Half the readership of this blog are in the United States. If there is a good cause you are looking to support during the festive season, and you care about science, may I suggest the following.
At the Autism Science Foundation, we fund scientists who are learning about the causes of autism and developing new treatments, asking new questions and working in teams to improve the lives of people with autism. Each new year holds the opportunity for all of us to enhance the lives of our family members with autism.
I am writing this at 5:45am. My brother, who has severe learning difficulties, autism and complex medical needs which include seizures, has been up since 3:45am. Sleeping in the lounge opposite his bedroom I am providing reassurance, giving him drinks, pad changes, playing his favourite CDs, puffing up pillows and tucking up between him getting up to dance (with or without music) – because after five hours sleep when he wakes he is usually wide awake for the rest of the day. If I am lucky he may go back to sleep for a bit.
Today is meant to be a family day out Christmas shopping, and a planned trip to the cinema to see “Skyfall” for me after. Right now, I’m thinking of sleeping through the day as infinitely more preferable. To be honest sleep wins over leisure time increasingly these days.
He is 29 years old – and he will need twenty four hour care till the day he dies.
Just as it takes a whole family to fix the holiday feast, and large teams of scientists to develop new autism treatments, it takes a community of supporters to make ASF’s year-end fundraising campaign, the Recipe4Hope, a success. 100% of your donation to our Recipe4Hope campaign will go directly to funding pre- and post-doctoral grants that put young autism researchers to work unlocking the causes of autism and finding treatments that make a difference.
My mother went through much to try and find out what caused autism. When my brother was born the main idea was the mother experiencing stress during pregnancy being the reason. This unscientific view then among the medical profession allowed my mum to embrace other ideas, like Allergy Induced Autism, and that maybe vaccinations were a cause. Whilst the research has moved on from blaming the mother, there are still people trying to slay invisible dragons.
I’ll note that there are groups out there claiming to be autism advocates but are more accurately described as being antivaccination, such as Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue. Autism Speaks is another big autism advocacy group, but it continues to spend a lot of money trying to find a link between vaccines and autism, despite all the evidence that no such link exists.
In fact, Autism Speaks got so bad with their vaccine witch hunting that Alison Singer, their vice president, vocally resigned from the organization. As I pointed out at the time, “Throwing more money at a problem that doesn’t exist cannot solve it.”
What did Singer do next? She founded (and is now president of) the Autism Science Foundation. And that’s how I know they’ll do their research right. That, plus having on their Board of Directors the science hero Paul Offit, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a man who fights tirelessly against antivaxxers, is a definite plus in their favor.
It looks like the “Ocean Surf” CD has finally settled him. Time is almost 6:30am. Just hop upstairs to put the hot water, so after a few hours kip I can do his personal care.
“ASF is a dream come true,” said Marian. “Science and autism treatments are huge for me and my family. There is so much out there as a parent to read. It’s good to know that ASF cuts through the pseudoscience and shares trusted studies.” Source Ibid
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog