Huge topic! Huge URL!
The last one for 2015 for Echoes of Mermaids. What a year!
The quest to find out “what causes autism” is one of the most divisive in society from both medical and personal standpoints. Until I read and reviewed – Neurotribes by Steve Silberman I was very passionate but also very in the dark about many parts of the history of Autism and people with disabilities as a whole. I thought I knew but I didn’t – no one could have known how truly awful it is and how tied to eugenics our history has been. It’s a shadow we can’t seem to totally outrun.
So when I saw the latest “studies show” article I rolled up my sleeves and went in. This is all very personal to me. It’s a Canadian study, Canadian researches. And I’m an Autistic woman who has chronic, often debilitating life threatening depression. I never took medication. All the fear and misinformation surrounding them made me too ashamed to try. I wonder if I maybe could have led a more level life in places? Been able to work more. Been a mom…
That’s part of what we have to do as advocates, you know. We find the places that spread fear through ignorance and mis-information and make sure our side is seen. Nothing about us, without us – right? I take that seriously. I dedicate a good portion of my day, to it.
Yesterday presented this Canadian made gem. A loaded trifecta of mental health issues, women’s bodies/choices and autism. It boasted an 87 per cent increased risk of having a child diagnosed with autism compared to those who didn’t use antidepression medication during pregnancy. It used words like “raising the alarm.”
link to article on CTV Facebook page ↓
link to article on CTV site ↓
We’ve got the typical concerning click bait headline calling into question both antidepressants and autism. The pristine picture of a pregnant belly of a woman presenting as white. The pulling of our hearts for what should be the perfect family and the fear of not getting it because of, dun dun dun dun….. AUTISM
The word often looms heavy and is portrayed as something evil that comes in the night and steals once perfectly normal children. The only way society as a whole can seem to accept or tolerate us in any sort of positive light is if we are labeled a “high-functioning” type – like the character on ‘The Big Bang Theory’, Sheldon. A bit of research shows he was never written to be Autistic or to have Aspergers, which is seen as the “geeky” type of Autism. But he’s been glommed onto by NT’s and Autistic’s alike. The token one. What normalized, ableist, accommodated society is prepared to accept. Problem with that is it’s a world filled with many neurodivergent people. And we are not living the lives we could be. Articles like this are part of that problem.
So I opened up the article and read it all. Not just the click bait headline and not just the first paragraph. All of it. And then I responded in the comments of the CTV FB page:
No, no, no, no. Just stop.
I’m autistic. Do you know what it is like to read this garbage day after day and then try and fix the damage because it?
We are not the result of vaccine damage, toxins or medication. We’ve always been here.
You know what causes autism?
Autistic people. Stop this foolishness. Work towards an inclusive, accommodating society. Stop chasing non existent boogymen.
Oh, and if you do have an autistic child? Stop being distracted by this stuff. Talk to adults like myself who can help. Accept that autism is part of a neurodiverse society and that we aren’t going any where despite history trying to erase us.
We are sick and tired of being used to scare people. This stuff leads to autistic children being murdered.
So just stop. Take your meds and stop being scared about autistic people. We really aren’t that scary, or tragic. We are people, just like everyone else.
For those who did not read the article – you’ve been had by another click bait headline. This is at the end of the article. Open your eyes!
“Overall, she said, 1.2 per cent of the mothers in the study who used SSRIs had children who eventually developed autism, and this percentage falls within the established ranges found in the general population”
It was an observational study. The difference between observational studies and experiments is the researcher has no control over how subjects are assigned to groups and/or which treatments each group receives. This is done for ethical reasons a lot of the time. We shouldn’t pick 2 children say, and force one to take a drug they have no need for to compare it with a child who does to see the outcome.
From the article:
Because this was an observational study, Berard said her team could not determine whether antidepressants are causing autism, and she noted there is still a lot that experts don’t know about the condition
Overall, she said, 1.2 per cent of the mothers in the study who used SSRIs had children who eventually developed autism, and this percentage falls within the established ranges found in the general population.
“The numbers that are being reported are not out of range,” she told CTV News, noting that it’s “not clear” that there is a causal relationship between antidepressants and autism.
