Create A Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity – Autism Shaming and Blaming

Create A Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity – Autism Shaming and Blaming February 1, 2020

Puzzle Krypt-2
Debi keeps talking of an all white puzzle being Autism. Now I know Autism advocates love to use puzzle pieces to represent Autism, but it is controversial with many parents and kids. Image from Wikicommons
Last week we took a look at the very long chapter of Debi Pearl’s book “Create A Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity” and the long chapter on gut health. Warning, this isn’t going to be any better as we move onto whatever Debi thinks causes Autism, like vaccines and not parenting the right way. Oh boy, blaming ahoy! Last chapter here.

Please bear with me. I don’t have the largest amount of knowledge on Autism, but I do know that vaccination does not cause it, no matter what Debi claims. Like so many conditions I have a feeling once science decodes it the answer will be a laundry list of factors, none of which are bad parenting or eating the wrong thing, or vaccines.

Debi starts with the claim that Autism diagnosis jumped in just a few years in the early 2000s, but immediately discounts the fact that as more people become educated to the symptoms, and word spreads more people are diagnosed that might have been misdiagnosed with something else.  She calls it a Biblical ‘plague’ at one point. She mentions puzzles.  Like other long term conditions it is a puzzle.

She starts to blame poor gut health and the wrong diet before taking a hard left turn into her long story of having one of her kids vaccinated, fighting all night over the baby with the spirit of death, even waking Mikey up to pray over the kid only to find out later that her neighbor who also vaccinated her child has woken up to a dead baby. THAT story yet again.

Yes, Debi blames  childhood vaccinations for Autism!  She goes on to say that the vaccinations were way safer when her kids were little, but they are now filled with bad stuff. Safer like the Angel of Death showed up at her house to croak her kid safer? She cites a very old study as proof before launching into a transcript of a speech by Robert Kennedy Jr. on the YouTubes.

Robert goes on to claim  quite falsely that you had a very low chance of having a chronic health condition before 1989, but that childhood illnesses skyrocketed right then. I laughed because he proceeded to name a pile of conditions I have, have had since birth in 1960, back when it was just three vaccinations. Clearly Kennedy is just reaching for blame. He cites no studies, no research, it’s all just whining and fear mongering over vaccines.

This is all followed by Debi completely reversing herself, saying that the Amish and Mennonites eat organic and don’t vaccinate yet they still turn out kids with Autism. At a much lower rate than all these sinful Twinkie-guzzling, shot taking heathens.

“Interestingly enough, over 70% of people with autism also have gastrointestinal problems and issues related to their gut.”

And immediately after stating the above Debi takes this into the weirdest possible place, blaming it on cell phone usage by men warping their sperm with radiation. First, it’s not a nuclear reactor, you’re not housing Chernobyl near your junk! It’s a very different type of electromagnetic field we’re talking about here. Radio Frequency Radiation has not been  conclusively linked to Autism in any way.

Before you know it we are back to Debi claiming that Autism destroys mirror neurons, which means your child will not mimic your facial expressions. Debi tells a tale about her son, half-in, half-out of her vagina smiling at his smiling daddy. She completely ignores the piles of research that say smile mimicking takes time to develop. Smiles before 2 months of age are reflex smiles, with more in common with a leg jerk or startle response than mimicking anything.

Then we’re back to cell phone blaming, with Debi ordering you to keep your cell phone off your junk, and away from your kids as well as turning off the wifi when kids are around.  Oh brother! And we’re out.

That chapter was a confused mess of blaming without any clear answers or legitimate studies. The next chapter is also about Autism, some story of someone she claims cured their son’s Autism. I swear, if she recommends MMS I am going to lose it and go postal.

Not even sure after reading and rereading this mess exactly which brand of boogieman under the bed Debi blames for Autism.

Part 1 ~ Part 2 ~ Part 3 ~ Part 4

Part 5 ~ Part 6 ~ Part 7 ~ Part 8

Part 9 Part 10 ~ Part 11 ~ Part 12

Part 13

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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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  • Gussie FinkNottle

    Does Debi also think radios and microwave ovens are dangerous tomfoolery? Because cell phone radiation is down on the same low-energy side of the EM spectrum. You don’t start getting tissue damage until you get to UV and beyond. Maybe she should start hawking EMF shields.

