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Just how big is the National Autism Association anyway?

29 Apr

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) is meeting tomorrow. On the agenda is “Welcome and Introductions of IACC Members”.

It is no secret that many groups have wanted a seat at the IACC table. Autism Speaks was previously represented by Alison Singer, but she left Autism Speaks to form her own organization, the Autism Science Foundation. The vaccine-causation groups have been very interested in increasing their presence on the IACC. Currently, they are represented by Lyn Redwood of SafeMinds. But, Generation Rescue and the National Autism Association and, I assume, TACA would like to have membership on the Committee.

In a recent blog piece discussing the IACC, Katie Wright, board member for the National Autism Association and Generation Rescue, pointed out the broad membership base of the NAA and TACA. Further, she stresses the importance of a “significant public constituency”

The National Autism Association, representing 12,000 dues paying parents and TACA representing 17,000 parents implored Dr. Collins to assign these organizations seats on IACC. Of the 19 members on the committee, only 3, Lyn Redwood, Lee Grossman and Stephen Shore represent a significant public constituency.

To me, the message seemed clear. The NAA or TACA should be on the IACC because they are so big. They represent such a large base of support.

I’ve been reading about how these groups represent “thousands” or “tens of thousands” of families for some time. The statements are always unsupported, so I tend to give them little weight. But when I read the above statemen, I spotted the phrase “dues paying”. To me, that reads as “a fact I can check”.

So I pulled the 990 forms for the NAA. 990 forms are the tax forms that charitable organizations file in the US, and they are made public, albeit after a couple of years.

The 2008 form 990 shows under “membership dues” that the NAA took in $17,640.

Membership dues to the NAA is $35/year for an individual, $60 for a family. This was the same in 2008.

Taking the $35 value, that gives a membership for the NAA of 504 (an upper bound estimate). Very respectable. Not 12,000, though. Perhaps they’ve had a major membership boom since 2008. Perhaps I misunderstood something. But, this fact check would suggest that the 12,000 claim for the NAA’s membership is, perhaps, somewhat high.

Maybe 2008 was a bad year for the NAA? Checking the other Form 990’s for the NAA gives the following amounts for dues collected:

2006: $14,950
2007: $22,592
2008: $17,640

Hmmm. Looks like they may have peaked in 2007.

Perhaps there are a number of dues paying members in the NAA chapter. Guidestar shows a number of these NAA chapters. The few I checked (like the Northeast Ohio chapter) report no dues.

I’m open to being corrected, with proof. But, for now, it looks to this observer that the National Autism Association membership is much less than the 12,000 claimed.

Whether the size is important, that is a discussion for another post.

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.

Mother Warriors – the cost

26 Sep

I recently posted an entry about the health costs being one of Jenny McCarthy’s Mother Warriors can exact on the Mother Warrior in questions kids. It was a pretty horrific litany of blown veins, heavy medications and screaming kids being restrained by adults in order to receive IV Chelation. Sometimes in babies as young as 13 months.

Today I thought we might take a look at the range of treatments on offer and how, in order to be a true Mother Warrior, you are expected to know them all.

Stan Kurtz recently produced a list (PDF) of the typical treatments one of Jenny McCarthy’s Mother Warriors are expected to know and use. There are a mindboggling 150+ different treatments.

Of course, a parent is not supposed to use all 150+ in one go. No, they are expected to use the ones that ‘work best’ for them. This is of course under the care of a DAN doctor – who sometimes might actually be a doctor, sometimes they might not.

In reality, what we have is a list of things that are used on a trial and error basis. There is absolutely no way to know which are having an effect and which are not. Even the most simple test of – is my child ‘less autistic’ than they were before is not an accurate judge. It is well know that autistic kids improve with age and to be perfectly frank, most of the ‘recovery stories’ I’ve read are stories of kids who are still very much autistic and really not in a very different place than my own.

