Neuroplasticity – The Book That Ate Debi Pearl’s Brain Part 1

Neuroplasticity – The Book That Ate Debi Pearl’s Brain Part 1 August 28, 2019

*Creepy organ music in a minor key playing in the background* Welccccome! Welcome to Dr. Franken-deb’s laboratory!

This is one of the roughly six times a year that is like Christmas, Christmas in August! When No Greater Joy publishes their magazine filled with the uneducated nonsense on how to beat your children combined with a wealth of other very untrue things. Again, there is zero Michael Pearl in this issue, but there are four, count ’em, four different partial chapters of Debi’s new book on Neuroplasticity – “Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity”

Some of the chapters have long-established information on helping a child’s brain by doing things like playing music. But then there is this, Debi’s take on Autism.

Debi talks of  how autism rates are increasing, poo-pooing away some researchers claims that it’s just more recognized and widely reported now. Which might actually be a factor. Look at how many other illnesses and factors used to be thought of as ‘bad behavior’ or other simplistic conditions now recognized as something different.

She ends up here:

Researchers do not agree as to the cause of this rapid increase. But as numbers continue to rise, we can see that something horrific and new to our environment is causing our children to suffer brain damage.

Oh Lawd-a-mercy she must be about to blame cell phones, that favored Pearl boogieman of evil. But nope, she blames other stuff like vaccines and bad food.

But one thing is sure AUTISM IS NOT BRAIN DAMAGE! I don’t have much experience with autism, or even knowledge of it but I know it is not brain damage.

Here’s what the NIH had to say about the causes of autism.

What causes ASD?

Scientists believe that both genetics and environment likely play a role in ASD. There is great concern that rates of autism have been increasing in recent decades without full explanation as to why. Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with the disorder. Imaging studies of people with ASD have found differences in the development of several regions of the brain. Studies suggest that ASD could be a result of disruptions in normal brain growth very early in development. These disruptions may be the result of defects in genes that control brain development and regulate how brain cells communicate with each other. Autism is more common in children born prematurely. Environmental factors may also play a role in gene function and development, but no specific environmental causes have yet been identified. The theory that parental practices are responsible for ASD has long been disproved. Multiple studies have shown that vaccination to prevent childhood infectious diseases does not increase the risk of autism in the population.

It’s not vaccines, it’s not any one thing that can be pointed out.

What has changed since the 1990s that is causing such statistically high numbers of brain damaged babies? What can we do to stop it? Discovering the answers is like putting a complicated, solid white puzzle together. There are many rabbit holes, possible roots, and likely complicit evils. Whatever it is, it is something we are doing today as a society that we did not do fifty years ago.

Again, it is not ‘brain damage’, but it might be something to do with genetics or development. When Debi uses labels like brain damaged she encourages her followers to treat autistics like the disabled when the spectrum is a large one.

In a healthy brain, the neurons actually eat the unused synapses. For some reason, this process doesn’t happen in some children. What interferes with the pruning? Poor gut health in the mother and the child has proven to interfere in the pruning process. But that is not new, so it cannot be the sole cause. Environmental toxins, vaccinations, genetics, and even emotional trauma have been shown to be tied to stalling or totally stopping the brain’s pruning. But again, some of those things have always been part of the human experience. Why are we seeing problems only now, in the past 25 years? Many scientists believe the issues that disturb pruning are just the tipping point of a delicate state with a much more crippling cause.

Number one, while I am seeing information about connections between synapses and autism I have yet to see one article about ‘brain pruning’. I am seeing information on ‘synaptic pruning’, which is similar but not identical to what Debi describes here.

Number two, again vaccination and autism  is an unscientific myth that has been debunked!

Debi follows this with a tale about a boy named Benny, while stating his mother “cured”  his autism, but not telling you what she did. If it’s MMS I’m going to be beyond angry. Feeding your child industrial bleach is against the law in most places now.

