Only Bad Mommies Want their Kids to Have Chicken Pox.
As American As Snow White's Apple Pie: 22 Vaccines by 6 Months

The Autism Advantage?

Jeremiah ConnBy Kim Stagliano Scott meyer

While the nation celebrated our 236th birthday, two families in Wisconsin faced the agony of having a child with autism who had wandered away from safety.

"The boys were both 5 years old, had limited communication skills..."

Jeremiah Conn (left) drowned.

Scott Meyer (right) survived.

I Tweeted that it was time for America to see autism as the scourge it is - for many families. Of course someone Tweeted back, "NT kids drown too." Talk about missing the point.

In a timely bit of juxtaposition, a report in Science Daily claimed that autistic cavemen may well have been capable hunter gatherers. "The autism spectrum may represent not disease, but an ancient way of life for a minority of ancestral humans, said Jared Reser, a brain science researcher and doctoral candidate in the USC Psychology Department."

An ancient way of life?  

Some of the genes that contribute to autism may have been selected and maintained because they created beneficial behaviors in a solitary environment, amounting to an autism advantage, Reser said.

My girls are bright and beautiful - but I'm pretty sure a saber toothed tiger would have made a tasty meal of them in no time if left alone. The article goes on to say that perseveration would have been a plus when it came to hunger and the need to feed oneself - and that because we feed our kids, they now perseverate on things like blocks.  Hungry people all work hard to find food - not just those with autism. 

At the same time, it would be unfair not to acknowledge that there are successful men and women with autism and Asperger's.  A certain Contributing Editor here at AofA comes to mind. But the "autism advantage?"

Where was young Jeremiah Conn's?

(We extend our condolences to the Conn family, and are relieved that Scott is OK.)

House of Cards 200 pixelsKim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her new novel,  House of Cards; A All I Can Handle 50 pixel Kat Cavicchio romantic suspense is available from Amazon in all e-formats now. Her memoir, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book.



Rupert Van Vanstersher

Autism: The Eusocial Hominid Hypothesis

ASDs (autism spectrum disorders) are hypothesized as one of many adaptive human cognitive variations that have been maintained in modern populations via multiple genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. Introgression from "archaic" hominids (adapted for less demanding social environments) is conjectured as the source of initial intraspecific heterogeneity because strict inclusive fitness does not adequately model the evolution of distinct, copy-number sensitive phenotypes within a freely reproducing population.

Evidence is given of divergent encephalization and brain organization in the Neanderthal (including a ~1520 cc cranial capacity, larger than that of modern humans) to explain the origin of the autism subgroup characterized by abnormal brain growth.

Autism and immune dysfunction are frequently comorbid. This supports an admixture model in light of the recent discovery that MHC alleles (genes linked to immune function, mate selection, neuronal "pruning," etc.) found in most modern human populations come from "archaic" hominids.

Mitochondrial dysfunction, differential fetal androgen exposure, lung abnormalities, and hypomethylation/CNV due to hybridization are also presented as evidence.

A short video introduction:

The full 2-hour video presentation:


Evidence of transgenerational epigenetic effects due to recent environmental exposures to novel complex molecules also supports this hypothesis. Atavism may be advantageous when it's restricted to a small number of individuals, but deleterious when the mechanisms maintaining this subpopulation are altered in a way that isn't immediately apparent in the genome.

The puzzlingly heterogeneous (yet statistically undeniable) components of autism might thus be united through a better understanding of epigenetics.


Benedetta, yes the gay issue is for some reason more sensitive than autism, I'm supposing we used to think autistic children were poorly nurtured, and we continue to think being gay is some kind of sin .Yes, the hypothalamus is affected we already know by BPA,when studied, male mice are as likely to try to mate with other males as with females, and exposed males are femal'ish and less attractive to females. There is something to be said for serotonin inhibitors, I haven't read enough to offer any opinion, however it seems pretty clear we are "adjusting" the sexuality of this generation as well as creating autism.

Carter's Daddy

Ours fell into a swimming pool and stopped breathing while we were out sans kids for a show and dinner. Called away from the restaurant before eating. Saved by my Dad's CPR. Mercifully turned out fine. Before his diagnosis, although at 18 mos wasn't really talking so I knew he was delayed, somehow. It's preposterous to think he could go out and fend for himself. These ridiculous notions just keep coming!


Everytime I hear that phrase I cringe! Whatever advantages I have are ones I EARNED and worked damned hard for! Have these people lost the whole concept of what People First means? It means putting the PERSON before the DISABILITY. I am a person first who just happens to have a disability. Quit trivializing all the hard work people like me do every single day because you all are too lazy to figure out why people like me have to work so hard to get these so called advantages in the first place!

