Current Affairs Feed

Watch "Temple Grandin" Tonight on HBO

Claire Danes Tune into tonight, February 6 at 8PM (ET/PT), as HBO premieres 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." 

The movie has gotten great reviews.


A Statement from Jenny McCarthy & Jim Carrey: Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys

Jim_carrey Los Angeles, February 5, 2010

Dr. Andrew Wakefield is being discredited to prevent an historic study from being published that for the first time looks at vaccinated versus unvaccinated primates and compares health outcomes, with potentially devastating consequences for vaccine makers and public health officials.

It is our most sincere belief that Dr. Wakefield and parents of children with autism around the world are being subjected to a remarkable media campaign engineered by vaccine manufacturers reporting on the retraction of a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 by Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues. 

The retraction from The Lancet was a response to a ruling from England’s General Medical Council, a kangaroo court where public health officials in the pocket of vaccine makers served as judge and jury. Dr. Wakefield strenuously denies all the findings of the GMC and plans a vigorous appeal.

Despite rampant misreporting, Dr. Wakefield’s original paper regarding 12 children with severe bowel disease and autism never rendered any judgment whatsoever on whether or not vaccines cause autism, and The Lancet’s retraction gets us no closer to understanding this complex issue.

Dr. Wakefield is one of the world’s most respected and well-published gastroenterologists. He has published dozens of papers since 1998 in well-regarded peer-reviewed journals all over the world. His work documenting the bowel disease of children with autism and his exploration of novel ways to treat bowel disease has helped relieve the pain and suffering of thousands of children with autism.

Continue reading "A Statement from Jenny McCarthy & Jim Carrey: Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys" »


Autism Organizations Unite in Brief to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Cedillo

Legal updateTwenty-three organizations sent a formidable message to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: enforce the law for vaccine injury compensation or acknowledge that this system is irrevocably broken.  Last week, these organizations filed an amicus curiae brief, or friend-of-the-court brief, in the case Theresa Cedillo, et al. v. Secretary of Health and Human Services ("Cedillo"), on appeal from the United States Court of Federal Claims, No. 98-VV-916.  The petitioners include advocacy organizations such as the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy (EBCALA), as well as research organizations such as the Autism Research Institute.  A link to the brief and the full list of autism organizations signing it can be found [HERE].
 
In Cedillo, the Court of Federal Claims denied Michelle Cedillo's request for compensation, although many petitioners have received awards under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program ("Program") in similar circumstances.  The organizations argue that the Cedillos were denied compensation because they said that their daughter's autism is a vaccine injury.  The theory of this first test case is that the MMR vaccine and thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative, together contributed to Michelle Cedillo's autism.  As a supplement to the Cedillo family's briefing on appeal, the organizations provide the Court with another angle for consideration: that this case is actually a "test case" for the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program itself.
 
Indeed, Congress established the Program to provide compensation to those injured by vaccines “quickly, easily, and with certainty and generosity.”  The balance in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund 75X8175 as of September 2009 was greater than $3.1 billion.  Congress intended the Program to create presumptions for “on-table” vaccine injuries that the Program would compensate administratively. The reality, however, has become adversarial litigation where special masters “protect” the national vaccine program rather than apply the law.  HHS has removed injuries from the Vaccine Injury Table.  Other injuries are not considered, despite the fact that 46 doses of nine new vaccines have been added to the CDC vaccine schedule. 

Continue reading "Autism Organizations Unite in Brief to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Cedillo" »


Olmsted on Autism: Enjoy It While It Lasts

Zombie doctor By Dan Olmsted

Can’t the medical industry find someone who doesn’t look like he sleeps in a crypt, or isn't making millions on vaccine patents, to make the case that it couldn't possibly be causing a cataclysmic autism epidemic and excruciating gut problems in children?

Sorry for the triple negative, but you get the point. At the moment when they should be savoring their smashing victory over the evil Wakefield and his deluded voodoo worshippers, they seem like a sorry lot; they're sore winners, as if they sense it's already too late. It shows on their faces and in their voices. They even say so, although they blame anyone but themselves.

Because obviously the debate is not done, and while it’s true that “the parents” are keeping it alive, “the parents” are a synonym for "the people," and they are everywhere – on the blogs, in the schools, moving up in the government and the medical and media worlds that have been so hostile. They know what they’ve seen and are sick of listening to bloviating "experts" and big shots with conflicts so blatant no one even thinks to point them out. They have a gut feeling, if you’ll allow the expression, that something is amiss here.

The mad-max vaccine schedule couldn't possibly cause autism? Great. Now, uh, what does? Well, the experts tell us, genes and environment acting in some exotic fashion that we’ll never ever figure out and are not all that urgently attempting to find. Please stop asking; we'll let you know. Maybe they're under the desk here somewhere.

So guys (and it’s almost always guys, aging, cranky, windy white guys in white lab coats), go on, feel really good. Enjoy it while it lasts. It won’t be long.
--
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.

Temple Grandin on GFCF Diet (High Praise) and Regressive Autism (More than Genes)

Temple_lg Check out Scene Newspaper with Temple Grandin. She speaks plainly, logically and eloquently about autism as a spectrum. Tune into HBO's Temple Grandin starring Claire Danes"" Saturday, February 6th at 8pm. (Photo credit, Rosalie Winard.) 

Some salient paragraphs from the scene article:

“...You have to remember autism is a spectrum that goes all the way from very, very, very severe where the person is going to remain non-verbal and handicapped, to people that are brilliant scientists. It’s a huge spectrum,” she said. “I don’t think the increase is the mild end because the Asperger types have always been there. I think some of the real mild autism – some of the Asperger’s – there’s increased diagnosis.

“But in young kids where you have speech delay and autistic-type behavior, that’s not increased diagnosis. Something’s going on. And nobody really knows what. There’s a lot of speculation. I think there has been an increase in some of this very severe, early onset autism, especially this regressive type, where the kid seems to be somewhat normal – verified by looking at birthday party videos in a study by Geraldine Dawson at the University of Washington. The parents are right. There really is a regressive form of autism. If this is something happening at 18 months to 2 years of age – there’s some other insult getting in there acting with susceptible genetics – that needs to be looked at very, very carefully. That’s some of the real severe stuff. That regressive sample needs to be looked at separately.

“We don’t understand the whole increase thing. It’s complicated genetics. But genetics is half the story,” she continued. “One thing that everyone knows is that early intervention helps to improve the prognosis immensely. Other things that help are some of the special diets. Gluten-free, casein-free, cutting out tons of carbs. They don’t cure autism, but they really help some kids. Some of these regressive kids tend to respond to the diets.

“I also think the American diet is bad. I’d say of all of the alternative treatments, diet is the single most important thing for parents to try. The other thing that’s getting really good science now are the Omega 3s. They have tons of good science. Give them Omega 3s.”


Merck RotaTeq May Be Contraindicated for Infants with SCID

Rotateq-logo Managing Editor's Note: Kudos to The Wall Street Journal for sharing this information about a live virus vaccine infecting a once unacknowledged population, so that American parents and physicians can make informed decisions for their infants and patients. About the last line, that RotaVirus "...causes more than 500,000 deaths from dehydration among young children world-wide, mostly in countries were vaccination isn't common." Is it lack of vaccination or lack of clean water, proper nutrition and access to medical care that leads to these deaths?

By Jennifer Corbett Dooren

Doctors said infants with a rare immune deficiency can be sickened with a gastrointestinal illness after being vaccinated with a rotavirus vaccine.
 
A report in this week's New England Journal of Medicine discusses the cases of three infants with severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID, who developed dehydration and diarrhea after receiving a first or second dose of Rotateq, a vaccine made by Merck & Co.

It wasn't known at the time the babies were vaccinated that they had SCID, which is a rare immune-system disorder. Studies of the infants showed they developed rotavirus related to the vaccine and didn't get the virus from another source.

Rotateq was approved for use in the U.S. in 2006. GlaxoSmithKline PLC's competitor vaccine, Rotarix was approved in 2008.

Rotateq's label was updated last month to state that infants with severe combined immunodeficiency shouldn't receive the vaccine.

Continue reading "Merck RotaTeq May Be Contraindicated for Infants with SCID" »


National Vaccine Advisory Committee Meeting Feb 3 & 4

WebinarNVAC meeting Dates for 2010:

February 3-4, 2010

Register to Attend: Registration for the February 3-4 meeting has been re-opened. Please register online, e-mail nvpo@hhs.gov, or call 202-690-5566. See the agenda  for conference call information.

Webinar Available: The February 3-4 meeting will be available via Webinar.  Please register separately for each day using the links below:

(If you require special accommodation to access the Webinar, please send your request to nvpo@hhs.gov.) 

