California Advises Pregnant Women to Take Tdap Vaccine: Dr. Bob Sears Weighs In
New York Autism Insurance Bill: Protects and Serves Whom?

Brightness in Otherwise Dark Autism Media Coverage

Sapling By Anne Dachel

Mainstream press coverage of autism has been so overwhelmingly bad for so long that I have no expectations when I scan the news.  Newspapers and TV stations will casually announce that one percent of children have autism.  The public is left to deal with the frightening admission that no one knows what causes autism so there’s no way to prevent it.  And there’s no cure for autism.

The message in the media is that if you’re unfortunate enough to be the parent of an affected child, there’s little medical science can do.  If you’re planning to have a baby, you’ll just have to take your chances.  Most parents still hear the same thing from doctors that I did 16 years when my son was finally diagnosed at age seven.

Slowly, in isolated news reports, that’s changing.   Two stories in this otherwise long, hot media summer were outstanding.  On June 21 there was a report from ABC15 in Phoenix .  (HERE)

The title was an immediate attention-getter: “Valley doctor says moms can help prevent autism before and during pregnancy.”  Viewers watched an interview with Dr. Cindy Schneider, a local physician who is also the mother of two children with autism.   Among her comments was the statement, “The genes are the gun, the environment is the trigger.”  Those of us in the autism community who believe that toxins everywhere are having a devastating effect on the quality of our health, easily identify with that claim. 

The reporter presenting Dr. Schneider opened the story by saying, “A Valley doctor is helping moms when it comes to autism.  …There are ways to reduce the risk even before you get pregnant.”

Dr. Schneider was covered saying that there are ways to lessen your chances of having a child with autism.  She talked about vitamin D and eating healthy.  One toxin to avoid was specifically noted: Moms were told to eliminate exposure to mercury.  While the news report didn’t specifically mention thimerosal in vaccines, the public was told about “high mercury fish [and] the silver fillings that are really fifty percent mercury and probably should be called mercury fillings.”

I found information on what Dr. Schneider is doing to address autism on her site. (HERE).  Here parents can learn about biomedical treatment, diet, supplements and more. 

 I talked to Dr. Schneider and asked her questions about her work and about the autism epidemic. (HERE)  While ABC15 didn’t include her views on vaccines, she told me that avoiding mercury includes thimerosal-containing vaccines like the flu shot.  Regarding her own children, she said, “In my opinion, mercury and pesticide exposure caused immune dysregulation which led to multiple food allergies and autoimmune reactions.  They were then unable to mount a proper immune response to the live MMR vaccination and had significant adverse reactions to it.  I know now that they have genetic weaknesses in their ability to methylate folic acid and B12, make glutathione (the body’s primary antioxidant and detoxification compound), and clear pesticides.  They also have mitochondrial defects that make their nervous systems particularly vulnerable to toxic exposures and viral infection.”   

She also sees the attitude of the medical community changing, especially among younger doctors.  “As more and more physicians witness their children develop autism, the medical community is changing.  Other physicians see the improvements in patients who undergo biomedical treatment and become more open minded and genuinely interested in learning more about the biochemical and metabolic abnormalities we are correcting.  Residents and medical students are less likely to believe current dogma and more likely to read the related medical literature, which will eventually lead to better care for the majority of children.”

She told me about treatments used at her clinic and she was candid about the attitude of the medical community when it comes to autism.  “I am working with other researchers to develop a panel of genetic and metabolic tests that will identify at risk children who may require an alternate vaccine schedule and close developmental and medical monitoring.  Meanwhile, I expect autism rates to continue to rise as more and more vaccines are added to the schedule and families continue to believe that the chemicals they use in their homes are innocuous.”

The next story that got my attention was on July 10.  It was from WBIR-TV in Knoxville TN and the title simply was “New autism clinic opens in Northwest Knoxville.”  (HERE)  In reality, it was a look at the power of parents who have no choice but to take matters into their own hand.  Determined moms came up with the Optimum Health Wellness Center to help families living with autism. (HERE)  Debi Haney, one of the women running the center, was interviewed in WBIR news story.  She told about the struggle she faced trying to get help for her autistic daughter.  Haney said, ‘So many families are going out of state to get what we should be able to get here.’

