Not only is there "fake autism news," there's the "fake autism science" that it promotes.
“Fake news is malicious, false information that somehow becomes credible. Most often through the promotion of a major political or media figure.”
“Then there’s fake news, the phenomenon that is now sweeping, well, the news. Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word.”
The story from KARE11 makes my point. This report is out to convince us that autism is genetic, kids are born with it, and it’s a puzzle that will take years to figure out.
KARE 11 Minneapolis: HEY AUTISM…it’s genetic, now spit in the bottle! We have to be convinced that autism is a natural condition, it's nothing new or anything to worry about. We don't see stories on adults with autism or on regressive autism. "Made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated."
Dec 21, 2016, KARE11, Minneapolis: UMN needs participants for landmark autism study
Smiling autism dad: “We’re going through your baby book. Okay, here’s your milestones. At this age you should be doing this, at this age you should be doing this—Elliot was delayed on language quite a bit at first.”
Reporter:“Both Elliot, 16, and his 10 year old sister Ada were diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Their family’s DNA samples will be compiled on a registry with tens of thousands of others as part of a landmark study called SPARK.”
Dr. Suma Jacob: “It is a study that is mostly focused on the genetics of autism. One of the things we learned is we need tens of thousands, we need large, large numbers of participants to make sense of genetic risks or causal contributions to autism.
“Genetic autism is highly heritable so there are genetic traits, but there are hundreds and hundreds of genes related. Figuring that that piece out is one of the goals.”
Autism mother: “We hope that by participating, it not only helps our children, but everyone’s kiddos and adults.”
Reporter:“SPARKS hopes to collect information from 50,000 people with autism and their families, speeding up research and ultimately helping to improve the lives of families impacted by autism.”
So if the experts can’t explain it, but parents are hopeful, what more can we expect? Notice the way the father talks about his son’s delayed development, very matter-of-fact. Autism happens, learn to adjust.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.