Register for Feb 3 9:00am - 5:00pm (weather permitting, click HERE for any changes.)
Register for Feb 4

Click HERE to read about the National Vaccine Advisory Committee meetings tomorrow and Thursday inlcuding the agenda.

Continue reading "National Vaccine Advisory Committee Meeting Feb 3 & 4" »


Kim Stagliano on The GMC Hearing: "The Censorship of Autism Treatment"

Kim headshot By Kim Stagliano

Hi, I'd appreciate your comments over at HuffPo on my post, The Censorship of Autism Treatment" HERE. Support Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues and share your own story there, please. Thanks.

...Last Thursday afternoon, The General Medical Council in London, England announced its decisions in the disciplinary hearing of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Professor Simon Murch and Professor John Walker-Smith. The ruling was not in their favor. (You can read the official ruling HERE.)

There will likely be other posts here at HuffPost explaining the legal machinations of the GMC hearings and science behind the original The Lancet paper, now retracted. Be sure to look for David Kirby's post on the topic. If you're interested, you can read an
eye witness account of the proceedings from Martin Walker, who has followed the GMC hearing from the start.

To understand the bigger picture, I highly recommend Mark Blaxill's Age of Autism post on the current scientific environment for autism research in general in which he says, "The deep and profound censorship occurring around autism science reaches depths that few casual observers can imagine. I have proof."
(HERE) I'd like to provide the voice of an autism Mom, hoarse from yelling into the wind for a cumulative total of thirty seven years...

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of www.ageofautism.com. Her book, All I Can Handle. I'm No Mother Teresa. debuts in the Fall of 2010 from Skyhorse Publishing.


Oakley Partners with Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)

Oakley_girls New Special Edition Eyewear to Support Autism Awareness and Education

Talk about Curing Autism (TACA) is very pleased to announce the new TACA Autism Awareness glasses from Oakley.  Oakley has released two unique signature glasses for both men and women. The new products available are:

- TACA Oakley Fuel Cell™ eyewear
- TACA Oakley Ravishing® eyewear

“Corporations like Oakley are a wonderful gift to TACA and the families we serve,” said TACA Executive Director Lisa Ackerman. “Oakley brings a powerful influence to foster aware¬ness and visibility of autism, and to aid our mission to help a community in great need. We are grateful for this support, and for friends like Oakley,” Ackerman concluded.

In the past, Oakley has partnered with LIVESTRONG – Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Young Survival Coalition for breast cancer awareness. Both efforts have been very successful in awareness and fundraising for these foundations.

TACA will have these available for resale on SHOP TACA at www.tacanow.org. You can also buy these glasses with other autism organizations and Oakley resellers through their international channel.

For more information about the TACA & Oakley Partnership – see press release below.
If you are an autism non profit and would like to resale the TACA Oakley Fuel Cell™ and TACA Oakley Ravishing® eyewear please contact Lisa Ackerman  for more information.

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif., February 2, 2010 – Oakley, Inc. today announced that it has partnered with Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), an organization that supports, empowers and educates families living with autism. Oakley has created unique renditions of two of its popular eyewear designs and will donate $20 to TACA with each sale of these special editions.
“We are honored to team with TACA and play a part in spreading the message of hope,” said Pat McIlvain, Oakley’s Vice President of Global Sports Marketing. “The art on our new TACA special editions will fuel awareness, and we are proud to contribute $20 from each sale to assist in supporting TACA’s ongoing mission to help children with autism reach their true potential,” McIlvain concluded.

Continue reading "Oakley Partners with Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)" »


Autism: “Who’s Going to Care for Him?” or “A Tidal Wave is Coming.”

Buster_largeBy Anne Dachel

On Friday, Jan 22, I started out reading a piece on Lisa Jo Rudy’s autism blog.  The title was Autism Epidemic! ...Or Not? (HERE) It was easy to predict what I’d find there.  Even though autism is now a household word and everyone knows someone with an autistic child, Rudy and others are still scratching their heads over what that really represents.  Did we just mislabel these kids in the past or do more kids actually have autism?  Rudy does make it clear that if the increase is real, genes alone can’t be responsible since there’s never been a genetic epidemic in human history.  There would have to be an environmental trigger.  Or as Rudy put it, “Logically, something in our environment is causing an epidemic - and that something must be discovered and ended.”   This of course brings up the claim that the “something in our environment” involves the ever-expanding vaccine schedule.  It’s the one common factor that so many thousands of parents and more and more doctors and scientists point to. 
 
