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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.

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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?.."

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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.

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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.

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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:
From the UK and elsewhere:

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.

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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.

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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."

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  

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 ( 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.

Continue reading "Music To The Mind - Activating Human Potential" »

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. 

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 , “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

Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 12/18

AOAFKarin is our winner. Please email me at with your T-shirt size (M-XL) and mailing address. She commented on, Autism Speaks GI Symposium by Katie Wright.

This might sound cold, but I am sick of hearing about doctors who "want to help but don't know what to do." This is B.S.- if parents with backgrounds/careers in law, plumbing, culinary arts, finance, marketing, orthinology, social work, teaching, history, accounting, computers, art, etc, etc, etc can learn about all of this, then surely medical doctors who specialize in children and/or GI issues should be able to locate this "Top Secret" information as well!!

I am not implying that training isn't needed and/or that info doesn't need to be widely does!!! But I also don't buy into the "Woe is me...can't figure out what to do about these kids w/ ASD and GI issues- wah!" If WE can figure it out, THEY can figure ot out.

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.

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Age of Autism Contest: Win the Novel "600 Hours of Edward" Featuring Aspergian Main Character

600 hours craig lancaster Congrats to Michael McDonald who won a signed copy of Craig Lancaster's book, "600 Hours of Edward."

Edward Stanton, an Aspie who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, has managed to keep the world at arm's length. But in a 25-day slice of his life -- 600 hours -- the world turns the tables on him and crashes at his front door, forcing him to react. It's a story not just of Edward's accommodation of change but also of change's accommodation of him.
"600 Hours of Edward has some laugh-out-loud moments, some tender moments, and an ending that will probably bring you to tears." -- Sue Hart, PEN Award winner for syndicated fiction and 2007 WILLA Award winner for creative non-fiction.

Didn't win? Order a copy at Amazon now HERE! You can learn more at Craig's site: Craig Lancaster.

Mark Blaxill on Fox News Re: CDC Autism Numbers

Going up Click HERE to read the full story on Fox News, featuring Mark Blaxill's comments toward the end.

Close to 1 percent or an average of 1 out of every 110 8-year-olds in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder, according to a study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday.

The results of the 2006 study, reported in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, represent a 57 percent increase in the number of children identified with some form of autism since a similar study was conducted in 2002.

It’s estimated that 40,000 new cases of autism were diagnosed in this year alone. Catherine Rice, a behavioral health scientist with the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, called the problem “an urgent health concern,” during a CDC media briefing Friday.

Rice said the rate of increase of autism disorders in children is 4 to 5 percent higher in boys than it is in girls.

She said the CDC is currently studying risk factors both during the mother’s pregnancy and the first few years of a child’s life. Rice added that there are multiple causes of autism spectrum disorders and that a single cause will not be identified. She also said that some of the increase is due to better diagnosing of the disorder.

“A simple explanation is not apparant," she said. "We know that there are multiple complex genetic and environmental factors that cause autism...”

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

Breaking news From CDC, read: Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders --- Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, United States, 2006

...Although some of the increases are due to better detection, a true increase in risk cannot be ruled out. Increased concern in the communities, continued demand for services, and recent prevalence estimates underscore the need for a coordinated and serious response to improve the lives of people with ASDs. The CDC considers ASDs to be an urgent public health concern.

We ran two press releases from SafeMinds about this CDC report on autism prevalence:

1) CDC Brings Bad Tidings: 40,000 Children Diagnosed With Autism In This Year Alone

2) CDC Study Expected to Announce 1 in 100 Autism Rate—A Startling 50% Jump in Just Two Years. Evidence Points to an Environmental Trigger.

NYT Reports CDC Failed to Properly Screen Vaccine Advisors for Conflicts of Interest

Conflict_of_interest_pic Read the full article by Gardiner Harris in the New York Times, (HERE.)   

WASHINGTON — A new report finds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a poor job of screening medical experts for financial conflicts when it hired them to advise the agency on vaccine safety, officials said Thursday.

Most of the experts who served on advisory panels in 2007 to evaluate vaccines for flu and cervical cancer had potential conflicts that were never resolved, the report said. Some were legally barred from considering the issues but did so anyway.

