“light it up blue” isn’t autism awareness, it’s advertising for Autism Speaks

2 Apr

Tomorrow is Autism Awareness Day, by some calendars at least.  The United Nations, for example made a resolution in 2007 to designate April 2nd as “World Autism Awareness Day”.

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 18 December 2007 [on the report of the Third Committee (A/62/435)] 62/139.

World Autism Awareness Day The General Assembly,

Recalling the 2005 World Summit Outcome and the United Nations Millennium Declaration, as well as the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields,

Recalling also the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, according to which children with disabilities should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community, as well as the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children,

Affirming that ensuring and promoting the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities is critical to achieving internationally agreed development goals, Aware that autism is a lifelong developmental disability that manifests itself during the first three years of life and results from a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, mostly affecting children in many countries irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status, and characterized by impairments in social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted, repetitive behaviour, interests and activities,

Deeply concerned by the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent development challenges to long-term health care, education, training and intervention programmes undertaken by Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, as well as its tremendous impact on children, their families, communities and societies,

Recalling that early diagnosis and appropriate research and interventions are vital to the growth and development of the individual,

1. Decides to designate 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day, to be observed every year beginning in 2008;

2. Invites all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to observe World Autism Awareness Day in an appropriate manner, in order to raise public awareness of autism;

3. Encourages Member States to take measures to raise awareness throughout society, including at the family level, regarding children with autism;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Member States and United Nations organizations.

76th plenary meeting 18 December 2007

While I’m sure that Autism Speaks lobbying had much to do with that resolution, it’s an awareness event. No where do you see any mention of Autism Speaks nor statements that we should “light it up blue”. Yet over the years, Autism Speaks has made autism awareness into autism speaks awareness. And no where is that more obvious than on April 2nd with their “light it up blue” event.

Is blue the color of autism? No. It’s the color of Autism Speaks. But Autism Speaks is out there asking people to shine blue lights for autism awareness. A whole section of their shop (yes, they have an online shop) is devoted to “light it up blue” merchandise. All complete with the Autism Speaks logo.

Here’s the text from the Autism Speaks web page on how to “light it up blue”. Each section brings you back to Autism Speaks. Shine a blue light..and project the Autism Speaks logo. Wear blue, including autism speaks pins or accessories. Blue=Autism speaks, basically.

How to LIUB

In honor of people with autism worldwide, iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, schools, universities, bridges, retail stores, and thousands of homes will light blue beginning on April 2!

Light Homes, Businesses, Schools, and Landmarks Blue

Change outdoor or indoor white bulbs to blue bulbs.

Tint windows with blue gel sheets

Cover existing fixtures with blue gel filters

Project the Autism Speaks puzzle piece or Light It Up Blue logo on walls or buildings

Wear Blue

Ask family, friends, coworkers, and staff to wear blue (ties, scarfs, shirts, etc.)

Supply Autism Speaks lapel pins, bracelets, or other blue accessories to wear during the month of April.

Post Blue

Personalize your LIUB Selfie Sign to tell us where you Light It Up Blue

Post your photos on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, or Flickr with the hashtag #LIUB to be a part of the global autism awareness movement!

Turn your website blue with our Site It Up Blue kit or add the Light It Up Blue logo with a link to autismspeaks.org/liub

Turn your Facebook or Twitter profile picture blue

Tweet autism facts with the hashtag #LIUB

Raise Awareness with Blue

Distribute information about autism, World Autism Awareness Day, and Light It Up Blue in your establishment, neighborhood, or company.

Invite a local Autism Speaks representative to speak to your staff, school, or town about autism and the Light It Up Blue campaign.

Reach out to local media to let the community know about your great work for the autism community and your support of autism speaks!

Donate

Click here to donate!

Text AUTISM to 25383 to give $10*

Host your own fundraising event

Use this form to mail funds to Autism Speaks

Hey, you can take a “light it up blue” selfie. Complete with Autism Speaks logo.

yeah blue for AS

Autism Speaks is corporate autism. They do some things I appreciate and many things I really, really (really) don’t. For example, perpetuating the vaccines-cause-autism idea, an idea which may be second only to the refrigerator mother idea in causing harm to our community. Just in the past couple weeks Autism Speaks had to put out a new message on the idea, because the science based and helpful message by their Chief Science Officer conflicted with the non-science educated founder’s beliefs. Autism Speaks doesn’t have autistic voices in important positions within the organization, an amazing position given the sizable self-advocate population they claim to serve. Autism Speaks has a history of perpetuating stigmatizing messages (search for “I am autism” if you are unaware of this). Autism Speaks has funded quality research over the years and I appreciate that. But every time I start thinking Autism Speaks is starting down a good path they do something that reminds me: they are not my family’s autism organization. They don’t represent my values. They don’t represent my family.

