Current Affairs Feed

Discussion on Vaccine Efficacy in War on Disease and Need for Basic Hygiene

Water-needs2 Excerpted from The Wall Street Journal. Thank you to Michael Belkin for the info. 

"There's no way to sugarcoat the last 12 months," Bruce Aylward, a WHO official, told Mr. Gates in the meeting in the underground pandemic center last June. He described how the virus was rippling through countries believed to have stopped the disease.

Mr. Gates asked: "So, what do we do next?"

That question goes to the heart of one of the most controversial debates in global health: Is humanity better served by waging wars on individual diseases, like polio? Or is it better to pursue a broader set of health goals simultaneously—improving hygiene, expanding immunizations, providing clean drinking water—that don't eliminate any one disease, but might improve the overall health of people in developing countries?

The new plan integrates both approaches. It's an acknowledgment, bred by last summer's outbreak, that disease-specific wars can succeed only if they also strengthen the overall health system in poor countries.

If successful, the recalibrated campaign could shape global health strategy for decades and boost fights against other diseases. A failure could rank the effort as one of the most expensive miscalculations in mankind's long war with disease. Already, polio has evaded a two-decade-long, $8.2 billion effort to kill it off.

Big donors have long preferred fighting individual diseases, known as a "vertical" strategy. The goal is to repeat 1979's victory over smallpox, the only disease ever to be eradicated. By contrast, the broader, "horizontal" strategy has less well-defined goals and might not move the needle of global health statistics for years.

The polio fight is a lesson for Mr. Gates's foundation, which is funding other vaccines that could face similar setbacks.


Winner: The Autism Book by Dr. Bob Sears

The Autism Book "Lu" is the winner of Dr. Bob Sears's, The Autism Book: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Early Detection, Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention from Little Brown. Don't forget to leave a review at Amazon after you read the book. You can purchase a copy for just $8.99 HERE. Also available on Kindle.

From Amazon: With clarity and compassion, Dr. Robert Sears guides the reader through the maze of autism, explaining what precautions parents can take to decrease their baby's risk, how to detect autism at the earliest possible age, and how to proceed once a diagnosis has been made. The book provides parents with a simple and clear understanding of the biomedical treatment approach that Dr. Sears has used successfully with many of his young patients. It lays out a plan for developmental, behavioral, and learning therapies; shows parents how to begin treatments without a doctor's help; presents information on vaccines and their safe use; and includes an extensive resources section. THE AUTISM BOOK provides all the information and reassurance parents need.

Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 4/24

T-shirt small front Our commenter of the week is Sylvia: "This is so awful - there are no words for it. This beautiful boy is in the morgue, and Offit is home lighting his cigars with hundred dollar bills. Julie Gerberding is looking at the 2011 BMW catalogue. Marie McCormick is planning her summer in the Hamptons. Gardner Harris is polishing his awards for fine "journalism". The world is definitely not a fair place. My heart aches for Aiden's family. I hope they can find some sort of peace someday," on the post Toddler Wanders and Perishes.

Didn't win but still want a T-shirt? Taking a page from public television, we'll happily send you one as our thank you for making a donation to A of A via our PayPal donate button.  You choose the donation amount. OK? Please tell us on the PayPal form if you want an adult M, L, XL or 2XL and include your mailing  address in the comments box at PayPal. Click below to  to see the back of the shirt.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 4/24" »

12 Year Old With Autism Dies from Prescription Drug Overdose: Doctor Booted from Medicaid

Pills for babies Are poor children with disabilities more likely to be drugged than those from wealthier families?  This story raises many valid questions for our community. From the Miami Herald:

State healthcare regulators have booted from the state Medicaid program a Miami psychiatrist who had prescribed a cocktail of potent mental health drugs to an autistic, 12-year-old boy who later died of complications from over-medication.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which oversees the state Medicaid program for the needy and disabled, has notified Dr. Steven L. Kaplan that he has been terminated from the insurance program effective May 17, said Tiffany Vause, an agency spokeswoman in Tallahassee.

Vause said Kaplan, like all Medicaid providers, had signed a ``voluntary contract'' with the state. ``The agency elected to terminate the agreement as it was believed to be in the interest of the program to do so.''

``We will be working to ensure a smooth transition of care for his patients,'' Vause added.

Kaplan declined to speak with a Miami Herald reporter Tuesday.

Kaplan, who treats about 800 patients -- most of them disabled or impoverished children -- was the subject of a report in The Miami Herald on Monday. The story said administrators at three state agencies had expressed concerns about Kaplan's prescribing of psychiatric drugs to disabled children before and after the May 23, 2007, death of 12-year-old Denis Maltez.

Denis, who weighed 70 pounds, had been on three different mental health drugs, two of them in the maximum dose, at the time he died, a consultant for the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities wrote.

Continue reading "12 Year Old With Autism Dies from Prescription Drug Overdose: Doctor Booted from Medicaid" »

National Autism Survey: Evaluating Satisfaction With US Government’s Investment and Approach To Investigating Causes of Autism

Opinion-poll-unsatisfactory Below is a portion of the detailed report generated from a new survey titled, National Autism Survey Evaluating the Satisfaction With the US Government’s Investment and Approach To Investigating Causes of Autism, by Beth Clay. You can read the Full Report HERE  including charts and graphs.
"There is the need to regard Autism Spectrum Disorders as an urgent public health concern." (CDC)

Author: Beth Clay

National Autism Survey
March 2010

Introduction: In March 2010, an online survey was launched to seek current perspectives from individuals in the autism community as it relates to the United States (US) government’s handling of autism research. The survey was promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and through email. Several organizations and electronic information resources were gracious enough to post online or email an announcement of the survey for their constituents to be informed. These included Unlocking Autism, SafeMinds, Age of Autism, and the Schafer Autism Report.

In the Eyes of the Community They Serve, How are the CDC and NIH Doing? While I am a woman of many opinions, it is not my opinion that matters when it comes to evaluating the focus and investment of US government agencies into autism research. Rather it is the opinion those who are living with autism, individuals themselves, parents, grandparents, siblings of individuals with autism as well as medical and educational personnel working with individuals on the spectrum.

Who Might Benefit From This Report? The White House, Legislators, Policymakers, Autism and related organizations, researchers, educators, families and the media. More than 2,000 People Responded: It was hoped with the launch of the survey to have at least 1200 respondents in order to give the survey the power to be a ‘national’ survey. With 2090 individuals completing the survey of 14 questions, 12 of which were multiple choice questions, the goal was achieved. Question 13 requested demographic information including city, state, and country. Because there are many aspects of the government’s interaction with autism, research, services, and education, a final question was posed that provided the opportunity for a personalized text response. Sixteen hundred (1,600) individuals took the time to offer their personal comments on the government’s handling of autism spectrum issues.

Key Findings:

• 90.4% of the autism community is not satisfied with the level of resources and approach that the US government is taking in their investigating the causes of autism.

• Over 40% not satisfied at all with NIH’s spending on autism research. Only 1% completely satisfied.

• 41.6 % of respondents are completely dissatisfied with the NIH autism research focus.

• 43 % are not satisfied at all with the quality of research funded by the CDC as it related to autism statistics?

• 58.3% are not satisfied at all with the research conducted by or funded by the CDC regarding any potential relationship between autism and vaccine injury?

• 94.1% want to see more research funding on environmental toxins and their potential relationship to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders?

• 90.2% want to see parents have a greater say in what the government funds relative to autism spectrum disorders research?

• 90.3% want to see studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to determine if there is a difference in the rates of autism and other medical conditions?

• 60.6% of respondents were parents of a child with autism who also has or has had gut issues.

Continue reading "National Autism Survey: Evaluating Satisfaction With US Government’s Investment and Approach To Investigating Causes of Autism " »

Jeremy Sicile-Kira, Adult with Autism: "It takes a community to assist those with autism"

Jeremy We are pleased to share this opinion piece from Jeremy Sicile-Kira, whose Mom, Chantal Sicile-Kira is a writer and autism advocate (and a dear friend of ours.) Isn't it wonderful to hear from a person with autism who can represent those with more severe challenges than are usually represented, and who is not able to use traditional speech? It is our honor to showcase Jeremy's talents as a writer. We hope the autism community will embrace and celebrate his success. The original piece ran in the North County Times HERE. Please go leave a comment encouraging Jeremy to continue his writing. The intro is from Chantal:

Our pledge to spread awareness during Autism Awareness month  is going strong in our house. Yesterday, Jeremy Sicile-Kira had his first Op-Ed published in The North County Times. This morning, I was a guest for one hour on  "The State of Things" on North Carolina Public Radio station WUNC.   (I had to disagree with another guest about possible connection between autism and vaccines, and about the fact that there is more autism and not just better diagnosing. All in a day's work (HERE) -audio will not be available till a few hours after the show). Saturday I am presenting in North Carolina. Next Monday, April 26 I organized a book signing / fundraising event (latest book 41 Things to Know About Autism at a local bar/restaurant The Poseidon in Del Mar between 4-7 and funds will go to ARI and TACA, thanks to the owner of the restaurant and to the owner of the Bookworks. For more information go to my website and shoot me an email.