  • Friend

    Stipulating that I am a Christian, I do not believe that Christianity prevents autism.

  • AFo

    When you view the world as simplistically as Debi does, you can’t make any room for nuance and gray areas. You can’t accept that autism is complicated and there’s likely not one definitive cause. And you definitely can’t accept that autism is no one’s “fault” when you’ve been raised to believe that literally every bad thing that can happen to a person is the result of sin2.

  • NoOne of Consequence

    Oh sweet merciful crap2 I hate this nonsense. Ms Pearl, if you’re not going to help then, please please, stop doing more harm. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, shut up. Check credentials, ignore people who are talking about things they’re clearly ignorant of. Just because it sounds good or conforms to your opinion doesn’t mean it’s true. THINK, FFS. Of course, she doesn’t care. It’s all about the Benjamins, yo. Right, now I’m too angry for more internet, I’m going to go play with my cat.

    eta: wtf in this isn’t getting past the censors?

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    You used cr2ap cr2apity cr2ap cr2ap

  • NoOne of Consequence

    Holy (*&^, the little neighbor girl was right, it *is* cussing.

  • Mel

    The “turn off the wifi when the kids are home!” made me laugh so hard I cried. You could also wrap your kids in aluminum foil; that should block the worst of the radio waves. Oh, and don’t use the microwave when kids were around! We’ve been bathed in radio waves for decades now and we should have noticed some kind of change.

    Take that back – we did notice a change – but it was mostly that modern sanitation plus modern medicine’s ability to drop mortality rates from all sorts of horrible illnesses like diphtheria and typhoid made it much more likely for children to NOT be maimed by preventable illnesses that we started seeing that some kids had some disorders that weren’t chalked up to brain damage from childhood illnesses.

    I’ve been reading a lot of county-level ledgers used to report deaths to the state as part of my personal research project on the local Poor Farm. I’ve never met anyone who died of diptheria. Or typhoid for that matter. And as much as I joked about microwaves, we’ve saved a whole lot of lives by decreasing the amount of access small children have to large pots of boiling water leading to scalding deaths along with decreasing the number of women who died due to burns when their clothing caught fire on a stove. It’s a shame that we still lose 700 mothers a year in pregnancy related deaths – we need to work on that – but Jesus H. Christ, women died left and right from pregnancy complications less than 100 years ago. The daughter of one woman who was at the Poor Farm as a child died at age 25 from the exact same pregnancy complication I developed with my son; we both survived while they both died.

    Anyone who tells you that the “good ol’ days” were better is a fool.

  • Mel

    If Christianity did prevent autism, epidemiologists would have picked up on that one…..rapidly. It’s not like it’s a well-hidden variable since plenty of people check various boxes about religious practices or lack therein while receiving medical treatment during inpatient care.

    Debi’s terrified of autism – and she’s cashing in on monetizing the fear of her followers. That’s the basic connection between the Pearls and pretty much all of their beliefs; they like to make money off other people’s lack of critical thinking.

  • Saraquill

    One confirmed cause of autism is Congenital Rubella Syndrome. The only way to stop rubella is vaccination.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Quite interesting! I was doing some research on the poor farm near Kalamazoo, MI recently for a possible writing project. It was a tragic place.

  • Saraquill

    For me, the worst part of being autistic is people being @ssholes about it.

  • B.A.


  • Brian Curtis

    We need to revise our corporate liability laws to hold publishers accountable for spreading irresponsibly dangerous garbage like Debi Pearl’s advice, which will get children killed. Debi herself, of course, belongs in prison as an accessory to murder, as do all antivaxxers.

  • Nea

    Don’t need her anti vax position for that charge. The Pearl book “To Beat Up A Child” comes with a known body count.

  • persephone

    I’m old, so I remember life before the Rubella vaccine9. I remember the ads that were put out when it became available, showing disable9d children. I remember one of my teachers quitt9ing when she became preg9nant because she couldn’t risk rub9ella by continuing to teach while exp9ecting.

  • persephone

    I’m the high end of the spectrum, and so is my older son. My mother and grandmother both exhibit traits9. The only one of us who had the rubella9 vaccine as a toddler was my son. The vaccine didn’t come out until I was a young teen. But these nu9tjobs aren’t going to listen to that. As you noted, people don’t want to admit that maybe their genes9 aren’t picture perfect. It’s so much better to blame someone or something else.

    I think that the current studies seem to find that autism9, like many other disorders9, is a combination of genes9 and environ9ment. I have multiple immu9ne disorders9, and they also follow this pattern. You can pass on the genes and nothing may ever be diagnosed, although many people on the higher end of the spectrum probably are passing, whether they realize it or not, just thinking they’re a little weird. But toss in genetic factors from the other parent, or issues during pregnancy, and things happen.

    My pregnancies9 were three years apart and very different. I had morning sickness9 nearly my entire pregnancy9 with my older son. They moved differently while in ute9ro, reacte9d to stim9uli differently, re9acted to my position differently. They even behav9ed completely diffe9rently during ultrasounds9.

    One thing about IQ tests and the spectrum9, is that the tests are designed for the average9, neuro9typical white person, so POC9 and the dis9abled score lower than they should. I ble9w a gasket back in the 90s when there was an article on some psycholo9gists at the local university-affiliated hospital telling the parents of aut9istic kids that they were men9tally dis9abled and would have to be taught to do rudime9ntary jobs and might not ever be able to sup9port themsel9ves.

  • Saraquill

    Agatha Christie had the right idea.

  • Jennifer

    Oh is THAT her excuse for dragging the kids to an electricity-free hut during Michael’s crazy years: protecting them from radiation. Got it.

  • Jennny

    My jaw drops at Debi’s ignorance and stupidity in thinking she can write a book about complex medical matters, when her level of brain-power is almost zero. AFAIUI, autism was ‘discovered’ in 1911 and more work done on the topic in the 1940s. Since, highly qualified, highly academic psychologists have discovered more and more of its complexity and the whole spectrum it includes. There was no ‘golden age’ when it didn’t exist…just that research hadn’t discovered or understood it yet. So it shows complete dumbness – and huge insensitivity – to claim aspects of modern life cause it. A retired midwife said to me recently that, as decades have passed, more and more babies with complicated handicaps can survive and thrive which is not how it was in the past, so there’s bound to be an increase in numbers of children with health issues whom we see in our midst.

  • A. Noyd

    Maybe if society more widely accepted us and understood us, it wouldn’t be that way.

    Since Debi’s whole world is built around being as narrowly accepting of others as possible, the mere thought of this would break her brain.

    As a teacher with a number of autistic students, I wish it were easier to find good information about autism and the needs of autistic people. The “autism mommies and daddies” and predatory organizations have gunked up the search algorithms with their inaccurate, self-serving and harmful garbage.

    What information I do have is mostly gleaned from blog comments made by autistic folks themselves, but I get good use out of it almost every day.

  • Saraquill

    I have some book and blog recommendations if you’re interested.

  • Sassafras

    My mom had my siblings and I during the 1990s. Several decades prior we would very likely have been dead due to childbirth complications, no infant formula, anaphylaxis, jaundice, etc.

  • Nea

    She thinks she’s an expert on dyslexia after reading a couple of library books and observing all of what, one kid she was allowed to beat1 with impunity, so…

  • Rann

    Part of the issue with Autism is that it is NOT ONE neurological issue. Various researchers are isolating the genetic components that trigger it. Unlike Downs, caused when abnormal cell division results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21, well over 100 genes expression have been isolated thus far. Some researchers suspect the final count will be well over 200. As a result, those with autism are akin to snowflakes- no two exactly alike. Food and environment can not change DNA….. digestive issues and the like are due to autism being a neuro-developmental disorder, not the other way around(imagine the number of nerves required synchronise and coordinate to move food from your mouth, right through until the waste exits…..).