The last section is about the Amish and how they have had less autism until they started feeding their children processed foods. Then she takes this side ramble of lies:

It is not unusual for a son or daughter with an 8th-grade, Amish-type education to leave the fold, work their way through college, and become a neurosurgeon or space engineer. As a group, they have made a very educated decision not to vaccinate, and up until the last ten years or so, I never heard of a single case of autism among their hundreds of thousands of children. But in recent years…

Statistics or  you are just stupidly rambling yet again. While I know of some Amish that got an Englisher education and left the fold, I have never seen an Amish space engineer or neurosurgeon, both jobs that require you use electricity. I see some brain damage here, but it’s not in any kid. Again, it’s not the vaccines.

And with the worlds “But in recent years…” Debi leaves us. Smugly pointing out that if you want to know the “cure” to this “brain damage” you have to buy the book when it’s released in September.

Tomorrow we’ll be looking at the book’s first chapter, in which Debi displays a breath taking ignorance on what an MRI actually is and it’s function and use in medicine.

I would venture to say that anyone using Debi Pearl’s advice in this book is a few brain cells short of full.


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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • nmgirl

    I’m curious about something. If statisticians looked at the number of severe autism cases, i.e the definition of the 70s and 80s, would there be a significant increase?

  • Saraquill

    She says trauma increases brain damage, but says nothing against beating infants.

  • Nightshade

    ‘It is not unusual for a son or daughter with an 8th-grade, Amish-type education to leave the fold, work their way through college, and become a neurosurgeon or space engineer.’ I can’t speak for all of that group, but I used to live among Amish and Mennonites (great neighbors, by the way!), and while it wasn’t unheard of for some to ‘leave the fold’ and go their own ways, I can’t recall ever hearing of any who went on to such careers. I’d like to see a list of names please, Debi.

  • anne marie hovgaard

    Probably, since a lot of people who were only given a mental retardation diagnosis back then are now diagnosed as autistic + intellectually disabled.

  • Nea

    In diagnoses of autism? Yes.

    But you know what disappeared around the same time-ish? Diagnoses like “Congenital Idiocy.”

    Terms and understanding change; the rates of children being diagnosed with something that shares symptoms, not so much.

  • Nea

    Mikey has said the same thing in the past, with equal lack of citation. It’s almost as if the Pearls want to simultaneously insist that someone isolated and given little education (as they prescribe for all children raised the Pearl way) is totally not being hindered from joining prestigious fields while at the same time having absolutely no grasp that highly specialized careers require highly specialized post-graduate work and not just working one’s way through 4 years of general college.

  • SAO

    First, the Autism-Vaccine issue has been EXTENSIVELY studied. There’s no link. The researcher who ‘found’ one has lost his medical license and been discredited for self-dealing and fraud. The voluminous research showing no connection has included huge sample sizes, it’s included looking a home video from parents who claim they saw a difference in behavior after a vaccine (the experts who had know knowledge of when or if autism was diagnosed found evidence of it before the child was vaccinated), etc, etc, etc. There are plenty of issues where there’s some doubt. On vaccines causing autism, it’s just as likely beams from martians caused it as vaccines.

    Second, the diagnosis of autism has changed. There’s a recent article in the well-respected Journal of the American Medical Association on it. The bottom line is that the difference between people diagnosed with autism and controls (people without autism) is smaller than it used to be. In short, you used to have to be more autistic to get a diagnosis. That’s why rates have gone up. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2747847?resultClick=1

    But, really, Debi has nothing but disdain for science or education, so why read anything she says about a subject that requires both?

  • SAO

    It’s really tough to answer, since it’s clear that diagnoses have changed.
    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2747847?resultClick=1

    Also, now, schools are required by law to educate all kids and provide services. In Massachusetts, the law (first in the country) passed in the early 70s. Before then, schools could just say your kid was uneducable and you could keep him at home or send him to a (very expensive) private institution (my brother was coming close to topping out of his $100K lifetime limit on my parents’ insurance after 6 years, that’s nearly $600K now, meaning medical bills and education was around $100,000/year) or a state institution where the conditions were so horrible they did not allow parents to EVER visit their child.

