I have been reading my friend Stuart Duncan’s posts lately about theautism “studies”. I have to once again, agree with Stuart on this. I have many concerns about SOME of these “studies” and their, perhaps, unintended impact. In my opinion these “studies” are more then just annoying and misleading, they can also be dangerous. Anyone remember a certain ex-medical doctors “study” finding a link between the MMR vaccine and Autism? Look at how profoundly that fraudulent “study” affected the world as a whole. Even after the study was COMPLETELY debunked and he was PROVEN to be a fraud people still believe it and blindly follow him. Just look at how many people don’t vaccinate their children now because of this. Now we have kids dying from preventable disease, all because of a “study”.
autism is not only a hot topic but a popular focus for “research studies” lately. The problem I have with these “studies” is that they bring nothing relevant to the table. The last time I checked, the only KNOWN cause for Autism is Fragile X (please correct me if I’m wrong). I realize that it’s human nature to want to understand the mysteries of Autism, especially when the cause or causes are so elusive. However, we have to be responsible about this. There is already enough…..misinformation floating around out there. Do we really need any more? Look, the reality is that if you stare at something long enough your bound to see things that aren’t really there. I mean, honestly, it’s like these researches get together and place random ideas on a dart board. Then they trow the darts to see what the next “link” toautism will be and set forth to find some way to connect the dots. This is bad for all of us. It reminds me of the episode of South Park, Cartoon Wars. In a nutshell, they are poking fun at the show Family Guy. Basically, they portray the writers on the show Family Guy as a bunch on manatee’s in a giant tank filled with “idea balls”. The manatee’s select the “idea balls” at random and those ideas become the topic of the next episode of Family Guy. Perhaps I’m reaching a bit here but honestly, some of these studies are just as ridiculous.
Why are we focusing ALL our efforts on these often times, bizarre and honestly, pointless studies? The money and questionable brain power behind them could be put to much better use. Here’s a novel idea, how about helping the families out there ALREADY affected byautism. The families in the trenches right now are many times forgotten. How about diverting some of the processing power behind these “studies” and redirecting it in a way that will actually benefit the autism community not cause more confusion. Don’t get me wrong, we desperately NEED research but we need QUALITY research and not people just grasping at straws. We don’t know right now what causes Autism and I know that’s frustrating, trust me, my family has been affected more then most. Sometimes the answers don’t present themselves right away but I’m confident that, one day, we will have the answers we are looking for. Until that time comes, there are families out there right now that are struggling. Maybe the brain trusts behind these studies can figure out ways to help the children and families ALREADY affected by Autism. In my opinion, that seems like a much better use of the money and resources.
Again, we need research but we need quality research. We need answers, not more questions. We don’t need studies trying to link your proximity to a highway to increased risks ofautism. Besides, how many people would that actually apply to in real life, compared to the number of kids actually being diagnosed. I mean, autism is a worldwide problem, what percentage of those people live next to a highway or took Anti-depressants during pregnancy? If you can’t find a link that explains the vast majority of cases then really, whats the point. But hey…this is just my opinion. I’m not a fancy researcher, I’m just a father to 3 kids on the spectrum…what do I know…right.
I know that it might seem that most research is "shooting in the dark" but in reality the idea is to understand the condition. Without that, we can't 1. Help kids with it to lead stable, fully integrated lives and 2. Prevent more kids from going through the challenges that Gavin, Elliot and Emmett face. I know that what happened with the vaccine debacle was just that, but honestly, that was an issue that slipped through the cracks. Most trusted Medical Journals have stringent processes as well as peer-review before they will publish a study, so 95% of the junk is weeded out. I would also much prefer the money spent on junk to be spent helping kids… But there we are.