Monday, September 29, 2008

PO'd at PETA

In today's news, one could not help but notice the appalling new publicity campaign initiated by the radical group, PETA.
In this campaign, currently propagated via billboards in Newark, NJ, the following message is delivered:

Yes, that's right, this ad campaign chooses to associate autism with a frowning face in a cereal bowl. The entire ill-conceived concept is based on the ridiculous concept that drinking cow's milk causes autism.


Okay, lets begin with the "science". The brilliant minds at PETA have apparently been hearing as much as the rest of us recently in the major media about how the GFCF elimination diet can initiate a recovery from autism (hey, thanks Jenny McCarthy!). While I am not going to cast aspersion on or otherwise debate what parents will attest to as they put their kids on this elimination diet, I will take my usual position and refer you to the science. Yes, this theory has been put to the test. Here are some direct results, as well as results of some academic reviews:
J Autism Dev Disord. 2006 Apr;36(3):413-20.
Excerpt from abstract: "Group data indicated no statistically significant findings even though several parents reported improvement in their children. "

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Apr 16;(2):CD003498.
Excerpt from abstract: "
Research has shown of high rates of use of complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) for children with autism including gluten and/or casein exclusion diets. Current evidence for efficacy of these diets is poor."

Pediatr Nurs. 2007 Mar-Apr;33(2):138-43.
Excerpt from abstract:
"Dietary treatment of children with behavioral disorders has had wide public appeal and been a source of controversy since the 1920's. Yet, to date, there is little empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of dietary restrictions in treating child psychiatric disorders, in particular, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)."
And of course the most recent study, which accentuates the risk of the assumed-to-be-harmless GFCF diet:
J Autism Dev Disord. 2008 May;38(5):848-56.
Excerpt from abstract: "
Bone development, casein-free diet use, supplements, and medications were assessed for 75 boys with autism or autism spectrum disorder, ages 4-8 years ... The 12% of the boys on casein-free diets had an overall % deviation of -18.9 +/- 3.7%, nearly twice that of boys on minimally restricted or unrestricted diets (-10.5 +/- 1.3%, p < .04) .... Our data suggest that the bone development of autistic boys should be monitored as part of routine care, especially if they are on casein-free diets.
So what the he**, you may ask, is PETA doing? Have they gone mad? Well, we all know they were never sane to begin with and are basically just a charicature of an important socially-conscious movement. But they lead off their press release about the campaign with the following statement:
"In light of two scientific studies that link milk consumption to autism in children and a third that establishes that the Newark metropolitan area has the highest rate of autism among 14 regions studied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PETA has just unveiled in the city a brand-new billboard parodying a ubiquitous milk ad."
Whoa! They sure have done their homework! Or ... have they?
It took a bit of digging to come up with the two studies they are referring to. Here is the first, conveniently linked to from the PETA blog:
Panminerva Med. 1995 Sep;37(3):137-41.
Excerpt from the abstract: "
Our results lead us to hypothesise a relationship between food allergy and infantile autism as has already been suggested for other disturbances of the central nervous system."
Lets discuss that for a moment. Oftentimes, we hear people in the autism community with the rallying cry "Science has ignored us!" or "Let us see the science!" I hold the opinion that the scientific method is alive and well - and generously funded - in autism etiological research. It simply has not delivered clear-cut, easily digestible results to date. This study may be a good case of that. As the authors at the University of Rome state, the results are good for the formulation of a hypothesis. They are not, and the authors never claimed them to be, conclusive.
Since the study was completed - 13 years ago - the hypothesis has been put to the test. To date, we can only say that the data do not support the hypothesis that dietary intake of casein is a causative factor in the development of autism.
Here is the second study they rely on:
Nutr Neurosci. 2002 Sep;5(4):251-61.
Excerpt from abstract: "
A randomly selected diet and control group with 10 children in each group participated. Observations and tests were done before and after a period of 1 year. The development for the group of children on diet was significantly better than for the controls."
First off, this was a single-blind study. Secondly, the control group and subject group had all of 10 kids each. The general research/treatment community was willing to set this one aside 6 years ago when it was released, so its hard to figure why PETA wants to dredge it up now.

Or is it?