A Mother Warrior on her blog reports the cost of ‘recovering/curing’ her autistic child:

$15,039

Here’s the breakdown:
DAN Doctors $2000
GI Doctor $6000
Private Labs $2000
Supplements & RX $2000
Speech & ABA $3000

Additionally, we spent $500 for respite care once a week (a special needs babysitter). We also paid an unknown amount in expensive GFCF foods, like $6 per bag of wheat-free pretzels….

In 2008, we will add the additional expense of IV chelation at $320 a month.

And how do they describe their child now?

After implementation of the gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet, our son regained eye-contact and lost the repetitive behaviors. Six weeks after initiating an anti-fungal drug to counter the yeast overgrowth in the intestines, our non-verbal almost three-year-old child began to speak and gesture. He gained 120 new words in two months. We supplemented specific vitamins and minerals, and we saw evidence of his immune system starting to respond properly. After treating the gut inflammation with anti-inflammatory drugs, he began to eat a better variety of foods and started toilet training.

………

He is now four years old, and he speaks in simple sentences. He has mastered letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. He sings songs and laughs at humorous things. His demeanor is sweet and cute. He will attend preschool with his peers this fall. All of his special education teachers and therapists are amazed by his unprecedented progress.

I always feel deeply saddened when I read stories like this. This is just simple development and education. I know so many autistic kids who are at similar stages of development and/or could report near-identical things. And yet these parents have near bankrupted themselves for no real reason.

This is far from an unusual situation. A 2005 survey reports:

The mean number of current treatments being used by parents was seven….

These parents are bankrupting themselves and the DAN fraternity et al are watching the money come rolling in.

Getting back to Chief Mother Warrior McCarthy. Apparently in her new book and on Oprah she veered between describing her son as ‘recovered’ and ‘recovering’:

…And lets get back to where this started. Jenny said her son Evan, HAD autism.

This surprised me because in her both of her books she repeatedly says he is IN RECOVERY or RECOVERED from autism. She doesn’t ever say CURED – though it is implied. In her book she says that if/when he is sick – his symptoms of autism resurface. So, then it is not really ‘gone’, right? And all the biomedical treatments did with him (the gfcf diet, supplements, threelac, b12, [chelation/HBot]) does she no longer need to do these? I’m just thinking out loud.

This isn’t the first time McCarthy has cut her message to her audience with no regard for the accuracy of what she’s saying:

So, in April 2008, Evan McCarthy is recovered (‘we believe what helped Evan recover…’). Not recovering but recovered. We can also see that among the treatments the helped Evan ‘recover’ is ‘detox of metals’.

Fast forward two months later and apparently Even needs chelation. Why? Back in April he’s recovered. Now he’s not? Now he needs chelation?

Apparently, at the last Autism One conference, McCarthy was asked about the expense of treatments. She answered:

I just need you guys to be creative in your thinking and say we’re going to give up Starbucks this year.

Does anyone you know have a coffee habit of $15k per year?

Jenny McCarthy isn’t living in the real world. A massively well-off celebrity lecturing people to give up a coffee in order to finance a totally fabricated treatment schedule that she can’t decide from one month to the next has cured her son or not? And people _listen_ to her? People give her _credence_ ?

Katie Wright was interviewed by Jenny McCarthy for her new book. Another rich Warrior Mother who doesn’t live in the real world where scrabbling to make ends meet is the first priority. Not ‘living in the moment’ and not really having to worry about where the next months food is coming from.

Warrior Mothers? These people have fought for nothing.

MMR Still Doesn’t Cause Autism (and never did)

4 Feb

Yet another study will shortly be published that yet again shows no link between autism and MMR:

There is no evidence for a link between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) jab and autism, finds research published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The authors took almost 250 kids born between ’90 and ’91. 98 were ASD. 52 had special needs with no ASD. 90 had no special needs and were developing within ‘normal’ parameters. All the children had been vaccinated against MMR, but not all of them had been given both doses.

The team took blood samples and found no persistent measles infection, no abnormal immune response.

Results of the blood sample analysis showed that there was no difference in circulating measles virus or antibody levels between the two groups of children.

Tellingly, it didn’t matter which of three groups the team looked at – none of them exhibited any ‘bad blood’ whether they’d had both MMR shots or not. Or if the autistic kids had experienced regression or not.