FORUM: It takes a community to assist those with autism

By JEREMY SICILE-KIRA -- TPHS student | Posted: April 20, 2010 12:01 am | 1 Comment | Print

I am 21 and I have autism. Recently, the state Senate passed a resolution making April Autism Awareness Month in California. The reason the resolution passed is because there are a lot more children diagnosed now than ever before (one in 110, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Autism is a label that is shared by people who have different abilities and challenges.

People in the autism community often say, "When you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism." To be diagnosed with autism, you need to have challenges in the areas of communication and social relationships, and intense attachments to objects or topics.

I have been very lucky, and I would like to give back to my community by telling people what having autism is like. There are many people on the autism spectrum in our community, so it is important to realize what your fellow citizens have struggles with every day.

My greatest challenge is communication. I cannot talk very much. I have found a way to communicate, and this has changed my life. In high school, I learned to point with one finger to a letterboard or keyboard to do my homework and to communicate.

It has not always been easy. My mom never gave up on me. Once my mom found a way to teach me, the high school teachers were really great about trying the method and were successful. In June, I am graduating from Torrey Pines High School with a full academic diploma. I have a 3.5 GPA. I am concurrently taking a community college class. I am lucky to live in such a great community.

I behave strangely because of my sensory processing difficulties.

Continue reading "Jeremy Sicile-Kira, Adult with Autism: "It takes a community to assist those with autism"" »

Friendly Fire in the “War on Disease”

Infant awake By Sandy Gottstein

This column was originally posted as a Scandals  on Vaccination News.

It took 26 years for the families of babies who died from a perhaps well-meaning, but ill-conceived, effort to prevent blindness by delivering intravenous vitamin E to “premies”, to get compensation.  Finally, though, there is some justice in the form of the settlement of a class-action suit (HERE) brought long ago against the manufacturers.

The lawsuit concerned 38 babies identified by the CDC as having been effected, although more are known to have died.  Each and every one of those deaths was tragic and unnecessary. 

The tragedy would have been compounded, however, had no one cared to investigate the deaths.  The tragedy would have been compounded if the deaths were presumed to be unrelated and relegated to the rock-heap of coincidental events.

But they were acknowledged and investigated; additional unnecessary deaths were thus averted.

But, of course, it was investigated.  It was a vitamin, for God’s sake!  Who cares if vitamins are found guilty? 

Continue reading "Friendly Fire in the “War on Disease” " »

Autism and Missing? 3 or 30, We're Concerned. Erik Lippmann, Santa Cruz, CA

Erik Lippman I often think back to the book, I'll Love You Forever, when I look at my girls. I used to sing to them, "I'll love you forever. I'l like you for always. As long as I'm living my baby you'll be." Little did I know that those words would have a sharper, more poignant meaning than I ever expected.

Erik Lippmann, age 30, autism, is missing from his home in Santa Cruz. He is someone's baby. It's been a tough month for missing people with autism. The ending isn't always happy. If you have info to help find Erik, please alert the Santa Cruz police. KS

Autistic Man Missing From Santa Cruz; Police Use New Alert System
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Santa Cruz Police is using a new tool to quickly get information out to the community.  It's an online system called Nixle; people can receive alerts on their phone or computer.

"We try to use that sparingly just for major incidents such as this and unfortunately the woman who went missing a couple weeks ago because it allows people to get the information on their cell phone, and if they're driving, they see the photo on their cell phone they can actually alert us immediately," said Zach Friend, Santa Cruz Police.

One of the major alerts that went out today is a missing autistic 30-year-old.  Erik Lippmann was last seen around 2 am Wednesday morning in the 1200 block of Seabright Avenue.  Officers sent an alert through Nixle shortly after he was reported missing.

Continue reading "Autism and Missing? 3 or 30, We're Concerned. Erik Lippmann, Santa Cruz, CA" »

On Autism and Hope: "Nine Days Into the Special Diet, I Heard A Voice Behind Me Say..."

Hope-1 Below is the speech given by NAA New York Metro Chapter member Mary Hernandez at the NY City event formally designating April 2010 as Autism Awareness Month.  It's a powerful reminder of how often the doctors write off our children, and how the children themselves prove them oh so wrong. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we who were there enjoyed listening.

April 19, 2010

Thank you, Lisa. Thank you to all of you who came tonight, and thank you, Kim, for all that you do.

Good Evening. my name is Mary Hernandez. I am the Staten Island Liaison for National Autism Association, NYC Metro chapter.  I am also the mother of two beautiful children. Luis is 11, and Ana is 10. When Luis was diagnosed with autism, I didn’t know it at first. Sure I knew there was something wrong…  After being a very connected and sociable baby, he had regressed. He had horrible head banging and temper tantrums.

But when the neurologist told me the diagnosis… after pointing out to me all the “signs,” as she called them:

“See how he is walking on his toes…?”

“See how  he hasn’t played with any of the toys and just lined them up from the door to the opposite wall?...”

“See how he has never acknowledged your presence the entire time you have been in the office...?”

“Your son’s problem,” she informed me, “is what used to be known as ‘infantile schizophrenia.’”

As soon as I got home I rushed to my computer to search for the words “infantile schizophrenia,” and all the citations that came up, used a different word: “AUTISM.”  I realized the neurologist was trying to spare me by not using the dreaded “A” word, because at that time, the word autism was synonymous with hopelessness.

Here on World Autism Awareness Day, I am so happy to say that things have changed so much over the last decade.  The “A” word is no longer such a hush-hush topic, and autism is no longer synonymous with mental illness in the minds of so many. Unfortunately that awareness has come because of such a dramatic growth in its incidence. Today we are starting to hear statistics as high as 1% of all children and one in 38 boys. Most everyone you talk to knows someone — a nephew, a son, a daughter, a neighbor’s child—with autism.
Yet more and more often today, most everyone knows someone who has made dramatic improvements or lost the diagnosis.

Continue reading "On Autism and Hope: "Nine Days Into the Special Diet, I Heard A Voice Behind Me Say..." " »

Ne’eman’s Dangerous Agenda for Residential Housing of the Severely Disabled in New Jersey

ThumbsDown We have published a number of posts explaining why we do not support Ari Ne'e,eman, a young adult with Asperger's Syndrome, as the sole representative for the autism spectrum on the National Council for Disabilities. (Autism Action Network Requests Clarification from Ari Ne'eman on Views for Nat'l Council on Disability and Many in Autism Community Opposed Ari Ne'eman On National Council on Disability and Keeping Autism Neurodiversity Out of the White House) 

We continue to state that Mr. Ne'eman does not appear to be willing or able to advocate for those individuals on the lower functioning end of the spectrum and for those whose families seek treatment oriented medical care for their loved ones. To sign and circulate the petition opposing Ari Ne’eman for the National Council on Disabilities, click HERE.

By Geoff Dubrowsky

Ari Ne’eman, Yes-Man to the Assemblyman

I must apologize for not hammering home what and who Ari Ne'eman is and how much of a danger he is to our kids before now. I have seen this coming for over a year but had hoped that my pleas of support  to Autism Speaks and various autism service providers would not continually be ignored.

What Ne'eman he is doing in New Jersey is just the tip of the iceberg if we let him in any way influence DC. Please act now and stop people who believe they speak for our children just because they can't.

It’s quite an indictment of Ari Ne’eman that his nomination to the National Council on Disability is opposed by VOR - an organization which for 25 years has represented individuals with mental disabilities, their families and guardians.  Ne’eman’s agenda for residential housing of the severely and profoundly disabled in his home state of New Jersey does not represent the best interests of this very fragile population. Not by a long shot.  His nomination is currently on hold, but if it’s confirmed, he could influence how mentally disabled people are cared for throughout the country.

Ne’eman has openly supported New Jersey Assemblyman Greenwald’s proposal to close most of New Jersey’s seven Developmental Centers which house 2,819 people with disabilities including autism.   These intermediate care facilities (ICF’s) house persons with mental retardation as an option under the State Medicaid Plan.  Greenwald wants to move this population into community living facilities regardless of their needs and without consulting parents and guardians.  The Advocates for New Jersey Developmental Centers sent a survey to parents and guardians of those potentially affected. Of the 1417 who responded, 96% wanted their disabled loved ones to continue receiving services in the centers that Greenwald and Ne’eman want closed. Only 4% favored community placements.

Continue reading "Ne’eman’s Dangerous Agenda for Residential Housing of the Severely Disabled in New Jersey " »

Environmental Issues and Chronic Diseases Symposium

Enviro health We Are Not Alone!
Autism One/Generation Rescue 2010
May 24-30, Chicago

Join us on Thursday, May 27 at the
Environmental Issues & Chronic Diseases Symposium

• Highlights what we share in common: how the different chronic childhood illnesses often result from exposure to the same toxins in our daily lives. 
• Highlights the most important new science to explain how this can be so. 
• Discusses the forces that keep both parents and decision-makers ignorant of the evidence. 
• Begins a discussion of whether and how parents can begin to work together as a countervailing force to remove environmental toxins.   

