Antivaccine pseudoscience at The Cleveland Clinic: That's what happens when you allow magical thinking to take hold

Over the weekend, a most unusual social media firestorm erupted in response to a blog post by Daniel Neides, MD, MBA, Acting Medical Director of the Tanya I. Edwards Center for Integrative Medicine, Vice Chair and Chief Operating Officer of Cleveland Clinic Wellness, as well as the Associate Director of Clinical Education for The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM), where he oversees all clinical activities during years three through five of the medical school. The reason for the social media uproar was that Dr Neides' post, entitled Make 2017 the year to avoid toxins (good luck) and master your domain (Google cache version here, as long as it lasts.), was basically an antivaccine rant, full of pseudoscience about "toxins" and fear mongering about vaccines and autism.

The full story is related at a blog that you are probably familiar with in a post by someone you might know, complete with a deconstruction of the antivaccine nonsense in Dr. Neides' post. Others, including Skeptical Raptor and Tara Haelle, have also begun the deconstruction, while ZDoggMD posted an epic rant to Facebook:

For purposes of this post, I'm less interested in the specific antivaccine misinformation, pseudoscience, and lies contained Dr. Neides' post than I am in a bit of a broader question. Before I get to that, I do feel obligated to relay a bit more about what happened over the weekend after the rant was posted. On Sunday, Dr. Neides issued a very unconvincing apology, saying that that he "fully supports vaccination" and was only trying to open a conversation about their safety, not question their use. Later, through a Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman, he issued this statement:

I apologize and regret publishing a blog that has caused so much concern and confusion for the public and medical community,” the statement said. “I fully support vaccinations and my concern was meant to be positive around the safety of them.

Given that Dr. Neides' post was full of loaded language about how angry he was about "toxins" and featured his likening vaccination to people being "lined up like cattle and injected with an unsafe product," I had a hard time believing that the good doctor was entirely sincere, if you know what I mean. After all, his imagery of cattle going to the slaughter is a common one used by antivaccine ideologues. The only positive thing I could say about Dr. Neides' original post was that at least he refrained from using the word "sheeple" to describe those being vaccinated. Given the spittle-flecked screed he produced, I can only imagine this took extreme self-restraint on his part.

Also on Sunday, The Cleveland Clinic released a statement:

Cleveland Clinic is fully committed to evidence-based medicine. Harmful myths and untruths about vaccinations have been scientifically debunked in rigorous ways. We completely support vaccinations to protect people, especially children who are particularly vulnerable. Our physician published his statement without authorization from Cleveland Clinic. His views do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.

This is, of course, the bare minimum The Cleveland Clinic could have done, but I rather suspect its leadership is waiting until today to figure out what to do.

In most of the Tweets and blog posts, the main concern was with deconstructing everything that was wrong in Dr. Neides' post (and there was plenty that was wrong), castigating The Cleveland Clinic for having someone like that on its faculty and staff, and demanding that The Cleveland Clinic do something, in particular fire Dr. Neides and clean up the quackery. That's all well and good, but I also noted that there were Cleveland Clinic physicians who, seemingly shocked that this sort of thing could have emanated from faculty at their institution.

Indeed, I do feel for the science-based physicians and scientists who work for the Cleveland Clinic, and there are a lot of them. I really do. They're there, working at an institution they view to be evidence-based taking care of patients as well as they can using evidence-based guidelines and doing clinical research to advance the field, blissfully unaware of what really goes on at the Edwards Center for Integrative Medicine and the Wellness Institute affiliated with their institution. Like most physicians who don't take a interest in combatting quackery or in just how much quackademic medicine has infiltrated medical schools and academic medical centers, they have no clue just how bad it is. Then something like this happens, and they can't believe it. Their first instinct is to go on defense. Indeed, Amrit Gill, the patient safety officer at The Cleveland Clinic, took to Twitter to defend her institution:

A cutting response followed:

Another Cleveland Clinic doctor, quite understandably, protested:

He's referring to Delos Cosgrove, MD, the president and chief executive officer of Cleveland Clinic. As such, Dr. Cosgrove must have at least signed off on the creation of the Wellness Institute and the Edwards Center for Integrative Medicine, if not been actively involved in their creation. He must have signed off on the creation of the Clinic's traditional Chinese medicine herbal clinic. Surely he must have approved the expansion of integrative medicine in the pediatrics department. Surely he must have been involved in the recruitment of Dr. Mark Hyman and the creation of his Center for Functional Medicine at the Clinic. Surely he must be pleased that this clinic has been so successful that it's expanding rapidly, planning to double to accommodate a waitlist of over 1,000 patients.

I also can't help but wonder if Dr. Cosgrove knew at the time The Cleveland Clinic recruited Dr. Hyman that Hyman was well known for attributing autism to toxicity from vaccines. OK, that was several years ago. So let's see about something more recent. I wonder if Dr. Cosgrove knew that, at the time of his recruitment, Dr. Hyman had just co-authored a book with antivaccine crank, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak: Mercury Toxicity in Vaccines and the Political, Regulatory, and Media Failures That Continue to Threaten Public Health. He should have, as the book was published before the Center for Functional Medicine was announced, and Hyman had appeared on The Dr. Oz Show with his co-author less than two weeks before the center was announced.

If Dr. Cosgrove is very much pro-vaccine, it apparently wasn't enough to keep him from hiring a doctor who had just co-authored a book fear mongering about thimerosal in vaccines, probably contemporaneously with his recruitment, to run a major new center at The Cleveland Clinic. I thus call bullshit that Dr. Cosgrove is truly pro-vaccine. At least, he's not pro-vaccine enough to actually do anything about it when it interferes with potential profits, such as putting the kibosh on recruiting Dr. Mark Hyman. It needs to be emphasized to Dr. Cosgrove that if you, as an institution, cultivate an institute where the culture is steeped in magical thinking, you should not be surprised if that magical thinking won't necessarily stay limited to areas where it's not harmful. It will spread and metastasize. The Cleveland Clinic has for the last 10 or 15 years actively cultivated quackery in its Center for Integrative Medicine. Given how much of the quackery being "integrated" shares DNA with antivaccine quackery, it's really no surprise that there are at least two antivaccine physicians, Mark Hyman and Daniel Neides, high up in the food chain at The Cleveland Clinic.

There's no way around it. In the end, it must be pointed out that the Cleveland Clinic brought this PR debacle on itself. It was basically inevitable that antivaccine pseudoscience would eventually rear its ugly head in some form or another the moment the Clinic embraced quackery wholeheartedly for its Wellness Institute. Indeed, I welcome this PR meltdown, because I hope that it will finally shine a light on the utter quackery that has been promoted by the Cleveland Clinic over the last decade at least and how that quackery is inseparable from the antivaccine quackery promoted by Dr. Neides in his post. I also hope that this debacle shines attention on Dr. Hyman as well, who has largely gotten a pass.

This is what happens when medical academia coddles quacks. The magical thinking will not be constrained.


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I wonder where the other doctors in the Wellness Clinic stand. I'm not optimistic.

Also, since the doctor doubled down in the comments and given the content of his original article, I'll believe that not apology after he publishes an article acknowledging his errors and correcting them. Right now it reads incredibly insincere,

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 08 Jan 2017 #permalink

I’m shocked, shocked to find that alt-med scamming and grifting is going on here!
Oh, thank you very much.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 08 Jan 2017 #permalink

Please note: This column was inexplicably removed from for a few hours, but has now been restored in it's entirety.


Comments seem to be closed, so I'll leave one here.

For those born in the 1950's and 60's, do you recall a single student in your grade with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for ADHD or someone with a diagnosis of autism? I do not.

I remember lots and lots! They were in separate classrooms then! Obviously this idiot didn't have a family member with special needs and managed to ignore the population he claims to care about.

