To the Editors:
Alas, Gardiner Harris' descriptions of the adamance and hostility of certain autism=poisoning crusaders are all too believable. Controversy persists, in part, because many automatically disparage scientific studies that fail to validate their preexisting conclusions. Many are contemptuous not only of pharmaceutical companies, doctors and government officials, but also of parents, professionals, and autistic individuals who disagree with their theories. I am one parent who does not appreciate hearing incessant characterization of autistic individuals as "toxic" by those determined to establish autism as a tort and to gain popular validation for their choice of "autism cures." Unfortunately, visitors to online discussions these days too often encounter pronouncements like,
"Anyone who is not chelating to get rid of the mercury is guilty of child abuse. Every doctor who is not telling their patients to chelate is guilty of malpractice." (1)
"If you have an autistic child, he/she is never going to recover because you're ignoring biomedical treatment options. such as the DAN! approach. I'll pray for you and your kid. I'll pray very hard." (2)
One can hardly hold these parents at fault for seeking appropriate health care for their own children. Nonetheless, whether or not their conclusions about autism causation are valid, is it any wonder that others might be turned off by such judgmental evangelism?
27 June 2005