While officials are adamant in saying that vaccines don’t cause autism, they can’t give us any other environmental factor as a possible trigger.  Furthermore, if a true increase in autism is admitted, spending millions looking for those elusive genes that cause autism would definitely be seen as a colossal waste of time and money. 
 
The most recent example of autism gene research making the news was on Jan 22 from the Reporter, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Weekly Newspaper   (HERE)The title was Investigators seek to trace autism’s genetic architecture and the article was devoted to telling us about how $17 million in NIMH funding is being spent on the search.  Lead Vanderbilt researcher, James Sutcliffe is studying genetic mutations involved in autism.  I couldn’t find any reference to autism being a tragedy overwhelming a generation of children and Sutcliffe used words like ‘absolutely fascinating’ when describing the challenge he faces.  There was no mention of an environmental factor at play here or any sense of urgency in finding answers.  In fact, we’re told they have 1,000 different genes to go through in their research and Sutcliffe left us with the warning, “This is one step in a long story.” 

Sutcliffe must feel like he’s got all the time in the world to look for autism answers because he made no reference to the staggering increase in the number of affected children.  In fact, the Vanderbilt piece gave us an autism rate of one in 150.  It seems that the cutting edge researchers on autism haven’t heard that the numbers have been updated to include one percent of U.S. children. 

Continue reading "Autism: “Who’s Going to Care for Him?” or “A Tidal Wave is Coming.”" »


Vaccines: Doctor Judges & Juries Hanging Their Own

Barb loe fisher By Barbara Loe Fisher
 
I remember the day I met Dr. Andrew Wakefield. It was September 12, 1997 and he had just flown into Dulles Airport from London the night before to speak at the First International Public Conference on Vaccination sponsored by the National Vaccine Information Center. The title of his talk was “Measles Virus & Measles Vaccine: Lessons to be Learned.”
 
It was five months before he and 12 other physician colleagues would publish a study in The Lancet calling for more research into a possible association between inflammatory bowel disease, MMR vaccine and developmental delays in some children.
 
I met Dr. Wakefield that day in 1997 in the auditorium where our conference was to take place as he was trying to decide what to do with a slide that identified him as being employed by the Royal Free Hospital. You see, he had received a telephone threat from London in the middle of the night warning him that if he spoke at our conference, he might not have a job when he returned to Britain. He then described to me the intense pressure he had been under from senior health officials in Britain to withdraw from our conference.

This was five months before he and his colleagues published the first article in the medical literature suggesting there might be an association between vaccine induced chronic inflammation in the body and developmental delays in some children.
 
In September 1997, Andrew Wakefield was a young British gastroenterologist, a rising star in the world of experimental medicine. He had received awards and scholarships for original research into the pathogenesis and etiology of inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease.....Click here HERE to watch a video and read the full commentary as well as read a Statement by NVIC about Andrew Wakefield and his research.

Barbara Loe Fisher is founder of The National Vaccine Information Center.


National Autism Association Supports Dr. Andrew Wakefield

NAA logo Parents of Children with Autism Call Decision in Wakefield Trial a Threat to Medical Integrity

GMC Findings Uphold Status Quo, Discourage Physicians from Listening to Parents’ Concerns

Nixa, MO – Parents of children with autism around the world are calling the findings against Dr. Andrew Wakefield in the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) unjust and a threat to researchers investigating autism as a medical condition.  The verdict comes less than a month after an article in the journal Pediatrics1 urged further study of a link between gastrointestinal disturbances and autism originally pointed out by Dr. Wakefield in 1998.

The GMC hearings have been labeled a smear campaign from the beginning by thousands of parents in the autism community who hold Dr. Wakefield in high regard for his pioneering work to understand autism’s medical underpinnings. Many parents of children with autism view the GMC investigation as little more than character assassination of a physician brave enough to investigate controversial issues, and fear that relevant science will never advance if researchers are forced to put their careers in jeopardy by following the scientific truth wherever it leads.

Additional confirmation of Dr. Wakefield’s early findings was published yesterday by a research team led by Arthur Krigsman, MD in the journal Autism Insights.2   The researchers found a significant association between ileo and/or colonic inflammation and the onset of developmental disorder, which further supports autism as a medical versus a behavioral condition as parents have been reporting for years to the medical community.