By Christine Rose (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

@Christine Rose: nope, never heard of a student with an IEP when I was a child in elementary school in the 1960's and early 70's. However, I *do* remember the one kid who threw huge tantrums, tossed desks around and hid in corners when schedules changed or his activity was disrupted when we were in kindergarden. By the time he was in 6th grade, he had calmed down, but still had no friends because everyone was afraid of him.

I remember the " ****** room" where several students were housed like cattle. I didn't ever know how many kids were in there. The door was always kept locked unless a child was being escorted to the bathroom, and we never interacted with any of the children or the staff in there. In a school where you knew every teacher's name by the time you were in 4th grade, we never knew any of the adults in that classroom.

One of my friends, who lived across the street, would have been diagnosed as either ASD or Asperger's in today's world. Back then, we just thought he was "weird" but otherwise didn't give him a thought. If he wanted to play, fine. If he wanted to read his father's college math books instead, that was OK too.

But nope. No kids had autism back then. Nope. Of course not.

I got an incredibly whimpy reply on the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital Facebook page stating they support vaccines, blah blah when I posted a complaint there.

That's nice. I'm sure a majority of them do--in a very passively worthless manner.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

All too predictable, here in Australia we had the University of Woolongong give a degree to an Anti-Vaxxer based on a thesis that was riddled with conspiracy theories, innuendo and outright falsehoods.

When people complained the response was 'Academic Freedom' , and nothing has been done either to censure those who gave the degree or to identify the referees who signed off on the thesis.

All I can say is keep up the pressure, it's the only way to win.

The Neides-GMO link appears to be dead, but a Google search turns up another article with rank pseudoscientific nonsense from Dr. Neides, starting with this:

" I need to make a correction from last month's article. I incorrectly stated that wheat may come from GMO (genetically modified organism) sources. That is incorrect. At this time, the USDA has not approved GMO seed for wheat. Our wheat has been genetically engineered to its current form but we cannot call it GMO. Sounds like semantics but I want to be accurate."

Huh? Yes, Doc, our wheat has been "genetically engineered" to produce current commercial varieties - the "old-fashioned" way by traditional plant breeding. This apparently alarms the good doctor, who has not gotten the anti-GMOists' message that this sort of breeding (which results in unexpected and random genetic combinations) is Good and specific gene insertions are Bad. Hilarious.

"Whether or not GMO seed is harmful to humans is still up to debate. Long-term scientific data will ultimately provide us with those answers."

There have been thousands of studies validating GM crop/produce safety and a comprehensive review by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences making the same conclusion, but don't hold your breath waiting for Neides to acknowledge this. Oh, and Neides seems to have jumped on the Stephanie Seneff bandwagon, blaming glyphosate for a laundry list of ailments.

"The diseases to which glyphosate may contribute include inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, infertility and developmental malformations."

There's no good evidence for any of this, but that doesn't stop Dr. Neides.

He's an embarassment to Cleveland Clinic, but It's highly likely he has plenty of similarly-minded colleagues over in the integrative medicine division.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

HDB's Casablanca reference is quite apt. The role of the croupier is being played here by either Tanya I. Edwards herself, or somebody making the donation in her memory.

As president of a quasi-academic institution, Dr. Cosgrove is expected to spend a great deal of his time fundraising. It's difficult for somebody in such a position to turn down a large donation, even for something like a Center for Integrative Medicine. It's even harder to do so when woo is already infesting your institution. Put another way: We have already established what Dr. Cosgrove is, we're merely haggling over the price.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

@3 Christine Rose
"do you recall ...?
No but we did not have such things to begin with. Any child with really serious problems would have been carted off to a regional residential institution. We' never see them, and unless they were in our own families, never even hear of them.

I do remember my mother (teacher with 20+ years of experience) doing some supply teaching in about 1963 and discovering a child with severe dysgraphia. She had no idea of what to do with the problem and it was not clear that the permanent staff had any better idea.

And given a rural, farming community, it is quite likely that anyone with such a problem would simply drop out of school with no fuss. Legally one had to say in school until passing grade 8 or age 14 whichever came first but no one was likely to object.

In those days, education was highly valued but not considered essential.

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

Graham, if you're interested Orac blogged about Judy Wilyman last year. She's the one who earned that PhD.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

Sounds like I moved in different circles than y'all. I remember my mother telling me that "learning disabled" was now being called "attention deficit disorder." My mother literally ran a camp for the learning disabled. I met hundreds of special needs children, but aside from my mother's contacts, there were many specials needs children in my schools, and were in special or regular classrooms to various degrees.

Look back on the kids that were always bullied, and you may remember a few.

By Christine Rose (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

Within 12 hours of receiving the vaccine, I was in bed feeling miserable and missed two days of work with a terrible cough and body aches.

Oh, for the personnel records on this one.

@Christine Rose:

Sounds like I moved in different circles than y’all.

I think there may have been a bit of confusion over your not noting that part of your comment was a quote from Niedes:

"For those born in the 1950’s and 60’s, do you recall a single student in your grade with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for ADHD or someone with a diagnosis of autism? I do not."

Or maybe I'm not fully awake.

I'd like to see some research on ways in which this kind of crap gets into legitimate medical care and academic institutions.

I very strongly suspect that the majority of it happens because one or two individuals penetrate the bulwarks, carrying the pestilence with them. Tenure and notions of academic freedom select for reason resistance while most people go about their duties without paying much attention to the suppurating carbuncle. Next thing they know, the thing has burst, pus is splattered all over the walls and nobody really wants to be the one to step up and hose the place down with formaldehyde.


I suspect your suspicions are correct.

Whenever I see a new doc or specialist at my medical institution (a large regional academic medical institution), I let them know I am science-based and not into any sort of woo. He or she usually seems puzzled, so I ask her how she feels about the institution’s recently opened “integrative care center”. So far, none of them have heard of it, or even seem to know what I am taling about. I’m not sure if this is good or bad.

By darwinslapdog (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

I remember my mother telling me that “learning disabled” was now being called “attention deficit disorder.”

Wait, what? There are various kinds of learning disabilities. ADD (or ADHD, as it's usually called these days) is only one of them. The category of "learning disabilities" includes things like dyslexia. Autism, depending on the severity, might be another.

It has been federal law since the 1990s that these kids must be accommodated in a regular classroom if at all possible. So if you are in your 40s or older, you are not imagining that there are more of these kids in classrooms than there were when you were a student. But vaccines have nothing to do with that change.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

Oracyism -The practice of making accusations of antivaccine or vaccine quackery with insolence.

@doug (#17),

Is the over-expression of Oracyism that much different than McCarthyism?

By Michael J. Dochniak (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

The Neides-GMO link appears to be dead

There was some cruft tacked on at the end. It's here.

Before his completely inadequate apology, Neides doubled down in the comments of his post on his vaccine and GMO fear mongering. See Kevin Folta's discussion

“The diseases to which glyphosate may contribute include inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, infertility and developmental malformations.”

It's toxins all the way down.

@Christine Rose: my apologies. I did misread your comment and didn't realize you were quoting Dr Neides about the "no IEPs".

Next time I will drink my coffee before commenting. :)

"Before his completely inadequate apology, Neides doubled down in the comments of his post on his vaccine and GMO fear mongering. See Kevin Folta’s discussion."

Neides (responding in a comment): "So if a vaccine is labeled as preservative free then why is there formaldehyde in it?"

This is a level of nincompoopery on a par with the Food Babe being indignant that airlines don't provide passengers with 100% oxygen to breathe in the cabin, but instead dilute it with other gases like nitrogen.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

Well, Anne and Kim @ AoA, today, seem to have found a new maverick doctor - Neides- to champion.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink


I predicted they'd fire Ben Swann in 2016 for making up fake news using a national media corporate logo. Didn't happen. But maybe they the Clinic can "part ways for personal reasons" with a health care professional that isn't using evidence based medicine and making up a toxins gambit to keep the manufacturversied health scare alive. 2017 prediction....locating the inner cha, Dr Neides

Speaking of the Food Babe, she's now touting the old woo about sugar

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

@Dangerous Bacon #8

our wheat has been “genetically engineered” to produce current commercial varieties – the “old-fashioned” way by traditional plant breeding.

That's not very true, is it? Our 'modern' wheat is a product of mutation breeding employing chemicals such as colchicine and sodium azide or with x-ray/gamma radiation as the mutagen.

I predicted they’d fire Ben Swann in 2016 for making up fake news using a national media corporate logo. Didn’t happen.

In case you haven't noticed, making up fake news using a national media corporate logo tends to be rewarded in this country, as long as the fake news flatters the predisposition of the bosses on the issue in question. Ben Swann is small potatoes compared to people like Sean Hannity or Joe Scarborough.

As for your 2017 prediction: Also not happening. The Cleveland Clinic is too far down that particular rabbit hole to stop now, at least as long as Dr. Cosgrove is president and CEO. So far, they are finding that sweet donation money to outweigh any putative pharma shill money. If Dr. Cosgrove were to step down this year, then I would bump the chances of Dr. Neides being pushed out to "slim" from the current "none". But as long as Cosgrove stays, the only possibilities for Neides to leave would be (1) dropping dead or something close to that, or (2) accepting a better offer elsewhere.

That's assuming Dr. Neides doesn't have tenure or the equivalent. Orac, who did a residency (IIRC) at the Cleveland Clinic, would know better than I whether the Cleveland Clinic has something akin to tenure. If he does have that status, then pushing Dr. Neides out would require something in the dead girl/live boy category.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

Of course, the argument can be made that mutation breeding is a more sped up version of what nature already does through cosmic rays or just for the hell of it. This is unlike GMO which is mostly transgenic such as bacillus thurgensis genes in corn; Nature never knew codons like that.

Though poorly known, radiation breeding has produced thousands of useful mutants and a sizable fraction of the world’s crops, Dr. Lagoda said, including varieties of rice, wheat, barley, pears, peas, cotton, peppermint, sunflowers, peanuts, grapefruit, sesame, bananas, cassava and sorghum. The mutant wheat is used for bread and pasta and the mutant barley for beer and fine whiskey..

Dr. Lagoda takes pains to distinguish the little-known radiation work from the contentious field of genetically modified crops, sometimes disparaged as “Frankenfood.” That practice can splice foreign genetic material into plants...

“Spontaneous mutations are the motor of evolution,” Dr. Lagoda said. “We are mimicking nature in this. We’re concentrating time and space for the breeder so he can do the job in his lifetime.

I think we went through this all before with some under-the-bridge-dweller.
I can testify to the "missing" special needs kids' location. They were in the "special ed" class my father taught for a few years. They were in the residential State School my mother worked at for her Masters in Special Education. They were in snakepits like Willowbrook on Staten Island (Exposing Willowbrook was the high point of Geraldo Rivera's journalism career.). They were quick to institutionalize, too - my mother saw a child who was in the state school for years, "diagnosed" as retarded, when he was merely deaf. They were in the "slow track" in the public schools. I can't attest to this personally, but I don't doubt that some were kept hidden out of shame and fear.
Others, me included, were the other side of the coin, dispersed throughout the system. No one knew what to do with us - there wasn't a name for it. If anyone thought to do anything for me, it was either a session with the guidance counselor, who was as useful as teats on a boar hog, or at the psychoanalyst, who was a Freudian, and therefore was full of shit and useless when not being downright harmful.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

as well as the Associate Director of Clinical Education for The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine

I suspect that the originally linked page is out of date. See here (Craig Nielsen) and page 15 here (PDF; "Craig Nielsen, MD, assumed the role of Associate Director of Clinical Education, replacing Daniel Neides, MD, who transitioned from that role to become the Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute").