    Anyway, now, with the requirement to educate all kids, children with autism get a lot of services through the schools. There’s a huge incentive to have them diagnosed. In fact, parents are often shocked when their children age out of education (turning 22) and they discover that far, far fewer services are available for handicapped adults.

    Kids with very mild autism (on the spectrum) often get diagnosed to get some extra help in school. When schools could kick anyone out, a diagnosis would be an excuse for the school system to kick your kid out, instead of a way to demand more services.

    So, in the end, I think no one will be able to determine if autism rates are rising or merely rates of diagnoses are rising.

  • Tawreos

    While I know of some Amish that got an Englisher education and left the fold, I have never seen an Amish space engineer or neurosurgeon, both jobs that require you use electricity.

    They are allowed to use electricity, but they, generally, don’t own electrical devices. I work in an Amish area and some of the guys work construction jobs using power tools that are provided for them.

  • Nea

    Poor gut health in the mother and the child

    Debi is so, so gaggingly desperate to be an “expert” at something medical but her every word shows she’s neither neurologist nor gasteroenterologist.

  • Nea

    Yeah, funny how Debi admits emotional damage is a thing and yet doesn’t notice how all her own children are exhibits of said damage.

  • Tawreos

    Her audience will never realize that though.

  • Nea

    I am seriously wondering how much of an audience she has. Oh, I know that a fringe is still impressed by her, but her big books came out before kids died, before she stood in defense of a predator, before social media. Now rebuttals for her “wisdom” are a single keyboard click away. A quick check of Amazon shows that of the 12 reviews for the book, 10 of them are 1 star and a warning.

  • Tawreos

    She obviously feels she has enough of an audience to keep putting out this magazine. And I am sure she appeals to the type of people that wouldn’t see the rebuttal no matter how easy it was to get to.

  • Nightshade

    Either they have no idea how things work, or they know and just don’t care.

  • Friend

    Let’s face it: clinical medicine helps to prolong life and improve the quality of life. The millions of people in the US who lack insurance should be bursting with health, by Debi’s logic.

    Debi loves to insist that the Amish opt out of modern medicine, but it’s not that simple.

    Study: Low vaccination rate in Amish children linked to hospitalization https://www.aappublications.org/news/2017/08/02/AmishVaccines080217

    With free vaccinations, ChildProtect program helps Amish communities stay healthy
    https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/free-vaccinations-childprotect-program-helps-amish-communities-stay-healthy

  • Friend

    Third option: don’t know and don’t care.

  • Martin Penwald

    At least there is Lori Alexander.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    The part that’s confusing me:
    They left Eighth Grade (grammar school) and went straight to college? Seriously? No exposure to high school at all? And going into rigorous scientific fields? After coming from a group that avoids modern technology?

    Seems improbable. I’d also like to see numbers as a percentage of all Amish youth.

  • johnsoncatman

    Why are we seeing problems only now, in the past 25 years?

    Seems to me that it coincides with the rise of crazy conservative republicans. I think we can blame it on conservative policies.

  • persephone

    I’m on the spectrum, as are my mother and older son, and my late grandmother. There are a number of reasons that the number of autists appears to have increased. They’re mostly speculative, but do have some small studies and anecdata.
    1. ASD is not as obvious in women and girls. Women tend to have better aural perception, which makes it easier for them to pick up clues in speech, which male autists may not. I would also say that women are normally much more aware of social clues because it’s how we stay alive. At one time it was believed that only boys could be autistic. Then they decided about 10% of autists were female. That rose to 25%, which is what many people still believe is the correct rate, but it’s probably closer to 50%.
    2. ASD may be increasing to some extent as the number engineers, especially software engineers, have increased. ASD shows up disproportionately in families with engineers. Software engineers are high earners and are more likely to get married and reproduce than they have previously, which explains the jump in Silicon Valley.
    3. Critera for diagnosis have become nearly standardized, instead of psychologists just using a best guess diagnosis.
    4. We’re much more aware of ASD, and children that might have been diagnoses as disabled are receiving better medical attention.

    My son’s odd behaviors were noticed by his teachers, while I, many decades before, was just considered the good, slightly weird, and quiet girl.

    My pregnancies were very different. My pregnancy with my older son was unpleasant. I had morning sickness nearly the entire pregnancy, except for about six weeks right in the middle. I craved Arrowhead water. Normally, I hate the taste of Arrowhead, but that was all I wanted to drink. He didn’t move much, but kicked a lot when I was in a position he didn’t like.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    ..and the book hasn’t even been published yet.

  • Polytropos

    I got homeschooled with no formal education at all between the ages of 7 and 14, when I persuaded my parents to let me enrol for correspondence classes so I’d be able to get into university. My mum claimed a university would let me in anyway – they’d do some kind of entrance interview and decide I was smart enough. Based on my experience, here’s how I think the thought process works, at least as far as mum was concerned:

    Yes, my mum wanted to believe someone with little to no education could still get into a profes&#8203sional car&#8203eer, and yes, she had no real idea of what it takes to train and work in a specialized field. In the homeschooling scene there’s a lot of prop&#8203aganda about how formal education is not important, because many homeschooling parents don’t want to admit they cannot adequately educate their kids. For my mum, homeschooling wasn’t about me, it was about her vision of herself as a home educator. It was an identity that appealed to her and made her feel special, but she wasn’t really interested in doing the work needed to educate a kid, and didn’t have the right skill set anyway. She was simply doing mental gymnastics to avoid admitting she was not the awesome home educator she liked to think she was.

  • I have to wonder whether the similarity between this book and Build a Better Brain: Using Neuroplasticity to Train Your Brain for Motivation, Discipline, Courage, and Mental Sharpness, by Peter Hollins, goes deeper than the titles.

    Does anyone know?

  • Saraquill

    I’m still waiting for Debi to say too much macaroni and cheese causes autism. An acquaintance told this to me, and it’s just as well she didn’t know I’m on the spectrum. Some of my eating habits already upset her.*

    *My having bread, sausage and vegetables for one meal upset her so much, she asked about my bowels1.

  • AFo

    Basically a list of new reasons to beat your kids. Because those of us who actually use our brains can see that the kids themselves can’t control any of this, yet will get blamed for being “disobedient” when it doesn’t work.

  • persephone

    Hi,Suzanne,

    OT, but there was a new episode of Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology show, which focused this week on the sexual abuse of children. It was immediately followed by a documentary–which I’m not mentally up to finishing yet–about Hephzibah House. I knew it was bad. I’d read some postings. But these poor young women were so abused. Even more upsetting, is the cultural enforcer they had commenting. Her responses were basically either “It wasn’t that bad” or “if they’d follow the rules, it wouldn’t have happened.” Forced pel vic exams (ra pe). Beatings with boards. Locked in closets. Contact cut off with families. Lies to families.

    And they’re still defending it.

  • WallofSleep

    “What has changed since the 1990s that is causing such statistically high numbers of brain damaged babies?”

    To Train Up a Child was released in 1994?

  • WallofSleep

    Now I’m trying to think of some funny “Amish construction worker catcalls”, but I’m coming up blank.

    Wait: “Hey honey, wanna see my buggy whip?!?”

  • WallofSleep

    How awful for you. You have my sympathies.

  • WallofSleep

    What the… grain, meat, and veggies sound pretty balanced to me.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    That’s what I was thinking? What the heck?

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Everyone is contacting me about the special. I have to wait until A&E Latin America runs them to see. I keep hoping they will pop up on En Espanol channels on my Fire Stick, but not yet.

  • WallofSleep

    Maybe because it’s missing the dairy bit? But that’s not really necessary. I dunno.

  • Nea

    The Pearls have talked about a business version of this – that somehow homeschooled kids can walk in and impress employers with their wonderful character as opposed to all those secular kids with mere experience and education.

  • Polytropos

    Thanks! It did teach me to be very self-motivated and self-reliant, but it was incredibly stressful and I missed out on many of the opportunities kids normally get. The worst part is that now I’m an adult with a degree and a successful career in a field I love, mum tries to take the credit.

  • WallofSleep

    http://replygif.net/i/191.gif

    On the bright side however, I suppose she could’ve chosen to instead go the Munchhausen by proxy route as a means to get attention/glory/sympathy/etc.

  • Polytropos

    It’s a common belief among homeschool families. We’d never heard of the Pearls when I was a kid, but it was an article of faith among the homeschoolers we knew that kids who have been homeschooled are somehow better prepared for employment (and life generally), than kids who have been through public school. No stats of course, it was believed because it was what people wanted to hear.

    There is some truth to it in the sense that homeschooled kids are often good at relating to adults, and those of us who do well academically are focused and self-motivated, which are useful attributes in the workplace, but in my experience it’s equally likely the poor kid will end up with no work-relevant skills at all.

  • Friend

    I’ve known home schooling parents all over the spectrum from religious craz1es to borderline c0mmies. Every last one of them thinks their child is socially better than the m0ngrels from public and private schools. Most of them think their kids are fuck1ng anointed.

  • Polytropos

    Yep, that’s definitely a bright side.

  • Polytropos

    My experience is the same. The parents’ levels of sanity and religiosity varied, but they all thought their kids were doing better socially than kids who went to school, even when the evidence didn’t support this claim.

  • WallofSleep

    EDIT: Fuck2 you, patheos.

  • WallofSleep

    If it’s any consolation, my mom was an abusive B-hole as well; one with a very “fictional” memory of events past.

  • persephone

    The Amish will get medical care. My first husband told me about his mother, who was a social worker in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, having found out the hard way that many Amish would be having sex within a few days of childbirth in the hospital.

    Gross and ew.

  • WallofSleep

    Well, when the only other entertainment is building barns, making clothes, and tending crops and cattle, that ~nine month stretch of no “hubba hubba” can seem to last for years. Or so I imagine.

  • Saraquill

    There is a joke in this, relating her alleged expertise to the way her head is wedged in her colon. Neuroenterologist?

  • Saraquill

    My guess is she believed I had a dire fiber deficiency. Judging by a single plate. What I really want to know is why I’m the one stereotyped as having poor social skills.

  • persephone

    Most of them leave school at age 12 or 13. They then basically start working full-time on the farms or in the businesses. The idea that they could leave and become a surgeon or engineer within just a few years is ridiculous. They learn and speak their church German at home and in church, and their English skills are not always that good. If they do leave, the men usually end up in construction or working as mechanics (not engineers or doctors). The women have a harder time, as they are usually not skilled in anything except cooking, housekeeping, childcare, and some farm chores.

  • WallofSleep

    A dire fiber deficiency? I don’t always eat as well or as balanced as I should, but anyone who looks askance at a plate of veggies is probably the one with a “dire fiber deficiency”?

    And your last sentence made me laugh, ‘cuz I really flippin’ wonder sometimes.

  • Friend

    Ha! You own it, Polytropos. Enjoy it.

  • Emersonian

    I live in a large midwestern city with a well-known children’s hospital. When I used to work in that neighborhood I saw many, *many* Amish and Mennonite/Anabaptist folks commuting from hours away to that hospital because their tendency to marry from within their communities has led to a host of otherwise rare genetic-linked health problems in Amish children. I would bet every dime that Debi is grossly mistaken about the frequency of autism disorders in those communities.

