Archive | Bob Wright RSS feed for this section

Memo to Bob and Suzanne Wright

22 Oct

Bob, Suzannewelcome to the UK.

I read your interview in the Telegraph. Fascinating. I’d like to highlight a few points.

“We want the best minds in the world to focus on this,” says Wright. “And we want the UK to be a big player in the global movement.”

“Until now it seems to have passed under your radar,” adds Suzanne – a statement that could anger all the British activists who have been working in the field for decades.

Um yes, just a bit. You see, in the UK, we already have some of the best minds ‘working on this’.

And ‘passed under our radar’? One could assume that Suzanne Wright has a monumental gift for saying stupid things after reading that. Maybe she hasn’t heard of the National Autistic Society a parent founded organisation formed over 40 years ago in 1962. Maybe she hasn’t heard of it because it doesn’t cry about ‘the children’ all the time and because it recognises the fact that autistic people have a voice (no autistic people are on AS board whereas autistic people are represented at many levels of NAS) and are – in the main – adults and it tailors its aim appropriately. Whilst NAS is far from perfect it has learnt the necessity to respect autistic people for the fact that they are autistic. Something the Wrights aren’t even close to. If the Wrights want to get any traction in the UK they need to shut their mouths and listen to NAS.

And then the anti-vax rhetoric starts, giving lie to the idea that AS are pro-vaccine.

….The last vaccine Christian had before he regressed was MMR – that’s why my daughter concentrates on that. I don’t know whether his autism is linked: it was certainly coincidental, what we don’t know is if it was causal. Nor do we know whether the thimerosal (the mercury-based preservative used in vaccines) is a factor, although mercury is clearly poisonous. Governments want to run from that issue but they should become more aggressively involved. They have to follow children through to see if there are any effects.

Well Bob actually we do know if his MMR shot was causal. It wasn’t. We also do know if thiomersal is a factor. It isn’t.

I personally haven’t seen a government ‘running from the issue’. I’ve seen government spokespeople repeat what science tells us. There is no link. No matter how much people think there is or believe there is, based on the available evidence, there isn’t. Science has followed through to see if there were any effects. There weren’t. How much clearer does it need to be Bob?

Virginia Bovill perfectly sums up my own concerns about you and your wife’s organisation:

The other major source of concern is Wright’s focus on prevention and cure. This upsets Virginia Bovill, founder of TreeHouse, the charity hosting the lecture, who is currently studying for a DPhil on whether the quest to prevent and cure autism is morally justified. “Where would prevention lead – to ante-natal testing and abortion?” she asks. “The thought of a world without all the people I have met with autism is not a world I would want to live in. I would rather people said: ‘They are here, autism is here – how can we help these children fulfil their potential; how can we support their parents?'”

This is a very British pragmatism. The issue is right here and needs to be addressed. Do you want to help or do you want to force through your own beliefs simply because they are your beliefs? If the latter please just hop back on the plane. We don’t want you here.