*rant over*

Sorry guys!


We are on very shaky ground here I know, and neither of us means to offend - the gays in my life are such sensitive souls, and I feel some what delicate and very vunerable abot what they are. But injuries to the hypothalmus --- makes you wonder what is the dividing line between what a person really is and what is organic --- well it is confusing.

If vaccines are screwing around with the endocrine system it would have to affect sexuality along with diabeties, obesity, bipolar, schzio, seizures, breast cancer, prostate cancer; there is not much that the endocrine system probably don't touch ???

Everyone here on this website, and Bachmann too are so way ahead of me on this. I don't know where my head has been on this.

I have read over my entire life time; 1000s of papers on rats' hypothalmus damage studies. But I kept thinking it was too obvious and that all this immune/autism/ stuff had to be more mysterious than that, after all there are only 1000s of studies on rat brain's hypothalmus out there. The CDC,and NIH would know - be all on top of it. Well darn - too scary for me to acknowledge too! How in the *&%@ has this been allowed to happen?-- it is insane --

Biology teachers here is a lesson - from my personal experiecne; you can stay out of trouble about evolution, if the discussion of evolution sticks to animals only, and do not discuss humans' part in all of this. There is a lesson in there for me too -swallow my fear, throw away all trust in authority and see that rats' hypothalmus studies relate to humans, to (My GOD) my immediate family, to my friends, to my neighbors, to my own countrymen!

Dan Olmstead and Mark Blaxill wrote an article in which they concluded it was a mad, mad world. That pretty much sums it up!
Sounds like Bachmann probably knows, she is a very intelligent, amazing woman.

Jim Thompson

Kim, thank you for pointing out another proponent of "tobacco science" logic. Maybe this trifling PhD candidate could get a job as a staffer for Dr. Gerberding.

Heidi N

Let me share the times I ran at full gallup through Kmart to grab my kid as he was darting out the Kmart door, or the time, one of mine ran out the front door while I did a very quick bathroom run and it took an hour to find him, and then there was the time I had to spend an hour at the mall looking for my son. Oh wait, that was often, so I finally had to stop taking him to any stores. Then there were the times I had to put my child over my shoulder and hold onto him with all my might as I went through the grocery store - all the while he kicked and screamed at the top of his lungs and people looked at us like we were "off." And then there was the time. . . . . Yes, the ones I am describing had ADHD as well as developmental delays. I did have one neurotypical child who was born before the autism epidemic started, and he didn't do any of this. To me if you don't know the difference between a wandering neurotypical and a wandering special needs child, then you don't have one. There is a huge difference!

Heidi N

The boy on the right looks just like my son. The same (forgive me) larger top of head and tiny features on his tiny porcelain face. The child is good-looking, but in my family, we somehow have the larger size heads as children, but not as adults. We have tickborne infections mixed in with vaccine reactions behind our symptoms, so just spreading the word.


Well as I said, I missed it. I do remember her mention of vaccine and autism, and I do recall her husband running a "cure gay" business of some sort. I'm not one to suggest the possibility doesn't exist,we are screwing with brain wiring. I would suspect the magazine people were her supporters and possibly did the interview. Really I don't know if any thing I read is founded in truth, especially from the sponsored "mainstream".

Christine Thompson

Wow! Finally there's some exciting news for my little "hunter-gatherers." I never realized that the excrement my son smears all over the bathroom walls is just a part of his unique "Flintstone Genome." If he were to do this in a cave it would be art!

Vicki Hill

Barbara, I was following the race closely last fall; I knew Michelle Bachmann didn't say that. So I googled to find out where you got your "quote". There is only one website that makes that outlandish claim, something called "The Creation News". No other website has it. No reputable news organization has it. If it were true, it would have been national news.


I was so busy fearing the possibility, I missed much of what she said. Here is a quote from Michelle Bachmann from November 2011. She truly was doomed politically, yet as a mom I kind of get it. Who really knows how much of our children's futures are redirected by vaccines??
"n a press conference last night, Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann retold the story of a young man that she says became gay because of vaccines. She explained how a distraught mother approached her at her husband's clinic asking her to help pray the gay away from her son who became gay after receiving his childhood vaccinations and that she also requested legal advice on suing the vaccine manufacturers. Bachmann was quoted "My heart went out to this woman, she told how up until the vaccinations her son was normal boy but after everything changed. Her young toddler suddenly started playing with his older sisters toys and ignoring his own. Hey soon would not sleep in his own blue painted room full of manly items and would only sleep in his sisters pink room with her Barbies and feminine toys. It was clear that the vaccines had turned this boy gay. I have decided that if I am elected President I will abolish this vaccine sham that we have imposed on the people. Autism, Mental Retardation, Homosexuality, how many more things are we going to discover that are caused by vaccines before we wake up and realize that vaccines are just plain bad?" When asked if she would have the vaccines replaced with anything she said "I would leave the choice to the parents but I would highly recommend Homeopathic Vaccines have been shown to have absolutely zero side effects."

