Magic masks, immune boosters & cleansing amulets: The persuasive power of Covid-19 pseudoscience

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The spread of pseudoscience myths has taken off like, well, a social contagion. Just a few weeks after the reality of Covid-19 hit North America, the snake oil vendors were already up and running. Here’s a quick rundown of some of what I’ve been seeing, which include bleach amulets, trojan advertorials for supplements and fake “coronavirus protection” masks.

Many marketers co-opt real terms of public health such as flatten the curve to lend a false legitimacy to their products, or they leverage products that are functional in one context to justify their use in a the pseudoscience context. These are both tried and true marketing strategies for pseudoscience and it’s no different during a pandemic.

What is especially alarming, though, is their use of conspiracy theory rhetoric to boost their sales.

Bleach amulets
The first Covid-related article of faith I saw online was a plastic amulet filled with hardened industrial bleach, with the claim it could ward off coronaviruses. It’s called the “Corona Necklace” and sellers claim it can kill off coronavirus up to one meter away. The Corona Necklace is made by some of the same people who make Miracle Medical Solution (MMS), a phony cure people also ingest, believing it can cure a variety of conditions including autism.

Like most pseudoscience purveyors, the bleach-cure marketers are always looking for a new disease to “cure” because it means more profits for them. Most successful pseudoscience marketers sell to multiple markets. In fact, this is a red flag for pseudoscience: If it can cure everything under the sun, it’s a fake for sure.

Pseudoscience marketers also leverage existing truths and then distort them–to get confused buyers to purchase their products. In times like these with a pandemic going on, there are ample opportunities for this. With increased public interest in bleach as a cleaner for surfaces such as sinks and countertops, it was a quick leap for marketers to assert that ingesting bleach could prevent the Covid. And for those who couldn’t quite stomach that idea (or for markets where their ingestibles had been banned by regulators), they created the hardened-bleach amulet.

Amulets serve a powerful role in culture. The idea of warding off evil spirits, death and disease with a symbol is ancient, and our ancient superstitions tend to resurface in times of uncertainty. Like now. Unfortunately, when people embrace magic protective objects instead of taking appropriate steps (for example, sheltering in place), they are endangering public health (More on that below).

Bogus face masks
Let’s move on to another pseudoscience product: bogus “protective” face masks. This scam also operates under the pseudoscience strategy of distorting existing truths to get confused buyers to make a purchase.

While communities are sewing cloth masks for health care professionals to wear over their functional face masks (N95s) to extend the life of the N95s, pseudoscience marketers are aggressively infiltrating this movement to promote masks to “protect yourself from Coronavirus”, DIY books and kits on Amazon and eBay and profit-turning #Masks4All YouTube videos. One YouTube video, which has gained more than half a million views in 48 hours, states that wearing cloth masks can significantly slow coronavirus”. Sellers have co-opted familiar terms from science like flatten the curve for their own unscientific marketing rhetoric.

Product sellers often allow/encourage conspiracy theories: “The CDC has blood on their hands for lying to Americans about how masks do nothing,” reads a top comment on a DIY face mask YouTube video. “CDC coverup about face masks will bankrupt them when this is over!” claimed another viral post. Fear helps to sell pseudoscience, so marketers have no motivation to challenge it, and they don’t. Myths are also being encouraged by some quite random blogs with inaccurate country data on mainstream media websites, too.

While there is evidence that people who are sick may offer a moderate level of protection to others by wearing a mask, there isn’t evidence that wearing the masks prevents the mask-wearer from catching coronavirus. Also, it is a myth that masks in public were the primary reason for decline in coronavirus cases in various countries. As Tara Haelle writes: “A popular—but very misleading—graph circulating from #Masks4All [shows] a red circle around the high case numbers of many European and North American nations…labeled ‘No masks,’ and a blue circle around the low case numbers in South Korea, Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong… labeled ‘Masks. The absolute best use of this graph is to teach the fallacy of mistaking correlation for causation, and even then it’s not entirely accurate.” (Read the full article for specifics).

We know that the best way to flatten the curve is to stay home. But if someone thinks a cloth mask will protect them from contracting the virus, there is a good chance they will go out into the community more. Myths about masks, like all pseudoscience, carry risk to our communities.

“Immune boost and body repair”
In times of fear and uncertainty, pseudoscience marketers profit most when they attach their “solution” to conspiracy theories and hostility aimed at mainstream medicine and public health leaders.