Alice Shabecoff presents:  We Are Not Alone

Mary Lou Ballweg presents:  The Chemical Octopus

David Hahn-Baker presents:  Pollution and Childhood Illness

Betty Mekdeci presents:  The connection between birth defects and autism
Mark Corrales, MPP, presents:  The Search for Environmental Risk Factors in Autism

Ved Chauhan, PhD, presents:  Oxidative stress and mitochondrial abnormalities in the lymphoblasts from autistic individuals: effect of environmental agents

Age of Autism's Own Kim Stagliano Honored in NYC by NAA

NAA Award Age of Autism Managing Editor Kim Stagliano was the honoree at a wonderful event hosted Monday by the New York Metro chapter of the National Autism Association. Last year the chapter marked Autism Awareness Month with a candlelight vigil on the steps of City Hall. This year the event moved into the City Council Chambers, where Matthew Sapolin, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities, gave a heartfelt welcome and challenged parents to keep his agency as involved with the issue as they are. Sabeeha Rehman, President of the NAA chapter, introduced Kim, whose husband, Mark, and daughters Gianna, Mia and Bella were in attendance along with several dozen others including Mary Holland, John Gilmore and Katie Wright. This short video shows the award and Kim's acceptance. Editor's note: Yay, Kim! -- Dan Olmsted

City of New York Honors National Autism Association and Issues Proclamation



The Council of the City of New York is proud to observe Autism Awareness Month and to honor the members of the New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association for providing outstanding support to all individuals affected by autism; and
    WHEREAS: Autism Awareness Month is an opportunity for families, friends, and local communities to raise public awareness about autism, the fastest growing development disability in the country. Today, more than 1.5 million individuals in the United States are affected by autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that one in 110 children had autism—up from their previous estimate of one in 150. The stress on families affected by autism is immense. It is our hope that promoting greater awareness of autism will lead to more funding for research and eventually a known cause and then a cure; and
    WHEREAS: There is no known cure for autism yet, but experts agree that early intervention is important in addressing the symptoms associated with autism. When families and caregivers begin looking into the various treatments available for autism spectrum disorders, they will be surprised at the wide range of options out there. Unfortunately, what works for some families, may not work for others. Since individuals with autism spectrum disorders are not exactly the same, treatment plans need to be made specific for each individual; and
    WHEREAS: The New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association provides exemplary service to residents through the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and Rockland County. Since its inception, it has educated and empowered families affected by autism and other neurobiological disorders, while advocating on behalf of those who cannot fight for their own rights. They have demonstrated again and again that autism is not a life-long incurable genetic disorder, but one that is bio-medically definable and treatable; and
    WHEREAS: The New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association has also raised public and professional awareness of environmental toxins as causative factors in neurological damage that often results in an autism or related diagnosis. We commend them for their unwavering commitment and encouragement to those in the autism community to never give up in their search to help their loved ones reach their full potential; and
    WHEREAS: Autism Awareness Month raises public awareness about autism and its effects and offers hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder by uniting the autism community to address this urgent global health crisis. Together, we will solve this puzzle; now, therefore
    BE IT KNOWN:  That the Council of the City of New York most gratefully honors the New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association and proclaims the month of April 2010 to be Autism Awareness Month in the City of New York.

Signed this 1st day of April in the year Two Thousand Ten.
For the Entire Council


Toddler With Autism Wanders and Perishes

A JohnsonThis senseless tragedy has been brought to you by autism. Our hearts go out to the family of Aiden Johnson, age 3.

From (link has been removed on the 4029 site.) in Osage, Arkansas:

Osage, Ark. -- Officials in Carroll County said the body of 3-year-old was found by search parties near Osage Creek Tuesday afternoon.

The boy has been missing from the area of County Road 924 near Osage since about 4:30 p.m. Monday, police said. Authorities called helicopters to continue the search Monday night.

The Carroll County judge said the initial cause of death is drowning.

Dr. Bob Sears Talks about The Autism Book on VoiceAmerica Radio

The Autism Book On the VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel
Tuesday, April 20, noon ET

Autism One:  A Conversation of Hope

The Autism Book: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Early Detection, Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention with Dr. Robert Sears

Teri and Dr. Robert Sears talk about his new book that guides readers through the maze of autism.  The Autism Book explains what precautions parents can take to decrease their baby's risk, how to detect autism at the earliest possible age, and how to proceed once a diagnosis has been made. Hear about the biomedical treatment approach that Dr. Sears has used successfully with many of his young patients; the plan for developmental, behavioral, and learning therapies; and how to begin treatments without a doctor's help.

Mike Wagnitz in The Cap Times: What Exactly is Thimerosal?

Thimerosal bottle Mike Wagnitz (a name familiar to AoA readers) has written a post called, "Michael Wagnitz: Decision raises question: What exactly is thimerosal?" at the CapTimes site in Madison, Wisconsin. Please click HERE to leave a comment at the site. (I apologize - the link works when I test it, then doesn't seem to work again! I'll see what I can do. KS)

Since the March 12 decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which concluded that thimerosal in vaccines is not linked to autism or any other childhood neurological injury, I’ve been asked by many people: What exactly is thimerosal?

Thimerosal is a fungicide/bactericide used as a preservative in medical products. It is prepared by combining the fungicide ethylmercuric chloride with thiosalicylic acid. The reason for this is to increase the solubility of ethylmercuric chloride in water so it can be added at higher concentrations to products such as vaccines. Thimerosal is 10,000 times more soluble in water than ethylmercuric chloride.

Due to multiple accidental poisonings from ingestion of treated seed, ethylmercuric chloride was banned for use as a fungicide and all other purposes in the 1970s.

Continue reading "Mike Wagnitz in The Cap Times: What Exactly is Thimerosal?" »

Harry Horne-Roberts's Parents Welcome Probe into Death While in Autism Care Home

HARRY_HORNE_ROBERTS From the Islington Tribune in the UK. Please pop over to leave a comment for their readers. Our UK Editor, John Stone wrote this post, Autism's Harsh Reality: The Death of Harry Horne-Roberts last December.


The devastated parents of an autistic man who died of heart failure while in a care home have welcomed a coroner’s decision to order a police inquiry into his case.

The Tribune reported in February how Keith and Jennifer Horne-Roberts, from Archway, were calling for an investigation into the death of their 20-year-old son Harry, which they believe was a result of anti-psychotic drugs he should never have been prescribed.

They say that the talented artist, who died in December, was never tested for his suitability to be given the drug. Although he did not have the capacity to approve his medication, his parents claim they were never informed that he had been prescribed chlorpromazine (CPZ).

An independent report conducted on behalf of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, published last week, supports some of their claims.

Mrs Horne-Roberts passed the report, including her own witness statement, to north London coroner Andrew Walker last week.

On Monday, Mr Walker told Harry’s parents he has referred the case to Tottenham CID. The trust maintains there’s no proof that CPZ contributed to Harry’s death.

Mrs Horne-Roberts, a barrister, said: “He was put on these dangerous drugs. The report said Harry should have been tested and he wasn’t. Harry didn’t have the capacity to consent and so we should have been consulted.”

She added: “These drugs cause heart failure and sudden death and that’s what happened to Harry. We’re absolutely horrified about what’s happened.

Continue reading "Harry Horne-Roberts's Parents Welcome Probe into Death While in Autism Care Home" »

FREE SESSION! Win-Win Parenting For the Autism Spectrum Child At Autism One Generation Rescue Conference

Free ticket How many conferences offer you free session as in depth as this? Thank you to our friends at Autism One Generation Rescue Conference for putting families (and our kids) first. 

Win-Win Parenting For the Autism Spectrum Child:
How To Turn Your Relationship From A Competition Into A Collaboration

In this FREE interactive day long training, Brian R. King, LCSW, will walk you through the key concepts and skills that are the foundation of his 6-month "Win-Win Parenting for Success" program.
Brian will instruct attendees on the Rules of Win-Win Relationships, the four most important relationships in a Spectrum child's life, how to teach your Spectrum child to buy into being disciplined and more. . . This training is bound to be full, so show up early and bring your questions for what is sure to be a rich and powerful dialogue.

Monday, May 24th, 2010
9 am - 3pm
Autism One / Generation Rescue Conference
Westin O'Hare Hotel
6100 North River Rd.
Rosemont, IL

9:00 – 9:30: The Story That Inspired This System
Brian will discuss his life as an adult with Asperger’s and his success with raising three boys on the Autism Spectrum. He’ll also share the breakthrough insight that led to the development of his Win-Win Parenting Approach.

9:30 – 10:00: The Rules of A Win-Win Relationship
Relationships function according to our beliefs about how relationships work. Brian will spell out the foundation of understanding relationships in a new and powerful way.

9:00 – 10:00: The Four Most Important Relationships in Everyone’s Life
The life of a family with a Spectrum Child is a complex one. But four key relationships when kept in balance can be the keys to a successful life.

10:00 – 11:00: How Schools Teach Win-Lose
The one institution that can be the greatest ally can also be the greatest saboteur. Brian will teach you how to make it remains an ally.

11:00 – 12:00: The 5 Life-Changing Benefits of a Win-Win Relationship

There are five key areas that all people need to be skilled in to succeed in life. Learn what they are and how the Win-Win Approach can help you nurture them in your child.

12:00 – 1:00: BREAK FOR LUNCH
Lunch on your own. Will resume promptly at 1 pm.

1:00 – 2:00: Creating the Win-Win Parent/Child Partnership
You are your child’s primary role model. Learn the keys to partnering with your child in a respectful, collaborative way that makes you both better people as a result.

2:00 – 3:00: How To Get Your Child To Agree To Be Disciplined
Brian saves the best for last by teaching you how to negotiate discipline with your child in such a way that your child actually appreciates it. You won’t want to miss this.

Register at the Autism One Generation Rescue site.

Comment of the Week: 4/17

T-shirt small frontOur comment of the week goes to Lu on the Win Dr. Bob Sears's The Vaccine Book post. She said, Yesterday my son received an autism diagnosis and I am looking for information - answers - optimism.

Didn't win but still want a T-shirt? Taking a page from public television, we'll happily send you one as our thank you for making a donation to A of A via our PayPal donate button.  You choose the donation amount. OK? Please tell us on the PayPal form if you want an adult M, L, XL or 2XL and include your mailing  address in the comments box at PayPal. Click below to  to see the back of the shirt.

Continue reading "Comment of the Week: 4/17" »

Does Your Child Have Autism And GI Problems? Send Us An Email.

Colic-trigger-discovered-9671 Does your son or daughter with autism (of any severity including Asperger's) have GI issues? If so, please leave a comment with a couple of lines describing the problem, and send us an EMAIL ( with both a description of the problem(s) and how/if you have addressed them along a photo you'd like to share with our readers.  We'll post them without names or any identification.

TACA Real Help Now Conference for Autism in Orange County, CA

TACA Real Help Now Listen, Learn & Take Action for Your Child at the Real Help Now Conference.
May 1, 2010

Martha Herbert, MD
Tim Buie, MD
Anju Usman, MD
Jerry Kartzinel, MD
Register HERE Now- Online Registration Closes on April 29!

Searching for and finding the right information to help your child can be overwhelming for families affected by autism. The Real Help Now Conference was developed to bring the latest information on medical, dietary and legal issues for children with autism, and most importantly, help parents through the often daunting process of determining how to organize and prioritize their intervention efforts.

The Real Help Now Conference will provide two important tools for translating the information gained from the speakers into action for your child:

1. Real Help Now Workbook with step-by-step processes to help you to determine appropriate interventions and timelines for taking action in the realms of medical and dietary intervention, education, finances and home life. (Sorry, this Workbook is only available at the conference.)

2. TACA parent mentors who have been there, done that. Our experienced mentors will be on hand to to work with you one-on-one to answer your questions and share what has worked for their child.

Whether you are just starting out on the autism journey or are an experienced parent, you will learn from nationally known experts about how you can help your child at the Real Help Now Conference.

TACA strives to ensure that the focus of our conference is education and support, and to provide a safe, supportive environment for our attendees. TACA reserves the right to refuse admittance to any individual.

Registration includes light breakfast AND lunch.

For more conference information please go to

Wyndham Garden Austin Texas Offers Special Support For Guests with Autism

Wyndham Here's an uplifting story from KVUE in Texas about special accommodations for autism at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Autism Texas. (Oops! Yes that's a typo, but I'm leaving it there. My fingers type au- and 'tism just follows! Of course, it's AUSTIN.) :) KS


Posted on April 14, 2010 at 6:12 PM

Updated today at 6:20 PM

Wyndham Garden Austin Hotel is opening a special wing Wednesday night.  This special section of rooms is specially designed for children on the Autism spectrum.

The final touches were being put into a South Austin hotel room Wednesday.

"We wanted it to feel very much like a hotel room still, because we don't want people to come in and feel like, 'Oh, we've been tagged with this special needs label,'" said Conference Services Manager Anna Roberts.

Some of the changes are subtle: organic cleaning products, corner protectors and keeping most of the amenities just out of reach.

It's ideal for Ann Kaplan, who travels each year with her family, including her 9-year -old autistic son, Jon.

"He is what I consider low verbal, he has some speaking, he can request things," she said.

Jon is a pretty good traveler, but it's still not easy.

"We pack our own foods, we do a lot of prep before we go -- where's the Whole Foods or natural food markets," she said.

Many autistic children don't like being taken out of their comfort zone or routines. Kaplan has had scary moments while traveling.

"Our child has tried to escape a room -- it's very scary. He woke up in the middle of the night and he was disoriented and he tried to walk out," she recounted.

That is the type of scenario the Wyndham Austin Hotel is trying to avoid.  Special alarms will wake parents if a child opens the door.  No need to pack foods --  the hotel offers a gluten and casein free menu.  The five special rooms are all in one section of the hotel, and the staff has been trained on what to expect.

"So to have a staff that's trained, that say 'oh, we know that's OK. We're not going to react to it or we're going to help you what ever the situation calls for,'" said Kaplan.

"I think that's the biggest part of making them feel comfortable," said Roberts.

That gives parents a sense of calm that they can have a vacation.

All five rooms are booked for the first night.  The hotel offers those rooms at a discount.

Paul Offit Admits He Has No Expertise in Autism: So Why Does Media Turn to Him?

Huge needle We've often wondered how Paul Offit, a vaccine/infectious disease expert, became the "go to" voice for the media, including Trine Tsouderos of the Chicago Tribune, on autism. You may recall that J.B. Handley called Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to schedule an appointment with Dr. Offit for a child with autism and was turned away because Dr. Offit doesn't see patients.  (See the Nowhere Man post below.)  Dr. Offit himself described his autism expertise on a book review blog:

“Regarding my characterization of children with autism: I think one of my limitations in writing this book is that I'm not a neurologist, psychologist, or developmentalist. I'm an infectious diseases specialist with an expertise in vaccines. So I don't come in contact with many children with autism. As a consequence, my characterization of children with autism in AUTISM'S FALSE PROPHETS came exclusively from what I read in newspapers, which no doubt slants descriptions to more extreme symptoms, or to descriptions from a handful of people, like Richard Grinker, Peter Hotez, Kathleen Seidel, and Camille Clark.” (HERE)

Here's JB's post from last year.Nowhere Offit Man Managing Editor's Note: This post includes a follow up to the lawsuit discussed in J.B. Handley's post titled, Columbia University Press and Dr. Paul Offit Sued for Autism's False Prophets. Pay special attention to the phone call J.B. made to schedule an appointment for a child with autism with Dr. Offit, author of a book about autism treatments. It seems Dr. Offit does not treat patients with autism. Odd, yes? Grab a cup of coffee and read on.  Don't get the photo? Click HERE. And, Ringo? Don't bother.

By J.B. Handley
Paul Offit wrote a book, Autism’s False Prophets, with the overt goal of repudiating the biomedical treatment movement for autism. Of course, the real goal of the book, and how it’s being used today, is to convince parents to keep on vaccinating.
As an inventor of the Rotateq (HERE) vaccine, a man who voted his own vaccine (HERE) onto the childhood schedule, and a multi-millionaire after his vaccine was sold to Merck, Offit has plenty of time on his hands to protect his legacy and the legacy of his peers.

Continue reading "Paul Offit Admits He Has No Expertise in Autism: So Why Does Media Turn to Him?" »

Age of Autism Contest: The Good Nite Lite Helps Children Learn Sleep Habits

Nightlight moon' Congratulations to Maria Velez. The contest is closed.

We have a Good Nite Lite for one lucky winner.From The Good Nite Lite site:

The Good Nite Lite is a behavioral modification device which uses visual cues to help teach kids healthier and more reasonable sleeping patterns. It features a friendly, glowing caricature face that changes from a Moon to a Sun at the programmed “wake-up” time, and from a Sun to a Moon at the programmed “bedtime.” With the help of their parents, children rapidly come to associate the moon image with the knowledge that it is still bedtime and the sun with the idea that it is the correct time to wake up.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Contest: The Good Nite Lite Helps Children Learn Sleep Habits" »

Win a Copy of Autism & Alleliuias by Kathy Deyer Bolduc

Bk_AA Congrats to our winner Debbie Canady. The contest is closed.

Happy Easter to our Christian readers.  Leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Kathleen Deyer Bolduc's Autism & Alleluias. Also, You're invited to a free webinar titled "A Place Called Acceptance" which is scheduled for April 8 at 2:00 p.m. Kathy will be joined by Bill Gaventa (editor of the Journal of Religion, Disability, and Health) and Ginny Thornbugh, the program director for the Interfaith Initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities. It should be an inspiring and informative presentation. This is the link to register for the webinar.

