Academic journal article Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry

New Information That People in High Places Do Not Want Us to Know about Autism

Academic journal article Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry

New Information That People in High Places Do Not Want Us to Know about Autism

Article excerpt

Until the 1930s, the term "autism" was not mentioned in the literature. Until then, vaccination programs did not exist in the United States. Leo Kanner applied the term "early infantile autism," detailing 11 cases of children born in 1931. He thought these children seemed like they inhabited a world of one, hence the term "autism," originally derived from Bleuler (1911). Kanner furnished the following description: "aloneness that, whenever possible, disregards, ignores, shuts out anything that comes to the child from the outside." He initially claimed parents of children with autism were often cold and humorless perfectionists (Kanner, 1943), considering them to be "emotional refrigerators," a characterization that haunted him, one he deeply regretted and ultimately recanted. There has been a significant rise in autism. Some of this is probably due to looser definitions, widened to include a broad "spectrum" of behaviors. However, even when I tightened up the criteria for inclusion, I still was able to observe a rather sizeable-in fact, dramatic and alarming-increment. Curious about why this might be so, I began to investigate. I discovered a great deal of secrecy, nontransparency, obstructionism, mystification, and even falsification of data in which people in high places were engaged. This article is intended to disclose facts heretofore obscured, hidden, or reassembled in fanciful ways and to raise questions and make scientific statements and social commentary on this highly important issue. Possible sources of toxicity are listed.

Keywords: autism; thimerosal; neurotoxin; Kanner; healthy skepticism; eco- pollutant

Until 1930, autism - or, more properly, symptoms that we currently associate with autism - was not mentioned to any extent in the professional literature. One of the first references to early infantile autism (in fact, its very name, derived from Bleuler, 1911) came in 1943 from Leo Kanner, a child psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University. He detailed 11 cases of children born in 1931 that he said were markedly and uniquely different from anything previously reported. What distinguished these children from others, said Kanner, was that even though most of these children could be classified as feebleminded, they all seemed to have good cognitive potential because he thought that they had strikingly intelligent physiognomies.

Behaviorally, Kanner felt that these children inhabited a world of one; thus, he furnished the following description: "aloneness that, whenever possible, disregards, ignores, shuts out anything that comes to the child from the outside" (1943, p. 41). In his initial reports, he described parents of the children he first observed with autism as cold, humorless perfectionists (Kanner, 1943, 1954a). He coined the unfortunate phrase that branded many parents for generations with the perception that they were unfeeling and uncaring. He wrote, "Emotional refrigeration which the children experience from such parents cannot but be a highly pathogenic element in the patients' early personality development, superimposed powerfully on whatever predisposition has come from inheritance." In his later years, he came to regret those words, absolving the parents of any responsibility for their children's condition. However, the damage had been done. Furthermore, others had picked up his earlier observations and held on to them, at great cost to the parents of children with autism. Not only did they have to undergo all the anguish and struggles inherent in caring for and loving their children, but now they also had to suffer through the indignities emanating from the misguided judgments of supposedly sensitive "professionals" and those that might have been influenced by their words.

In 1964, Bernard Rimland published an important study demonstrating that autism is indeed awful but that it is not necessarily related to awful parenting. In 2002, as head of the Autism Research Institute, he wrote, "It is remarkable, in retrospect, that none of the children were seen in Kanner's first 12 years of practice [Kanner had seen more than 20,000 children subsequent to the 11 on which he based his initial reports], and all 11 were born after 1930, when, as it happens, mercury-containing vaccines were first used in this country. …

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