“Basically they’re slowly being poisoned with a corrosive agent.” It is difficult to hear about what happens to children who are trapped by the so-called bleach cult, a multi-level marketing scheme that has spread across the continents, promising “cures” for everything from broken bones and cancer to Covid-19 and autism.
The 4 leaders of a major MMS business are now in jail, awaiting trial on federal charges. What is next for their trial—and for the children, as the MMS continues to proliferate and regulators begin to act to stop their crimes?
Listen to the podcast on the audio link below. Also available on Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.
Melissa Eaton, a parent of an autistic child, became aware autistic children were being abused with harmful pseudoscientific and unregulated treatments in 2014, after her son was diagnosed. She joined other activists who were campaigning against it and she is one of the key figures in the movement to get phony MMS “bleach for autism” treatments banned, among others.
Her work has beenfeatured on NBCand other media and she recently co-wrote anOpEd for the New York Timesabout the impact of MMS marketers on the Covid crisis. She has worked tirelessly, giving her time and energy for free to stop autism pseudoscience. Because of her efforts, the movement has made many strides in the uphill battle to get our regulators to recognize the human rights of autistic children and protect them.
Most of us don’t even need to be on social media. So why does it feel like it’s our job? In this episode I talk with journalist Brennan Doherty about how we’ve both left Twitter and the impact it’s had on us. What are the professional ramifications of leaving socials? Can you “quiet quit” social media? And how are people’s relationships to social media changing over time? Note: This podcast was recorded prior to Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter,
Listen to the podcast on the audio link below. Also available on Spotify, StitcheroriTunes.
Bio Brennan Doherty is a Toronto-based writer whose work appears in the Toronto Star, TVO, Forbes Advisor, Future of Good, and elsewhere.
Bio Kristina House has been as an active member of the Toronto homeschool community for more than a decade, including work through the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents and as a co-founder of the Toronto Homeschool Symposium. She worked as an American Sign Language in English Interpreter for over 15 years and is now the executive director ofPassages, a learning space founded in 2020. Passages offers in-person programming for kids between the ages of 11–18, learning at a pace that’s right for them.
I had a fascinating conversation with AutCollab co-founder Jorn Bettin about new approaches to autism; namely, thinking outside the box of the pathologizing approach of the DSM and moving towards a collaborative, de-colonizing, grassroots approach to autistic liberation—one that also helps to heal our broken world. (Just some light, chatty conversation amongst autists!)
Listen to the podcast on the audio link below. Also available on Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.
Jorn Bettin is an Autistic anthropologist by birth and a knowledge archaeologist by autodidactic training. He has a background in mathematics, and enjoys working closely with domain experts in transdisciplinary contexts. His current work focuses on the co-design of new community-oriented and patient centric models of care. Jorn has co-authored several books on creative collaboration and model driven product line engineering. He is a trustee of the Autistic Collaboration Trust – a global mutual support hub for neurodivergent individuals and ventures. He is also part of the Design Justice Network, regularly working with those who are most adversely affected by design decisions — about healthcare service delivery, new technologies, and the planning of communities.
This is pt 1 of 2 special podcasts about monkeypox, Covid-19 and science communication.
I had an amazing conversation with University of Washington virologist Dr Alex Greninger, whose team innovated one of the earliest Covid tests. We talked about how they developed the test; public health policy; the current monkeypox crisis; other viruses & “the 2022 effect”; and the virological and sociological implications of the pandemic since 2020.
Listen to the podcast on the audio link below. Also available on Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.
Dr Greninger is the Larry Corey Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Assistant Director of the clinical virology laboratories at the University of Washington Medical Center, and a board-certified clinical pathologist. He earned an MS in Biological Sciences/Immunology from Stanford, a Master’s in Epidemiology from Cambridge, an MD/PhD from University of California San Francisco, and completed his laboratory medicine residency at the University of Washington.
My guest this episode is Alicia Broderick, author of the new book The Autism Industrial Complex: How Branding, Marketing, and Capital Investment Turned Autism Into Big Business. Her book traces the cultural, political, and economic history of autism. We talk about the history of autism services, how industry greed often gets in the way of useful approaches that can help families and some advice for families of newly diagnosed kids on how to find the best approaches and sift through all the hype.