The pseudoscience empire of Joseph Mercola, for example, asserts that “COVID-19 virus is a chimera. It includes SARS, an already weaponized coronavirus, along with HIV genetic material and possibly flu virus.” On their website, Mercola & Co. couple this horrific lie with folksy, homey advice about nutrition, supplements and the immune system–all with product tie ins. His website is promoting Coronavirus prevention through probiotics, Vitamin D, Maca, “Beta 1,3D Glucan” and a host of other products that the company sells, with the ad content running directly beside “news” headlines like China Poised to Attack America and World Health Organization Should Be Renamed Chinese Health Organization.

Supplement companies are also repurposing other cure-alls to fit the Coronvirus narrative. “Covid-19 Coronavirus can most likely be fought by vitamin D,” claims Bio-Tech, the vitamin D supplement company. Like many, Bio-Tech took the easy way, simply trading in on its usual rhetoric but swapping out diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses with a new one (Covid).

Bio-Tech’s marketing is pretty straightforward–an old-school, Blogspot-style website that sells the product up front…but some other sellers are using more of a stealth approach. For example, the pretend newspaper (Medium) is running advertorial content about “slowing contagion” through pseudoscience, such as “Don’t Just Avoid the Virus — Defeat It by Strengthening Your Immunity. After acknowledging the importance of hand washing and social distancing, authors Amory Lomens and Eric Rasmussen then call public health guidance into question, writing: “We’re told to avoid exposure, but not to reduce ‘host hospitality’ (us being hospitable to the virus) by making ourselves more resistant to viral infection. Slowing the spread and flattening the curve will take both.” The solution, in their telling, is to take vitamins–especially vitamin C.

In part 2 of their series on Medium, “A User’s Guide to Vitamin C in the context of Covid-19,” Lovins and Rasmussen recommend a specific brand of vitamin C (PERQUE PotentC Guard). They write: “Lovins gets his from www.vitamins-today.com or 800–806–8671″. I Googled Lovins and learned that he also writes for Dr Russell Jaffe’s natural wellness website, which promotes PERQUE PotentC Guard to prevent oxalate kidney stones and other ailments. Dr. Jaffe is author of The Alkaline Way and (almost forgot to mention!) the founder of Perque Integrative Health, a supplement company that specializes in Vitamin C.

What’s the harm? And what can we do?
You might be asking, well, what’s the harm if someone wants to take some vitamins or wear a special necklace and it makes them feel safer? So what? If these fill an emotional need in these tough times, is that a bad thing?

Yes. Yes, it is definitely a bad thing.

People who buy pseudoscience products are supporting a predatory industry. Bleach necklaces and useless vitamins provide psychological comfort at the expense of public health while feeding an industry that is at its very heart anti-scientific. This predatory industry, which swoops in on people at their most vulnerable moments, is responsible for real violence against autistic and developmentally disabled people in the form of “treatments” and has led people to refuse life-saving medical care for cancer and other conditions. It is not “the CDC” that has blood on its hands—it is the pseudoscience industry.

Within just a week of the early viral posts about DIY masks, distrust in the CDC recommendations has significantly increased on social media–at a time when we need public confidence in these institutions. Now, some stores in Canada are refusing to allow customers to shop if they aren’t wearing masks, even though Health Canada doesn’t recommend we all wear masks. Perhaps most critically, social media hype is causing panic, which leads to hoarding, which endangers our health care workers by depriving them of life-saving supplies.

There is no safe amount of pseudoscience to tolerate in this crisis. Guys, we are on skis in an avalanche zone and we have one instructor: the public health officials. What they say will guide us down the hill. All the other voices are just noise…and some of that noise can in fact trigger an avalanche. And even if we can skid past that avalanche of misinformation, others will be buried alive. We survive now by listening to our instructor (Public Health Canada and our provincial Public Health ministries) while tuning out the rest of the noise.

I understand that this is personal—people’s emotional health can be tied in with the objects and choices that will reduce their anxieties about safety. But while we’re considering that, let’s also keep in mind the wellness of our public health officials, who need to be trusted for providing the information that is saving lives. The leader of the coronavirus taskforce in the US is facing a barrage of death threats. Public panics lead to violence and make everyone less safe. It is not okay, especially in these times, to support products that enrich and promote the pseudoscience market just on the off-chance that they might magically be an “immune booster”. These products are part of a massive disinformation network that works against public health.

And we need to ask: what impact does it have on our children who are watching these rituals, other than to confuse them about what is safe–and indeed, their notion of how “safe” our world even is now? These are ethical questions that can’t wait. They reflect the long shadow of the Covid crisis and its impact on our psyches and our children’s future well-being. It’s why we all need to intervene when we see Covid-19 pseudoscience and use our own influence to promote resources that are based on science. Not just for today, but for tomorrow.

Take care, everyone.  #StaySafeAtHome.

 

 

Reading Camus’ The Plague as a city dweller during the present pandemic

plague cu  Update: A lot has changed since my most recent podcast. We are now in the midst of a pandemic. Here in Toronto we’re told to stay home. I’m working on some podcast interviews about the crisis, but for now I thought I’d put up some of my own thoughts.

I read Albert Camus’ The Plague for the first time in university. My prof told the class that the book was a metaphor for the rise of fascism in Europe, but her interpretation didn’t ring true to me. The main point of my term paper: “actually, it’s just a story about a plague” earned me a big old C grade. Turns out I was right, though.

Camus was a writer of extraordinary imagination, and it is a sublimely comforting experience to read this book again for what it is: a story about a plague–and how we respond culturally to plagues. Somehow in his brilliance, Camus managed to time-travel through this work, capturing the last few weeks of our lives in our cities in 2020 as he describes the beginning of the plague in the City of Oran in the 1940s.

“Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. …A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away. …

“Our townsfolk were not more to blame than the others; they forgot to be modest, that was all, and thought that everything was still possible for them; which presumed the pestilences were impossible. They went on doing business, arranged for journeys and formed views. How should they have given a thought to anything like plague, which rules out any future, cancels journeys, silences the exchange of views. They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.” (1)

Camus is describing a timeless idea: that the kind of freedom that we enjoy in urban spaces exists because we believe in it, because we have dreamed it. The moment that we stop believing in it (as we are doing now, out of necessity), it ceases. And then when it is resurrected it’s joined by a new companion, the soft shadow of our grief.

Remember after 9/11, the saying “If we have [x restriction], we’re just letting the terrorists win”? We were all grappling with how to keep the dream alive so our cities didn’t die. The new tower was a talisman; it kept our dream aloft and our very life as urbanites viable. But it was a changed life. There was a clearly delineated before and after.

In the years after 9/11 I felt a new sense of peril, imagining how terrorism threats and fears would change the things we take for granted in the city. As days and years rolled by, I watched and waited for that freedom to disappear, feeling a punch in my gut every time a new metal detector was installed, a gate erected, a guard posted. At the same time I also felt a sense of gratitude for the parts of the before that did remain. In Toronto, I was still able to jog down the subway steps and hop on Line 1, to take a ride every day and nothing happened. I’d look around and revel in the aliveness of the dream we had made real, even as I worried that it could be fleeting.

When I had a child, I felt an urgency for him to have a before too. I was imagining a new kind of after where freedom would be lost, not by terrorism itself, but by our responses to it–and by climate change, and by various looming collapses and yes, by pandemic. It’s one reason that my family spent the last 2 years roadschooling through Canada and the US. When we landed from that journey 6 weeks (or a thousand years) ago, everything in our lives was beginning to change. Now, fortified inside our apartment we gather our memories like pictures of the gone world (2), stacked onto one another, beautiful and bold, yet shadowed by the soft companion of our grief.

I realize more now that we’ve always had limited control over keeping our lives free in the city, no matter how tall the tower or how big the dream. Our freedom is currently tethered by that thing that just came crashing down, right out of the blue sky (although for anyone looking up, it had been in clear plain sight). And despite the marketing jive of our modern snake oil “Covid cure” hawkers, the current threat to our freedom (the pandemic) is at its core natural—and what saves us is the unnatural, our response and vigilance to control and cure people of it. As Camus writes “What’s natural is the microbe. All the rest – health, integrity, purity,– is a product of the human will.”

The failure of so many people to be vigilant in this time is heartbreaking, as it mostly always has been during times of plague. But how many of us would have predicted that it wasn’t small acts of enemies of the state, but rather the ignorance of the crowd that has brought us to this place without freedom? Even as the pandemic was fully bearing down on our cities, people continued to walk freely on the air of a dream; as Camus put it, “think[ing] that everything was still possible,” so fearful of waking from the dream that they imperiled our freedoms and endangered so many lives.

The state responded rationally, with restrictions to save us all–from the crowd. And here we are, alone in our apartments trying to make peace with what just happened and fearing for the future. Urban life is now restricted in some places to a kitchen and a bedroom, and a view out the window at the vicissitudes of weather. As Camus wrote about Oran: “Thus each of us had to be content to live only for the day, alone under the vast indifference of the sky.”

We now wait through the horrors of this moment for the end–and at the end, for our cities to come back to life. I don’t want to give spoilers for Camus’ story, about how the city of Oran responded during and after the epidemic, but suffice to say we can learn a lot from the story itself, and from the history of pandemics in our world, about the kind of shift in our consciousness we need to be making. We need, frankly, to make a move away from regressive notions of the organic and intuitive and more towards the rational and scientific in order to steel ourselves against the next threat, to protect our cities and the wonder of urban life through practical measures and not just dreams. We will need all our scientists, our artists and advocates to make that a reality. For now, we try to stay safe, living for the day.

1. Camus, Albert. The Plague. 1991 Vintage edition. 37
2. A reference to the chapbook by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. 1955. Pocket Poets Series Number 1. City Lights Press.

Note: For another analysis of The Plague in contemporary context, please see “Albert Camus’ The Plague and our own Great Reset” by Stephen Metcalf, March 23, 2020, Los Angeles Times. It is really, really interesting!!

“Punishments and rewards can get one thing, under certain conditions – temporary compliance” Interview with Alfie Kohn

Kohn photo  This is a fascinating interview with Alfie Kohn, who has been researching and writing about education, parenting, authority and co-operative learning for years, driving home a simple fact: rewards and punishment are two sides of the same coin –and they’re not helping us to raise the kind of children we say we want to raise.

Listen to the podcast at the link below. Links to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher at the end of this post.


Bio:
Alfie Kohn is an expert on the problem of compliance-training and reward-based systems in the schools, the work world and in the family. His many books include the classics PUNISHED BY REWARDS (1993) and BEYOND DISCIPLINE: From Compliance to Community in which he explores alternatives to our merit-based approach at work and school. He has also critically examined the influence of behaviorism on our education system and the power of cooperative learning, altruism and empathy.

The episode: Alfie and I had a fascinating conversation about social control and children’s rights. We also spoke at length about behaviourism/ABA. “The problem with ABA,” says Kohn, “is not just with the method, but with the goal. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that when these kids grow up they are struggling to try to figure out how to make decisions, be assertive and advocate for themselves …because the whole precondition for the temporarily effective use of rewards is the opposite of independence—it’s dependence.”

So much more insight, as well as interesting discussions of research and the path forward, in this podcast. Definitely listen to the end!

Links from the conversation:
Alfie Kohn’s website: https://www.alfiekohn.org/

Listen to this episode on Stitcher here
Listen to this episode on iTunes here

“Neurodivergent individuals challenge society to question exactly what normalcy is, if it even exists to begin with” –Interview with Gaby from A4A

In this podcast, Gaby and I discussed racism in the education system, the disability hierarchy, media bias and representations of the self-advocacy movement, eye contact and cultural norms, the power of social media, the situation in Ontario and more!

Listen to the podcast at the audio link below. Links to iTunes and Stitcher at the end of this post.


Bio:
Gaby received her BA in Biological Anthropology from the University of Toronto. In addition to contributing to the critically-acclaimed anthology “All The Weight of our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism,” Gaby is one of the founding members of Autistics for Autistics Ontario, the first provincial autistic self-advocacy group in Ontario and an international affiliate of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Her work includes programs to educate health providers on autistic patient experiences and needs, employment accessibility outreach and communications with the governments of Ontario and Canada to reform autism policy. In addition to being diagnosed autistic in early adulthood, she also holds other identities such as being multiply neurodivergent and the first in her family to attend university in Canada.

The Episode: In this podcast, Gaby and I talk about racism, ableism and the overlapping oppressions faced by her family as newcomers to Canada in dealing with schools, the autism services system and higher education. Despite the Government of Canada’s official rhetoric about diversity, Canadian schools and service organizations continue to marginalize bilingual families, failing at effective outreach for services, discouraging children from speaking their language of origin and operating community services without meaningful inclusion of people of Colour.

“The social workers, the City workers, anyone behind the front desk did not look like me—or like any other resident in the community they were supposed to be serving.”

In Ontario’s education system, autistic and intellectually disabled (ID) students are disproportionately targeted for special education and the school-to-prison pipeline, too often underestimated and discarded from the opportunities that their white, nondisabled peers have access to. Students of Colour are still targeted disproportionately for disciplinary actions and overtly or tacitly streamed out of the path to higher education.

Rather than make the systemic changes we need for true inclusion and equity, too often policymakers focus on band-aid solutions. For example, Ontario’s current government is focused on funding “more therapy interventions” for anxiety in autistic students rather than addressing the sources of the anxiety, (which is the stigma and trauma inflicted by the existing segregated education system.) The government has rejected recommendations to reform school and service models. Currently, the system is mostly working against the needs of the community: especially for those most marginalized, such as newcomers, people of Colour, non-verbal autistics and economically disadvantaged families.

While positive models exist in other jurisdictions (supported decision-making, the money-follows-the-person model, independent supported living, school inclusion) somehow Ontario’s system isn’t yet being reformed in any meaningful way. This episode is very connected to what’s happening here—and also part a much longer, on-going discussion within disability rights and autistic self-advocacy towards addressing bias within our own organizations. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

Resources
All the Weight of Our Dreams explores intersectional oppression and realities for autistics of Colour, and it is a must-read, in a world that is too often white-washed and centred on an imagined norm (neurotypicality). Ordering info below:

All The Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism
Autism and Safety, a report by ASAN on police bias against racialized and autistic Americans
The Autism Wars, blog by Kerima Cevik
Autistic Hoya, Webpage by Lydia X.Z. Brown
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (US)
Autistic, Trans and Latinx: My Survival is our Community’s Survival Against Gentrification by Ruby Herida Eterna De Amor
Black, Female and Autistic: Hiding in Plain Sight, Interview with Moreniki GIwa Onaiwu by Matthew Rozsa
What Does a Black Autistic Man Look Like? A personal essay by N.I. NIcholson
What it Feels like to be an Autistic Person of Colour in the eyes of the Police, by Eric Garcia

“We need much better standards of research in autism intervention”: An interview with Dr. Damian Milton

damian“The best practitioners are humble when they meet a new person. A poor practitioner is someone who thinks they know it all and can just apply a model and intervention and…tick a box,” says Dr. Damian Milton. In this broad-ranging interview, we discuss the theory of the “double empathy problem”; hyperfocus/flow state; autistic parenting; the medical versus social model of disability; the subjectivity of outcome measures; and the diverse ways in which autism itself is framed and defined.

Listen to the interview at the audio link below. Links to iTunes and Stitcher at the end. Transcripts to be published here soon, too!


Bio

Dr. Damian Milton is a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Kent, on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through the Tizard Centre. He is also a consultant for the National Autistic Society in the UK, a Director at the National Autism Task Force, Chair of the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC Network) and involved in many other research and practice related projects. His most recent book is A Mismatch of Salience: Explorations in Autism Theory and Practice. His scholarship is central to a paradigm shift to understandings of autism in the field.

The Interview
Dr. Milton’s writing about the double empathy problem, which neatly problematizes the Theory of Mind hypothesis about autism and frames empathy as it is actually defined – a reciprocal state, and the misunderstandings between autistic and non-autistic people likewise as reciprocal—is seminal, and has since borne itself out in the research of current scholars such as Noah Sasson, Brett Heasman, Elizabeth Fletcher and Catherine Crompton.

In short: relationships are a two-way street. It isn’t that “autistic people can’t imagine other peoples’ perspectives” (as theory of mind suggests) but rather, that autistic people and neurotypicals lack a reciprocity for understanding one another’s communication, movement and experience of the sensory world. And that what we all want –neurotypical or autistic—is really at its core the same: relationships and connections with others. Generally, we are all social beings, needing love and warmth, wanting to give and care for others, but this sociability (and even the desire and expression for connection) gets mistranslated between neurotypes. We understand our in-group; we struggle beyond it.

