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2458 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

A Message to Autism Speaks' Singer and Shih: ENOUGH ALREADY!

Snake_puzzle_2By Katie Wright

I did not want to write this piece or share this information.  I was hoping the leadership at Autism Speaks would take care of this problem. For far too long Dr. Andy Shih and Ms. Alison Singer have been representing only their own rigid belief systems in their roles at AS, doing whatever necessary to thwart environmental and vaccine research. In the meantime so many opportunities have been squandered and our children are paying the price.

I will not editorialize here; just give the reader the facts. Families and especially AS supporters have a right to know how their children’s interests are being represented.

1) Dr. Andy Shih, VP of Scientific Affairs, an avowed disbeliever of vaccines as a possible trigger for autism, appeared on “Montel” a few years ago. Shih vehemently argued that vaccines are totally safe, can not and do not trigger autism and that excessive quantities of mercury are perfectly safe to inject into babies and children.

Two years ago AS leadership was excited about a Norwegian study on vaccinated children and autism and promised the study designers full support. AS expressed a desire to take the lead as a funder and facilitator of the project. Shih surreptitiously killed almost all involvement.

Continue reading "A Message to Autism Speaks' Singer and Shih: ENOUGH ALREADY!" »

IACC Meeting Friday to Finalize Federal Autism Research Plan

Act_nowUpdate: Dear Members of the IACC:

Attached is a letter (HERE) from the autism advocacy organizations listed below regarding the draft strategic plan for autism research, respectfully submitted for your attention and review at your meeting tomorrow, December 12.

Sallie Bernard, on behalf of -

Autism Society of America
Autism Speaks
National Autism Association
Talk About Curing Autism Now (TACA)
Unlocking Autism

By Jim Moody, Esq.

The federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) will meet this Friday, 9-4 at the Neurosciences Center (home of NIMH) in Rockville, Maryland.  This is a continuation of the November 21 meeting because there was not enough time to go through the substantial edits and additions (most of which were submitted by IACC member Lyn Redwood, Safeminds, and broadly supported by the community) required to finalize the Strategic Plan for autism research required by the Combating Autism Act. 

This is a crucial meeting as many of the topics to be discussed will determine whether the research spending will actually matter in in finding the cause and effective treatments for autism. 

Registration is required for in-person attendance REGISTER HERE or to participate in the webinar CLICK HERE.  For the second time, this meeting will be broadcast on a conference call: 888-455-2920, access code 3857872.  General information about IACC, including charter, members, and documents can be found on its home page HERE.

Continue reading "IACC Meeting Friday to Finalize Federal Autism Research Plan" »

Win an Imus Ranch & Greening the Cleaning Holiday Gift Basket!

2008_christmasspecialWINNER! "MAUREEN" I've sent you an email.

Thank you to Deirdre and Don Imus for donating a fabulous holiday gift basket to a lucky Age of Autism reader!  Eat the yummy food and then clean up the mess with environmentally safe products!  Visit Imus Ranch Foods to see the full line of great products. 100% of all profits go to The Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer in Ribera, New Mexico.

Enter your name and include your email address in the email line of the comment form! We'll announce the winner tomorrow, so make sure you check back.

Imus Ranch Foods Holiday Gift Basket!

4 Bags - Imus Ranch Foods Turquoise Buffalo Tortilla Chips
1 Jar - Imus Ranch Mild Salsa
1 Jar - Imus Ranch Medium Salsa
1 Jar - Imus Ranch Hot Salsa
1 Jar - Imus Ranch Black Bean Salsa
1 Bag - Imus Ranch Columbian Coffee
1 Bag - Imus Ranch Roast Coffee
2 Imus Ranch Mugs
1 Imus Ranch Special DVD

Plus the Greening The Cleaning Variety Pack!

1 Bottle - GTC Laundry Liquid
1 Bottle - GTC Dishwashing Liquid
1 Bottle - GTC All Purpose Cleaner
1 Bottle - GTC Glass Cleaner

Good luck!  Kim

Maple Syrup for Everyone! Vermont Ranks #1 in Health.

Organic_productBy Kim Stagliano

Well, pass me a mug of Green Mountain coffee and let's share a pint of Cherry Garcia for breakfast - with maple syrup! Vermont is the nation's healthiest state according to America's Health Rankings. 

That's kind of like being the prettiest girl at the ugly contest. Overall, the report says that America is an unhealthy nation. We're fat. We smoke. We lag behind 27 other industrialized nations in life expectancy. We're behind 21 industrialized nations in infant mortality. 

The study did point out that Vermont has one worry. You see, Vermont has a "low immunization rate for children ages 19 to 35 months."  Give them another pint of Chunky Monkey for that one. 

We pay more for healthcare than any other nation. Yet tens of millions of Americans are uninsured. Companies are staggering under healthcare costs for employees and retirees. Many smaller companies can't afford to offer healthcare at all.  Find me a doctor or a patient who is satisfied with the state of our healthcare insurance system.

Continue reading "Maple Syrup for Everyone! Vermont Ranks #1 in Health." »

Autism: Extreme Wallet Makeover

PocketsManaging Editor's Note: Bob Wright summed it up best on MSNBC last year. "Even if you're rich, autism makes you broke."  My husband lost his job last month. We have readers who've lost their jobs this year. And will likely see many more in 2009, I fear. Autism and unemployment is a particularly tough pairing.  I wish the Vardon's well.

Family fears they'll lose 'Extreme Makeover' home
11 hours ago

OAK PARK, Mich. (AP) — Four years ago, millions of television viewers watched as a deaf couple marveled at the renovations to their home that would help them better accommodate their blind, autistic son.