I won’t be “lighting it up blue” tomorrow. I won’t be encouraging people to “light it up blue”. I hope people will be more aware of the needs of people like my kid. I hope more that they will act. I will follow up with another post, but I’ll say it here now: remember the phrase “think globally, act locally”? Feel like donating to an autism charity? I bet you have an autism school in your area and autism schools need donations. I bet there are adult programs in your area that could use some support. That’s my suggestion for April 2nd.


By Matt Carey

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59 Responses to ““light it up blue” isn’t autism awareness, it’s advertising for Autism Speaks”

  1. Shaun April 2, 2015 at 13:38 #

    https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/faq
    “Are Vaccines to Blame?
    Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. We urge that all children be fully vaccinated.”

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 2, 2015 at 19:16 #

      And, sadly, they also came out with this

      https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/policy-statements/information-about-vaccines-and-autism

      • Shaun April 2, 2015 at 19:37 #

        Your link directly shows the quote I already posted and another quote which essentially says the same thing. All you have done is prove my point.

        The author of this article was clearly and blatantly wrong on her stance that Autism Speaks is “perpetuating the vaccines-cause-autism idea.” In fact, Autism Speaks is one of the few autism advocacy groups to unequivocally make this statement that vaccines do not cause autism.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 2, 2015 at 19:52 #

        Yes, it shows that quote. And the founder of Autism Speaks added his own statement. Let me quote it here so you can see what I am discussing

        Over the last two decades extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccines and autism. Scientific research has not directly connected autism to vaccines. Vaccines are very important. Parents must make the decision whether to vaccinate their children. Efforts must be continually made to educate parents about vaccine safety. If parents decide not to vaccinate they must be aware of the consequences in their community and their local schools.

        Bob Wright

        Co-founder, Autism Speaks

        Mr. Wright is trying to appear to ride a fence here. “Scientific research has not directly connected autism to vaccines.” Science has taken the main theories of the vaccine/autism link and repeatedly shown them to be false. Mr. Wright took a strong statement by his Chief Science Officer and weakened it dramatically.

        Or, to put it simply, you misuse the term “unequivocally”. They absolutely equivocated. Equivocate “use ambiguous language so as to conceal the truth or avoid committing oneself.”

      • Shaun April 2, 2015 at 19:40 #

        Since I apparently cannot edit my own comments. The comment should have read “his stance” and not “her stance.”

    • John Kieran August 17, 2015 at 18:03 #

      Shaun, stop being confused & eduacate yourself. I know my child’s life has been irreconcilably changed. There is mercury in some of the vaccines as a ‘preservative’. Mercury is wicked toxic stuff that alters DNA. go to the CDC website and see the ingredients in the vaccines. Look for thimerosal. It is 49% mercury. When you find MRC-5 or WI-38 “Ask yourself what is that?” Look it up! It is aborted human fetus tissue with fragmaent DNA in it. Mix it with mercury and give it to children and you get altered DNA that results in Autism. My son was born healthy in 1992. he got his ‘5 shots by the age of 2 years old’ and at 18 months nearly died after an injection. He will never be the same again. I found out about this a year ago when they released a study printed (see Quote below)…
      Thus, rising autistic disorder prevalence is directly related to vaccines manufactured utilizing human fetal cells. … Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology.
      Prior to the 90’s they used Bovine or beef tissue. our bodies knew it was foriegn and passed it out, but ‘human’ tissue… when you inject it into your body it passes some of our defense mechanisms and can reak havoc… And in some cause damage, resulting in Autism.
      Is it worth the risk to be vaccinated? NO! our government has known about this for 2 decades now (read the study). So why use human tissue?
      So put the DAMN BOVINE TISSUE BACK IN GD! YOUR F@#$@#% UP PEOPLES LIVES!
      My son will never go to college. He will never drive a car or get married or have kids, etc. This is caused by us, people… humans, mankind… and its completely avoidable. A virus didn’t do it. WE (mankind) did it.

      • Sheogorath August 17, 2015 at 18:59 #

        Look for Thimerosal. It is 49% mercury.
        Actually, Thimerosal (Thiomersal in the UK) is 50% mercury, but that’s neither here nor there given the preservative’s presence only in multi-dose vials of the flu vaccine at a concentration of 0.1%. Basically, a 0.5mL dose of the flu vaccine potentially contains only 50 micrograms of mercury, according to the FDA. In addition, the mercury in multi-dose flu vaccines is ethylmercury, which not only clears the bloodstream faster than methylmercury, it also doesn’t bioaccumulate as the other form does.
        Prior to the 90s they used bovine or beef tissue. our bodies knew it was foreign and passed it out, but ‘human’ tissue… when you inject it into your body it passes some of our defense mechanisms and can wreak havoc…
        Right. Why not tell that to organ donation recipients who are on cocktails of drugs to prevent rejection because their bodies know full well that ‘human tissue’ and ‘familiar tissue’ aren’t the same thing?
        My son will never go to college. He will never drive a car or get married or have kids, etc.
        Wow, I’m glad I’m not your son given how much hope for his future you have.
        This is caused by us, people…
        No, only those of us who feed our children huge amounts of mackerel.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) August 17, 2015 at 19:03 #

        I am very sorry that you got fooled into believing this. And, yes, it’s hard to have that direct response, but you have been fooled.

        You are quoting Theresa Deisher’s paper. It’s garbage. Plain and simple. And, yes, I have read it. And, yes, I do understand what she’s doing. And, yes, from a science perspective it is garbage. I could use nicer terms, but it’s garbage. And watching the harm she is causing by convincing people to live a life of pain and guilt is not something I want to stand by and be silent.

        I wish you and your family well. But you are a prime example of the damage that Theresa Deisher (and others) are doing. They don’t care that they are leading parents into this nightmare. They are just trying to attack vaccines.

      • Chris August 17, 2015 at 21:49 #

        “Prior to the 90’s they used Bovine or beef tissue. our bodies knew it was foriegn and passed it out, but ‘human’ tissue… when you inject it into your body it passes some of our defense mechanisms and can reak havoc…”

        For which vaccine? The rubella portion (RA 27/3) using WI-38 has been part of the American MMR vaccine since 1978, after it had been successfully used in the Europe for several years.

        Before 1978 there had been adverse reports to the previous American MMR version. From The History of Rubella and Rubella Vaccination Leading to Elimination:

        First, the duck embryo and dog kidney vaccine strains caused significant joint reactions [24–27]. Second, reinfection on exposure to wild rubella virus was demonstrated frequently with all strains except the RA 27/3 vaccine [28–30]. Third, the good safety record of the RA 27/3 vaccine in Europe, plus the majority opinion of scientists, led the US Food and Drug Administration to license RA 27/3.

        The following is a vaccines with human cell strains:

        Hepatitis A vaccines [VAQTA/Merck, Havrix/GlaxoSmithKline, and part of Twinrix/GlaxoSmithKline]
        Rubella vaccine [MERUVAX II/Merck, part of MMR II/Merck, and ProQuad/Merck]
        Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine [Varivax/Merck, and part of ProQuad/Merck]
        Zoster (shingles) vaccine [Zostavax/Merck]
        Adenovirus Type 4 and Type 7 oral vaccine [Barr Labs] *
        Rabies vaccine [IMOVAX/Sanofi Pasteur] *

        If your son was born in 1992, he more than likely got the MMR vaccine, and possibly varicella (my kids did not get the vaccine, they got the disease in 1994, not a fun month).

  2. Rick Stotts April 2, 2015 at 16:34 #

    You are a cynical DICK Matt Carey!!

    • Chris April 2, 2015 at 16:54 #

      Brilliant answer. Just full of data, evidence and a strong argument. Though not in a way you will appreciate, Mr. Stotts.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 2, 2015 at 19:32 #

      I believe you misuse the term

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cynical

      adjective

      1. distrusting or disparaging the motives of others; like or characteristic of a cynic.

      2. showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one’s actions, especially by actions that exploit the scruples of others.

      3. bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

      4. (initial capital letter) cynic (def 5).

      I do not distrust nor disparage the motives of Autism Speaks. I criticize their actions. I am not being contemptuous of their standards of honesty nor morality. I am not even being “bitterly or sneeringly” anything much less distrustful or contemptuous. One could argue that I am being pessimistic about Autism Speaks’ ability to evolve to a stance I would find more acceptable, but again, I am not bitter nor sneering.

      As to “DICK”, well, I don’t know what definition you are using. I assume it has to do with me taking a viewpoint that does not mesh well with yours.

    • novalox April 3, 2015 at 07:27 #

      Ah yes, thanks for showing your lack of a counterargument, rick.

    • John K August 17, 2015 at 19:21 #

      Hey Sullivan…
      Tell that to my son…

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) August 17, 2015 at 23:45 #

        What Deisher and the rest of the “vaccines-cause-autism” people are doing is no better than what Bruno Bettleheim did in saying that parents caused their children’s autism because they were “refrigerator parents”.

        Would you have stood back, silent, while that travesty was going on? If you told someone, “I am very sorry you believe Bettleheim” and got the response “tell my kid that”, what would you think?

        Do you enjoy living with these feelings? Do you want to go through life feeling this pain? Do you wish that other parents would avoid that pain?

        Here’s the thing–the vaccines-cause-autism message is sold with junk science. Yes, a lot of people are fooled. Smart people are fooled. But it is junk science.

        Deisher is really, really trying hard to misinform. And she’s doing it badly. Her studies (she has a new one out last week) are prime examples of politics disguised through junk science. Seriously, if her papers were submitted to me as a teacher, I would have failed her.

