Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jeremy Airs

I started searching for an adult with autism at the end of September. I had a couple names of local adults with autism who were interested in the series but they were not interested in sharing their story with us on camera. It was a long process to find an adult with autism...but we did it!

Jeremy was willing to help us. It's now December and I'm thrilled that our viewers will finally see Ashley's interview with Jeremy. This past week, our viewers, who have followed this series from the blog's launch in September, saw all different types of families. Now you will have the opportunity to see someone on the other end of the spectrum, someone with aspergers syndrome.

Watch Jeremy

Please view links about aspergers syndrome and adults with autism at I also did a behind the scenes story and slide shows for Jeremy's story.


AutismNewsBeat said...

Lauren Whitney: "KOMU's Ashley Reynolds turns her attention to how the disease can hit adults as well as children."

Who wrote that? Autism is not a disease. Adults are not "hit" with autism - they are born with it. That's two gross errors in one sentence. Ugh..

Did the KOMU anchor write that? If so, she knows very little about autism, so it's hard to take the station seriously when we hear how much it cares.

Or is that the best Ashley and her peeps can do after their six month "investigation" of autism? If so, they need to seriously rethink the next two weeks.

To quote Ronald Reagan: The key to acting is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made.

KOMUAReynolds said...

Hi autismnewsbeat:
We only use disease and condition as a second reference...
Here are some definitions for disease:
a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.

Also here from Webster's Medical Dictionary
Function: noun
: an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors

Wasn't it George Burns that said, "The key to acting is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

ANB said...

How about adult onset autism? Do you only use that in the second reference?

Autism is not a disease. It's insulting to tell people with autism they are diseased. Did you hear what Jeremy said about autism being part of who he is? What do the medical journals call autism? Ratings fodder?

Ronny stole it from George.

Bev said...

You might find autistic adults more willing to talk with you if you showed more respect for them.
We are not diseased.

ANB said...

Exactly. This series has taken on a creepy, voyeuristic quality. Now you will have the opportunity to see someone on the other end of the spectrum, someone with aspergers syndrome. Not meet. See. Like a circus freak show. Step right this way.

It just amazes me that a station that has supposedly spent six months researching this complicated story would get such basic facts wrong. No reputable doctor would ever call autism a disease. Autism does not suddenly "hit" adults.

Participatory journalism is fine for stories where honest differences of opinion occur. We can all agree to disagree on many social policies, or tastes in music or clothing. Two people can argue all day about America's middle east policy and not get anywhere. But the science of autism, at its core, is not open to interpretation. Among bona-fide scientists, the mercury-vaccine hypothesis is dead. Autism is not a disease. And God did not make Jeremy for our amusement.

Anonymous said...


In your other posts, you claimed that you would be posting "constructive reviews of press coverage" of autism issues.

Give these people some credit. They are bringing light to an issue that, especially in central Missouri, is SO hard to cover... In this area, this is uncharted territory. I would therefore think that you might applaud a small-market news station for bringing light to this issue.

From what I can gather, this "second reference" business is something that happens in broadcast, and is a way to deal with the constraints of time that is put on broadcast pieces. If the reporter here were to replace "disease" with its only logical alternative, "disorder," as a second-reference, people would still be offended at being labeled "disordered"... Perhaps this is fair, but what is the long-form name of autism called? Autism Spectrum Disorder.

You have to give the reporter some leighway. I feel as though she has interviewed people affected by autism in a very sensitive, open, and respectful manner--for this she really deserves some credit.

I think that if she were looking for "ratings fodder"--your constructive criticism--her coverage would have focused so much more on controversial material--Endless shots of autistic children throwing tantrums, a hammering of the issue over Mercury poisoning, etc. I have a brother on the spectrum, and I know what these are like. Instead, you, autismnewsbeat, have decided that the only thing that's important is that the reporter used a broadcast convention!

Perhaps you ought not to demand more media coverage, then throw coals at them when they do.

