Two weeks ago, I spoke to the St. Louis Skeptical Society at one of their monthly Skeptics In The Pub get-togethers. The topic was Skepticism In The Media (Or The Lack Thereof), and one of the items I touched on was the access given by Oprah Winfrey and others to anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy, who has an autistic child and has been spreading the lie that vaccines cause autism (which I’ve written about here many times).
After my speech, I was approached by Dr. Christina Stephens, a researcher and clinician at Washington University School of Medicine, who has done lots of work with autistic children. She shocked me by revealing that it looks like McCarthy’s child isn’t autistic after all, and then told me lots of interesting things about autism that I didn’t know (which is pretty much everything, since my entire exposure to anyone autistic was limited to seeing “Rain Man“).
I was so fascinated by what Christina told me that I invited her to join me this morning on KTRS/St. Louis for an extended discussion of the topic, from how “refrigerator mothers” were once blamed for their child’s autism to why diagnoses of autism have risen in the last decade to how therapy for these kids works, and more, including phone calls from some listeners with autistic children.
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