Continue reading "Win a Copy of Autism & Alleliuias by Kathy Deyer Bolduc" »

Dr. Bob Sears's The Autism Book Brings Early Detection, Treatment, Recovery and Prevention To Light

The Autism Book By Anne Dachel
I just finished reading The Autism Book: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Early Detection, Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention    by Robert Sears, MD (Little Brown.)   Like many parents would naturally do, I looked for what he had to say about very specific questions:

1) How does Sears address the heated controversy concerning vaccines and autism?
2) What are the ways to treat and recover kids with autism?
3) How can parents prevent autism?
4) Has there been a real explosion in the incidence of autism

In the table of contents, I found, Part 2, Causes of Autism, Chapter 4, "What Causes Autism?  Mainstream and Biomedical."   As you may expect, Sears gives us a number of possible causes from genetics to environmental factors.  He goes into detail about them.  Concerning vaccines, he writes, "There is not enough proof to implicate vaccine mercury in the autism epidemic.  Some scientists, many alternatively minded physicians, and hundreds of thousands of parents believe otherwise." (p. 64)  Concerning the MMR vaccine and autism, Sears says, "The theory holds that the measles virus may remain living within the body after injection and may be taken up by immune cells that then can carry the virus to the gut as well as into areas of the brain." (p. 85)
I found more commentary on this question in the section, Preventing Autism.   (And when was the last time a doctor wrote on this topic?)  Sears starts off telling us, "Prevention is very important for any family that has a child with autism." (p. 328)  He then lists his recommendations for parents expecting another child which includes a section titled, "Avoid Mercury."  He cautions pregnant women about mercury fillings, fish consumption, and mercury in the flu shot.  "If you get a flu shot, make sure you get one without mercury, or at least get one that has only trace amounts of mercury." (p. 331)
With regard to vaccinating siblings of an autistic child, Sears writes, "Your next child might have the same genetic risks that your child with autism has.  It's therefore important to limit any factor that may be involved in autism.  If vaccines, or the chemicals in them, play a role in autism, then, obviously, limiting vaccines would be smart." (p. 337-338)

Furthermore, Sears adds, "Be aware that your baby will be offered his first vaccine (to protect against hepatitis B, a sexually transmitted disease) the very day he is born in the hospital.  Many hospitals administer it without the parents' even knowing.  Make sure everyone caring for your baby knows you don't want the hepatitis B vaccine." (p. 338)
What really got my attention was his recommendation to parents concerning vaccinating autistic children:

"I generally recommend that any child diagnosed with autism not receive any more vaccines.  Now, this is a very bold statement, considering that the majority of current research does not support a link between vaccines and autism.   However, research has not proven there is no link, because no study has ever compared the rate of autism in a large group of unvaccinated children with the rate in a large vaccinated group.  This type of placebo-controlled study is the gold standard of medical research." (p. 336)

Continue reading "Dr. Bob Sears's The Autism Book Brings Early Detection, Treatment, Recovery and Prevention To Light" »

Win a Signed Copy of Dr. Bob Sears's The Autism Book

The Autism Book Leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Dr. Bob Sears's, The Autism Book: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Early Detection, Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention from Little Brown. Don't forget to leave a review at Amazon after you read the book.

From Amazon: With clarity and compassion, Dr. Robert Sears guides the reader through the maze of autism, explaining what precautions parents can take to decrease their baby's risk, how to detect autism at the earliest possible age, and how to proceed once a diagnosis has been made. The book provides parents with a simple and clear understanding of the biomedical treatment approach that Dr. Sears has used successfully with many of his young patients. It lays out a plan for developmental, behavioral, and learning therapies; shows parents how to begin treatments without a doctor's help; presents information on vaccines and their safe use; and includes an extensive resources section. THE AUTISM BOOK provides all the information and reassurance parents need.

You can purchase a copy for just $8.99 HERE. Also available on Kindle.

Oklahoma Univ Medical Center Hospital Refuses to Admit Autistic Man. Only Choice Jail?

Stephen Puckett Stephen Puckett's mother speaks out on her son's status. Click HERE to watch the video at News OK (embed code isn't working right now.) He was jailed last week following a violent outburst associated with his autism and his seizure disorder. This is autism. Are you aware?  Thank you to Robert Medley of News OK for permission to reprint his article.

An autistic man who has seizures was jailed last week after displaying combative behavior in a hospital emergency room but will not face felony charges, a prosecutor said, calling it a frustrating case of someone needing mental help and not jail.

As his mother watched, Stephen B. Puckett, 28, of The Village, was arrested April 5 at OU Medical Center. Two medical center police officers said he was screaming and swinging his arms, so they tried to restrain Puckett's hands and legs. One officer said he was kicked in the knee twice and another officer was scratched by Puckett on the arm, according to a probable cause affidavit. His violent fit was a result of a neurological disorder he has had since he was an infant, his mother Mary Ann Puckett said. When her son calmed down she was told by the hospital staff her son would not be admitted because of his autism, Mary Ann Puckett said. As officers told him he was going to jail and led him away in handcuffs Stephen Puckett said, "But I'm a good boy, officer," Mary Ann Puckett said she heard him say. "It was absolutely heartbreaking," Mary Ann Puckett said Monday. "I am crying as I talk about it now."

The family's attorney, Tracy Pierce Nester of Edmond, said Stephen Puckett spent three days in the Oklahoma County jail, where his condition deteriorated. Puckett will not be charged with assault and battery on a police officer, said Scott Rowland, first assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County. "

Continue reading "Oklahoma Univ Medical Center Hospital Refuses to Admit Autistic Man. Only Choice Jail?" »

Chantal Sicile-Kira Writes about Autism Awareness on Huffington Post

41 things Read and comment on Chantal Sicile-Kira's  Huffington Post piece, Autism Awareness -- Spring: Tis the Season for Autism Awareness.

Spring is here and with Spring comes April, and with April comes Autism Awareness month, a mixed blessing as far as I'm concerned. The advocate in me wants to get out there and increase the general public's knowledge base on this topic (thus my recent book 41 Things To Know About Autism). The parent in me wants to go hide under a rock...

NAA Metro (New York) & Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Recognizes Autism Awareness Month

Managing Editor's Note: I received a call from our friends at NAA NY Metro Chapter that they are honoring me at this event. I in turn, will honor all of you, fellow autism parents and advocates. KIM 



Please Join
Commissioner Matthew Sapolin,
Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities
The National Autism Association - NY Metro Chapter
for an event commemorating

Monday, April 19, 2010, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Council Chamber, City Hall
1 Centre Street, New York, NY

• Honoring Kim Stagliano, an extraordinary autism mom and Managing Editor, Age of Autism, for her remarkable contributions in raising awareness about autism
• Enjoy inspirational speakers, music and refreshments
There is no charge and children are welcome

Questions may be directed to:

Khalid Rehman MD
Chair, Advocacy & Awareness Committee
National Autism Association - New York Metro Chapter    Tel: 917.639.3397

Please let us know in advance if you require a reasonable accommodation.

Please visit us at:


Oklahoma Update: No Felony Charges for 28 Year Old With Autism Denied Medical Care During Seizure

Stephen Puckett Managing Editor's Note: You can follow this story by Robert Medley at  Autism deserves proper medical care.

BY ROBERT MEDLEY    Published: April 12, 2010

An autistic man who has seizures was jailed last week for combative behavior in a hospital emergency room but will not face felony charges, a prosecutor said today.

Stephen B. Puckett, 28, of Oklahoma City, was arrested April 5 at OU Medical Center. Two medical center police officers said Puckett kicked one officer in the knee twice while he was being handcuffed and scratched another officer on the arm, according to a probable cause affidavit.

His violent fit was a result of a neurological disorder, the family's attorney said this morning. Puckett spent three days in Oklahoma County jail, where his condition deteriorated, said Tracy Nester, an Edmond attorney.

Puckett will not be charged with assault and battery on a police officer, said Scott Rowland, first assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County.

Rowland formally declined this morning to file felony charges requested by OU police after the emergency room incident.

"This is just one of those tragic cases where a guy who belongs in the mental health system winds up in the criminal justice system," Rowland said.

Mary Ann Puckett, Stephen Puckett's mother, said her son has severe autism and had seizures on the weekend of April 3. On April 5, Stephen Puckett was violent at the hospital when police officers arrested him and took him to jail. He has often become violent when he has seizures and has had the condition since he was an infant, Mary Ann Puckett said.

She said her son was taken to a crisis center after being released from jail Thursday. She said arrangements were being made for her son to be admitted to a hospital in Ada this afternoon.

OU campus police and hospital officials could not be reached for comment this morning

Read more: HERE.

Local Oklahoma City Hospital Refuses to Treat Autistic Man Having Seizures

Denied stamp Is it legal for a hospital to turn away a patient with autism saying it's not a condition they treat? How about seizures? The article does not name the hospital. Odd. KFOR News:

CITY -- A metro man is behind bars tonight accused of assaulting a police officer. Stephen Puckett, 28, suffers from autism as well as chronic seizures. After suffering seizures at home over the weekend, emergency crews transported Puckett to a local hospital. However, because of his autistic condition the hospital refused admission.