Wait a minute! Hold up! Canadian researches are sounding the alarm, I thought. In the end the numbers were consistent with the general population? Where’s that 87% number fit in again!?
This is where the understanding and acceptance of recognizing correlation versus causation comes in. Allow me to demonstrate with a handy-dandy graph.
When you take the sales of organic food over a 12 year period and run those numbers alongside of the stats for what the media often totes as the shocking rise in those being diagnosed with Autism — you see something quite interesting. The 2 are rising together at nearly the same rate.
Now, we intrinsically know that is just not correct. Even though the numbers can make a case for it, doesn’t mean it is true. It only takes a small bit of fear to niggle away at the constant streams of “what if’s” thoughts. And people share that fear based, bad information. A lot. I call them “Henny Penny’s.” Their skies are always falling.
Observe what the fear, misinformation and shaming of women and mental health issues looks like when Autism is brought into the picture, by other women. See the weight of the stigma surrounding these connected issues unfold from the article.
These types of comments are typical and relentless and daily. Everyone else has an opinion on what we should do with our bodies. It prevents people who need help from speaking up for fear of judgement and losing jobs, homes and children.
Observe just how ugly and ignorant it can get when people talk about Autistic or “special needs” children. I sit and read this stuff, because there is no way to avoid it and I get so angry or so sad. She clearly didn’t even read the article at all. The click bait headline – worked. The fear of autistic people like me further amplified for ad revenue.
I didn’t pull any punches, did I? She thinks even a 1% risk of having an Autistic child is too much. That is wrong. It’s so wrong. My heart aches.
That comment up there ↑ that one really got to me. I’ve seen variations of it 100’s of times but this one just kinda stuck in a bit deeper.
So many things wrong with her comment – so many, but what I want to highlight is what this incessant need to identify, treat, cure and prevent does.
It makes it accessible, even desirable, to murder autistic children and adults too. Your existence is viewed as a burden, or as a shell of what you were suppose to be. When you are talked about in terms of prevention and cure. When who you are which is Autistic, is seen as separate and the enemy it leaves room for abuse. it leaves room for pity which ends up justifying murder. It’s part of why I say Autistic so much and whenever I can. I want to change the literal way people think about us. I want to keep the human attached so that we can be treated as such.
Honestly, I am physically shaking writing this part. So I will had it over to my friend Shannon who has written about this in a way I can’t. From the perspective of the mother of an Autistic son. Her words are raw. Please, listen to her ↓
I think more people are starting to understand that girls/women are also autistic and continue to be chronically under-diagnosed. As we make gains with that, numbers change. For 25 years I was counted in the bipolar stat. I’ve met so many girls especially in the last few years who have had the same happen. You can see the numbers of other types of diagnoses go down as Autism, rises. It’s so simple really and it’s been made so complicated at the expense of real people.
If you’d like to read more about that please see → Autism increase mystery solved: No, it’s not vaccines, GMOs glyphosate–or organic foods.
In fact, many women who were not properly diagnosed finally end up at the Doctor for chronic and debilitating depression and PTSD issues. It’s how many of us are found to be or end up identifying as Autistic. So we go on anti-depression meds, feel better, get pregnant and make more Autistic babies! The genetic component to Autism is a real thing folks. We keep clutching at these environmental causes, but to what end? What are you all searching for, exactly. Then what will you do when you find “it”?
Autistic people have always been here and we wish to continue to be. We have advanced every area of society. At times we’ve been 100 years ahead of our Neurotypical counterparts, (it’s true, get Neurotribes for Christmas and see for yourself!) we just aren’t always the best at self promotion or wanting to be seen. The never ending search for answers leaves us wanting, now. Leaves us needing help, now. We can’t wait – we are here and we need you to listen and to not walk towards — but run towards — embracing a neurodiverse society where all parts make up the whole – not one part rules the rest.
Let Autistic adults help. Include us in all conversations about Autism and Autistic people. Stop using us as a way to incite fear. We can see and hear what you’re doing. We demand it end now. Before another life is needlessly taken.
One more is just too many. This stigma, the shame – it all needs to stop now. It’s literally killing us, one way or another.
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