Dan Olmsted is pissed at Autism Speaks and wants them to shut up and go away, all because of Dr. Dawson's coverage of the IOM report this past week.
Olmsted writes, proving there is no evidence he will consider that will allow him to reconsider his position: "vaccines do cause autism. Yes, the MMR causes autism. Yes, vaccine mercury causes autism. Yes, multiple vaccines too soon and too close together cause autism. They are the main driver of the autism epidemic." And your evidence, sir, that counters yet another IOM report showing they do not? Anecdotes are not evidence.
His second reason is because of the canary study and "Andy Wakefield's brave work, which of course Autism Speaks is too cowardly to get anywhere near, and all the subsequent research that confirms it."
The third reason is even better: Olsted says Autism Speaks is "The Man's favorite autism org."
Given that Katie Wright is an Age of Autism contributor, on the NAA's board, and Autism Speaks is a $10,000 bronze sponsor of their national conference this year (which Olmsted, Blaxill and Stagliano presented at last year but are not on the presenters' list this year), and the daughter of the founders of Autism Speaks, Olmsted's pissiness is interesting. Another interestng tidbit: from what I can glean from the wayback machine, Wakefield's spoken at the NAC since at least 2005, every single year, so Autism Speaks went into that sponsorship knowing he'd be there. If the NAC audience is as hostile as Olmsted, that sponsorship may not help bring more members of the community to AS.
It's sour grapes, is what it is, on Olmsted's point, and shows that for almost all of the Age of Autism writers (and perhaps supporters), it boils down to vaccines. Always to vaccines.
Olmsted writes about Autism Speaks, "If there was any value in its "awareness" campaign, it has been achieved; AS has no apparent further reason for being." This ignores the reality that AS is the second largest private-sector provider of research dollars, that for every $1 spent on research, $10 is leveraged, that the AS website has thousands of pages providing information, that it provides printed copies of 100-Day toolkits and transition toolkits for free to families and has several other toolkits for parents, that they have 17 centers in their Autism Treatment Network, that they provide emergency family grants, resourses for autistic individuals in the workplaces, and so much more.
Whether you like the organization or not, whether you think they've got a long way to go in making sure that adults on the spectrum are represented throughout their organization (and not just in volunteership), or you have some other criticism, the reality is that there is no organization with as broad a reach and with the capital to do as much as Autism Speaks does.
Going into hostile territory like the NAC seems to me to be foolhardy and unlikely to lead to more awareness in that population of what AS does and is working to do. But it's well above my pay grade. Then again, if I were paranoid, like, say someone who could write this, "AS is in survival mode and it will swat down or swallow anyone or anything that threatens it," I might think it was up to something and intends to "swallow" the NAA.
Good thing you're not an actual organization, Age of Autism. Shew. Or you might be next.