But now the couple, Judy and Larry Vardon, worry that the home could face foreclosure. They were featured in a two-hour episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" that set a ratings record for the show when broadcast Nov. 6, 2004.

Continue reading "Autism: Extreme Wallet Makeover" »

“What Would One Want From A National Vaccine Plan?"

SausageBy Kelli Ann Davis

“What Would One Want From A National Vaccine Plan? A Predictable Regulatory Environment” – Philip Dormitzer, Novartis

Predictable: v. to state, tell about, or make known in advance, especially on the basis of special knowledge.

On December 1st, the Institutes of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on Review of Priorities in the National Vaccine Plan held its Second National Stakeholder’s Meeting in Irvine, California; this pivotal IOM Committee has been given "carte blanche" marching orders from the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) for developing the National Vaccine Plan. (More detailed information at the end of this post.)

Among the invited attendees were pharmaceutical representatives Philip Dormitzer (Novartis), Edward S. Mocarski, Jr. (MedImmune), and Stanley Plotkin (Sanofi Pasteur).  Due to an audio telecast, many of us were able to hear various strategies promoted by these vaccine manufacturers which (more often than not) went virtually unchallenged by government officials; here are some highlights from the meeting:

Strategy 1: Push for Predictability

Dormitzer: When discussing vaccines for the market he states, “We don’t need incentive because it’s already there.”  He’d rather have a “predictable regulatory environment” which “while ensuring public safety one has confidence that the vaccine makes it through.”  And “communication with the public” is his key to making that happen.  But since “we’re not the best advocates because we have a financial incentive” he suggests “government agencies are the advocates” to get the job done.

Continue reading "“What Would One Want From A National Vaccine Plan?"" »

Tom Daschle, Here are Our Autism Healthcare Stories

ChandlertaylorManaging Editor's Note:  Ginger Taylor at Adventures in Autism shared this post with us. That's her son Chandler in the photo. Thank you, Ginger.

Tom Daschle is Asking For Your Health Care Stories

Tom Daschle is "asking anybody and everybody to share their health care experiences" HERE.


I encourage you to begin your letter to him, as I have, "I am the _________ of a vaccine injured child". They need to be confronted with that sentence over and over again.

My letter:

I am the mother of a vaccine injured child.

My six year old son had early vaccine reactions, but instead of recognizing them for what they were, his doctors continued to vaccinate him according to the overly aggressive CDC vaccine schedule. After his 18 month shots he began to display the symptoms of Vaccine Induced Encephalopathy, but because his doctors had not been educated on how to look for vaccine induced encephalopathy (loss of eye contact, not responding to stimuli, seem disconnected from the world around them - according to HHS/VICP vaccine injury table [HERE]), his doctor called it "Autism", did no medical investigation of his case, and simply sent him for speech and behavioral evaluations.

Continue reading "Tom Daschle, Here are Our Autism Healthcare Stories" »

Live from Madagascar 2 at the Bow Tie Theater

Diana Yeisley of Autism Speaks organized a private showing of Madascar 2 at the Bow Tie Theater in Trumbull, CT. The lights are up, the volume is lowered, and we could bring our own snacks. The theater is full of families with kids on the spectrum. It's wonderful! Time to watch the movie. KS

John Robison On Aloneness, Social Failure and Asperger's

LookmeintheeyeManaging Editor's Note: John Robison, author of Look Me In The Eye (now available in paperback) wrote this entry about lonliness and sadness and Asperger's for the Psychology Today blog (Click HERE to read the original post and comment at Psych Today, the verbiage is below.)

If you haven't read Look Me In The Eye, I highly recommend it (click here to purchase) for an intimate and sometimes shocking glimpse into his childhood, teen years and adulthood as an "Aspergian."  The text books tell us that people on the spectrum do not have much emotion and that they enjoy being alone. Read this post and see for yourself.  John is an elegant writer, and I am proud to call him my friend.  Kim

For much of my life, I've carried a burden of sadness. It started when I was three or four, with my failures to make friends with the kids around me. At that age, I was a monkey face and a retard. As I got older, the name calling faded away, to be replaced by something else. I became the kid no one chose, when choices were made.All kids suffer social setbacks, but for those of us with neurological differences like Asperger's, social failure often proves to be the norm.

Continue reading "John Robison On Aloneness, Social Failure and Asperger's" »

Parents Meet with NJ's Health Commissioner

Nj_meeting_louise By Louise Kuo Habakus (2nd from left.)

Commissioner Howard met with us for two full hours.  Her staff continued with us for an additional thirty minutes.  They listened.  They asked a few questions.  And the Commissioner left us with these words (not verbatim):  "We had a productive meeting.  I am impressed by the commitment, thoughtfulness and passion demonstrated by the parents here today.  I respect the message and the way it was delivered.  As a mother, I was very moved to hear the personal stories you shared.  We want to work with parents to understand your concerns.  We will also work with the AAP to urge them to take a look at the vaccine schedules and… [interruption from secretary, the Governor is on the phone] now, I really have to go." 

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's start from the beginning. 

Continue reading "Parents Meet with NJ's Health Commissioner " »

President Elect Obama: The Medical Director of the Autism Research Institute Speaks Out

Rimland_centerDear Mr. President:

As Medical Director of the Autism Research Institute, I add my voice to Mark Blaxill’s eloquent plea for you to “be that guy” who declares autism a national crisis and puts the same careful thought into strategies to confront this epidemic and work collaboratively to solve this crisis as you demonstrated confronting other crises throughout your campaign.

As founder of The Rimland Center, I have committed my professional life to educating clinicians that children with autism are sick and have medical problems that, when treated, often (but not always) lead to improvements in their autism symptoms.  Our center is named after Bernie Rimland (the visionary psychologist who debunked the refrigerator mother myth) and stands for Recovery Initiatives and Mentoring Linking Autism Networks and Discoveries. The waiting list at my center for new patients to be evaluated is over a year long.