You see, it is really quite clear what PETA is doing, and there is a word for it - EXPLOIT:
ex·ploit [ik-sploit] utilize, esp. for profit; turn to practical account: to exploit a business opportunity. use selfishly for one's own ends: employers who exploit their workers. advance or further through exploitation; promote

Yes, PETA is engaging in exploitation of the autistic community to serve their needs, to further their agenda, to "use selfishly for one's own ends".
As the father of two boys on the autism spectrum, I am deeply bothered by the callous exploitation exhibited by these self-righteous people.
How, as an autistic adult, would you feel as you saw this ad for the first time? Would you feel marginalized? Degraded? Would the "sad face" build your self-image, or chip away at it? Would you feel like a valued contributor to society, or a "burden" who need not exist were it not for kids drinking milk?

Perhaps in a future post I will get into the issue of how bogus the New Jersey prevalence figures are in relation to other states (an important aspect of their ridiculous campaign). Or maybe I'll jump into the dubious - no, discredited - nature of the opioid excess theory of autism that the entire casein house of cards is built upon. Or maybe I'll just discuss the basic concepts of causation v. correlation. In any case, I cannot reach nearly as many people as the fools at PETA will this week in Newark. Shame, PETA, shame.

I dunno, folks. At times it seems that the idiocy gets ahead of us and I feel like not much we can do will really create a better world for autistic people. I hope the Autism Hub, ASAN, and like-minded folks will remain aware of travesties such as this PETA embarrassment and provide a united front to counter open bigotry of this nature.

More on this topic from Kristina at Autism Vox and from Orac at Respectful Insolence.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jenny MCCarthy and Autism Acceptance

A couple of days ago, Orac enticed us with an offer:
Ask Jenny McCarthy a Question!

(Steve Raises Hand, a la Horshack of "Welcome Back Cotter" fame)

"Ooh!, Ooh!, Ooh!"

I have a question for Jenny McCarthy! I guess this one applies to Jim Carrey as well, as he has assumed the fatherhood role for young Evan McCarthy.
(Jenny and Jim are Mom and Dad. Good for them, and I wish all three the very best in all things. But I certainly wish Jenny and Jim would stop promoting the ideal that Toxic Autism is Bad.)

My question is this:

"Jenny, have you considered the impact of your publicity-driven actions on the future self-image of Evan?"
(Consider: Green our Vaccines rally, Oprah Winfrey appearances, Generation Rescue Board of Directors, etc)

Let me explain why this is of concern. Evan is a growing boy. If we take you at your word, Evan is a recovered autistic. He was autistic and now he is not autistic - he is typical. Through your actions as a Mother Warrior, you have pulled your son from the brink of the abyss, and he is now free to pursue his life's dreams as a non-toxic, normal person. Okay.
So what happens - now that you have staked your professional reputation on his being absolutely "typical" - when he has some struggles at school? If you take him to a birthday party with other kids his age and he is sitting off to the side, not really interested in their collective social excitement? Or maybe a kid approaches him and asks what class he is in, only to be met with a very animated stream-of-consciousness about his preferred topic of conversation. In that same setting, maybe the noise and excitement are a touch disconcerting and he begins to jump-spin (a combination of jumping and spinning that is somewhat "dangerous to self" and nearby "others").
You see, Jenny, most of us parents of kids who are on the autism spectrum have little ways of dealing with situations like this that fully allow for our kid's neurological/perceptual uniqueness while capitalizing on "teachable moments". Jenny, we can do this because we have not staked our personal dignity or professional reputation on the expectation that our child will not exhibit autistic behaviors.
As an example, just today - after work - I myself took J to a local pizza place for a classmate's birthday party and managed the jump-spin and sitting-alone scenarios. I then took him to soccer practice where the sensory/lying down drive was dominant and lack of desire to play with the team was blatantly obvious. All this with a boy who most casual observers would consider to appear as "recovered" as Evan may be.
Fast forward a few years. Evan is really growing up now. He's hitting puberty, and is contending with all of the challenges that come with it. Now he is really expected to fall in line with his peers. Pack mentality rules. Awkward or non-conformist behavior is met with derision. Especially for a kid with such high-caliber social parents. Especially for a kid whose Mom has been a professional "Babe". How is Evan going to be dealing with the wrinkles of his (formerly) autistic neurology then? Will his very publicly announced transition from the world of "autism" to the world of "typicality" (as documented by his "warrior mom" in books, magazines, and TV shows) cause any consternation at that point in his development?

