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Age of Autism Responds to Newtown CT Autism Allegation in Media

Age of Autism Weekly Wrap Up: Congressional Autism Hearing

Keep Calm Write OnBy Dan Olmsted

I have to confess I was not expecting much from the autism hearings in the House of Representatives last month. For one thing, I used to be Washington editor of United Press international, and our Congressional correspondent, whose opinion I valued highly, once told me I needed to understand one main thing about Congress: "Congress sucks."

For another, I've learned not to get my expectations too high when it comes to anything about autism. I predicted to Jake Crosby that John Walker-Smith's appeal in Britain would fail, basically on the premise that everything always fails. He enjoys reminding me that Walker-Smith was triumphantly vindicated. (There is a similar joke among foreign correspondents: if you need to write a story about the Middle East and you don't have anything to say, it's always safe to begin by writing: "the situation in the Middle East worsened last week." Someday, that story will be wrong.)

PoseyEven so, the prospect of a late-in-the-session, lame-duck hearing to give Rep. Dan Burton a proper swansong for his pet theory did not seem like a good venue for anything important. What I did not count on, aside from the excellent preparation by many members of our community, was what I will call the legacy effect. Rep. Bill Posey, Republican of Florida, began his legendary grilling of the CDC's Coleen Boyle by noting that he had replaced Dave Weldon in his district, and that Weldon had explained to him the fact that mercury is a likely culprit in autism.

And Rep. Darrell Issa, now chairman of the reform and committee, struck me as a Issa smart and morally serious person, even if I suspect I might disagree with many of his views; his statement that no possible cause would be off the table was quite a moment. It was clear to me that he was not doing this to be nice to Dan Burton, he was doing it because his own judgment of what Burton had been saying was now taking effect.

In a way, this shouldn't have been so surprising. In our community, many of us are keenly aware of the legacy of a number of individuals, most significantly Bernie Rimland. I know personally that doing justice to Bernie's great integrity and perseverance is a factor that motivates me every day, and my connection with him in the years before he died has given me a tremendous sense of commitment. We all have people like that, and I am heartened to realize that history is not lost in the House of Representatives, either.

I hope Dan Burton and Dave Weldon are proud of their legacies. They should be.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Jake Crosby

Dan, you're too kind.


It was really cool to see the congressmen/women be able to speak on the issue so well. I'm so used to only the parents and educators caring (and a few docs). They really brought their A game.


Also sad to note: Less and less of Bernie Rimland on the Autism Research Institute website nowadays.


I agree!
Hey you "NOt Fooling Anybody"
You gave generalizations -- cheap shots
and it was not true. He did an excellant job -- what you wanted Martin Luther King Jr?

Well Mark might have been as good as him!

shannon wasserman

I found Blaxill's testimony to be very moving and so did my friends. I think he's a pretty gifted public speaker. And I was pleased that the representatives had some tough questions.


It was amazing when I read the behind the scenes before this meeting occurred.
Dr. Wakefield - what makes a man like that?
He saw a problem, not only did he not back off; but has kept moving forward for years afterwards; even though he has been called the vilest of names.

While I was looking at monsters - and it is disparaging - This article gave me a reason to take a minute to look at what the best of the human race has to offer.


I have seen up close and personal psychosis, it is like a walking - dream.

Federal agencies just might be the monster you are talking about?

But if it was not psychosis a walking dream then he was a monster.

Raymond Gallup

Congressman Dan Burton and Congressman Dave Weldon (who was in Congress and a MD) were the leading Congressional champions for autism over the years.

As a parent my heart goes out to the families in Newtown, CT that lost loved ones in the shooting by a monster who killed his mother and used her registered guns to kill innocent adults and little children. I understand that the media is carrying the story that the monster was autistic. How unfortunate when as parents we know our kids and adults with autism would be incapable of doing such a horrible thing that this monster did. I fear that this incident will cast our children and adults in a bad light. Truly a tragedy all around.


I wonder if the incident at the school will have a negative or positive effect on the autism community,according to the brother of the killer:

"The shooter was found with an ID that bore his brother’s name, a law-enforcement source said, but there is no indication that it was stolen. A source told The Post Ryan has told investigators he last saw Adam in 2010 and that Adam is autistic"

How odd that this tragedy happened so close to the autism hearing?

Bob Moffitt

I have to agree that I too was "not expecting much from the autism hearings in the House of Representatives last month".

However, I must admit that I have witnessed things in my lifetime that I thought would never happen .. yet .. when the did happen .. they seemed to happen almost overnight.

Such as .. my country landing a man on the moon within months of establishing the feat as a goal our President believed worth achieving. Or .. watching CNN "live" coverage of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, a wall that had stood in defiance of freedom for 28 years.

As a soon to be "senior .. senior" .. I pray the carefully constructed wall of vaccine protections that are in place to protect "industry profits" .. rather than "our children" .. will soon crumble with the same speed and finality as did the Berlin Wall that preceded it.

Maybe, just maybe .. next year will be THE YEAR. If so .. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

Angus Files

I read during the week the troubles around the world are all at a cross roads and along with this more autism news the end of vaccines ...I just thought a crossroads more like a massive roundabout..


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