So I was going to write this whole entire post ranting about McCain and his unabashed use of his daughter and Palin’s son as political pawns, and then I saw these funny videos (previous post) and decided to scrap it with just a short comment, and THEN, because I have some issues, apparently, I wrote the post anyway. So here it is…prompted by McCain’s claim that Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has a heart for families raising kids with special needs, specifically naming autism as a cause that she holds dear.

His direct quote:

“And, by the way, [Palin] also understands special-needs families. She understands that autism is on the rise, that we’ve got to find out what’s causing it, and we’ve got to reach out to these families, and help them, and give them the help they need as they raise these very special needs children.

She understands that better than almost any American that I know. I’m proud of her.”

For the record, Sarah Palin does not care one bit about kids with autism, and she does not know anything about autism, last I checked. In fact, last I checked, her kid has Down Syndrome, a condition about as different as one can get from the autism spectrum on oh-so-many levels, and it would appear that, frankly, she doesn’t have the first clue about what it means to raise a special-needs child or even a typically-developing baby, given that she has the luxury of bringing her child to work, having her husband stay at home with him, and being able to provide him with early intervention services on the road.

Notwithstanding, McCain made his (seemingly desperate and out-from-nowhere) claim that his presidency would support autism research, since Palin’s child has special needs and therefore she has this soft spot in her heart for kids with special needs (and, apparently, research on topics peripherally related-to-her-cause-but-very-popular-in-this-country).

Which, frankly, makes no sense.

And if you are actually someone considering McCain because of his campaign’s “heart” for special needs kids, please know that, actually, it is Obama’s plans, not McCain’s, that will help your child more. In many states, parents must pay for intervention services out of pocket; it is only the very BEST insurance that will cover such services as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy (particularly after the child turns three). In fact, I can say this, because one of the best things about the FBI is that *we* have the same government insurance that Obama talks about regularly, and it *DOES* cover those much-coveted services.

Under the Obama health plan, many, many, many more Americans will be covered by health insurance. By treating the entire population as a risk pool, we will lower the cost of ALL health services, including those for kids with special needs.

In contrast, $5K will barely cover 6 months of special needs therapies, much less health insurance for a high-risk family.

And finally, regarding research on autism: there is a ton of it. I work on 6 different studies of autism, some with MRIs to determine functional and structural differences between the kids on the spectrum and typical kids; I also work with 3 longitudinal studies and help out with a phenotyping study, which is like a genetic study (only it works by looking at family phenotypes). These studies are only a tiny fraction of what is available in the greater metropolitan area of where we live. I am happy to give information on these studies to anyone who wants it. However, the point here is that the research is occurring, it is FINALLY moving away from the totally politically-motivated research on vaccinations, and there are huge breakthroughs. We don’t need McCain to do that.

That was a lot longer than I anticipated.

What is WITH these Republicans and their desire to use their kids for political gain? We have the infant with Down Syndrome, the pregnant 17-year old, the adopted daughter of the McCains (don’t get me started on that one – way to advocate for ethical adoption, huh? Take a child off a plane, hand her to her new father like a puppy, and say, “hey, can we keep her?”), and the sons of both campaigns serving in Iraq.

We don’t near nearly so much about the Obama/Biden camp, even though Biden’s kids are similarly deployed. Makes you wonder, huh?