But, you may be asking: “well, duh. Why did researchers before Milton et al., not understand that empathy is reciprocal and that autistic people are…well, people?” We can find some of the answers in the older, medical model of disability—an approach under which any problem a disabled person faced was conceived as a reflection of their own deficits, and where social factors (barriers, exclusion) were not considered (as they are under the newer, social model of disability). Under the medical model, the individual is pathologized by professionals ergo objectified; even actually broken down into parts within some behaviourist-influenced disciplines such as ABA.

And while the medical model of disability has widely been discarded in much other disability praxis/public policy, it is still very present, at least outside of the research world, in the application of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and its impact on the current autism therapy world.

Just look at this section from an article (in another galaxy far away from Milton’s work)–a 2017 ABA text: “Until a child is mainly controlled by a desire to fit in with peers and please the people they love in the verbal/social world, ABA treatment should be the priority.” That article, which debates whether parents should allow their autistic child to attend school instead of an ABA centre (!!!!), views the goal of autism therapy as “to move a child from reacting to the world though their senses (feeling, tasting, touching etc. – sensory motor world) to reacting in the world because they are trying to please others and live up to their parents and society’s expectations.”

Sorry … but isn’t it normal to react to the world through one’s senses? The ABA perspective, in penalizing sensory responses, really deeply pathologizes being human. It is weird. Milton and I talk about this, as well as how medical-model based approaches determine goals, objectives and even need. When these are defined by ABA practitioners, they look very different than when defined by the very people that autism services are designed to serve—autistic children and adults.

Why, for so long, has autism services been defining “need” based on its own quirky rubrics, rather than communicating with its subjects to find out what their needs were? Perhaps because they were never allowed to be subjects—only objects–in that model.

“Without taking autistic sensibilities into account,” says Dr. Milton, “you’re quite possibly going to harm people or do damage. And that’s a problem of practitioners working with autistic people everywhere, because trying not to harm people should be the number one priority ethically.” Milton argues that we need more participation of autistic people in understanding the best support strategies: “what they’re for and how people are treated, and much better standards of research in autism intervention.” As well, he suggests that we need a rethinking of the goals, for practitioners to be reflective and approach their practice with humility.

To grant subjectivity to autistic people in research and practice is a paradigm shift from segregation towards inclusion. Indeed, we can’t get to inclusion as a society without it. This is why autistic self-advocates are pushing back so much on ABA, because its counter–the social model of disability–is essential towards acknowledging our humanity.

And it’s why discussions about our rights must include an unpacking of the philosophy of difference. We need to do some big-time deconstruction in order to build a new ethos of inclusion! Milton and the new generation of autistic (and affirming) researchers are bringing great promise to fulfilling the highest goals and objectives for autism research—human rights, quality of life and dignity for all autistic people.

Listen to this episode on Stitcher here
Listen to this episode on iTunes here

Stopping Chelation-Autism Therapy in Canada: An FAQ and Action Plan

A quick break from podcasts to announce that on December 16th, the Globe and Mail reported that Ontario regulators declined to take action on my complaint about an Ontario doctor administering chelation drugs to children as an autism treatment (a practice that is banned in both the US and the UK).

I’ve written an FAQ about the case, including global context and next steps. You can read  it here: Stop Chelation-Autism Therapy

You can also get case updates on Twitter: @againstcures

 

“Creating a home environment that works for everybody”: Interview with Shannon Rosa

shannon  I had a fascinating conversation with Shannon Rosa about parenting, autism pseudoscience and autistic acceptance. Wow! Have a listen to the podcast below.

Full Transcript, iTunes and Stitcher links at the end of this post.


Bio:
Shannon Des Roches Rosa’s writing and interviews are featured at Huffington Post Parents, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MacWorld, Parents Magazine and more. Shannon is a co-founder and editor of The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. She has edited several anthologies and contributed stories to numerous books and the newly edited version of the classic she co-edited, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism is soon to be published. She lives with her family near San Francisco.

The episode: Shannon and I talked about the impact of class and consumerism on parenting, AAC, shifting autism research priorities, the ideologies behind antivax and cure culture, the “epidemic” myth, inclusion and universal design–and so much more. Our conversation, which wandered between the personal and the political, circled back to the core message of the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism book and blog. As Shannon put it: “There’s a lot of people out there who are going to try and tell you what your kid needs, but really, autistic people are the ones who actually do know.”

Listen to this episode on Stitcher here
Listen to this episode on iTunes here

EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION: Shannon_Rosa_transcription