I don't know the answer to any of these questions. I'm not really expecting to get the answer here. I do ask the reader of this blog to consider the term "autism acceptance " in the light of this post. This term can be reduced down to admitting that a diagnosis is correct, but can also be utile in considering the overall set of factors that influence quality of life at various points in a person's development. I wish Jenny McCarthy had factored in this second definition before deciding to exploit her beautiful son, Evan, as the First Child of autism recovery, and thereby set the stage for intense internal conflict in him for years to come.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Mess Monster

I returned last night from a 6-day business trip to West Palm Beach, Florida. Having stayed at The Breakers for the duration, one would think I would be well rested and rejuvenated. Not so. I suffered family pangs while I was gone, and was generally unable to relax knowing that my wife was at home trying to manage the lives of three little handfuls (two of them not so little anymore) single-handed.
As Dads have done for untold generations, I took great pleasure in trying to find a few trinkets to bring home for everyone in the family. For Baby C, I found a pop-up hand puppet of a raccoon in a lidded trash can. Great fun for the little guy. T got a little treasure chest with three Pirate puzzle games. Arrrr. J - our little bibliophile - got a book. Keeping in mind that October is just around the corner, I got him "13 Monsters Who Should Be Avoided" by Kevin Shortsleeve.

J was enthralled as I read him the book this morning. He had laughed his way through the rhyme about the Three Toed Albanian Snoring Sock Bats, who nest in our sock drawers and are generally responsible for all the missing socks of the world. He gasped as I read to him about the stinky Sissyfoos that dines on wet sneakers and unlucky toads. He stared wide-eyed at the illustration of the Doohickeemajiggers - spidery little robotic creatures that are so complicated that they are born with instruction manuals. Unfortunately, they can't read, so "They mix up their parts till the mess is so muddled, they end up cross-eyed, confused and befuddled."

But the best moment came when I read to him about the Mess Monsters:
Mess Monsters, in general, should not be let in,
Because once inside, Mess Monsters begin
To tip every lamp and spill every mug,
Tilt all the paintings and rumple each rug,

Topple the trash can down the front stairs,
Replace every light bulb with sticky peeled pears,
Load the dishwasher with sport-fishing gear,
Drape soggy spaghetti from the brass chandelier,

Paint pudding-pie murals depicting a pig,
Stick bubble-gum wads in your aunt's silver wig,
Cut paper dolls out of your dinosaur poster,
And pour maple syrup right in the toaster.

Then the Mess Monster will suddenly shrug,
Say, "Sorry 'bout that," and give you a hug.
But before the Mess Monster can help you to clean,
He leaps on his scooter and flees from the scene!
After reading this, I turned the page (to the one about Snurps that eat parked cars), but J stopped me and turned the page back. He looked from the words to me. Back to the picture, then back to me. "Daddy," he said, "is Baby C a Mess Monster too?"
(Anyone who has seen C in the last 4-6 months would answer a resounding "YES!")

And to think I left my wife alone with a Mess Monster for 6 days!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Autistic Women

I read an interesting piece in the UK's Telegraph today on the topic of autistic women titled "Autistic Women: A Life More Ordinary". The author of the article, Charlotte Moore, is mother to two autistic sons and, as such, brings some autism-related life experience to bear in her brief synopsis of autistic females.

I can state with certainty that my understanding of autism - formed from the perspective of a non-autistic parent - has been enriched greatly by having met and gotten to know Bev Harp, an autistic woman and all-around great person. Likewise, I have seldom been more moved to consider my own shortfalls of understanding than I am when I spend time with Peyton Goddard. I have also had the great pleasure of getting to know Camille Clark in person.
Online, I have also benefitted from exchanging ideas with Michelle Dawson and Amanda Baggs.