The local hospital isn't alone; several other hospitals around the state also refused to admit Puckett.

During his time at one local hospital, Puckett kicked a security guard leading to his felony assault charge.

Puckett's mother is frustrated by the inability to get her son proper medical care.

"I'm having problems with the fact, why does he have to be put in jail when he could have been treated in the hospital?" wonders Mary Puckett.

A spokesman at that hospital would only confirm there are certain illnesses and conditions they don't have the ability to treat.

Puckett is being held in jail on an $8,000 bond.

Autism Alert: Missing Child Named Nadia Bloom, Winter Springs FL

Found Alive! Tuesday, April 13.

Kim here. The code provided is too wide for our format and I am no techie. I'd rather get the info out "ugly" than wait.  Please click the photo to enlarge and read or go to: HERE for full details on this missing child. Sunday Morning update: Criminal Investigation Launched.

Police have now launched a criminal investigation in the search for a missing 11-year-old girl. Nadia Bloom was last seen Friday afternoon in her Winter Springs neighborhood of Barrington Estates. Right now, police said they do not have any evidence of foul play, but they have started the criminal investigation in case something suspicious turns up.


Pace U. Law School To Host "A Discussion about Autism & Children on the Spectrum"

PACE Click HERE to learn more and to register.


A Discussion about Autism and Children on the Spectrum, Cosponsored with Pace University's School of Education

"Collaboration Among Lawyers, Politicians, Educators, and Advocates: A Discussion about Autism and Children on the Spectrum"

Tuesday, April 14, 2010, 6:00 PM
NYS Judicial Institute
Pace Law School
78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603


This is timely discussion by a panel of experts and stakeholders who will share their perspectives and, hopefully, open a collaborative conversation about autism and children who are on the spectrum.

CLE Credit Information:This program will provide 3.0 transitional/nontransitional CLE credits in the area of Professional Practice. Please note that CLE credit is also available by viewing the live webcast (the webcast link will be available on the day of on THIS Web page.)

Oakley Sets Sights on Helping TACA

Oakley_taca_shades_1209 Managing Editor's Note: Our sponsor TACA ran a full color insert in the  OC Register for autism action month. Here is the second article. You can see a .pdf of the insert HERE. Check out the ad for the Oakley/TACA sunglasses on our right sidebar. Great gift for Mother's and Father's day!

By Lois Evezich

“Imagine you’re in a crowded room, and you can hear everything around you at the same time,” says Patrick McIlvain. “Cars driving by, conversations on the other side of the room, the clatter of plates or glasses, music in the background.”

All are distractions to an autistic child.

“Trying to carry on a conversation is often too much for autistic children to handle,” McIlvain says. “They actually cover their ears in frustration,” he says. “There’s no filter.”  This issue is just one of many affecting those with autism that keeps them more in their world and less in ours.

McIlvain is vice president of global sports marketing at Oakley, Inc. He and his wife, Stephanie, have a 10-year-old son who is autistic.

“We hit bottom when we first heard the diagnosis when my son was a year and a half,” McIlvain says. “We were spinning, trying different things, and scouring the Internet for help. “Then we found ‘Talk About Curing Autism,’ a support group for families with an autistic child. TACA gave us direction. We were wandering through the wilderness, and now there’s a path.”

McIlvain got involved and is now on TACA’s board of directors.

 “These children can be recovered,” McIlvain says. “The team at TACA is dedicated to that.”

Last month, Oakley announced its partnership with the launch of special edition TACA sunglasses which come in both a women’s style and a men’s style and feature a customized “puzzle” piece logo – often associated with autism awareness. Each sale of these special sunglasses means $20 from Oakley and its customers directly support families affected by autism.

Oakley may be best known for its sunglasses, but the company’s passion for innovation and constant improvement is channeled into its community outreach efforts to help those who defy their own limits. The company has many strong partnerships with non-profit organizations including, One Sight, the Young Survival Coalition for Breast Cancer and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, to which it has contributed over $4 million.

Continue reading "Oakley Sets Sights on Helping TACA" »

Autism File Magazine On Classic and Regressive Autism

Mustang Managing Editor's Note: We have permission from our friends at Autism File to run this thoughtful article by Talk About Curing Autism Rebecca Estepp.

By Rebecca Estepp

In June of 2008, I had the pleasure of going to lunch with an amazing autism advocate, Karen Driscoll. Although I am sure Karen doesn’t know it, this lunch would forever change the way I viewed autism. 

Karen and I had been working on passing federal legislation to get Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy covered for military families under Tricare, the United States military’s health insurance plan.  Like many of my relationships in autism advocacy, I knew Karen virtually that is only through email, phone, and text messages. Meeting her face-to-face was a pleasure. And it was under the best circumstances for advocates like Karen and I, we were lobbying together on Capitol Hill.

I had been to Capitol Hill many times prior to advocate for a safer vaccine program.  I had always thought I did a fairly good job on getting my points across at these meetings. The staffers never glazed over in boredom and my appointments typically lasted well over an hour even though I had been warned that I had fifteen minutes to deliver my message.  So I considered my lobbying to be at least somewhat successful.

However on this day, I was with Karen and she is a professional. I recognized it immediately when we walked in the first Congressman’s office and sat down. Karen pulled out a beautiful wire bound booklet from her brief case. This booklet contained her presentation on why ABA therapy should be covered by Tricare.  It incorporated every point she wanted to make. Karen’s booklet even had tabs that included: stories and photos from families that had been denied ABA, handouts on why ABA is effective, and ABA endorsements from every branch of the military. Her delivery was eloquent and polished. I was very impressed.

After our morning meetings we decided that Mexican food was in order. Karen and I went to a restaurant adjacent to the Hill and sat down to eat. It was at this time that Karen and I got to know each other better. We quickly realized that we had a lot in common. Not only are our husbands both Marines but they flew the same aircraft and were stationed at the same base in the 1990s. Karen and I are both from Southern California and our first sons (the sons with autism) were born the same year. I asked Karen a question I always ask my autism advocate friends, “At what age did your son regress and which vaccine do you think harmed him?” Karen caught me off guard when she answered, “My son showed delays from the beginning and I am not sure if a vaccine harmed him.” This is when I heard that scratching record needle sound in my brain. I thought to myself, “What? You mean my amazing new autism friend might not be a fellow ‘bio-medical treatments help and vaccines harmed my child compatriot’?” How could this be? I knew Karen to be intelligent, poised, rational and full of integrity.

I rode home on the train that afternoon with Karen’s words echoing through my head, “My son showed delays from the beginning.”  Those words shook the beliefs I had about the causation of autism.  Until that day, I really believed that parents who thought their children were different from birth did not want to consider that autism was environmental and therefore did not have to happen. I believed these parents to be burying their heads in the sand instead of looking at a horrible truth that I had accepted years and years ago. But I knew Karen was brave; she wouldn’t have buried her head in the sand. So I started thinking about the things I knew to be true regarding my son Eric’s experience with autism. I made a short mental list of these things.

1. Eric experienced a vaccine reaction, after that reaction he was constantly ill and subsequently became developmentally delayed. 
2. Eric was diagnosed with autism at age two. 
3. Defeat Autism Now (DAN) doctors provided Eric with biomedical treatment and were able to move him out of a state of constant illness and (I think) pain back to a happier and healthier child.

Obviously, Karen had a different experience. How could that be? Karen and I had so many similarities, how could our sons with the same disability have such a different experience in the development of their autistic symptoms?

Then it hit me. We were both telling the truth.

Continue reading "Autism File Magazine On Classic and Regressive Autism" »

Formal iPetition Asking President Obama to Rescind Ari Ne'eman Nomination to Council on Disabilities

No thank you Please click iPetitions HERE to send your message in an instant, then forward the petition to your lists, family and concerned friends. Thank you.

Dear President Obama:

We the undersigned oppose the nomination of Ari Ne'eman to the National Council on Disability. Although we salute your effort to include a person with an autism spectrum disorder on the council, the choice of Mr. Ne'eman is wrong for the autism community and wrong for our country.

1) We are a nation in the throes of an autism epidemic, with 1 in 110 afflicted and hundreds of thousands of families struggling to confront the enormous financial and emotional hardships of this disorder. It is an insult to our community and to the people of this nation who will bear the enormous costs of millions of children and adults with autism that a 22-year-old student has been nominated to this position. Mr. President, how can you praise this nominee's "depth of experience" when he has not held a job, earned a degree or experienced life after college?

2) Mr. Ne'eman vehemently opposes curing autism, calling cure "offensive." However, many individuals who would benefit from a cure are incapable of disagreeing with him. Mr. President, will your appointees also recommend ending the search for cures for childhood cancer and diabetes? Or just autism? Mr. Ne'eman opposes the mission of the country's leading autism organization, Autism Speaks, which supports efforts to prevent and cure autism. He also opposes the depiction of autism as a crisis and does not address the very significant needs of the large population of individuals who are profoundly disabled by autism.

