuetical interventions.

    • Sullivan January 15, 2010 at 00:49 #


      it is and always has been easier to claim that neurodiversity is about “big pharma” or whatever than to really have a discussion.

      Let’s face it, they are sort of stuck. Neurodiversity is about civil rights and respect. A difficult position to fight against, so they make up their own definition. The bloggers on AoA and the organizations they represent have never taken respect and civil rights of autistics as a serious concernt.

      I think it was Mark Blaxill who recently commented over there something to the effect of anything that annoys the “wackosphere” as he phrases it is good. This is just another move in what I fear will become an ever more shrill and aggressive defense of their indefensible position.

  10. Dedj January 15, 2010 at 01:48 #

    The ‘Big Pharma’ gambit is always an amusing one. At one and the same time, the ND movement is supposedly a small collection of inexpert bloggers yet also a front for a well-funded well co-ordinated conspiracy.

    I think one of the best things one of the main anti-ND bloggers must have done was when one berated a director of an autism charity and a lecturer in autism studies for ‘knowing nothing about autism’ and a published authour on ABA for ‘knowing nothing about ABA’.

    Even better was someones inability to tell the difference between IV and IM, or that an address in Tokyo is in Japan and not America.

    But I think the biggest hoot was having one accuse me of a simplistic arguement (that readers = validity) that was somehow also convulted at the same time.

    When the biggest and brightest names in the anti-ND movement can’t even get thier insults the right way around it makes you wonder what the heck the rank and file must be like……

  11. Leila January 15, 2010 at 02:08 #

    AoA loves attacking other people’s reputation. It’s disgusting and pathetic… Their posts have only two categories: 1) against vaccines; 2) against someone who defends vaccines.

  12. Shanna January 15, 2010 at 02:26 #

    I find the attacks against the ND movement by parents to be so baffling. It’s like these parents have no foresight. Do they believe that their children will not one day grow up to be adults?
    What then?

  13. Dedj January 15, 2010 at 02:37 #

    “Neurodiversity is about civil rights and respect”

    Indeed, one common misconception is that the ND movement is against treatment for autism.

    Whereas it may be true that there are some who are very much opposed to any treatment, there are also those who got into ND through working in autism services.

    I even witnessed one prominent anti-ND person be directly and expressly asked to provide evidence that a prominent pro-ND person was ‘anti treatment’. Said anti-ND person then mixed up ‘cure’ and ‘treatment’ then tried to pass off a quote that mentions several areas for services and assistance (i.e. ‘treatment’) as evidence. No suprise that they failed to come back to answer the corrections put to them.

    The number of times otherwise intelligent, educated, privileged people have had to be told that anti-cure is not the same thing as anti-treatment is beyond a joke, as is the lack of insight into thier own privilege everytime they berate people like Ari.

  14. Do'C January 15, 2010 at 06:08 #

    “A British native, his website has a UK domain name, but an estimated 70% of visitors to his site are from the US. Though he has since sold off his ownership of the Autism Hub to Dave and Kathleen Seidel, they do not hesitate to give credit where credit is due, saying “Sincerest appreciation to Kev Leitch for original creation of The Autism-Hub.” ”

    Hi Jake. I’m not going to bother with commenting at AoA. The Autism Hub was never sold, and the Seidels give no such credit – the words are mine, placed on behalf of Autism Hub readers when I changed Kev’s (2nd) original design. It’s a community-type project.

  15. David N. Brown January 15, 2010 at 07:51 #

    At one and the same time, the ND movement is supposedly a small collection of inexpert bloggers yet also a front for a well-funded well co-ordinated conspiracy.

    This begs the question: If Big Pharma thought they could determine public opinion by discrete contributions to bloggers, researchers, etc, why do they bother paying for marketing departments?

  16. Do'C January 15, 2010 at 08:26 #

    Don’t all our checks come from the marketing departments?

    Killing My Pharma Payday

  17. Kev January 15, 2010 at 09:24 #

    Just as a small note: still no contact from Jake.

    • Sullivan January 15, 2010 at 19:14 #

      Just as a small note: still no contact from Jake.

