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Features / Special Reports / 2016: Year in review

Quotes of the year

26 December 2016
“You’re not going to have a 5-year-old autistic kid smoking a 5-inch blunt, having a competition with his buddies to see how much he can smoke.”
Ryan Vandrey, Johns Hopkins University, responding to concerns about long-term medical marijuana use in children with autism.
“Ignorance is no match for an army of grandmas.”
John Constantino, Washington University, about the grandmothers his team is recruiting for a study on autism traits across generations.
“The last time I looked someone in the eye for five consecutive seconds, I proposed.”
Michael Powers, Center for Children With Special Needs, referring to an early version of applied behavioral analysis that required children to learn to maintain eye contact for five seconds.
“This is not for kids with moderate autism who are talking but have difficulty socializing; this is for kids who are going to be dead if they’re not restrained.”
Charles Kellner, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, on why electroconvulsive therapy can be life-saving for some children with autism.
“Research is always an intellectual exercise, but there’s also an important social justice aspect. Our goal is to make the world a better place. The question then is: For whom?”
David Mandell, University of Pennsylvania, about the importance of including minorities in autism research.
“To me, taking advantage of parents’ desperate desire to do anything to help their children is the lowest form of quackery.”
Paul Offit, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, about companies that sell dubious or even dangerous ‘treatments’ for autism.
“To give away your data two years before publishing it, who the hell does that?”
Michael Talkowski, Harvard University, applauding researchers for making the Exome Aggregation Consortium browser available online before publication.
“I’m not meant to be squeezed in that box. I’m beside it. I’m in-between and I’m comfortable being in-between.”
Ollie, a 9-year-old transgender child with autism.
“The allure of that one magic thing was so strong, rational thinking was suspended again and again.”
Ariane Zurcher, mother of a 14-year-old girl with autism, on why she spent years pursuing ‘fringe’ therapies for her daughter’s condition.

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