Skip to main content

That's Snake Oil for You

The Chicago Tribune has a great story on how DAN! and other organizations use valid science to justify their "treatments" for autism. The sad fact that parents trust these quacks worries me. It's also why I am not going to continue down the autism research path after I complete the dissertation.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-autism-science-nov23,0,2618338

Comments

  1. As I often do for stories of this type, I’m keeping a running list or index of pro- and con- blog posts. This post is on the list.

    The list is here

    http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2009/11/the-unethical-treatments-that-autism-is-vaccine-injury-and-other-false-premises-gives-rise-to.html

    For readers new to the world of biomedical treatment, it is worth noting that a number of bloggers who are affected by autism are pro-science and pro-vaccine. They repudiate the world of "Age of Autism", Generation Rescue, and "Defeat Autism Now!"(DAN!). I will mention a few (in no particular order) the group blog LeftBrain/RightBrain, Natural Variation, Countering Age of Autism, Autism News Beat and Club 166. There are many more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am very interested in your thoughts. Many parents don't know what to do with their child, especially if their child is middle or lower functioning.

    They will do anything to help their child. It's hard to know how to navigate all these therapies.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have spent the last few years immersed in current research and have found nothing in any major peer-reviewed journal in support of *medical* interventions unless there is an underlying medical condition comorbid to the autism disorder.

    However, there are articles indicating various educational and behavioral therapies do have results, and those results increase dramatically based on how early the therapy starts. And, while earlier is always ideal, there are studies showing that even starting later can have positive outcomes.

    Medical treatments, as the Trib article accurately notes, simply have not been validated in nearly 40 years of various studies. Anecdotal evidence or research by a proponent is not considered rigorous -- especially when some proponents have questionable credentials (like the mail-order Ph.D mentioned by the Tribune).

    I understand parents wanting to seek a solution, and I know they will no matter what I or anyone else writes. I encourage parents to research behavioral and educational therapies and to compare the credentials of those providing such therapies. It does matter, when we look at measurable outcomes. You can improve the life of both the child and the family with some therapies, but those supported by the most research are not medical treatments.

    I had speech therapy, reading therapy, and independent time with learning specialists in the K-12 system. I have had adverse reactions to various medications and take nothing other than a daily vitamin; I'm over 40 and slightly iron deficient according to my last physical.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Comments violating the policies of this blog will not be approved for posting. Language and content should be appropriate for all readers and maintain a polite tone. Thank you.

Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …