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What Happened to Ethics, in Research About Autistic People?

Photo © Thomas Haynie | Flickr / Creative Commons  [image: Scrabble tiles spelling out the word “Research.”] Ann Memmott annsautism.blogspot.com I wondered whether a recent major international autism conference had discussed ethics as a topic this year.  I found one discussion. Well, that’s better than none, for a three day conference about our lives.  Here’s part of that research team’s paper. It’s called “Pervasive Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest in Applied Behavior Analysis Autism Literature” and was written in 2021 by Bottema-Beutel, and Crowley for a journal called Frontiers in Psychology.   “Result:  Of the 180 studies that met inclusion criteria, we found that 84% had at least one author with …a conflict of interest, but that they were disclosed as conflicts of interest in only 2% of studies…Five of the eight journals we examined had policies requiring disclose of conflicts of interest related to employment; clear violations were evidence in four of…

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Ridiculously Misguided Autism Research Strikes Again!

Ann Memmott annsautism.blogspot.com In the recent Lancet article The gut microbiome in neurological disorders by Cryan et al, confused researchers have mistaken reducing stomach pain for curing autism (yet again). Now, autism researchers, when was the last time you had a hurty tum? How was your behaviour? Having an ‘aha!’ moment now? Thank you. If you want a hint of the joys within the Lancet paper: it references Tomova et al’s 2015 paper Gastrointestinal microbiota in children with autism in Slovakia, which involves nine autistic children ages 2-9, in an unblinded study (meaning they knew which kids got the probiotic supplement) and parent reports of “behaviour.” Apparently after the treatment autistic children showed less “challenging behaviour” which led to the the supposition that “…appropriate… microbiota is required for normal social development.” The problem is that autism isn’t a behaviour, any more than being Deaf is a “behaviour.” The cited quest to…

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Autistic Children and Toilets: Misunderstanding the Difficulties

Photo © Ann Memmott [image: A disorientating digitally altered photo  looking down into an empty toilet cubicle.] Ann Memmott annsautism.blogspot.com Many autistic children sense the world very differently from how many parents and teachers expect. Above, an example of how an autistic child may see a room with a toilet and hand basin in it. A tiled wall, a patterned vinyl floor surface. Would you put your feet on that floor? Could you work out what it was? Could you even reliably find the toilet? Now let’s add in the ‘smellscape.’ Perhaps air fresheners. Toilet cleaners. Hand soaps. Wee. Poo. Then, let’s add in the soundscape. Noisy pipes. The jet-engine-like flush. The deafening smash of wee or poo hitting the water, and the terrifying prospect of freezing water splashing up. Let’s then add in the elements of freezing cold toilet seat, ice cold taps or boiling hot taps, the ice-cold…