Current Affairs Feed

Eight Year Old with Autism on Terror List: Detained at Airport.

Airport securityBy Sabeeha Rehman

My 8 year old grandson Omar, who is on the autism spectrum, was pulled out at the airport and investigated as a terror suspect - his name being similar to that on the watch list.  He was enroute to Disney World with his parents and siblings.  He was held for an hour and it was only when his date of birth (2001) did not match that of the person's on the watch list, who we understand was in his twenties, and after several huddled meetings and phone calls, was he and his family allowed to board the plane.  He was agitated while being held for an hour, and sat there stimming, but they had to go through their procedures, before they could rule him out as a terrorist. Had his father not been with him during the one hour detention - he too was detained and then cleared - I dread to think of the damage that would have done to Omar.
 
He is 8!  He has autism! 
 
I have brought this to the attention to a reporter at the New York Times, and want to raise this as an issue with our networks, before more children like Omar are subjected to this treatment.
 
Sabeeha Rehman is the grandmother of an 8 year-old child with autism, and President and co-founder of the New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association.


Autism Action Network Requests Clarification from Ari Ne'eman on Views for Nat'l Council on Disability

What about us Managing Editor's Note: Recently, John Gilmore, of the Autism Action Network, formerly A-Champ, sent a letter to Ari Ne'eman of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, requesting clarification on his views as they relate to his seat on the National Council on Disability. As the mother of three children whose autism means severe limitations on their ability to care for themselves (let alone advocate for themselves) I thank John for asking Mr. Ne'eman if his inclusion on this council will include advocating for all people with autism. John says,  "It is our understanding that you believe that a cure for autism is neither desirable nor should it be a federal research priority, and that too much research funding is used for finding the causes and potential cures and treatments for autism."

See Mr. Ne'emans response below. John's letter follows in full after the jump. John speaks for many of us who are concerned that Mr. Ne'eman is not willing to respond to the questions prior to his appointment. 

From: Ari Ne'eman
Subject: Re: Request for clarification of your views
To: "John Gilmore"
Date: Friday, January 15, 2010, 10:48 AM
Hello John,

I apologize for the delay in responding. I was asked recently by the White House to avoid any further public appearances and speaking to the media until after my confirmation process is complete and I was checking with them as to whether or not it would be acceptable for me to respond to the questions you have sent. Regrettably, they've asked that I avoid answering any questionnaires not provided to me by Senate offices as part of the confirmation process. As a result, I cannot submit my responses right now. With the exception of an article I submitted early last year (before I knew about the nomination) for the upcoming issue of Disability Studies Quarterly, I will not be publishing any writing until after the confirmation process completes. I mention the DSQ piece now because I don't want you to think I'm not being honest with you when it comes out.

However, I would be very interested in providing a response for distribution to your members after my confirmation process is complete. I would see it as a welcome opportunity to communicate some areas of shared belief and advocacy and explain, in a polite, respectful way, the reasons for some of the differences in opinion that exist between our perspectives. Would that be alright? Feel free to e-mail or call me if you have any questions or queries.

Regards,
Ari Ne'eman
President
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
http://www.autisticadvocacy.org

Dear Mr. Ne'eman,

Below is the text of a letter that you will receive as a hard copy shortly from the Autism Action Network (formerly ACHAMP). We are seeking clarification from you on some of your statements and opinions prior to your confirmation. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
John Gilmore
Executive Director Mr. Ari Ne’eman
President
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
c/o Karen Buford
1025 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005
January 6, 2010
 
Dear Mr. Ne’eman,
 
Congratulations on your recent nomination to the National Council on Disability. The Autism Action Network applauds your work on behalf of people on the autistic spectrum to end the use of aversives and to increase support for people with autism in the community. You have made public statements, however, that have cause some measure of concern among our members. The vast majority of the members of our organization are parents or caregivers for low-functioning minor children with an autism diagnosis. Consequently, issues that affect low-functioning people with autism and their families are our primary concern. We would like clarification of your positions on a number of crucial policy issues to assist us in determining whether we will support your nomination. It is our understanding that you believe that a cure for autism is neither desirable nor should it be a federal research priority, and that too much research funding is used for finding the causes and potential cures and treatments for autism. For example on June 10, 2008 on Good Morning America your said, “We do not think to aim for a cure is the right approach to take.” Would you please clarify for us what your position is on the need for research to find the causes, treatments and possible cures for autism, and what levels of research funding you believe are appropriate?

Continue reading "Autism Action Network Requests Clarification from Ari Ne'eman on Views for Nat'l Council on Disability" »


Autism Father to Chicago Tribune: "Cancel My Subscription."

Cancel_subscription By Sym and Wade Rankin

My wife and I subscribed to the Chicago Tribune soon after moving into the area a little over three years ago.  Recent articles led us to the conclusion that their editorial bias hindered, rather than aided a productive debate on the most important issue in our household:  our response to the growing autism epidemic.  We therefore took that most American of steps; we cancelled our subscription and made sure the paper knew why we did so. Here's the letter:

Mr. Tony Hunter
President, Publisher
Chicago Tribune Company
435 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Dear Mr. Hunter:

A few days ago, we called the circulation department to cancel our subscription to The Chicago Tribune. We thought it appropriate to write and explain why we thought this necessary. Put briefly, the Tribune’s continuing written assault on the autism community and those who serve us has caused us to lose the high degree of respect we once held for your newspaper.

Specifically, articles written (or co-written) by Trine Tsouderos have, in our opinion, strayed from the principles of balance, fairness, and the truth.

By way of background explanation, our family is one of the hundreds of thousands in this country who have felt the impact of the autism epidemic.

We are part of a growing number of people who have chosen not to meekly embrace our son’s disability, but rather to seek biological explanations for the clinical manifestations that led to the diagnosis and to utilize the best medical treatments to treat the underlying physical conditions. We are not alone on this journey, and like most of the parents who embark on this course, we are well-educated. Both of us have professional backgrounds (including a background in mainstream medicine).

Each case of autistic spectrum disorder is unique from a standpoint of both cause and treatment. We have utilized some so-called “alternative” therapies together with more traditional treatments. The continued improvement of our son’s clinical manifestations has been nothing short of remarkable. Our story is not unique; there are many of us who have seen first-hand the success that can result from treating underlying physical conditions instead of just the symptoms by which autism traditionally has been defined.

Continue reading "Autism Father to Chicago Tribune: "Cancel My Subscription."" »


Chantal Sicile-Kira on the Psychology Today Blog

Chantal Read the full entry, I Think My Child Might Have an Autism Spectrum Disorder What Do I Do? at Psychology Today.

Getting a diagnosis - if indeed a child has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - as early as possible is important because research shows that early intervention is the best intervention. Yet, not all pediatricians recognize the early signs of a possible ASD.

Although diagnosis rates of autism are up, this does not mean that all doctors or medical professionals are aware of the different signs of autism in different types of babies and toddlers. A diagnosis is made by observing the behavioral characteristics in three areas : communication, social interactions, and imaginative play or thought. As there are no physical characteristics that are shared by those in the spectrum, and there is a wide range of abilities and disabilities - it is not always easy to identify...

Chantal Sicile-Kira is an advocate, award-winning author, and speaker known for her practical and inspirational advice on raising children and teens with autism.  Her latest book is 41 Things To Know About Autism (Turner, March 2010). Her other books are: Autism Life Skills; Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum; and Autism Spectrum Disorders; all published by Penguin. Chantal was recently  appointed by the California Senate Select Committee on Autism &  Related Disorders  to co-chair the  South Counties Autism Regional Taskforce providing input to the CA State Senate. In June,  both of her children will be graduating from high school with full academic diplomas.  When her son, Jeremy,  was diagnosed with severe autism,  Chantal  was told to find a  good institution for him, and she has. It's called 'college'.

 

 



SacBee Online On UC Davis MIND Institute and Play

UC Davis MIND Read the full article, At UC Davis MIND Institute, learning can be child's play for autistic at Sacramento Bee Online.