      • Roger Kulp August 18, 2015 at 15:13 #

        Deisher’s newest study is a doozy,which John here sort of summarizes,except Deisher’s article completely throws out the idea of mercury.The article is all about how fragments of DNA in vaccines,both from human fetal cells,and from viral fragments,can trigger inflammation that can cause genes to mutate.I don’t recall reading that before,but once I figured out what Deisher was trying to say,I sat back in awe and wonder of such monumental stupidity.This was the most novel way of trying to link vaccines to autism I had read since the Geiers,or why GcMF “worked”,or something.I won’t spoil it,you need to go and read it for yourself.

        http://soundchoice.s3.amazonaws.com/soundchoice/wp-content/uploads/Deisher-article-2-FINAL1.pdf

        What people like John,or the merry band of loons over at AoA,fail to realize is the articles that talk about mercury as a cause of autism,it is just one of a long list of chemicals that can cause autism or brain damage,if babies are exposed to it in the womb,or in the neonatal period.If there is any increase in autism in the last 25 years,and not just better diagnosis,it is most likely due to things babies are exposed to in the womb,that simply were not there 25 or 50 years ago,and I don’t mean air pollution.If there are any under researched causes of autism,it is this.

        Perhaps the biggest lie parents like John K. have willingly swallowed is that their children were born normal.One only need to read the transcripts of the the proceedings of the Vaccine Court to see this myth destroyed time and again.

  3. Shaun April 2, 2015 at 20:34 #

    From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: unequivocal – “leaving no doubt.” Mr. Wright’s quote states that “[s]cientific research has not directly connected autism to vaccines.” This quote clearly states there is no connection between autism and vaccines. When read in tandem with the Chief Science Officer, a clear message is sent that vaccines do not cause autism.

    Now given your admitted bias against Autism Speaks, you clearly are unwilling to take Mr. Wright at his word. As a result, you have come up with this convoluted reasoning that assumes he is making a statement which is not in agreement with the top science officer in his company. You have misused the term “equivocate.” There is nothing ambiguous in the language he used and the actions of his organization show an active search for the causes of autism outside of any possible vaccine link.

    Regardless of your use of definitions and argument that a statement must be interpreted and not read, the simple fact is your article is not correct. You stated that Autism Speaks perpetuates the vaccines-cause-autism idea, which is a complete and total fallacy. Even if you read Mr. Wright’s comments in the way you argue, they still do not go far enough to back up that accusation. When put in context with the Chief Science Officer it is ridiculous to argue they mean anything other than a support of his statement.

    • Andrew April 2, 2015 at 21:54 #

      This is moronic. Matt has pointed out that they do the definition of “equivocate.” Saying there is “no direct link” leaves open the possibility of (if not implying outright) the case of an indirect link. That is not only purposely, but purposeFULly ambiguous. What’s more, it isn’t just the statements made in the last month, or even the last year. The propagation of this type of thinking has been wreaking irreparable damage for YEARS. If you don’t want to pay attention to things “definitions,” then that’s fine– just realize that you’re doing the same thing as not paying attention to petty things like “science.”

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 2, 2015 at 22:00 #

      “Now given your admitted bias against Autism Speaks”

      Really, now? I admitted bias against Autism Speaks.? I am not your sock puppet. Please do not put words into my mouth.

      I am willing to take Mr. Wright at his word. His word, however, is not what you claim:

      ““[s]cientific research has not directly connected autism to vaccines.” This quote clearly states there is no connection between autism and vaccines. ”

      No, it doesn’t. It states that there is no *direct* connection, not no connection. And it states that no connection has been found, not that there is no connection. Those are different statements.

      Read his statement however you want. That’s what you can do with equivocal statements.

      • Ashley April 4, 2015 at 07:31 #

        Well, it would be unscientific to say unequivocally that there is no link. Until science either 1) test absolutely every thing about vaccines and rule out vaccine-autism link (and they haven’t, most testing that I’m familiar with surrounds the mmr vaccine and it’s ingredients but they still have a while to go before they rule out everything) or 2) find the actual cause of autism (or all causes), then they can’t say for sure there is no connection.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 4, 2015 at 23:53 #

        “2) find the actual cause of autism (or all causes), then they can’t say for sure there is no connection.”

        by that logic, we can’t rule out the refrigerator mother theory of autism causation. At least until all causes of autism are found. I am quite willing to push that idea onto the dust heap of history.

      • Lawrence April 4, 2015 at 13:23 #

        @Ashley – since they’ve tested just about everything related to vaccines, what’s next? What culprit (i.e. what part of the vaccine) would you suggest that they look at next?

      • Ashley April 4, 2015 at 17:42 #

        I don’t know but they haven’t tested just about everything and the fact that they haven’t means they can’t claim unequivocally that vaccines do not cause autism. That’s all I’m saying. to say thare has been no link between vaccines and autism found a more acurate statement.

      • Lawrence April 4, 2015 at 18:25 #

        Please enlighten us to what aspects of vaccines that have not been tested that have a biologically-plausible process by which they might cause autism….

      • Ashley April 4, 2015 at 20:44 #

        “MISCONCEPTION: Science proves ideas.

        CORRECTION: Journalists often write about “scientific proof” and some scientists talk about it, but in fact, the concept of proof — real, absolute proof — is not particularly scientific. Science is based on the principle that any idea, no matter how widely accepted today, could be overturned tomorrow if the evidence warranted it. Science accepts or rejects ideas based on the evidence; it does not prove or disprove them. To learn more about this, visit our page describing how science aims to build knowledge.”
        http://undsci.berkeley.edu/teaching/misconceptions.php

        You’re missing my point. Idk what other avenues would have to be tested. I’m saying that since they haven’t all been tested and we don’t understand the causes of autism, that it would be inaccurate to say science has unequivocally proven there is no link between vaccines and autism. The vocabulary the head of autism used, saying there is no direct evidence, is an accurate statement.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 13, 2015 at 21:39 #

        “I’m saying that since they haven’t all been tested and we don’t understand the causes of autism, that it would be inaccurate to say science has unequivocally proven there is no link between vaccines and autism.”

        I understood you. Again, the example: by your logic we have to keep the idea that autism is caused by “refrigerator mothers”. We don’t need to know the reasons for something in order to know why some reasons don’t make sense.

        If you want to go around in circles like this, you should probably focus on the idea that a negative can’t be definitively proved.

        You misunderstand the idea of scientific proof and then spend a lot of time discussing how your misunderstanding doesn’t work. That’s what is called a “straw man” argument.

        I am interested in your idea of “real absolute proof” that is not scientific. Could you give an example?

      • Ashley April 4, 2015 at 21:38 #

        “MISCONCEPTION: Science proves ideas.

        CORRECTION: Journalists often write about “scientific proof” and some scientists talk about it, but in fact, the concept of proof — real, absolute proof — is not particularly scientific. Science is based on the principle that any idea, no matter how widely accepted today, could be overturned tomorrow if the evidence warranted it. Science accepts or rejects ideas based on the evidence; it does not prove or disprove them. To learn more about this, visit our page describing how science aims to build knowledge.”
        You misunderstand my point. Idk what other aspects could be investigated. The point is that there are still things to test. It’s inaccurate to say that there is unequivocally no link. The vocabulary the head of autism speaks use, that there was no direct evidence, is an accurate statement.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 5, 2015 at 00:21 #

        And, unscientific thinking leads to conclusions which are never overturned, no matter how much data refutes them.

        Case in point: the MMR vaccine causes autism. Second case: thimerosal in vaccines cause autism. No number or quality of study will ever convince some of those facts.

        There’s no value to the sophistry that nothing can every prove anything. One can always make that argument. If you want to say that science can’t prove anything absolutely, you then have to admit that nothing can ever be proved.

      • Chris April 5, 2015 at 00:00 #

        “Idk what other aspects could be investigated.”

        Then who are you to say the following: “The point is that there are still things to test.”

        Do you ever read what you type out on your keyboard?

      • Ashley April 5, 2015 at 01:14 #

        Sullivan, I agree with you about unscientific thinking. Chris, you are just rude. However, we are arguing 2 different points. The article attempts to state that Autism Speaks perpetuates the view that there is a link between Autism and vaccines. To defend that statement, Sullivan a used a quote from the head of the organization that there was no direct link, but interpretted it as implying there was a connection, therefore the organization is perpetuating the autism/vaccine link. My argument is simply that it is scienfically more accurate to state, as the head of autism speaks did, that there is no evidence of a direct link than to say there is unequivocally no link between the two. I’m not arguing that there is a link. There is a correlation between the vaccines given and cases of autism. That of course doesn’t mean the two are linked, but science can’t say specifically why the increase is occurring (or if it’s a real increase at all). There are still a lot of unanswered questions in regards to autism. Implying or trying to extend current evidence beyond the information it provides is unscientific. That is what the authur is doing and that why he is wrong.

      • Chris April 5, 2015 at 01:26 #

        “Chris, you are just rude. However, we are arguing 2 different points.”

        By pointing out that those two sentences did not make sense when placed in the same paragraph?

        “There are still a lot of unanswered questions in regards to autism.”

        What are those questions? How do they pertain to vaccines? What evidence shows vaccines cause more harm than the diseases?

      • Ashley April 5, 2015 at 01:42 #

        No, you are rude for asking if I ever read what I type on my keyboard.

        One concern that I see antivaxxers make is that it’s the amount of vaccines we are giving kids now Or the timeline in general. That’s why recently, there has been research focused on the timeline that recommend vaccination. Idk of any research regarding the larger influx. Perhaps some other chemical will be a focus on the future. or some other vaccine. Most autism/vaccine research has focused on MMR.

        My point being, there are plenty. Will one be linked to autism. Probably not. Would science rule it out at this point? I think the research that focused on it has been in response to public concerns, but science hasn’t ruled it out unequivocally.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 13, 2015 at 21:58 #

        “No, you are rude for asking if I ever read what I type on my keyboard.”

        Having never done asked if you read what you types, I am not rude.

        ” Most autism/vaccine research has focused on MMR”

        I would have thought it was Thimerosal. I’m not going to check.