I have not spent much time considering the skewed male:female ratio in terms of autism. In light of that, I found the following paragraph from the article very interesting, especially in the context of our understanding of prevalence of autism today (and the supposed 'epidemic'):
"When the first of my two autistic sons was diagnosed in 1994, someone told me that autism was more prevalent among Jews (my sons' father is partly Jewish). This notion probably arose because many mid-century psychiatrists and psychoanalysts were Jewish, so interest in and awareness of unusual mental states was higher among Jewish families, who were therefore more likely to seek consultations for their children. Similarly, Asperger believed autism to be more prevalent amongst the professional classes, failing to see that it was simply more likely that such a parent would seek his advice. We now know that autism is not related to ethnicity, income or social class. Are we about to find that it is not as strongly linked to gender as has been supposed, that there are more autistic women out there than we imagine?"
Anyway, its a well-written but brief article that I would recommend. Read it here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Toxicity: A Discussion

Over on the daily embarrassment known as Age of Autism, editor Dan Olmstead has decided to launch a personal attack against Kathleen Seidel. In the hit-piece, he attempts to draw imaginary lines between Kathleen's career path and resulting ethyl mercury exposure, with the fact that she is the parent of an autistic person.
It is de rigeur to find this type of (poorly done and factually erroneous) attempted character assassination on AoA, as past "victims" have included anyone from respected researcher
Nancy Minshew, to vaccine expert Paul Offit, to Drs. (and parents) Joyce Chung and Roy Richard Grinker, among many others.
Kev has already explained the foundational level of ineptness displayed by Dan Olmstead in writing this most recent diatribe, by explaining that the supposed ethyl mercury exposure that Mr. Olmstead has 'accused' Kathleen of never actually happened. No need to rehash that point again, as I'm sure Mr. Olmstead is appropriately ashamed of his blind leap to conclusions by now. Or perhaps not, since Mr. Olmstead seems to have made a career of this type of dot-connecting without fact-checking.

What I want to address is the common content of the comments on that post. Aside from the expected "GO DAN!" style of comments, there is a recurring theme there of agreement on something that Mr. Olmstead brought up in his attempt to discredit Kathleen.
Mr. Olmstead's piece uses the following quote from Kathleen Seidel:

"Excuse me. Did it ever occur to [vaccine mercury critics] that someone might object to having their family members labeled as inherently toxic?"

as a springboard for his counter-argument:

"Well, they might object, but that doesn't have any bearing on the truth."

And the commenters to the piece really dig in to this concept, with comments like:

"There is absolutely no logic in saying that it is offensive to imply that a child is poisoned. Poising is something that happens to someone.Poisoning is not a trait one is born with. How can you "offend" someone by stating or hypothesizing that an event happened to someone? Ridiculous!"
"And "toxic" is not an insult -- it is a possible explanation which, when treated, can sometimes result in substantial improvement in quality of life -- health, social skills, cognition..."
"What an ostrich attitude, construing concern over treatment of a medical malady instead as a social gaffe. I know toxic people, myself among them, and have no problem applying or wearing that label."
"Is Kathleen Seidel Toxic?
Unequivocally "yes".
What else could explain her aggressive, obsessive, hateful demeanor.
Somebody toss this woman a DMSA, please!"

I had to throw that last quote in as a perfect example of what connotations the word "toxic" carries in today's vernacular.

Having read these comments, I think perhaps I can offer One Dad's Opinion - not to be confused with "the Neurodiversity movement" (if anyone has a membership list for the ND's, I'd love to see one) - on why it is so important to not refer to our children as toxic when they are not.
Toxic is defined as:

tox·ic (t k s k)


1. Of, relating to, or caused by a toxin or other poison: a toxic condition; toxic hepatitis.

2. Capable of causing injury or death, especially by chemical means; poisonous: food preservatives that are toxic in concentrated amounts; a dump for toxic industrial wastes. See Synonyms at poisonous.

This, then, is the set of parameters folks at Age of Autism are setting for our children. They would have you believe that, in the immortal words of JB Handley, "There is no such thing as autism. Autism is just a mis-diagnosis for mercury poisoning." Words that JB - founder of Generation Rescue and Age of Autism - has never retracted.

The logical extension of this statement is quite simple:

Toxic is bad
Non-toxic ("cured" or "recovered") is good

Since they also take the position that autism is condition resulting from toxicity, then of course:

Autistic is bad
Non-autistic is good

Now I'm not going to sit here and say there is nothing bad about the condition of being autistic, as different individuals experience the challenges and disabling aspects of autism in different ways and it would be foolish to sugarcoat those aspects. And it is certainly not my place to speak for anyone else on this topic. But I have a serious problem with autism being approached from a de facto position that it is a lesser circumstance.

