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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Michael Savage's remarks on autism

Shock Jock Michael Savage is in hot water again this time for a stating his belief that 99% of Autism cases are fake. He has taken a beating from parents of autistic children and those who lobby for them. However, let us play devil's advocate for a moment... Are Savage's comments mean spirited or could there be some truth to it? Are children who are diagnosed with autism and Asperger's syndrome (Considered a high functioning form of Autism) being over diagnosed? Are the diagnostic criteria for Autism and Asperger's really too broad and too flawed that otherwise ordinary playful children are labeled with this devastating disorder for playful weird behavior?

First, we should put Savage's comments into context. Consider his remarks about minority children with Asthma:

"Why was there an asthma epidemic amongst minority children? Because I will tell you why: The children got extra welfare if they were disabled, and they got extra help in school. It was a money racket. Everyone went in and was told [fake cough], 'When the nurse looks at you, you go [fake cough], "I don't know, the dust got me." ' See, everyone had asthma from the minority community. Now, the illness du jour is autism. You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don't have a father around to tell them, "Don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don't sit there crying and screaming, idiot." Autism -- everybody has an illness. If I behaved like a fool, my father called me a fool. And he said to me, "Don't behave like a fool." The worst thing he said -- "Don't behave like a fool. Don't be anybody's dummy. Don't sound like an idiot. Don't act like a girl. Don't cry." That's what I was raised with. That's what you should raise your children with. Stop with the sensitivity training. You're turning your son into a girl, and you're turning your nation into a nation of losers and beaten men. That's why we have the politicians we have!"

Michael's comments seemed harsh but when we put it into context, we see that Michael is in reality speaking out against over diagnosing and misapplying labels. He defended his comments well on Larry King live with Glenn Beck. Here are some highlights:

BECK: But, Michael, what did you really mean?
SAVAGE: Ah-ha, very funny.
BECK: Michael Savage, I'm a guy who has been taken out of context all the time. We wanted to make sure we played a full cut. It seems pretty clear you don't really believe autism exists?
SAVAGE: No, no, no, no. Again, you took what they gave you but you didn't take the entire preceding material. Preceding this, Glenn, was a discussion of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has had the nerve to say that children as young as two years of age should be given anti-cholesterol drugs.
BECK: Right.
SAVAGE: There's been not one study about the damage this would do or potentially do to two year-olds, and yet you have had doctors come out and say these drugs should be given to the children. This was in the broader context of the over-medicalization, the over- diagnose of disease, using our children as profit centers. I've spent all day saying what a shame it is that I, as man who has spent his entire life defending the defenseless, mainly children, should have to defend myself from charges leveled at me by men who specialize in hating families and children, namely Media Matters who probably come after you as well, by ripping me out of contest and making me look like the monster that they are.
BECK: Michael, let me ask you this, I am a guy who has been taken out of context. I am a guy who has been called a monster and everything else. I understand context. Talk radio is extremely difficult to do in sound bites because it is a three-hour running monologue, especially with somebody like you. But when you say 99 percent of the cases are brats who should be told to cut the act out and not act like morons, as a dad with a child with special needs, boy that cuts right.
SAVAGE: I understand what you're saying. If you heard the entire show, you would have heard me addressing those comments to the misdiagnosed, false diagnosed and outright racketeers, as opposed to the general category of autistic children. Glen, let me say this again, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that all children be screened for ALD, that's autism, at the 18 to 24 month level. In England, the UK National Screening Committee recommends against screening for autism in this young general population. Why? Because screening tools haven't been fully validated and treatments and intervention lack sufficient evidence for effectiveness, meaning there is no definitive diagnose, no biomedical diagnose, no blood test, no MRI's which will prove definitively that a child has autism. It's become such a gigantic category that overly bright children are being put into this category. why is this happening? How could there be an epidemic that's come out of nowhere, where one out of 150 children suddenly have an illness that hardly existed 20 years ago. You have to use common sense here.