Continue reading "Formal iPetition Asking President Obama to Rescind Ari Ne'eman Nomination to Council on Disabilities" »

Age of Autism Contest: 41 Things To Know About Autism by Chantal Sicile-Kira

41 thingsCongrats to Yesim Söderlund  who won a copy of Chantal Sicile-Kira'snew book, 41 Things to Know About Autism.  Order a copy for just $9.99 at AMAZON.

Chantal says, " I wrote this book because parents often write to me and ask, "Is there a book I can give to my mother-in-law or my brother or my neighbor that explains autism in simple terms - that answers the questions people ask : "I'm a grandparent: what can I do to help?" "Why does your child always carry a green plastic snake?" "Why can't he look me in the eye?" "What are the emotional and financial effects on the family?"

I wanted to get out something to help people for Autism Awareness month - so people who wanted to could have a small book to hand out!"

About the book: “A wonderful first introduction to autism for parents, teachers, relatives, and neighbors of a child on the autism spectrum.”   -  Temple Grandin, PhD

Chantal Sicile-Kira provides a clear, instructive explanation of autism. If you know someone with autism and would benefit from a quick, straightforward explanation of the condition, this book is for you. 41 Things explores questions such as: What are the causes of autism? Can vaccines cause autism? How can I recognize the symptoms of autism? What are the emotional effects of autism on the family? Why do children and teens with autism act the way they do?

Chantal Sicile-Kira is an autism advocate and award-winning author of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum, and Autism Life Skills. Sicile-Kira lives in California with her family, who has been featured in the MTV documentary True Life series and the Newsweek cover story Growing Up with Autism.

Spa Night at Autism One Courtesy of Wines for Autism

Spa night Christine Roffi, a stay-at-home mom directly affected by autism and founder of Wines for Autism , will be relaxing and retoxing your nervous system with her “Tough Day Chardonnay” from Sonoma Valley at Autism One in May.

Christine tells us a little bit about the wine . . . .

"The bottling occurred at one of the greatest estates in Carneros, tweaking Sonoma Carneros Chardonnay fruit with a touch of Muscat for more accessibility . . . . By the February release we had a Chardonnay exhibiting pristine varietal fruit proudly framed in Sonoma Carneros terroir, accessible to a rank beginner while providing value to the most jaded connoisseur."  (AO note:  Ooh la la.)

Also, meet Christine in the exhibition hall to discover some of her other “Autism Wines.”  (She even has organic wines for those who do not want to retox too much.)

Join us Friday evening, May 28, beginning at 7:30 pm for flickering candles, clicking glasses, refreshments, our own team of Retoxicologists ready to serve you, and some special treats designed to relax, refresh . . . and refill.  There will be mini-express facials, mini-chair massages, Thai yoga therapy/massage, and hand paraffin.

Natural health author, speaker, and founder of, as well as author of the book Mind Your Own Wellness, Alex Ong specializes in helping people reduce stress, increase energy and lose weight NATURALLY.  His passion and mission to help others comes from his own battle with stress, obesity, poor health and even the catastrophic personal event of losing his father to heart failure stemming from high cholesterol. As a special feature of Spa Night, Alex will present "Mind Your Own Wellness - How To Reduce Stress Naturally."

You are welcome to mingle throughout the evening.  Space is limited; mini-spa sessions will be held in half-hour increments.  Please RSVP to
See you in Chicago!  Cheers!


TACA in the OC Register: An Autism Nonprofit’s Call for Action

Oc reg Our sponsor TACA has run a multi-page insert in the OC Register (Orange County, California, USA) to help educate readers during Autism Action Month. Below is the first story in the insert. We'll run the other stories this month. Click HERE to see the beautiful, full color insert in .pdf format.

An Autism Nonprofit’s Call for Action

By Lois Evezich

Imagine if you woke up one day and found the child you knew yesterday had faded away. magine that your child’s body was still there but everything that made them who they were was gone. No smile, no laugh, no acknowledgement that you existed, just a blank stare and a diaper full of diarrhea multiple times a day. That’s exactly what happened to the Ackerman family.

“It’s like Jeff disappeared,” said Lisa Ackerman. “In June of 1998, he was a typical 15-month-old boy but then one day he was gone.”

When the Ackermans went to look for answers they received a diagnosis of autism and were told there was nothing they could do. One doctor told them that they would need to look for an institution to care for their son when he was older as he would never improve.

Hit hard by this diagnosis, Lisa and her husband, Glen, found no reassurance nor direction from doctors or other professionals. The support groups that they found offered no real help. They could find no one to answer their questions. It was this lack of resources that led to their founding of the non-profit organization, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

The Ackermans refused to give up on their son. The boy who had developed normally and met all his developmental milestones suddenly had regressed. He lost language and social skills. He no longer wanted to be held or touched. He stopped pointing or waving. Cold and similar sensations that should cause pain didn’t bother him. His sleep patterns changed and he often had trouble sleeping more than a few hours at a time. His health also deteriorated along with his behavior and cognitive skills.

“We spent hours and hours online,” Lisa says. One parent would take care of Jeff while the other was at the computer until the early morning hours, searching for answers. The Ackermans read books, went to conferences and sought out professionals in the field from around the country.

Soon, the Ackermans found that they had to address issues regarding insurance, education, abandonment by friends, lack of understanding from family, lack of sleep, financial concerns, and marital stress. It seemed there was no place and no one to turn to for answers or support. However, they met many other families who shared the same experiences and were also looking for answers and support. There were also families who reported seeing autistic symptoms decrease and sleep patterns normalize after specific health related issues, outside the autism diagnosis, were addressed.

It took two years to gain any traction, but as the Ackermans gained knowledge, Jeff started to get better.

“Our biggest realization in this process was that the autism world was highly fractured,” Lisa said. “There was no strong parent community and, most like us, were being told the same thing ‘there is little you can do.’” The Ackermans knew that was not true and so the mission began: Families with autism helping families with autism. It felt right and it became their daily guide.

Continue reading "TACA in the OC Register: An Autism Nonprofit’s Call for Action " »

Rodney Peete Shares His Son's Vaccine Injury Story in "Not My Boy!" from Hyperion Books

Rodney peet Today is the first day of Autism Action month. Rodney Peete, former NFL quarterback, recounts the day he and his wife Holly were drafted into autism as a result of his son's vaccine injury in Not My Boy! A Father, a Son and One Family's Journey with Autism, his new book from Hyperion. You can purchase a copy HERE. The chapter excerpt ran on MSNBC books, part of of the channel in which Dr. Nancy "There is no vaccine controversy!" Snyderman apparently doesn't interfere.

Holly Robinson Peete is a vocal advocate for her son and all of our children. So is Rodney. We thank them both.

Chapter Two: The Wake Up Call

A few months before they hit that two-year mark, Holly took the twins in for a checkup with our pediatrician. They’d had ear infections and were both coming off a course of antibiotics. Holly asked the doctor if he would delay their next round of immunizations because she thought loading them up with that much medicine while they were still a bit weak from the antibiotics might be too much for their little bodies. She believes the doctor, a very old-school, by-the-book pediatrician, brushed off her concerns as those of an overly cautious first-time mom. He said he’d immunized hundreds of children and never had any such problems.

This didn’t sit right with Holly. Something about this disturbed what she calls her “mommy gut,” an instinct that moms have that goes beyond what professionals say. She asked him if there was any way he could break up the measles/mumps/rubella vaccination so that they would not have to get such a potent cocktail all at once. The doctor said that that couldn’t be done. Besides, the nurse said, the twins were behind in their immunizations. Part of the purpose of this visit was to get them all caught up.

Holly got even more concerned when she found out that they might be receiving more than just the MMR vaccine. She wanted to know what was in the shots and how many of them there would be. She remembers the nurse looked at her like she was psycho mommy, and told her to relax while she took R.J. in to be weighed.

Holly was sitting in another examining room holding on to Ryan, when she heard R.J. screaming, “No! Mommy!” She ran to R.J. and saw that the nurse had given him the MMR plus the second hepatitis B and the polio vaccines. The nurse said that it usually was easier with the parents out of the room.

Maybe it was easier for the nurse, but for the next eight years, nothing about R.J. would be easy for our family.

At home that night, R.J. had a terrible fever and started shaking violently, just short of something like a seizure. Holly called the pediatrician to ask him what could have caused this. Should we take R.J. to the hospital? The doctor was unruffled and told us that it was not a reaction to the shots. He recommended that we give R.J. some Tylenol to help him with the fever and he promised that R.J. would be fine. R.J. had a terrible reaction to the Tylenol and we rushed him to the emergency room late that night. We believe he went into some kind of toxic overload shock. After that, we didn’t hear the words “Mommy” or “No” for about four years.

