autism speaks

Autism Speaks – about that 1 in 68 statistic…

Autism Speaks uses tactics that promote a fear of autism in order to scare people into donating to their organization. Unsurprisingly, they have pounced on the latest CDC prevalence data to promote their agenda – that autism is a public health crisis.

On their blog they have a guest post from none other than Dr. Bob Sears, a man responsible for spreading misinformation about vaccines endangering his patients and more. One of Dr. Sears’ patients was found to be the cause of a 2008 measles outbreak in San Diego. Dr Sears, in line with Autism Speaks’ fear-based message, suggests that autism is increasing at a tremendous rate:

as a full-time practicing pediatrician, I’m having the “I’m worried your toddler may have autism” talk with parents almost every week now. It used to be a few times each year, when I started practicing back in 1998.

Let’s see what the CDC has to say about their figures:

I would just like to add that we recognize now that autism is a spectrum, so I think in the past we thought of children as being severely affected, meaning children with intellectual disability, children who were nonverbal, children with a host of co-occurring conditions, that was the picture of autism, I think, about ten years ago. Our understanding has evolved to the point that we understand now that there are children with higher IQs and children who perhaps are even not receiving special education services. So our understanding of autism has changed over time, and I think that our numbers may be reflective of some of that, as well.

Please note – I can’t speak for the CDC’s Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp regarding the above quote but I assume she did not intend to imply that all “severely affected” autistic children are intellectually disabled.

Autism is a developmental disability that has always been here and it’s nothing to be afraid of.

Let’s #lightituptrue this April and #boycottautismspeaks

Boycott Autism Speaks

Image description: Picture is a meme showing Inigo Montoya, a character from the movie The Princess Bride. Text reads: You keep saying 1 in 68. I do not think that stat means what you think it means.

Thanks to Gingerheaddad for letting us use his meme.

Light It Up True is a campaign running in April to counter the misinformation and outright lies spread by Autism Speaks. We will be sharing some truths about both autism and the largest so-called ‘autism charity’ in the United States.

This campaign is part of a larger one called Boycott Autism Speaks. Please go to to find out more.


6 thoughts on “Autism Speaks – about that 1 in 68 statistic…

  1. A crash course in statistical reasoning from an Autistic Statistician:

    Sample based estimates (i.e. statistics) are always subject to uncertainty and chance fluctuations. They are limited in precision and this margin of error is carried through the calculations. If a change in estimates is smaller than the margin of error, then it is not statistically significant (by definition).

    This 1/68 crap is a change from approximately 1.13% to 1.47% prevalence. This has to be the smallest, slowest ‘epidemic’ I have ever seen.

    I made a graph to help illustrate. This is from the previous 2008 report so I’ll have to get around to updating this.

    I’ve seen some scaremongering about it hitting 1/15 = 6.67%. According to my calculations (and assuming a constant rate), that won’t happen until the end of this century.

  2. why are you against the world recognizing autism awareness day/month, like breast cancer (that fund is skeptical at best), melanoma, gastroschisis, severe weather awareness week, road workers awareness week…? Why can’t we all just embrace the fact that the world needs to recognize the disorder and talk about it, relate it to daily living amongst youth, bullying, friendships that can be made. Why dissect it into brackets?

    1. One of the answers to your question is in your question. Autism isn’t cancer, nor is it a disease. Autism never killed anyone (although people tragically are killed for being autistic). Keep an eye out as I do have a something planned to address the issue of awareness, with links to some great posts.

  3. It is very worthwhile to note that these revisions are extremely suspect on their face. If diabetes or cancer organisations increased their incidence estimates upwards as much as Autism Speaks For Normie ___ did, they would be experiencing some pointed queries from tax offices. The only discernible purpose of these revisions is scaremongering.

    The world’s population is exploding in spite of concerted efforts to halt this explosion. During the 2000s, the global Human population was estimated at six or more billion. The newspaper headline I saw during a visit to my sister’s home that proclaimed the seven billionth birth was dated in December 2011.

    If you look at it in mathematical terms, that means the planet’s total population grew 16.667 percent between December 2011 and a point I cannot remember in the 2000s. One global organisation that tracks that sort of thing pegs the date as 12 October, 1999. Remember that 16.667 percent part.

    If we believe Autism Speaks For Normie _____ and whomever they handed money under the table, from the time I was told that I am autistic to today, ten years at most, the number of autistic people in the world has gone up by 2.20588235294118 times. That is, more than 200 percent.

    Such a drastic upward revision begs questions. One, what do you gain out of raising numbers like this other than scaring people into giving you money, Autism Speaks For Normie _____? Second, were these revisions subject to *any* scientific scrutiny at all? Like a peer review? Or data checking? *Anything* that passes for scientific assessment? Because I believe that if we ask the Centre For Disease Control (who have no business with us to begin with) these questions, the answer will be exactly what they expect. Which of course begs the subquestion of how much money they have taken for each upward revision. Third, if one in 68 people are autistic, why have I never met one person outside of support groups or the like who I would even suspect of being autistic? In other words, these upward revisions severely contradict the experiences of real autistic people.

    The only hypothesis that these numbers support is an idea that autism is somehow contagious. Whilst I would not put it past Autism Speaks For Normie _____ to call for us to be isolated and segregated, the reality remains that without that idea, an adjustment from one in 150 to one in 68 cannot be supported or even plausible.

    The only explanation for these constant upward revisions that makes any sense is that Autism Speaks For Normie ______ want to promote fear of us. That makes seeing autistic people parrot these revisions instead of openly challenging and questioning them quite distressing for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s