It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that we announce the formation of Health Choice, a new health-focused, non-profit organization. Health Choice has two main objectives: promoting the right to individual health choice and standing up for victims of medical injury.
Drawing on the expertise of many professionals from the autism and health advocacy world, Health Choice will strive for better health policies and more reasonable laws surrounding health decisions. Health Choice will also investigate wrongdoings in these areas.
“There are many great advocates who have eagerly joined the Health Choice cause. We have advisors from several different areas including science, legal, and medical,” said Jennifer Larson who serves on the Executive Leadership Team.
Through Health Choice’s website, newsletters and media appearances, this organization will focus on educating citizens about the many different options in treating or sometimes even not treating certain health conditions. Health Choice will also recognize medical injuries certain groups have sustained. We will advocate for the injured and try to prevent these injuries from happening in the future.
To find out more about Health Choice, please visit our website. Make sure to join Health Choice and find out how you can help protect your right to a healthy life!
Follow us on Twitter at: @ForHealthChoice
Like us on Facebeook: Health Choice
Bookmark our site: HealthChoice.org
Director of Communications
Along with Health Choice’s Executive Leadership Team:
Mark Blaxill, Dan Burns, Patti Carroll, Allison Chapman, Teresa Conrick, Lou Conte, Anne Dachel, Laura Hayes, Rolf Hazelhurst, Kent Heckenlively, Nancy Hokkanen, Cat Jameson, Jennifer Larson, Maureen McDonnell, Julie Obradovic, Dan Olmsted, Sylvia Pimentel, Wayne Rohde, Kim Stagliano, John Stone, Kim Mack Rosenberg, Laura Rowley, Andrea Ruppert, Ginger Taylor, Katie Weisman, Dawn Winkler
Advisory Group Chair
Please join us in welcoming Sargent Goodchild and his neurological reorganization program called Active Healing to the AofA family. Sargent was the very first provider I met who told me about biomedical treatments, diet, and a wide range of therapies that could help my girls improve their functioning. He has presented at Autism One and across the country at conferences. Kim
Neurological re-organization (NR) honors and integrates the natural order of human development. NR uses a prescribed set of repetitive movements to remap your child’s neural pathways. Just as traffic is rerouted around damaged sections of road, NR strengthens existing neural pathways around damaged or underdeveloped parts of the brain.
Panelists Rolf Hazelhurst, autism parent and attorney, Jim Moody, attorney, Aidan Quinn, autism parent and actor, Rob Schneider, autism parent and comedian, Mike Guido, autism parent and comedian, Jeanna Reed, autism parent, co-founder Autism Is Medical, and moderators Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Jill Rubolino, autism parent, co-founder Autism Is Medical sharing their experience with autism and regression post vaccination in a powerful and poignant way at the Give Autism a Chance conference in Austin, TX on April 12, 2014. Dr. Andrew Wakefield moderates the panel with his British aplomb and even handed determination. "Welcome to the calm, quiet world of autism and vaccines. Hello to the trolls online." Classic Brit wit.
View more videos at The U-Stream channel.
The video of the autism vaccine panel starts at 2:39 minutes. There's plenty to watch before that start, however. Enjoy.
Video streaming by Ustream
The panel continues here:
Video streaming by UstreamAlso, from Give Autism a Chance: Our amazing #GAAC live stream was produced by Light Strike Productions in association with Blind Monk Productions. Huge thanks to Jeremy and Roderick for a top notch production. Videos are still available for viewing at www.ustream.tv/theautismtrustusa
To reach our video team directly, visit their websites at:
Note: Here is an easy to use action alert to ask Dr. Paul Offit's bosses to request that he stop making "stuff" (another word would fit well) up about autism - as a distraction for the epidemic and to protect his industry land connections. Click HERE.
Offit: "When you have autism, you are born with autism"
Ask Offit's bosses to stop him making stuff up
In a recent interview with Medscape (www.medscape.com/viewarticle/822981) millionaire vaccine industrialist and spokesman, Paul Offit, MD, pretends that he knows that autism begins before birth, which denies that autistic regression occurs, “When you have autism, you are born with autism. There is no changing that, and to some people, that is helpful to know.” We thought this might come as a surprise to many people who watched their healthy child regress into autism, and anybody who follows autism research.
Offit promotes himself as one of America’s leading authorities on autism, even though, like most parents, he has no professional training in autism. Which may account for him saying things that have no foundation in either the medical literature, or the experience of hundreds of thousands of people. And he has several jobs at very prestigious institutions, which one would hope would value a close adherence to truth and known facts. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
By Geoff Dubrowsky
April is autism awareness month, a month that I finally had decided to ignore. Since I am responsible for three adults with developmental disabilities I find that celebrating is no longer an option. Sadly for me, my nature to not bury my head in the sand has lead me to have to write this article and not ignore the actions of April!
The month begins with April Fools' Day how appropriate! Sadly this April Fools' Day delivered us interpretations of the CDC's new autism rate. The new numbers, no matter how you want to interpret them, prove absolutely nothing. We already knew we had a problem, that was not being given the attention it demands and we still have the wrong people pretending to help.
So rather than spend time here telling you why the Combating Autism Act has failed for over a decade, or telling you how politicians refuse to listen to parents who are looking for answers, and instead listen to those looking to enhance their 401K plans, or pointing out the fact that we may have one too many autism non-profits (these lead to more platforms where way too many high functioning self-advocates, who claim they have or had autism are telling us what our kids need) with them aside - I'm going to tell you about my month.
My month started with a battle to help the 75 year old parents of a 50 yr-old women who has been a resident of the Woodbridge Developmental Center for over four decades. They had been given a ten-day notice that their daughter would be moved to another NJ Developmental Center some 90 miles away.
The state law requires a 60-day Habitation Plan, that includes the families input but that law is being ignored. Because the parents lived in Old Bridge, NJ, we thought we had lucked out since I happen to be a friend of their Assemblyman Ronnie Dancer. Dancer was great reaching out as he could and also called his Districts State Senator Thompson. The story falls apart here because Thompson is in favor of closing the Developmental Centers and he decide to call me to explain his ignorance. I jumped ahead on purpose because the man was so uneducated on the issue he is championing I was left cursing him out of the phone after his responses left me shaking!
Turns out he has never visited any of the States 7 Developmental Centers that he wants to close. He claimed to be unaware that NJ has over 300 people living in Developmental Center Settings out of state and that NJ Centers do not accept placements without a court order, which is why enrollment is not up.
Please take 7 minutes to listen to Dr. Albert Enayati passionately petition IACC to include regressive autism and vaccination in their work. Their blithe response? "You've used up two minutes of your time." Thank you to Canary Party for posting this video link.
From the Safeminds site: Albert Enayati is one of the original founding board members of SafeMinds and an author of the original Auitsm and Mercury paper. He is a Principal Research Engineer with 33 years experience in R&D/mechanical testing of over 100 orthopedic devices maxillofacial, trauma and spine systems.
Well, friends, it's been quite a month already and we haven't made it to the halfway point. CDC numbers were rolled out and mostly ignored or glossed over in the mainstream media. The Chili's campaign was picked up across the country as a major "autism" story at the expense of safety for actual people with autism. Global landmarks have been bathed in a a blue glow while it's business as usual in the offices inside.
You read about these stories and more each day at Age of Autism
And while the color of month might be blue for some? For us? We're thinking green. We are sponsor and donor funded and every dollar counts to keep us up and running.
Use the PayPal button on our right sidebar. If you prefer to send a check - email Kim for the mailing address. KimStagliano@gmail.com.
Together we will continue to work to make life safer, help others become better educated, find medically improved treatments and create a mindful care and appreciation for our loved ones with autism.
We value and thank you for your support.
Dan, Mark, Kim and the entire AofA team.
Managing Editor's Note: You can support the production of BOUGHT at IndieGogo.
By Kent Heckenlively
It was through chiropractors that documentary film producer, Jeff Hays, first became acquainted with those he jokingly calls “the most dangerous people on the face of the Earth.”