...Four years ago, when her older son Josiah was 2 years old and diagnosed with autism, her reaction was more emotional.

"I remember feeling, 'I don't know my child,' " she said, taking a deep breath.

"When you have a baby, and it has all its toes, and it's apparent to everyone that it's normal, you start to dream for the child," she said, raising a tissue to the corner of her eye. "But when you get a diagnosis with autism, you have to let go of all those dreams. … You don't know if the child will talk, get a job, have a friend. You have to let go of everything."

Now, every time her sons learn a new skill, she said she's filled with pride. "But you still cry..."


Autism Pensacola Splits from ASA to Keep Funds Local

Autism florida Managing Editor's Note: As many of you know, a large portion of the autism community banded together over the last couple of weeks to support NAA's bid to win $1,000,000 in the Chase giveaway. Many were surprised that the Autism Society of America was silent throughout the campaign, despite repeated attempts to enlist their help to garner a pot of cash to help families with autism through non-controversial programs.  Today's Google alert included this story about a local chapter spinning itself off to retain autonomy.  Read the full article at PNJ.com:

Continue reading "Autism Pensacola Splits from ASA to Keep Funds Local" »


National Autism Association Wins $25,000 in Chase Giveaway

Shoot moon From our friends at National Autism Association:

Out of 500,000 nonprofits across the country, you helped us become one of Chase Community Giving’s Top 100 highest voted organizations on Facebook and earned us $25,000.00 for our programs. You also earned us a chance to enter Round 2 of the Chase Community Giving Campaign and a shot at winning $1,000,000.00 for the most amount of votes earned on Facebook, and $100,000.00 for positions two through six. The results are in, and NAA made it to the 7th place position.

While some may see this as yet another loss for our community, we believe it is an extraordinary win for our cause. We are incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of support, hard work, dedication and compassion that has occurred over the last seven days of this competition.

We've seen people working around the clock pulling for our children and loved ones. Many of the people who jumped in wholeheartedly aren't directly affected by autism, yet worked alongside us as if they were. We saw autism nonprofits come together and forego our organizational names for a week to simply became the name "vote autism."

The amount of press coverage and free media placement was unexpected. We saw ABC and Fox affiliates airing our 60 second autism PSA in the daytime, which is unheard of. We saw morning news shows airing our three minute autism video, and radio stations around the country donating free airtime to "Vote Autism on Facebook, the #1 Childhood Disorder in the Country." We saw high profile figures bringing attention to our cause. Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy, HollyRod Foundation, The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation, Kathy Ireland, Nia Vardalos, CNN's Jack Gray with over a million Twitter followers - all of them were bringing awareness to autism.

Most of all, we saw you fighting like mad to spread the word.

Continue reading "National Autism Association Wins $25,000 in Chase Giveaway" »


Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 1/23

AOAF

  1. Henderson is our commenter of the week on the post, Anne Dachel On The Rising Autism Numbers.    

    Where are these regressed toddlers in history? Where in our sacred texts of every ancient written religion of the world? Where in our sacred oral traditions of the many religions from anywhere on earth? Where in our western written tradition that we are so familiar with from our English Lit class? Where are these toddlers in Beowolf, Chaucer or Shakespeare? Where are these toddlers in "The Epic of Gilgamesh" (or any other ancient text for that matter)?
    Ancient Texts Where in our nursery rhymes? Where are they? And, more tellingly, where are their mothers? Given that all of "our" cultures where generally paternalistic and pretty anti-female (yes, that is a sweeping generalization of every culture on earth - go with me). Given this assumption... one can only imagine what all of these texts would have done EXACTLY what that man, Dr. Kanner did. Blame the mother or some other female. For that man from hell it was the "Refrigerator Mother". (HERE) For many traditions on earth, god forbid, it would have been even worse (e.g., the burning of witches). I cannot believe that screaming/weeping mothers holding their child in their arms, wailing into the night... I cannot believe they have always been with us... If they were, they'd be in OUR stories. Where is the RETRIBUTION for this sin - the theft of a personality, the theft of skills, the theft of a child? Where are the "evil" women who are punished for this sin? Where are the "evil" women being flagged, stoned, burned for "stealing" someone else's child's personality through witchcraft/spells/trickery? Where are the "evil" women who "deserved" to have her child's gifts taken from her by a vengeful god for her evil and wanton ways, for her blasphemy, for her adultery, for her sins? Regressive autism: their laughter, their joy in learning, their personalities, their gifts stolen from their wailing and weeping mothers have NOT always been with us! THIS IS MY PROOF! I am one of the weeping and wailing mothers. I screamed into the night. I wept tears unlike tears that never experienced before. I wept for weeks on end. I screamed at the top of my lungs, ravaging my throat - in my automobile - where no one could hear me. I wept from the bottom of my heart, from the bottom of my soul, I wept the blackest tears.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 1/23" »


Chronic Disease on the Rise

Quiet-Sick-Zone-779020 Read the full report HERE from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.

Chronic disease is on the rise.

More than 30 years of environmental health studies have led to a growing consensus that chemicals are playing a role in the incidence and prevalence of many diseases and disorders in our country, including:

•Leukemia, brain cancer, and other childhood cancers, which have increased by more than 20% since 1975.[2]

•Breast cancer, which went up by 40% between 1973 and 1998.[3] While breast cancer rates have declined since 2003, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is now one in eight, up from one in ten in 1973.[4]

•Asthma, which approximately doubled in prevalence between 1980 and 1995 and has stayed at the elevated rate.[5][6]

•Difficulty in conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy affected 40% more women in 2002 than in 1982. The incidence of reported difficulty has almost doubled in younger women, ages 18–25.[7][8][9]

•The birth defect resulting in undescended testes, which has increased 200% between 1970 and 1993.[10]

•Autism, the diagnosis of which has increased more than 10 times in the last 15 years.[11]


HBO and Barnes & Noble Invite You to Meet Temple Grandin Monday in New York City

Claire Danes Managing Editor's Note: I'll be attending this event and hope to see you there. Kim

On February 6 at 8PM (ET/PT), HBO will premiere an original film based on the inspirational true story of Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes. "Temple Grandin" paints a picture of a young woman's perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism. Temple is a highly successful doctor of animal sciences, a best-selling author, and an internationally renowned autism advocate. 

To support the autism community and celebrate the film, HBO and Barnes & Noble will host a special book signing and discussion with Temple Grandin on Monday, Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. at Barnes & Noble at 150 East 86th St. (at Lexington Ave.) in New York. HBO and Barnes & Noble invite the public - especially parents, friends and advocates of individuals with autism - to this free event. 

Information related to autism and the HBO film will be displayed in all 775 Barnes & Noble stores and at www.bn.com/templegrandin, including a free, downloadable coloring book that tells Temple's story through illustrations created by artists with autism.  You can download the coloring book through February 17 at www.bn.com/templegrandin and at www.HBO.com.


13 Year Old (Autistic?) Shoots Father Dead Due to "Balloon of Anger That Burst."

Channel3000 Read the full story at Channel3000News.

TOWN OF DELTON, Wis. -- A 13-year-old boy was taken into custody on Tuesday night in connection with the shooting death of his father in the Town of Delton.

Sauk County investigators said that the boy, identified as Michael Crisafulli, admitted to shooting his 55-year-old father, Angelo Crisafulli. The boy is being held on a first-degree homicide charge.

The boy told police he had a "balloon of anger," which finally broke and he shot is father as a result. The complaint said the boy was expelled from Reedsburg Middle School on Tuesday and his father was angry. The boy said he was upset because he was forced to go to his uncle's house and work on a car axle.


Call in NOW (3pm) for NVAC Meeting

Call now Sorry for the last minute announcement: 

NVPO News and Announcements:

1. NVAC Call Wednesday, Jan 20th

The National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) will hold a public conference call on Wednesday, Jan 20th from 3PM to 5PM eastern. There will be a discussion of the National Vaccine Plan and an update on the 2009 H1N1 influenza program. An agenda is available at: http://www.hhs.gov/nvpo/nvac/meetings/pastmeetings/agenda20100120.html

Public call-in information:

Participant Toll Free: 1-888/677-1385
Passcode: NVAC

Continue reading "Call in NOW (3pm) for NVAC Meeting " »


Thank you Huffington Post for Helping The Autism Community VOTE!

By Kim Stagliano

Thank you to HuffPo for popping up this post so fast. Please forward the link, comment and vote! Click here to go to the HuffPo post.

Remember the old saying about how different the world would be if the Defense Department had to hold bake sales to buy bombs? Well, in the autism world, we have to hold bake sales to raise money for just about everything. Autism now strikes one in 110 American children, yet receives far less funding than other pediatric diagnoses. Today, we have a chance to win $1,000,000 for autism in the Chase Community Giving Program (VOTE HERE). I'm asking on bended knee for your vote for The National Autism Association.

Please, join our community and our friends at Autism Speaks, TACA, Autism One, Generation Rescue, SafeMinds, Unlocking Autism, The Schafer Autism Report, Autism United and many others and cast your vote
HERE for NAA. With this money, they can fully fund their Project Found, which provides grant money for GPS locator systems to prevent death and injury from wandering (or bolting) away from home. They can fund the Helping Hand Grant which puts dollars directly into needy families' wallets. They can continue to help single Moms and Dads through the Family First Project. And they can offer more scholarships to their annual conference. Thank you.

Tribune Watchdog Or Tribune Skunk? Part 2

Rats at trapBy Teresa Conrick

As I said in Part 1 of this series, I love a good mystery.  Now it's time to again look at  the current Chicago Tribune obsession with autism treatments.  On January 17th, The Trib came out with the third installment in their autism hit pieces on biomedical treatments. The question remains as to why?  Why would the Tribune, and maybe more specifically, why would the author of these apparent prefabricated and fictitious accounts write so disdainfully about biomedical treatments helping children with an autism diagnosis?

For those who do not know, there are many groups who have been fighting hard to suppress the fact that vaccines can cause autism.  They are people in the media, in public health, in medical organizations, in vaccine development and patents, in universities with autism gene chasing grants, in the public sector (NIH, CDC, AAP, et al) in the private sector, (pharmaceutical companies) and many in between. 

Each of these denying and often untruthful entities have people running them that are often parroting each others words.  We have seen our share of them attempt to stop the truth about not only the damage done by vaccines, ie- mitochondrial, neurological, immunological, and gastrointestinal assaults to the children but now the attack is on the treatments that can stop pain, stop inflammation, recover speech, restore health and increasingly end the behaviors of "autism" by curing the child of the injury done. One would wonder if showing "recovery" from autism via biomedical treatments aimed at these specific damaged systems is scaring those who need to keep Pandora's box closed on vaccine injuries as their is money, future vaccine revenues, and pharmaceutical sales at risk.

So here we are in the beginning of a new year but with the same old crap. I was curious about the blatant and recurrent theme that the Trib was trying to pass as truth. What I found was an interesting connection as some facts came to light from some good and reliable sources.  Trine has a relative, a sister, Danielle, who is involved in Public Health.
(HERE).

Continue reading " Tribune Watchdog Or Tribune Skunk? Part 2" »


$1,000,000 For National Autism Association? Yes! If You Vote!

Our friends at the National Autism Association have a chance to win $1 Million Dollars through Chase Community Giving on Facebook!

Through its programs like Helping Hand and FOUND, NAA provides real help to families affected by autism. Imagine how many families could be helped with a million dollars! NAA is the only autism organization of the 100 charities in the running for $1 Million – and they need our support! Please take a minute to visit FaceBook and vote today! You get more than one vote. View NAA’s “Chase the Hope” video here: http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/chase  

Voting takes place January 15-22nd.


Participate in IACC Full Committee TODAY

Listen

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) will be holding a Full Committee Meeting on TODAY Tuesday, January 19, 2010 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET at the William H. Natcher Conference Center, NIH Campus, in Bethesda, MD.

To access the conference call:
USA/Canada Phone Number: 888-577-8995
Access code: 1991506

Autism Speaks' Andy Shih is talking for over an hour on "global autism" and CDC's Cathy Rice is giving an "update." Also, the final version and edits for the strategic plan will be voted on, plus planning for next version of the plan and how IACC will respond to public comment.

Continue reading "Participate in IACC Full Committee TODAY" »


Tribune Watchdog Or Tribune Skunk? Part 1

Cockroach-Gum-Bait-663499 By Teresa Conrick

It has been almost two months since the Chicago Tribune did their second malicious and biased report on the biomedical treatments for autism.  They have since done a third which also smells suspicious.  Many of the treatments that the Tribune incorrectly reported in that November 23rd article are medically based and focus on restoring normal function to organs and systems damaged by chronic bacterial, viral, and fungal infections as well as metals such as lead, aluminum and mercury.  Many of these toxins are found in vaccines.  The Tribune has appeared to make it a mission of theirs to try and paint a picture of desperate parents doing voodoo to treat children who have some sort of genetic and incurable developmental disorder.  Hardly the reality as we now look at 1:100 children developing autism and a 50% increase from just 2 years: Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders --- Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, United States, 2006.

I decided to check out the Trib website and see if any of our many letters sent to Trine or the Editor addressing the benefits of biomedical treatments were posted.  There were just 2 letters on their website for Trine Tsouderos and Patricia Callahan's shoddy piece and they were an interesting pair.

The first letter was from a local doctor and attempted to negate and belittle the idea of neuroinflammation in autism.  It was absurd yet seemed part and parcel to letter number two, an ad nauseam, cheerleading effort on the dangers of medically treating autism.  It seemed eerily familiar yet I was unaware of the organization, Association For Science In Autism Treatment,  but a quick look at their website explained quite a lot: Association for Science in Autism Treatment - Board of Directors ....  Here was another "association" formed to show us the "science" in autism treatments yet looking on their Advisory Board, I saw three names that jumped off the page hinting towards deep conflict of interest.

What then is the purpose of the Association For Science In Autism Treatment? Looking at these names and their involvement in autism might shed some light:

1- Dr. Stephen Barrett : His website describes him, "Stephen Barrett, M.D., a retired psychiatrist who resides near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has achieved national renown as an author, editor, and consumer advocate" but there are numerous websites sharing a different opinion, for example: HERE and HERE QuackPotWatch.

Continue reading "Tribune Watchdog Or Tribune Skunk? Part 1" »


Autism, Empathy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shoot for moon By Lin Wessels

I have a son and a dream.  My son is going to be eight this coming Tuesday.  My son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 26 months.  It still brings tears to eyes, although not necessarily for all of the same reasons as it did some six years ago.

You see, when your child is given a label on the autism spectrum, you are not only led to believe certain something’s, but expected to accept other certain something’s as well.  Some of the most common are:  autism is rare, autism is hereditary, and there is no treatment.  Pretty bleak to say the least.

Legend number one, autism is rare.  According to the CDC’s most recent data, autism now affects one in every 110 children, and one in every 70 boys.  The data was reflective of eight year olds in 2006.  It represented a 57% increase from 2002.  Autism is now anything but rare. 

Delusion number two, autism is genetic.  While it’s true that after about two decades of rigorous searching for the ever-so-elusive autism gene, researchers have identified genes which may or may not be responsible for somewhere around 10 – 15 % of known autism cases, there is no such thing as a genetic epidemic.  An epidemic is defined as “spreading more quickly and more extensively than would usually be expected.”  See fallacy number one, above.  For the record, our son recently completed meticulous, methodical genetic testing.  He was tested for every gene ever associated with autism to date.  He has exactly zero.

Popular myth number three, autism is not treatable.  To say that, proclaims all hope is lost.  It’s not.  Hundreds of thousands of parents and grandparents to children with autism are treating their loved ones with success.  Once they are able to decipher what went wrong to cause the child’s autism in the first place, they are then able to medically treat the child and in some instances even go so far as to reverse the symptoms of autism.  Autism after all is nothing more than a set of symptoms.  It seems to reason that once you uncover the insult, autism is treatable.

