J.B. Handley is a private-equity entrepreneur, co-founder of an international autism charity (Generation Rescue), best-selling author (How to End the Autism Epidemic), and autism father. He spent his career in the private equity industry and received his undergraduate degree with honors from Stanford University. His book, How to End the Autism Epidemic, was published in September 2018 by Chelsea Green Publishing and was an NPD Bookscan and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller, broke the Top 40 on Amazon, and has more than 400 Five-star reviews at Amazon. The book is also for sale at Google Play, Audible, Target, Wal-Mart, Alibris, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Ebay, Knetbooks, Radiant Life, and Vital Source. Mr. Handley has never received any money from his autism advocacy work, and has donated 100% of the proceeds from his best-selling book to autism charities.
Mr. Handley’s blog post International scientists have found autism's cause. What will Americans do? has been praised by scientists and doctors all over the world for its focus on published science and for promoting the debate about the role that immune activation events in the brains of infants are playing in the development of autism. As Mr. Handley notes, “I think the published science shows we are much closer to understanding the cause of autism than many appreciate. I’m grateful there are so many courageous scientists willing to publish peer-reviewed studies in prestigious medical journals that put them in the crosshairs of the most felonious industry on earth—Big Pharma.”
Autism recovery. Mr. Handley’s passion has been the recovery of children with autism through a process known as “biomedical intervention.” In 2009, he and his wife produced a movie, Autism Yesterday, profiling the journey of five families undertaking biomedical intervention for their children with autism. Today, three of the five children from the movie are attending college and no longer have an autism diagnosis. Generation Rescue has inspired tens of thousands of families to undertake biomedical intervention under the guidance of trained medical professionals and has provided hundreds of “Rescue Grants” to families in need.
Controversy. Mr. Handley and his wife watched their son lose developmental milestones and descend into autism after his vaccine appointments. “I do what I do to honor my son’s experience, I will never stop telling the truth about what happened to our son, and there are tens of thousands of parents who had the exact same experience.” Of course, engaging in a public debate about autism’s cause and autism recovery ensures criticism. The creation of Generation Rescue was inspired by the remarkable career of Dr. Bernard Rimland, founder of the Autism Research Institute. Not only was Dr. Rimland clear that children could recover from autism, he was also resolute in the role vaccines were playing in triggering regressive autism in certain vulnerable children. Like Mr. Handley, Dr. Rimland spent most of his time interacting with other autism parents, and he relayed the clear, consistent stories of regression after vaccination parents were sharing with him. Of course, there are critics of this point of view, and several of the more prolific critics of Mr. Handley (many hiding behind fake names) were featured in award-winning journalist Sharyl Attkisson’s profile of “astroturfers.” For his detractors he offers a simple remedy: “Read my book or write your own.”
Moderation. Mr. Handley has offered a middle-of-the-road solution to the autism epidemic, and his book proposes a modified vaccination schedule. Also, he believes the knowledge and technology now exist to screen vulnerable children out of the vaccination program before their first vaccine. As he points out, “One-size-fits-all is an arcane approach to medicine. Penicillin saves many people’s lives, but it can also kill some with a deadly allergy. Vaccines are no different, and biological diversity guarantees that some babies will have a negative reaction, like my son. It may be a small percentage of children who should never receive a vaccine, but our health authorities should determine who they are before subjecting them to unnecessary risk. This would increase parental trust in the vaccination program.”
Mr. Handley’s middle-of-the-road recommendations have caused pro-vaccine extremists like Dr. David Gorski to label him an “anti-vaxxer” and caused anti-vaccine extremists to label him “controlled opposition” (implying he is working for vaccine manufacturers). Mr. Handley notes, “If you criticize the vaccine program in any way, despite the fact that U.S. children are given more vaccines than any other first world country, and despite the fact that our vaccine program has more than tripled in a generation, you are instantly labeled an ‘anti-vaxxer’ in order to try and marginalize your point of view. It’s a propaganda technique, but I think most parents see through it. I view anyone who wants to shut down open debate with suspicion.” He accepts that proposing a solution to a debate fraught with so much emotion will produce plenty of criticism, and hopes people will read his book with an open mind.