  • lady_black

    The one thing about Autism that I’m nearly 100% certain about is that children are born that way. It’s often not picked up on until the child falls behind verbally (coincidentally at about the same time the MMR vaccines are given). However, with 20/20 hindsight, the parent realizes the signs were there all along.
    The stimming behavior (rocking, hand-flapping, etc.). The lining up of toys rather than appropriate play. The failure to make eye contact, and often the intolerance for being held closely, and other sensory issues (intolerance of noise, certain fabrics, different food textures).
    Early intervention can make a world of difference. Speech therapy and occupational therapy.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    The (not terribly sub) subtext of all of this anti-vaxx hysteria is that they would rather a kid dead from some preventable disease than a living autistic one, which is pretty sick, frankly.

  • A. Noyd

    Lay ’em on me, please!

  • A. Noyd

    As a result, those with autism are akin to snowflakes- no two exactly alike.

    I’m always trying to figure out the needs of my students on an individual basis, whether they’re neurotypical or otherwise. It’s just that the way autistic minds can work is not often intuitive to non-autistic folk. This is why it’s especially useful to get info on particular problems and ways to counter them.

    Like, I know some autistic people can get “derailed” by a sudden change in routine. Acknowledging the change and explaining what to do instead will often help get them back on track. Others might get stuck on trying to separate critical information from the irrelevant and need help sorting it.

    Sometimes the solution is to work with a student’s peers. For instance, a student with a speech inhibition can participate in English conversation practice with a peer who bothers to wait for and look for their responses. So I’ll show the partner of that student how to modify the conversation to be accommodating.

    The more one can anticipate the issues an autistic person might have, the more easily one can support whatever issues do manifest for any particular individual. And it’s not really hard at all—if one has that information. (Which makes all the disinformation out there super infuriating.)

  • Mel

    Which county? I’m looking into the Ottawa County Poor Farm since it’s in my stomping grounds. My two cents was that mine was slightly less tragic than most – but only because the rather pragmatic farmers of the area realized that the only way this was going to work was if they rounded up some day-labor to actually run the farm portion and let the keepers hire some extra help – like a widow with one child – to help out with the clients.

    It was still pretty heartbreaking. So far, I’ve found two sibling sets of 3 kids listed in the Poor Farm records where the youngest kids were dropped off at the farm when their mother died (or was gravely ill with TB at the Poor Farm) while their dad took off to start over again after leaving the older kids with other family members. Another family just fell apart after their dad died at Andersonville in the Civil War. The oldest son was barely 18 when the dad died and the 17 year old sister had married just before that. Three of the kids ended up at the Poor Farm; the mom ended up there after being found engaging in prostitution.

  • 24CaratHooligan

    I had the single vaccination when I was 12. I nearly ended up in hospital due to a bad reaction but maybe the full-blown disease would have actually killed me… would do it again. And the Cub had all her MMR/Hep/Hib/DTP. She even went and got her own MMR booster before uni. Gods I love that kid.

  • 24CaratHooligan

    Especially those people who know someone else with autism so you can’t possibly have it because your’re not like “X”…

  • Saraquill

    With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child by Keiko Tobe is one of my favorites. I also recommend John Elder Robison’s books.

    As for blogs, I recommend Left Brain Right Brain, Squidalicious, and Autistichoya’s blog.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Kalamazoo County. I’m working on a book on the death of Carol Ann Cole and have been researching places she lived, including Kalamazoo. In earlier years she would have landed in the poor farm.

  • Meurig ap Gweirydd

    I have a bald patch on the back of my head and a hand-sized scar on my right shoulder from pulling a pan of hot oil off the cooker as an 11 month old. Thankfully by 1958 doctors had some expertise in skin grafting after modern warfare gave them plenty of victims to experiment on, although where they took the grafts from (my thigh) is also scarred.

    Edit to add that my mother almost died from a prolapsed uterus and heavy bleed after having her sixth child, and again only modern medicine saved her life with an emergency hysterectomy. The RC church’s response was to excommunicate her.

  • A. Noyd

    Thanks. I’ll check ’em out.

  • Raging Bee

    JFJ Jr’s anti-vax rubbish is an even more disgusting stain on the Kennedy name than all of Teddy’s indiscretions put together.