Continue reading "Autism, Empathy and Martin Luther King, Jr." »


It's a Viral World: Making Autism Contagious.

Vote Autism Managing Editor's Note: If you are on Facebook, please  vote for the National Autism Association in the Chase Million Dollar Giveaway HERE. NAA's Helping Hand fund puts dollars into the wallet of needy families, they are fighting against restraint and seclusion, working to prevent death and injury from wandering and much more. Visit NAA to learn more. 

By Kristi Hammer

A friend once sent me a nice text message, following a wonderful event for Make a Wish Foundation, telling me “what amazing work this organization does”, and how he definitely wanted to “get himself involved in a meaningful way with his time and resources.”  This man, a prominent business leader, with influence over major donations, had listened to endless stories of my plight with autism, always commenting on what an amazing story it is, and what a joy my “recovered” son is.  I quipped back via text, “Yes….it is so much more smile inducing to send sick kids to Disneyland vs. helping children who are screaming in pain and beating their heads against the floor, while their parents watch in despair, learn how to communicate.”  Ouch!  I was angry!  Not at him, but about the elusive question we all ask, “Why don’t people, who are unaffected by autism personally, feel the passion to help our cause?”|

Everyone I know has heard of my son Jeremy’s miraculous story of recovery from autism. 

They are amazed, and even more so moved because of what a magnetic, inspirational kid he is today.  People love him, and it is hard to believe where he once was, screaming and writhing for hours, or days on end.  They sometimes shed tears at the story of his recovery, especially how the doctor once told me “he may never have a friend, he will need special schools, he may never live independently, and he may never be able to say he loves you”.  All of which are a relatively distant memory.   I tell them, “thanks to the organizations and other parents who gave their time to hold my hand, and guide me along the path to recovery”.  They are moved, clearly, but they are somewhat subdued about their compassion, as they say something along the lines of, “I didn’t know that was possible”, as if it were a fluke happening, or a misdiagnosis.  It isn’t the “contagious”, how do I get involved sort of compassion one usually sees with such a truly remarkable story. 

People like to give their time and resources to things that make them “feel” good.  They like “inspirational stories”, that give them hope.  They like to hear about “what a difference” they were able to make.  It is understandable.   We are a society sick from constant exposure to suffering, and we need this positive input to keep our minds healthy.  In today’s world of “viral” communication, word may travel fast about suffering through news outlets, blogs, etc., but what individuals are sharing, spreading, responding to, and soaking up like sunshine, are the clips and words that make us feel better.   Could the answer to our lack of support be found in how we are “marketing” ourselves as a community? 

Don’t think for a moment I agree with this mentality, but maybe people can’t bear to hear about our struggles, heartache, and the desperation of it all.  It took Jenny McCarthy on the scene, before anyone would even speak to me about my ordeal while making direct eye contact.  Once her passionate message (thank GOD for her) became mainstream, I heard even some of my best friends say things with a snarled lip like, “she is just too emotional about it all” as if that is some kind of “turn off”.  I want to beat them over the head with their stilettos and say “HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF THIS WERE YOUR CHILD?”!   We are in survival mode, this is a national emergency, the sense of urgency is overwhelming, and so is the desperation!  These are all the unfortunate truths, and maybe our society, out there searching for feel good fixes, can’t handle the truth. 

Continue reading "It's a Viral World: Making Autism Contagious." »


Thank You Molly Hightower, Haiti Earthquake Victim

Molly hightower By Deb Mylander

As I sat and read about all of the horrible devastation that has occurred in Haiti this week, I was struck by a story (HERE) that took my breath away. It was about a young, missing, 22 year old American woman, named Molly Hightower. (See Molly's blog HERE.) She worked with a Catholic organization that housed abandoned children and special needs children and adults. In the story there was a link to her blog which I clicked on and read. The blog was written pre-earthquake and she explained the daily struggle of these poor, helpless human beings she was working with.

Most of them were abandoned as infants or in early childhood (once their parents became aware of their disability). From her description, she cared for kids and adults with mild and severe Autism, as well as people with Down syndrome. Before the quake, the description of their daily lives was heartbreaking; sitting in rooms, without visitors or much stimulation. It reminded me of descriptions of old insane asylums...wounded souls being stuffed away to quietly rot.

As I read the story and looked at the children and adults she cared for, I became very emotional. Before the earthquake these were throw-away lives. After the earthquake how could any of them possibly survive without help? In Molly's blog there is a picture of what looks to be a 26 year old man named Daniel that is part of the disabled group that she helped serve. My mind has created a scenario of Daniel's inner-experience; of his hell.

Continue reading "Thank You Molly Hightower, Haiti Earthquake Victim" »


When Reporters Don’t Read: Media Draws Incorrect Conclusions on Pediatrics GI Autism Papers

Crumpled-newspaper By Laurette Janak

The January 2010 issue of the journal Pediatrics includes two newly published studies investigating GI and dietary issues in children with Autism (1,2). The lead author for both studies was Dr. Timothy Buie. After reading the actual studies, I quickly realized how the media has put out material, which can lead the public to incorrect conclusions. For example, in response to the Buie studies, the Associated Press carried an article written by Carla K. Johnson, which started out with the following paragraph,

“An expert panel says there's no rigorous evidence that digestive problems are more common in children with autism compared with other children, or that special diets work, contrary to claims by celebrities and vaccine naysayers.” (3)

There are two parts to that paragraph and I will address each one separately. The first part concerns the prevalence of GI problems in children with autism. Some might interpret the lack of evidence as “proof” that children with autism do not have a higher incidence of GI problems. This situation extends back to an earlier study published in the same journal so I will pick up the story there.

Continue reading "When Reporters Don’t Read: Media Draws Incorrect Conclusions on Pediatrics GI Autism Papers " »


Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 1/16

AOAF

  1. Cindy Griffin is our commenter of the week on the post, Kev Leitch's Jab in the Dark, I cannot stand to hear the number of parents who are taken in by the "neurodiversity" approach. The children with autism have pain - gut pain, head pain, other GI pain. It can be healed. Every hour of every working day my colleagues and I spend finding out in order to remediate whatever pain a child is in. But if the parent chooses to stick his/her head in the sand of "my child is just different and autism should be celebrated as something special" they are doing their child a disservice - dooming them to a life of physical misery, emotional distress, and ultimately, giving their child no say in his/her quality of life. It becomes a different sort of parent-supported prison and the child becomes the incarcerated.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 1/16" »


Why Would a Principal Call the Police to Arrest a Special Needs 11 Year Old?

Zakh By Kim Stagliano

Why would an elementary school Principal call the police to intervene in the case of a special needs 11 year old boy who was having behavior problems in school? Why would the police then charge the boy with second degree battery? (See the arrest report, HERE.) Reading, writing and arresting?

I have been in contact with the grandmother of Zakhery Price, of Fort Smith Arkansas.  She explains that Zakhery has a host of diagnoses and that schooling him has been fraught with difficulty for some time. She, his mother and step-father are trying to ensure that the child receives a proper education. We, as parents of children on the spectrum, know all too well that sometimes families and schools are at loggerheads.

Continue reading "Why Would a Principal Call the Police to Arrest a Special Needs 11 Year Old?" »


The Chicago Tribune and Autism Treatment Community: Thrice Bitten, Twice Shy

ChicagoTribune-Sign By Kim Stagliano

Trine Tsouderos is writing another article for The Chicago Tribune about autism and autism treatments. To date, her pieces have appeared to be addenda chapters for Dr. Offit's Autism's False Prophets, a book dedicated to telling parents what treatments do not work for autism, from a doctor who does not treat patients with autism.

After countless hours of interviews with scientists and parents alike, Ms. Tsouderos has chosen to portray autism treatment in a pejorative fashion. Take into consideration this letter from Dr. Martha Herbert, pediatric neurologist and Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard University Medical School, regarding her treatment by Ms. Tsouderos:

"I did a rather long interview with the Tribune to explain my thoughts on chelation and additional approaches to solving the health issues connected to autism. The only consequence of my interview is that you use a solitary quote to make me sound contentious and defensive.  Is there a reason you chose not to use something I said that would actually illuminate the discussion surrounding chelation and other medical treatments for medical compromises that may exist in these children?.."

Continue reading "The Chicago Tribune and Autism Treatment Community: Thrice Bitten, Twice Shy" »


Chantal Sicile-Kira on Temple Grandin: The HBO movie starring Claire Danes

Temple-grandin-danes_l By Chantal Sicile-Kira

Temple Grandin, a world-renowned designer of livestock handling facilities and a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, is arguably the world's most famous person with autism. Temple has written many books about autism, others about animals, and even more about both. Last week I called Temple (who wrote the forward to my first three books) to get her input on my latest book, 41 Things to Know About Autism. Temple told me that the long-awaited movie Temple Grandin directed by Mick Jackson is finally premiering on HBO on Saturday, February 6. The screenplay by Christopher Monger and William Merritt Johnson is based on Temple's book Thinking in Pictures, as well as Emergence by Temple Grandin and Margaret Sciariano.

Continue reading "Chantal Sicile-Kira on Temple Grandin: The HBO movie starring Claire Danes" »


AoA Contest: Win a Copy of Healing Our Autistic Children By Dr. Julie Buckley

Healing Our Autistic ChildrenLeave a comment to win a signed copy of Healing Our Autistic Children, by Dr. Julie Buckley.  And don't forget that 1-10-10 is "Build a Bridge Day." Details below the jump.

One of our most common frustrations as we work to heal our children is the difficulty we sometimes experience in communicating with therapists, or doctors, or even family members who just don’t understand, no matter how hard we try, that autism is a treatable medical disease.

Dr. Julie Buckley has written Healing Our Autistic Children to help us bridge these communication gaps.  Short and eminently readable, this book introduces the reader to complex science using office visits and patient stories, including those of her own daughter.  Documenting the actual published medical literature on which her approach is predicated at the end, this book also does what every physician should always ask- “Show me the science.”

Continue reading "AoA Contest: Win a Copy of Healing Our Autistic Children By Dr. Julie Buckley" »


France 24 Airs Interview with Dr. Marc Girard on Cancellation of 50 Million H1N1 Vaccine Doses

France 24In November, we introduced you to a debate between Dr. Marc Girard, a consultant in drug monitoring and pharmacoepidemiology and Dr. Jean-Jacques Zambrowski, on the H1N1 pandemic. France 24 has aired a follow up interview: The French government announced yesterday that it would cancel the purchase of 50 million unused swine flu vaccines, a few days after deciding to sell part of the surplus to other countries. Has the vaccination campaign been overreacting?  Click HERE to watch the program.

Continue reading "France 24 Airs Interview with Dr. Marc Girard on Cancellation of 50 Million H1N1 Vaccine Doses" »


Autism and “Normal” in China.

China child By Cordelia Ross

I was aware that China was a traditional, collectivistic, developing country before I arrived here, but I had no idea what that would mean for people with autism and their families. Turns out, there is a very prominent effect of culture on the view and treatment of people with autism.

In China, there is no tolerance for anything “abnormal”.

At school, individuals’ unique talents are not sought out and encouraged. In fact, there is no such thing as “the individual”. Unlike in the United States, where personal interests and talents are discovered at an early age and nurtured, everyone in China is expected to perform at the same level. There is no special class for “math people” or “art people” or “music people”. Everybody must be equally good at math, at art, at music. Differences are frowned upon.

Which is why children with autism are not accepted into kindergartens or schools. If they can’t work in the classroom like the other students, they must not be in the classroom. If they stand out in any way, either by their appearance (students in China follow strict rules for uniforms, shoe color, even hairstyles) or their behavior, they are seen as a distraction to the other students and hinder their learning. Even the few special education schools that do exist in China cater to the hearing- and visually-impaired and those with intellectual disabilities; they lack the knowledge and skills to educate children with autism. Autism (孤独症, literally “the loneliness disease”) is still a new term in China, and there is very little awareness of the condition. Children with autism are therefore rejected from both the mainstream and special education system. Parents see this as a complete failure; without education, can their kids still become functioning members of society?

Continue reading "Autism and “Normal” in China. " »


In Memoriam: Allan Goldblatt, Provided Medical Care for Children with Autism

Goldblatt By Michele Iallonardi

On 12/30/09, our community lost a great man.  ~Allan M. Goldblatt, PA-C, DAN.~

Earlier this week was the memorial service for Allan Goldblatt.  He was a father, a husband, a brother, a son, and a friend.  He was a DAN practitioner and he treated my son Jackson for 6 years.  Allan has worked with countless children and their families.

What was amazing and unique about Allan was that he really devoted his life to his patients and their families.  He was not the parent of a child with autism, yet he was passionate like one.  Allan literally took his work home with him-  most of his patients had his cell phone number and many of us would not hesitate to call him at night or on the weekends.  Sometimes for emergencies, (like when my son had a seizure), and sometimes for what would definitely not qualify for an emergency (like when I couldn't figure out what humidifier would be best for Jackson).  Allan didn't mind-  he answered every call and question with equal importance.  He truly wanted to help and often went out of his way to do so.  We lived in the same town, and on more than one occasion, when I was exceptionally worried,  Allan passed by our house after work to check on Jackson.  On his time.  At work he never rushed patients out the door or off the phone.  He truly cared about our children.

Continue reading "In Memoriam: Allan Goldblatt, Provided Medical Care for Children with Autism" »


Polly Tommey of Autism File Magazine on "Discredited Defamation of Dr. Andrew Wakefield"

Autism file logo US Editor's Note:  In light of the upcoming GMC decision - and always - The Autism File supports Dr. Andrew Wakefield 100 percent.  We are there with you, Dr. Wakefield, in truth and spirit.  Thank you for your courage, integrity, and love for the children.
 
If readers would like to send feedback to The Autism File, please e-mail:
 
From the US and Canada:
teri@autismfile.com
 
From the UK and elsewhere:
polly@autismfile.com

by Polly Tommey

I am getting seriously worried about the "politics" of autism here in the UK.  

The Autism File exists to provide help and support to parents, professionals, and caregivers in understanding autism better by bringing informed articles and opinions on the condition from all over the world and enabling them to then make up their minds about whether this advice will help their families and their children. We have done this for over 10 years and our readers’ feedback supports our continuing to do this.

However, over the past few months, and for reasons I cannot yet understand, a number of people and organizations have evidently decided that they should be determining the editorial policy of our magazine . . . .

Specifically, I have been "warned" not to print any more articles written by Dr. Andrew Wakefield (he wrote for the first time in the last issue); I was also warned not to invite him to speak at our conference. Separately, some organizations have warned me that they will not have anything to do with me if I continue to support and publish papers by him. Some advertisers tell me they have to stop working with us as they are "under pressure" to pull out, and a number of celebrities, high earning individuals, journalists, scientists, practitioners, and people who want to contribute to the magazine or to our campaigns say that it’s more than their job’s worth to be associated with the work of this man more than their job’s worth to even listen to what he has to say. All of them say that they can’t support The Autism File if The Autism File appears to support Dr. Wakefield.

Continue reading "Polly Tommey of Autism File Magazine on "Discredited Defamation of Dr. Andrew Wakefield"" »


Autism Speaks Applauds Consensus Statement on GI Recommendations

Autism speaks NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 4, 2010) – Autism Speaks applauds the consensus statement and recommendations for the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) released online in Pediatrics as one step in advancing physician awareness of unique challenges in the medical management of children with autism. “We are pleased to see the publication of these consensus recommendations. Autism Speaks' current efforts will take this further by creating evidence-based guidelines for physicians. The goal is to develop a comprehensive care model that will guide physicians in addressing a wide range of medical issues, including GI problems, that many individuals with autism suffer from," commented Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Autism Speaks chief science officer.