‘I've taken my child as far as Maryland, Nashville, Birmingham - there's just been nothing here - and I finally just got so frustrated with it, after the third time my child was hospitalized, I went back to college and got my nursing degree, so I can tell you, that's how frustrating it is.’

This is a place that will offer real help for parents with autistic children.  WBIR reported, “The center will focus on biomedical treatment, which seeks to diagnose whatever gastrointestinal issues or nutrient deficiencies the patient may have.” 

The women in charge are trying to provide help at affordable costs.  ‘Our goal is that no family should be turned away if they don't have the money," Haney said. "We would like to be able to offer these services as low-cost and free for those, and there are some grants available from some autism organizations, we just want to work with the community as a whole and try to see that every kid that needs treatment gets treatment.’

I had the opportunity to talk to Debi Haney about their new clinic and about what they offered for autistic children. HERE  She said, “Optimum Health Wellness Center's protocol used to help those with autism is ever-evolving as we learn more from the autism community and uses a holistic, individualized program. We have both attended DAN! Conferences and follow their guidelines of treating the gut, inflammatory issues, and restoring nutrition. Irina, our family nurse practitioner, has also studied Dr. Amy Yasko's protocol.”

She also talked about the attitude of the medical community when it comes to autism.

“I have found the nursing community to be accepting that autism is pandemic and there is a need for effective treatments. Most nurses I have met know someone affected by autism and they understand the frustration of an already fragmented health care system made worse by the lack of knowledge and understanding of autism and its treatments. However, those in the medical community for the most part are not prepared to educate themselves and/or advocate at the level needed for better treatments and research unless they are personally vested. The vast majority of those I have met still depend too much on CNN or Fox News to provide them with their knowledge base of autism, and still spend little time with continuing education regarding autism research and treatments.”

And she made it clear why the new Knoxville autism clinic is so important: “My experience so far is when we talk to a family, they are near tears to finally have someone within their own community that understands their frustrations, the lingo, and respects their struggles. I often spend a little time just listening to them share their stories and situation because they are so void of any practitioner's office understanding, much less caring and acknowledging of their situations. I have spoken with families from the newly-diagnosed to adults with autism. They have different paths in some ways, but the ultimate goal regardless of age is to help their child live a more functional life and want to do what ever they can to facilitate that. The most common phrase I have heard is, ‘I'm so glad there is finally a place that understands.’”

It’s so exciting to see these two stories from separate parts of the country, both saying basically the same thing: There are biomedical ways to treat autistic children and this help will improve their symptoms.  I look forward to more local news stories about real help for autism.  There are more and more parents who are not willing to simply accept that behavioral therapy is the only option available.  There are independent doctors taking the lead in providing things like diet, chelation, and hyperbaric oxygen treatment.  And if mainstream medicine doesn’t wake up to the truth about treating autism, they’ll find that no one is listening to them anymore.

Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.






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Julie Leonardo

"I've never met an unvaccinated autistic. I've met 100's of kids with autism and not one was not vaccinated. Unvaccinated autistic exist only on the internet."

Actually Mary, I personally know one child, and have conversed online with a mom or two with unvaccinated autistic kiddos. It IS less common, but since autism happens in many different ways, these kiddos ended up autistic anyway. If you think about it, some people are just so toxic themselves that if they're not careful from the beginning, stuff happens. Unfortunately, some of "that stuff" is from viral, fungal, bacterial infection, antibiotic overuse, and other chemicals.


Julie Leonardo

Aspie - The children in the past did not receive as many vaccines as the children do now. Also, our environment is accumulating toxicity over time, so the foods that we ate thirty years ago are even more toxic now. Add that to the vaccines and genetic tendencies and you have more people on the spectrum now. That being said, I was told by someone from TACA that the kiddos now seem to be affected more mildly than in the higher "thimerosal" years. Do I have stats for this? No. But I think that this would be an interesting thing to check out.



Dear Aspie,

You mentioned the following:

"If this is so, why is it that autistic children typically have the neurological symptoms alone (or at worst, the gastrointestinal symptoms as well)? Where is the hypertension? Where are the renal problems? Where is the loss of hair, teeth, and nails? I understand that not all cases of mercury toxicity are the same but why aren't we seeing these problems in most autistic children if your theory is correct?"