Hays was working on a film called, Doctored, which recounted the attack made by traditional medicine on the chiropractic profession and the fight the chiropractic profession waged in response and won. “It was a small film that told the chiropractic story. The AMA (American Medical Association) tried to contain and eliminate the profession of chiropractic. Some chiropractors sued them in 1974, and it took 13 years, but the AMA was eventually found guilty. That story had never really made its way into the mainstream. And I felt it was a microcosm of what happens to alternative therapies that come under attack from mainstream or political medicine.”
Many of the chiropractors Hays interviewed had parents who were chiropractors and several of them said that in their life they’d never, “taken a drug, an aspirin, or a vaccine.” Hays was startled to hear that many of them had never had a vaccine and what followed from that was a slow awakening to the fact that there was even a discussion about the safety of vaccines.
By: Inas Younis
Its takes strength to hold on, but it takes even more strength to let go. But I am a mother and I could only do what came naturally, and so I held on. I held on as tight as I could without hurting him. I held him when he tried to jump out of moving cars. I held him when he tried to attack the neighbors. I held him when he tried run out into streets. I even held him as a form of therapy known as holding therapy. And although he is now gone, I am still holding on, and I just don’t have the strength to let go. Whoever said mothers are strong, did not really understand the meaning of strength.
But now the time has come. Blinded by tears, and deafened by an inner voice which keeps reminding me that mothers never give up on their children, I am going to let go. But before I do, I must throw myself before a jury of my peers and ask for their forgiveness. I know what you are thinking, only God can forgive me. But I don’t need forgiveness from God, for he has been on and by my side since day one. He was there while I screamed and cursed at the heavens for making my son autistic and epileptic. He was there when I begged for a miracle every day for ten years straight. He was there for the countless sleepless nights when my son screamed in pain. He was there when my son had his first seizure. He was there when I had my first panic attack. He was there then, and he is here now. I don’t need his forgiveness, for there is no sin in coping. And I do not need forgiveness from my fellow man, who was completely oblivious during the beatings, the fecal smearing, the screaming, the property destruction, the insanity and horrors of my life which I hid from their innocent eyes and ignorant hearts. No, what I need in order to let go, is forgiveness from a jury of my peers. A jury of mothers who have suffered some measure of the horrors I have for the last sixteen years. For only they can understand, and not because they have been through it, but because many of them are still going through it. They are my heroes, and after you hear my story, they will be your heroes too.
So please allow me to plead my case , starting with the most obvious defense. I tried everything!
Was I aggressive enough with his therapy, his special diets, his medications, you ask? Well let me see if I can remember, because as most of us mothers with special needs children know, we all suffer from a bit of amnesia. It’s our brain’s way of dealing with trauma. I think there is an acronym for it called PTSD. The world of autism is full of acronyms. There is GFCF, SCD, ABA, ASD, IDEA, ESY, and my all time favorite, WTF. But luckily, I kept very detailed journals, so no worries. Of course at the time, I kept them because I was trying to decode the mystery of autism and in my case severe autism. I micromanaged his every bite of food, supplements, medications, and therapy in an effort to isolate cause and effect and determine patterns of behavior. But no patterns emerged except for one; I was going crazy. I submit to the jury the following Journal entries.
October 2003: I am in autism hell, which right now means hiding out in my bathroom while the devil has his way with my son. According to my notes the only thing I introduced in the last couple of days to his supplement protocol is an orange flavored fish oil. Therefore, no more orange flavored fish oil. Note to self: use alternate fish oil. To do list: email the following fish oil companies until I find the purest fish oil known to man.
In the making for over 10 years, the highly anticipated documentary film "Trace Amounts" explores the science and controversy behind the autism epidemic.
Lighthouse Pictures announces the world premiere of the documentary film "Trace Amounts" on Saturday, April 26th, at 5:30 p.m. at the Newport Beach Film Festival in Newport Beach, California.
After recovering from a devastating illness that brought him to the edge of despair, Director, Eric Gladen, started researching the science behind autism. His research led him straight into one of the biggest medical controversies of all time: whether or not childhood vaccines cause autism. But Eric wasn’t focused on the vaccines, he was focused on an ingredient that is only used in vaccines to save money: mercury. He would end up quitting his career, moving into an RV, and traveling the country for years interviewing experts and piecing together thousands of studies and leaked documents. This film will do more than turn this debate upside down; it just may solve this devastating epidemic once and for all.
“The public needs to understand what’s really happened here because the public will drive the change,” Director, Eric Gladen says.
“This is a must see film,” says Congressman Dan Burton (R-Ind. 1983-2013), who was the Chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee that led a four year investigation into vaccines and autism. “There is no doubt in my mind that mercury is a major contributing factor in the autism epidemic.”
Trace Amounts will play at the Newport Beach Film Festival, Saturday, April 26, 2014, 5:30 p.m. at the Starlight Triangle 8 Cinemas. For tickets, you can go to http://www.newportbeachfilmfest.com.
Keep tabs on IACC here.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern
Place: National Institutes of Health
31 Center Drive
Building 31, C Wing, 6th Floor, Conference Room 10
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Map and Directions
Cost: The meeting is free and open to the public.
Agenda: To discuss committee business, updates and issues related to ASD research and services activities.
Access: Medical Center Metro Station (Red Line)
In the interest of security, NIH has instituted stringent procedures for entrance onto the NIH campus. All visitor vehicles, including taxicabs, hotel, and airport shuttles will be inspected before being allowed on campus. Visitors will be asked to show one form of identification (for example, a government-issued photo ID, driver’s license, or passport) and to state the purpose of their visit.
Registration: On-site registration is from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Pre-registration is recommended to expedite check-in. Seating in the meeting room is limited to room capacity and on a first come, first served basis.
Online pre-registration This link exits the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Web site will close at 5:00 p.m. Eastern the day before the meeting. After that time, you will need to register onsite the day of the meeting.
Webcast Live: http://videocast.nih.gov
Conference Call Access: Dial: 888-950-8042
Access code: 8689681
Readers we have a contest for SimplyFun games. SimplyFun builds smarter kids and stronger families through the amazing power of play with over 100 award-winning games (that have been independently evaluated for 11 characteristics of Autism).
Leave a comment to enter to win one game.
SimplyFun Games have been Independently Evaluated to 11 characteristics of autism:
SimplyFun believes that play is for everyone, regardless of their skill level or challenges. So we have embarked on a new project that evaluates the contents, methods and skill level of our games for various types of learning challenges.
A number of years ago a mother of two children, one severely autistic and one without those challenges told us that our game Walk the Dogs allowed her to experience something she thought would never be possible in her life….to see her two children play together, laughing and enjoying a game together. Though she had modified the rules to make the game accessible to both kids, that didn’t lessen the joy of their play or detract from the emotion we all felt in how our game made a difference in her family. Her story remains a legend in our company and gave us the idea that we could and should provide help to other parents just like her.
I coached Special Olympics for over 20 years, and I have been a vaccine safety advocate
for about 20 years, so I may have a different take on Autism Awareness Day than most.
Through Special Olympics I was exposed to many children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, although those involved with an organized activity like SO would necessarily be relatively high functioning. My point is that there are many many
autistic individuals, who are very low functioning, that you will never see, some cannot take care of themselves in any way, some wander constantly and many cases of wandering end up in their death. Autism impacts families in profound and sometimes very damaging and dangerous
So please, media and pundits, stop referring to autism as a "gift".
I fully support the intent of Autism Awareness Day to foster both awareness of and tolerance for those with autism. We need to work on both social programs as well as treatment regimens to deal with the exponentially growing number of autistic people in our midst.
But what we ALSO need to do is stop creating new autistic children.
Managing Editor's Note: We excerpted this post from Valerie Foley's "Information about Autism" blog. The glurge is exhausting she is right.
**I apologise in advance for some of the articles I have linked to in this post. In covering the dross that April brings to autism world, some toe dipping in the grotesque waters of ‘Keep Calm and Suck It Up’ is required. It is heretofore referred to as ‘glurge‘ and will be expunged from meaningfulness in due course. I’ve tried to balance with some more useful stuff as well**
It’s that time of year again. You’d think after 10 years of this game, I’d be used to it. And yet, it just gets more frustrating.
I used to be able to float through this stuff and find the bits I needed. Now, it’s genuinely, literally and completely making me sick. My heart is pounding, my thyroid is busted, despite a great diet and a total life revision I am chronically deficient in things I shouldn’t be deficient in. It’s crazy.
