Monday, 19 August 2013

Monday Muster

Welcome to Monday!  Hope you're having a better day than this thing is:

strange looking bird with a bald head covered in knobbles, with a pensive look on its face

The links and resources page has had a do-over, with a heap of new links added (including a whole section of emergency and crisis contacts for Aussies), and some that appear to no longer be active or appropriate have been removed. If you've a suggestion for the list, please drop me a line.

Professor Eileen Baldry has been examining the sad truth of the over-representation of people with mental or cognitive impairment in the justice system.  Her paper Disabling Justice has some truly horrifying figures - in New South Wales, up to half the people in jail have some form of mental impairment, and that doesn't include drug and alcohol related conditions.  The figure is even higher for young people, with sixty per cent of juvenile detainees having (again, not drug- or alcohol-related) mental impairment.

Have a job interview coming up?  This might help.  It's an article of job-hunting advice by Aspies, for Aspies, by Lisa Vaas.  I had completely forgotten contributing (via Quora) to this, so it was quite a surprise to find myself quoted!

So, what causes autism this week?  Induced labour?  Older fathers?  Wi fi?  Gut flora?  Aliens?  In a refreshing and much-needed piece for The Conversation, Andrew Whitehouse calls on the woo-woo salesmen, hysteria merchants and lazy journalists in need of an easy headline to scientifically test their bullshit theories before publicising them.

"The most marvellous aspect of science is that it is accessible to everyone. The basic scientific method is not complex, and can be understood by everyone who is willing to learn...

Here’s my challenge to those who have a theory: scientifically test your theories, or stop promoting them."

I'd actually take it one step further - not only do they have to prove a link to autism, but they have to prove actual causation.  For instance, how many women are going to think twice about inducing labour (potentially risking their or their baby's health) now that the link between induction and autism has been published, even though no actual causation has been found?  It could just as well be that autistic babies are more likely to need to be induced, but nobody chose to report that angle.