Continue reading "President Elect Obama: The Medical Director of the Autism Research Institute Speaks Out" »

Autism One 2009 Highlights!

Get_out_of_jailManaging Editor's Note: If you've been VERY good, maybe Santa will give you a special gift (we all know how hard it is to travel when you have a child on the spectrum) so you can go to Autism One this May! Here are some highlights of what you can expect from our good friends at Autism One.

Autism One 2009 Conference Overview
May 20-24, 2009, Chicago, IL


Did you wonder when change would come for your child?  Did you wonder when the media would begin to turn, when more mainstream doctors and the public would begin to shift their thinking, and when the cumulative body of science would gather steam in exponentially building upon itself?  Well, change has come.... and we are happy to present it at Autism One.

Some 2009 highlights
Selected symposiums, seminars, workshops, think tanks, and lectures
Pre-Conference, Wednesday, May 20 & Thursday, May 21
Introducing EBCALA: The Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy

Continue reading "Autism One 2009 Highlights!" »

Calling all Readers! Nominations for the AOA AWARDS '08

NominationsEditor's Note: Again this year, Age of Autism will name the year's winners and warriors (and a few sinners) -- and we want your nominations. Please send them by Dec. 10 to me at There are several obvious categories involving people, events, publications and media moments. But true to our reader-inspired spirit here at AOA, we'll let you decide.

Past winners -- who are thus ineligible though much appreciated -- include Jenny McCarthy as Person of the Year, Michelle Cedillo as Child of the Year, Ashley Reynolds as Media Person of the Year. But think creatively -- what mattered most in '08 and who or what deserves to be honored? Tell us why, too, and we'll run many of your comments, along with winners and runners-up, over the year-end holidays. (Worst moments, lousiest books, dumbest quotes also are welcome! We wouldn't want to leave anyone off-it) -- Dan Olmsted

CT Autism Speaks and Bow Tie Cinema Hosts Sensory Friendly Showing of Madagascar!

MadagascarManaging Editor's Note: So, do you remember the hell I raised over the jewelry fund raiser for Autism Speaks here in Connecticut?  Well, Autism Speaks' Diana Yeisley has put together an event (not a fund raiser) that I think is just fantastic.  And I'm a big believer that while we can disagree within the community, we can also celebrate great ideas. Diana has organized movie theaters to have "sensory friendly" showings of Madagascar. No previews to bore our kids to death. The volume is a little bit lower. The lights are up a bit. And we can bring in our own GFCF snacks! The event was such a success in Simsbury, CT she's added a showing at the Bow Tie Theatre in Trumbull.  Mia, Gianna, Bella, Mark and I will be there with bells on! 

Thank you to Diana for the wonderful idea. I won't have on fancy jewelry (sigh...) but an easy movie with the kids is a good as 18K gold! If you're in the area, join us!  I'll live blog it too. Here's Diana's note to the CT autism groups with details below:

Hello Everyone -

Due to the OVERWHELMING response that I got from the 2 showings that were done in Simsbury last weekend, I contacted another theater and will be bringing the same thing to Trumbull on December 6th!

Continue reading "CT Autism Speaks and Bow Tie Cinema Hosts Sensory Friendly Showing of Madagascar!" »

A of A Contest: T-shirt Tagline

Thinking_capWe're designing Age of Autism t-shirts and you're invited to submit your idea(s) for the tagline. We're looking for a pithy, "so that's what they're all about" sentence to run under our logo.

Submit your ideas in the comments section. Have fun. Be creative. (But remember, your kids will read the t-shirt too.)  We'll announce the winner in a couple of days.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy_thanksgivingFrom all of us at Age of Autism, Happy Thanksgiving! We're grateful for your wonderful comments and your daily readership.  Can you believe we've run over 1400 posts in the last year and you've provided over 14,000 comments?! We're averaging over 160,000 page views each month, and growing!  All thanks to you.

If you're grateful to have Age of Autism, we hope you'll consider making a year-end donation to support our efforts and to keep the posts coming.  Thank you!

President Elect Obama: A Military Autism Mom Reaches Out

Help_meBy Angela Warner

Dear President Elect Obama,

Congratulations on your election. As the 44th President of the United States of America, and the Leader of our Country, you have a huge job ahead of you. I have always been an optimist. If one has no hope, then what do they have? I am inspired by our country, and I have confidence that your actions will impact our great nation with desperately needed positive change.

A friend of mine, Mark Blaxill, Board Member of SafeMinds and Editor at Large for Age of Autism , wrote to you recently. Mark stated that you are also the First Father of the Autism Generation HERE. Indeed, you are. Mr. President, you are the First Father to a generation of children who are physically sick with autism, and who desperately need your help and immediate action.

Continue reading "President Elect Obama: A Military Autism Mom Reaches Out" »

Kids, Say Du"Bye" To Your Health: AAP Heads to the Middle East

Dubai_money_2Thank you to Ginger Taylor of Adventures in Autism for sharing this post with us.  God help America if this foray into the middle east turns into an "Autism for Oil" program.

New AAP President Shows Us His Priorities, And It Is Not The Health of American Children

Last month David 'no such thing as vaccine injury' (HERE) Tayloe, was sworn in as the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Naturally, on day one of his new job, he laid out his priorities for his tenure (HERE):

'Tayloe said that he intends to focus on 5 main areas this coming year -- "Medicaid payments, vaccine financing issues, fair payment of pediatricians, retail-based health clinics and funding medical students' education." "

As Anne Dachel notes in her piece, there are no actual children's health issues on his list of priorities. What is important to Tayloe, is getting pediatricians paid.