Keep in mind Michael Savage was not denying the existence of autism. Glenn Beck even came out and admitted that he too had a special needs child with disabilities. Savage Had this to say about genuine autistic children:

SAVAGE: First of all, truly autistic children need treatment and help. And they should get all of the money and services that are available. My comments are directed at the falsely diagnosed, misdiagnosed or outright fraudulently diagnosed children who are basically using money they shouldn't be getting. Glen, how often have you seen people pull into handicap zones with blue placards, who get out of their car and look well. The minute they see you looking at them askance, they pull out a cane and start hobbling. Those are the people I'm addressing here. I know there is little time to cover. I say let the truly autistic be treated. Let the falsely diagnosed be treated. Do you know that right now they have broadened the definition of autism to such a thing as called the autistic spectrum. What does that mean? What is the autistic spectrum? Kids with a very high IQ or simply late in talking could fall into that category? Should we take people who where glasses and put them into the blindness spectrum? Should we take people with moles on their face and put them into a category called the cancer spectrum and treat them as such?What I am saying is many parents, unfortunately, have been urged to let their children be labeled autistic. Why? To get money for speech therapy or other conditions from grants that are available to deal with autism.

Shortly after a commercial break Beck interviewed several autistic experts who attempted to refute Savage's claims of fraud and over diagnosis. No doubt, they are looking out for their own interests instead of the interests of children and families. One of these men was Dr. Jay Gordon, a pediatrician who had these comments:

DR. JAY GORDON, PEDIATRICIAN: I disagree very strongly. I think you put Mr. Savage's comments in context, not out of context. In my 30 years of taking care of children, I haven't seen an over-diagnosis of autism and delays, I've seen an under-diagnosis. Because of what he said without any facts to support him, some children will be hurt. As the doctor just said, we need to be aware. We need to diagnose children early and help them. There are children on the autism spectrum that will have trouble in academic settings and in social settings. And the earlier that we identify these children, we can get them the help that we need. There are going to be people who are uninformed enough to believe Mr. Savage and children will be hurt by his comments.

Get this ladies and gentlemen, we've been hearing over and over again about the raging epidemic of autism and Asperger’s in children, how your child is more likely to be autistic than being struck by lightning and so on. Yet according to a quack there is not over diagnosis in fact, there is an under diagnosis! In other words we have not even scratched the surface and millions and millions of children are walking around oblivious of autism and Asperger’s!

The attacks against Michael Savage may have more to do with the pay checks of fraudulent doctors such as Jay Gordon then whether Savage's remarks were offensive. In truth the Autism industry is a profitable industry that destroys the lives of families and individuals while allowing doctors, psychiatrists, lobbyists, government employees and others to line their pockets. The misapplication of Aspergers' and Autism is devastating.

As Michael Savage mentioned in Europe doctors are discouraging mandatory screening of Autism and Asperger's because the diagnostic tools are not all efficient and the screening tools are not readily available! But the American Academy of Pediatrics is more interested in making money for themselves, for schools, for crooked doctors, social workers, case workers, government administration and others. Rest assured that all of this will be done at the expense of not just their victims but American Tax payers as well. In fact many states such as My home state of Maine already require mandatory screening of children entering the school system for Autism and Aspergers. There is not telling how many children have been misdiagnosed and have been subject to painful and distressing interventions and therapies as well as being subject to being followed for the rest of their lives with the stigma of being labeled Autistic. Michael Savage in fact has done us all a service with his courageous stance.

In future articles I intend to further show how BIG Government, psychiatrists, schools and other institutions are using Autism to promote an unscrupulous agenda. I will also introduce you to an old freind of mine from Maine who was falsely diagnosed with Asperger's for being cruely abused and raped in school by classmates, and how his parents abused him using that labeled and caused him to become unemployed and homeless in Los Angeles Skid Row and how he overcame the stigma of being labeled and abused.