The Autism Education Summit takes place this weekend in Dallas, Texas.
And one of the keynote panelists is Jenny McCarthy.
Jenny McCarthy. Seriously.
What’s next? A climate change conference organized by Sen. James Inhofe?
There’s a reason McCarthy, who falsely and dangerously promotes the idea that vaccines may lead to autism, is part of this event. It’s sponsored by Generation Rescue, McCarthy’s organization. That’s also why many of those other panelists share her misguided, fact-free views on vaccines.
One of those other panelists, for example, is Nico LaHood, the Texas District Attorney who said in a recent propaganda film that “vaccines can and do cause autism.”
Jodi Gomes is also a denier, saying this on Twitter back in 2011:
Right… we don’t know what causes autism, so why not consider vaccines?! By that logic, why don’t we just stop eating corn, since who really knows why they’re yellow?
Ignorance shouldn’t be justification for your beliefs.
Jacqueline Laurita, a former cast member on the Real Housewives of New Jersey hasn’t directly said vaccines cause autism, but she has openly supported Jenny McCarthy, who (obviously) has:
Dawn Neufeld says she supports vaccines, but still blames them for her son’s autism. She said in 2012 she was on a “delayed schedule” as a result. Experts say delaying vaccines is dangerous for children and is not safer than getting the shots on time.
The Dallas Morning News‘ Dr. Seema Yasmin has more on the people participating in this pathetic excuse for an “education summit”:
Two doctors who are featured speakers are facing lawsuits for using dangerous treatments that they claim reverse autism…
[Anjum] Usman and [Daniel] Rossignol are part of a group called Defeat Autism Now, which promotes so-called autism treatments that are discredited and disproved by science. Usman’s medical license has been put on probation.
One speaker at the summit is a anti-vaccine TV producer who has likened people with autism to dogs. “I would think when you have a child with autism or on the spectrum, you have no reference point. I don’t want this to sound wrong but it’s a little bit more like having a dog or a Doberman or something that you don’t understand how it thinks,” says Del Bigtree in a YouTube video before adding, “This is not sounding right.”
Bigtree produced the anti-vaccine film, Vaxxed, which was pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year…
They’re basically one Andrew Wakefield away from becoming a disaster zone.
And they’re all participating in a summit that is described on the website as one where…
… National, leading medical researchers and clinicians will present in-depth, scientifically proven treatment options for attendees. Our speakers are from top universities and are highly regarded experts in the field of medicine and therapies that best addresses the needs of children affected by autism.
I’d like to think people just won’t attend the event, but when parents of autistic children see that a big event about the topic is occurring in their neck of the woods, it’s hardly surprising they’d want in. But what a mistake that would be. Not only does paying for a ticket help McCarthy spread her dangerous, scientifically invalid ideas, they give her even more credibility.
People who attend the event in the hopes that they’ll learn something valuable about autism are, at best, in for a huge disappointment. More troubling is the idea that they’ll walk away with fake, unscientific “cures” for whatever affects their children.