In the report, expected to be released Friday, Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, found that the centers failed nearly every time to ensure that the experts adequately filled out forms confirming they were not being paid by companies with an interest in their decisions...

WINNER: Age of Autism Contest: GFCF Traditional Holiday Fare and Support Heroes with Handicaps

Traditional holiday fare The winner is RANDY.  Stephanie Hemenway will send you a signed copy of The Autism Mom Cooks Gluten Free Casein Free Traditional Holiday Fare for our contest.  The contest is CLOSED.

You can order this book and learn more at Stephanie's website, Autism Mom Cooks GFCF. 

Continue reading "WINNER: Age of Autism Contest: GFCF Traditional Holiday Fare and Support Heroes with Handicaps" »

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

40000 CDC Brings Bad Tidings: 40,000 Children Diagnosed With Autism In This Year Alone.

SafeMinds calls for immediate action from public health officials and implores journalists to ask the tough questions listed here:

Atlanta, GA – A study to be released Friday by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is expected to report that autism prevalence has reached the epidemic rate of 1 in 100 children. The new estimate is for children born in 1996 and represents a 50% increase in just two years over a 2007 CDC calculation  of 1 in 150 for children born in 1994. Approximately 40,000 children will be diagnosed with autism this year alone. SafeMinds calls for cutting edge research now!

The rapid increase in such a short period cannot be accounted for by changes in diagnostic criteria or greater awareness of autism. The children born in 1994 and in 1996 were diagnosed under the same version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM IV), which was issued in 1994 before any of these children were diagnosed (on average, at age 4 years) and has not changed since then. Autism began its sharp growth curve with children born in 1988-1989 – 8 years after autism had been added to an earlier DSM version in 1980.  Any increase in awareness would have had an equal effect on children born in 1994 and in 1996. Children born in 1994 and in 1996 would also have been eligible for the same educational services under IDEA, which was revised to include autism in 1990 and has not been changed since then.

Since purely genetic disorders do not exhibit such a rapid change in prevalence, the increase in autism points to environmental factors as the primary cause of autism. “It is imperative that public health officials take immediate and substantive steps to investigate the environmental factors that are most likely driving the autism epidemic,” said Sallie Bernard, Executive Director of SafeMinds.

Continue reading " CDC Brings Bad Tidings: 40,000 Children Diagnosed With Autism In This Year Alone" »

CDC Study Expected to Announce 1 in 100 Autism Rate—A Startling 50% Jump in Just Two Years. Evidence Points to an Environmental Trigger.

Safeminds CDC Study Expected to Announce 1 in 100 Autism Rate—A Startling 50% Jump in Just Two Years. Evidence Points to an Environmental Trigger. SafeMinds calls for more targeted environmental research and vaccine safety studies to begin immediately.

Atlanta, GA – Researchers report that autism has risen to an epidemic rate of 1 in 100 children in a study to be released on Friday by the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network office of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), This rate represents a 50% increase between the two birth cohort years of 1994 and 1996 and mirrors a recent study released by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which found a rate of 1 in 91 children, 1 in 58 boys.

In 2007, the ADDM released a similar study conducted in 2002 examining children born in 1994 that found the autism rate to be 1 in 150. In the study to be released Friday, the CDC looked at children born in 1996 (8 years old in 2004) and determined that there was a substantial increase of 50% between those two birth years.

This study and other recently published research clearly indicate that autism cannot solely be caused by genetic differences because it is impossible for genetic diseases to increase at such astronomical rates. It also cannot be explained by better diagnosing, changes in diagnostic criteria or migration patterns. It is clearly triggered by the environment. It’s well past time that CDC and NIH treat the autism epidemic with the national emergency status it deserves and act with crisis level response.

Though alarming, researchers MUST acknowledge the obvious trend and its connection to the environment to help children. This conclusion is supported by an NIH funded study released earlier this year by the UC Davis M.I.N.D, Institute which “found that the seven- to eight-fold increase in the number children born in California with autism since 1990 cannot be explained by either changes in how the condition is diagnosed or counted — and the trend shows no sign of abating.” The study’s lead investigator, Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto , a professor of environmental and occupational health and epidemiology and an internationally respected autism researcher, added, “It’s time to start looking for the environmental culprits responsible for the remarkable increase in the rate of autism in California.”