We were seeing those issues and that is why our child was recommended to see an expert in toxicology and not a neurologist at first. The shit that has come out of this kid is unbelievable!! I have proof that these children are poisoned. Where is your proof that they are not.


I have to agree with Mary. I just have not encountered one either. Although, I have met some very high functioning ASPIE and ADHD children whose parents mentioned of never being vaccincated but NEVER a case similar to my child's autism.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

To Kim, Having worked as a nurse, I would say that it is certainly possible that the 3 "unvaccinated" kids who got autism later, may have been vaccinated at birth , without parents permission, either deliberately or by error. One parent had described this happening in a post on AOA
At the same time, mothers can sustain very large mercury hits from such sources as dental work or Rhogam injections during pregnancy and from frequent fish eating.
Further- premature or even term babies are sometimes given Valproic acid, despite the fact that it is known to cause autism. Well, actually, Im not sure how many doctors know this information.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

To Aspie, Your statements sound plausible but the ground realities just are not that way.
Let me cite you the example observed in my nursery school in New Delhi: For 22 years I kept watching to see an autistic child. Although I sometimes had more than 100 kids in a year in my school, I just could not find a single one. Finally, about 15 years ago it began. The first kids had been vaccinated abroad and the families ate fish. Then, in about year 2000 the pediatricians here added at least 3 doses each of Hib and Hep B. Exactly three years later we began to see a consistent pattern of kids with symptoms seen in autism, or full-blown autism. Some years later the peds made another change and we began to see more kids with a few symptoms as well as more cases of full autism. Just a few years ago most Indians did not know what autism is. Today about 25% of the mothers that I talk to know someone who has an autistic child.If the mom is from a fish-eating culture, such as Bengalis, she is likely to know two families with an autistic child. Were the kids hidden away at home? Thats highly unlikely.children are brought to me who have severe symptoms of autism and the parents are smiling, unaware, proud of their beautiful son !


My son has been a patient of Dr. Schneider's for several years. We've done minimal interventions - a few well-placed supplements, b-12 shots, probiotics (no chelation) - with incredible results.

I never thought she was trying to cure my child of autism; rather, she was trying to attack the real medical symptoms that doctor after doctor ignored. He was SICK, and we knew it. She was the only doc we ever saw that addressed his medical issues.

Did his autism take a hit? Yes, he went from basically non-verbal at 4 to being an Aspie today at 9 - fully integrated into his class with no support save OT and PT. Was that my goal? No - I just wanted him to FEEL better, and I think she's fantastic at making kids feel better. We love her for that.


Mary, I've done intake on 300 kids for an integrative pediatrician and I have met 3.


If I can shed any light on the whole argument as to the incidence of autism and how institutionalization fits into the equation-
When I first started out working with children, I had a job as project manager of an agency aimed at integrating those with handicaps into the community. In the early to mid eighties somewhere there was a very strong movement to de-institutionalize those living in institions. I worked in one (Baker Centre in Calgary) and have toured several (vocational centres and res in Ontario) and I can honestly say that a few of the people that were in those places could well have had -probably had autism. I really do believe that. There probably were vaccine injured from back when they first started giving vaccines to children. The small pox vaccine was especially damaging for some. However, at the Baker Centre most of the children had other etiology for their problems and those causes were either very obvious (CP, down syndrome, hydrocephalus, other syndromes-of which there are many) and some were even there due to extreme child abuse -documented- brain injury. So, to think that most of the institutionalized had autism in the past and can account for the numbers is an over-statement. Yes, there definitely would have been some people with autism lumped into the numbers of children with developmental handicaps but I personally don't think it was so many. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. But we have traded supposed disease immunity for a whole host of problems now.


I've never met an unvaccinated autistic. I've met 100's of kids with autism and not one was not vaccinated. Unvaccinated autistic exist only on the internet.

Jenny Allan

Aspie asks(regarding symptoms of mercury toxicity):-

'If this is so, why is it that autistic children typically have the neurological symptoms alone?'

This is complete non scientific rubbish!! Where is your evidence for this assertion??

Autism has always existed but was extremely rare 30 years ago. The recent explosion in cases cannot be completely explained by past misdiagnoses or autistic persons shut away in institutions. This is now officially admitted. I have no particular 'theories' about mercury and autism, but mercury is well known (and proven) to be extremely toxic to brain tissues.

