My idea is to explore how other countries around the world are dealing with education and special education issues. I’d like to see different successful schools, wherever they may be, up close. I’d like to sit down with directors and administrators. I’d like to speak with government officials who keep a pulse on the education affairs of their communities. I want to learn more about education around the globe through speaking with locals, seeing the schools, and shaking hands with the people responsible for implementing the systems. If you know of any outstanding (public or private) special needs schools in other parts of the world, I’d love to hear about them. If you know any education experts from around the world, I’d love to be introduced to them. Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas. Read more about my mission.
Friday, January 7, 2011
MMR & Autism Study Fraudulent?
The debate will continue to be just that, a debate, and I am in no position to comment on the validity or speciousness of the study. But I can say that the current allegations that the findings of the study were knowingly falsified is very disturbing. A movement came into existence as a result of Wakefield's report. Jenny McCarthy, whose child was diagnosed with autism, became the face of anti-vaccination autism advocacy and gave numerous interviews about the harms of vaccinations. Many parents have relied on those findings and adamantly opposed the administration of vaccinations to their children. Some of these children have contracted illnesses that would normally have been prevented.
I have read neither the actual report nor Wakefield's book on the subject, which he has been plugging incessantly (an interview with Anderson Cooper shows a brazen attempt by Wakefiled to self-promote). For months there have been serious concern about Wakefield's research -- e.g., the size and randomness of the sample group (only 12 children were studied and reports suggest those 12 were not randomly selected), the issue of when the children's developmental problems were first identified, and the integrity of the study. These are the issues that led to the study being retracted about a year ago by the journal that published it. But now the suspicions are that Wakefiled deliberately falsified certain information and he is being accused of fraud.
The thought that the autism community has been clinging to information that was fabricated -- or, at the very least, seriously flawed -- is a big blow to a group which is desperate for and deserves clear answers.