This position requires the view that autism is inherently negative, and that elimination of the condition of autism (i.e. toxicity) is the only worthy goal. Recall that autism is defined as a life-long disorder. There is documented improvement in some young children - some even "moving off" the spectrum altogether - but no "treatment" oriented toward resolving the hypothesized toxicity component has been shown to have been more effective than placebo. So often it has amazed me that, among the parents who go down the road of hard-core buying into the "toxic child" mythology, so little thought is given to the life-long impact of their particular brand of PR on those people who will remain autistic and require community supports throughout their lifespan. The mantra seems to be, "I recovered my kid, aren't you ashamed that you haven't even tried?" Which equates in my mind to, "My kid is better off than yours because he/she is less autistic than yours".
Are these people unable to conceptualize how the "toxicity" view of autism would dictate how educator and service providers may view the individual? Imagine an IEP meeting - "How is Kim this year? Still poisoned? Oh, that sucks ... I guess we'll have to support her again. When do you think she might be detoxed?"
And let's just say that the PR machine (all style, no substance) that is GR and AoA succeeds in their very expensive and cult-like "selling" of the toxic child paradigm to the general public. What, then, of the autistic teens, young adults, and adults that are out in the community - participating as is their God-given right? Will they be met with sad looks, hushed conversations just out of earshot about the poor "toxic cesspool" that is the autistic person? How, exactly, does this world-view engender dignity for the autistic person? You know what? It doesn't. It just doesn't. And it saddens me that people like Mr. Olmstead - himself a person who is NOT a stakeholder in the autism community - devote their efforts to entrenching the public in this erroneous and harmful paradigm. And it saddens me that, as he spirals downward into the rabbit hole of quackery, bad journalism, and harmful mythology, he feels the need to try to drag good people - the latest being Kathleen Seidel - down with him.

Shame, Mr. Olmstead. Shame.

For those who may want to get a more accurate view of Kathleen Seidel's thoughts on autism, you may want to consider reading this excellent essay. It provides a roadmap for how we can aspire to view the Autistic Distinction with the dignity and respect that is so lacking on Mr. Olmstead's Age of Autism.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Governor Palin, Down Syndrome, and Humanity

One way or another, barriers will be broken this year when the results of our presidential election are known in November. I cannot recall a more important time for a country to take stock of itself, determine where to go from here, and to act on that determination.

This blog has never been intended to be a platform for discussion of "party" politics. This post, though it may smack of such politics, is not intended as such.
I have stated before and I will reiterate now that I am socially and fiscally of a Conservative mindset. I realize that many of my real life and online friends do not share my beliefs and determinations on such matters, and I have been fortunate enough to have encountered some good souls who can provoke serious thought and deliberation on various topics in this arena without rancor and strife.

I do, however, draw a few hard lines. One of them has to do with abortion. This is the first reason that I am feeling pretty darn positive about Governor Sarah Palin's nomination as Vice-Presidential candidate on the McCain ticket. In case you haven't already heard, Governor Palin is the proud mother of a 4-month old boy who has Down Syndrome.

Are you aware that, according to at least one review of the available scientific literature, up to 92% of children who are prenatally determined - typically via amniocentesis - to have Down Syndrome are terminated prenatally? Do you ever wonder how close we are to having a prenatal test for autism, at least one that could determine statistical likelihood? What concerns does the possibility of such a test cause you to consider?
Perhaps Sarah Palin had an "amnio", perhaps she didn't. If she felt, as my wife and I did during all three pregnancies, that the results of an amniocentesis would not result in our deciding to terminate our unborn child, then I'm guessing she declined for health reasons. As we declined.

Regardless, we now have a vice-presidential candidate whose gender - she would, of course, become the first female VP in American history - is being, if not overshadowed, complemented by her role as the very-new parent of a child with special needs. And this role is what caused her to assert the following statement during last night's candidacy acceptance speech:

"And in April, my husband, Todd, and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig. From the inside, no family ever seems typical.

That's how it is with us.

Our family has the same ups and downs as any other — the same challenges and the same joys.

Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge.

And children with special needs inspire a special love.

To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters.

I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House. "
This is music to my ears, and provides an incandescent spark of hope that perhaps, if Governor Palin does indeed become the Vice President of the United States of America, the disability community will have an important ally in Washington.

Here is One Dad's best wishes that, whatever the outcome of this political contest, Trig Palin will thrive at all stages of his precious life, and that he will touch us all and in turn be touched by us in ways that promote our ... well ... our humanity.

