« 54th Skeptics’ Circle | Main | The Secret »

February 16, 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I missed RFK's suggestion about studying the Amish.

I grew up near an Amish community in PA. I don't know if it's autism or not, but children with mental development problems are actually pretty common.

RFK can't even pull it over Gabolicious, some teenager who writes about her imaginary flirtation sessions with her TAs - bwahahaha!

If he teams up with David Kirby, together they could combine their powers of persuasion to convince some sorority ladies to drink a beer.

If he teams up with David Kirby, together they could combine their powers of persuasion to convince some sorority ladies to drink a beer.

There are a LOT of reasons why that would never happen.

As someone with Asperger's from a family of people with ASD I think there are some pretty simple explanations for the rise in the diagnosis of PDD.

Asperger's Syndrome was not internationally recognised until the early to mid 1990's. Hence it didn't come into general psychiatry as a diagnosis until that time and after - meaning that only the current generation (children) are being diagnosed. Worldwide, adults are generally being diagnosed as the children in their families are diagnosed or as they become aware of what Asperger's and PDD are and seek help. As we also know, the diagnostic criteria for other PDDs has widened.

Asperger's and HFA show a tendency to run in families (anecdotally because 3/4 of people with Asperger's or HFA marry someone else with Asperger's or with Asperger's like behaviours).

Many adults with Asperger's and HFA have come to terms with their condition without the help of diagnosis, medication or psychiatry and many of these adults will never be diagnosed or officially counted. And so the figures will continue to be skewed towards the current under 30's generation as these children are discovered during their school career.

As an Aspie and a parent and partner of Aspies, yes, I would love for there to be a simple explanation. It would be great to point to mercury and say that I can be confident that my grandchildren will never have Asperger's, HFA or another PDD. I can understand those folks who do. It's just unfortunate that all that devoted, loyal and stubborn parental energy is going to waste on a red herring. I don't know the entire cause of Asperger's or any other PDD, but we have to accept that we don't know exactally where it comes from. And we have to accept that it is probably far, far more complex than simply blaming one chemical, one source or one cause.

RFK Jr. recently gave a talk at Illinois State University. They have posted the audio of his talk and Q&A session online. During the Q&A a parent of an autistic child thanked RFK Jr. for his work and asked why parents of autistic kids have less political pull than pharmaceutical companies. RFK Jr. then went on at great length about thimerosal and autism. It sounds quite a bit like the monologue described above. The link to the Q&A session is:


The part about autism is about 3 minutes into the audio.


The comments to this entry are closed.

Search site