A World Of Choices for your Child at The Autism One/Generation Rescue 2010 Conference
Silenced Witnesses: UK Autism Parents Speak Out

A Few Choice Words for the U. Miami Study That Points to Early Parenting And Autism

Money down toilet From UPI Health News. Words fail us... Who funded this study? You did, if you pay taxes and walk for Autism Speaks and raise money for the Marino Foundation. The study is saying that "parents can reduce autism symptoms" via appropriate maternal sensitivity (for those of you who think we are misinterpreting the study, that fact is from a trusted source.) That's not a far stretch from the Refrigerator Mother theory no matter how you slice it. If Jenny McCarthy told us she had "talked her son out of autism by appropriate maternal sensitivity" imagine the media response.

Acknowledgments This study was funded by NIH grants
R01HD047417, T32 HD007473 (University of Miami), and T32HD07489 (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Autism Speaks, and the Marino Autism Research Institute. We wish to thank the students and staff of the UM Sib Study for their efforts with data collection andmanagement and Whitney Gealy, Silviana Guerra, Maria Kimijima,and Katelyn Vertucci for their superb rating of maternal sensitivity.We thank Rachel Fenning, Naomi Ekas, and Lisa Ibanez for theirinput on drafts of the manuscript and we are especially grateful to the families for their participation.

MIAMI, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- University of Miami researchers say maternal sensitivity may influence language development among children who go on to develop autism.

Daniel Messinger of the University of Miami, the principal investigator of a larger study of infants at risk for autism that includes this study, says the study examines how early parenting can promote resiliency in this population.

"Language problems are among the most important areas to address for children with autism, because they represent a significant impairment in daily living and communication," Messinger said in a statement.

Maternal sensitivity is defined in the study as a combination of warmth, responsiveness to the child's needs, respect for his or her emerging independence, positive regard for the child, and maternal structuring, or how a mother engages and teaches her child. For example, if a child is playing with colored rings, the mother might say, "This is the green ring," thus teaching her child about his environment, Messinger says.

The study, published online ahead of print in the upcoming Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, says maternal sensitivity was more predictive of language growth among toddlers developing autism than among children who did not go on to an autism diagnosis.


Craig Willoughby

This was in my RSS feed this morning.

1 in 4 U.S. Parents believes some vaccines cause autism in children.



Wow, what a complete load of rubbish. I can't believe someone has the nerve to apply for money for research like this. For a start, how do you even begin to verify this hypothesis? "We interviewed mothers of kids with autism and we thought they were crap"? I know several families with children with autism and none of these mothers can be described as this study would like. Some are even attachment parenters, I don't think they fall into this category, and some have their younger children affected and their older ones not.


Ok so I guess the next research area ripe for public funding will be are refrigerator mothers really increasing since Bettelheim discovered them or are we just better at diagnosing them?


This is such (beep) bull (beep). How dare they (beep)publish this crap! (beep)(beep) (beep) them. (beep) (beep) (beep) Aaaaah! (beep)

Bob Moffitt

Finally, a "study" the Alison Singer and Paul Offit would approve .. you know .. the "studies" that were not done while seeking that illusive link between "vaccines and autism".

Who knew .. insensitive mothers all the time.

Thanks Alison and Paul.


And maybe because I was sitting on my ass so much it took longer for her to walk. Oh wait, I don't have time to sit on my ass, well that blows another stupid theory.


This astounds me. Who would publish this? How does it explain my older NT child and my ASD-son's NT twin who is barely two and speaks in 8 word sentences? I honestly feel sick.


A Susan, it's actually worse, it says that if only we had been better "Autism Whisperers" our kids would fare differently. Had Jenny said this in TIME, "I talked my son out of autism," she'd be drawn and quartered in every major daily right now. This is another waste of funding dollars dancing in circles around esoteric theories that bring no relief to families, but add pub credits to researchers who go home to typical children each night.

Chris O'Connell

Wow, it all makes sense now. I can blame my wife (since we desperate parents are always looking for someone to blame). I distinctly remember the day...later in the afternoon after giving birth to our daughter Jillian, my wife took a short nap, thereby breaking the sensitive bond required for a child to not develop autism.

Please...there has never been a more affectionate mother to her children than my wife is and has always been to our children.

This "study" is a ridiculous waste of time, money and resources which could have served a much better purpose than once again trying to blame parents for their children's autism. (I can't even think of another medical disorder that can be blamed on someone else)...

I have to think that studies like these are meant only to be a distraction in some way, possibly to keep the public from finding out the real reasons for the rise in the prevalence of Autism.


Sorry, I don't have time for this. I gotta go warm up the cave before I head out on the mastodon hunt.


Where's my bulls%*t button when I need it?!? I'm annoyed, aggravated, and insulted that we've come full circle to this bologna.


From the summary here, the study does not suggest parenting causes autism. It says that parenting behaviors make more of a difference in children with autism than they do in typically developing children. It does say nothing about the causes of autism, but that is not what this researcher and his lab are trained and set up to do.


Here we go again, more guilt thrown on mothers. I did exactly what this study says you should do. I ended up with a child with autism who knew all of her colors.

Alex D.

Anything except admitting that our children being poisoned, right? It's TV, it's genetics, it's unresponsive mothers....We've been doing just fine finding our own answers and getting the word around, though more could be done. If we wait for mainstream medical science to properly investigate environmental toxicity and/or vaccines we'll be waiting until the stars fall from the sky.


COMPLETE CACA! This is so infuriating.

Kym Grosso

I am so glad to see you posted something about this study. When I read it, I was so irritated that the government is spending money on this!....back to blaming parents. Pretty sad state of affairs!

Deb O.

Okay, we're back to "blame the mommies". Can someone then explain why I had two non-ASD kids followed by one who did? Did I treat the two older ones differently?

This guy is getting published? Where is his funding coming from? Pharma?


Sickening... just sickening


The President of UM is none other than Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Clinton admin (vaccine friendly bunch).

And not to be outdone in the "let's suck pharma's you-know-what a little more" category, George W. Bush apparently gave her the "Presidential Medal of Freedom" in 2008.

Coincidence in the gist of this research? Doubt it.


Wow, what year are we in? How sad that this study was done in this era. How pathetic that someone wasted their time on this study and writing an article on it. Blame the mothers...it makes more sense than thinking everything they thought was true isn't so.


Daniel Messingers CV can be found Here

Checkout the current funded research list

Social-Emotional Development of Infants At Risk for Autism Spectrum. PI with Wendy Stone. (R01HD057284, Miami: $1,250,000). National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). This cross-site, Vanderbilt-Miami project will examine the extent to which early impairments in specific attentional and affective mechanisms–both of which are putative core deficits of autism–explain the behavioral heterogeneity observed in these high-risk children.

INT2-Large: Collaborative Research: Developing Social Robots (0808767). PI with Javier Movellan. National Science Foundation ($250,000). Explores the fundamental developmental question - How does new behavior emerge? – through microgenetic examination of early communicative and motor development.

Autistic Traits: Life Course and Genetic Structure. PI with John Constantino. (R01HD042541, Miami: $280,000). Examines the aggregation of quantitative autistic traits in the first degree relatives of Hispanic with autistic disorder in comparison with non-autistic child psychiatric controls.

Automated measurement of facial expression in autism: Deficits in facial nerve function? Autism Speaks. ($450,000 PI with Jeffrey Cohn & Peter Mundy). Investigates whether deficits in facial expressivity in children with autism are due to physiological or emotional factors.


oh for God's sake - now we've come full circle to the refrigerator mother theory? thank goodness they told us. i guess i'll start responding to my kids with warmth now.

(this is horrifying,)

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