Today this article popped up in my facebook feed.
I now suspect I will see it approximately 1,000 more times before the day is done, shared over and over and over again.
Read it if you want but I’ll sum it up for you: researchers found that of 100 kids with autism 16 of them had very high levels of folate at birth, and 15 had high levels of vitamin B12 at birth.
Folate often in the form of folic acid is recommended to pregnant mothers to prevent birth defects in the brain and spine.
The study shows a “plausible” link.
The study has not been peer reviewed.
And yet, if I google “folic acid autism link” I get a laundry list of articles from “news” sites citing this new study. Scroll down a little further and I get this one: Study links folic acid to lower autism risk.
To make matters worse Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shared this article (From Salon.com) on social media. If you’d really like to feel a special kind of rage read the comments (names removed but typos remain):
“autism is from vaccines injections………just like everyone who got bird flu or Swin flu were the only ones who GOT flu shots.”
“This is the kind of thing that happens when people use supplements to get their nutrition instead of healthful unprocessed foods. It isn’t just autism! Our food and water Supplies are tainted and damaging our bodies genetically.”
“Try looking at the levels of mercury our children are forced to eat, breathe, and drink. not to mention all of the other crap poisoning our environment.”
Stop. This is helping nobody, anywhere, so just stop.
I am so tired of seeing this ridiculous bullshit.
Moms have guilt about everything but you haven’t MET a mom with guilt until you meet a parent who has a child with a disability the cause of which changes by the week.
The guilt is overwhelming.
You took too many vitamins, you vaccinated them on a doctor recommended schedule, you ate out of plastic tupperware, your lettuce wasn’t organic, you didn’t exercise enough, you took medication, you had postpartum depression, you didn’t breastfeed, you caught the flu from a co-worker… The list of things you probably did to screw up your child in one way or another is ENDLESS and when you’ve scheduled your 4th IEP meeting of the year wondering how you’re ever going to make it through the last month of school with your child let alone the next 12 YEARS the last thing you need to read is how your fucking multivitamin put you here.
So autism moms (or pregnant moms), I say to you this:
You are not responsible for your child’s autism just like you are not responsible for which physical features your child gets from you or your partner.
You didn’t GIVE your child autism.
Your child is perfect. Your child is flawed. Just like we are perfect, and we are flawed. It’s just that some of our flaws are easily seen and some of them aren’t.
Articles like these, a “plausible link” between something an autism aren’t helping the 1 in 68 children diagnosed with autism. They are not helping families who are looking for guidance on how to support their child with autism. In fact, these click-bait-y articles do more harm than good.
Not only do they add insult to injury because parents who do so much to support their children also feel guilty for having caused it; but now if you’re pregnant do you take your folic acid or not? Prevent spina bifida and risk autism or prevent autism and risk spina bifida?
I’m not suggesting researchers don’t look into the cause of autism.
But until you have actual data that actually means something…
Don’t publish it…. and for God’s sake stop sharing it.