Back off.

ANB said...

I've been to Missouri a bunch of times, and it never struck me as the Third World fever swamp you seem to think it is, but hey, that's just a matter of opinion, right? On the other hand, if I said the capital city of Missouri is St. Louis, I would be wrong, and no amount of whining, protesting, and conspiracy mongering on my part would change that fact.

So if I started a website dedicated to St. Louis, Missouri's capital, would I be "shining a light" on that city? Would the good people of the Arch City be happy that I'm "shining a light"? Could I called then "Archies" in the second reference?

If I didn't think KOMU was capable of professional growth, I wouldn't waste my time here. The fact that Ashley and her crew area asking for comments tells me that want to learn, and are capable. Perhaps it's time for you to give them some credit. Just because they live in Central Missouri doesn't mean we have to applaud their every move, as if that's the best we're ever going to see.

Anonymous said...

ANB, show more respect to my opinion than to patronize me with a broken and poorly-concieved analogy.

I never said that Mid-Missouri was a "Third World Swamp"--you did that.

I never said that they were right to use the word "disease," but don't write me off as a lunatic because I think that the difference between "disorder" and "disease" is negligible and purely semantic.

Don't write me off as a lunatic because I claim that Mid-Missouri is a small market--because it is. Market 139 of 210, in fact. The bottom line is that it is difficult in a small market to cover an issue like autism. You have to give credit to a crew that has to find people willing to open their homes and lives over this difficult issue. They have to be willing to let their children face the cameras. Mathematically and statistically, it is more difficult to find the people to do that in a small market. Reynolds went as far as Kansas and Illinois to get all of her interviews.

Don't write me off as a lunatic because I don't think that this series is voyeuristic. Many people who have never been involved in an autistic life have no idea what autism is or what it is like. You have to remove yourself from the situation and look at it from the perspective of a completely neuro-typical observer--It's important that we both SEE what autism means for families AND MEET the people whom autism effects. That's what autism awareness is.

It's obvious that you have some other ax to grind. So fine, grind it. But do it with your own camera, your own blood, sweat, and tears.

Writing off her series as poorly-researched or irrelevant because she wrote the word "diseased" instead of "disordered" (or whatever second reference you prefer) demeans and unfairly devalues the work of Reynolds and her crew.

Don't write me off as a lunatic because I don't think that Reynolds's series forces us to settle for less than we deserve; because I think that it very effectively serves the purpose of raising autism awareness; because I don't have an agenda to push in my blog.

ANB said...

I never said you are a "lunatic". That's your characterization.

My only agenda is to bring empiricism and respect for scientific evidence to reporters as they cover autism. If that makes be biased, fine. I'd rather shill for Galileo than for Boyd Haley.

Anonymous said...

Given your agenda, it's interesting that you would equate Galileo to Boyd Haley in the first place.

Reporters have to tell the story, and irrespective of scientific evidence, Chelation is part of that story. The story would be irresponsible and incomplete if it didn't acknowledge the existence of alternative treatments. It's not an endorsement, but an acknowledgment--one that came, I might add, with all the necessary caveats.

Your agenda is not objectionable, but don't accuse KOMU's reporters of ignoring or rejecting science when, thus far, they have not done so.

Anonymous said...

OK, I have to ask: How am I equating Galileo to Boyd Haley?

This should be good.

Anonymous said...

So you concede that KOMU is doing its journalistic diligence. Thank you.

You said you would "rather shill for Galileo than for Boyd Haley." You used them in the same sentence, directly juxtaposing the two men and their work. Perhaps you didn't equate them intentionally, that I can admit, but using the two in the same sentence highlights to a reader that both scientists promoted controversial beliefs. One was proved to be correct, on the other, the jury's still out.

ANB said...

Newsweek featured Hitler and Ghandi on its cover the other week. If I had to blindly follow in another man's footsteps, I'd rather be an acolyte for Ghandi than for Hitler.

Your turn.