Normal Is Overrated

Musings and meanderings on the autistic spectrum

April 4, 2009

Mr. Handley, we’re standing right here…

I was planning on posting about the ridiculously frustrating Larry King interview from last night with Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, and J. B. Handley, but Joseph at Autism: Natural Variation beat me to it. So I’ll just let you read his post instead. It’s well worth it.

I will, however, comment on one particular line of the interview that made me just want to scream at my set for its utter wrongness (as taken from the official transcript):

HANDLEY: I want to talk about this issue of autism prevalence. It’s going to be shocking for parents to learn that the CDC and the AAP don’t actually acknowledge that there’s been a real rise in autism cases. Larry, the Department of Education in 1992, 16,000 kids were getting autism services. Today 225,000. That means in 1992, they were missing 93 percent of kids with autism. Where are all the adults with autism? They don’t exist.

Not only is that, as Joseph says, completely wrong, it’s also logically inconsistent with itself. Let’s see: If there were 16,000 kids getting autism services in 1992, those 16,000 kids would be… I don’t know, over age 18 now, since it’s been over 18 years since 1992 they were already in elementary school 17 years ago (I once again demonstrate that I’m horrible at arithmetic). Which, last time I checked, would make them adults.

So Handley must think that every one of those 16,000 individuals has either been cured or died, I guess. I’m curious as to which.

And that’s completely ignoring the issue of diagnostic substitution— I was undiagnosed in 1992 because Asperger’s and other high-functioning forms of autism just weren’t on people’s radar back then— which, as Joseph’s post points out (and which Dr. Max Wiznitzer also attempted to correct, but was cut off by the show ending), Handley also got wrong.

This seems to me to be one of those sorts of cases that Keunwoo Lee termed fractally wrong.

Filed under: Controversies,Vaccines — codeman38 @ 11:41 pm

2 Comments »

  1. I can’t imagine Handley was being honest when he said autistic adults don’t exist. He has talked to autistic adults. He has an autistic adult writing for AoA. It makes zero sense for him to have said that.

    Additionally, he must be aware of the countless times this has been discussed previously.

    Comment by Joseph — April 5, 2009 @ 9:41 am

  2. Great term, “fractally wrong”.
    But if it’s dishonesty rather than ignorance, then the correct term is “rotten to the core”.

    Comment by Phil Schwarz — April 6, 2009 @ 12:10 am

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