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Age of Autism’s reporter of the year 2008

Posted Jan 07 2009 4:39pm

Age of Autism’s reporter of the year for 2008, David Kirby, made something of an error yesterday. On the Huffington Post, the following headline appeared:

Obama Transition Team: “Recovery from autism is neither possible nor desirable”

You see, David was alluding to the fact that Kristina Chew and Dora Raymaker head been appointed by Change.org to be their autism bloggers. Trouble is that somehow he got the idea in his head that Change.org was actually Change.gov’s website.

Change.org is actually a social action networking site run by people who took the time to sift through the applications they received and interview those they shortlisted. They were very, very knowledgeable about the split in the autism community and decided that rather than rely on the sort of scare-mongering and factless blogging that permeates the vaxosphere they would get their facts about autism from a professor with an autistic child and (gasp!) an autistic person themselves.

Lets be clear about the size of David’s error here (in case the post is now gone I have a screenie for you to grab) davidkirbyoopsie

David has pretty much just accused the Obama transition team – without doing the most basic of fact checking – of wanting to leave autistic children to ‘a nightmare without end’.

A lot of David’s post is factless twaddle and made me quite angry to read. He (like everyone else on his side of the autism divide) states there are thousands of recovered autistic kids? Where? Where are the case studies? Certainly not in PubMed.

David claims Kristina doesn’t speak for the ‘countless thousands’ of parents he knows who think vaccines injured their kids. So? AoA don’t speak for the ‘countless thousands’ if not millions of parents that exist all over the world who don’t think vaccines cause their child’s autism.

I have a very strong suspicion in fact that David didn’t actually visit the website of Change.org. If he had he would’ve seen instantly just by the design of the site that its nothing to do with the transition team. I think some AoA bigwig forwarded on Kristina’s posts and ‘asked’ David to blog about them pointing out all the key ranty elements David mentions in a style that is not usually his.

Perhaps the most damage will be done by the paragraphs:

The President Elect has an old, dear friend going all the way back to Chicago, with a young son on the autism spectrum. That friend will soon be a Senior White House Official.

It is hard to imagine the President one day saying to this man: “I do not think we should devote resources to finding out what happened to your son. I do not believe there is anything we can do to help him, and it is not desirable to even try.

I’m afraid David, that by placing words in the President elects mouth – and utterly wrong words at that – you have demonstrated a certain hubris.

Not only are you wrong that Obama has shown any inclination to say that, Kristina Chew has shown no inclination to say that either. Unlike you, she is parent to an autistic child and you have just said that she feels it is not desirable to help her son. I hope you have the grace to apologise to her publicly as these words are far from true. Maybe you should try spending some time away from the anti-vaxxers and spending some time with the actual autism community – a community who work damned hard with their children. They just don’t subject them to meaningless, expensive and dangerous experimentation.

Update
Age of Autism are obviously not HuffPo readers – they just posted their own copy of the story. And then just as quickly deleted it, but not quickly enough to beat the mighty G. aoaasses click for bigger.

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