An Extremely Depressing Cartoon


This showed up on Slate this morning:

autism cartoon

Good God. What exactly is Jim Borgman trying to say to us here? That we shouldn't have children because they might be autistic? That every pregnant couple should leave each day of their pregnancy in crippling fear that their child will be autistic?

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Autism rates:

"The incidence of diagnosed autism has increased since the 1990s. Reasons offered for this phenomenon include better diagnosis, wider public awareness of the condition, regional variations in diagnostic criteria, or simply an increase in the occurrence of ASD (autism spectrum disorders). The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders to be about one in every 150 children. In 2005, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) stated the 'best conservative estimate' as 1 in 1000. In 2006, NIMH estimated that the incidence was 2-6 in every 1000."

I consider myself a relatively risk-averse person, but I'll take those odds. I'm not saying autism isn't a serious problem, or that it isn't on the rise (though there's certainly some disagreement on that point). I'm also not saying that when Dr. M gets pregnant we won't worry about autism, or Down syndrome, or any of the other things that expecting parents worry about. I'm just saying I'm not going to let that prevent me from having children or dominate my feelings during the pregnancy.



I feel like those parents should just go to another playground, one where the leap of faith wall is labeled "Born with eight toes on one foot" or "Becomes Republican" or "Slightly shorter than you'd hoped." I mean this playground doesn't even look that good.

it has a swing. this to me equals a pretty good playground.

i assumed that the cartoonist was making mock of people not having babies because they ignorantly believe there's more autism in the world now. and thus saying, "people, you're dumb, have a baby. it's no big deal, people have been doing it for thousands of years. autism-schmatism."

but then this is possibly because i believe cartoonists generally use sarcasm not sincerity. which maybe is not always true.


To be fair the couple pictured has clearly *already* made the leap of faith. Perhaps it just about how expectant parents are now worrying about autism preventing their children from playing normally. Either way this is clearly the product of an off-day for the cartoonist.

I disagree. As a very happy, yet nervous, scared (perhaps a little paranoid) new parent, the cartoon really portrays how I feel. Baby should have her first round of immunizations soon, and I'm no conspiracy theorist (usually) but I really don't know what I'm going to do. The more I read, the less I feel like I know. Ignorance is bliss, I guess. Why didn't I have a kid when I was 16 and didn't worry and think so much?

As an Autistic person this cartoon bothers me. It plays into the "autism epidemic" fear mongering. Parents shouldn't have to be paranoid about the possibility of their child being autistic. As I understand it, having a child is normally supposed to be a happy time. This cartoon portrays it as anything but happy.

The ethyl mercury in thimerosal that was used as a preservative in vaccinations hasn't been used for years. So, even if they someday prove it had anything to do with Autism, it's not really relevant now........

Mercury has supposedly been removed from vaccines, but vaccines containing mercury are still on the shelf and still being used... The govt mandated that those must be used up first. The vaccine schedule went from 9 to 36 shots in 1989 which is when autism rates started increasing.
Parents should not be afraid to have children because of the risk of autism, the picture should portray a doctors office on the other side of that gap labled "Soaring rates of Autism" considering the fact that they are truly the ones responsible.

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This page contains a single entry by hb published on April 27, 2007 8:53 AM.

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