His priority is money.

Continue reading "Kids, Say Du"Bye" To Your Health: AAP Heads to the Middle East" »

Suze Orman on Autism One Radio

Suze_ormanDear Friends,

We will be having the Internationally Acclaimed Personal Finance Expert "Suze Orman" as a guest on our Radio Show "The Candy Store" on "Autism One Radio" in early 2009.  If any parent who has a child with autism would like to ask "Suze Orman" a question about their finances please e-mail Robert & Sandy Waters Host's of "The Candy Store" on "Autism One Radio" at

We need your questions no later than the end of December 2008.  Depending on the amount of questions we receive, we will try to ask most of them on air with your name and state where you live.  Or, Suze might even e-mail the answers back if we can not get to the question on the air.  The links to our Radio Show are below.  Thank You!!

Faith, Love & Hope,

Robert & Sandy Waters
Host's of "The Candy Store" on Autism One Radio   

The Grim Future for the Avalanche of Autistic Adults

Now_what Managing Editor's Note:  Jan Randall is a tireless advocate for people with autism. She lives in Massachusetts, which happens to have fairly good services. And yet, there's still very little for her adult son with autism. How is a parent of an adult with autism supposed to earn a living outside of the home, when their child needs assistance? How do we prevent aging parents from burning out completely? The link to the article is HERE.

All grown up — now where to go?

Autistic kids are quickly turning into autistic adults, and the growing population is straining social services and posing new challenges for parents who have to arrange care for them 24/7.

By Jim McGaw

SEEKONK — Andrew Randall swishes the swirls his paint brush around a canvas set up on the kitchen table. Heavy globs of golds, greens and whites blend into a dark, monochromatic work that may end up on his family’s wall — maybe even a gallery. Andrew stays busy as his large frame hunches over the canvas; his arms move quickly and his gaze is rarely diverted.

Working equally as hard is his mom, Jan, who calls herself Andrew’s “apprentice.” Ms. Randall is busy opening new jars of paint, cleaning up drips that have formed at the edge of the canvas and making sure Andrew’s clothes stay reasonably clean. Occasionally, she has to chase her son down when he tries to leave the room, wet brush still in hand.
“More white in green,” says Andrew, as his mom mixes some paint. After about an hour of painting, Andrew stops.

“I’m all done with the canvas. Get out of the canvas,” he says.

Continue reading "The Grim Future for the Avalanche of Autistic Adults" »

Autism United Sponsors Meeting for NY Autism Legislation

On Saturday, December 6, 2008 Autism United is sponsoring a meeting to develop a state-wide agenda for the 2009 legislative session. The meeting will be held at the Albany Clarion Hotel, 3 Watervliet Avenue Extension, Albany, New York, 12206 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

This is an open invitation to leaders and activists within the autism community in New York who are interested in bringing positive change to people and families with autism. A quick list of the issues to be addressed are:

Philosophical Exemption from mandatory vaccines
Enhanced Religious and Medical Waivers from mandatory vaccines
Improving education services for children and people with autism

Continue reading "Autism United Sponsors Meeting for NY Autism Legislation" »

Age of Autism Birthday Winners!

GiftsCongratulations to our birthday contest winners (see below!)  Email me at kim stagliano @ gmail with your mailing address please. 

By Kim Stagliano

It was our birthday, but the gifts were for you! Thank you so much for supporting Age of Autism! Please don't forget you can help us keep the posts coming by making a donation via PayPal. Nicole, Ben's Dad and Dolores, your items are in the mail. KS

1) Jamie Manning's "What Remains" CD (Music that chronicle's the Lives of Parents Raising Children with Autism. Click the link to listen to samples.) Three lucky winners! Maria, Barbara Rodriguez, Dolores Goneau

2) Chantal Sicile Kira's "Autism Life Skills: From Communication and Safety to Self-Esteem and More. 10 Essential Abilities Every Child Needs and Deserves to Learn" Book. Four lucky winners! Erica in Alabama, Nicole Bryant, Roger, Ben's Dad

3) Watch Me Learn's "About Me and You ...and my friends too!" Evidence-based social skills training DVD. One lucky winner!  Dr. Jon

Our Kids Somali or American

CorrespondenceManaging Editor's Note: We are proud to share the correspondence between the Somali community and the Minneapolis Department of Health.

From: Hassan, Hodan M
Sent: Tue 11/18/2008 4:01 PM

Subject: Our kids Somali or American

Hi Edith, Dr.Sanne and Doug.

Per our conversation this morning, you told me that Dr,Punyko is working really hard and putting allot of time in to this issue, and that it will be really irresponsible on her part if she just blurted out the numbers without making sure the numbers are right.

I would like to thank Dr. Punyko for putting all her time in to this matter, however its not changing anything. I for one are not convinced that MDH is going to do anything different for  us as a Somali community than they haven't done for the American people in this state.

Continue reading "Our Kids Somali or American" »

Autism Strikes 1 in 28 Somali Children in Minnesota

Somali_familyBy Nancy Hokkanen

In Minnesota, an estimated 1 in 28 Somali children have autism spectrum disorders. In response many Somali families, advocacy groups and government agencies organized “A Forum on Developmental Delays and Autism in the Somali Community,” held in Minneapolis on Saturday, Nov. 15.

The forum’s primary objective was to raise awareness in the Somali community about developmental delays in children, with specific emphasis on autism, and to engage the community. Presentations were translated into Somali and English.

Shaikh Saad Musse stated in his introduction, “Our children are the foundation of our life.” Saeed Fahia of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota (CSCM) acknowledged that “we are all worried, and we would like to have a solution to this.”

Continue reading "Autism Strikes 1 in 28 Somali Children in Minnesota" »

Talk About Curing Autism Reaches Out to CA Wild Fire Victims

Tacalogo_full_2Managing Editor's Note: Our sponsor TACA is reaching out to members affected by the wild fires in California. From their site:

Help for Families Affected by California Wild Fires

TACA Families: If you have lost your home or been evacuated (or know a family affected by autism that has) please CONTACT US if you need a place to stay or any other help! 

If your child is a REGIONAL CENTER client, be sure to contact your caseworker for information about emergency housing and food allowances. Find your regional center.

How can you help?

Continue reading "Talk About Curing Autism Reaches Out to CA Wild Fire Victims" »

Email Ideas to Arianna Huffington for the Rachel Maddow Show

AriannaArianna Huffington is hosting the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC on Monday, November 17th.  She is seeking topic ideas.  Do YOU have a topic idea?  I'm sure you do. Please click HERE to leave your idea in the comments section of her post.  It's worth signing into Huffington Post to make your request.

Where are the FDA & AAP on Food Dyes? Commerce Before Calm.

MmsThe UK has just banned six artificial food additives for their connection to behavioral issues in humans (it's not just children.)  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the FDA and AAP choose to appease chemical companies and pharma friends who make hyperactivity drugs.  What? Remove food dyes and help kids sit still in school? No! We need to ply American children with drugs!  And make sure they are all coated in pretty colors!

Most of us who read Age of Autism do not feed our kids artificial colors. But the average American consumer doses her child with chemicals from the rainbow colored morning cereal, to the neon pink yogurt snack through the bright blue bedtime toothpaste. Parents need to effect change with their pocketbooks.

Read the full article from The Daily Mail HERE.

Ministers have backed a ban on six food additives linked to hyperactivity in children.
The decision follows a call from the Food Standards Agency earlier this year for the food industry voluntarily to remove the chemicals.

The news is a major breakthrough for the Daily Mail's 'Ban the Additives' campaign.
It follows research that found children became hyperactive when fed a cocktail of additives used in hundreds of products.

Scientists argued many could be protected from developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder  -  which can blight entire school careers  -  if the chemicals were removed from food.

Fitness Pro Ray Salomone Offers Health Tips to Parent Warriors

Ray_head_shotManaging Editor's Note: I think you'll like our new contributor Ray Salomone, personal trainer in NYC and owner of Greco Roman Wellness. He and I met via the Denis Leary debacle. Ray was born with a rare birth defect that affected his chest muscle and struggled throughout childhood. He has a soft spot on his "hard body" for kids with autism, a result of an experience of his own.

I asked Ray if he'd put together a fitness routine for us autism Moms and Dads that's fast and effective. It's below. We need to stay strong and healthy for our kids and to manage our kids. Little boys and girls don't stay little forever.  My Mia is as strong as an ox, albeit a beautiful ox. Thank you, Ray. KS

By Ray Salomone

Hi Everyone,

You may have heard about my internet rumble with Denis Leary over the stupid comments he made about autism. "Trust me, I know how the game works. He has a book coming out so he needs to be compelling and provocative. But this is disgusting. FULL DISCLOUSRE: I have a book coming out also. I’ve called and emailed his agent and publicist. I imagine a No comment is forthcoming  So I’ll make a comment:  Denis Leary is a piece of shit." Click 
to read the entire blog entry.

He never showed, but two of his buddies from South Boston said they were on their way to NYC. They never showed either.

I know that so many of you barely have a minute to yourself and that exercise, in many cases, is relegated to the back burner. Here is a short, but very intense program that you can do at home in only ten minutes without any weights or other equipment.

Continue reading "Fitness Pro Ray Salomone Offers Health Tips to Parent Warriors" »

Autism Community “United in Expressing Our Disapproval” of the NIH Strategic Plan for Autism Research

RejectedEditor’s note: One core feature of the Combating Autism Act (CAA) was the requirement for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a strategic plan for autism research. Why? Because if the CAA was going to direct NIH to devote considerably more resources to the investigation of autism, then NIH needed to be held accountable for the coherence of its oversight of these resources and the effectiveness of that spending. In the last year, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), headed up by Dr. Thomas Insel of the National Institute of Mental Health, has been working on completing a strategic plan for autism research. Recently, a draft plan had been circulated for public comment (HERE).

On Wednesday, a broad coalition of eleven autism groups, including the three autism organizations represented on the IACC (ASA, Autism Speaks and SafeMinds), and all four Age of Autism sponsors, distributed a joint letter to all the members of the IACC (most of which represent various federal agencies). This letter states that “as a community we are united in expressing our disapproval of the draft plan.”

The eleven organizations that signed the letter were:

Autism New Jersey (formerly COSAC)
Autism Research Institute (ARI)
Autism Society of America (ASA)
Autism Speaks
Generation Rescue
National Autism Association (NAA)
Organization for Autism Research (OAR)
Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC)
Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)
Unlocking Autism

Click below to read the letter. The link is HERE. 

Continue reading "Autism Community “United in Expressing Our Disapproval” of the NIH Strategic Plan for Autism Research" »

David Kirby on HuffPo: Autism Speaks, Don't Rule out Vaccines

DavidkirbyOur dedicated contributor David Kirby has a post over at HuffPo HERE
titled, "Autism Speaks: Don't Rule out Vaccines." Please pop over there to leave a comment on his post, won't you?  As always, David, thank you.
Is the vaccine-autism debate over? Not according to the co-founder of the largest, most mainstream, most influential autism organization in the world.