The two ADDM reports from 1994 and 1996 birth years provide autism researchers a significant investigative clue by narrowing the years needed to investigate what changed in the environment to trigger such an increase in autism in such a short time frame.

Continue reading "CDC Study Expected to Announce 1 in 100 Autism Rate—A Startling 50% Jump in Just Two Years. Evidence Points to an Environmental Trigger. " »

The Atlantic Reports that Tamiflu May Have Been Falsely Marketed

Atlantic Click HERE to read the full article in The Atlantic.

Two months ago, we pointed out in our story on flu in The Atlantic that the antiviral drug Tamiflu might not be as effective or safe as many patients, doctors, and governments think. The drug has been widely prescribed since the first cases of H1N1 flu surfaced last spring, and the U.S. government has spent more than $1.5 billion stockpiling it since 2005 as part of the nation’s pandemic preparedness plan.

Now it looks as if our concerns were correct, and the nation may have put more than a billion dollars into the medical equivalent of a mirage. This week, the British medical journal BMJ published a multi-part investigation that confirms that the scientific evidence just isn’t there to show that Tamiflu prevents serious complications, hospitalization, or death in people that have the flu. The BMJ goes further to suggest that Roche, the Swiss company that manufactures and markets Tamiflu, may have misled governments and physicians. In its defense, Roche stated that the company “has never concealed (or had the intention to conceal) any pertinent data.”

Autism: Regression, Aggression

Aggressive_children We ran a link to over the weekend to The Cleveland Plain dealer article (HERE) about Sky Walker, the young man who is alleged (there has been no trial due to his autism) to have beaten his mother, Kent State University professor Trudy Stuernagel, to death. Professor Steurnagel had written a letter to her family, in case of her death at the hand of her son. Our contributor Teresa Conrick allowed us to run her comment on the story as a post.

By Teresa Conrick

This could be Megan. I keep thinking that over and over. Too many similarities- I have videos of her playing with her dad and me- peek a boo, laughing, smiling, hugging, and then the gradual disappearance and then big regression.

She was this new child - no sleep, sickly, crying all the time, and it got worse and worse. I used to have all the holidays, then I was home, alone with Megan as she was too out of control, biting, hitting, having daily enuresis and.....worse throughout the house, and so sad. Out of nowhere she would run at me with her little elbow extended, as a weapon to hurt me. She was like a woman in labor, lashing out as the pain would ebb and flow, as the inflammation would ravish her body.

Goodbye marriage,assorted friends, and confused family members. I was on survival mode as I would drive Megan around at assorted times of the day and night so she would stop banging her head or biting. She would become so aggressive as her eyes would dilate, she would run around like she was on fire and I was afraid of what she would do. I didn't know it was pain...but did find Ibuprofen to become imperative to stop these episodes.... the unknown inflammation. There was no medical help as Megan had "autism" and I was told there was no treatments besides behavioral. We did intense behavioral (ABA) and that had no impact on these episodes of aggression.

Continue reading "Autism: Regression, Aggression" »

Autism One & Generation Rescue Autism Redefined 2010 Conference

Chicago skyline The Hopes of a Mother . . . the Dreams of a Father . . . Are Real. Our Children Get Better.

Conference details will be posted soon at
Registration opens this week.

The Autism One & Generation Rescue - Autism Redefined 2010 Conference
Monday, May 24 – Sunday, May 30
Westin O’Hare Hotel, Chicago, Illinois

We could not be more pleased to bring you Autism Redefined 2010 and share with you the tremendous excitement we feel. The most comprehensive autism conference internationally is getting bigger and better.

For 7 days in May, everything you thought you knew and could do will be challenged and changed. You will be informed, educated, and join the legion of parents who are embracing prevention and recovery.