      He’s following in the lead exemplified by the senior editors of the blog. Just consider yourself to be the “clinic for special children” and your kid to be Amish and it will make sense.

  18. Kassiane January 15, 2010 at 10:27 #



  19. Theo January 15, 2010 at 16:59 #

    Yes, I would like my paycheck as well! Rather broke at the moment!!

    *laughing till my sides hurt*

  20. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. January 15, 2010 at 17:02 #

    “Just as a small note: still no contact from Jake.”

    Because he knows his post was total bollocks and that he can’t support or defend it.

  21. Visitor January 15, 2010 at 19:26 #

    Leaving aside the poisonous stupidity and abusiveness throughout the Crosby post and responses, it’s the perfect evidence that these people are gloatingly impervious to any kind of evidence that contradicts their hatreds.

    The idea that a parent might think one thing, research an issue and come to a contrary conclusion, or might learn with the passage of time, or in any other way learn new things, is evidently an entirely foreign concept to these people. Similarly, they can’t grasp the idea of a journalist investigating a subject and putting his findings before the public.

    I suppose Crosby still believes in Santa Claus, and could only be persuaded otherwise by a hefty cheque from the Coca Cola Company.

    It’s all projection. So many of these people are greedy, sick-at-heart cranks they can’t conceptualize someone making an honest effort.

  22. Science Mom January 15, 2010 at 20:37 #

    It is unsurprising that Jake would have to do a lot of hand-waving mumbo jumbo in an attempt to excoriate Kevin. Perish the thought that a parent could walk away from the vaccine-autism canard with a little critical thinking.

    The UK government just scrapped the routinely recommended DTP vaccine containing thimerosal around the same time Dr. Mady Hornig’s study came out showing autistic behaviors developed in mice injected with thimerosal.

    What does this have to do with anything? Oh and Jake, mice do not exhibit ‘autistic behaviours’, they are not models for autism behavioural research. Not to mention the insurmountable flaws in the study design which render it cage-lining.

    The rest of his post and the comments are denialist rantings. The pharma shill gambit raised by commentors is particularly amusing and typical. You’re a history student Jake, and as such, you may be good at re-writing it but you’re inept at parsing scientific literature and critical thinking.

  23. David N. Brown January 15, 2010 at 20:45 #

    Just consider yourself to be the “clinic for special children” and your kid to be Amish and it will make sense.

    Or the correct policy for the correct rotavirus patent.

  24. Mike Stanton January 16, 2010 at 00:49 #

    I am sorry you have to put up with this. It is thanks to you that I started blogging. My trajectory is similar to your own. While not exactly a believer I was willing to give Wakefield the benefit of the doubt over MMR and thought that the opioid excess theory championed by Paul Shattock in the UK probably explained a significant minority of autism cases.

    At the same time, my acquaintance with autistic adults via Usenet had also persuaded me of the merits of neurodiversity as an approach to autism. At first I thought I could reconcile these contradictory positions but two books changed my mind. Unravelling The Mysteries of Autism and PDD by Karyn Seroussi promised much but delivered little. It was persuasive in parts but overall it failed to convince. MMR: the Facts by Mike Fitzpatrick was a real eye opener. While I did not always agree with it I could not help but compare and contrast its obvious grounding in science with the speculation and conjecture that informed Seroussi’s work.

    I hope that I have learned from my acquaintance with the biomedical movement. My bid to reconcile biomed and neurodiversity never amounted to anything more than a populist attempt to fudge the differences. Now I am fascinated by the challenges that neurodiversity and conventional autism science present to each other. I want to be part of a debate which explores the differences and does not try to paper over them. It would be good to wind the clock back and engage the biomed community in such a debate. But so much has happened that I see little prospect of meaningful dialogue in that quarter so long as Age of Autism is setting their agenda.