Why is is crazy? Read the full post Bite Me, April 2 by Valerie Foley HERE.
Click this Autism Action Network Action Alert to tell the White House that the negligence of CDC and NIH as the autism epidemic rages on with no sign of stopping.
The new “official autism” numbers were released minutes ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 among all eight-year olds evaluated in 2010, 1 in 42 boys, and 1 in 189 girls, more than a million children. The last time the CDC released these numbers in 2010 the numbers were 1 in 88, and 1 in 54 boys. Undoubtedly the real numbers today are much higher than this 4-year old data.
To describe the federal response to the autism epidemic as lackadaisical would be far too generous. It is actively negligent. And the most disgusting, and criminal part of this epidemiology is that the old excuses cannot be ruled out. And we have been hearing those excuse for twenty years. Changes in diagnostic criteria, even though the last change occurred 16 years before this study began, better case finding, and diagnostic substitution will be trotted out once again providing the cover for the CDC, the pediatricians, the psychiatrists, and the federal government to pretend they are concerned, to fake taking action, and ignore the worst pediatric epidemic in American history.
AUTISM POLICY REFORM COALITION URGES GOVERNMENT EXAMINATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES, AND FOCUS ON TREATMENT AND SERVICES
WASHINGTON, DC (March 27, 2014)—Today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the newest autism prevalence statistics. For children born in 2002, the prevalence of autism was 1 in 68; 1 in 42 boys. Almost 60,000 US 12 year-olds likely have autism. Thirty years ago, autism affected 1 in 2,500 children; there has been a 37-fold increase.
Katie Weisman of SafeMinds stated, “Broader criteria and awareness cannot account for this magnitude of increase. The federal government continues to spend millions of dollars ineffectively and ‘potentially duplicatively’ according to a recent GAO report. We need to identify environmental triggers for autism, prevent them, and develop effective treatments.”
Holly Bortfeld of TACA stated, “The federal government has spent $1.6 billion on autism since 2006, but the money is not helping those affected in meaningful ways. We need to improve medical treatment for the many co-occuring health concerns of individuals with autism and address the wave of students who are aging out and entering an adult world with no plan for them. ”
The Autism Policy Reform Coalition (APRC) is advocating for changes in the U.S. Government’s response to the autism crisis and represents a constituency of over 100,000. The APRC is calling for significant changes in the Combating Autism Act, which is to be reauthorized by Congress this year.
Contact the White House to ask President Obama to fire the autism epidemic deniers from CDC and NIH. The leadership in charge of public health has failed a generation of children. Read an open letter to President Obama demanding accountability for this tragic increase in autism that is radically altering the American family - unabated. A nation can not sit idly by and watch 2.4% of its young males moved from regular education into special education without serious future impact. Thank you to Mark Blaxill for the following graphics.
In response to the new CDC autism prevalence rate, several organizations concerned with the skyrocketing rate of autism put together this letter demanding accountability from the federal government for their response to the autism epidemic. This coalition of concerned organizations invites other organizations to join this effort by adding their names to the signature line.
If interested in adding your organization, please contact Rebecca Estepp at:
firstname.lastname@example.org. You can contact the White House using this link.
The CDC press release follows the letter below:
March 27, 2013
CDC: 2.4% of American 12 Year Old Boys Have an Autism Diagnosis
President Obama: Fire the CDC and NIH Autism Epidemic Deniers Immediately
Dear President Obama,
Fire the deniers! Fire the federal employees who deny the existence of an autism epidemic.
An American child is diagnosed with Autism every 8 minutes – a rate that continues to rise. President Obama, you need to remove the federal autism leadership at NIH and the CDC. Until leadership at NIH and CDC realizes that it is impossible to have a genetic epidemic in one generation, there will not be a proper emphasis on environmental research and subsequent treatments.
Your Federal autism team is at best, misleading you (and the country) and at worst, outright lying. Please consider appointing a special prosecutor to investigate their malfeasance.
The undersigned Autism advocacy organizations request that you immediately send a clear message and fire the three federal employees who have made a career of denying the autism epidemic: CDC’s Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp and Dr. Coleen Boyle as well as NIHM’s Dr. Thomas Insel.
In 1981, Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp joined the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The autism rate then was 1 in 10,000. Under her watch, the rate of autism prevalence has gone from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 68 --- increasing 14,700% while Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp has been counting. Despite this precipitous rise, she can’t be sure if it’s a real increase. For the past twenty years the increase has been attributed to changes in diagnostic definition and better case finding by the CDC despite the lack of data to confirm those comforting suppositions. Even worse the CDC has never conducted, or ever even proposed doing, the basic epidemiology that could determine definitively the extent of the increase. (1) Rice CE, et al., Evaluating Changes in the Prevalence of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (2012), http://www.publichealthreviews.eu/upload/pdf_files/12/00_Rice.pdf, at 12.
While Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp should have been sounding the alarm for the past 20 years, instead the best she can say is “a true increase cannot be ruled out". (1) Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp also counts the autism rate unbelievably slowly. Using 21st century technology, the CDC can find tainted eggs, spinach or cantaloupes within a matter of hours or days. How is it acceptable for the autism rate to be counted at age eight with a four-year time lag to process the data her agency collects? It takes twelve years for her to come up with a current autism rate, which is simply unacceptable. Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp is not up to the job of supervising the autism count honestly. We demand that you fire or reassign her to a position where she can do less harm.
Managing Editor's Note: So... this was my note in 2010 as we awaited the new CDC prevalence numbers. Usually I have to update a "Best Of" to reflect the current date. Not this one. NOTHING has changed.... Here is the old intro new intro save it for the next go round intro:
We anticipate new autism prevalence numbers from CDC any moment. As April Fool's day and the cerulean silly season of awareness and celebration approaches, we thought we'd run this post Mark Blaxill: Lies, Damned Lies and CDC Autism Statistics again. This is the third airing of this post as the numbers continue to climb with no sense of the urgency and action this epidemic demands.
It’s official now, real autism rates have exploded to 1 in 100 American children. We’re facing a national public health emergency of historic proportions. Bigger than swine flu. Bigger than polio. Bigger than almost anything one can imagine except AIDS. No matter how hard some may try, it’s impossible to escape the inexorable upward march of the numbers. Even Tom Insel, head of autism research at NIH and not exactly the autism world’s greatest forward thinker, has conceded the obvious: “There is no question that there has got to be an environmental component here.”
Following last week’s release of the latest CDC autism surveillance report, no amount of methodological obfuscation (“autism prevalence has clearly gone up but there are no real incidence studies”), epidemiological nihilism (“we simply can’t know without large scale, well-controlled, prospective studies”) or social deconstructionist nonsense (“autism is an intolerant invention of modern society”) should escape scorn . Anyone with brain, a conscience and an ounce of integrity must acknowledge that we face a crisis. Meanwhile, those who would accuse the autism parent community of “denialism”, unscientific reasoning and irresponsible irrationality need to explain how their own theories, so dependent on the evidence-free suggestion that rates are rising because of “better diagnosing”, deserve to be considered respectable scientific speech. There is no more unscientific position in public health today than the fiction that rising autism rates come from better diagnosing. Let’s be clear, the only evidence for better diagnosing is wishful thinking. Our public health institutions deserve no credit for a job done better; quite the contrary, they deserve an investigation into their negligence.
Nowhere is the institutional pattern of negligence, deception and propaganda surrounding autism more apparent than in the work of the Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) network. The design of the ADDM, a project of the CDC and its parent agency the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), reveals in sharp relief how determined CDC is to evade its autism responsibilities. And while there is no evidence of fraud in the preparation of the ADDM data, that’s about the only good thing you can say about the work. To be blunt, every ADDM publication so far has betrayed a fundamental dishonesty, reporting analysis that has been twisted for bureaucratic purposes to mask and suppress the magnitude of the autism problem. It’s a disturbing display of the triumph of public relations over professionalism, propaganda masquerading as science.
In their latest exercise in spin management, the CDC released a new ADDM publication last week: at noon on the Friday before Christmas. The timing of this release-- a transparent attempt to bury the surveillance news as deeply as possible-- was an indication of the seriousness with which the CDC treats the autism problem. In case anyone missed it, the leadership of the DHHS in the Obama administration has clearly selected influenza as their priority health policy concern; but their autism policy position has been less clear and this release of the ADDM findings marked the first major autism position statement of the new administration.