Conference Speakers - Partial List for 2010:

Keynote Address - Jenny McCarthy

James Adams, PhD
Timothy Adams, Esq.
Lynne Arnold, MA
Mary Lynch Barbera, RN, MSN, BCBA
Daniel Barth, PhD
Jeffrey Becker, OD
Michael Biamonte, CCN
Mark Blaxill, MBA
Kenneth Bock, MD
Tom Bohager
Jeff Bradstreet, MD

Continue reading "Autism One & Generation Rescue Autism Redefined 2010 Conference" »

Flutie Family Fence Project And Northeastern Fence & Supply Keep Children with Autism Safe

Flutie Many organizations within the autism world do wonderful work for people on the spectrum and their families. The Flutie Foundation is one of them. Check out their "Flutie Family Fence Project" in conjunction with Northeastern Fence of Saugus, Massachusetts.  Last week a 7 year old boy with autism named James Delorey wandered from home in Canada. He died as a result of hypothermia following two days in the frigid weather.

Read the full article on the Flutie Family Fence Project at WickedLocal: Saugus, MA News

The issue of wandering is prevalent within the Autism community. According to a recent online survey conducted by National Autism Association, 92 percent of the respondents said their autistic child was prone to wandering.

“With any child, there is always a concern for safety when kids are playing outside,” said Chris Chirco, Director of Programming at the Flutie Foundation. “That concern rises for parents of autistic children, who often wander and don’t understand the concept of danger or the repercussions of walking into traffic. Installing a fence around the yard where children play is an important tool that allows parents to create a safe area for their child to play freely.”

Chirco said the idea of complimentary fence installation, now known as the Flutie Family Fence Project, came after repeated calls by parents, voicing their concerns about the issue. He put out a call to action for fence companies throughout the state, and Northeastern Fence stepped up to the plate...

The Poetry of an Autism Sibling

Swing in snow
By Rachel LaViola

Casually spread
over striped sheets and throw pillows
purple, blue, red
I lie on my bed
phone by my head
chatting away with an old friend
one of those routine correspondences–
ok, bi-monthly
ok, I should call her more often.
–nothing too circumstantial
simple and pleasant,
but insubstantial

How’s life?
How’s school?
Got a boyfriend?
Remember when?

Years of shared experiences
Compressed like books between bookends
Cuz time doesn’t just “pass”
Time definitely stacks
Condensing years into angular spaces
As others accumulate in adjacent places.

Say hi to the family!
Oh by the way,
heard about your brother…
I’ve got a cousin twice removed…
same deal…
I get it.

Continue reading "The Poetry of an Autism Sibling" »

Preparing for Death at the Hand of Your Autistic Child

Trudy and sky That may seem like a macabre or shock-value headline. It is not. Dr. Trudy Stuernagel, Mom to a severely autistic son in NorthEast Ohio, prepared her family for the eventuality that her son, Sky Walker, could kill her.

And he did.

Read more about Sky Walker and him Mom (RIP) at the Cleveland Plain Dealer blog HERE. Little boys with autism grow up. Little girls too.

"To Whom it May Concern: If this letter has been opened and is being read, it is because I have been seriously injured or killed by my son, Sky Walker."

No one knows for sure when Trudy Steuernagel wrote that letter.

She read it to her ex-husband, Scott Walker, in the spring of 2008, when their autistic son, Sky, had grown so violent she sometimes had to barricade herself in a closet.

By then, Trudy's life had begun to feel a lot like that closet. Small. Dark. Isolated. Her ex-husband was gone, living in Wisconsin with his new wife and stepson. Many of her friends were gone, too, lost to the demands she faced caring for Sky...

Age of Autism Comment of the Week 12/12

AOAFMadvocate is our commenter of the week on Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted's Counting Offit's Millions post.  Please email me at with your T-shirt size (M-XL) and mailing address.

What an immense investigative project you've both undertaken. Your detailed description of the complex path of Rotateq revenues has made one thing crystal clear: Paul Offit has suppressed the truth about his Rotateq earnings - past, present and potential.

And let's not forget, in addition to enriching Offit, Rotateq millions are filling politicians' campaign chests, feeding a hungry media, funding the AAP and luring government officials through an ever-revolving door with pharma. The moral corruption is as pervasive as the developmental disorder it spawned.

Thank you Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted  for documenting the royalty streams and river of lies that flow in the land of Offit.

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.

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Online Portal Helps Children with Autism: WhizKidGames

Swinburne_logo A series of free online computer games designed for children with autism has been created by a group of final year multimedia students from Swinburne University, in collaboration with Bulleen Heights Autism School and the National eTherapy Centre.

