No, obviously not.
PETA have proven once again what a crowd of pathetic people haters they are with their latest campaign, this time jumping on the bash-the-autistic-people bandwagon.
So much anti-scientific and unethical nonsense abounds in discussions about autism. One such example is the promotion of a supposed link between the proteins casein and gluten and autism. I wrote about this theory here, giving links to some of the published data on the subject, showing just one review claiming that a diet avoiding both these proteins was linked to parental reporting of a decrease in their children's "autistic traits," a nebulous set of criteria to measure, I think.
Anyway, the idiots at PETA have heard about these theories and decided to spin the autism hate and fear to suit themselves. They haven't even got their own stupid story straight, as the studies they mention are discussing possible correlation between autism and casein (in milk) combined with gluten. Do they want all children to go vegan and stop eating gluten too? Well, those fools probably do expect that. They say:
"Autism is a brain disorder that causes sufferers to have extreme difficulty communicating and relating to others. It is often marked by anti-social behavior like screaming and obsessive repetition of actions, which takes an enormous emotional toll on sufferers and their families. PETA has created a billboard to alert the public to the connection between this devastating disease and dairy-product consumption."
See how they have adopted the language of the previous soldiers against autism (ABA=cure adherents, anti-vaccine loons, biomedical quackery child abusers). See the soggy cereal making a big sad face, 'cos autism is so awful and dreadful.
I am angry about this. I am angry with all the lies and abuses, with these groups pushing their agenda by offending autistic people. I am angry that little children with autism are held down in the offices of unscrupulous medical practitioners while chelation agents are injected into them, I am angry that some children have to touch blue 5 times to get a sweetie in place of getting a decent education, I am angry many are forced to swallow bucket-loads of supplements and sit in HBOT tents, that others must spend hours listening to AIT tapes or drink the magic water of homeopathy instead of seeing proper doctors and having their medical issues sorted out properly. I am angry that these children are the guinea pigs for any quack out to make a buck or any dodgy researcher looking for a hook for funding of whatever crazy notion they can come up with. I'm angry that real needs like accommodation, inclusion and acceptance of autistic people are set aside while we have to battle these other evils. There's more, but I have to stop writing this at some stage.
As for diet and health links, this is not difficult. If you or your child appear to be among the many people allergic or intolerant to various food stuffs, it makes sense to have your concerns checked out by seeing your doctor or dietitian and if necessary, altering your diet to improve your health and quality of life.
Please sign this petition and read the following letter from The Autistic Self Advocacy Network:
Recently, the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a new ad campaign entitled, "Got Autism?", misleadingly implying that the consumption of milk is associated with the cause of the autism spectrum. PETA is misinforming the public about autism and thus joining a long line of unscrupulous groups that have sought to try and spread fear about autism as a means of pushing their particular agendas.
Attempts such as these treat individuals with disabilities as pawns in the efforts of other constituencies. By refusing to acknowledge the right of the autistic community to be referred to with respect instead of as the focus of public hysteria, PETA contributes to a state of affairs which marginalizes the disability community. People with disabilities, our families and our supporters deserve better than the exploitation and fear-mongering that comes about when disability is used as a means of scaring the general populace. For millions across the globe, the answer to PETA's "Got Autism?" question is an unequivocal yes. That should not spell the end of our lives or prevent us from being fully included throughout society. By exploiting us, PETA becomes a culprit in the social forces that marginalize people with disabilities and lead to the discrimination and prejudice that truly disable us.
Let PETA know how you feel about its choice to exploit autistic people by writing to them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 757-622-7382 and dial 0. In addition, we encourage you to express your support for these ads' swift withdrawal by signing this online petition.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036