Managing Editor's Note: On Friday, The Canary Party took flight at Autism One. As chronic illness threatens to undo American childhood completely, parents, teachers, medical practitioners, in short, VOTERS need to demand answers from both sides of the political aisle on why our nation is so unwell - adults included.We should feel shock, dismay and outrage at the state of pediatric health. A study last week said that over 50% of children now battle some form of chronic illness, including obesity. It's a travesty and one we can no longer accept passively. Join the Canary Party- your political affiliation, Republican, Democrat, Consersative, Progressive, Libertarian does not matter - it's a big, big, well - nest. KS
By An American Teacher & Parent
(To protect the identity of those mentioned in this article, the author has asked to remain anonymous.)
I’m standing at my desk which faces the door to my classroom listening to the morning announcements. About a minute into them, one of my students on crutches comes hobbling in, much later than usual. I shoot him a look.
“I’m sorry. It wasn’t my fault, I swear,” he pleads. I lower my chin. This particular student is quite a jokester.
In this instant, my heart sinks. I teach at a school that is on the smaller side. One of the benefits is that you know almost all of the kids. Chances are good I know this student too.
Seconds later I hear shuffling and rushing, and just like that, a gurney with at least 3 paramedics goes right by. It happens so fast that I can’t see who it is, and it takes all I have in me as a parent and as a teacher to keep it together. I pause and pick up where I leave off.
The next day I hear the news. It’s a former student of mine that I came to know quite well just last year. My heart sinks again, and I am relieved to hear this young person is doing well at the local hospital. Days later when they return they come to see me. Thankfully, they are okay.
A new study just released on the state of American children’s health tells us this is the new reality. American children are sick. Really, really, really sick. And shockingly, no one seems the least bit concerned about why or how that came to be. They’re just confirming what most of us have known for years, only now we have the actual numbers. According to these researchers, approximately 50% of children have a chronic health condition. FIFTY PERCENT. In my own classes, I can attest.
In our state, according to the Board of Education, 2% of all children have a life threatening food allergy. Lunch rooms have to be labeled with peanut free zones and instructions on how to protect one another. At my own children’s school, no one is allowed to bring in any edible food for birthdays or otherwise because of food allergies. This is now the norm.
In my classroom, 1 in 8 children suffer from Asthma. 1 in 4 of them has a chronic health condition, including Asthma, food allergies, Autism, and ADHD, and two students have chronic pain conditions. They are 16 years old. And seasonal allergies? Well, let’s just say I should start purchasing stock in tissue. I go through a box every two to three days.
My neighborhood is also a frightening slice of Americana. On my street alone, there are three children with severe learning deficits in the same pull out class. My child is one of them, and one of the others has life threatening Asthma. All three of them have serious social delays and physical impairments.
Down the street, there is one child on medication for ADHD. There’s another with seizure disorder. There are two children who get picked up by the little yellow school bus. At least four have a speech delay and get therapy. And my eldest child (not on the spectrum) has something in common with two good friends within a two block radius: they each have a sibling with Autism.
In our family, we have one child with Autism; one child with severe seasonal allergies, a gait, strabismus, bouts of depression, and gastrointestinal issues; a niece with dyslexia, chronic eczema, and a tree nut allergy; a nephew with ADHD; a cousin with Asperger’s; and a cousin with Asthma.
Where I work, at least 4 staff members that I know of have either a child on the spectrum or a very sick one. We all have children under the age of 12.
Now, just as I am always in tune with how many children around me are sick, I am equally intrigued by those who are the picture of health. Things I never, ever imagined paying attention to, like having a gait, or low muscle tone, or chronic drippy noses, or dark circles under their eyes, or how often they poop…these are things I pick out with laser precision. When kids are perfectly healthy, I always want to know what their parents did or are doing.
In our family, it’s been really obvious. My least vaccinated child is by far my healthiest…rarely sick, strong, healthy, coordinated, friendly, loving, and extremely intelligent. This child has no skin issues, no gastrointestinal distress, and no allergies of any kind. My nieces, nephews and cousins who are selectively or unvaccinated are the same.