John Stone

Lenny, Kim

Hitler has certainly made it to the list thanks to Dr Michael Fitzgerald (who should not be confused with Michael Fitzpatrick) and others:

Just dotty media talking points. No one - apart from me - mentions Beethoven who really was markedly asperger in type but who was recently established to have been suffering from high level lead toxicity (x50 times normal levels in a lock of hair taken at the time of his death). Interesting, that there is a similar report regarding Newton and mercury.


Janet Edghill

Autistic cavemen? My heart breaks for the Conn family. My little guy is also a wanderer and non-verbal. The stress of always knowing where he is can be too much at times. Yes, NT kids drown, too but most learn a sense of danger when they're past toddlerhood.

Great article, Kim.


Amen, Lenny - funny how those dudes never make the "Panoply of autism stars".... And Jack the Ripper and Vlad the impaler.... I hear he spun those heads on pikes. K

Lenny Schafer

Lesser known is that Attila the Hun, Oliver Cromwell, Henry VIII, Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin were high functioning, or at the least a little nerdy.


Cave man - and the autism suvival tool; Well said by Carol and Donna L.

Cave man and the ADD or ADHD suvival tool

My philopsifying ped told me that ADHD was a skill left over from the old days and now no longer needed. It help the ones that had survive by never being able to focuss on anything - that way they could see the Indians coming at the same time they hunted for deer.

Cave man never needed to make his own TSH because he ate so much meat.

Oh yes, this article was actually written in one of those science magazines they have sitting around in the doctor's officies.

By the grace of GOD and his mercy - these two kids' stories could be my son's story.

TB at BlueCollarWorkman

Honestly, people who have autism or aspergers and went on to be great scientists, etc, didn't get there because of their autism. Their autism, if left on their own probably would've killed them. They got to their status becuase they had family's who helped them and fed them and handled (and probably still handles) every aspect of their life for them (except the super scientist part).


The actuaries have the numbers, no ties to the pharmaceuticals, no need for studies, try to get a non rated life insurance policy on your child after "fessing" up to his autism. For now, it seems accepted that our children die at the rate of two to one over nt children, and it's accepted that our children are more likely to develop the scourges, of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease decades before nt children. I see no reason for this info to be a secret, and suggest we call the big guys, Prudential, NYL,Metropolitan, and find out just what they know.

There likely was a poisoning during the era of the masters and musicians most likely straight up heavy metal poisoning, giving them a very late onset type of dementia, falling in ages between autism and alzheimers. Beethoven, some claim had syphilis, no treatment short of mercury in that era, his relationship with Mozart is a question as well. Madhatters we understand were poisoned through their employment in the felt manufacturing business , exposures to adults, while offering up some symptoms, does not give us a match to describe the illness caused by toxins combined with antigens.I'm very afraid that just outside the "spectrum" ,those we call NT, truly are NOT. I have ONE nt, my unvaccinated four year old, and one on the spectrum , and four that forty years ago would not be considered nt, yet today they are! We have damaged the entire generation, and we can not expect these fringe kids and adults to understand , because they are not perfect and all ALL are the NEW NORM . I would hold up my four year old, any day to show the world what neurotypical should be . ..a child without speech issues, anger issues, with intact empathy, motor skills, potty training ,without health issues, ( the only normal gi tract in the house)..and on and on..
I'm sure among us we all have one we saved, only to fear that some government mandate will destroy like the rest.


That's why the Neanderthals died out. They were just too damned coordinated.

I'm pretty sure that Charles Darwin was autistic too. That book about earthworms? Holy crap.

Donna L.

The fact that little Jeremiah knew enough to take his shoes off before wading into the water (an unbelievably heartbreaking detail) but did not have the skills to survive actually being IN the water pretty much sums up autism. Hunting and gathering? My 13 yr old kid nearly took off three of his fingers just by trying to slice an apple.

If autism existed in ancient times (a laughable concept), natural selection would have ensured its extinction within less than a decade. What further proof do we need that this is in fact a completely manmade disaster? If these traits were so beneficial, wouldn't we be reading headlines like "Autistic Boy Wanders, Builds Passive Solar Home, Starts Own Business, Now Drives Porsche"?

Our kids are literally dropping like flies all around us while complete idiots are sitting at desks conjuring up absurd theories about autistic cavemen. Instead of bullshit ivory tower musings about whether autistic traits improved survival of ancient humans, the real question ought to be, how will parents like Jeremiah's survive now? And beyond that, why are we, as a society, not kicking it into high gear right now in order to prevent such a thing (both autism and its lethal effects) from ever happening to another child?


autism as "an ancient way of life?" Is he kidding? That guy Reser is an idiot.

Anne McElroy Dachel

Autistic cavemen? Seriously? In the face of a catastrophe affecting a million children we still tolerate lame speculating like this? I believe that as the generation of children with autism reaches adulthood, society is going change dramatically. We're adjusting to children, accommodating their needs. Imagine how what we're going to have to do to provide for adults in the coming years. I hardly think it'll be a consolation to know that these people would have done well as hunters and gatherers.

Anne Dachel, Media

contact the author

The only contact info provided by the journal which published this paper (Evolutionary Psychology) is the e-mail address of the author:

Jared Edward Reser, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Email: [email protected].

Maybe he should hear the views of those who live with autism every day while he continues working on his PhD.

Hunter in a  Farmer's World, rehashed

This hunter advantage theory was first concocted for ADHD in 1993 in the book "Hunter in a Farmer's World."

Why would Science Daily create a news item about a theory recycled by a PhD candidate that's even more stupid the second time around when applied to people with autism?


"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

-Robert A. Heinlein

Managing Editor

John, isn't it amusing that the "Greats minds" who worked for good - DaVinci, Einstein, Mozart - are claimed by the Autism community (some parts of it) while those whose perseveration and focus lead to death and agony - are left behind? Like choose the caramels and leaving the strawberry creams in the box..... Not possible.

Teresa Conrick

Kim, Thank you for this.

It is a vivid example of the horror of autism. On 1 day,from 1 state, 2 children who both have pretty severe cases of autism, go missing. One died and by the grace of some reason, the other is alive. This happens on and on and the reason we don't see this about neurotypical children is that it does not happen at the same rate. The rate of autism brings more tragedy, like this. As they age, nt children understand DANGER.

It is also happening too much, that it is denied, minimized and normalized. It is a trend that seems to reflect a nation adding autism in to its melting pot -- like autism were a race. Ridiculous!

Managing Editor

Hi, Provi - Kim here. that's part of my writing style - and it's not for everyone - you could say that men get breast cancer - since they do - but few actually think of breast cancer as an immediate emergency for males as a whole - although certainly each data point (sick male) is in an emergency. Wandering has a ICD-9 code not for the entire pediatric community - but for disability/autism. "Wandering places children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) or other disorders in harmful and potentially life-threatening situations—making this an important safety issue for individuals affected and their families and caregivers. Children and adults with ASDs and other developmental disabilities are at higher risk of wandering off than are children and adults without these disorders or other cognitive disorders." Thanks for reading and commenting. KIM

For Provi

Another, of these 'NT kids drown too' type comments. The trouble is that you are dealing with neurologically impaired children who in most cases will be less aware of environmental hazards, and certainly not particularly clued into them. I think perhaps your reading of Kim's witty and pointful column is a little over-literal.


Read an article in New Scientist about a year or so ago, maybe less, that wondered whether we out competed our other ancestors because we became more inclusive. Was a pretty decent piece but I'm struggling to remember it here. Believe it made some mention of an increase of tool usage (i believe this was in reference to autistics and focused behaviour but cant recall with certainty at the moment) and how shamans resembled schizophrenics. Wasn't 100% convinced by it at the time but was interesting all the same, wonder how further research went.

While the whole neurodiversity thing is pretty suspect its kind of important to realise that not everyone does everything. While calling Einstein and such 'autistic' retrospectively is pointless as theres no way to prove it (or indeed its as stupid as anyone else claiming to think like Einstein because thats plainly not the case) such things shouldnt be dismissed out of hand.

That said the article is very dismissive and limited really. While autistic kids wander off... so do normal kids. Throw your normal kids into a cage with a lion and I dont think they would be taming it while an autistic kid would be eaten.

Usually expect a bit better of AoA articles but must say I'm dissapointed at how limited this is really. Saying 'oh austitics kids wander off and would get eaten by a sabertooth tiger' kind of implies that normal kids dont. Like recently there was a big furore in my local area about an autistic kid 'stealing' a watch when he was just trying to check the time when people kept stonewalling him when he asked for the time. The whole thing made it sound like non-autistic people weren't capable of doing crime.

Maybe me just being a little oversensitive I just don't like such hyperbole being the crux of an argument. Though I'd be remiss if I wasn't tempted at times to do the same.

John Stone

It is well-known that Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart, Einstein and Winston Churchill were all really autistic.


Just when you think you've heard every idiotic theory on autism. It is a gift that keeps on giving...

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