Click HERE to read a HuffPo I wrote about when Suzanne Wright promised me in front of hundreds of people that AS would look at the autism vaccine connection. On camera. 

We Remember Veteran's Day

Autism_salutesToday we honor veterans in the autism community. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles alike. Thank you for your service to our country. Angela Warner, a "friend of ours" at Age of Autism, runs a wonderful blog for military families facing autism called Autism Salutes.

Please check out her Veteran's Day post (HERE) about our sponsor Lee Silsby compounding pharmacy - they accept Tricare military insurance. is Hiring an Autism Blogger!

JobManaging Editor's Note:  Please do not call Joshua. Emails only. Thank you.

Want to blog about autism for an audience of hundreds of thousands of activists and nonprofit leaders? launched a social action blog network earlier this month (announced by Newsweek - with blogs covering a dozen major social issues, and we're currently looking to hire a part-time (paid) blogger to run our forthcoming portal. (See our current blogs here:

Continue reading " is Hiring an Autism Blogger!" »

Autism Speaks & David Yurman: Cable for a Cause

BlingManaging Editor's Note: Let's see, I believe I recall Bob Wright saying "Even if you have money, autism makes you broke-" on MSNBC last April. Apparently not so broke that you can't buy a beautiful David Yurman bracelet to help raise money for Autism Speaks.  I called the store. The bracelet is $295.00, which is quite inexpensive for David Yurman jewelry. Stop laughing.

David Yurman and Lux, Bond & Green invite you for a special eveing celebrating Cable for a Cause to benefit Autism Speaks. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Friday November 7th, 2008, 6 - 8pm.  46 LaSalle Road, Hartford, CT. RSVP: 860-521-3015 or email A percentage of the proceeds from this event and Saturday, November 8th as well as the limited edition David yurman bracelet will benefit Autism Speaks.

Diana A. Yeisley
Fundraising Chair
Autism Speaks Community Leadership Council
Greater Hartford
1 in 150 - Autism is an Epidemic

Autism Speaks Sends A Message to Community?

EndorsedAutism Speaks featured Dr. Paul Offit in the "People" category of its website (HERE.) As of this morning, the link has rotated off the AS site for newer stories.

I assume whoever chooses the site's content pays attention to the article/info they post. I certainly do here at Age of Autism. And if I post something controversial, I add a note, so our readers are clear about the choice of content. Nothing from Autism Speaks, just a mention and a link. So, is this a tacit endorsement of Dr. Offit's book, in which he targets Jenny McCarthy, Dr, Wakefield and other people working tirelessly to help chilldren with autism?  Here was the copy:

Author Royalties From Autism Book Donated to Autism Research (Philadelphia, Penn.)  Paul Offit, MD, announced today that all author royalties earned from the sale of his new book, "Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure," will be donated to the Center for Autism Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.Here is THE ARTICLE AS linked.

RFK Jr. to Head EPA?

RfkManaging Editor's Note: That's Robert Kennedy Jr. at the Green our Vaccines rally last June where he summarized the autism/vaccine debate better than anyone I'd ever heard. Click HERE to watch his speech at the Jenny McCarthy Green Our Vaccines rally. From your mouth to God's ears, J.B.. 

By J.B. Handley

I didn't weep last night when Barack Obama was elected President, although I voted for him and was certainly thrilled to see him elected for so many reasons.

Truth be told, I was very frustrated by Obama's positions on autism relative to John McCain, and I simply heard many more things and saw a lot more action out of McCain when it came to our kids.

But, I was struck by the decency, intelligence, and compassion of Obama, and I believe he already knows or will soon understand the breadth of what is going on with our kids.

Like I said, I didn't weep when Obama won last night, but I just wept for a rumor now floating around in the blogosphere: Obama is considering RFK Jr. to run the Environmental Protection Agency.

God Bless America. And, let's pray it's true.

J.B. Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue and contributor to Age of Autism.

Autism Speaks' Suzanne Wright on Christian, the CDC and the Vaccine Question

Suzanne_and_christian_2From Anne Dachel, Media Editor: I came across an excellent piece from the Guardian Weekly in UK.  It was a commentary by Suzanne Wright of Autism Speaks.  She expertly summarized the autism crisis.  She put it in personal terms too, with her grandson Christian's story.  Suzanne described their struggle trying to understand what had happen to their grandson and how the medical community, especially the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fails to address what is clearly a medical disaster.  She asked the question I keep asking over and over -- where are all the adults with autism? Finally, she cautiously noted that the link between vaccines and autism is an open question.  These are the things that need to be talked about. 

Click HERE to link to The Guardian. Here's the article:

Suzanne Wright with her grandson Christian.

We were so shocked when our grandson developed autism. Christian was our first little boy and he had been growing up beautifully. He was meeting all his milestones – he had a large vocabulary and was almost potty-trained. Then, when my daughter and her husband had another baby and moved from the city to the country, Christian began to lose his speech. He started having tantrums.

We went to several doctors and they said that we should remain calm and not worry.

Continue reading "Autism Speaks' Suzanne Wright on Christian, the CDC and the Vaccine Question" »

Ask Wolf Blitzer To Question Obama: CALL TODAY!

Act_nowAngela Warner just sent us this: Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Obama today at 4pm Eastern. We'd like Blitzer to ask Senator Obama to clarify his position on selection vaccination. You can help!

Call CNN and ask for Beverly Obanion (Wolf Blitzer's personal assistant) at 202-898-7900 today. Stay on the line or press 0 for an operator.

Script: "I am calling from (Your State), and I believe vaccines injured my child.  I am deeply concerned about Senator Obama's statements that he does not believe in selective vaccination. I firmly believe it is a parent's choice.  Can you please ask Senator Obama to clarify his position on the show today?"