Listen to the podcast by pressing Play on the audio file below. Also available on Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes. Read the transcript at the link below the audio file
In this episode I speak with the amazing Lei Wiley Mydske, founder of the neurodiversity library movement and creator of the Neurodivergent Narwals. We talk about neurodiversity libraries (including how to start one!), community-building, disability justice, activism, hope and more.
Listen to the podcast at the link below. Also available on Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.
Lei is a writer and artist, creator of the Neurodivergent Narwhals, co-director of neurodiversitylibrary.org, and founder of the neurodiversity library movement. They are the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and a contributor to the group’s anthology “Sincerely, Your Autistic Child”. Lei has presented at a range of conferences and gatherings on autistic advocacy and neurodiversity libraries in the community. Lei is the co-owner of Stanwood Tattoo Company in Stanwood Washington, which also hosts a neurodiversity library.
There were a couple tech glitches in this episode, apologies!
Noncompliant is mostly on hiatus until 2023.
Charles Arthur is a journalist who worked on daily national papers in the UK for twenty years, and has written three non-fiction books since 2011, including the one we’ll discuss, Social Warming. He met Bill Gates when Microsoft was small, Steve Jobs when Apple was smaller, and Larry Page (of Google) when Google was already pretty big. He’s visited the offices of Facebook and Twitter, but their CEOs remained elusive. He’s been freelance since 2014 and lives in southeast England.
The Noncompliant podcast came out of hiatus this week to talk with autistic advocate Ryan Hendry about Spectrum10K, a currently-proposed project by UK business interests to collect DNA data on autistic children and adults for a database to sell to companies for commercial ventures. Ryan and I discussed the ethical implications of the project and others like it. We also talked about activism being welcoming to new members of the community.
Ryan is a 27 year old Autistic and ADHD advocate from Carrick fergus, Northern Ireland. Whilst Ryan’s advocacy covers a wide range of topics relating to Autism and ADHD, he is particularly focused upon the issues that Autistic People face when finding employment, as well as issues that particularly affect young people between the ages of 16-21.
Anila D’Mello is a cognitive neuroscientist interested in social cognition and language. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she uses neuro imaging to examine how the brain learns from previous experiences to inform future behavior. She also uses personalized study designs to promote strengths-based approaches to studying social cognition and language in autism.
Liron Rozenkrantz is a neuroscientist interested in the role of beliefs and expectations on cognition and well-being. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the Simons Center for the Social Brain and conducts her research at the MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department. Liron has been studying perception and cognition in children and adults with autism for the past 7 years. Her current line of research looks at “enhanced rationality” in autism and how autistic individuals seem to be less susceptible to cognitive biases.
In this episode, I talk with Professors Kristen Bottema-Beutel and Micheal Sandbank, who have done a systematic review and meta-analysis of 151 group design studies of interventions for young autistic children. For this work, Dr. Sandbank was awarded the Young Investigator Award in 2021 from the International Society of Autism Research. Drs Bottema-Beutel and Sandbank have also done further studies into conflicts of interest (COIs) in autism research. Among their findings are that COIs are prevalent in several areas of autism research. They also found that ABA researchers, who frequently had conflicts of interest, reported these conflicts as rarely as 2 percent of the time.
We discuss what conflicts of interest are, the teams’ findings and some of the implications for autism research going forward.
Listen to the audio at the link below or on Stitcher or iTunes here. Read the transcript, below audio file.
Kristen Bottema-Beutel is an Associate Professor in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. Her research focuses on social and language development, and social interaction dynamics in autistic children and youth. She is interested in pairing qualitative and quantitative methods to better characterize autistic communication and sociality, and in developing community-based strategies to support meaningful engagement of autistic students. More recently, she has explored metascience topics such as researcher ethics and research quality in intervention research for autistic children. Dr. Bottema-Beutel is the director of the autism specialization at LSEHD, a program that prepares future special educators to support autistic students.
Micheal Sandbank is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin. She researches social communication and language interventions for young children with disabilities. Dr. Sandbank is the lead researcher on Project AIM , a scoping systematic review and meta-analysis of group design studies of interventions for young children on the autism spectrum. She was awarded the Young Investigator Award in 2021 for this work, from the International Society of Autism Research.