The team further found no evidence of any kind of so-called ‘autistic enterocolitis’ – in fact no evidence of any bowel disorders of any kind were found among the autistic kids.

The alst line of the news report is very pointed:

The authors point out that theirs is now the third, and largest, study that has failed to show a link between the MMR jab and autism.

Quite.

Repeat after me – MMR doesn’t cause autism. It never did.

Awhile ago I wrote a piece on the history of the MMR hypothesis. You can read it here.

RFK Jr – Attack on sense

20 Jun

You can always tell when the mercury militia are hurting – they wheel out their biggest gun. The biggest gun they have in their armoury is RFK Jr, a man who seems to live on the reputation of his dead family members and not a lot else. Last time he dropped the biggest, steamingest, drippiest turd on the web in the fullsome (and entirely accurate) language of Orac.

Well, after reading RFK Jr’s latest verbal tantrum I think Orac might need to get out the Dynorod and try and flush this particular big shit in a small bowl away as quickly as possible.

RFK Jr claims firstly that:

The poisonous public attacks on Katie Wright this week–for revealing that her autistic son Christian (grandson of NBC Chair Bob Wright), has recovered significant function after chelation treatments to remove mercury — surprised many observers unfamiliar with the acrimonious debate over the mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal.

Christian Wright has ‘recovered significant function’ has he? Any evidence for that? Any evidence even if he has that _chelation_ is responsible for this? No, didn’t think so. I’m going to go right ahead and assume that Christian Wright isn’t any more ‘significantly recovered’ than the other 90% + kids on the Generation Rescue page.

Kennedy may be unfamiliar with the sort of PR bullshit that Katie Wright’s self confessed mentor likes to spin so let me clue him in a little: The chelationistas love to claim ‘thousands of cured kids’ but when pressed, cults like Generation Rescue can only display 76 and when one examines those 76 carefully only 6 report their kids as recovered/cured/whatever. The situation with Katie Wright’s mentors is so ridiculous that I got my own daughters details published on their website as a ‘recovered’ kid.

So, Kennedy will have to forgive me if I’m less than impressed with the (unfounded) claim of ‘significant recovery’.

Kennedy then goes on to paint loving images of the mercury militia’s members:

Instead of a desperate mob of irrational hysterics, I’ve found the anti-Thimerosal activists for the most part to be calm, grounded and extraordinarily patient. As a group, they are highly educated. Many of them are doctors, nurses, schoolteachers, pharmacists, psychologists, Ph.D.s and other professionals.

I must admit I did start chuckling when I read this. I’m sure some of these people are clam and grounded but ‘for the most part’ they are comprised of racist, homophobic dullards such as John Best Jr – a man thrown out of 4 autism groups at the last count and who likes to fist fight his autistic son, or people Erik Nanstiel who holds down his autistic daughter to inject her with pointless, dangerous drugs. Or people like Christine Heeren who takes her son to a doctor who chelates him with IV’s of garlic and vinegar. Or people like Julia Berle who loves to crow about her ‘recovered’ son, neglecting to state that he was diagnosed, treated and ‘cured’ by Scientologists.

_These_ are your ‘calm, grounded’ people Mr Kennedy.

Kennedy goes on to describe the ‘overwhelming science’ behind the thiomersal hypothesis:

hundreds of research studies from dozens of countries showing the undeniable connection between mercury and Thimerosal and a wide range of neurological illnesses. In response to the overwhelming science, CDC and the pharmaceutical industry ginned up four European studies designed to disguise the link between autism and Thimerosal.

Wow. Kennedy must be privy to studies that the rest of the world isn’t. Where are these ‘hundreds of research studies…showing the undeniable connection’ between thiomersal and autism? Up your ass Mr Kennedy? How come they’ve not been used in the Vaccine court hearing of the last week? You’re a lawyer right? Get your legal backside down there and save the day with your ‘hundreds of research studies’.