You can send a fax too! Fax Numbers 202-898-7923 OR 202-898-2263.

New Jersey and Autism Perfect Together!

Jason_and_freddieBy Katie Wright

Deirdre Imus organized and moderated an amazing vaccine forum last week at Hackensack University Hospital. To my recollection it was the first time staunch defenders and architects of our infant and toddler vaccination schedule have spoken to the public and taken uncensored questions from parents of vaccine injured children. It was exactly the kind of event, promoting open discussion between doctors and parents that Autism Speaks should be facilitating. We all know that Deidre and Don Imus have been huge advocates for kids with cancer and chronic illnesses, like autism, for decades. What many people do not know is that the Imuses have helped create one of the most child friendly, progressive and greenest hospitals in the nation at Hackensack.

New Jersey recently made the flu shot mandatory for every school age child and baby in daycare over the age of six months. Given that an astonishing 1 in 64 boys in NJ is autistic it is both reckless and insane for New Jersey to mandate yet another vaccine for infants and toddlers.

Continue reading "New Jersey and Autism Perfect Together!" »

Autism Is Political: Bob Wright and a UK Perspective

Tree_houseBy Lisa Blakemore Brown

The panel from the "Are we ambitious enough about autism?" event at the TreeHouse School.  From left, Bob Wright, panel moderator and TreeHouse patron Jon Show, Anya Ustaszewski and Virginia Bovell

Bob Wright, ex Head of NBC and co-founder of  Autism Speaks  Autism Speaks, speaks out in UK about vaccines and autism in answer to comments made by Lisa Blakemore-Brown, UK Psychologist Specialist in Autism and related disorders.

"I agree with everything you said" responded Mr Wright in a debate at TreeHouse's   Inaugural Lecture (HERE) at City Hall London during the evening of October 22nd 2008 after I raised various issues and said that the reason autism was taking a back seat in terms of it's understanding and funding, was entirely political and it was political because it was largely to do with the vaccine issue.

Continue reading "Autism Is Political: Bob Wright and a UK Perspective" »

NYT: Kidney Stones on Rise in Children

Kidney_stones_2The New York Times reports HERE that kidney stones are on the rise in children, perhaps a result of salt-laden processed foods and even beverages like sports drinks. So what you put into their bodies can make kids physically sick?  Who knew? They continue to p*ss on our community at the Times, however.

Barbara Fischkin: "Can Facebook Cure Autism?"

SpectrumCheck out Barbara Fischkin's blog entry HERE in Spectrum Magazine titled, "Can Facebook Cure Autism?"

As an Autism Mom, I reflected on all of this nuttiness and had a singular thought. Dan is 21. How can we include him? "Dan," I said. "Do you want to be on Facebook?" He cast me a look that conveyed a mouthful. Since Dan can't talk, he is very good at those looks. Loosely translated this one said: "There she goes again." Fortunately it takes more than a mere snicker to deter me.

Chantal Sicile-Kira Brings Her New Autism Book to Autism One Radio

ChantalChantal Sicile-Kira, award-winning author of Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and other ASD's and Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum: A Parent's Guide to the Cognitive, Social, Physical, and Transition Needs of Teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorders, international lecturer, & US/Canada Marketing Director of The Autism File magazine hosts Special Series on Autism One Radio.  Click HERE to see her website, including her books.

The Real World of Autism with Chantal Sicile-Kira

Tune in every other Tuesday at 1:30 ET starting Tuesday, October 28 for a special series of programs based on Chantal’s latest book AUTISM LIFE SKILLS : From Communication and Safety to Self Esteem and More: 10 Essential Abilities Every Child Deserves and Needs to Learn. With advice and reflections from adults across the spectrum, as well as Sicile-Kira's own experience as an advocate and parent of an autistic teen, the book (and this special series) covers these ten essential life skills: Making Sense of the World, Communication, Safety, Self-Esteem, Pursuing Interests, Self-Regulation, Independence, Social Relationships, Self-Advocacy, and Earning a Living.

Continue reading "Chantal Sicile-Kira Brings Her New Autism Book to Autism One Radio" »

South Carolina's $21 Million Cut Affects Autism Services

Speak_out2Managing Editor's Note: Many of us are familiar with autism advocate Maurine Meleck. Her letter to the editor about the pending $3,000,000 in budget cuts for autism services in S. Carolina follows this brief intro to the news article in the Augusta Chronicle.  Maurine, thank you for speaking out for our children. It's ironic that S. Carolina is considering slashing $21,000,000 for people with disabilities at a time when disabilities are at the forefront of political conversation. If anyone has more to share about these budget cuts in S. Carolina, please comment.

...Mr. Sanford's vetoes would return cash to agencies. That could bring pressure for him to veto items such as the $21.5 million cut from the state's Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, including $3.3 million for care of children with autism and $2.3 million to help families cope with spinal cord injuries.

Continue reading "South Carolina's $21 Million Cut Affects Autism Services" »

Obama Team on Disability Responds To Palin Speech

Obama_disabilitiesBy Kim Stagliano

Kareem Dale, National Disabilities Vote Director for the Barack Obama campaign sent out this letter yesterday.  I will add that he has taken time to email many of us within the autism community and is listening to our concerns.  Thank you, Kareem. 

Please keep your comments relevant to the information in this post. While we need to inform our readers of the information coming from both campaigns, we don't need to lose our sense of community by getting ugly with each other. We will delete comments that sound like if you were speaking in person, your face would be red and you'd be poking your finger into someone's chest.

