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Dachel Media Update: In a Discordant Key

Online newsOn Jan 26, 2016, the New York Times published a review of ‘In a Different Key: The Story of Autism,’ by Jerome Groopman.   Groopman told readers that this book shows that we're just now recognizing autism "as part of the human condition." 

 “In a Different Key posits that the condition is not a new phenomenon." 

Groopman alleged there's been a history of eugenics involved in autism as shown by calls for institutionalization and sterilization of the disabled in the past. It seems we've didn't deal with autism in any ethical or responsible way in the past; we've only recently awakened to what's always been here.  Mothers were in the forefront of the fight to recognize and accept autism. 

Donvan and Zucker make it clear that the vaccine-autism controversy has been a "dangerous detour."  A reference was made by Groopman that Katie Wright, the daughter of the founders of Autism Speaks, Bob and Suzanne Wright, seemingly led her parents into the "anti-vaccination" camp.  Autism Speaks became "'entangled' in the work of Andrew Wakefield.  This led to criticism of Autism Speaks.

...As the book approaches the present day, Donvan and Zucker address the dangerous detour taken by prominent advocacy groups about the causes of autism. A deeply reported chapter features Bob Wright, the former chief executive of NBC, who became involved in autism advocacy after his grandson received a diagnosis. Wright believed that there needed to be “a big tent” effort to ultimately understand autism. He founded a nonprofit, Autism Speaks, in 2005, which enjoyed great success until it became “entangled” in the work of Andrew Wakefield, the British gastroenterologist, who tied development of autism to the MMR vaccine in an article in The Lancet in 1998. His report was soon discredited, and the article retracted. Alas, this research, shown to be severely flawed, is still cited by opponents of childhood vaccination.

Autism Speaks tried to remain neutral in the “debate” but gave a voice to ­anti-vaccination activists, one of whom was Wright’s daughter.  While championing the “proven benefits” of vaccination, it also promised to investigate whether vaccines were dangerous. “Attempting to bridge the chasm between two polarized constituencies, the organization had been forced into rhetorical somersaults,” Donvan and Zucker write, and it never regained its former prominence after the controversy.

I wish Jerome Groopman had actually done more than just look at Donvan and Zucker's book.   While not naming Katie, Groopman described her as an anti-vaccine advocate. Listen to her story.  It's time for people like Groopman, Donvan and Zucker to learn about the reality of vaccine-induced autism.

Listen to Katie Wright in the YouTube interview with David Kirby from 2007, David Kirby Interviews Katie Wright on her son's autism regression and her stance on Autism Speaks


In a Different Key has nothing to do with Katie's son's vaccine injury.  How does her story of her son's regression into autism and the medical community's response in any way resemble a something that's always been "part of the human condition."

Christian was a healthy, normally developing baby.  At birth he received the Hep B vaccine without his parents' consent or knowledge.  He received the recommended vaccines as a baby and had reactions like 12 hours of screaming and a fever of 104.  Her son's pediatrician said this was a normal reaction.  By age 2 he was losing language and became withdrawn.  Eventually, he lost 90 percent of his words. 

Katie was told that her son's regression "was a rare, but more common disorder that was happening more often, and nobody knows why."  Autism was described to her as "mysterious" and "genetic."

Katie educated herself on the vaccine controversy.  She took Christian to Dr. Krigsman who addressed his bowel disease.  She found out her son had colitis and "was probably in horrible pain." 

Despite all the doctors she had taken Christian to, "ninety percent of the medical community had failed him."

"He was no longer toilet trained.  He basically spent all day long laying on the floor, laying across tables and chairs. ...He'd wake up screaming all night." 

Katie talked about the congressional hearing testimony by her father and Dr. Julie Gerberding, then head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also explained that she herself is not a representative of Autism Speaks, even if her parents are the founders.  "I'm here speaking as a parent."  She said her father wants to get to answers about autism, but "a lot of people have been advocating that he not do that."

The call for research is divided between the genetics and the environment, according to Katie. 

Katie described media coverage of autism as "grossly inadequate."

 I really want Groopman, Donvan, and Zucker to explain what happened to Katie's son.  If it wasn't the vaccines, what was it?  How have we just missed kids like this in the past?


***I asked Katie Wright about what Donvan and Zucker wrote about her in In a Different Key.  This was part of her response.

"Zucker made no effort to speak with me and no effort to get the story right. In order to be an 'anti vaccine activist' I would have to be telling people DO Not vaccinate. No such quote exists. I talk publically about slowly vaccinating my other son. I am a pro safety research pro informed consumer activist."


