[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
JENNY MCCARTHY DISMISSES PEDIATRICS STUDY ON AUTISM
by Benjamin Radford, Discovery News
Earlier this week, research published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Pediatrics found no evidence that special diets have any influence on autistic children.
This was a blow to some parents of autistic children who had hoped for a cure, but things took a more tragic twist when Diane Sawyer of “ABC Nightly News” followed a report of the autism study with,”We asked Jenny McCarthy, the actress and activist for a response.”
The news directors at ABC News presumably have some of the world’s top experts on hand to provide context and commentary to the new study by scientists and researchers who have spent decades studying autism.
Instead, they asked McCarthy, a former model and actress who has no formal education in medicine or autism. Her expertise comes from being the mother of an autistic child — a sort of “Mommy Doctorate” M.D., which is sort of like saying that owning a car qualifies a person as a mechanic.
McCarthy has managed to tap into a strong anti-science, anti-medicine conspiracy theory sentiment that made convicted felon Kevin Trudeau (best-selling author of “Natural Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About”) a rich man.
You might think that I’m too harsh on McCarthy. But who knows how many parents buy her best-selling books or see her on “Larry King Live” or ABC News and decide she must be right, and refuse to vaccinate their children for measles, chicken pox, mumps, influenza, polio, hepatitis and more, fearing the vaccine will make them autistic?
While she is sincere, she is doing real harm to innocent children and babies by repeatedly ignoring accurate and correct information about autism in favor of conspiracy theories.
McCarthy dismissed the latest scientific research as worthless, and the scientists who conduct autism research as incompetent: “We’re the ones seeing the real results. And until doctors start listening to our anecdotal evidence, which is, ‘This is working, it’s going to take so many more years for these kids to get better. Every parent will tell you something different that helped their child.”
As I watched this segment, I could almost hear the sound of hundreds of thousands of scientists shaking their heads in disbelief. Let’s parse this out:
“We’re the ones seeing the real results.” That is, according to McCarthy, the real results and advances in autism treatment are being made by ordinary moms like her who write pseudoscientific books falsely linking autism to vaccines. All those silly doctors with their randomized, double-blind studies don’t know what they’re doing.
“And until doctors start listening to our anecdotal evidence …” McCarthy, like many non-scientists, seems to think that stories and anecdotal evidence are just as good as — if not superior to — well-controlled scientific studies. Anecdotal evidence, basically first-person stories, must be confirmed with rigorous research in order to be validated.
Her suggestion alone sets medical science back several hundred years, but her last statement is even more remarkable: “Every parent will tell you something different that helped their child.”
McCarthy doesn’t seem to realize that with this observation she completely contradicts herself. She has claimed in her books and elsewhere that a strict diet can treat or cure autism, yet in the interview she said the opposite, that every parent says “something different that helped their child.” That is, some parents believe that a special diet helped their child; others say dressing their child in certain colors helped their child; another says something different, and so on.
This is not science, nor it is helpful. What are doctors supposed to do? Give desperate parents a long list of things that someone, somewhere thinks might help their child, despite no good evidence that any of them do?
There is no doubt that McCarthy is sincere in her beliefs, and genuinely wants to help autistic children. It’s just a shame that she ignores and dismisses the one thing that can actually help them: good science.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.