On Jan 26, 2016, the New York Times published a review of ‘In a Different Key: The Story of Autism,’ by Jerome Groopman. Groopman told readers that this book shows that we're just now recognizing autism "as part of the human condition."
“In a Different Key posits that the condition is not a new phenomenon."
Groopman alleged there's been a history of eugenics involved in autism as shown by calls for institutionalization and sterilization of the disabled in the past. It seems we've didn't deal with autism in any ethical or responsible way in the past; we've only recently awakened to what's always been here. Mothers were in the forefront of the fight to recognize and accept autism.
Donvan and Zucker make it clear that the vaccine-autism controversy has been a "dangerous detour." A reference was made by Groopman that Katie Wright, the daughter of the founders of Autism Speaks, Bob and Suzanne Wright, seemingly led her parents into the "anti-vaccination" camp. Autism Speaks became "'entangled' in the work of Andrew Wakefield. This led to criticism of Autism Speaks.
...As the book approaches the present day, Donvan and Zucker address the dangerous detour taken by prominent advocacy groups about the causes of autism. A deeply reported chapter features Bob Wright, the former chief executive of NBC, who became involved in autism advocacy after his grandson received a diagnosis. Wright believed that there needed to be “a big tent” effort to ultimately understand autism. He founded a nonprofit, Autism Speaks, in 2005, which enjoyed great success until it became “entangled” in the work of Andrew Wakefield, the British gastroenterologist, who tied development of autism to the MMR vaccine in an article in The Lancet in 1998. His report was soon discredited, and the article retracted. Alas, this research, shown to be severely flawed, is still cited by opponents of childhood vaccination.
Autism Speaks tried to remain neutral in the “debate” but gave a voice to anti-vaccination activists, one of whom was Wright’s daughter. While championing the “proven benefits” of vaccination, it also promised to investigate whether vaccines were dangerous. “Attempting to bridge the chasm between two polarized constituencies, the organization had been forced into rhetorical somersaults,” Donvan and Zucker write, and it never regained its former prominence after the controversy.
I wish Jerome Groopman had actually done more than just look at Donvan and Zucker's book. While not naming Katie, Groopman described her as an anti-vaccine advocate. Listen to her story. It's time for people like Groopman, Donvan and Zucker to learn about the reality of vaccine-induced autism.
Listen to Katie Wright in the YouTube interview with David Kirby from 2007, David Kirby Interviews Katie Wright on her son's autism regression and her stance on Autism Speaks
In a Different Key has nothing to do with Katie's son's vaccine injury. How does her story of her son's regression into autism and the medical community's response in any way resemble a something that's always been "part of the human condition."
Christian was a healthy, normally developing baby. At birth he received the Hep B vaccine without his parents' consent or knowledge. He received the recommended vaccines as a baby and had reactions like 12 hours of screaming and a fever of 104. Her son's pediatrician said this was a normal reaction. By age 2 he was losing language and became withdrawn. Eventually, he lost 90 percent of his words.
Katie was told that her son's regression "was a rare, but more common disorder that was happening more often, and nobody knows why." Autism was described to her as "mysterious" and "genetic."
Katie educated herself on the vaccine controversy. She took Christian to Dr. Krigsman who addressed his bowel disease. She found out her son had colitis and "was probably in horrible pain."
Despite all the doctors she had taken Christian to, "ninety percent of the medical community had failed him."
"He was no longer toilet trained. He basically spent all day long laying on the floor, laying across tables and chairs. ...He'd wake up screaming all night."
Katie talked about the congressional hearing testimony by her father and Dr. Julie Gerberding, then head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also explained that she herself is not a representative of Autism Speaks, even if her parents are the founders. "I'm here speaking as a parent." She said her father wants to get to answers about autism, but "a lot of people have been advocating that he not do that."
The call for research is divided between the genetics and the environment, according to Katie.
Katie described media coverage of autism as "grossly inadequate."
I really want Groopman, Donvan, and Zucker to explain what happened to Katie's son. If it wasn't the vaccines, what was it? How have we just missed kids like this in the past?
***I asked Katie Wright about what Donvan and Zucker wrote about her in In a Different Key. This was part of her response.
"Zucker made no effort to speak with me and no effort to get the story right. In order to be an 'anti vaccine activist' I would have to be telling people DO Not vaccinate. No such quote exists. I talk publically about slowly vaccinating my other son. I am a pro safety research pro informed consumer activist."