Managing Editor's Note: Remember when 1 in 110 was considered a staggering autism prevalence? We are waiting for new numbers later today, March 27, 2014. This post ran on December 21, 2009.
Alanta, GA – A study released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that autism prevalence has increased a staggering 57% from the 1994 rate of 1 in 150 to 1 in 110 for children born in 1998. SafeMinds is extremely dissatisfied with CDC’s lack of commitment to researching environmental causes and the timing of their announcement.
Mark Blaxill, SafeMinds Director told FoxNews.com , “I would say that releasing something the Friday before Christmas is about as deep as you can bury something.”
CDC’s Catherine Rice said, “We know there are multiple complex genetic and environmental factors which result in multiple forms of autism and we have much to learn about the causes.” However, absent from press conference and subsequent call with autism advocacy groups were specifics on the types of environmental exposures to be investigated. They skirted questions about potential environmental causes and avoided using words like “toxic exposures” or “pollutants” despite very pointed questions from advocates.
Managing Editor's Note: This post ran on December 17, 2009. We are waiting for new prevalence numbers today, March 27, 2014.
CDC Brings Bad Tidings: 40,000 Children Diagnosed With Autism In This Year Alone.
SafeMinds calls for immediate action from public health officials and implores journalists to ask the tough questions listed here:
Atlanta, GA – A study to be released Friday by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is expected to report that autism prevalence has reached the epidemic rate of 1 in 100 children. The new estimate is for children born in 1996 and represents a 50% increase in just two years over a 2007 CDC calculation of 1 in 150 for children born in 1994. Approximately 40,000 children will be diagnosed with autism this year alone. SafeMinds calls for cutting edge research now!
The rapid increase in such a short period cannot be accounted for by changes in diagnostic criteria or greater awareness of autism. The children born in 1994 and in 1996 were diagnosed under the same version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM IV), which was issued in 1994 before any of these children were diagnosed (on average, at age 4 years) and has not changed since then. Autism began its sharp growth curve with children born in 1988-1989 – 8 years after autism had been added to an earlier DSM version in 1980. Any increase in awareness would have had an equal effect on children born in 1994 and in 1996. Children born in 1994 and in 1996 would also have been eligible for the same educational services under IDEA, which was revised to include autism in 1990 and has not been changed since then.
Managing Editor's Note: Do you think the Federal Government knows what is best for your son or daughter into adulthood? Do you think decision makers and advocates who have limited understanding of the major differences between autism and "traditional" intellectual disability have any idea how or desire to make sure your child has a lifelong INDIVIDUALIZED plan? IEPs might end with school - that does NOT mean our children suddenly fit into the old models of disability. Or the new models. In fact, we know they do not - otherwise there would be NO sensory movies showings, sensitive Santas, special Broadway performances, Autism day at amusement parks and the myriad other accommodations we need for people with autism. "Funding deinstitutionalization" sounds terrific. Until you learn what is meant by "deinstitutionalizion..."
Thank you to our sponsor VOR for advocating for us all. Here is their message and alert. KS
The U.S. House Appropriations' Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee is considering its Fiscal Year 2015 budget.
This week the Subcommittee is receiving public input via a hearing and written testimony. VOR is calling on the Subcommittee to "prohibit the use of HHS appropriations in support of deinstitutionalization activities which evict eligible individuals with I/DD from HHS-licensed and funded homes.
VOR feels strongly that no federal agency should define “choice” so narrowly and illegally as to disenfranchise the most vulnerable segment of our disabled population.
If you agree, BY MARCH 28, 2014 (this Friday!) please support VOR's testimony with a letter of your own (a template is provided, just click here). The deadline to submit written testimony for the record is this Friday, March 28.
To take action, simply click on this Action Alert.
You'll be asked to provide your contact information and with a simple "click" your letter will be sent directly to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee. It's an easy way to lend your voice in support of quality care based on individual needs and choice, regardless of setting, for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Questions? Contact email@example.com
We're happy to share Sharyl Attkisson's website SharylAttkisson.com and upcoming book, Stonewalled: One Reporter's Fight for Truth in Obama's Washington. Sharyl has stuck her neck out for the autism community time and again when other reporters and journalists have stabbed us in the back and then turned their backs on the story of a generation. Not Sharyl. Please bookmark her site and join us in wishing her well in her continued career. View her other books at Amazon as well.
IndieGoGo campaign to fund a new documentary from Richard Milner.
Help us complete this documentary! You can be a part of ensuring that this groundbreaking video on vaccine safety is completed. Featuring a discussion between Boyd Haley and Paul Offit, the documentary offers important insights on what can happen when industry profits, rather than human health, drive government vaccine recommendations.
Dr. Offit appears often on national television as an expert on vaccination. By not inviting any of his many critics, the mainstream media gives the impression that he has none. This false impression leaves the public uninformed on the very real threats posed to children’s health through an overly aggressive vaccine program that now recommends children receive an astounding 48 vaccines by the age of six.
Your donation of $10 to $15,000 will allow us to complete the project. In return, you’ll receive:
• A complete bibliography of 145 published scientific studies proving the danger of mercury in vaccines.
By Mary Conrick
The anticipation of seeing my family after two months was finally hitting me. My phone had broken over the weekend and I was in an unfamiliar train station. All I wanted was for spring break to start and to have wireless connection again. On my long train ride home, I was reminded of this unfortunate event, the incapability to communicate with the outside world and how much I missed my family. Emails were not available either because the train didn’t have Wi-Fi. I felt kind of lost and alone and longed to be home once again, not an outsider without a cell phone, Wi-Fi and a family. To distract myself, I planned my homecoming. I thought about receiving a new phone from AT&T and grabbing an Italian beef with my dad, hugging my mom, updating her about my traveling experiences, and taking snapchats and selfies with my sister Megan. I always miss Megan the most because even with a working phone and Wi-Fi capabilities, I still am not able to communicate with her unless I return to sweet home Chicago.
When my train arrived, after circling the city then going backwards into the station (half an hour process I might add), I was beyond ready to go home. I departed from the train, used a payphone for the first time in my life, and got through to my dad after the 3rd try with dropping numerous quarters on the ground. I found my dad in the middle of Union Station and held my arms wide open. His demeanor changed from distressed to fully content. One family member down, three more to go I noted in my head. I still was longing to see my mom, Megan, and my dog. After attaining a new phone, grabbing a bite to eat, and running a few errands, I finally made it home. Everything was going according to plan. My mother was still at work but Megan was home. Her personal support worker was there at the time and I asked her if Megan was doing well. She said she has started to feel slightly better but it has been a rough morning. From the 1st floor, I can hear Megan’s vocal tics, which means she is not feeling well and should be left alone. I ignored her comment and the vocal noises and sprinted upstairs with hope that whatever mood Megan was in, she would feel elated to see me. I had this unrealistic hope that somehow I can change her sickness, her mood, and her autism just this once. Somehow through, I thought by Megan and I reuniting, that everything would be different for a brief moment. That was all I thought about on the train coming home to her.
I slammed Megan’s bedroom door wide open to find Megan on the end of her bed sitting upward. Her eyes were half- open and she did not have an excited expression on her face. She didn’t even flinch when I came in. “Hi Megan. I’m Home!!!!!” I gave her a bear hug, then paused to look her in the eyes. She barely glanced at me. We made eye contact but it wasn’t welcoming one bit. She looked irritated, infuriated, and unpleased. The green in her eyes was not calming, but alarming. They turned a dark shade of green like the deep depths of the ocean, a place no one wants to envision. Her brow was furrowed and she pushed me away from her. I was naïve and I tried to tickle her, started dancing goofy and laughed in a manly way that usually makes her chuckle at least, but again, the same response.
Note: Welcome to newcomers. When you think of Monstanto and food what's your instinct? That is our reaction to the vaccine injury denial industry. Follow Kristin on FaceBook & Twitter @KristinCav and please share your story as a show of support for medical healthcare freedom rights. American rights. After all, neither the manufacturer (pharma) nor the doctor who delivers the vaccination bears any liability for injury or death. YOYO - You're On Your Own - if your child is harmed. The leading spokesman for "vaccine safety" is Dr. Paul Offit - and he is heavily invested in the industry. See our Exclusives category for copious info to help you make an informed choice for yourself and your family.
By Zack Peter
I want to take a moment to throw a huge THANK YOU out to Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler for making a very well research and thoroughly thought-out decision to not vaccinate their son, Camden. And I want to thank Kristin for her courage to come out and publicly admit that and stand proudly behind her decision.
Too many people make irresponsible decisions — both to vaccinate and to not — without weighing out all the benefits and side-effects of vaccinations.
Do your research people. Read up. I’m not telling you to vaccinate. I’m not telling you not to. I’m telling you to educate yourself. Autism is real. Stats have reached 1 in 50. That scary. For a celebrity (in today’s age) to speak out publicly about such a controversial issue shows an immense amount of bravery, considering all the backlash she is likely to face, online and in the media.
Thank you, Kristin. Thank you, Jay. Wishing your family lots of health, happiness, and wellness for many years to come!
Tweet me @JustPlainZack or reach me at justplainzack.com. Or, as always, simply leave a comment.
It is time for New Yorkers to win back the right to decide which vaccines our children get, and when they get them. More than half the American population lives in states where parents have the right to decide. These states include California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, Vermont and a dozen others.
Most other developed democracies in the world have this right including Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, Germany, etc. But not New York.
Please click on the Take Action Link below to send a message to your State Senator asking him or her to sign on as a co-sponsor to S3934 introduced by Senator Martin Malave Dilan of Brooklyn, and ask your Assemblymember to sign on as a co-sponsor of Assemblymember Tom Abinanti’s A6359.
Please share this message with friends and family, and please like Autism Action Network on Facebook to help spread the word.
Theoretically, we have the right to an exemption from vaccine mandates for medical and religious reasons. But just ask anyone who has tried to get a medical exemption in New York, physicians are afraid to issue them for fear of reprisals from the state health department, and school districts such as New York City ignore them anyway.
I received this email yesterday - thanks to all of our Twitter followers those who RT our Tweets helping us to help families around the world who are facing the challenges of autism. Follow us at Twitter.com/AgeofAutism. @AgeofAutism.
I'm thrilled to announce that PhDinSpecialEducation.com has just published a collection of 125 Exceptional Twitter Accounts Covering Special Needs, and @AgeofAutism is highlighted on it. Feel free to check it out here.
There's a wonderfully supportive and knowledgeable community of Twitter users discussing special needs and special education. We think anyone teaching special ed should join the conversation, and we're hoping this list will make it easier for them to find highly informative accounts such as your own to follow!
We're hoping this article will inspire as many new people as possible to get involved with the online community surrounding special needs and special education. Could you help make that happen by sharing a link to this article through your website, and of course through Twitter as well?
Thanks so much for all you contribute to the online discussion about special needs and let me know if you have any questions at all.
From Autism Action Network:
Michael Fine, MD, the state of Rhode Island’s Director of Health, is pushing the adoption of the worst forced shots regulations in US history. Every shot on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended schedule, including the controversial HPV shot, will become mandatory to attend pre-school, daycare, elementary school, middle school, high school and college in Rhode Island. The ACIP is a federal commission composed of representatives of the vaccine industry with well-documented and pervasive conflicts of interest among its members. Fine has also proposed sweeping new vaccine requirements for employees of pre-schools. And unlike 20 other states where more than half the American population lives Rhode Island does not allow exemptions from vaccine mandates for secular reasons.
Children as young as six-months will be exposed through flu shots to quantities of mercury vastly higher than maximum exposure limits for adults. The HPV has an extremely bad safety record, and there is no data studying the effect of multiple injections of products the US Supreme Court has declared “unavoidably unsafe.”
ALERT: Please click this Take Action link to send a message to Governor Lincoln Chafee and your Rhode Island State Legislators stating your opposition to the plan.
Please Call Governor Lincoln Chaffee and politely state your opposition:
Please call Dr. Fine and politely let him now that you are opposed to his proposal:
Fine has been a private physician in family practice, and his wife is currently a physician in family practice which gives the Fine family a direct financial interest in the implementation of his proposal. Rhode Island law requires any public official to declare a conflict of interest and recuse themselves from decisions in which they or their families have a direct financial interest. Fine clearly should recuse himself from the adoption of these regulations.
Professional vaccine operatives like Dorit Reiss have been hard at work for some time to exaggerate the dangers of the vaccine-preventable diseases, while simultaneously denying the damage that the vaccines for them often do. A case in point was found in the comments on this article on the Mother Jones website last week:
The topic had turned to the hepatitis-B vaccine, given to all newborns in the U.S. while they were still at the hospital, beginning in 1991 (at the beginning of the autism epidemic). I put up information I had found in Dr. Bob Sears’ The Vaccine Book, a link to a CDC report with a chart at the bottom showing the rate of hep-B diagnosis in children 1-9 from 1986, five years before the vaccine program began.
The chart at the bottom of the report clearly shows that the rate at which hep-B was diagnosed in children was less than one per 100,000 or fewer than 360 a year in a childhood population of 36 million in 1990. The text at the top of the report, however, states: “Before 1982, an estimated 200,000--300,000 persons in the United States were infected annually with HBV, including approximately 20,000 children.” The source for this large number was an article in Pediatrics in 2001. It uses the word “estimated” because this is a purely speculative figure, not based on the disease being diagnosed by blood tests carried out by physicians.
Hepatitis B is a very dangerous disease when contracted in the first year. At that time, the only means of transmission, except in extremely unusual and almost unimaginable circumstances, is from contagion by an infected mother. It is usual to perform a blood test on a pregnant woman to learn whether her child is at risk, in which case it would probably be best to give the baby immunoglobulin and the vaccine when it was born. But instead it has become standard practice in the U.S. to give this dangerous vaccine to all newborns, even those born to healthy mothers, and very common to give the vaccine to the newborn without the permission or knowledge of the parents, making it harder to realize that the vaccine was the cause of the child’s autism, diagnosed years later.
The virus is transmitted like AIDS, by infected blood/body fluids to blood/mucus membrane contact. It is most commonly contracted by unsafe sex with a carrier or by shared use of needles used by illegal drug users. Medical personnel exposed to infected blood are at some increased risk, but it is not as great as is commonly believed. It is not spread by the sharing of eating utensils or drinking glasses, or sleeping in the same bed as an infected person. It may sometimes be transmitted by sharing toothbrushes or razors. Australia did a study which showed that it was not transmitted by children at school. (Burgess, MA and McIntosh, EDG, “Hepatitis-B in urban schoolchildren – No evidence of horizontal transmission between high-risk and low-risk groups,” Med J Australia, 5 Sept. 1993; 159: 315-319, quoted Wendy Lyall, Raising a vaccine-free child, p.178). Everett Koop went to a lot of trouble thirty years ago to persuade people not to fear casual contact with those infected with HIV or AIDS. But now the pharma operatives are drumming up terror at the idea that there MAY have been twenty thousand children a year getting hepatitis-B before 1991, but, since they had NO symptoms, no one ever noticed or diagnosed it. It was only when they grew up and were finally diagnosed with it that the moment they had contracted it was unsuccessfully sought.
Many believe that the vast majority of this group caught it in the usual ways, by unsafe sex and/or sharing of illegal IV drug needles. Many of them were probably unwilling or unable to share the details of their sex and drug lives with inquiring researchers. But, without having proven that there really had been twenty thousand children a year getting a sexually-transmitted disease by unknown vectors, was it really a good idea to start giving all newborns a highly reactive vaccine?
KruGlu, Inc to Launch Vivo a text message based emergency identification and alert system
SAN MATEO, CA, Feb 14, 2014 - KruGlu, Inc, announced today that it will launch Vivo, a text message based emergency identification and alert system that will greatly benefit children, elderly, adventurous folks and people with special needs.
Vivo is a simple, yet extremely fast way to help identify a person and simultaneously notify their emergency contacts if they are hurt or lost. In an emergency first responders will be able to text a unique Vivo identification number and receive pre-authorized, user controlled, information almost immediately (depending on wireless coverage). Designated emergency contacts will receive a text message indicating that the person with the Vivo ID has been involved in an emergency. This real-time identification enables first responders to potentially modify and properly treat patients based on medical details such as an allergy to penicillin or other medical condition and enables emergency contacts to communicate in minutes, not hours, with first responders to obtain valuable information such as patient status, update, or destination.
Mary Beth Palo of Watch Me Learn has a fantastic giveaway for Age of Autism. 7 DVDs worth $175.00.
One reader will win in all five the first classic videos which involve uninterrupted continuous scenarios. Plus the additional two videos which are broken up into three different sections of video for each of the ten scenarios. Maintaining the comfortable, familiar, and fun social environment loved in the classic series, these videos add extra teaching video, setting up a vocabulary section and a small group teaching session which can be utilized in the classroom or in therapy. This gives the facilitator a very simple tool to teach the necessary language and to teach the skill in isolation before generalizing it into a play or real-life scenario.
Learning the target skills is fun and easy when it involves friends!
LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER.
Learn more about video modeling at Watch Me Learn.
Dr. Brian Hooker, PhD, says Forbes misrepresented congressional record and CDC studies
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Last week, PhD biochemist Brian Hooker created a stir when he announced he had obtained sensitive documents from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. According to Hooker, these documents implicated the vaccine preservative Thimerosal (50% mercury by weight) in causing autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, revealing what he says CDC officials had long known, but never disclosed publicly: a 7.6-fold increase in autism during infancy after exposure. Emily Willingham, who frequently editorializes in support of the vaccine program, responded in Forbes by criticizing a news story that went viral on the subject of Dr. Hooker's FOIA revelations.
Dr. Hooker methodically itemized "misrepresentations and outright errors" that he says appeared in Forbes.com. "Willingham either confused two CDC studies or intentionally deceived Forbes' readers," said Hooker. "There was one concealed study that found a very high association between Thimerosal and autism. That was the study that was kept from the public which I obtained. And there was a later study by the same researcher – CDC-paid epidemiologist Thomas Verstraeten – who had watered down the results of the earlier study to appear as if there were no association between Thimerosal and autism. That second study was made public even though it was fraudulent. Willingham pointed to the conclusions of the later study and implied that they came from the earlier study."
Although Willingham denies that the CDC researcher, Dr. Verstraeten, was under pressure to alter the results of the earlier study, Dr. Hooker points out that Verstraeten's own email written at the time (an internal CDC document obtained through FOIA) reveals otherwise. Verstraeten's subject line, "It just won't go away," refers to his difficulty in making the statistical association between Thimerosal and autism disappear.
Making an example of how he says Dr. Verstraeten hid that association in his reanalysis of the data on 400,000 infants, Dr. Hooker says Verstraeten did not include clinics within HMOs where there was a strong correlation between Thimerosal exposure and autism incidence. According to Hooker, "Willingham brazenly disregarded Verstraeten's own chilling words: 'All the harm is done in the first month [of life]…' He wrote those words about the study I obtained." The abstracts of Verstraeten's two studies and further comment on the controversy can be viewed here.
With the passing of Harold Ramis, I was surprised to learn of the medical condition that led to his death. I remember him as Private Russell Ziskey in Stripes, an unemployed parapsychology professor in Ghostbusters, and as a co-writer in Animal House. Press releases state that the actor, director and screenwriter succumbed to complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis (vass-ku-lite-us). According to medical journals, autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis is an acquired disease that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. In Mr. Ramis’s case, it was reported that he had extreme difficulty walking and using his legs and arms.
So how did this horrible disease afflict Mr. Ramis? Dr. Waseem Mir, a rheumatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York told CBS news that only 1% of the US population has this disease, making it extremely rare. However, Dr. Peter Merkel, a rheumatologist and director of Penn Vasculitis Center at the University of Penn medical school told CNN that “Mr. Ramis had one of 15 identified variants of vasculitis. None of these conditions individually affects more than 200,000 people in the US. But if you add them all up together, it’s not rare, and the chances are everybody knows somebody, directly or indirectly, that is affected.”
Now does that last sentence sound familiar? Maybe in discussions about vaccine injury? If two leading rheumatologists cannot agree whether or not this medical condition is rare, why not examine some previous medical cases of vasculitis?
In a paper presented by Tomljenovic and Shaw in 2012 regarding the death of two individuals who were administered the HPV vaccine, tissue samples of the brain led the authors to interpret the results as demonstrating an autoimmune cerebral vasculitis. Now, we can confidently assume that Mr. Ramis did not receive a Gardasil vaccine, but it does bring vaccinations into the question. Another study, published in 2009 by Birck, Kaelsch, et al, titled “ANCA-associated vasculitis following influenza vaccination: causal association or mere coincidence?” did not prove a causal association between influenza vaccine and vasculitis, but it did assert that in rare cases vaccination might induce vasculitic disease. Now we have the possibility that influenza vaccine might, under “rare” conditions, induce vasculitis.
Managing Editor's Note: We've excerpted this terrific post from Nutrition Care for Kids.
By Judy Converse
Want to clear a room fast? Tell people your kids aren’t vaccinated. Then say, “Not only is that why they’re so healthy – it helps your kids stay healthier too.” Wait. What? Unvaccinated kids, healthier? Aren’t they walking cesspools of infection, recklessly spreading disease in their wake? Aren’t they leaches, getting a free ride away from infections, on the backs of all those good parents who vaccinate their kids?
The CDC maintains that they can’t solve this question for us. Their posture is that it’s unethical to study vaccinated versus unvaccinated kids, presumably because it isn’t safe to not vaccinate anybody. But ongoing survey data show that unvaccinated kids are healthier. They have fewer allergies and asthma, less autism, fewer chronic conditions and are sick less often. Even though these data come from an uncontrolled voluntary survey (over 13,000 participants worldwide and growing), the differences are enough to give anyone pause – and plenty big to warrant formal investigation. By factors of double, triple, or tens of times, vaccinated kids show a higher illness burden than their unvaccinated peers, for conditions like epilepsy, diabetes, thyroid disorders, autoimmune conditions, autism, allergy, asthma, and more.
Meanwhile, the argument that a pool of vaccinated kids is needed to quash a return of infections is starting to crumble (bolstering the position held by some that vaccines can’t confer herd immunity): Even with compliance for most immunizations at over 90% across the US – above the level considered necessary for successful herd immunity – we still have outbreaks of pertussis, measles, mumps, chickenpox, polio, and flu in vaccinated groups. The global level of pertussis coverage was 83% in 2012 – pretty darn good – but, still: Outbreaks. In fact, vaccinated people may spread infections they are recently inoculated against, as they shed viral and bacterial material from vaccines – just as occurs with wild type, naturally acquired infection. This has been documented for those recently vaccinated against pertussis, polio, flu, chickenpox, rotavirus, and measles.
Read the full article and bookmark Judy's site at Nutrition Care for Children.
Royal Caribbean International is First Cruise Line to Receive Certification
“Autism Friendly” Certification Ensures Cruise Ships’ Services, Venues and Amenities are Accessible to Guests with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities
Shelton, CT (February 20, 2014) ̶̶ Autism on the Seas™ (AotS), the leading travel organization catering to vacationers with autism and other developmental disabilities, today announced the introduction of the travel industry’s first “Autism Friendly” Certification Standard & Training Program for cruise lines. Royal Caribbean International is the first cruise line to receive certification from Autism on the Seas, thereby assisting with reasonable accommodations for inclusion and participation by guests with autism and developmental disabilities. Effective immediately, Royal Caribbean’s entire fleet is comprised of Bronze Level certified “Autism Friendly” ships. The fleet is expected to achieve Silver Level certification by the end of 2014.
“Offering cruise lines a Standard that includes training for their staff to effectively accommodate the needs of the growing and underserved autism community marks a turning point in the travel and cruise industry,” says Mike Sobbell, founder and president of Autism on the Seas. “We are very proud to bring Royal Caribbean on as our first “Autism Friendly” Cruise Line Certified partner. Royal Caribbean’s involvement and initiative to accommodate this community is to be commended, and will open the door towards filling the gap for special needs families seeking a vacation designed for their wide range of unique requirements.”
"We are honored to be the first cruise line to achieve Autism Friendly certification," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, executive vice president of Operations for Royal Caribbean International. "Royal Caribbean is a global leader in taking guests to unforgettable destinations and is committed to catering to vacationers of all abilities. We have worked with Autism on the Seas for more than seven years to better provide accessible cruise vacation options for families with autism."
About Autism on the Seas Cruise Line “Autism Friendly” Certification Standard & Training
Autism on the Seas Cruise Line Autism Friendly Certification Standard is designed as a guideline for cruise lines to ensure their pre-cruise and onboard services, venues and amenities are accessible for inclusion and participation by the autism and developmental disability community. The reasonable accommodations to comply with this Standard are, and can be, customized to each cruise line’s policies, procedures and ships, to ensure sustainability and effectiveness in retaining the scope and intent of the certification. Certifications are awarded by individual ship. Depending on the certification level, ships may be required to conform to seven categories, including:
WINNER IS JENNIFER H. CONTEST IS CLOSED.
Congratulations to Chantal Sicile-Kira on the newly revised edition of her book Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism. Leave a comment to win a signed copy.
Newly revised and updated, this award-winning guide covers every aspect of understanding and living with autism today
Comprehensive and authoritative, Autism Spectrum Disorders explains all aspects of the condition, and is written for parents, educators, caregivers, and others looking for accurate information and expert insight. Newly updated to reflect the latest research, treatment methods, and DSM-V criteria, this invaluable book covers:
• The causes of autism spectrum disorders
• Getting an accurate diagnosis
• Treatments based on behavioral, psychological, and biomedical interventions
• Coping strategies for families and education needs and programs
• Living and working conditions for adults with ASD
• Community interaction and teaching strategies and resources for educators and other professionals
This week Liz Feld of Autism Speaks appeared on Katie Couric to talk about Avonte Oquendo's wandering, disappearance and death. This precious boy, a mother's son, died in The East River. I don't know if Avonte could swim or not. But if you fall into a large body of water in the chill of a New York October (he eloped from school due to lack of proper supervision on Friday, October 4) swimming is kind of the least of your worries. Michael Phelps probably would not have survived the fall, the splash, the panic and then trying to find a safe place to get OUT of the river. Note - this was not the pool at the Harvard Club, it was the dark, murky East River.
Autism Speaks is backing swimming lessons for our children. Really? After months of Avonte's disappearance - some folks affiliated with AS put together a terrific reward for his return - and that was great - but swimming lessons? THAT'S their response?
Our Contributing Editor Tim Welsh Tweeted:
TannersDad Tim @TannersDad
40+ children die from wandering in the last couple of years and no sense of urgency to deal with Autism. Swimming lessons? really no really?
TannersDad Tim @TannersDad
@LizFeld_AS @katiecouric Swimming Lessons?
And our Contributing Editor Adriana Gamondes created the Marie Antoinette graphic meme to show the disconnect of the effort.
I've often said Autism Speaks' role for the community - the flesh and blood people dealing with the challenges of autism - is akin to watching our kids get killed crossing a highway and instead of building fences to protect them, Autism Speaks raises funds on the backs of the very same families to purchase Mercedes Benz ambulances to whisk the kids off to their own hospitals. The cow has left the barn, so to speak.
By Zack Peter
I had just left the office, on my way home after a long day. I was ready to relax, maybe watch a minute (or 60) of some trash TV. Lord knows I could’ve used the mental break. On my way out, I happened to check my phone for any news worthy of browsing (aside from the normal “Kim Kardashian Posts Bikini Pic on Instagram” -- which is not news, by the way).
I read the headline “Missing Autistic Boy’s Remains Found in NYC.” Remains? Oh no…, I thought. My heart instantly sank into my stomach. I had been following the Avonte Oquendo story since it broke last fall. Wandering is by far one of the scariest things a family with a child with autism has to worry about.
It was just a few months ago that I found out my brother had wandered out of my grandparents’ home and walked five blocks to my great-grandmother’s house, undetected. Alone. By himself. No adults; no supervision. At least 30 minutes had gone by without anyone knowing where Ethan was, before a phone call came in that he had showed up at my great-grandmother’s. Thank God he knew how to get there. And thank God he made it safely. My grandparent’s don’t live in a terribly unsafe neighbor hood, by by all means, it is not a neighborhood an eleven year old boy with autism, who’s not very verbal, should be walking alone in. Not to mention it was also during the period Ethan had been regressing, so verbally and socially -- I can’t even begin to imagine the possibilities.
My heart goes out to the Oquendo family. Knowing that something like that could very well happen to my own brother scared the living shit out me. I cannot even fathom the immense amount of pain his parents had and continue to endure. Wandering is such an important issue and I give my deepest condolences to the Oquendos.
By Jim Thompson
Last month Age of Autism reported additional evidence obtained by SafeMinds. One of the important aspects of this is that Thomas Verstraeten reported a significant association between Thimerosal in vaccines and neurologic development disorder both in 1999 and in 2000.
First in 1999 he reported that “The relative risk (RR) of developing a neurologic development disorder was 1.8 (95% confidence intervals [CI] 1.1-2.8) when comparing the highest exposure group at 1 month of age (cumulative dose> 25 ug) to the unexposed group.”
Then in 2000, after the 1999 database was modified, he reported the following results. These were slightly lower associations of overall neurologic development disorders. But even so the evidence of an association of harm remained. The signal of evidence of harm did not go away.
“… the overall category of neurologic developmental disorders …That's an increase of .7% for each additional microgram of ethyl mercury. For an example, if we would go from zero to 50 micrograms of ethyl mercury, we would have to multiple these estimate by 50, so that would give us an additional increase of about 35 %, which is pretty close to the point estimate for this category.” (2000)
CONGRATS TO PATTI SYLVIA OUR WINNER! Contest is CLOSED.
I wrote about Shirley and her son Dan's success in a private karate lesson last week. Shirley has kindly offered a signed copy of her book Autism Mom to a lucky commenter. CONTEST IS CLOSED.
At age 33, it seemed that Shirley Blaier-Stein had it all. She lived in New York City with her loving husband and beautiful boy and was well into a successful legal career. When her son Dan was diagnosed with autism at age three, her world falls apart. Lonely, isolated, and with no answers or hope from doctors, she realizes that she has to pave her own road to Dan’s healing. Determined to not leave a rock unturned, Shirley dives into learning everything she can about autism and treatments. She comes across the amazing story of Joseph, a spiritual healer who was severely autistic as a child. Joseph explains to her that autism is a language that most people don’t understand, and that parents are the autistic child’s primary healers and channels to the world. Autism Mom unfolds a riveting story on how to understand autism, speak its language, and truly communicate with the autistic child. Getting into her son’s head leads Shirley to realize how much he understands and how hard he was fighting to make his way to her and to our world. This realization empowered her in her mission. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and inspiration, Autism Mom powerfully captures the struggles and joys of a mother creating a new life against all odds on a journey that shook her, strengthened her, and taught her that anything is possible. www.autismmombook.com
Managing Editor's Note: We are pleased to welcome VOR as a new sponsor of Age of Autism. As our children are growing older, we are looking a a plethora of new issues related to aging out and beyond. VOR will help us navigate Community Resources, Special Education Resources, Legal Resources, Medical Resources and offers a Toolkit for Families. Please like VOR on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, bookmark their YouTube page and follow them on LinkedIn.
By Tamie Hopp, VOR Director of Government Relations & Advocacy
I am delighted to have this opportunity to introduce you to VOR, an organization that is really like none other.
VOR is a national, nonprofit organization advocating for high quality care and human rights for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
We are the only national organization that has not redefined terms that other disability advocates have hijacked, like “choice,” “community,” and “self-advocacy.”
Does Ari Ne'eman, a self-proclaimed self-advocate really speak for you?
For 30 years, VOR has remained true to the families we represent by putting their seasoned insights and perspectives first. To us and them, “choice” really means choice. Our advocacy is driven and guided by an undeniable truth: Families know best.
To get to know VOR even better, we are offering a complimentary e-subscription to our publications through June 2015, no strings attached, including our weekly VOR E-News Update and our newsletter, The Voice, published three times a year.Just send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. Your email will never be shared or sold.
