As many of you likely already know, right-wing radio freakazoid Michael Savage recently garnered a helping of the bad sort of attention when he referred to autistic children as "brats" who, "in 99 percent of the cases... [haven't] been told to cut the act out." Well, since then he issued a "clarification" on those remarks, claiming that he spoke out only because he wanted to - get this - raise "awareness."
His statement, in part, reads:
My comments about autism were meant to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community's attempt to label too many children or adults as "autistic."
Just as some drug companies have overdiagnosed "ADD" and "ADHD" to peddle dangerous speed-like drugs to children as young as 4 years of age, this cartel of doctors and drug companies is now creating a national panic by overdiagnosing "autism, for which there is no definitive medical diagnosis!
Many children are being victimized by being diagnosed with an "illness" which may not exist, in all cases. Just a few weeks ago doctors recommended dangerous anti-cholesterol drugs for children as young as 2 years of age! Without any scientific studies on the possible dangers of such drugs on children, corrupt doctors made this controversial, unscientific recommendation.
Well, if there's one thing I know about the HuffPo community is that they don't take kindly to the malefactions of people like Savage. And if there's a second thing I know about the HuffPo community, it's that they like the refreshing commentary of my wife, Caroline, a special education professional who has years of experience working with the autistic. [This is an inside joke from the Sunday Morning Liveblog, which - ha, ha - I guess you'll all have to start reading now! --Ed.]
Anyway, she read Savage's statement, and later clarification, and offers the following professional insights.
1. "How anyone can observe autistic children and conclude that they are "brats" completely eludes me. A great many autistic children are actually perfectly sweet, compliant children."
2. "'Drug companies' do not 'diagnose' people, let alone 'overdiagnose' people. I'm a little shocked that I actually need to explain this."
3. "Autism does not have a 'definitive medical diagnosis?' Really? Really. I'm going to have to bet Michael Savage a smack across the face with the DSM IV that there totally, totally is."
4. "In my professional opinion, I feel it's likely that this Michael Savage fellow has failed to arrive at, or at the very least, complete the formal operational stage of Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development."
Anyway, there you have it. Tune in next week, when Michael Savage raises awareness of fire safety by burning down a Berkeley, California bathhouse.