In this episode, I talk with Occupational Therapist Greg Santucci about the problems with ABA from his perspective as a practitioner, as well as new and better approaches in schools and the challenges of the post-pandemic period in education. An interesting and inspiring conversation!
Greg Santucci is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the Founding Director of Power Play Pediatric Therapy. He has been an OT for over 20 years, and currently is a Supervisor of Occupational Therapy at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey. Greg is the creator of the Model of Child Engagement and has been lecturing nationally for over a decade on topics related to sensory processing, child development, behavior and best practices in the public schools. He has dedicated his career to promoting neurodevelopmentally-informed, relationship-based interventions to help parents and teachers support children of all abilities and learning styles.
In this episode, we discuss the basics of stem cells, medical tourism, false claims about stem cells as an autism treatment, bioethical issues within the field of stem cells and methodological issues in autism research—with discussion of Duke University’s Marcus Center for Autism and The Stem Cell Institute of Panama among others.
This is such an informative podcast for anyone who wants to understand what’s going on with stem cell marketing and the autism industry. Thanks to Professors Snyder and Turner for their time.
Biography:John Summers is Founder and President of Lingua Franca Media, Inc. He has a Ph.D. in intellectual history and has written, taught and presented extensively on topics in culture and history. His recent expose in The Nation looks at relationships between private equity companies and a form of autism service: Applied Behaviour Analytics (or ABA).
Eric Garcia is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. His first book We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation is coming out in August 2021. Eric previously worked at The Washington Post, The Hill, Roll Call, National Journal and MarketWatch. His new book uses his life as a springboard to discuss the social and policy gaps that exist in supporting autistic people. It looks at politics; education; employment; independent living; relationships/sexuality; gender; race and the future of the neurodiversity movement.
I had a very informative and thought-provoking conversation with Dr. Marc D. Feldman, an expert on medical child abuse and factitious disorder. We talked about medical child abuse, including “Munchausen-by-proxy” and the abuse of autistic children through autism pseudoscience. We also talked about supports for survivors and what we all can do to stop the abuse.
Bio Dr. Marc D. Feldman is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. A Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he is the author of 5 books and more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in the professional literature. Dr. Feldman is an international expert in factitious disorder, Munchausen syndrome, Munchausen by proxy, and malingering.
In this podcast, I interviewed Melissa Eaton, one of the first (and most effective) campaigners against autism pseudoscience. We talked about phony autism cures and what we can all do to stop the people selling them.
Listen to the podcast right here by clicking the audio link below. Listen to this episode on Stitcher here Listen to this episode oniTunes here
Bio: Melissa Eaton, a parent of an autistic child, became aware autistic children were being abused with harmful pseudoscientific and unregulated treatments in 2014, after her son was diagnosed. She joined other activists who were campaigning against it and she is one of the key figures in the movement to get phony MMS “bleach for autism” treatments banned, among others. Her work has beenfeatured on NBCand other media and she recently co-wrote an OpEd for the New York Times about the impact of MMS marketers on the Covid crisis.
In this episode, I talk with Matt Brignall, ND, about how the natural health movement has been co-opted over the past 3 decades by capitalist interests, as well as what we can all do to counter Covid pseudoscience and antivax.
Listen to the podcast here by clicking the audio link below. Listen to this episode onStitcher here
Listen to this episode on iTunes here
Bio: Matt Brignall, ND is a naturopathic doctor in Tacoma, Washington. He currently works in a community-based primary care practice. For nearly 20 years, he was a professor in the naturopathic training program at Bastyr University. He left because he felt that the alternative medicine community was losing its ethical bearings, and becoming a threat to individual and public health. In addition to his practice, he is currently working as part of the Medical Reserve Corps COVID-19 response team. Matt is the parent of a 20-year-old daughter with Rett syndrome, and is active in disability advocacy.
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.
“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.”
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.
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!
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 newcomers, 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. Students of Colour are still targeted disproportionately for disciplinary actions and overtly or tacitly streamed out of the path to higher education.
“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.”
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:
In this broad-ranging interview, Dr. Damian Milton & I 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 or on Stitcher here or iTunes here Read the transcript below the audio file.
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.