  • Polytropos

    Thanks! I do my best.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Yep. It seems to be the only thing they all have in common. That and a huge persecution complex.

  • Nea

    But… but… but… she read a book about it! That totally makes her the smartest person on the topic!

    /s

  • Nea

    I’ve also seen some interesting discussion on how autism – or at least its outward stressors – is partially environmental. If the sound of a fluorescent light is a stressor, you won’t be triggered in a place with no fluorescent lights, for example. The underlying condition remains, but it’s not being hammered on 24/7.

  • Jackie

    I have always thought their “discipline” is very abusive. I read the book. However, how do you know how the “kids” turned” out. If you have a link or info, I appreciate it. They seem so supportive of their parents, but this could be about money and/or trauma.
    http://web.archive.org/web/20101104141241/http://www.achristianhome.com/to_train_up_a_child.htm

  • SAO

    Focused and self-motivated kids tend to do well in school, too.

  • Nea

    how do you know how the “kids” turned” out.

    Public record, including the writing of the Pearl children and the adults, all of whom talk about:
    – the daughter who had a mental meltdown when her husband asked her to make a decision

    – the daughter who everyone laughed at when her husband spit on her at the wedding reception
    – the daughter whose husband gave away all their money, refuses to work, and has the family living in a trailer on stolen land without running water or electricity
    – the son whose wife ran away, took the kids, and got full custody by proving in court that the family “childrearing methods” are abusive.

    Feel free to Google any of this. Every single Pearl child is a train wreck one way or another; none of them is showing any of the promise to become a leader or CEO or innovator or anything else Mike-Mike promised.

    Also, we know of three children who died because of Pearl teachings; it’s beyond anyone thinking they seem abusive. That ministry has a death toll.

  • Nea

    But isn’t the magazine free and sent by email?

  • Jackie

    Thanks for the info. Yes, they do have a death toll & many who followed their abusive ways. They did a utube damage-control video on those deaths and in that video they presented themselves as one big happy family. But, it just does not seem possible given M. Pearl’s abuse of his wife and both of them abusing their children.

  • kilda

    Oh Debi….thanks for the laugh. Yes, the Amish are so well known for producing astrophysicists and neurosurgeons. https://media2.giphy.com/media/CoDp6NnSmItoY/giphy.gif

  • kilda

    many kids that would have been diagnosed with mental retardation (now more politely called intellectual disability) are now diagnosed with autism instead, or as anne marie hovgaard notes, diagnosed with both. Statistics show that as the rate of autism diagnoses has gone up, the rate of intellectual disability diagnoses has proportionately gone down. Some of the severe cases in the past would have been misdiagnosed as childhood schizophrenia, and most of the mild cases that are now diagnosed weren’t diagnosed at all. They would have just been considered an odd kid.

  • B.E. Miller

    “For my mum, homeschooling wasn’t about me, it was about her vision of herself as a home educator. ”

    See, this is why I would like to see homeschooling regulated somehow. Some kids would do good with the right homeschooling, while other parents slack off, and their kids suffer.

  • Carol Lynn

    Some of the homeschool kids I know are completely unable to handle a regular school. Whether that is due to a flaw of the homeschooling process or if they would have been fragile enough to not be able to do regular schooling in any case is very hard to tell. But yeah, I got several variations of ‘oh, my child is perfect and so smart! They will transition to higher ed easily!” when the reality was that at least one kid could not handle a religious all-boys high school when he tried it. It was just too stressful.

  • katiehippie

    The Amish guy that fixed my lawn mower had a credit card machine, as does the general store.

  • Friend

    My comment was focusing on the attitudes of parents. The kids are just on the receiving end. Some would benefit from rubbing elbows with other kids, especially if they come from extremist or otherwise t0xic families. But some kids genuinely can’t tolerate the school environment, or it would pose a d@nger due to life-threaten1ng allergies, etc.