The truth is Mr Kennedy, that the vast majority (key word: vast) of the ‘science’ done thus far by the militia is not of sufficient quality to be published in decent science publications. These ‘hundreds of research studies’ in habit the murky world of JAPANDS, Medical Hypothesis and Medical Veritas. These aren’t science journals Mr Kennedy, they’re agenda driven vanity publishers. Much like your good self.

Battling further through the stupid we come to this:

Ironically, it is the same voices that once blamed autism on “bad parenting,” and “uninvolved” moms that are now faulting these mothers for being too involved.

Er, what? Who has said that? When? Where? Cite your sources Mr Kennedy. You might also want to check, but I’m pretty sure that Bruno Bettleheim, the man who actually _did_ blame autism on bad parenting isn’t so vocal on the subject anymore. Possibly due to him being dead the last seventeen years.

You know absolutely nothing Mr Kennedy and yet you feel duty bound to poke your oar in anyway. Participate by all means, but do so from a position of knowledge, not ignorance.

Others fed up with RFK Jr

Steven Novella
Denialsim Blog
Orac

On media, neurodiversity and science

29 May

Opinions vary as to why I, and many of my online friends believe what we do. The answers cannot be easily encapsulated but an indication is given by the source of the two links I’ve just linked to.

The first group believe autism is not just a disability, that it is both more and less than that and that whatever the aetiology of ‘it’ is, it is likely to not have a single cause and further, if it does or if it doesn’t, the fact that people are autistic is a state of being (a property of their personhood) that is deserving of respect and tolerance. After all, if we can tolerate difference between sexes enough to think of a toilet seat that raises or lowers as a natural aspect of functional life then we really should be able to make the minor adjustments necessary to accommodate the needs and requirements of autistic people.

The second group believe in the scientific method. They believe that in matters of science, that the rules of science should be applied.

There is some major overlap between the position of these two groups. There are a number of bloggers on the Autism Hub and an even larger number of readers of blogs on the Autism Hub who are bloggers on Science Blogs and/or readers of Science Blogs’. A number of bloggers who have autistic children are scientists of various disciplines.

It is worth noting however that these two groups are not synonymous. I know of a few people who believe in the basic essence of neurodiversity who also think vaccines damaged them or their children. This is because they know that even if vaccines did do damage, they or their kids are still deserving of respect. Conversely, I expect there are a few science bloggers who would not agree with the standpoint of neurodiversity and would ferociously chase a cure.

But these people are the exception. By and large these are two groups who share a mutual opinion that the only way to progress our knowledge of the science of autism is to use the scientific method. Science is now, thankfully, beginning to catch on to the idea that the best way to get knowledge that may help autistic people is to listen to autistic people.

At MIT Amanda Baggs has been working with the science team there in ways that will result in positive and scientifically valid ways of helping autistic (and other) people.

Estée also gave a presentation at MIT (the second talk was fuller than this one) and she also noted Michelle Dawson’s ongoing role at the University of Montreal.

This is all good progress. It’s exciting to watch these things develop and to see the possibilities that might spring forth from these alliances and how they might benefit my daughter and autistic people generally.

I believe in the scientific method. I believe science has done more than anything else to take us closer to understanding the universe within us and around us. I believe that the naturally occurring alliance that is being forged between autistic people, their allies and science is absolutely the correct way to go. Neither side is seeking to change or alter the other but to understand each other and benefit from the union.

If I want to see an example of how _not_ to do things, I need look no further than (you guessed it) the mercury militia/malicia. These are people who have taken the polar opposite view. They eye science with distrust. They refuse to accept that the results of studies that disagree with their stance can be correct to the extent that they threaten those scientists with violence, or they ignore science and instead disagree with the wording of press releases about science. In fact, this is Lenny Schafer’s view (from a past SAR):

Myself and other autism activists believe there is enough evidence to support a causative relationship between mercury and autism in a court of law, in front of a jury, where standards of evidence are different than that of the narrow focus of scientific findings. And if you can convince a jury, you can convince the public.

Make no mistake, by ‘different’ Schafer (correctly) means looser, way, way looser. He does not want scientific standards to come to play in determining the vaccine/autism connection. The reason why is absurdly obvious.

