Autism on KQED: Searching for Causes

Full disclosure: My husband is the online producer for Quest. He did not work on the segment itself, but advised quite a bit. I warned him, "They damn well better get it right." I think they did, e.g., the segment cites the dreaded "1 in 150," but explain what that stat means. I found the UC Davis in utero study sibling study fascinating, and of course you all know that Mali was part of the MIND Institude sibling study.

Mostly, I am relieved to see autism given the unbiased, platform-free investigative journalism treatment -- even the vaccine issue. No sensationalism or polarization here. Thank you, Quest.

Very interested to know what everyone thinks, please spread the word and links. Make sure you read the associated blog post, too.

I am fascinated to see yet another autistic child -- the initial girl, Meghan -- who like DivaLea's son and Kelley's son and Amanda Baggs -- looks as much like Leelo as a child with Down syndrome resembles his or her chromosomal peers. I'm thinking we should start a Flickr group. Contact me if you're in.

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  1. Anonymous6:43 PM

    You know I tried and tried to watch that video of Leelo singing the other day but Boo kept screaming at me 'Stop watching me!'

    Girl, it is freaking SCARY!

    Oh and DAY-UM that boy is cute. *snort*

    Well the show be online? Cause being in Australia means that I will probably not get to see it.

  2. Excellent. I love things like this that don't take extremes. Everyone is different, but somehow most major news venues don't "get" that. Thank goodness this piece recognizes individuality - the whole concept that different factors could contribute to similar profiles, etc. Thanks so much for the link. I am distributing it widely...

  3. We've had a lot of 'don't take picture' lately too. Must be a rash or something.

  4. You are not imagining it.

    Kelley's son DOES look a lot like the Leelo-ster.

    This is where all the high-tech should come it: full-face photos of the kids, with digital metrics.

  5. I'd have leapt on the Flickr set while you were gone, but I was sick the whole time. (I looked at the smoking fish sign whenever I needed a laugh, and call friends and share it.)

    Kelley's little boy definitely has The Look. I can't believe this hasn't been remarked on before somewhere. You'd think with all the kids seen in Silicon Valley, doctors would start to put it together.
    Didn't I hear someone was studying the similarities in these (mostly) boys while I was there?

  6. Ah-HA!!

    "MU Researchers Study Facial Structures, Brain Abnormalities to Reveal Formula for Earlier Detection of Autism"



  7. @divalea: Yes but the study is looking for facial "abnormalities," Here is what I see in our kids (and a number of other ones, though not all autistic children):

    -Big round eyes, somewhat close together.
    -button nose
    -THE MOUTH. The cute little triangle-bow mouth.

    Basically, the features that make people describing our children use so many synonyms for "beautiful."

  8. Also distinctive proto-Vulcan ears and semi-flanged top head shape.

  9. The ears! The mouth! The nose!

    I didn't get it was about facial abnormalities, but about analyzing for abnormalities based on facial structure.

    Our boys are unbelievably cute. Most of the time. :3

  10. Anonymous8:26 AM

    There is a boy in my sons preschool class who resembles Leelo very much. My son has the big eyes, button nose and beautiful bowtie mouth. He's gorgeous if I do say so myself. My older girl with PDD-NOS has lowset ears which I've also read (in passing in some obscure book)as a common trait with these children.

  11. I attended your panel at BlogHer (have the son w/Tourette & Asperger Syndrome who was suspended from his private school). Anyway, my cousin sent me this post, as he knows you from college and thought I'd like to see the KQED piece, and read your blog. Small world. BTW, I loved the piece. It's one of the first balanced pieces of journalism I've seen on the subject. Kudos to your husband and the team who made it happen. And, kudos to you. I think you are a rock star of a mom, advocate, and person on the planet. Plus, I dig the hair.

  12. This was very well done and quite fascinating about the studies. We are part of AGRE - autism genetic resource exchange and participated in Univ of WA and one UC one up north thru the Regional Centers.

    I will have to do a retweet and save for my newsletter.

  13. I clicked on the link to the neurodiversity ning group that you have on the left. It asks for an email address and password and says can only get in thru invitation.

    Are parents welcomes in the group? How can I get an invite?

  14. @califmom who is your cousin???? I MUST KNOW! Kudos right back at you, btw.

    @autismfamily will send an invite if you've not received one already.


Respectful disagreement encouraged.