  25. livsparents January 16, 2010 at 04:43 #

    I never reaalized Kev…come back to us, you have been brainwashed by ND, by all the stipeNDs, and by all the conspiratorial science. All these people you have surrounded yourself are obviously brainwashing you, come back Kev, come baaaaaacccck…

    Yes, I too have to admit my brainwashing too. Jeez I feel I’m at an AA Meeting! Hi I’m Bill and I used to be a causaholic. It’s been 247 days since I last considered autism as an epidemic…

    It’s amazing to me the way their world is turned inside out. If you once ‘believed’ that your child’s autism (and a majority of other children) was triggered, caused or was a major factor because of vaccines, somehow, anything that diverts you from this ‘ultimate reality’ is obviously a brainwash or a payoff. I dunno, when a good portion of your reality is based on the ‘fact’ of conspiracy; the ‘fact’ of science that is not duplicated; and the ‘fact’ that testimonials are more important than scientific data; I get uncomfortable and will not drink the kool aid offered.

    Can we get a show of hands that have been brainwashed into thinking rationally about autism? OK, hold on lemme finish counting…OK, now can you show me all those people who have been part of the cult of neuodiversity (someone put Living Color back together again) aqnd have been ‘deprogrammed’ back to….to…to…it hur.t.s to sa.y it…rrrational…thought? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Beuller?

  26. Chris January 16, 2010 at 07:00 #

    Hi, Bill, my name is Chris. I had a hesitation with my baby boy. But it turned out he was only given the DT because of his history of infantile seizures. Then there was the virus he could not shake as a toddler, and it not only ended up in tears… but more seizures. Back to the hospital by ambulance!

    Both and experience and financial bill I could have lived without.

    That viral bug is now preventable with a vaccine. Personally, I’ll take the vaccine. My son is still very disabled, but we knew there would be issues since his very difficult birth over twenty years ago.

    (I’m jealous, Jake Crosby is in college!? I wish my kid could have that kind privilege.)

  27. David N. Brown January 16, 2010 at 07:24 #

    I’ve not recieved any contact from him at all either to my personal email nor via the Feedback widget.

    Olmsted also claims to have tried to contact Paul Offit for the story in which he exagerated Offit’s income 500%. Yet, Offit posted a comment in april saying he had no idea where 29-55M figures had come from.

  28. David N. Brown January 16, 2010 at 07:25 #

    And one more suggestion to AoA: If you want responses, start by not censoring anyone who sends a correction.

  29. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. January 16, 2010 at 08:28 #

    “not censoring anyone who sends a correction”

    As if they’re going to take notice of that… they don’t like being corrected. They’re stupid.

  30. livsparents January 16, 2010 at 16:01 #

    Chris, the operative word here is ‘major factor’. The idea of an epidemic of autism caused by vaccines is what most over at AoA will imply, insinuate or out and out profess. I feel that idea diverts precious resources from real investigations into legitimate areas of medical concern and their potential relationship to ASD’s.

    I hope for the best that our kids can have: your son, my daughters, and Jake Crosby included. We’re all part of the same dysfunctional family…

  31. Margaret Romao Toigo January 16, 2010 at 16:22 #

    People who believe the urban myths, and later realize, after some reading and critical thinking absent self-deception, that it’s all a bunch of nonsense (count me among them) are a threat to the true believers, for if just one person blows wise and shares, it means that there are probably many others who have blown wise but chose not to share.

    And the folks over at AoA and other similar pubs/orgs have very likely heard from a good number of people who have blown wise — and perhaps even expressed anger toward those who misled them in the first place — but have not shared that correspondence with their readers/members.

    Perhaps it’s one of the reasons why AoA has such a strict comment moderation policy.

    Can y’all imagine?

    Sure, AoA probably gets all kinds of comments from skeptics, critics and quackbusters whose questions and criticisms they wish to avoid, but if they got regular comments from people who were, at first, enthralled with all the anti-vax woo, and later blew wise — perhaps angrily so, after having been ripped off by purveyors of associated fake “cures” for fake conditions such as “leaky gut” — they’d eventually dissolve into a small cult-like fringe club that preaches to its own choir, but has little to no influence over those outside its core group.

  32. David N. Brown January 16, 2010 at 20:48 #

    they’d eventually dissolve into a small cult-like fringe club that preaches to its own choir, but has little to no influence over those outside its core group.

    That sounds like a good description of them already!
    I have done a little ebook looking at “vaccine-caused autism” from an “urban legends” angle. One of my conclusions was that anti-vax influence upon the general public is mainly through local, person-to-person connections.

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