You will find VOR unique and refreshing in this day and age of advocacy. We respect individual differences, and reject “broad brush” policies that apply to most individuals with disabilities, but not all. In our view, such an “all or nothing” approach is not person-centered or individualized and imposes an ideology on the most disabled members of our society and places them at risk.
By Mary Beth Palo
Exactly..... few of us probably know what that is.
How sad, since every parent and doctor dealing with autism should know and be aware of it’s symptoms, it’s presentation and it’s incidence rate in children with autism. Sadly, this is not the case.
The intent of this article is to bring awareness to the existence and prevalence of this malformation, to increase screening, diagnosis and ultimately improve the lives of many children.
So now I share with you my son's story, which includes my never ending lack of confidence in the "system", so try to bear with my sarcasm!
At the age of 6, fully immersed in the world of autism my son was very sick. Along with all of the fun attributes of autism we were dealing with, we were now adding seizures (diagnosed as epilepsy) and some new very bizarre behaviors. This included constantly touching his feet and quacking all day. Yes, quacking like a duck ALL day!
A discussion regarding these behaviors led his neurologist and another specialist to diagnose these behaviors as stims. Peeeelease.....
Beyond skeptical with this interpretation, I turned to my DAN doctor and expressed my opinion. Thankfully he still considered me to be sane and he listened to me and agreed with me. Instead of diagnosing merely based on my verbal explanations, he ordered an MRI. He and I shared the opinion that the other doctors were less than thorough.
The workshop will educate parents on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the most effective ways to access coverage and treatment for autism.
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2014) - Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) presents a free two-hour workshop, titled “California Insurance Funding for Autism,” to help parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) navigate their way through the insurance coverage process. Parents will learn what must be covered under California law and the most effective ways to access coverage. The workshop takes place on Saturday, March 1, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., at the CARD treatment center in Thousand Oaks, located at 325 E. Hillcrest Drive, Suite 140. Refreshments and light snacks will be provided. Attendees must register by Feb. 27, 2014 to email@example.com.
California is one of the 27 states that, effective Jan. 1, 2014, now offers autism insurance coverage for applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy through its state exchange, the insurance marketplace created as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare. In addition, the California autism insurance mandate (SB 946), implemented on July 1, 2012, requires most health plans to cover ABA therapy for individuals with ASD.
“Many families are struggling to access the treatment that is mandated by California law,” said Bryce Miler, CARD director of contracts. “With this seminar, we hope to empower parents with the knowledge necessary to gain coverage for their children.”
Attendees will learn what insurance companies will and will not cover, types of plans and rules regarding coverage, effective strategies to maximize benefits, how to understand the complexities of different insurance carriers, which plans must comply with SB 946 and ACA, and what to know during open enrollment.
We invite you to read the full article and subscribe to Autism File Magazine online for relevant, useful and timely information.
Practical Tips for Parents...
By Lori McIlwain, National Autism Association
As we saw with the disappearance of Avonte Oqeundo in early October, wandering and bolting behaviors can happen in any setting, schools included. The 14-year-old student from Queens slipped away during a classroom transition, leading to a massive search that ended tragically last week when Avonte’s remains were found.
While wandering in general affects 49% of children with autism, tragedies associated with school-related wandering are exceptionally rare. This could be because there are typically less immediate threats directly near school campuses, and because there are naturally more people available to search. Either way, the fear of school-related wandering has left many parents in our community struggling with ways to keep their children safe.
How Often Does School-related Wandering Happen?
Based on a 2012 study conducted by the Interactive Autism Community (IAN) through the Kennedy Krieger Institute, 29% of parents reported that their child wandered from a school or classroom. Because there is no mandate that requires schools to report a wandering or bolting incident, we suspect the actual number is much higher.
Nantional Autism Association has a comprehensive plan and program to protect our loved ones with autism from wandering. Happy to see lawmakers aware of the very real dangers of this diagnosis.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer says new legislation proposed in the name of Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old New York City boy who disappeared from his school and was found dead three months later, would fund voluntary tracking devices for children who have autism.
Schumer (D-N.Y.), accompanied by Avonte’s mother and grandmother, Sunday to announce “Avonte’s Law.” The legislation would create a program that provides tracking devices and expands support services for families with autistic children. Read the full story at CBS New York.
Every time I begin this article I am delayed by the latest birth of a politically correct term.
While celebrating this weeks birth of the word “thug” I decided I better get this thing done! The media clearly facilitates this debate on the English language for ratings! The world of disability advocacy however has turned it into an opportunity to change the narrative of helping our most severely cognitively impaired loved ones.
This does not mean I am against the removal of hurtful labels. It just means, I am against them being replaced with other yet to be identified disparaging labels. I am very concerned that by removing these labels we have moved our loved ones outside the scope of the very laws that protect them. Mentally Retarded has become Intellectually Disabled, a term found nowhere in the Developmental Disabilities Act or the ADA. Intellectually Disabled, is actually a term many use to describe their brother-n-law as my wife’s brothers do! I make light of this not because I do not fear the obvious changes, but I do fear the other changes and redefinitions that have occurred under the radar.
Words such as “choice,” “inclusion,” “integration” and “community,” have been conveniently redefined to mean only certain choices or certain places according to the user’s ideology. My own fear builds when the user’s ideology is based in profitability. In these instances, individuals with disabilities have suffered due to a lack of individualized care. The families and caretakers are also suffering from a deterioration of options. Options for living, options for care, options for vocational advancement and options for safety. Service providers across the Country and US Government agencies are interpreting language without considering societies most vulnerable population. Individuals that are afflicted with Fragile X, Severe Autism, Mental Retardation and other developmental disabilities affecting a person so severely that they cannot speak, use a bathroom, feed themselves, understand danger or express pain. People whom when faced with change or pain cannot express themselves in any other way than a violent outburst that endangers themselves or others.
From our friends at the Autism Action Network.
The worst fears of many were confirmed with the positive identification of remains found washed up on the Queens’ waterfront as those of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year old boy with autism who was allowed to wander away from the Riverview School in Long Island City on October 4, 2013.
Avonte was non-verbal and assigned to a classroom of six students with one teacher and an aide, which In New York would indicate it is a self-contained class for the most impacted students. According to published accounts, Avonte wandered away from his classmates and aide or aides in the school cafeteria, he then was challenged but not stopped by a school security worker as he left the school. School personnel did not determine that Avonte was missing for at least an hour and then they waited another hour before contacting the police department.
We are calling for a full investigation by independent entities into the multiple failures of the New York City Schools that lead to Avonte’s death. If Avonte’s mother had allowed Avonte to wander away from home she would at the very least be the subject of a child endangerment investigation. Therefore, we are calling upon Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown to launch an investigation into the possibility of criminal negligence on the part of New York City employees responsible for Avonte’s safety.
Queens County District Attorney
12501 Queens Blvd.
Jamaica, NY 11415
The New York City Council does not have much power but it can launch oversight hearings.
By Wendy Frye
We were well into our parenting years the first time we took a real break from our "unique" routine. Our way of life, with autism in the home....well, lets just say it was a rarity to move in a group LET alone consider just WHAT it would take to achieve one of America's finest family pastimes - taking a vacation.
Our eldest son, diagnosed on the autism spectrum at the age of 3 1/2 years old, was making measurable progress. He found his voice in his 8th year - and was being released from physical and occupational therapies at school. Now, I don't think I need to detail the herculean efforts poured into this young man to get to this place - or feel bad about the $90,000 outlay. We took personal debt (aka credit cards) to a whole different level. But Man! Oh! Man! we had finally made it to a positive, measurable milestone. What a perfect time to pause, take a honeymoon from all the therapies per se, and quickly celebrate a little bit of progress.
It was our last purchase made on the last line of credit we had available - a trip for four to Disneyland. And was it ever worth every single penny PLUS interest, fees and the stamps to mail in payments! Well before Mickey Mouse got pissed and quit handing out VIP passes to families who could use the extra time and assistance, we were able to secure that very golden ticket to fast-tracking the park attractions. While I had to physically force my eldest son to stay with me on the first ride (yep, that was me manhandling my son - don't judge unless you live the life, friend) soon after that, he was hooked. We finished 16 attractions that first day, going on to have a delightful dinner in the French Quarter of the park and ultimately enjoying the best vacation of our lives.