The two reports published today present outcomes of a meeting held in May 2008, sponsored by the Autism Forum, in which working groups participating in the meeting reviewed current evidence on the evaluation and treatment of GI disorders specifically for children with autism. The 2008 meeting from which these consensus recommendations were derived recognized that health care practitioners severely lack solid information to guide care of children with autism and GI problems and there is a need for more research data, including genetic research, as a prerequisite to develop evidence-based guidelines specific to autism.

Continue reading "Autism Speaks Applauds Consensus Statement on GI Recommendations" »


Age of Autism Coverage of CDC's December 23 Press Conference

Ripple_in_pond2-951x543 Below are links to our coverage of the December 23rd CDC press conference about the increasing autism numbers. The news that 40,000 children had been diagnosed with autism in a single year didn't make a ripple in the mainstream media pond.

Mark Blaxill: Lies, Damned Lies and CDC Autism Statistics

Autism - CDC Avoids The Elephant in The Room

Mark Blaxill on Fox News Re: CDC Autism Numbers

CDC Reports "True Increase in Autism Risk Can Not Be Ruled Out"

CDC Brings Bad Tidings: 40,000 Children Diagnosed This Year Alone

Katie Wright: About that CDC Autism Press Conference Right Before Christmas

David Kirby: Dr. Insel on Rising ASD Numbers: “No Question” About Environmental Factors


PBS Presents "This Emotional Life." Asperger's Segment Included.

This emotional lifeThis Emotional Life airs January 4 - 6 on PBS. Check your local listings. From PBS:

How can we all lead more emotionally healthy and fulfilling lives?   What’s the secret – and is there a secret – to emotional and mental well-being, and happiness, according to those who study it and those who experience it?  It turns out that connecting with others may be a huge part of it.   But for many children and adults who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders – including Asperger’s syndrome – connecting with others can be a constant challenge. 
 
The upcoming series, This Emotional Life (January 4-6, 2010) examines happiness, social connections, and mental resilience – and includes the story of Jason, a 29-year-old man with Asperger’s syndrome.   In this clip from first episode of the series, Jason shares insight about his trouble connecting with other people:  (Watch HERE.)
 
Here’s a Q&A from Dyllan McGee, executive producer from Kunhardt McGee Productions and one of the show’s executive producers, about why the series is important, what’s in it, and how it can help people live more fulfilling lives.  Here’s the trailer:  (Watch HERE.)
 
Q:  Why did you think it was important to produce a series like this now?

A:   This is the first time a TV experience has really probed deeply into the entire life cycle and range of complex emotional issues that impact all people.  Research now shows us that the real key to happiness and resilience doesn’t lie in what we own or buy, but it is made up of so many social attachments and our perspectives on scenarios, among other things.  That’s incredibly powerful information to know and to share with others – particularly during a time like this when so many people are really suffering from a lot of stress and anxiety due to the economy. 

Continue reading "PBS Presents "This Emotional Life." Asperger's Segment Included." »


Age of Autism Award Couple of the Year: Ed and Teri Arranga

Autism one We'd like to honor Ed and Teri Arranga as our couple of the year. Ed and Teri run Autism One. Sounds simple enough, until you delve into everything Autism One offers families facing the challenges of autism from an online community, to blogs, to resources. Plus there's Autism One Radio and the Conference held each year in Chicago.  This year the conference is called The AutismOne & Generation Rescue - Autism Redefined 2010 Conference and takes place Monday, May 24 – Sunday, May 30 at the Westin O’Hare Hotel, Chicago, Illinois. In addition, Teri is on Voice America and is USA Editor for Autism File magazine.

Ed and Teri embody Parent Warriors - and have taken the term to its apex.

Please join us in thanking them for their work.


 


Age of Autism Award Child of the Year: Sam Debold

Hope-1 On this New Year's Day, we invite you to take a look at autism recovery. Sam Debold performed for us last May at Autism One. Sam, you're our "Child of the Year." Thanks for the beautiful music. Below is the post we ran about Sam's performance after the conference, including Vicky Debold's explanation of her son's experience. Happy New Year, everyone.

Managing Editor's Note: On Saturday night at the Autism One dinner, young Sam Debold turned on the charm (and every tear duct in the room) with his musical performance. Here is Dr. Andrew Wakefield's introduction of Sam. 

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I have just a very, very small role tonight and that is to introduce someone that I first met some years ago in Detroit. He’s a Red Wings fan.  And a when I met Sam Debold through my great friend Vicky Debold, his mother, Sam was profoundly autistic.  And back then when I knew very little about this disease, I wondered quite what the prospects for Sam were.  And I’ve been following his progress over the years and Sam has been doing extremely well.

And then I received the other day a YouTube video of Sam which his mother instructed me to watch of Sam playing Hotel California - he’d only just heard it, I believe, for the first time that day and it was one of the most extraordinary things I’d ever seen.  And so it is a great great privilege for me and without any further adieu for me to introduce Sam Debold.

I should just say that Sam is dressed in a way that makes me look under-dressed.  I forgive him for that.  Sam, over to you man."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDeEtGNNexg&feature=channel_page/

How Long Must We Sing This Song?
Vicky Debold, PhD, RN

In 1983, the band U2 released an album titled War which includes Sunday Bloody Sunday, a song widely considered to be one of the most powerful political protest songs of all times.  For anyone who doesn’t know the song’s history, it captures the anguish of an observer who witnessed Northern Irish civil rights protesters being fired upon by the British army (lyrics below). 

For those of us within the vaccine-injured communities who are fighting on behalf of our children for the basic human right to make voluntary, informed vaccination decisions that are based on sound science rather than ideology, it is a battle.  And it is personal.  Like the victims of the civil war described in Sunday Bloody Sunday, many lives have been lost, our families torn apart, and everyday there’s unbelievable news where indeed, “fact” is fiction and TV becomes reality. 

For anyone fortunate enough to be able to attend this weekend’s outstanding Autism One conference and Saturday night’s dinner, they heard my 11 year-old son, Sam, sing Sunday Bloody Sunday. 

Continue reading "Age of Autism Award Child of the Year: Sam Debold" »


Entering the New Year as Public Enemy #1

Public_enemies_movie_image_johnny_depp By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

As a science teacher I’m a regular consumer of science magazines and Discover has long been among my favorites.  Despite having published some good articles on the dangers of mercury they’ve been contemptuous of the vaccine/autism theory.

I usually just breeze by those ill-informed articles to read some well-informed ones about stem cells, a recently discovered dinosaur species, or the latest findings from the human genome project.

In late December Discover publishes an edition devoted to the top 100 science stories of the year.  The #1 story of the year for the 2009 edition is entitled “Vaccine Phobia Becomes a Public-Health Threat.”  I guess that makes all of us who are trying to help our vaccine-injured children and warn others of the danger "Public Enemy #1".  Welcome to your new status.  Maybe our pictures will start showing up at the local post office.  For those of you keeping track the swine flu outbreak was story #6.

From my previous career as a lawyer I’ve found it’s often best to let people speak in their own voice.  So, here’s how Discover writer Andrew Grant opens his article.  “The question will not go away: Do vaccines cause autism?  Some 1 million to 1.5 million adults and children in the United States have received autism diagnoses, and there is no clear insight into its causes.”

There are a few things I can quibble with in the opening statement.  For example, the vast majority of individuals with autism were born sometime after 1990.  It’s a little disingenuous to lump adults and children together, but at least we both agree this problem affects somewhere between 1 and 1.5 million people in the United States.

A little further on in the article is this assertion.  “In October Michael D. Kogan of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and colleagues announced that about 1 out of 91 has a disorder on the autism spectrum.”  (Author's note - These numbers are for children born in 1998, which means they're now 11 to 12 years old.  A later study put the number at about 1 in 110, but either way there’s been a substantial increase from the previous numbers given by HHS of 1 in 150 for the 1994 birth cohort.)  A boy born during that period had a 1 in 70 chance of becoming autistic while a girl had a 1 in 315 chance.  This represents an increase of 60% for boys and a 41% increase for girls according to the CDC's own website.

