One of my favourite blogs about parenting a person with autism is A Mother and Son’s Journey. I only discovered it when the lady who writes it, the mother of the title, commented on one of my posts strongly disagreeing with my views on vaccines. Why do I love this blog? Well, for a start my comments aren’t censored and much more importantly, I learn an awful lot. I’ve read nearly every post because as well as my little Pwdin there are other, older children in my family with autism and my husband works with young adults with disabilities – a number of whom are on the autism spectrum – he gets a lot from it too. Here is a good mother whose experiences I can and do learn from, whose opinion I respect, though I may not always agree with on every issue, who is further along the journey our family are on.
In many ways the autism parents’ community though enormous in number is pretty divided. When a mother of a child with low functioning autism created a new Facebook page it quickly got a lot of interest. The page “Autism – an Epidemic of Misdiagnosis” is run by one Deb Marree. Ms Marree, it is clear, believes that vaccines cause autism – a glance at the page’s “Likes” attests to that. No matter because this page is nothing to do with that unless you suggest the vaccine-autism link to be non-existent in which case your comments will be deleted and you will probably get banned. I’m banned. I didn’t mention vaccines once. I was banned for expressing that I don’t find Deb Marree’s language appropriate in regards to autism. Here is the unedited thread (It now appears dear Deb is talking to herself https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=249425158469934&id=244001885679352¬if_t=share_reply):
Autism Epidemic of Misdiagnosis. It’s a beautiful scene of true Autism and the norm.
18 hours ago · Like
Me. True autism as opposed to false autism?
3 hours ago · Like
Autism Epidemic of Misdiagnosis. True Autism/real Autism. All words commonly used in the Autism Community. Non-verbal/language impairment that is present throughout their whole life.
What is your definition of false Autism ?
2 hours ago · Like
I have no definition of false autism. People who have verbal communication can be truly autistic. So are people with Aspergers. I’m very familiar with the autism community and I rarely hear or see “true” used to refer to people at the low f…See more
about an hour ago · Like · 2
Me. Not by people who have any respect for those with HFA or Aspergers and acknowledge that they truly have autism. I have a very low functioning little autist with huge developmental delays and I would never refer to his autism as “true” or “real” for precisely the reasons I’ve indicated
7 minutes ago · Like
Autism Epidemic of Misdiagnosis. This is a reality page M, and reality is that words like ‘real’ and ‘true’ when referring to their severe/low functioning child, are used, no more than ‘intelligent’ is used to describe Aspergers.
3 minutes ago · Like
Me. And people with Aperger’s and HFA readily take offence at that so why do so when there are more descriptive terms you could use that don’t exclude others? I would use the word intelligent to describe any intelligent person wherever they may be on the spectrum. It certainly isn’t pejorative
Sunday at 23:26 · Like
I didn’t even get the chance to say just because there are many ignorant and intolerant people in the world who commonly use “Mong” in relation to individuals with Down Syndrome and “Spaz” to describe people with cerebral palsey in no way makes that acceptible. Who knows, if her reply would have warranted it, I may even have stated that I did not think her to be ignorant or intolerant. I can now hold the opinion that she is both in equal measure – I have seen no evidence to the contrary.
Evidence of ignorance
Deb thinks Tourettes Syndrome and Asperger’s are pretty much the same thing:
Autism Epidemic of Misdiagnosis.Tourettes Syndrome. A disorder that has all the symptoms that people with Aspergers have, minus the involuntary tics. How can a brain disorder be separated for this reason only ?? Please share.
Deb Marree doesn’t distinguish between speech and language…especially when it comes to impairment – one of the reasons she won’t accept that Asperger’s is an autistic spectrum disorder. Thankfully, there are still a few people who she hasn’t banned (yet) who can point out her error:
SSG: There are absolutely language impairments in Asperger’s. Not speech impairments, but language impairments, definitely. Asperger’s shares almost all diagnostic criteria of classic autism, it is a matter of severity of symptoms. So, yes, people with Asperger’s can speak, but they still have a language impairment, in pragmatic language.
Some comment(s) missing?
SSG …kids with Asperger’s show difficulty with pragmatic language across the board. This is a real disability, just because you can’t see it, or understand it, doesn’t make it not real.
It gets more ridiculous when Deb dips her toe into oncology (incidentally, this statement is in reply to a woman who has stated her husband is dying of cancer and has clearly been patronised by those reciting the acid gambit before now):
Autism Epidemic of Misdiagnosis. I stand by what i say as i have people on my friends list who have CURED cancer. You just don’t GET cancer, you encourage it by your choice of foods. If you eat meat, have sugar and mostly live on carbs.. your body will turn acidic causing cancer. The only thing that prevents cancer is an alkaline diet. GOOGLE IT.
She refers the commenter to the work of Robert O. Young. This man, “the master of acid-base woo” as Orac has declared him, believes cancer to be caused by an excess of acid. Even viruses, like the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes most cervical cancers is merely a “molecular acid” demonstrating a distinct misunderstanding (I’m being as kind as I can be about a dangerous quack) of the meaning of the words “molecular” and “virus”. His mantra is. “You cannot be sick and alkaline.”
To another comment by a different individual:
Autism Epidemic of Misdiagnosis. D, cancer is caused by acid. Just like a fish in a fish tank. Our bodies are no different. If you want to ignore the fact that an acidic lifestyle causes cancer, then you will die. Simple as that. Our bodies are designed to live in an alkaline environment.
Evidence of Intolerance…
…beyond banning just about everyone who disagrees with Deb.
Hey Aspies! Get your own damn spectrum.
Autism Epidemic of Misdiagnosis. So, why does Tourettes have its own spectrum. If Tourettes can, why can’t Aspergers… who already HAVE their own name? There are no language/impairment difficulties in both.
Even those who are supportive have rumbled Deb’s game:
Gxxxxxx Bxxxx: LOL note to self, to get great exposure simply piss off a certain section of a so called community.
Evidence of Lying
Autism Epidemic of Misdiagnosis. I only ban people who harass and are only here to troll.
Autism Epidemic of Misdiagnosis. Rxxxxx, i am banning the ones who have been sent over here by Zoey Roberts to attack me and my page….
…No-one sent me anywhere thank you, Ms Marree!
Her ranting and railing is, she contends a protest that people with low functioning autism don’t get a lot of media attention. I would have to disagree and would further contend that the anti-vaccine movement of which she is a part have done much harm to the perception of the severely autistic by labelling them as “damaged goods”. Those with high functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome hog the limelight, according to Deb Marree, a woman who, clearly, wants it all to herself. Damn you Rainman! Damn you Dustin Hoffman – it’s Deb’s turn to misrepresent autism now!