OK we expect that an organisation purporting to act in the best interests of Autistic people, has an idea about Autism, and what their focus is on to improve the lives of Autistic people. We further presume that it would be a united front.

Here is the problem though when it comes to Autism Speaks. From the days of their inception, their focus was mainly on biomedical research, and specifically, vaccines purported effect on Autism.
This has been used as a fear-mongering tactic to parents with Autism to get them support, according to Dr London who left Autism Speaks controversially http://autism.about.com/b/2009/07/01/second-resignation-from-autism-speaks-reflects-concerns-over-vaccine-related-research.htm

Dr London states “.the pivotal issue compelling my decision is the position which Autism Speaks is taking concerning vaccinations. The arguments which Dr. Dawson and others assert– that the parents need even further assurances and there might be rare cases of “biologically plausible” vaccine involvement –are misleading and disingenuous. Through its website and other communications, Autism Speaks has been influential and contributory in encouraging parents’ doubts. By preferentially investing and advocating for the use of limited financial resources on the “biological plausibility” argument, the organization is adversely impacting the advancement of autism research.”

This was not the first resignation on similar grounds. Alison Singer left the board for similar reasons as cited here
http://www.newsweek.com/2009/01/15/this-question-has-been-asked-and-answered.html

So the court ruling in which science had once and for all put the subject to bed, at least according to Andy Shih (Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Autism Speaks),  http://edition.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/09/03/measles.autism/index.html is the new position on vaccines as causal or contributing factors?

They surely are in one agreement on this very basic fact, right?

Yes! (Andy Shih): “We don’t know exactly what causes autism, but the prevailing theory is that there’s a genetic predisposition — and we know from twin studies that this genetic component is significant — and there are likely to be environmental factors. Unfortunately, we’re just not sure what the environmental factors are.” http://www.revolutionhealth.com/conditions/mental-behavioral-health/autism/just-diagnosed/tips-shih

No! Mark Rothimayr Autism Speaks President says “We know there’s a genetic predisposition, we know there are environmental triggers. The history of autism science is like where cancer science was 40 years ago — it needs to catch up. We need better diagnosis, we need better treatment.”

OK so that was a Yes or a No or that we are not so sure? I know! Ask the Chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks – Geraldine Dawson!

“In a prepared interview posted on the Autism Speaks Web site, the group’s chief science officer, Dr. Geri Dawson, says that scientific studies have found no link between thimerosal, a mercury preservative used in certain vaccines, and autism. Nor have they found a connection between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism.

“So … given what the scientific literature tells us today,” she says, “there is no evidence that thimerosal or the MMR vaccine cause autism” and “evidence does not support the theory that vaccines are causing an autism epidemic.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09228/991232-114.stm#ixzz11K1KiKJQ

OK that is a Yes.

What about this business with the Executive Vice president of Autism Speaks – Peter Bell?

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/02/david_kirby_and_autism_speaks_sittin_in.php

That is a definite no and looks a little underhanded by any reading.

So considering the fact that the organisation is having huge investment of money and has taken the mantle of the most powerful Autism charity in the world…why is there the division of opinion on such a basic issue at such a high level? It looks very much like opinions differ from person to person and that they simply do not agree and are not working together. If they are not working together as a unified group than honestly how can anyone believe or suggest that they are able to work collectively for Autistic people or those that care for Autistic people?

My contention by how I view this, is they simply can’t. By direct extension, they aren’t now.

From Bloke

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