WhizKidGames is an online portal that aims to help autistic children develop their independent living skills, focusing on areas such as coping with change, recognising emotions and non-verbal communication.

It includes 16 therapeutic games themed around everyday activities such as getting dressed, going to school and following a schedule.

In developing WhizKid Games, students were given expert advice by researchers from the Swinburne Autism Bio-Research Initiative (SABRI) and teachers from Bulleen Heights Autism School.

According to SABRI director, Associate Professor David Austin, the games will provide a real benefit for children with moderate to severe autism.

Continue reading "Online Portal Helps Children with Autism: WhizKidGames" »

$7.65B From Congress for Flu Vaccines. But No Flu?

Image_-_money_in_toilet ...Congress appropriated $7.65 billion in June to fight pandemic flu, including H1N1. Of that, $6.15 billion has been spent or is set aside, most of it for vaccine purchases and related supplies, including syringes, needles, antivirals and other support... Read more about the cost of the H1N1/seasonal flu program at PBS Newshour.

As reported in The Washington Post, the flu pandemic is looking to be the mildest since tracking began. Now, what does the government do with millions of doses of (mercury laden) vaccines? And what could the government have done with $7.65B during our nation's worst economic crisis in almost a century?

Counting Offit’s Millions: More on How Merck’s Rotateq Vaccine Made Paul Offit Wealthy

Doc under mag glass By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Paul Offit, vaccine entrepreneur and public health spokesperson, has earned approximately $10 million in income from Rotateq® royalties through 2009 and stands to earn a total of between $13-35 million over the life of his rotavirus vaccine patents, according to a new analysis by Age of Autism. Our analysis also shows that Offit’s future royalty income is strongly tied to Rotateq®’s future sales in domestic and international markets, giving him a strong financial stake in both the specific success of the rotavirus vaccine category and the global reputation of vaccines in general.

This new analysis by Age of Autism updates an earlier report in which we detailed Offit’s financial conflicts. Our original report, derived through independent reporting on which Offit and his employer would not comment, was based on information that we have since learned did not reflect recent changes in practices on sharing patent revenues with inventors and a private agreement on revenue sharing between Offit and his co-inventors. Our new estimate of Offit's total profit of $13-35 million through 2019, overlaps the range of our original estimate of $29-55 million. Both those estimates exceed Offit's recent -- and apparently partial -- disclosure that he made "about 6 million.”

The connection between Offit’s public role as an authority on vaccines and autism, and his financial interests, is rarely mentioned when Offit is quoted in news accounts. And although he once received harsh criticism from a Congressional committee for his participation in a government advisory panel while his own patented vaccine, Rotateq®, was undergoing clinical trials, he continues to seek opportunities to influence the public debate without apparent consequence. The magnitude of Offit’s ongoing financial benefit from this public advocacy is described for the first time here.

Offit did not respond to a request for comment. We also asked one of the patent owners, the Wistar Institute, about the arrangement in order to confirm our calculations. “Wistar is one of the owners of the patent” and licensed it to Merck, said Meryle J. Melnicoff, Director of Business Development, referring us to the Wistar Web site for details on how Wistar shares license royalties to inventors. This statement supports the analysis below.

New information from Offit allows more detailed analysis

We previously reported (HERE) that Offit, co-inventor of Merck’s Rotateq® vaccine, sat on the regulatory body that held the authority to create the market for the rotavirus vaccine category, participated in committee deliberations that bore directly on the commercial value of that category and voted in favor of measures that expanded the resulting market; all this while a vaccine formulation protected by his patented invention in the same category was proceeding through clinical trials. We estimated the personal profit Offit made when his own rotavirus vaccine was subsequently approved, marketed and a portion of his royalties securitized in a transaction worth $182 million. We asked Offit and his employer, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to comment on our estimates but CHOP declined comment and Offit never responded to our inquiry.Recently, however, Offit has revealed to others additional information on his personal stake in Merck’s Rotateq® vaccine (for Offit’s public emails on this issue, see HERE). These new disclosures enable us to refine our earlier estimates and present a sharper picture of Offit’s financial interest in the success of the invention his sponsors at CHOP and the Wistar Institute licensed to Merck. Our original analysis estimated Offit’s profits from Rotateq® in a range of $29-55 million, all of which we suggested flowed to him following a single lump sum payment to CHOP from a financial firm called Royalty Pharma. Offit now claims that the one-time payment from CHOP was less than our estimate, revealing to Amy Wallace of Wired Magazine that CHOP paid him “several million dollars” and to others that he received “about $6 million.”