A Friend

"Nor, is there any way that the number of children TODAY who have that disability (non-verbal) were all either institutionalized or kept at home out of society".

I'm sure that it's obvious... but to clarify... what I meant was that there is no way that in comparison to the numbers today... there is no way that in generations past, those same amount of children were institutionalized or kept at home.

A Friend

"CT: You never encountered these children in the 1960s because many autistics were institutionalized or at best kept at home."

Aspie, this is naive (imo...). I agree to a certain extent in regards to the Asperger's situation... It is very possible that "Aspies" in decades past were labeled "geeks" or whatever. Fine. Having said that, there is NO WAY that for example non-verbal autistic children could be missed. No way. Nor, is there any way that the number of children TODAY who have that disability (non-verbal) were all either institutionalized or kept at home out of society. No way, no how... Maybe this is a case where you are not familiar with the numbers in schools/society... this could be it.. maybe you are coming from a place of honesty out of naivety. Otherwise, you are just wrong, wrong, wrong.


CT: You never encountered these children in the 1960s because many autistics were institutionalized or at best kept at home.


Jenny Allen: I have met and read of unvaccinated autistics from the United States. They are in existence.

Here are the symptoms of mercury poisoning (I don't really see too many similarities to autism). I realize you have said mercury is metabolized differently when adminstered intravenously. However, wouldn't this make it easier the mercury to reach major organs such as the heart?

"Common symptoms of mercury poisoning include peripheral neuropathy (presenting as paresthesia or itching, burning or pain), skin discoloration (pink cheeks, fingertips and toes), swelling, and desquamation (shedding of skin"

"Because mercury blocks the degradation pathway of catecholamines, epinephrine excess causes profuse sweating, tachycardia (persistently faster-than-normal heart beat), increased salivation, and hypertension (high blood pressure). Mercury is thought to inactivate S-adenosyl-methionine, which is necessary for catecholamine catabolism by catechol-o-methyl transferase"

"Affected children may show red cheeks, nose and lips, loss of hair, teeth, and nails, transient rashes, hypotonia (muscle weakness), and increased sensitivity to light. Other symptoms may include kidney disfunction (e.g. Fanconi syndrome) or neuropsychiatric symptoms (Bradley Coyne Syndrome) such as emotional lability, memory impairment, or insomnia"

If this is so, why is it that autistic children typically have the neurological symptoms alone (or at worst, the gastrointestinal symptoms as well)? Where is the hypertension? Where are the renal problems? Where is the loss of hair, teeth, and nails? I understand that not all cases of mercury toxicity are the same but why aren't we seeing these problems in most autistic children if your theory is correct?

Jenny Allan

Aspie asks the question:-
'Why are there unvaccinated autistics?'

Can I ask Aspie a question?
'You refer to unvaccinated autistics and so I am assuming that your statistical statement is rooted in facts, i.e. some research involving a cohort of unvaccinated children, presumably from some remote third world tribe, since the Amish community, has already been well researched and the few autistic persons within that community WERE deemed to have possibly received vaccines in the past.'

Vaccinations have been administered for many many years. I am in my 60s and, as a child, received vaccinations for Diptheria, Pertussis and Tuberculosis. Polio immunisation was via a 'sugar lump' after the Salk vaccine was withdrawn. This was found to be causing problems and was immediately discontinued. In 'those days' governments DID operate a 'safety first' policy. The Thalidomide scandal was the first case involving 'cover ups' involving governments and big pharma. There were plenty of advance warnings and worrying research findings. These were collectively ignored!! After 50 years the Thalidomide victims have finally received a belated apology, but a 'safety first' policy would have prevented most of the Thalidomide damage from occurring in the first place.

In the US it is now acknowledged that autism has environmental causes. Quite simply, the evidence is overwhelming, although there is a long way to go before a vaccine link is proven. Aspie talks about mercury in fish and he/she is correct. Shellfish is particularly hazardous. Where I live, beside the coast, mercury is used in seed dressings to prevent fungal deterioration. The 'run off' from fields goes straight into the shellfish. However, there are public warnings about consuming shellfish. Mercury is also present in tooth amalgams, industrial and mining waste, and also occurs naturally within the environment.

However, these environmental mercury sources have been in existence for many many years and the 'explosion' in autism cases is a recent phenomenom.

To put this in context, a breast feeding mother with a mouthfull of mercury, living beside a cinnabar mine and addicted to shellfish, will transfer some mercury to her baby, both in utero and via her breast milk. This will STILL be several orders of magnitude LESS than the mercury administered to the infant via the DPT, thiomersal containing vaccine doses administered in the first months of life. In addition, mercury which is ingested is metabolised differently from mercury injected!!

CT teacher

I agree with Willie. I taught school since the 1960's. These kids were not around. He is also correct when he says that people must choose sides. You cannot have it both ways. Going back to a schedule from the 80's will not solve the problem. It will only reduce the numbers, but still some kids will be injured. I'm amazed that people who believe it is environmentally caused want to talk about the food supply, the water, the air,etc., but they get very upset when you mention vaccines. I do not encounter more people who are aware of vaccine dangers, only older people who can't entertain the idea. The young parents in my daughters' circle all believe that delaying shots and separating the cocktails will protect their kids from damage. They don't even think that the chronic stuff like skin problems, reflux, bowel problems, ear infections,eye problems, even seizures are caused by vaccines. The excuses that the doctors make for the seizures are incredible! Where is the common sense of the medical profession? The most brilliant people in our society cannot use critical thinking skills. We taught that in elementary school. With all of the talk about more and more vaccines in the news I am very frightened. Where and when will it end?


WILLIE - I share your view on vaccines. Maybe it's time we considered starting a petition of Physicians Opposed to Vaccines. I've got to believe that there's quite a few who share our view on this topic. Vaccine madness is the single most important public health issue we face today.

Over time, it's becoming more and more apparent that the vaccine schedules provide a "portal" for MANY vaccine-associated diseases, which poses a risk to both the vaccinated and unvaccinated. They are causing more disease than they are preventing.

What has happened to our morality and religious values? Why is the church so conspicuous in its silence? Where is the morality in eating cloned food, and receiving inoculations of non-human DNA and aborted fetal tissue?

Again, the usual disclaimer: this is purely MY personal opinion, not intended nor should it be construed as medical advice.


WILLIE: Schools and school districts have mandated childhood vaccinations for many years. Why is it that we are seeing such a tremendous increase (in your own view) in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders? Since you believe in the vaccination theory, are you suggesting that there has been an increase in genetic mitochondrial disorders and immune dysfunction? Children have been vaccinated for years but in your view we've never seen as many cases as today. Are you saying vaccines are the sole etiology? If so, why are there unvaccinated autistics? Is it supposedly from the mercury consumed in fish and other foods? What's your explanation?

As a physician, you would know that mercury was once commonly used to treat illnesses such as yellow fever and syphilis. If so, are you saying that autism was more common in the 18th and 19th century than the 1950s?

Most autistics are high functioning. As recently as 1993, psychologists had believed that 3/4 of autistics suffered from mental retardation. With the addition of Asperger's in the DSM, many people were added under the autism umbrella.



Aspie I am a medical doctor in practice for over twenty years and I come from a family of 7 surgeons. Non verbal children have never been in the WORLD like they are now under any diagnosis.

For example in my Psych rotation I did not even see 1. While doing pediatric orthopedics at Shriners hospital a philanthropic organization, I saw 1 child with autism in 1991.

In LA during 8 years of postgraduate resedency including 2 years of general surgery 1 year of research and 5 years of orthopedics which included all of the children in south LA and all the legal and illegal imigrant children I saw none.During my spine fellowship at the largest hospital in the Midwest an the regional spine center I performed several hundred scoliosis sugeries and never saw even 1 autistic child or a child with the diagnosis of autism. In total we are talking about millions of children and families here.

All that BS about better diagnosis and different specialties is just that BS, so put it back in the toilette and then wash your hands.

Vaccine mediated autism is real and it is here and it cannot be ignored so snap out of it.



we need to get rid of the word.... the A word. It is preventing children from getting better. Autism is a neurological disorder. Mercury and other heavy metal poisonings are just that... poisoning. That doctor should not be trying to prevent autism. When will this community get that. The A word is holding the kids back. Call in poison control and get rid of the A word.



Anne having another idiot physician not be smart enough or courageous enought to state the obvious 3 word phrase that opens each of my opinionated pieces does no good for any of us or our children.

She is probably being paid by somone to ignore the 5 million pound elephant in the room that took a dump on all of our children and families.

At some point Ann people have to choose sides and yes YOU MUST choose sides as there is no dealing with the Devil none.



4Bobbie: Perhaps you were unaware of the nonverbal children because many of them were institutionalized or at best kept at home. They weren't mainstreamed and many had no access to special education as we do today.

Again I must say that those who have been diagnosed as high functioning autistic or as having Asperger's today would have been diagnosed with other disorders in years past. This is because autism was thought of as a primarily nonverbal (or severely limited verbal skills)condition. They were instead diagnosed with other disorders because of the psychiatric community's view of autism.


Aspie: It is much more than that. Believe me, there were never so many non-verbal kids before. THESE kids were not hiding in plain sight.

The way I see it

What is, in your book, "bad" coverage of Autism?

Are the "bads" those who talk about ABA and ACCEPTANCE and the "goods" those who go on and on AND ON about mercury and vaccines?

Furthermore, have you considered that the "isolated good reports" may not be scientifically proven?

Your radical position seems to ignore that there are not two identical cases of Autism, and what works for one may not work for another.


I think it's a good sign that more and more people (especially doctors and other health professionals) are willing to speak out these days. I think many used to be intimidated when they were always attacked for mentioning adverse vaccine reactions and autism. Now there are so many people talking about it, more are having the courage to speak up and do something about it. I know I used to avoid that topic when I was in a mainstream doctor's office, knowing I would just get a lot of flack and their minds were made up anyway. Now, I always bring it up with new doctors during the "family history" part of the evaluation. My feeling is that that is an important part of our history. How can they treat me if they are unwilling to accept my medical history? I've fired so many doctors, I've lost count, but it's worth it, as I currently have a few good doctors I can work with (and get some things covered by insurance, as our plan doesn't cover any "alternative" type treatments.


A diagnosis of autism is more common now than years past because of the addition of Asperger's Syndrome in the DSM. Many high functioning people with autism would have never been diagnosed with the disorder in the 1950s. They were instead pegged as having other disorders such as childhood schizophrenia.



Thank you for continuing to report on and advocate for better autism news coverage.

Two courageous healthcare providers! I wish they were closer to home, but it's good to read some positive news.


I sure do hope that things are changing. I guess it may be true that as more physicians' kids become affected and as more physicians witness progress from parents who are trying bio-med etc. it is becoming apparent that enviornmental causes are at play with autism. It is infuriating that people can be so bent out of shape about stuff like the pertussis cases and yet not be equally shocked and action-oriented about the increase in autism. If they would only go into the schools and see how things are now they would be shocked.

Angela Warner


Thank you so much for sharing a ray of hope with us all as this summer full of media garbage comes to a close. When it's nothing but day after day, week after week, and month after month, filled with nothing but despairing stories and reports about autism we NEED to hear stories such as these. We NEED to have our faith and hope nurtured, and hearing about medical professionals speaking out on this level and taking action to treat and help our children, do exactly that.

My heartfelt thanks to you for sharing, and especially to these fine professionals who are treating these children and assisting our families who so desperately need help. They are HERO'S in my book!!!

Ang Warner
Age of Autism - Military Contributing Editor


"This is precisely the kind of attitude reflected across the vaccine industry. Reports of children being harmed, or paralyzed, or hospitalized by vaccines are always written off as “coincidence.” The mounting evidence is simply thrown out the window because it conflicts with the pro-vaccine agenda."


Anne, It was nice to see your comments in our local newspaper here:

Asperger's syndrome a mild form of autism

Sadly, the Dr. in the story has no clue what she is talking about and is dreaming of finding the "Autism gene" with funds sent in to Autism Speaks.

Tony Bateson of Oxford, UK also commented and I added a few.


Of course it these young docotrs if their kids have autism to change thier attitudes!

Genetics loads the gun
the environment pulls it

I bought that for a while.

How genetically is it if it take the environment???????

Theresa O

Wow! Nothing like a little happy in the morning. Thank you, Anne, for the hope.

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