        Here’s the thing–the main argument for vaccines has been that the rise in autism rates has coincided with the rise in vaccines given. But that argument fails. Autism rates have climbed at different rates in various geographies and various groups, while vaccine exposures are basically the same. Why is the reported autism rate in Alabama so low while it is high in New Jersey? Why are Hispanics much less likely to be diagnosed compared with Caucasians? Whatever the answer: it isn’t vaccines. A single-exposure doesn’t fit the data.

      • Ashley April 14, 2015 at 15:23 #

        There is no evidence that vaccines cause or are related to autism. However, future research may show otherwise. Just because current evidence doesn’t support something doesn’t mean future evidence won’t which is why science avoids saying anything is unequivocal. You are attempting to point out that the director’s comments regarding the connection between Autism and vaccines was scientifically accurate and the author of this article is attempting to misrepresent his comments. Affording extraneous information beyond the limits of the evidence available is bad science. Antivax people make that mistake as well when trying to connect autism and vaccines.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 14, 2015 at 19:40 #

        “However, future research may show otherwise”

        What it will not show is that vaccines are behind the increase in the rate of identified autism.

        I am not doing what you claim. I am pointing out that Mr. Wright refused to let stand a clear statement that helps our community. His chief science officer made a clear statement and it was valuable. Mr. Wright appears to not want to let that stand so he added a new statement to stand along side that of his CSO.

        Mr. Wright carefully told the truth but not the whole truth. And that is the problem here. Saying that there is no direct link shown is a half truth that ignores the vast amount of data disproving the proposed mechanisms for vaccines to cause autism. He also ignores the fact that the rise in identified autism rates is clearly not a result of vaccines.

        If he wanted to equivocate every single statement and state that everything is always open to new data, he could start by saying perhaps autism doesn’t exist at all. Perhaps what we call autism today will not be called autism in a generation. Then he could tell us that perhaps we all live in the Truman Show and everything is being faked. He could go on and on. Or he could talk like a person where we all understand the ground rules.

        There is one sentence in the above article on this topic

        Just in the past couple weeks Autism Speaks had to put out a new message on the idea, because the science based and helpful message by their Chief Science Officer conflicted with the non-science educated founder’s beliefs.

        I would have to say that the only real problem there is that I have not clearly demonstrated that the message by the Chief Science Officer conflicted with Mr. Wright’s beliefs. It sure seems like it to me. And, given the history of Autism Speaks and the Wright family’s affinity for the vaccine/autism connection, I feel it is actually a pretty well supported statement.

        Again, Mr. Wright chose to tell a half truth. “Over the last two decades extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccines and autism. Scientific research has not directly connected autism to vaccines. ” As phrased it ignores the fact that many questions have been asked and answered. It makes it seem like extensive research has been performed with no results whatsoever. While Mr. Wright could claim that he has told the truth, it is a misleading statement. Since you are questioning whether my statements are misleading (and they are not), I find it ironic that you ignore the misleading statement by Mr. Wright. Or, for that matter, the point of the articles I wrote.

      • Ashley April 14, 2015 at 15:47 #

        Idk if my last comment posted but I agrees with your information on the vaccine and autism connection. My arguement is simply that the director of autism speaks made a scientifically accurate statment and the author of the article is attempting to misrepresent what he said. Implying extraneous information from evidence or a statement is unscientific.

        Also, Idk where you got you information from, but a quick look at the CDC and it appears that New Jersey has a higher rate of vaccination than Alabama. It likely has more resources to identifying and treating kids with Autism. I didn’t get to into the data, but in a comparison, NJ outperforms Al in nearly all markers for ranking education. Your pointing out how NJ has more autism diagnoses that Al would be used as correlational data that supports the autism/vaccine connection since NJ has higher vaccination rates than Al. now before you say anything, no this does not prove any connection, correlation is not causation and a million things would need to be looked at and controlled for and yes, other studies have looked at similar correlations and there has been little to no evidence of even a slight correlation, nothing that supports a causal relationship.

        Also, Hispanic s likely aren’t diagnosed with Autism as often but if you are looking a US figures, Hispanics routinely seek out less treatment and receive substandard tx here for an array of proposed reasons. Now if you were using data pulled from Latin American countries, that would be different, those countries have higher vaccination rates and does not support a relationship between Autism and vaccines . Just depends on the source of the data.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 14, 2015 at 19:26 #

        “Also, Idk where you got you information from, but a quick look at the CDC and it appears that New Jersey has a higher rate of vaccination than Alabama”

        Let’s take a look at the a recent CDC estimate of identified autism prevalence, shall we?

        “Overall ASD prevalence for the ADDM 2010 surveillance year was 14.7 per 1,000 (one in 68) children aged 8 years, based on combined data from all 11 sites (range: 5.7 [Alabama] to 21.9 [New Jersey]) (Table 2).”