The public health threat we represent is characterized as follows, “Meanwhile, the reluctance of some parents to immunize their children can lead to the return of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles . . . Across the United States, reported measles cases shot up from 43 in 2007 to 140 in 2008, and more than 90 percent of those reported in 2008 were among children who were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status.”  (But then, how can we tell if measles cases have really gone up?  Maybe doctors are just getting better at diagnosing it!)

Continue reading "Entering the New Year as Public Enemy #1" »


Age of Autism Awards: Steven Higgs, Best New Blogger

Autism5_200 Managing Editor's Note: You can subscribe to Steven Higg's blog  
HERE.

By Anne Dachel
 
As autism continues to overwhelm our children and health officials still haven't figured out if there's a problem, the Internet has become a source for answers for countless thousands.  The mainstream media rarely deviates from announcing the latest autism gene study and giving us the standard claim that no one knows if more kids have autism.  Vaccines have been exonerated.  Major news sources work to lull the public into autism acceptance.  Autism happens; we just need to adjust and accommodate it. 
 
Any rational adult can recognize that something is very wrong.  A generation of children is now afflicted with a disorder no one ever heard about 30 years ago.  Kids like this weren't around when we were young.  Enter the Internet.  Real information is a click away.  Sources that never make the network news can be found there.  One of these, the Bloomington Alternative (HERE), is outstanding.  The work of Steven Higgs, editor and publisher of The Bloomington Alternative since 2002, deserves recognition by the autism community. Higgs (editor@BloomingtonAlternative.com) collects his columns in a blog called Autism and the Indiana Environment.

Here is his own description of the blog's creation: "It's been a year since John McCain piqued my reporter's curiosity about the parallel epidemics of autism and environmental pollution that have swept our nation the past couple decades, a journalistically productive and, sadly, intellectually reaffirming 12-month period, to be sure.

Since the Arizona senator announced on the campaign trail last year that he would find the cause of autism if elected, I have pursued the question through interviews with parents, clinicians, advocates, physicians and researchers; stories, articles and books; and more than a few studies and videos. I've also published nearly a dozen-and-a-half stories on the subject in The Bloomington Alternative, CounterPunch online and print editions, NUVO and IU Alumni Magazine.

So far, nothing I've found contradicts my initial premise that toxic pollution is a contributing factor to the meteoric rise we've seen in the incidence of autism. To the contrary, that argument seems more plausible today than it did when I began this time last year. All signs point to "yes," so I am taking this project to the next level.

Phase II, as it were, will involve a more in-depth analysis of the connection between environmental pollution and autism in Indiana, within a new literary framework. From this point forward, the online aspect of this project will be called the "Autism and the Indiana Environment" blog. And it will involve research for a book with a working title of "Autism and the Environment: Indiana, Industrial Pollution and Developmental Disabilities," as well as more freelance writing."

Higg's stories are easily found on Google News.
 
Dec 27, 2009, Defeating autism, now (HERE) talked about biomedical and dietary intervention. 

Continue reading "Age of Autism Awards: Steven Higgs, Best New Blogger " »


Age of Autism Award: Jim Carrey, Quote of the Year

Jim carrey on lkl We award the 2009 Quote of the Year to Jim Carrey, who appeared on Larry King Live on April 4th, with Jenny McCarthy, J.B. Handley, Dr. Jerry Kartzinel and a group of autism epidemic and treatment deniers who appear to be against vaccine safety for all children.

Thank you, Jim.

KING: Isn't the problem here, Jenny, that people sometimes listen with one ear are going to panic. And not vaccine at all?

MCCARTHY: Probably. But guess what? It's not my fault. The reason why they're not vaccinating is because the vaccines are not safe. Make a better product and then parents will vaccinate.

CARREY: We're not the problem. The problem is the problem.

HANDLEY: The AAP has failed our kids.


2009 Age of Autism Awards: Memorial for Trudy Steuernagel

Trudy and sky We present this memorial to Trudy Steuernagel, the mother of Sky Walker. Her beating death at the hand of her severely autistic son serves as a reminder of the seriousness of autism for many families, and the lack of support often available. Sky is now living in an institution in Ohio, missing his mother, his remaining family trying their best to piece together a life for him. We've heard from some family members. They are good people who have been placed in a difficult situation. Below are some of the articles about the story during the year.

Kent State professor Trudy Steuernagel's fierce protection of her autistic son, Sky Walker, costs her life: Sheltering Sky

18 Year Old With Autism Faces Murder Charges

Mom with Autism Talks About Sky Walker Matricide Case

Portage County's Sky Walker Autism Murder Case


Autism's Harsh Reality: The Death of Harry Horne-Roberts

Tragedy By John Stone

The parents of Harry, Jennie and Keith, have issued the following press release:

Harry Horne-Roberts born 29th June 1989, had been in the care of the London Borough of Islington since August 2007, as his ageing parents Jennie, a Barrister and Keith, an Architect, could no longer keep him safely at home. He lived near them in supported accommodation and they took him on outings 4-5 times per week. They are described by his Daycentre as 'brilliant, devoted parents'.

Harry was described by the Tavistock Centre in London as highly intelligent. He became autistic aged 1 having received the MMR jab then. He was however an outstanding artist and musician and had already had many exhibitions in London.

Harry sometimes became anxious and would then be noisy, sometimes staying awake late.  Jennie and Keith discovered to their horror after his death that his medication, which they had thought was a tranquillizer such as valium, was in fact Chlorpromazine a dangerous anti-psychotic drug which can cause sudden death and heart failure. He had been taking 150 mgs. of this per day. His parents tried to visit his psychiatrist but were cut out of his health care and received no replies to their several letter to Dr. Jaydeokar of Haringey LDP (Learning Disability Partnership) near Harry's care home.

Harry died in his sleep of heart failure on the morning of 16th December 2009, having been healthy and active when his parents took him for a walk in Epping Forest two days before. He was physically healthy and had had only two colds in his life. He was overweight, about 20 stone, which is an additional reason why he should not have been prescribed any anti-psychotic medication (as these increase weight).He was certainly NOT psychotic. He had late onset autism with its accompanying anxieties. He should have been helped, not given chemical cosh which resulted in his death.

His parents are utterly devastated as well as grief-stricken. Everybody loved Harry who was a very special boy.

Is Britain now a fascist murdering state? It would seem so. Many others may have died, and more be still at risk.

Our most beloved and talented son Harry R.I.P.

Jennifer and Keith Horne-Roberts.

Continue reading "Autism's Harsh Reality: The Death of Harry Horne-Roberts" »


Age of Autism Awards: Louise Kuo Habakus, Person of the Year

Louise_habakus By Dan Olmsted    
 
 It’s been a rough year for people concerned about the relentless onslaught of autism in America’s children. First, the U.S. vaccine court ruled against three brave families who were fighting to establish a link to their children's disorders, dismissing the parents as dupes and their lawyers and scientists as worse. Then a slew of negative and know-nothing articles tried to make anyone concerned about the issue look not just dumb but downright dangerous.
 
Meanwhile, the number of afflicted children kept rising like the waters after a levee break – and the federal government’s response was suitably Katrina-worthy. The storm surge has now reached 1 in 100 children, more or less, and in some states and some populations, far more than that.
 
But amid the doom and gloom, there were bright spots -- none brighter, ironically, than New Jersey, the place with an autism rate so high the CDC “disappeared” the entire state in its latest calculation; not coincidentally, it’s also the home of rivers of toxic waste, an armada of pharmaceutical companies, and a torrent of legislated vaccine mandates taken to extremes never before witnessed in America.
 
But New Jersey is home, too, to Louise Kuo Habakus, who did something quite amazing this year – rallying vaccine advocates and concerned citizens in numbers that made the difference in the New Jersey governor’s race, defeating Jon Corzine and carrying Chris Christie, the first candidate to go on record for vaccine choice, to victory.
 
For this, as well as for her tireless, smart and effective educational efforts and advocacy, we’re pleased to name Louise Kuo Habakus our Person of the Year.
 
