I’m not very active in the Autism activist groups because to be honest with you I’ve always found the families of those with autism to be a splintered and factional group. One group that has consistently led to division within the community and nearly cost us the Combating Autism Act (CAA), which President Bush just signed full funding for, is the group that believes thimerosal is the cause of autism. This group, by and large, is so militant and divisive in its beliefs that it drags the rest of the community down.
Hopefully that camp has been dealt a death blow with this study. I’m sure there will be some hard-liners that won’t accept this but I’m also hopeful more and more research will come along that will put this issue to bed. It needs to go away and I have firmly believed that thimerosal has no causal relationship with autism.With this out of the way hopefully the community can work on the other splintering faction — the “cure” camp versus the “treatment” camp. To me I agree that much more research is needed into the cause(s) of autism and I think the CAA gives new hope for that. However, I think it’s far more important we work on identifying children suffering from autism earlier than we currently are as current research shows those children make far better progress. Additionally we need to focus on how we teach these children. I’m a very lucky man, my son is in a program at New Connections Academy completely oriented towards educating children with “high functioning” autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, there are many families with sons (and it is startling just how many of them are boys versus girls) who don’t have that type of education available to them. Something definitely needs to be done to better educate the kids on the spectrum and offer those educational services to the vast number of kids we are currently missing.
Hopefully the great thimerosal scare is over and we can move on to many more important issues surrounding autism.