The scientist and author Michael Crichton once gave a speech about environmental issues that may as well have applied to the autism/vaccine issue:

…Proponents are pressing their views with more PR than scientific data. Indeed, we have allowed the whole issue to be politicized—red vs blue, Republican vs Democrat. This is in my view absurd. Data aren’t political. Data are data. Politics leads you in the direction of a belief. Data, if you follow them, lead you to truth.

On the EoH group where Lenny Schafer is kingpin, there is currently something of a growing schism between Lenny, John Best (e.g. the more hardcore loony element) who believe that Aspergers Syndrome is not a disability and is not part of the spectrum and hence is not autism and a lot of other people who quite obviously have AS kids and are disagreeing very strongly with Lenny’s extremeism. As part of that debate, Lenny made the following statement:

I would like to think of what we do here is public debate, not “fighting”.

This illustrates perfectly the kind of denialism that exists amongst Lenny and his members. The Yahoo EoH group is a closed access list. You can only access the group if you join up and are accepted as a member, which is what I did back in 2005. Yet Lenny really believes that this closed access list is public debate. He _has_ to believe this as he is a firm believer (as we have seen) of political and legal definitions of autism and autism aetiology. In his world view, you need to _manage_ the PR. You need to nudge it in the right direction, much as Lenny’s colleagues from the NAA did when they lied about Paul Shattuck as they disagreed with his results.

By contrast, the Autism Hub bloggers operate openly. Their opinions are challengeable directly on their blogs. Good science is challengeable. It can be challenged by using the scientific method. There is no ‘management’ of information going on here. No one flip-flops between crucial elements of their beliefs and hopes no one notices (such as Brad Handley has done).

The interviews I have done (and am doing now) have been to periodicals that concern science or touch on the science of autism from a parents perspective. I noted with no small amusement this morning that ‘the other side’ are resorting to interviewing each other – Erik Nansteils Autism Media site carries an interview of David Kirby interviewing Katie Wright. I bet that’s an in-depth and truth revealing interview.

I believe that promoting connections between autistic people and science is the absolute best way to get good science regarding autism. I hope to do my bit in making the web work _for_ the promotion of these connections. I hope that our growing community never gets sucked into the tarpit of closed access lists that crow about the achievement of ‘converting’ celebrities and media persons. This is why I set up the Autism Hub and the Autism Parents Forum. So that we can grow as a community and come closer together. I hope to do more of this in the future. I want my email contact list to be full of the names of autistic people, scientists, responsible authors such as Arthur Allen and Brian Deer and parents that, like me, want to benefit from this growing relationship. I couldn’t care less if I never get Lou Diamond Phillips or Don Imus’ email address.

Media and politics or science? When it comes to understanding the science of autism, which will yield better results? Bear this in mind as you consider your choice – science is amoral. You cannot hide, distort or disfigure scientific achievement forever. If something is scientifically accurate, its truth is self evident. No matter how many politicians you have in your pocket, no matter how many media contacts you have, gravity will always be a force of attraction. The power of repulsion belongs to those who would deny that.

Katie Wright’s big day

6 Apr

Yesterday three big things happened to Katie Wright. Firstly, she joined the board of Directors of SafeMinds. Secondly she joined the board of directors of the National Autism Association. Thirdly, she appeared on the US Oprah Winfrey show.

The elusive Ginger blogged the NAA and SafeMinds news which was announced just before/during/after (depending on your timezone) the Oprah show.

The Opera show itself was a mixed bag apparently. There was a lot of self pity at the start:

“he’s not there, I don’t know where he is but he’s not there”

Oprah: A mystery affecting millions of families

“A bad day is a bad day and a good day is a bad day waiting to happen”

Please. Spare me. Not there?

However, a lot of people have also said there were some great moments:

I like the way the show ended with every single parent talking about the gifts their autistic children have given them! “He has made me more spiritual,” “He has made me look outside of myself,” “He takes people just as they are.” “He has given me someone to love way beyond what I ever thought possible.” Amen.

Sue also noted that no autistic adults were on the show and none were interviewed. That’s ridiculous.

