Well, I guess it's that time of year again. In accordance with the combating autism act, the IACC is asking for input from U.S. citizens. It's time for Gadfly to do his civic duty as an American citizen and adult with autism and offer his thoughts.
The form was very bureaucratic and difficult as is typical for the government in general and the IACC in particular. So I will just go into the gist of what my suggestions were. I realize that this was probably about as effective as writing a letter to Santa Claus but I did it anyhow. Also, the IACC and the combating autism act have been a pretty big joke since their inception and I am not terribly optimistic about this act being able to produce research or other things that will help persons with autism.
I stated that I was concerned about how the IACC allows certain members of the neurodiversity movement, namely Ari Ne'eman and Katie Miller to testify before its committee. They are naturally testifying against a cure for autism and research that could result in prevention of someone becoming autistic. This defeats the entire purpose of the combating autism act. I suggested that they and others like them not be allowed to testify or give their thoughts. Members of the neurodiversity movement protested this law and then hypocritically embraced it after it passed and found they had a soapbox on which to present their platform to the government. I wrote about this previously
I also wrote that I believed that at least one person on the spectrum who is in favor of a cure and prevention of autism be appointed as a public member of the IACC. The combating autism act stated that at least one public member would have to be on the spectrum. Currently that person is Stephen Shore, an autistic who opposes curing and preventing autism. I said that I did not believe that Stephen should be a public member of the IACC because he disagrees with the principles of the combating autism act.
I wrote about my concern that both Shore and John Robison are allowed to review grants for research that is publically funded. Both of these individuals have expressed opposition to a cure for at least some ASD's. Also, I don't believe either of them has the necessary qualifications to review this research. I believe that people should be chosen on their merit rather than on their ability to get a lot of autism conference speaking engagements or their ability to write a commercially successful memoir.
I wrote about discontinuing research on vaccines as I believe there is no proof that vaccines cause autism and so far there is evidence that they don't. Also if you read the 2003 california report the tripling of prevalence between 1970 and 1990 does not correspond with an increase in the vaccination schedule. So there is not even a correlation let alone proof of causation. I have written more about this elsewhere
I also urged them that if Morton Ann Gernsbacher is receiving federal funding for her research that this funding be discontinued immediately. This is someone who has written that autism is not harmful
I also voiced concern about the lack of published adult outcomes in Lovaas' 1987 research. This is in spite of the NIMH funding that Lovaas received to publish these adult outcomes. I suggested that funding for ABA be discontinued until these outcomes have been published in a peer reviewed journal.
I also wrote about what could be done in addition to not what should be done. I suggested using Rhesus monkeys as an animal model of autism in light of the research done by Harry Harlow in which he isolated the rhesus monkeys and they showed traits similar to autism, such as rocking and self-mutilatory behaviors. I suggested that elderly persons with autism be found and be persuaded to will their brains to science. Also, suggested that research on norepinephrine as a causative basis of autism be funded, as the dorsal tegmental bundle which is the main norepinephrine tract in the brain travels through parts of the brain that have been implicated in autism such as the cerebellum and hippocampus.
I also suggested job training program for adolescents and young adults on the spectrum.
Of course, I won't hold my breath for too long waiting for the IACC to enact any of my suggestions.