Friday, September 01, 2006

Talking Back to Mark Blaxill

Some pretty interesting events seem to be unfolding at EOHarm these days. But in this short post I just want to address two statements I found Mark Blaxill has made there, and I would like to invite him to debate the first one.

The best estimate for the number of children (aged 4-17) with ASD is about 300,000. That means the total US population, including adults, is unlikely to be over 400,000. (Aug 4, 2006)

If Mark Blaxill believes that ASD is rare in adults, I hope he can address Stahlberg et al (2004), Shah et al (1982), Baron-Cohen et al (2001) and Wakabayashi et al (2004). Or perhaps Mr. Blaxill just means "diagnosed" ASD, in which case he might be right, but that would mean he has given up his "hidden horde" device. If he meant "autistic disorder" and not ASD as he stated, that's a little bit harder to judge given available data, but his numbers would also be wrong.

Another one:

This is an excellent critique. More than adding new reviews, a simpler step is for EVERYONE here to go to amazon, search for Offit's book and the RATE THE REVIEWS!! This is easy to do. There is a voting button where you can say yes or no to the question, "Was this review helpful to you?" (Dec 30, 2005)

Here I just want to point out that Autism Hub readers can also go to Amazon, look for any book (e.g. "Evidence Of Harm"), rate the reviews, and add your own review – if you have read the book of course.

17 comments:

  1. hi joseph i think blaxill means autistic disorder rather than ASD. One of his complaints of various epidmeiologic studies, e.g. the Yerkes-Alsop Atlanta study and Lisa Crohn's diagnostic substitution analysis were the differences in ages that persons with autism versus persons with Asperger's or mental retardation were diagnosed as, autism being diagnosed on average at age 4, Asperger's at like age 8 and idiopathic mental retardation at age 10.

    Blaxill also claims that only fairly severe cases are accepted into the California state regional Center rather than people with Aspergers syndrome but i dont think that is necessarilly the case.

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  2. He was actually responding to someone who cited the usual figure of 1.5 million autistics in the US. He rightly pointed out that 1.5 million is roughly correct if you divide the population of the US (all ages) by 166. Then he said 300,000 is the best estimate for children only. The population of the US under 18 is at most, what, 25% of the whole population? So 300,000 would be for ASD. The numbers don't quite work out that way if you use, for example, Fombonne's autistic disorder prevalence of 20 in 10,000 (granted, in the CDDS, it's more like 40 in 10,000 but only for the 3-5 cohort).

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  3. The 1.5 Million Autistics in the US number seems to make Blaxill nervous. He doesn't like it at all, and so breaks his usual silence as far as EoHarm goes to explain that there aren't 1.5 million autistics for the whole spectrum in the US, because that would mean that there was no epidemic, and Mark don't want to go there....

    On the other hand, Dr. Mark Geier says that there are over 1.5 million, maybe 2 million autistic children of the kind that are much like wild animals, who regularly "break their mother's arm" and "bite their mothers"... he says "at the peakk of the epidemic"... some years ago... the number may have been 1 in 30 children...

    These are like full time monsters and yet even though these pre-school aged monsters were out there being created at a 1 in 30 rate, it was still a "silent epidemic"... ????

    I'm not sure if "breaking their mother's arm" or "biting their mothers" is a known characteristic of mercury poisoning, but it is not diagnostic of autism. I sincerely doubt it describes Blaxill's daughter, or Redwood's son, or Bernard's son. Feh. Without those monsters (Bernard, Blaxill and Redwood) we wouldn't be following the trash that Geier is spewing.

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  4. Camille;
    The diagnostic criteria should be changed to reflect the symptoms of mercury induced autism. Or, they could reclassify all of these kids as mercury poisoned instead of autistic. Just for the record, my son has bitten several people.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Camille: Geier's 1 in 30 number comes out of nowhere, of course. There's no evidence that there was ever a peak in the prevalence of autism in any age cohort. It's still going up and it has never gone down.

    Fore Sam: If you son has bitten you, there's likely a good reason for that.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Joe;
    You're right, he has a good reason. He has mercury screwing up his brain.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Actually, lots of toddlers bite people, then they learn not to. I hope John hasn't had his son's teeth pulled to prevent him from defending himself against things like people punching him... things that seem to happen in John's son's life.


    I have a little dog. If I try to clip her toenails she'll bite me, and I have to put a muzzle on her to do things like clip her toenails. She acts as if she thinks anyone trying to clip her toenails is trying to kill her, she really fights with all her might to avoid it.

    Anyway, she only bites when she thinks her life is on the line (not too smart in this case, but that's this dog)...

    She would never bite a stranger petting her, not even if they came up suddenly to pet her, but if they tried to pick her up when she didn't want to be picked up, she might bite.

    Personally, I think that's a smart dog. I don't want a schutzhund, but I don't want a dog that's so docile it can't defend itself from someone who is trying to hurt it....

    off-topic, a bite... hmmm, but I am glad John's son can bite if he needs to. I guess John's son has never broken his mother's arm...so he's not like the kids' that Geier is ordering Lupron-a-day for.

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  8. Actually, lots of toddlers bite people, then they learn not to.

    That's right. I've seen toddlers do that, and I don't think they were autistic. Does this justify medicalizing toddlerhood? Not at all.

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  9. From your comments, it seems obvious you have little knowledge or experience of core autism in severe or profoundly affected toddlers.

    My autistic son is 5 years old, he is often aggressive and violent for reasons solely attributed to his autism.

    He has sensory problems that can trigger violent reactions to others and towards himself.

    At 3 years old he reacted to the sound of my mother in law's voice, by repeatedly slapping me in the face. While it was obvious the sound of her voice was causing him 'sensory pain', he did not and still does not have the cognitive awareness to distinguish it wasn't me making the 'unbearable' noise.

    My son also throws himself to the groud and grazes his hands, grinding them into the concrete.

    These are not the actions of a 'normal' toddler.

    ms clark;

    When you try to clip your dogs nails, does she try to bite someone else in the room in reaction to something YOU are doing to her?
    When you take your dog for a walk does she grind her paws in the ground until they bleed?
    NO. Because your dog is not autistic.

    "Actually,lots of toddlers bite people".

    Do lots of toddlers bite themselves?
    Do you realise how this statement shows your ignorance of autism?

    My son is extemely strong and has uncontrollable rages, in reaction to obscure or unidentifiable triggers.
    When he was under 3 years old, it took four people to restrain him, to get a blood sample from him to rule out Fragile X syndrome etc.
    The hospital nurses were shocked at his strength, and we were all shaken by the 'experience', and his distress.

    As I said, my son is 5 years old now, and I am extremely worried about 'the future' and whether he will still be as violent when he is physically stronger than me.

    My son is not a "monster" but he is autistic.

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  10. From your comments, it seems obvious you have little knowledge or experience of core autism in severe or profoundly affected toddlers.

    My autistic son is 5 years old, he is often aggressive and violent for reasons solely attributed to his autism.


    Jonsmum: It is you who seems to have little knowledge of behavioral problems. The causes of injurious behavior are not entirely understood. There are physiological theories (e.g. seizures) and psychological/sociological theories (e.g. frustration, self-defense, attention). Autism itself is not known to be a direct cause of injurious behavior, even though it may co-occur with it (as seizures do, even though seizures are not known to cause autism).

    Toddlerhood also co-occurs with injurious behavior. It's unclear if you're disputing that.

    I have a son who is also 5. He is basically non-verbal. He's just starting to get potty-trained with some success. He does have some sensory needs, e.g. he likes to poke his chin on people's hands. And that's fine. He's allowed to stim to relieve his stress, and allowed to play as he prefers. He's a happy child. If we were trying to beat autism out of him, I can see how things might be different.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Joseph;

    Your implication that I or any one else would try to "beat the autism" out of their child, is a classic example of how you attempt to deflect the focus of a 'debate'.

    By 'side stepping' my points in this way, you only show your inability to cope with any reasonable argument that does not agree with yours.
    Instead you resort to insinuations relying on prejudgement and insults.

    We have one thing in common. We both have autistic children.
    While I woudn't dream of questioning your parenting of your son, why can't you show me the same courtesy?


    "There are physiological theories
    (e.g. seizures) and psychological/sociological theories (e.g. frustration, self
    defense, attention)"

    Increased occurence of epilepsy in autistis, is not a "theory". It's a statistical fact.

    You are showing your ignorance again.

    Your son has "sensory needs".
    My son has sensory overloads.
    Do not compare the two by implying my sons behaviour is a result of my parenting.

    "He's allowed to stim to relieve his stress, and allowed to play as he prefers. He's a happy child"

    "He's allowed"!

    It must be news to you that most autistic behaviour problems cannot be helped, never mind allowed.

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  12. Jonsmum said: From your comments, it seems obvious you have little knowledge or experience of core autism in severe or profoundly affected toddlers.

    From your comments it seems you must be the only parent to have experienced these things and everyone else must be raising children who are either mildly affected or not really autistic at all.

    Since we are all so ignorant about autism, why don't you share some of your vast knowledge and define core autism, explain what causes autism, and how aggression or self injurious behavior is attributed solely to autism.

    You seem to have all of the answers and don't like it when autism is portrayed in ways that differ from your experiences. Are you here to play my kid's more autistic than yours?

    If you feel you need professional advice, have you tried the National Autistic Society helpline? Tel. 08450704004.

    ReplyDelete
  13. There's a language parsing issue here. That's fine. It's common in discussions among parents of autistic kids, and there's no shame in that.

    Increased occurence of epilepsy in autistis, is not a "theory". It's a statistical fact.

    Jonsmum: I clearly said seizures co-occur with autism. I am fully aware, for example, that among CDDS autistics, almost 7% have epilepsy, whereas only 0.5-1.5% of the general population has epilepsy.

    Anyway, that was simply an example of a "co-morbidity" as it's called.
    What I said is that it's not known that seizues cause autism. It's also not known that autism causes seizures. Are you disputing any of these two statements?

    Do not compare the two by implying my sons behaviour is a result of my parenting.

    And again, same problem above.

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  14. Jonsmum: If you know what causes injurious behavior, please state so. Researchers have grappled with that question for a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  15. notmercury;

    "From your comments it seems you must be the only parent to have experienced these things and everyone else must be raising children who are either mildly affected or not really autistic at all"

    No, this is your presentation of my comments.

    "Since we are all so ignorant about autism, why don't you share some of your vast knowledge and define core autism, explain what causes autism, and how aggression or self injurious behavior is attributed solely to autism"

    I didn't say you are "all so ignorant about autism", but thanks for crediting me with a "vast knowledge".

    "You seem to have all of the answers and don't like it when autism is portrayed in ways that differ from your experiences"

    My point exactly.
    I am not playing any games.

    "If you feel you need professional advice, have you tried the National Autistic Society helpline? Tel. 08450704004"

    Yes iv'e got their number thankyou. They've been very helpful with advice regarding my sons education.
    I'm looking forward to attending their advanced Early Bird Programme.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Joseph;

    I know what causes injurious behaviour in my son. I have already explained this.
    If "researchers have grappled with that question for a long time", I recommend they try the National Autistic Society helpline Tel. 08450704004.

    ReplyDelete
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