However, part way through the show was the Katie Wright Experience. Apparently what happened was that Oprah asked a Doc on the show about vaccines and he repeated the scientific consensus – which is that vaccines have been refuted as a cause. Which is true. The show cut to a break. When it came back on, viewers were greeted by a visibly pink and flustered Katie Wright and then the host of the show told the audience that …..in fact I’ll quote from someone (who I won’t name so don’t ask) who was watching the show carefully:

To me it all seemed quite sane, except for Katie’s little blurt. A pediatrician of south Asian descent whose name I didn’t catch was periodically consulted from the dais by la Oprah, and gave what sounded like reasonable advice. At one point Oprah asked about causes–she didn’t use the word epidemic but said ‘what the cdc calls a health threat–and the pede gave a general response, genetics, possibly some environmental thing, and then Oprah said, “what about vaccines?” the pediatrician responded, “that’s controversial.” and oprah said, ‘well yeah, and?” or words to that effect. The pediatrician said the vaccine theory had been pretty well refuted. That was that, but after the next break, Katie Hildebrand, who was sitting next to Oprah, must have been chewing her ear off because la O told her to say her piece which she did in the usual incoherent shrieking way, “vaccines are not cleared of being responsible, children are given 37 different vaccines, my child has all kinds of immune problems, there’s an epidemic that keeps growing” etc. Oprah said, “there i can see you needed to get that off your chest, you don’t want to go home with that all bottled up. After all, you’re a mom.” the studio crowd applauded though they did not hoot or yell anything specific that i could detect on my tv screen.

Following that, Oprah apparently told the audience that this is what _Katie_ personally believed and it wasn’t supported by any CDC evidence.

Here’s _my_ summation of Katie Wright’s life at the moment.

Katie campaigned to get a Generation Rescue member on the board of Autism Speaks. Here’s how Brad Handley reported that event in a rant:

Kevin Barry, our former President, was hired by Autism Speaks. On his first day of employment, Mark Roithmayr informed Kevin that he was only there “as a favor to Katie” [ the mother of Bob and Suzanne Wright’s autistic grandson]

Katie has spoken of Brad and Kevin Barry as her mentors. Here’s Brad’s mention of Katie Wright:

I just want to share how damn proud I am of this family. Remember, there is no Christian Wright, his name is Christian Hildebrand.

Katie’s decision to be more public about her point of view is not some impulsive move. For almost two years now, quietly but firmly, she has lobbied her parents on the growing morass that Autism Speaks was becoming. By choosing to listen more to the “experts” than their own daughter, Katie’s parents selaed their own fate.

Two years. After which the Wright’s continue to listen to science, not Brad’s people.

Katie Wright has come to believe, after a long association with Brad Handley, that vaccines caused her sons autism. Katie had the king Rescue Angel himself hovering over her for the last two years. Has anyone ever told Katie that Brad is often wrong and never admits it even when its clearly demonstrated? I guess not.

Kim Stagliano (autism blogger – big on pooh) said:

This is a very big day when the SS Minnow overtakes the Titanic.

Really? _Really_ ?

From all I’ve read and seen, all that’s apparent is that the newest mercury mum on the block got appointed to two antivaccine groups and that made a bit of a fool of herself on television. The only difference is that this mercury mum happens to have parents who own and run an autism organisation that she’s just cut her ties from.

What I actually feel the Wrights are guilty of is: Listening to dinosaurs with degrees instead of their daughter, Deirdre Imus, and others speaking the truth, myself included.

In Brad’s world there is no greater sin than not listening to him. Maybe they did listen to you Brad and thought you were wrong.

So, after Katie Wright’s big day – the day the SS Minnow overtook the Titanic – what’s changed?

The world saw a visibly unstable mercury mum on TV being thrown a bone to rant about her pet theory for a few minutes and then the show carried on.

…and thats that. No scientific facts changed yesterday. Katie Wright confirmed herself as a woo-meister. All that means is people will be even less likely to listen to her than they were before. Autism Speaks must be breathing a sigh of relief she’s jumped ship.