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John Stone

Susan Bennett

Regarding the History of Autism Speaks this may help:


Susan Bennett

I haven't followed the history of Autism Speaks in detail but and what resulted in its stating "vaccines don't cause autism" is incredibly offensive statement for an organization taking large quantities of money in the name of autism. This organization appears to also be ripe for investigation into misappropriation of funds and overpayment of executives. It certainly appears as the Wright family has completely sold out to the point of selling out the child that was vaccine injured. They say those who rise to the top frequently have sociopathic tendencies, to the point of sacrificing their own family members for power and money. Case in point right here.


Birgit Calhoun - thanks for the brilliant link to your translation
much appreciated


Tooooo kind to those that started in the 80s. I just hope they get them from the 80s and 70s to spend a few of their last years in prison.

IS that too much to ask for? GRRRRRR

Cherry Misra

Call the developmental evolutionists in the departments of biology ! They would surely want to organize a conference on this topic. The human primate- The first mammal on planet Earth to take birth, begin development and then undevelop as in the case of autism. A spectacular analysis by Jerome Groopman of this human condition. And a big thanks to the New York Times for showing us thatALL of our high schools and colleges need to teach more science.
What a coincidence- I was reading the NYT review of books just yesterday and wondering how many years must pass before one of the books being reviewed has a title -well- something like "The Great Autism Hoax of _______" .

Birgit Calhoun

I want to know where these authors made personal contact with autistic children and their families. Is their experience purely derived from reading? Do they actually know the majority of autistic children? Mentioning something about Russians long ago means to me that they are not thinking of all the strange things that happened in a big way in the Middle Ages, not to speak of ergot poisoning, mercury poisoning etc. The insertion of eugenics and sterilization in this discussion is completely out of place since by-and-large autistic people are not known to have relationships that wind up in off-spring.

Temple Grandin may have been diagnosed as autistic at some point. She is not autistic in my book any longer. Sorry, Temple Grandin! I don't mean to denigrate your difficulties.

By the way, the reversing of saying "you" rather than "me" is a common problem with people who have mercury poisoning. It occurs particularly when mercury poisoned person writes. Reversing letters writing something is an example, too.

In this context read the German chemist Alfred Stock's description of what happens in mercury poisoning. I have translated his paper from 1926 from the German "The Dangerousness of Mercury Vapor": http://web.stanford.edu/~bcalhoun/AStock.htm


Since I have a history degree, I'll defend Victorians and the next generation or two. They often thought of "feeblemindedness" as a disease. If you could remove those people, then the problem couldn't spread. Certainly not logical, but not unreasonable considering the state of medication care and the lack of any services. How are they worse than we are, when we know that environmental damage is dangerous and we continue to allow it. Will that attitude change when half the population has cancer and half the children are on the spectrum?

Autism Speaks tried to remain neutral in the “debate” but gave a voice to ­anti-vaccination activists, one of whom was Wright’s daughter.

In the preceding paragraph the Times article mentioned Bob Wright's autistic son, Christian, who prompted him to start Autism Speaks, yet here they do not specify that his 'anti-vaxx' daughter is actually Katie, Christian's mother. One wonders it if wouldn't have been natural to specify these 'little' tidbits!

Louis Conte

Excellent bit of work here.

Dan Olmsted pointed out the other day that it is remarkable that these authors reading of printed material from the 1800's and finding descriptions of behavior that may or may not be "symptoms of autism" or "austism-like features" is accepted as proof that autism was here all the time and that there is no epidemic.

Yet, when parents report that their children regressed after vaccination and ultimately ended up with an autism diagnosis, those observations are disgarded, refuted and NEVER reported on in the media.

What has always been part of the human condition is the denial of the harm we inflict upon others. That is what is really going on in and around these books about the history of autism.

Maurine Meleck

"Part of the human condition" is a grossly misused term, not only for autism but for other conditions too, whatever they are. In other words, not only has autism always been around, but it's something we should expect and view as "normal" and acceptable. That's just the way it is.How the media has welcomed and accepted this book as a reliable source ofinformation is nothing short of outrageous.It's. It's a strategy we have heard so many times before to ignore the real causes of autism, that each time we have to wonder how long they can get away with this perverse deceit.

Bob Moffit

"The call for research is divided between the genetics and the environment, according to Katie."

I think that all powerful .. unidentified .. mysterious entity "THEY" .. have "moved on" .. as "THEY" are no longer divided by researching genetics and the environment .."THEY" no longer even pretend to be concerned about the environment .. focusing only on "genetics and ACCEPTANCE".

As evidenced by Donovan and Zucker's book .. which continues to "demonize" anyone (Katie, Wakefield, etc) who dares continue speaking critically of our new-age "environment" of pediatric dogma .. awash in vaccines for toddlers .. at the most critical stage of their development.

Just ACCEPT autism .. and .. let the BAND PLAY ON AND ON ....

John Stone

Politically corrected history.

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