Go Trig! Go Sarah!

Note to readers: Please take the time to read this important post by Joel Smith - "An Open Letter to Sarah Palin".

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

NOW is it over?

Since not all of my readers are often aware of all the scientific goings-on in the world of autism study and research, I would be doing a disservice by failing to mention the most recent important study that looked at the hypothesized link between vaccines (in this case the MMR, not to be confused with the now-defunct mercury causation concept) and autism.

More specifically, this study looked at the long-held position that (follow me here) Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine causes autism by creating a persistent measles-virus infection in the gut of the affected individual - termed "autistic enterocolitis" - which, in turn, causes the individual to manifest autistic behaviors, perhaps due to the opioid excess theory. This is the entirety, and half of another, of the three causation concepts being advanced in the Autism Omnibus Proceeding currently (and for the past 2 years) underway in the VICP in our nation's capitol.

To offer a brief summary, the study adds to the body of knowledge that the MMR vaccine has no relation to autism.

A couple of things make this study somewhat more palatable to the broader autism community than the numerous others that have arrived at the same conclusion. One is that a major contributor to this study - indeed half of the presenting research team - is one Dr. Mady Hornig. Dr. Hornig is (in)famous for her studies on "SJL Thim" mice in which she supposedly induced autism via thimerosal exposure. The mice literally chewed through each other's skulls, which was construed as being an "animal model" for autism. Go figure.
(Author's note: Neither of my two autistic children have attempted to chew on anyone else's skulls, including each others'. Knock on wood.)
So Mady Hornig - a veritable "celebrity" of the vaccine/autism research pantheon - is now stating with certainty that the MMR is not to be considered a culprit in autism causation. Of course, one hero of the autism/vaccine movement turning to the "dark side" as a result of this study is easy to explain away if the resulting cognitive dissonance is too great to bear. But two?

Yes, two. Rick Rollens was present at the press conference. Although his comments (which I can only reference in a limited context, as I did not have access to the presser itself) do not directly address what the study authors have found to be the most significant findings, they instead are intended to perpetuate the controversial causation hypotheses.
The following quote, a real "study finding", is by study co-author Ian Lipkin of Columbia University:
"We found no difference in children who had GI complaints and no autism and children who had autism but no GI complaints,..."
Rick Rollens' presence - especially considering his personal, political, and financial largesse in directing funding away from needed services and toward the vaccine causation hypotheses - at the press conference certainly implies a tacit approval of the findings. Few people have more personal or emotional investment in the erroneous, yet dominant, theory. As opposed to arguing against the study results, Rick redirects the topic away from vaccines which, frankly, may be the appropriate thing to do - even if it is a dodge.
Let's please remember that this is not "new" information, per se, but instead is a further confirmation of what has already been accepted by the broader scientific community after numerous studies achieving the same (via different methods) result. Here is, in contrast to the above quoted statement by Ian Lipkin, one of Mr. Rollens' statements from the teleconference:

"No longer can mainstream medicine ignore parents' claims of clinically significant GI distress," said Rick Rollens, a parent and autism research advocate.

He commended the researchers for their work but said, "This study by itself does not exonerate the role of all vaccines."

Well, no, this study doesn't exonerate all vaccines - it was not designed to do so. But seeing as the theories espoused by the vaccine/autism crowd have been centered on two theories (MMR or TCV's/Mercury), that not one shred of good science has supported these theories, that little tangible benefit to a single individual with autism has resulted from these theories, and that the whole topic doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the quality of life for my two autistic sons, I am of a mind to continue to focus on whatever will create the best likelihood of positive outcome for all autistics and not let the festering vaccine causation theories prevail.

Lets all understand that this ongoing and falsely contrived crusade against public health, regardless of what is motivating it and who is perpetuating it, is drawing crucial resources and attention away from the truly pressing issues that the autism community should be addressing. Issues such as housing for adults, societal inclusion, promoting ways and means that autistics can be impactful in a positive way in their communities and microeconomies, identifying and implementing appropriate means to ensure physical and mental health at all stages of life for autistic people. So I ask about the autism/vaccine connection - NOW is it over?

Please read here, here, and here for much more through reviews of this important research result.

Edit: And here is a link to some audio from the conference.