  • Lucy

    And I’m guessing they aren’t allowed to read many books, either. Not even classic novels. Probably more like the way Milton Hershey grew up, where the only acceptable reading was the Bible (and of course that’s part of what drove him towards candy and to eventually found the company that shares his last name).

  • Carol Lynn

    Exactly! The one kid I knew probably had undiagnosed problems for *years* that were hidden by his parents insistence that evangelical Catholic homeschooling was the best thing ever for creating smart, educated, and ‘perfect’ kids who would have no trouble at all *ever* in their lives. That ran up against reality.

  • Lucy

    Methinks your acquaintance confused correlation and causation. Sensory issues would mean that a subset of autistic people are more likely to eat mac and cheese, not that the mac and cheese caused their autism.

  • Lucy

    Yeah, you’d think it’d be obvious to neurotypicals that referencing someone else’s bowels2 to said person’s face is socially inappropriate.

  • Polytropos

    Absolutely. I was a good candidate for it since I’m academically inclined and also aspie, so I could hyperfocus but wasn’t great at socializing with other kids. That’s why it worked out okay for me in the end, but it doesn’t for a lot of kids. Over here homeschooling is theoretically regulated – you have to apply for an exemption from school and present lesson plans showing you’ll teach the kid as regularly and as well as a school would, but in practice nobody ever checks. The homeschooling mums swap tips on how to fill out the exemption paperwork, and many of them just see it as a tick-box compliance requirement. It’s scary.

  • Jennifer

    Defense of a predator? You mean Gothard?

  • Jennifer

    Thanks for the warning. That’s so horrific..

  • Polytropos

    I knew a couple of kids who just couldn’t cope in social contexts, and always wondered whether this was a result of homeschooling, or if they would have been the same no matter what type of schooling they had. My current thinking is that while they wouldn’t have fitted in well at school, it might have been good for them. Being homeschooled and isolated meant they had no benchmark for normal, acceptable social behaviour, and these days I wonder how much of their weirdness was really acting out as a result of being trapped in a highly dysfunctional family environment.

  • MuttsRule

    And the Amish, in response to an outbreak of measles in 2014 (brought back to Ohio from the Philippines by a couple of Amish typhoon relief volunteers), got vaccinated in droves and cooperated with local public health officials in tracking exposures and quarantining the exposed:

    “During 120 free vaccination clinic sessions, 12,229 doses of MMR vaccine were administered to 10,644 persons; 6461 of the persons who received
    at least one dose (61%) were 5 to 39 years of age. Case patients were isolated until they were no longer infectious (4 days after the onset of rash), and nonimmune persons who were exposed to measles were voluntarily quarantined at home and followed for the development of symptoms until beyond the maximum incubation period (21 days). The church-related entity that organized the charitable work in the Philippines adopted pretravel immunization measures for subsequent volunteers.”

  • MuttsRule

    She may be talking about Dr. Andy Yoder, a hospitalist in Ohio. He was born Amish, but switched to being a Mennonite at age 14. He went on a medical mission to Costa Rica to work as an interpreter and was encouraged by doctors there to get his GED, go to college, and then to medical school, which he did, despite knowing only arithmetic and never using a computer until he applied to college. He speaks several languages and, needless to say, is brilliant. And unusual.

  • persephone

    In a lighter vein, I tuned into the first episode of On Becoming a God in Central Florida on Showtime. It’s definitely based on Amway. They even have the head of the company preaching at a funeral in a church. I’m rooting for Kirsten Dunst’s character to seize control and destroy them.

  • Clancy

    I’m not on the spectrum, as far as I can tell, but I’ve always been a picky eater. As an adult, my response to comments about my food hss been, “Do you want some? No? Then mind your own business.”

  • Clancy

    “Wanna ride my horse?”
    “Wanna help me plow?”

  • 24CaratHooligan

    OMGs I have a “hideous” brain disorder! I feel much better for knowing that.

  • 24CaratHooligan

    I came very close to being homeschooled but thankfully it wasn’t really a viable option in 1970s/80s Britain. I shudder to think what a basket case I would have been, given that I’m crazier than a ferret with its tail in a mangle anyway (autism, ADD, dyspraxia, mild dyslexia, terminal anxiety and depression). I didn’t socialise with other children until school (age 4). Having taken all that into account there was never any question of home schooling my own daughter who is now the most chillaxed, serene and relatable 18 year old about to study neuroscience at Bristol Uni.

  • 24CaratHooligan

    I really shouldn’t have gone and looked at their website. I’m now so angry I swear my ears are glowing.

  • anne marie hovgaard


    those of us who do well academically are focused and self-motivated

    Well, you’d have to be. Ordinary, less focused kids would not stand much chance.

  • Quinsha

    My mom is in her 80’s, and when I listen to her view of what happened in my childhood, I wonder who she is talking about. It sure isn’t me.

  • Quinsha

    I am probably in the spectrum, myself. One of my adult kids has been diagnosed, my nephew and niece have been diagnosed, and it is thought that my father was on the spectrum.

    One of the things that I absolutely HATED was pep-rallies in high school. Several students, including me, would sneak to the school library during pep-rallies and do the sin of doing our homework!

    Until a teacher caught us and we were ordered to go to the pep-rallies for the rest of the year.

    Attending used to bring me to the verge of tears.

  • Anat

    Also, there is no need to have every single nutrient in every single meal.

  • WallofSleep

    I recall reading years ago an article snippet that advocated a big salad (fruit & veg) for breakfast, asking the question “How great would it be to knock out your daily requirement in one meal?” Sounds great, but I guess it depends on what part of the day you feel like pooping the most.

    Personally that sounds like too much work in the morning. I’d much rather have that big salad for dinner instead. And considering the price of that much daily produce, I think I’d have to have a sizeable plot of land and grow my own. Another thing which I also can not afford.

  • Delta

    Also, her assertion that Amish parents don’t vaccinate is a lie. IIRC 84% of Amish parents have vaccinated at least one of their children.

  • Delta

    This was me! Public schools refused to accomodate my severe allergies and I had difficulties tolerating that environment for other reasons. I kept in touch with some of my public school friends though, which was a relief when almost every other homeschooling family we met was some variety of fundamentalist.

    College is much easier to handle than a public school, and I’m older and more able to cope with difficulties when they do arise.

  • Delta

    “Gut health” is all you need to say to convince pseudoscience fans you’re an expert.

  • Allison the Great

    I think her audience consists of the Duggars and Lori Alexander. That’s about it.

  • Allison the Great

    I’m on the spectrum. I hated pep-rallies too. HATED them, omfg, so I’m right there with you. I know that there are a lot of people who are “aspie” or what have you that post on here, but who all can’t or won’t drive on on highways or freeways without having a melt-down? I can’t do it.

    I’ve also had this question on my mind for over a year now, has anyone else read about Hans Asperger being a nazi? I read that he sent loads of innocent autistic kids to their deaths. I haven’t wanted to identify about having Asperger’s syndrome since then, and I got diagnosed at 14. I was wondering if anyone else felt the same way. Not condemning you if you don’t feel that way, mind, just wondering what the general consensus is because I don’t know anyone else IRL who is on the spectrum.

  • Quinsha

    I have heard rumors of that happening, but have yet to look it up, myself.

  • Mimc

    I believe the DRM 5 doesn’t use the term Asperger’s syndrome anyway. It’s all just Autism Spectrum Disorder now. As far as the psychology field is concerned it’s a single disorder with different presentations.

  • Mimc

    Yeah there’s nothing in dairy you can’t get from somewhere else. People allergic to milk do it all the time.

  • Mimc

    Do the Amish forbid sex during pregnancy?

  • Mimc

    She’s going to blame the two things we’re sure it’s not, vaccines and parenting. Plus probably food which is probably not it either though there isn’t as much data.