        New Jersey has an estimate is nearly 4 times higher than in Alabama. What is the difference in vaccine uptake between the two states? Is it enough to account for a 4x higher prevalence estimate? I’ll answer for you: No. the fact that New Jersey has a much higher rate of identified autism goes clearly against the vaccine hypothesis.

        Or to put it simply, this sentence of yours is incorrect “Your pointing out how NJ has more autism diagnoses that Al would be used as correlational data that supports the autism/vaccine connection since NJ has higher vaccination rates than Al”

        “Now if you were using data pulled from Latin American countries”

        The correct sentence there is “if you had data from Latin American countries”. We don’t. It would be great if we did, but we don’t.

        the problem is that we don’t have data comparing the true fraction of the population who are autistic anywhere. We come closest in Korea, where a whole population study was performed. Comparing estimates from one place to another or one time to another using different methods and different amounts of socially driven factors is not going to support the idea that vaccines cause autism. Much as people try to make that happen.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 3, 2015 at 06:38 #

      You want to know my bias towards Autism Speaks?

      My bias is to think that the good people and the good acts done by autism speaks mean that the organization is evolving into one I could actually support. I keep hoping. I keep thinking that finally they are moving in the right direction. And then they come out with statements like that of Mr. Wright. Or their “I am autism” video. Or “sound the alarm”. Or “autistics are like the noble savages” type speech given at the Vatican.

      Take a look sometime at the Simons Foundation. A lot more money focused on autism research and none of the harmful messages. Too bad they don’t take donations.

    • Sheogorath April 17, 2015 at 10:30 #

      Actually, that quote quite clearly implies, “The link between vaccines and Autism hasn’t yet been disproven.” What it doesn’t state is the fact that it has. STFU!

  4. Andrew April 2, 2015 at 21:46 #

    Matt-
    This is reasonable, intelligent discourse. It makes perfect sense, and it highlights what a handful of detractors have been saying about Autism Speaks since its inception: in spite of whatever good it does, it is also, unfortunately, a fearmonger. What leads to people blaming vaccines, power lines, or anything else they can imagine? Two things: ignorance and fear. People need something to blame. I salute you for not being afraid to speak the truth in the face of it, obviously, being a tremendously unpopular stance. It’s no easy task to call out a machine like what Austism Speaks has become, and you do it while maintaining your composure and making sound arguments, using only the facts. Thank you for doing this.

  5. Michelle April 3, 2015 at 03:40 #

    Hi don’t get me wrong I get where you are coming from we should all make donations to schools for autistic children and whether autism speaks is directly related to autism charities or not their light it up blue works. When doing anything and trying to encourage people to do the same questions are asked search engines are used to see what it is all about. So to sum it up people where searching and learning about autism and isn’t that the whole point of these things. To learn to become aware and to support in anyway that you can. So if someone wants to wear a blue shirt or buy a blue light bulb or turn on the news to watch all the buildings light up I say go for it, it gets people into the cause one way or another so good for then for making people aware and shame on you for trying to discourage people from showing their support

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) April 3, 2015 at 06:35 #

      I encourage people to show support for autistics and their allies.

      I don’t encourage people to support autism speaks. I don’t discourage it either. Donations are free speech. But I encourage people to think before they donate. If that is a shameful act, I’m willing to be shamed. But it’s not a shameful act.

      Donating money to Autism Speaks and walking away isn’t awareness and it isn’t getting people “into the cause”. Wearing blue for a day isn’t either. Autism Speaks does some very good stuff. And also some stuff that makes me unhappy with them. And I express my opinion. Should I say shame on you for trying to discourage me for making my opinion heard?

  6. Lara Lohne April 4, 2015 at 08:20 #

    Nobody seems to take into account the vast number of autistic adult activists and advocates that actively work against the rhetoric and fear based ‘awareness’ that Autism $peaks spreads. Calling us tragedies, burdens, spreading hate, fear and leading people to believe autistics are responsible for all the marrital and financial woes of the world is wrong. This doesn’t educate anyone. People are already aware of us! We don’t need anymore of that kind of awareness. We need understanding, REAL education (which you can’t get from a group that not only ignores but actively silences autistic people) and acceptance. Our neurology isn’t anything to fear. When we are appropriately accommodated we can lead very happy, fulfilling lives. That first takes acceptance and that means a stop to trying to fix us and just allowing us to be who we were born to be. Our brains work differently, and because of the differences, we see things, hear things, smell, taste and feel things more intensely than the average person could even imagine. Do you really want to know what it means to be autistic? Ask and autistic person! That is where you will get real education. We have our own programs for the month of April, which we have been trying to take back since 2010! April is Autism Acceptance Month and we ask people to NOT light it up blue. We ask people to Tone if Down Taupe (Google it) and to #WalkInRed because we, autistics, should be in control of how education about our neurology happens, not a group that can only see fit to spend 3% of it’s annual budget on Family grants, which never exceed $5000 and never go to individual familes, but only to local autism organizations who qualify for it (how much can one organization do for their autistic clientelle with only $5000? Not much, I can tell you that so those family service grants are a joke.) Seek out autistics. We are everywhere and we want you to listen to US!

    • Ashley April 5, 2015 at 01:32 #

      According to what I have read, Autism Speaks’ purpose is not to provide funding directly to families. They seek to fund research and support legislation that would provide more support to families. They score fairly well in looking at sources that rate these things. You seem to be attempting to grade them for doing poorly in things they aren’t trying to do.

      Also, I would not describe them as fear mongering. If you are autistic, then you seem high functioning. My son as Aspergers and I think he is brilliant, but there are people with autism that are completely incapable of taking care of themselves. Sure, with research, more of those people will be helped, but it’s difficult to see that as a option for all. Autism is still trying to encompass a wide net and from what I can tell, Autism Speaks is trying to get people educated and connect the families with resources to help, but not provide direct financial compensation to them.

      • Chris April 5, 2015 at 03:55 #

        “My son as Aspergers and I think he is brilliant, but there are people with autism that are completely incapable of taking care of themselves.

        Like my oldest who is an adult. While he has normal intelligence, he has several deficits like no clue about social clues and abnormal speech (a technical detail with Aspergers: no speech/language delay, my son could not speak at age three). The diversion to vaccines has wasted too many resources that could have helped him.

      • Sheogorath April 17, 2015 at 10:44 #

        Sure, with research into beneficial therapies, more of those people will be helped, but if Autism $peaks had come into existence just a few decades ago, none of them would be alive today. However, if you still wish to support a eugenicist ‘charity’…

    • Roger Kulp April 6, 2015 at 16:17 #

      “Do you really want to know what it means to be autistic? Ask and autistic person!”

      As the saying goes If you’ve met one person with autism,you’ve met one person with autism.No one person can speak for the entire spectrum,and neither can one organization.This is just as true for ASAN as it is for Autism Speaks.The disorders that can go with autism are so diverse and so different,that every organization and every would be activist needs to stake their own specialized territory on the spectrum,stick to it,and be very specific about these goals.

      The language of Lara here,and others like her,is a big part of the problem.It is language like this,that so upsets and angers parents of children with intellectual disability,or severe autoimmune disease.It is a prime example of what blogger Harold Doherty has referred to as “the royal we”.Such language is every bit as offensive as anything coming from the antivaccine movement.It is high time people in the neurodiversity movement recognize this.

      Asking people to “tone it down taupe”

      http://timetolisten.blogspot.com/2013/03/tone-it-down-taupe-this-april.html

      does nothing to help families like or these.It does nothing to help people like my sister,who are autistic,very high functioning,and disabled by severe psychiatric disorders that respond poorly to conventional treatment.There is nothing said along the lines of “WE don’t need a cure,treatment,or research,but there are others who do.”Autism Speaks has been one contributor,of many,to the research that has been done at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.Research that led to identification of,and treatments for,metabolic conditions that have allowed me,and others like me,to live an independent life,when were previously very low functioning.But I would be the first to admit,that someone like me may represent a very small part of the general autism population.

  7. Roger Kulp April 6, 2015 at 16:28 #

    Chris is right.There has been untold time,money,research,and resources wasted on vaccines as a cause of autism.Much too much.Resources that could have been directed into both services for autistics,and into research into other areas.If Autism Speaks is to remain a respected and viable organization,it needs to purge itself of the antivax people that are pulling it down.One can only hope there are internal struggles going on at Autism Speaks that may eventually result in just this.

  8. Janet March 19, 2016 at 22:58 #

    Can you give the citations for Autism Speaks perpetrates the myth autism is caused by vaccines. So I can share with others but I need the sources thank you. I had heard they have since backtracked and no longer support it. Do you have their latest take on it? Again thank you for your great articles.

  9. strawman March 23, 2016 at 14:52 #

    You do know that Bob Wright’s daughter thinks that vaccines caused irreparable damage to her son and she is very angry. I think that has caused Autism Speaks to soften their stance on a vaccine autism correlation. If a large charity such as AS were to make autism seem like just a normal variance of the human condition then who would give? There is a fine line between insult and respect for those who need help. If I never had autism in my life, I would never have even looked at their website. I probably would never have given autism or id a second thought. I would be a little worried about the hype about vaccines. Nevertheless, I would balance the good vaccines have done and with concern for my child’s healh continue to vaccinate. I don’t really know who is being helped by Autism Speaks or where the money goes but one would think they could afford to build schools, housing, recreation and create jobs for those who are on the spectrum. As far as “light it up blue” I am all for that. The ordinary person does not care about Autism Speaks but it will help make them care and be aware that the people with autism need not hide from society as in the past but be proud of who they are as individual human beings.

  10. moss June 10, 2016 at 15:28 #

    Blue light is the worst light for people who are photosensitive. I have Asperger’s and I cannot be anywhere near lights with blue even white lights. I get migraine and am very ill. They picked the wrong colour. Autism is autism not an advert.

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