@ Eric -- well, we can all have a new year's wish.

Did you listen to the later vid segments by ZDogg? Holy cow, he called for termination. Boom!

Well, of COURSE there were no IEPs in the 60s and 70s! The IEP itself did not exist until passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, which, for those following along at home, is later than the 1960s and 1970s.


I notice Gorksi's tweet was responded to only with "but she's not antivaccine!" rather than any response to all the rest of the stuff he brought up, like reiki. (And pardon my ignorance, but what does "CCF" stand for?)

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

Calli: I think CCF is Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

If one wanted to go totally nuclear, one could mention to PETA that the Cleveland Clinic uses and promotes TCM, which uses bits of endangered animals. That would be a sight to see!

By JustaTech (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

Minor correction, Callie.

The original version of IDEA was passed in 1975.

The 2004 amendment did add the requirement for IEP's for disabled students.

My daughter was born I need 1990 and she got an IEPS as a gifted student when she was in 1st grade.

Bit I don't remember them from the 50s and 60s.

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

Cleveland Clinic needs to detoxify its brand. Getting rid of one self-unmasked antivaxxer won't cut it.

Functional medicine is garbage whose only function is to make the Clinic easy money by massaging money out of not seriously sick but rich folk.

Integrative medicine seeks to integrate hard won 21st Century medicine with cheap and easy 15th Century magical thinking.

Unless that's exactly what they want their brand of medicine to be.

ZDoggMD is my new hero.

By Leigh Jackson (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

Because of robots.txt, The Cleveland Clinic makes it impossible to use WebCite or Internet Archive to grab a stable cache of the post. It is a sneaky way for some quack websites to prevent people from holding them accountable for what they write. I think the Food Babe did this early on.

However, there is another cache service called archive . is that works despite this. I tried to grab a cache, but noticed that someone had already done so at January 7: archive . is / GdYjK.

Dr. Daniel Neides can now do nothing to hide his tracks and neither can his institute.

I think these kinds of PR meltdowns are great because it highlights both the large spread and problem inherent in quackademic medicine. Imagine if, say, an airplane company or the air force had "alternative engineers" that were responsible for making or maintaining aircraft. Nope, cannot imagine it.

By Emil Karlsson (not verified) on 09 Jan 2017 #permalink

"Wellness Clinic" - well, that figures. Alt Med types love to treat well people. It's the sick and injured that throw them for a loop.

squirrelelite: "The 2004 amendment did add the requirement for IEP’s for disabled students."

My son was born in 1988, and I just checked his big box of school/medical records. There are IEPs dating back to 1991 when he was in preschool. They may not have been required but they did exist.

What did not exist before 1975 was a disabled child's right to an education. There are many stories, especially in certain parts of the country of children being refused admission to public school for not being able to do something as "simple as speaking." My kid could not speak.

In around 1991 I was told by his less than ten years from retirement preschool teacher that the program he was in was created when kids who could hear but could not speak were put in with the hard of hearing kids. It turned out there was a need for "speech disabled" kids. (with a bit of Google stalking, it turns out many of them, like my son, were later diagnosed with autism)

She also told me that fifteen to twenty years earlier my kid would have been put into an institution in our state. Just because he could not speak.

A lot of us have been discussing this on Facebook, the idea that CC brought this mess upon themselves for having a "wellness clinic." What were they thinking in creating this clinic in the first place? If they don't get rid of the association with "wellness" practitioners, this is just going to happen again.

Neides is being what the charitable among us might call disingenuous with his comments about not seeing bairns with ADHD in classrooms in the '60s and '70s, partly because the APA did not include the diagnostic term "ADHD" in DSM until the revised version of DSM-III in 1987.

