What I’ve been reading – August 2014

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Here are some things I’ve been reading that you might find helpful, informative, or inspiring.

Opinions and insights

The Problem With Functioning Labels An excellent post detailing the fundamental flaws with functioning labels. “High and low functioning labels are at best pointless and at worst costly red herrings distracting us from what’s important… acknowledging that every autistic person is an individual with their own set of strengths and challenges, and getting them the support they need to deal with both.” Read more

The Seduction of “Recovery” The opening line sums it up: “Perhaps the single most insidious and ultimately destructive promise during those early years after my daughter was diagnosed was the idea of ‘recovery.'” A thoughtful exposition on the folly of seeking recovery for a child with autism. Read more

An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins Dawkins recently tweeted that the moral thing to do would be to terminate a pregnancy if it was determined the child had Downs Syndrome. Ido in Autismland responds: “I am sure my family has struggled because of my disability. I have too, more than you can understand, but despite my disability, I am sure my life is purposeful and I hope I am making this world a little better.” Read more

Resources

My Child / All About Me Handbooks: Every child with Autism is different With school starting soon (or now!), I found this helpful handbook that parents can download and fill out with details about their child. The goal is to help teachers understand the unique characteristics of each of their incoming students. Read more

Science

Guest blog: London as a crucible for autism in the 1950s An absolutely fascinating look into the history of autism diagnosis, where a few dedicated researchers changed the course of autism history forever. (Note: add this to the pile of research contradicting the claim that autism is a new phenomenon.) Read more

The Nine Points Related to the article above, here are The Nine Points Mildred Creak and her working group helped establish as a preliminary but common and fundamental set of criteria for an autism diagnosis. It’s a testament to the quality of the work that these Nine Points are so close to what is used today as diagnostic criteria. Read more

Autism, Atlanta, MMR: serious questions and also how Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield are causing damage to the autism communities That whole CDC whistleblower story that got the antivax crowd in a lather? Bogus from top to bottom with a lot of shady doings by, yes, Andrew Wakefield and Brian Hooker. Too much to write here, but this is an excellent recap. Read more

Oxytocin Isn’t Lacking In Children With Autism, Researchers Say You may have heard that Oxytocin could be critical in helping people with autism. This large-scale study indicates that it doesn’t look like the panacea some hoped for: “‘Our data blew that out of the water,’ says Karen Parker, a Stanford researcher involved in the most rigorous study yet of autism and oxytocin levels.” Read more

Since bleach wasn’t enough, let’s start adding hydrochloric acid to MMS? The incredibly dangerous biomed treatment, Miracle Mineral Solution, is back with a new brand and formulation. Catering to the “cure” crowd, this snakeoil promises to clean the toxins that cause autism. As this article notes, parents who use MMS even post “pictures of the intestinal linings of their disabled kids, passed with the help of MMS enemas. They caption these pictures with statements about how MMS killed ‘worms.'” Sadly, MMS is popular enough to be sold at the annual Autism One conference run by Jenny McCarthy’s autism pseudoscience organization, Generation Rescue. Read more

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