By Katie Wright
When I think of the NYT and their autism reporting, certain adjectives just pop into my head: fossilized, stale, stagnant, musty, fusty, clichéd, unoriginal, ancient, torpid and moribund. I think of Dick Cheney, bad black and white movies, the Taliban, out of date calendars, decaying food…
Yesterday’s piece by Donald McNeil was a tour de force of their properties. It was a celebration of the old, the indolent, an elevation of antediluvian thinkers and ideas, a virtual festival of inertia! Well done Mr. McNeil you have now surpassed all your peers in producing the most irrelevant, inaccurate and stale reporting on autism yet! McNeil’s fawning piece on Paul Offit is truly a wonder. The reader is told again and again, at length, of the Paul Offit’s work undercover, the price on his life! One imagines Offit is interviewed from an “undisclosed safe location.” He is portrayed as a Man Alone, facing an army of threatening, killer parents!
This preposterous piece is also a tale of two Nancys. I am sure everyone remembers Nancy Minshew and Nancy Synderman- team ancient history. There is a charming quote from Nancy Minshew as she compares autism to “the Elephant Man disease, which does not show up until later in life.” Is there an epidemic of Elephant Man disease that I am not aware of? Are schools being overwhelmed and over-run by Elephant children? Are these Elephant children parents suing school boards everywhere? Minshew has got such a way with words and that is why the parent community appreciates her so much. Nancy Synderman takes the opportunity to push her truly horrible book, coming soon to remainder bins near you. This former J&J consultant and non expert in autism is again, given a platform to expound on her rigid and irrational autism beliefs.
For “balance” McNeil interviews autism parent, Dr. Peter Hotez, father of a young adult with autism. Dr. Hotez has spent his professional life working for a vaccine institute, so take a guess where he stands? Hotez says unequivocally all autism is genetic, case closed. McNeil did squeeze in two quotes from Generation Rescue founder, JB Handley. McNeil allowed Handley to state that he personally knows hundreds of recovered children and that he believes death threats are terrible. Wow, the reader learns so much! Minshew is given more space to speak more about how autism like Elephant Man Syndrome than Handley was to talk about why the environment is triggering the autism epidemic.
Nowhere in this sloppy reportage do we learn that Offit sold his rota vaccine for 104 million dollars. Nowhere does McNeil discuss the Hannah Poling case, the HUGE backlog in vaccine court or the MIND Institute’s recent report that there is no way California’s autism epidemic is genetic. I doubt McNeil even read the report. Just so you know, Don, Dr. Irva Herz-Picciotto publicly exhorted the autism research community to move past genetic research and towards a vast new investment in environmental research because it is clear that environmental triggers are truly fueling this epidemic.
Katie Wright has two young boys. Her oldest son, Christian, is severely affected by autism. He developed normally; smiling, talking, walking; only to lose every skill and every word by the age of 2 and a half. Upon the advice of medical professionals Katie and her husband were advised to pursue only high quality behavioral therapy, speech and OT for Christian. It had no meaningful impact on Christian until his parents sought help from DAN! doctors who treated the underlying causes of Christian's descent into autism. Christian has improved but still has far to go. He has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the measles virus in his gut and an immune system akin to a late stage AIDS patient. Christian does not have a psychiatric disorder. Before autism, Katie Wright was the Clinical Director of Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Stamford Connecticut. Katie is proud to serve on the Boards of NAA and SafeMinds.