I promise you that there are many within the biomedical autism community working hard to make sure both candidates understand our unique perspective on disability and our need to protect and care for our children. I think the Autism One interview with Heather Bruce is a prime example of the benefit of the groundwork by parents and advocates for our kids. We are on the radar screen. And we're not going away. Thanks, everyone.  Here's the letter:

As advocates for, and parents of, children with disabilities, we appreciate the visibility that Governor Sarah Palin has brought to our community.   We understand that it will take strong leadership to build a world free of unnecessary barriers and discrimination for people with disabilities.

However, falsely attacking Senator Barack Obama’s policies and unfairly suggesting that they will hurt families who have children with disabilities is not leadership.  It is nothing more than an attempt to divide people and exploit a serious issue for political purposes.

Continue reading "Obama Team on Disability Responds To Palin Speech" »

The Doctors TV Program 10/28

The_doctors_logoThe Doctors is airing a program that involves autism, vaccinations and ADHD this Tuesday, October 28th. From their site HERE:

Measles are making a nationwide comeback. Are parents who refuse* to vaccinate their children contributing to the problem? Or, are the vaccinations more dangerous than the disease? And, are we overmedicating children who have ADHD?

The program will be interesting.  Feel free to comment here after the program airs.

Check for your local listings HERE.

*If you have a medical exemption, is that still considered "refusing?"

Special Needs Kids: The New Squeaky Wheel

Squeaky_wheelNever before have children with special needs been in the political spotlight to this degree. 

Governor Sarah Palin spoke in Pittsburgh today about the McCain administration's plans to assist families with special needs children. You can read her remarks HERE. If you attended the event please tell us about it in the comments section.  Click HERE for the Yahoo news story on the event.

On October 21, Kareem Dale, the Obama campaigns National Disability Vote Director wrote a blog entry on why Obama is the best candidate for people with disabilities. You can read that entry HERE.  The Obama campaign discusses disabilities HERE on its website.

The countdown to the election is on - it's encouraging to know that our kids are an important part of the political debate. It's good to be a squeaky wheel.

Special Education Attorney on Palin's Record

SpedManaging Editor's Note:  This letter from attorney Jennifer Laviano (below) was featured in David Kirby's Huffington Post piece (HERE) after the last debate. Ms. Laviano specializes in special education law. On October 14th, she sent this email to share her impressions of what we might expect from Palin if elected Vice President.  As you know, we at Age of Autism are extremely concerned about vaccination safety and vaccination choice for parents.  We also have to consider the education and adult services that will be available for the children who are growing older every day. Thank you to Ms. Laviano for permission to reprint her email.

Sent: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 2:14 pm
Subject: Palin and Special Education
Dear clients, friends, colleagues, and all of the above,

As we near the Presidential election in just three weeks, I have been asked by many of you to comment on my thoughts on Gov. Palin and what she can and will do for special education students.  As an attorney whose practice focuses exclusively on the representation of children with disabilities, I always investigate candidates' positions and records on this very critical moral and financial issue.  One of my clients recently suggested that I share with others what I have learned, and so here it is.

When Gov. Palin first came to my attention, I was, as I am sure all of you who care about this issue, intrigued to have someone on the national platform who talks about children with special needs.  Since hearing her say this repeatedly in speeches, I have been waiting, and waiting, to hear some specifics on special education reform.  Most of all, I want to know what her stance is on the IDEA, the federal statute that governs special education.  The IDEA is up for reauthorization by Congress in 2010, and it is crucial that it reflect the policies and funding structure necessary to protect and appropriately educate our children with disabilities.  I needed to know what Gov. Palin thinks about the future of special education legislation in this country.

Continue reading "Special Education Attorney on Palin's Record" »

McCain Addresses Vaccine Safety, Obama Silent

Voting_boothMcCain Supports Parental Vaccine Choice. McCain Addresses Vaccine Safety. Obama Silent.

By Rebecca Estepp

I'm a registered independent voter. 

Since autism blew into my life with the diagnosis of my son, Eric, I no longer subscribe to either party. Autism affects the children of Democrats and Republicans equally.  Autism affects Americans.

My party affiliation is now autism/vaccine safety. While there are many other issues facing our country today - our economy, global warming, alternative energy and fighting two wars among them- autism/vaccine safety is my issue.  For the 2008 election, I am a one-issue voter, and I am not alone.   Many voters are concerned about vaccine safety. (HERE)

As the wife of a Marine who has served three war-time deployments overseas over the last five years, you would think the war would be the most important issue to me, but it's not. 

Continue reading "McCain Addresses Vaccine Safety, Obama Silent" »

McCain Senior Policy Advisor Responds To Autism Questionnaire

Whats_your_answerManaging Editor's Note: This is the companion post to Rebecca Estepp's post on Senator McCain's response to her request for a response on vaccine safety.

From: Douglas Holtz-Eakin
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2008 6:35 PM
Subject: <no subject>

Sorry to send these to you so late, but I have been traveling and this is the first open window. 

1)   With regard to question number one as to whether or not Senator McCain will issue an Executive Order banning the use of thimerosal in vaccines for children and pregnant women:

Continue reading "McCain Senior Policy Advisor Responds To Autism Questionnaire" »

Win An Autism Puzzle Piece Quilt!

Quilt_2Managing Editor's Note: Check out this gorgeous quilt that's a raffle prize at the DAN! Conference which begins today. You don't have to attend to win.  Send your check to ARI to buy tickets today (see below!)  Here are the details from Lynda Huggins:

Attached is a picture of a portion of a beautiful Puzzle Pieces Quilt that my dear friend (college roommate many years ago) has made to be raffled at the upcoming DAN Conference in San Diego .  Puzzle fabric surrounds the larger puzzle pieces.  It is a twin/throw size, valued at $300, one of a kind treasure! 

Continue reading "Win An Autism Puzzle Piece Quilt!" »