CBS used to give us the most worthwhile coverage of autism. Sharyl Attkisson bravely presented reports on the shoddy oversight given to vaccine safety, the children damaged by an out-of-control vaccine schedule, and the conflicts of interest of those who deny that vaccines are behind the epidemic of autism.
Now it seems CBS is determined to downplay the autism disaster. Vaccines are no longer the issue. These clips from recent 60 Minutes stories on autism make it clear that CBS isn’t interested in what is causing autism. We only need to accept an autism diagnosis in a child and struggle on the best we can. Autism happens—just hope your child is another Temple Grandin.
Lesley Stahl did several interviews about autism. One was with Neuroscientist Walt Schneider and one was with Grandin, an outstanding woman with high-functioning autism. (HERE)
Dr. Schneider described a brain image of Temple Grandin’s brain as “interesting” and “a cool opportunity” to understand the brain better.
Lesley Stahl: “Do you see the day when you’ll be able to say to a parent, ‘Your child will never speak …so don’t put all your energy into trying to teach them this. Put it into other ways for this child to communicate.’”
Schneider: “I see a day when we’ll be able to say to a parent that there are multiple subtypes of autism. Your child looks like this subtype. And in other individuals of this subtype, they did or did not acquire language through various methods. That would be information that would help these parents who are desperately trying to find something that works, to perhaps, make a better first choice of which method.”
Stahl: “I wonder if you did have an autistic child, who had a brain like that, and showed it to a parent, if the parent would be almost relieved.”
Schneider: “When you have a serious disorder, the parents or the family have to come to understand it. You’ll find in communities people want to say, ‘Well what really went wrong? Can you show me what’s different? What’s wrong?’ Once you can see a pattern, then you can go through the grieving process, understanding that it’s not typical. And what you have to work with.”
Both Stahl and Schneider are at a loss to tell us anything of significance about autism, something affecting one percent of children and almost two percent of boys. Schneider admits that parents are “desperately trying to find something that works,” but he can only look for subtypes of a disorder that is now an epidemic far worse than polio ever was in the 1950s.
For those of us in the autism community who live with this disorder everyday, the idea that there are subtypes is hardly anything new. Schneider can’t tell parents why their child is autistic. He doesn’t know what an expectant couple can do to prevent their upcoming baby from also ending up on the autism spectrum and he can’t explain why tens of thousands of parents report that their children were born healthy and were developing normally and suddenly they stopped talking, lost learned skills, and ended up with a diagnosis of autism.
Schneider advises that parents have to go through “the grieving process” when a child is diagnosed with autism. Stahl acknowledges that some autistic children “will never speak.” Neither of them expresses any real acknowledgement of what a nightmare autism has become for this country. One is left with the understanding that autism is now an acceptable part of childhood.
Stahl talked with Temple Grandin in an online segment called “Understanding Autism.”
Lesley Stahl: "If there were...a cure for autism tomorrow,...would you say, wow, give that to me?"
Temple Grandin: "No I wouldn't because I like the logical way that I think and I wouldn't want to give that up."
Stahl: "I've heard that the idea of ridding the world of autism isn't something that you think should be a goal."
Grandin: "You see, autism in a very mild amount is all the geeks and nerds who keep CBS News running. ...the kinds of minds that are interested in things. ..."
Grandin and Stahl speculated that it was an autistic person who made the first stone spear back in prehistoric times.
While I admire Temple Grandin because she's such an accomplished person and she offers parents hope, she has little to do with what’s happening to our children. Grandin herself admits that in “a very mild amount,” autism allows people to be successful. She’s done well as an individual. Tens of thousands of parents however, have children with autism who bear no resemblance to Temple Grandin. Many of these children don’t talk. They’re in severe pain from bowel disease. They live with seizures. Many are in diapers as teenagers and are in need of constant care because they’re a danger to themselves and to others. And their parents are scared to death about how these children will live out their lives as adults in a world totally unprepared to care for the autism generation.
Grandin is from another era when autism was rare. Autism is now an epidemic. If all autism were like Temple Grandin’s, parents wouldn’t be desperate to find answers. Maybe when this generation of autistic children reaches adulthood and becomes dependent on the taxpayers for their support and care we’ll get serious about finding the cause and stopping the epidemic. Maybe then CBS will go back to giving us legitimate coverage.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.