odd time signatures

The Crockus, and Other Crocks

Liz has a great post up about Dan Hodgins and his “crockus” theory (no lie, that’s what he calls it!).

Hodgins’ hypothesis is that boys and girls think differently. (Now there’s a surprise. NOT.) He postulates that the “crockus” is an area of the brain larger in girls than boys which allows boys to “see the whole” while girls “see the details”. Taking this theory to its logical extreme, what Hodgins seems to be arguing is that boys are the leaders, explorers, dreamers and girls are the facilitators, seeing to the details, missing the big picture. See anything even remotely gender-biased in that?

Gender bias aside, the idea that anyone can take this hocus-pocus blather seriously enough to pay this man to speak to early childhood education groups is laughable. It’s just further proof that if you repeat something often enough, people will believe it and even act upon it. The Crockus? Images of Harold Hill selling imaginary instruments and band uniforms come to mind.

While there’s no dispute that there are different learning styles, I believe it’s incredibly dangerous to place children in a gender-based box and expect them to remain there. In a quick review of some of the material Liz linked to, I took the statements he made about boys and applied them to all of my kids. DG fell into several of the categories he reserved solely for boys, while Sticks (Mr. ADHD), fell outside more categories defined by Hodgins than not; the Eldest was definitely more in the girl-based box than the boy-based box. This kind of psychobabble is doubly dangerous if educators integrate it into their teaching methods, because they will prejudge and categorize children based upon their gender instead of their own individuality.

Then there is the autism “crockus”.

That’s the never-ending argument that vaccines cause autism, despite a complete lack of evidence or any explanation as to how a relatively small portion of the vaccinated population is diagnosed autistic despite a relatively large part of the population being vaccinated. WebMD’s Dr. Moser wrote a great post this week expressing his frustration about the continued insistence of the anti-vaxers that there’s fact inside the rumor. The comments are incredible:

  • Rachel claims that polio was eradicated naturally and that the polio vaccine had nothing to do with that. She offers absolutely no evidence for that claim. In another comment on the same post, she claims that measles does not kill. Sheer ignorance.
  • Another anonymous commenter claims that even if vaccines don’t cause autism, injecting “all those different toxins” has to be the problem. The problem with this thinking is that it’s intuitive, but unproven. Toxins enter our bodies every day in the form of the air we breathe, and the water we drink. Yet no one is shouting out that toxins in tap water cause a rise in the diagnosis of autism.

I realize that the whole anti/pro vaccination debate is loaded with emotion and rhetoric. But I can only attribute recent trends to link autism to vaccinations with nothing more than anecdotal evidence as ignorance, and possibly arrogant. I’m 49 years old, old enough to remember having friends who grew up with their legs in braces from polio and who suffer to this day with the damage done by that disease. I remember having chicken pox at age 12 and being so sick I wished for death. I still have some deep scars from getting that disease so ‘late’ (relatively speaking). I remember my third-grade teacher losing her child to German Measles, and yes, I remember the horrible reaction I had to the measles vaccine when it was first introduced. I had friends who were blind after having the measles, and I had the mumps — twice before the age of three.

We’re seeing more cases of whooping cough now than ever before. Whooping cough is preventable. I had the second vaccine at the same time the kids did, because I’ve seen how it ravages adults who have it. It’s a horrible disease, and it can kill babies who don’t have enough resources to fight it.

I know there are parents out there who have chosen to make the decision not to vaccinate their kids after doing their own research, and I’m not accusing them of being a bad parent. I am, however, grateful that I don’t have to worry about any transmission of these diseases from them to my kids, since mine are vaccinated.

I’m going to start my own autism rumor…

Back to “To Kill a Mockingbird” for a minute, as well as my own life experience. Do you think Boo Radley was autistic? I do. I had a great-uncle who was definitely autistic, born in the 20’s, long before vaccines. Relatives on both sides of my family would fall into the autism spectrum today. Sticks was ADHD before he was born, before any needle stuck him. His personality in the womb was completely hyperactive, unlike any of my other children.

I’d encourage anyone considering this issue to look long and hard at their family history over the past 4 generations, including cousins, siblings, aunts and uncles. My guess is that there is at least one who will fall into the autism spectrum. They won’t be described as autistic. They’ll be described as the “different one”; the one that was reclusive, never married, was shy, had difficulties. The ones who ran off, or who remained with their parents for their natural lifetimes. Not all will fall into that autism spectrum, but if you dig deep enough and have the benefit of family stories handed down, my guess is that there is a stronger genetic link than there is a vaccination link. That’s all it is, just a guess. I am not claiming it as fact or scientifically proven. It’s as anecdotal as “my child was vaccinated and then became autistic.”

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