Age of Autism is a sufficiently visited and prominent website to qualify for coverage by Google News but over the years I have come to view this stoically since my articles have a remarkable tendency to disappear, or to have been given a misleading caption of some kind. But it gets serious. In the past couple of weeks I attempted to highlight the tsunami of children entering the school system in Scotland with an autism spectrum diagnosis or other neurological problems such as ADHD. I did not make any of this up: the information was drawn from official Scottish data. You would think the data was generated for a purpose, and moreover this could not be in any sustainable democracy a more important matter, BUT NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT.
Scottish Mental Health Services in Collapse Because of Rise in Autism and ADHD
Time for Scotland's Politicians to Ask the Awkward Question What's Happening To Its Children
I sometimes wonder which agency or public relations outfit is liaising with Google about my articles, all of which are thoroughly researched.
So now if you type in Scotland + Autism into Google News, you get stories which may be significant in their way like “Autistic Comedians make their debut at Scottish Parliament”, “Glasgow King’s Theatre to hold ‘relaxed’ Cinderella pantomime” and “Having a good laugh helps to face the world” but you cannot actually read something that has consequence for every Scottish citizen as their services face unprecedented challenge, their children fail to make the grade according to traditional measures, and the future bills to deal with it all mount up. The implications are as great or greater than any issue facing the Scottish people, yet the critical information is being withheld from public debate.
Meanwhile, AOA readers on Saturday found it was impossible to post Dan’s Weekly Wrap on Facebook (although he is still on Google News) and let us hope this is just a glitch. What is of course intolerable is the arrogance of the people providing a service – should they be telling us what we may read any more than what we should talk about in a telephone call. This is really not about public safety, it is about protecting interests and denying people information on which they can make sensible decisions. None of the people writing Age of Autism come from a politically extreme place, but certain realities stare them in the face. In the developed world now we have a much bigger problem with neurologically impaired children and chronic immune diseases than we do with infectious diseases. AND IT IS GETTING WORSE. If vaccines were really so effective, so reliable, so safe there would be no need to restrict discussion of them. People do not want their choices made for them by Google or Facebook (and certainly not by Snopes) and they are fast losing any good reputation they ever had.
John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.