It’s no secret that the National Autism Association is a staunch supporter of Andrew Wakefield. Mr. Wakefield, of course, is the researcher whose work on MMR and autistic children promoted the vaccine/autism link. Mr. Wakefield’s work was fraught with ethical lapses and research fraud. In short, from my perspective, Mr. Wakefield may rank as the person who has caused the most harm within the autism communities in recent decades.
Check the speaker list for the upcoming NAA conference. I’ll draw your attention to two points. First, Andrew Wakefield is scheduled to speak. Second, Autism Speaks is listed as a sponsor of the conference, sharing space with an HBOT company and a mail-order medical laboratory.
Mr. Wakefield is scheduled to speak about his next book. He has been involved with a family in Arizona who are battling child protective services. Here is the blurb on his upcoming talk:
Hoping for Perpetual Sunshine
This presentation is the subject of a new book coming out the spring of 2012. It deals with the hazards of pursuing a diagnosis of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) in children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), particularly those with gastrointestinal (GI) disease and/or dysfunction. Specifically, it reviews the symptomatic presentation of GI disorders and, the frequency and nature of GI disease in affected children. It discusses the history of MSBP and briefly reviews alleged cases involving “factitious” GI symptoms. The main part of the talk will describe the experience of one family, deconstructing the evidence against the parents and their alleged fabrication of their children’s health issues, in order to identify not only the shortcomings of the diagnosis itself, but also the systematic problems that arise out of institutionalized ignorance. Deficiencies on the part of Social Services, Child Protective Services, the judiciary, and the medical profession, are identified and analyzed in respect of the published science on the presentation, pathogenesis, and treatment of autism.
Autism Speaks has a choice in where to spend their money and where to spend their reputation. Sponsoring a conference which brings Andrew Wakefield to speak to a segment of the autism community is not a wise choice, in my opinion.