“Dr Wakefield was one of the first physicians to take the concerns of parents seriously and investigate the medical conditions they noted in their children,” commented NAA Board Chair Lori McIlwain.  “The real danger comes from those unwilling to ask questions, seek answers and challenge comfortable science for the sake of propelling medicine to a higher level of safety. Here’s a doctor who asks the questions others are too afraid to ask, even though it’s their obligation to ask them on behalf of our children. Bravo to Dr. Andrew Wakefield.”

For more information on autism, visit www.nationalautismassociation.org


Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 1/30

T-shirt small frontJack is our commenter of the week for:

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.
Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
-Bob Dylan, Hurricane
 
on the post, Sad Day for our Children.

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

Continue reading "Age of Autism Comment of the Week: 1/30" »


Naked Intimidation: The Wakefield Inquisition is Only the Tip of the Autism Censorship Iceberg

Censor   “That’s baseless conspiracy-mongering”, some might counter, contending that any anecdote I might dig up is simply the normal process of scientific quality control. “Welcome to the real world”, I respond, because this is something entirely new and disturbing. The deep and profound censorship occurring around autism science reaches depths that few casual observers can imagine.

I have proof.

By Mark F. Blaxill

There are no words to describe the findings of the General Medical Council (GMC). All I can say is that none of us should be surprised. The stakes had escalated far too high for the British medical establishment to countenance any other outcome. In the face of this parody of real justice, the only thing for the autism community to do now is stand by Andy Wakefield. Like him, we must not be intimidated; which is why I am proud to call Andy my friend. He is all of our friend.

We must also not forget two other fine men, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, men who have devoted their professional lives to healing the guts of sick children, and whose public reputations stand in tatters before the world, assaulted by the public health propaganda machine, victims of a modern day show trial. The GMC proceeding is a frightening and thoroughly modern form of tyranny. It makes you shudder to think what Stalin or McCarthy might have accomplished if their public relations had been more skillful and better organized.

The extremity of the GMC’s verdict--all three men guilty on all counts—lays bare any pretense that the British medical establishment cares one whit about the welfare of its patients. Let’s put in perspective the actions at issue here. No children were harmed and no parent or guardian has complained about the care these three men provided. In fact, the procedures involved were routine, the resulting treatments standard and the careful attention to gastrointestinal illness in autistic children has recently been endorsed by a consensus statement published in the journal Pediatrics (no friend of the autism community). Considered in this light, the GMC hearing process stands exposed for what it is. It was not about medical standards. It was not about evidence. It was not even civilized.  It was, rather, a naked exercise in intimidation, a fateful moment of moral decision in which the medical industrial complex exposed its ruthless, repressive essence. They are a frightening bunch and their conduct here raises issues well beyond autism.

There are others who can and will speak to the particulars of the case: the accusations, the evidence, and the integrity of the witnesses for the prosecution (see HERE and  HERE ). But it’s important to remember that this trial has never really been about the three doctors. If it were, it would never have consumed so many millions of dollars and thousands of hours over more than two years. The real goal of this proceeding, what I have called The Wakefield Inquisition (see HERE ) is to send a clear message to anyone--clinician or scientist--who dares step out of line like Wakefield did. And as parents and citizens, we all need to understand one thing: that message has been received loud and clear.

Continue reading "Naked Intimidation: The Wakefield Inquisition is Only the Tip of the Autism Censorship Iceberg" »


Another Autistic Student Allegedly Abused in School.

EnoughBy Kim Stagliano

This story is why we parents, derisively called "Curebies" because we seek treatment for autism, will never stop seeking recovery for our kids. As the numbers explode, expect more horror stories of abuse and neglect.

AKRON -- Akron school leaders placed a school aid with a troubled past on paid leave following allegations that he dragged a child with severe disabilities through a hallway by his ankles.  Ingram Myers, 50, attended a disciplinary hearing Wednesday morning to discuss the incident that occured at Ellet High School. The student, who suffers from severe autism, cannot speak and functions at the level of a toddler, according to his mother. He fell to the hallway floor Jan. 14, and that's when Myers allegedly dragged him by his ankles 50-100 feet back to his classroom. Read more at WKYC.  

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of www.ageofautism.com and mom to 3 daughters with autism. Her memoir, All I Can Handle. I'm No Mother Teresa. debuts Fall 2010. 


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.

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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:
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.

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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. 

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