The fact of the matter is, if you lined up those children in my family of the same generation who were born and vaccinated per the CDC schedule before our child’s Autism diagnosis in 2004 and compared them to those who were born and selectively or not vaccinated after (as a result of watching the demise of our child and wanting to avoid it at all costs), the differences in their health conditions are stark, startling, and undeniable. To date, my children are 3 of the 17 children born in their generation on both sides of our family. Although I am writing this anonymously to protect them, I give you my God’s honest word this is fact.
Child 1, boy (1995): Asperger’s; GI issues. (Fully vaccinated per CDC schedule)
Child 2, boy (1998): Gait; Strabismus; Severe Seasonal Allergies; Depression; GI Issues. (Fully vaccinated per CDC schedule)
Child 3, boy (1999): Asthma; Seasonal Allergies (Fully vaxed per CDC)
Child 4, girl (2001): Autism; Apraxia; GI Issues (Fully vaxed per CDC)
Child 5, boy (2001): ADHD; Geographic Tongue (Fully vaxed per CDC)
Child 6, girl (2003): Dyslexia; Eczema; Tree Nut Allergy (Fully vaxed per CDC)
Child 7, girl (2004): No chronic health or developmental issues (Selectively vaccinated)
Child 8, boy (2004): No chronic health or developmental issues (Selectively vaccinated)
Child 9, girl (2006): No chronic health or developmental issues (Not vaccinated)
Child 10, girl (2006): No chronic health or developmental issues (Not vaccinated)
Child 11, girl (2006): No chronic health or developmental issues (Unknown)
Child 12, girl (2007): No chronic health or developmental issues (Selectively vaccinated)
Child 13, girl (2007): No chronic health or developmental issues (Selectively vaccinated)
Child 14, girl (2008): No chronic health or developmental issues (Not vaccinated)
Child 15, girl (2009): No chronic health issues, possible developmental delay walking (Unknown)
Child 16, girl (2009): No chronic health or developmental issues (Selectively vaccinated)
Child 17, girl (2010): No chronic health or developmental issues (Selectively vaccinated)
This is our family’s reality. It is not a genetic coincidence. These kids are all related. Furthermore, if toxic chemicals in the air are to blame, our world has only gotten worse since 2004, not better; by that logic, all of the developmental and health issues should have been skewed towards the more recent births, not the earliest. Pretending this problem has some random combination of environmental causes is a convenient way of making ourselves feel better. The more mysterious everything is there’s no one to blame. Especially some very specific people.
As a teacher, I have become accustomed to being on the receiving end of criticism where my profession is concerned. Although it stings, I am able to differentiate between the criticisms due my profession versus myself. I am a good teacher. I care about kids. I do my best to do right by them. I believe my students and parents know this.
But that doesn’t mean there is no merit in their argument that education is still by and large failing our kids. Clearly, some things are not working very well. And clearly, there is always room for improvement. We owe it to our students to own up to that and try harder.
None the less, I have never heard a parent who criticizes the public school system called “anti-education” or “anti-teacher”. I have never heard teachers respond that those who seek reform are “anti-child”. As consumers of the educational system, parents, politicians and tax payers have earned the right to be vocal when problems occur. We teachers expect it. We live it.
So I wonder. Has the time finally come for American consumers of the Industrial Medical Complex to do the same? Clearly the medical system isn’t working. Clearly what doctors are doing as “health care” for America’s children is not successful. And clearly, clearly they cannot be exonerated from having anything to do with it.
These professionals see and administered medication and vaccinations to children anywhere from 6 to 8 times in the first two years of life, if not more. Along with the parents, they are the most influential people making health care decisions for America’s children. Certainly they are not solely responsible for the tragedy that is their current state of health, but most definitely they are involved.
At what point do they have to share in the accountability? At what point do they warrant criticism? At what point do they have a moral obligation to stand up and acknowledge that what they’re doing isn’t working? How long do they get to hide behind science funded by private interests before they are obligated to think and act for themselves?
The time has come for the leadership of American pediatricians, best known as the AAP, to humble themselves and acknowledge their failure to protect our kids regardless of intent. The time has come for their members to dissent and challenge their leadership. And the time has definitely come for American parents and teachers to demand answers and accountability. It’s an emergency, it really is.
For at this rate, it may very well be your child on that gurney next time.