Prior to that in DSM-II in 1968 they used the term "hyperkinetic impulse disorder" and in the original version of DSM-III in 1980 used ADD for the first time, with 2 sub-divisions - with or without hyperactivity.

If only there were some handy way that he could have checked that out before putting finger to keyboard...

And, as noted, those of us of a certain age will recall some kids who would now receive a diagnosis of AS or ADHD. And that a selective education system, such as operated in UK-ia at the time would have filtered many of those bairns off into the "lower" tiers of the system.

@Dangerous Bacon

"This is a level of nincompoopery on a par with the Food Babe ...:

Did anyone catch that Food Babe is actually mentioned in Neides' ant-vax blog? In a once removed sort of way, but still...

"In a 2015 article in U.S. News and World Report, Jessica Hutchins, M.D., IFM certified practitioner, states, 'Information on eating toxin-free food and pushing food manufacturers to stop using harmful ingredients can be found at'."


Minor correction, Callie.

The original version of IDEA was passed in 1975.

The 2004 amendment did add the requirement for IEP’s for disabled students.

Well, that is pretty much why I called out the IDEA of 2004, specifically. ;-)

My brother received special education in the 1980s and 1990s under older versions of IDEA, but did not have an IEP for the simple reason that they did not yet exist.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 10 Jan 2017 #permalink

Calli Arcale: "but did not have an IEP for the simple reason that they did not yet exist."

Though they did in my state. Sometimes the states started programs that were added to the federal law. I remember redubg that this state, along with California created laws years before the first IDEA. The latter is in a couple of recent books on autism, but I can't find the history on our state because has a name is the same as the national capital and several universities.

@Chris and Calli,

Thanks for your replies.

I think the key point to keep making is that people with mental disabilities like ASD and ADHD have been there all along. They just were classified and treated differently (medically and in the schools).

For instance, Bill Sackter was born in 1913. When he had trouble learning and scored poorly on an IQ test at age 7, he was classified as "subnormal", determined to be a burden to society, and sent to the Faribault State School for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic for the next 44 years.

Kim Peek, the other inspiration for the movie Rain Man, didn't attend school till he was 7 (1958?) and was expelled after just 7 minutes for being uncontrollable.
After that he was home tutored.

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 10 Jan 2017 #permalink

squirrelelite, I know this may be a false memory, but it involves being in a classroom where the teacher pinned a picture on a little boy's back that said "wiggle worm." This would have been in the early 1960s, in one of the four states I lived during kindergarten and first grade (Army brat and the Cuban Missile Crisis).

Re there not being learning disabilities or autism in the 50's and 60's:

I was born in 1965, and have a learning disability similar to dyslexia; my brain scrambles letters and numbers. You see it in my spelling, and the difficulties I have with mathematics, especially algebra. I am also on the spectrum (Asperger's).

My parents tried to get an IEP for me in 1977. My teachers refused to have anything to do with it, and the principal (a colossal wimp) wouldn't do anything to force them. My math teacher routinely marked my homework and test answers wrong because I used a problem solving method that differed from hers, even though I always got the right answer.

The psychologists, pediatricians, and social workers at DC's Children's Hospital said they had never encountered a school so unwilling to help a student. One of my teachers accused me of using my disability as a crutch, that I was lazy and didn't want to do the work. She was my English teacher; yet I was reading college level books by the 5th grade.

Why should I want to do the work when I get a zero on the work even when it was correctly done? I checked out of middle school, mentally. Between the teachers who bullied me on academics and the kids who beat me up over anything else, I couldn't cope.

Thank God high school was a different story. I would have dropped out if things hadn't changed.

One of my nephews has ADHD. His parents got an IEP for him; he skipped the 8th grade and is taking college courses while still in high school.

Neither of us are "vaccine injured."

Murmur @45: Thanks for the link! I'll have to save that one for when people tell me that ADHD was invented in the 1990's and that I should give back all my degrees because I am appropriately medicated.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 11 Jan 2017 #permalink