Continue reading "Rodney Peete Shares His Son's Vaccine Injury Story in "Not My Boy!" from Hyperion Books" »

Cocktail Party Honoring Bob Krakow, John Gilmore and Mary Coyle Benefits EBCALA Center

Red rsvp
Please Join Us For
 A Cocktail Reception 
To benefit

The Elizabeth Birt Center for
Autism Law and Advocacy (EBCALA)
An AutismOne Initiative
~Serving the legal needs of the autism community~

Monday, May 3, 2010
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Presentation begins at 7:15 p.m.
Cosmopolitan Club
122 East 66th Street (near Lexington Ave.)
Please reserve your space by April 20th

Honoring Mary Coyle, 
John Gilmore and Robert Krakow

For their years of service and dedication
to the Autism community
$150 minimum donation*
*Donations are tax deductible less $50 per reception ticket

To learn more about the work of EBCALA, please visit HERE 
Host Committee:  Kevin Barry, Lisa Colin, Louis Conte, Daniele Gerard,
Louise Habakus, Jimmie and James Holland, Mary Holland,
David Kirby, Kim Mack-Rosenberg, Lisa Rudley,
Sabeeha and Khalid Rehman and Katie Weisman

Autism and Gut Issues: But Dr. Nancy Said There's No Connection!

Wrong-Answer By Anne Dachel

In Aug. 2009, I wrote the story, Autism Experts Only Seem to Know "What Doesn't Work" .
That was about the news coming out at the time about a Mayo Clinic study on gastrointestinal problems in autistic children.  Contrary to what many parents were dealing with, experts couldn't find any significant gut issues in autistic children.
At the time, a lot of top news sources made up a chorus all saying the same thing:
It's hard to challenge sources like Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the New York Times, WebMD, and NBC's the Today Show.
I remember Dr. Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show telling us: 

"The findings are important because they really dismiss that link between the gut and these neurological problems that we see in autism.  And primarily they were looking for problems like mal-absorption and inflammation. These findings are very conclusive: There is no link between illness in the gut and the signs and symptoms we see in autism."
And in Oct. 2009, WIRED ran the story, An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All .  In an amazingly one-sided article, Amy Wallace raised Dr. Paul Offit to new heights of expertise and vilified anyone daring to challenge him, all the while blindly ignoring the disaster called autism:

"In August, for example, Pediatrics published an investigation of a popular hypothesis that children with autism have a higher incidence of gastrointestinal problems, which some allege are caused by injected viruses traveling to the intestines. Jenny McCarthy's foundation posits that autism stems from these bacteria, as well as heavy metals and live viruses present in some vaccines. Healing your child, therefore, is a matter of clearing out the 'environmental toxins' with, among other things, special diets. The Pediatrics paper found that while autistic kids suffered more from constipation, the cause was likely behavioral, not organic; there was no significant association between autism and GI symptoms. Moreover, gluten- and dairy-free diets did not appear to improve autism and sometimes caused nutritional deficiencies. "

Suddenly however, it seems the medical/scientific community hasn't closed the door on the possibility of a relationship between GI problems and autism


Continue reading "Autism and Gut Issues: But Dr. Nancy Said There's No Connection!" »

Autism and the Gut: Houston Study

Digest3 By Teresa Conrick

There's a new autism study coming out and hold on ---- it's about the gut.  Now didn't we just have articles, studies, and news reports telling us that there is no connection to GI issues and autism?- ie - Pediatrics, MedPageToday, and WebMD Brain Autism News.

Here is a report of a different study  (ABC KTRK Houston) and it should make us all wonder how it's possible that our FDA is fast tracking a medication for autism and its related GI connection when there has been a constant denial of our kids having chronic, painful gastrointestinal issues:

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Doctors have suspected a link between autism and digestive problems for years. Now Houston researchers are testing a drug with such potential, that the Food and Drug Administration has fast-tracked it. Scientists believe it may improve autistic behaviors.

A month ago, her mother says five-year-old Zoe wouldn't look you in the eye. Zoe, who has autism, didn't talk much, and rarely interacted others. "Zoe is so different now. She actually comes up and talks to me, says look at this look at that, she never used to do that," said Meredith Langford.

Dr. Deborah Pearson also sees changes in Zoe too since she began taking an experimental medicine in a University of Texas-Houston study on autism. "We don't know if she's on placebo or the study medication, but it's a very interesting difference from the little one we saw just a month ago," said Dr. Pearson.

Zoe takes the study medication mixed in her food. It helps her digest protein. Doctors believe many children with autism can't digest protein, which would cause them to lack amino acids that are critical in producing neurotransmitters for the brain. They believe resolving the digestion problem may help the autism.

Continue reading "Autism and the Gut: Houston Study" »

On Being Compared to Hitler and the Nazi Movement

No_pointless_jokes_bumper_sticker-p128607186943544216trl0_400 By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

You know, I'm more often mistaken for being Jewish than I am for being a Nazi.  Even my wife (whose family is half-Jewish) thought for certain I was Jewish when she first met me.

But according to a YouTube video in which the movie Downfall has been given new subtitles so that Hitler becomes J.B. Handley ranting about vaccines and autism, I'm one of the few loyal Nazis that Hitler/Handley wants remaining with him in the bunker.  The others are Mark Blaxill, Dan Olmsted, and Kim Stagliano.  I just can't figure out, though, which Nazi officer the lovely Kim is supposed to be.  Jenny McCarthy is Eva Braun and Dr. Kartzinel is commanding a tank division threatening the bunker.  (Yeah, I don't understand that part, either.)  This gem posted on Heraldblog's YouTube account (aka Autism News Beat, aka Ken Reibel) is so awful that I couldn't stop laughing after watching it.  It's HERE.

After viewing it though I couldn't help but ask a simple question.  With more than a million children with autism, is that the best you've got?

No answers about what causes autism beyond looking for some gene that you haven't been able to identify yet, even though the human genome was mapped years ago?

Oh, and besides, if it is a genetic problem, why hasn't this always been with us?  You think it has?  Then why did Dr. Leo Kanner in his 1943 study claim it was unlike anything he or any of his colleagues had ever seen?  Why when the movie Rainman came out in 1988 were pediatricians in medical school told they might go through an entire career without ever seeing an autistic child?  How did something that was 1 in 10,000 twenty-five years ago become 100 in 10,000 today? 

Maybe the increase from 10 to 36 vaccines before the age of six, with the majority of those administered in the first six months of life?

Continue reading "On Being Compared to Hitler and the Nazi Movement " »

What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now?

Scale By Maureen H. McDonnell, RN

Although the entire mystery of what has caused the autism epidemic has not yet been solved, based on emerging science and parents reporting what specific treatment have improved (or in some cases recovered) their children, we now have some strong clues regarding autism prevention and treatment. 
Causation theories range from: it must be due to better diagnosis, (rather than a real increase), to maternal age at the time of conception to the more likely scenario suggesting genetic predispositions plus environmental factors (including an explosive increase in the number of vaccines given before the age of 5) are to blame.  The problem is, while we wait as the experts debate these theories, more and more children are being negatively impacted by this condition.  In the meantime, moms of affected children who want to get pregnant with another child and women who have never conceived ask what can be done to increase the chances of having a healthy baby. Instead of waiting for new guidelines or official policy changes to be issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the American Academy of Pediatrics, savvy individuals are examining the published scientific research as well as listening to parents who have improved their children’s condition and coming up with new strategies for carrying, birthing, and raising healthier children.  

During the last decade, as the debate has raged regarding the causes of autism, one organization: the Autism Research Institute has been gathering experts from around the world to brainstorm and conduct research on the underlying metabolic dysfunctions associated with autism as well as safe and effective interventions to treat this condition. 

Dr. Bernie Rimland, the founder of the Autism Research Institute and cofounder of DAN!” instilled in this group a sense of urgency to focus on solutions that would improve the lives of children now (as opposed to research that would only have relevance for future generations.)   As a result of Dr. Rimland’s  vision, these meetings, subsequent research,  clinical  application and parents following through with what is now termed the “biomedical approach”, many children previously diagnosed on the spectrum have improved and in some instances recovered from autism.

Continue reading "What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now? " »

Pentimento: A New Magazine for the Disability Community, You're Invited!

JoinUs Managing Editor's Note: From our friends at NAA:

NAA is launching a new literary magazine for the disabilty community - Pentimento.
The magazine cover will feature artwork by a disabled child or young adult.  Each issue will include  a section devoted to writing by readers on various topics, an unedited first-person perspective piece, essays, poetry, art, photographs and disability-related quotes.
Submissions may be by a disabled individual or an individual who is part of the community such as a family member, educator, therapist, etc.  Submissions by an individual who is not disabled but part of the community must have a disability-related theme.
We are seeking artwork by a child or young adult for the cover and writing by a child or young adult for a section titled "Uncut".  The first two topics for writing by readers are "Taking A Chance" and "Hope".  Submissions can be mailed or emailed via links on the website. 
Please check out the website at  and complete the form to receive the first issue free.
If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me directly at (Lori)