“It was a ridiculous amont [sic] of money…but it is also a far cry from what has been claimed.”

Continue reading "Counting Offit’s Millions: More on How Merck’s Rotateq Vaccine Made Paul Offit Wealthy" »

Is One Man to Blame for the WorldWide H1N1 Panic?

Osterhaus_albert Read the full article at Market Oracle. If only the American mainstream media would scrutinize who was behind the panic and the profit here in America.

The man with the nickname “Dr Flu”, Professor Albert Osterhaus, of the Erasmus University in Rotterdam Holland has been named by Dutch media researchers as the person at the center of the worldwide Swine Flu H1N1 Influenza A 2009 pandemic hysteria. Not only is Osterhaus the connecting person in an international network that has been described as the Pharma Mafia, he is THE key advisor to WHO on influenza and is intimately positioned to personally profit from the billions of euros in vaccines allegedly aimed at H1N1...

...Earlier this year the Second Chamber of the Netherland Parliament undertook an investigation into alleged conflicts of interest and financial improprieties of the well-known Dr. Osterhaus. Outside Holland and a mention at the time in the Dutch media, the only note of the sensational investigation into Osterhaus’ business affairs came in a tiny note in the respected British magazine, Science.

Osterhaus's credentials and expertise in his field were not in question. What is according to a short report published by the journal Science, are his links to corporate interests that stand to potentially profit from the swine flu pandemic.

Kickin’ the Tires of the Green Vaccine Initiative

Ferrari-dealership-11-03-09 By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

From the years I worked in sales there was one piece of information which has always stuck with me.  It’s said that even when a person goes to a car dealership knowing he wants to get a specific car, the salesman still has to ask for the sale at least five times before the customer says yes.

I understand very few of you had ever considered a ballot proposition as a way to make progress in combating autism.  You didn't intend to walk onto that particular car lot.  I may need to “ask” for your support many times before you say yes.

But the process goes even deeper.  The person who goes onto that car lot knowing the specific car he wants isn’t trying to make the salesman’s job more difficult.  We may know what we like, but we also want to make sure the decision we make is the right one.  In the sales world the four times the interested customer says “no” are known as “objections”.  The salesman’s job is to answer those objections as completely as he can.  If he does a good job the sale is made.  If not, the interested customer walks away.

Since I’ve rolled out the Green Vaccines initiative it seems there have been three main objections raised and I want to take each one of them in turn:

A.  We should just stick to getting a Vaccinated/Unvaccinated Study funded – I will confess that the first order of business is getting a Vaccinated/Unvaccinated study done with world-class researchers and a large enough sample size to make people sit up and take notice.  However, I know that some people are very close to getting something along those lines started.  That’s the first punch.  How long will it take them to get results?  Personally, I think such a thing could be done relatively quickly.  Then what follows?  I think the Green Vaccines Initiative is something which supports that line of inquiry.  It's a good second punch.  If a Vaccinated/Unvaccinated study gets funded we should have the results by election time.  If not it creates more of an impetus to get such a study completed.

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Bid on a Framed, Signed Lance Armstrong Team Discover Jersey

Lance armstrong The SafeMinds auction has several new items up for bidding including a framed Team Discover jersey signed by Lance Armstrong, a gift basket from Deirdre Imus, passes to the Autism Asperger's Conference in Anaheim and four novels signed by author Simon Doonan.  Click HERE to go to the auction site. Hurry! Bidding closes on December 10th.
And don't forget the other neat items including (and there are over 90 more so check out the site):

  • Guitar signed by Jay Leno
  • The December Extreme Sports Camp Program
  • Golf package at Kiawah Island, SC
  • Gucci purse
  • Lunch with Katie Wright, David Kirby or Mark Blaxill and Kim Stagliano.