US Peta Autism Billboard: An open letter to Peta UK
Dear Peta UK,
It is with great consternation that I discovered the US Peta autism billboard advertisement linking Autism with milk. As far as I can tell, from Sense About Science’s blog about this, it’s not something that Peta UK currently have a standpoint on, beyond using testimonials.
The trouble with testimonials is that they are very convincing but not trustworthy – people’s memories aren’t great and they attribute improvements to all kinds of things that might not be correct.
I used to work with children on the Autism spectrum and their parents are often extremely tired – they get little support in the UK (I can’t speak for the US) and they are subject to all kinds of stigma. I know, from my research in this area (and from my 2012 survey with 701 respondents) that many people believe that Autism is the result of ‘bad parenting’ or ‘refrigerator mothers’. Many falsely believe that vaccines cause Autism. Others believe it is the will of god that some children have Autism. Some think that casein, gluten, mercury and leaky gut syndrome causes or worsens it. These are all proven to be incorrect – not just ‘we’re not sure’ – studies show that this is not the case.