Guest: Steve Silberman
I used to think that vaccines caused autism…
To me, it was a slam dunk. Vaccines and their noxious ingredients were the obvious culprits, and no one could ever convince me otherwise..
But as time went on, I became less convinced. I guess you can say that I was “on the fence” about it, not completely certain yet still concerned about the impact of the expanded vaccine schedule on the health of our children.
Yet after spending the past couple weeks intensely studying the historical timeline of autism and Asperger’s, I can no longer sit on that fence.
I can say with the utmost certainty that vaccines are not even remotely responsible for the dramatic rise in autism diagnoses over the past few decades.
ADDENDUM: This is not to say that vaccines are not a contributing factor. As you will learn in today’s interview, there are 4 very significant reasons that the numbers spiked. These include a change to a much broader diagnostic criteria for autism in the DSM-IV, increased awareness via the movie Rain Man, the availability of reliable diagnostic testing, improved access to psychiatric services, and a very critical typo in the DSM-IV that went unaddressed for half a decade. These factors have largely been overlooked and are the focus of today’s episode. The intention of the broadened criteria was to cause a spike in diagnoses so that those diagnosed could receive the services they needed and were not getting without a diagnosis. It was intentional. The rise in numbers was not due to vaccines alone. This is what the podcast is about.
Yeah, I should probably know better than to make such a bold statement. I mean, we all know what happened after my Gluten Lie episode…
But that’s how I really feel. Or as one of my Facebookers posted recently, “My opinion changes with new information.”
While vaccine injuries do in fact happen, and while I do think that vaccines contain potentially hazardous ingredients, I do not believe that vaccines are the driving force behind the relatively recent spike in autism incidence.
Honestly, I feel like anyone who has ever studied the history of the condition — what went on before Raymond Babbitt’s cross-country road trip or Dr. Wakefield’s sketchy study — will very likely agree with me.
Unfortunately, this history had been long forgotten and replaced by the prevailing myth that autism is a contemporary epidemic rooted in our modern ways — processed foods, toxins, nutrient deficiencies, and immunizations.
There’s nothing modern about autism. Those children (and adults) were always there. It’s just that no one knew what to call them or what to do with them.
But they were there.
Lest we allow history to conveniently omit the many thousands of children misdiagnosed as schizophrenic or psychotic and institutionalized for the duration of their lives due to a rigid diagnostic criteria that considered autism not only “rare” but caused by “toxic parenting.”
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a book written with the intention of restoring the historical timeline of autism so that we can more clearly see autism for what it was and is — a condition with a lengthy past caught up in a volatile meld of war, ego, psychiatric trends, and … a typo.
A really BIG typo.
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Silberman, the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. Our mission: To set the record straight about the recent “explosion” of autism diagnoses.
Here’s what we talked about:
– How Adolf Hitler sent our understanding of autism back 40-50 years.
– The man who shamed thousands of parents by blaming autism on “refrigerator mothers.”
– BOMBSHELL: A single-word typo in a diagnostic manual that changed the face of autism.
– How the anti-vaccine movement may be hampering the efforts for improved services and education for autistic children and adults.
PLUS, a huge announcement about The Digestion Sessions!
This is easily the most important episode I’ve recorded in a long while. Please listen with an open mind.
Click the PLAY button at the top of this post to listen.
Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the episode!