In doing so, we’re also acknowledging and, hopefully, encouraging some shifting currents. We’ve pleaded with complacent – and in some cases complicit -- bureaucrats and their media apologists long enough. It’s time to confront their bosses and fire them when we have to, time to tap into the innate decency and common sense of the American people – who, when they've had enough, have a long and distinguished history of throwing da bums out.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Awards: Louise Kuo Habakus, Person of the Year" »


Autism Ambassadors Train Typical Peers to Work with Peers with ASD

Autism ambassadors Have you heard of Autism Ambassadors? A group of four high school students have created a program for schools to train typical students to respect and work with their peers with autism spectrum disorders. Follow them on Twitter, HERE. Their Facebook page is HERE. From their site:

The idea for Autism Ambassadors was conceived during the summer of 2008, by Zak Kukoff.   When Zak was about three, his family took in a cousin with Autism from Southern California.  For four years, Zak saw how she was mistreated and maligned in the classroom.  Years later, when recalling his cousin’s negative experience, Zak and his colleagues who comprise the student advisory board, Max Sauberman, Tyler Feldman and Zach Flyer, came up with the idea for Autism Ambassadors and, with the help of a psychologist, developed a curriculum to teach average children how to acclimate children with Autism to a typical lifestyle.

Mission Statement:

Autism Ambassadors aims to teach typical children how to help children with Autism become accustomed to daily classroom experiences.

 


Music To The Mind - Activating Human Potential

SAS-Logo-8 Steven Michaëlis

Music has been around for a long time. A simple flute made from bone was used by Neanderthal man more than 40,000 years ago and clay tablets found in Syria depict the score of 4,000 year old songs. But we do not have to go back that far for evidence that music is an integral part of the human experience. A foetus in the mothers womb will start to react to sounds at just 16 weeks and in a clinical experiment Brahms Lullaby being played to premature babies six times a day for just five minutes each time resulted in faster weight gain. Babies start to sway and rock to music long before they can walk or talk and much language is learned through nursery rhymes and songs. Adults spend billions on pre-recorded and live music because it makes them feel better.

So what is it that makes music so special? We listen to music using our two ears and the signal received by our ears is send to the brain for processing. To be able to filter, comprehend and use this information the brain needs to organise all the incoming data. It will look for patterns and similarities and it will try to match these to previous experiences stored in memory. Fortunately almost all music is highly structured and organised, with only small, often predictable, variations providing the tune or melody. Music thus provides pre-organised information to the brain, which is very easily assimilated and processed. The rhythm and beats within music often mimic our breathing and heart rate. Thus music with a slow rhythm can relax us, while disc jockeys in clubs make use of the beats-per-minute to whip the audience on the dance floor into an ever-increasing frenzy.

Music is food for the brain and it can influence how we feel, learn and develop in extraordinary ways. Rather than using it randomly when we have some spare time or just feel like it, it can be used in a much more directed and purposeful way to improve emotional well-being, speed up learning or help overcome developmental difficulties.

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Ginger Taylor at Adventures in Autism Called Gerberding Move Months Ago

Our colleague Ginger Taylor of Adventures in Autism called the Dr. Gerberding move almost a year ago, read the full post HERE.

Wow... Congratulations Julie! Who would have guessed that you would be the one person in the whole world  that Merck would want to head their vaccine division? Oh... that is right... we did.

Me, January 10, 2009:

"Anyone wanna start bets on where our friend Julie will land? Eli Lilly? Merck perhaps? "


Dr. Bob Sears Demands Autism Epidemic Response from his AAP Colleagues

Dr. Bob Sears Thank you, Dr. Bob Sears  for writing the HuffPo post: Wake up Medical Establishment: There's an Autism Epidemic!  Please click into Huffington Post to comment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study last week that reveals a dramatic increase in the incidence of autism over just a four-year period.

In this brand new study of children born in 1998, 1 in 110 were found to be on the autism spectrum. This finding correlates with a recent study in Pediatrics that found the autism rate for children born in the 90s and early 2000s is 1 in 91. Obvious to anyone confronted by these studies, autism is a huge problem, and it's getting worse.

Previous studies conducted by the CDC have reported that 1 in 150 children born in 1994 were diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

But let me tell you what I continue to hear from my colleagues in the pediatric community: "There's been no increase in autism - we're just better at recognizing it." I just attended a pediatric lecture, and the speaker, a local pediatrician, stated this very clearly.

I just don't get it. How long will pediatricians continue to deny that autism is truly on the rise? I guess as long as autism isn't a problem, we don't have to work very hard to find what's causing it...? 

Click HERE to read and comment at HuffPo.


BREAKING NEWS: Julie Gerberding, former CDC Director, to become President of Merck's vaccine business

Gerberding WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was named president of Merck & Co Inc's (MRK.N) vaccine division, the company said on Monday.

Gerberding, who led the CDC from 2002 to 2009 and stepped down when President Barack Obama took office, will head up the company's $5 billion global vaccine business that includes shots to prevent chickenpox, cervical cancer and pneumonia. [Editor's note: Gerberding will begin her new job on January 25th, 2010. One year is the minimum time allowable for former Federal officials to take such a job with companies they used to regulate]

She had led CDC from one crisis to another, including the investigation into the anthrax attacks that killed five people in 2001, the H5N1 avian influenza, the global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and various outbreaks of food poisoning.

"As a preeminent authority in public health, infectious diseases and vaccines, Dr. Gerberding is the ideal choice to lead Merck's engagement with organizations around the world that share our commitment to the use of vaccines to prevent disease and save lives," Merck Chief Executive Officer Richard Clark said in a statement.

She may be charged with reigniting flagging sales of Merck's Gardasil vaccine to prevent cervical cancer by protecting against human papillomavirus or HPV. After an encouraging launch Gardasil sales have been falling and were down 22 percent in the third quarter at $311 million.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2124506920091221 


Autism - CDC Avoids The Elephant in The Room

Elephant in the room Atlanta, GA – A study released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that autism prevalence has increased a staggering 57% from the 1994 rate of 1 in 150  to 1 in 110 for children born in 1998. SafeMinds is extremely dissatisfied with CDC’s lack of commitment to researching environmental causes and the timing of their announcement. 

Mark Blaxill, SafeMinds Director told FoxNews.com , “I would say that releasing something the Friday before Christmas is about as deep as you can bury something.”

CDC’s Catherine Rice said, “We know there are multiple complex genetic and environmental factors which result in multiple forms of autism and we have much to learn about the causes.” However, absent from press conference and subsequent call with autism advocacy groups were specifics on the types of environmental exposures to be investigated. They skirted questions about potential environmental causes and avoided using words like “toxic exposures” or “pollutants” despite very pointed questions from advocates. 

Continue reading "Autism - CDC Avoids The Elephant in The Room" »


Student Assaulted by Teachers for Handing out Fliers on Vaccine Risks

Breckenridge hs By J.B. Handley
 
Informed consent? With vaccine administration, it rarely happens in the real world.
 
We live in a great age. Technology has given everyone a chance to find truth, and when necessary, expose idiots, like certain teachers at Breckenridge High School in Breckenridge, Minnesota.
 
The video you are about to watch hits very close to home. (Watch here: Courage)
 


Last Fall, for the first time ever, one of my son’s schools decided to have a flu shot clinic, using exclusively thimerosal-containing vaccines and welcoming kids of all ages. In a fit of local activism, we chose to hand out flyers warning parents of the risks of vaccines, and were promptly escorted off school grounds by the head of the school board (and, no, that’s not where we stopped fighting, but that’s a story for another day).
 
What happened to informed consent? What are people so afraid of?
 
I’m proud to know of Robert Wanek and his willingness to courageously stand on principle and try to educate and help his classmates and teachers. Congratulations, Robert, on being true to yourself, free speech, and informed consent. And, thanks for making such an entertaining video, I hope you release the additional video of the teachers soon. 
 
Teachers and the Principal of Breckenridge High School? Shame on you.

J.B. Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue. You can follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jbhandley.