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2482 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

Barbara Fischkin Extends Hand, Heart to Kelly Preston

Holly_robinson_peete_cover_111_150 Barbara Fischkin is a dear friend and Mom to a handsome young adult on the spectrum named Dan. Please read her heartfelt post "For Kelly Preston" to Jett Travolta's Mom in Spectrum.  There but for the Grace of God go most of us.

(PS) How does fellow autism Mom Holly Robinson Peete look so beautiful? Where are the fish oil stains on her dress???

Author Barbara Fischkin's books include a landmark work of narrative nonfiction, Muddy Cup: A Dominican Family Comes of Age in A New America (Scribner 1997) and two satiric novels Confidential Sources and Exclusive (Bantam Dell 2005-6). As an award-winning journalist she has covered stories in Latin America, Asia, Europe and the United States for national and international publications including the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Boston Globe and Newsday, where she was a staff reporter.
 

The Vaccine Hard Sell at Pediatrics

No sale Managing Editor's Note: Mike Wagnitz submitted this letter to Pediatrics. They declined to run it, as it their right.  We decided to run it. As is our right. Dr. Offit is pushing harder than a mother delivering triplets to convince moms and dads that anyone who speaks in favor of vaccine safety is wrong. Including Dr. Bob Sears, a pediatric voice of reason whom we have been happy to welcome to Age of Autism. You can read his post, Smart Vaccine Decisions for Families with Autism (HERE).  Sorry, Dr. Offit. No sale.

A Shot of Reality
By Michael Wagnitz, B.S.
 
As a chemist with 27 years of experience evaluating material for heavy metals, I find it unfortunate that the journal Pediatrics has allowed Dr. Paul Offit to repeat misinformation  regarding the use of neurotoxic metals in vaccines. He scolds Dr. Bob Sears for not giving the proper scientific credit to the paper, "Weight of Evidence Against Thimerosal Causing Neuropsychological Deficits" (1), published in the NEJM.  Let's take a look at the quality of this paper starting with the impartiality of the authors:

Dr. Thompson - the lead investigator - is a former employee of Merck.

Dr. Marcy has received consulting fees from Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, and MedImmune.

Continue reading "The Vaccine Hard Sell at Pediatrics" »

MMR: It’s ALL or NOTHING! Say goodbye to choice.

All or nothing By Allison Chapman

Your choice to work with your pediatrician on safer vaccine schedule has just received a very large blow.  Merck and Co. has decided to take away your option of separating the MMR, instead of getting the whole shebang at once.  Forget those who may be predisposed to not handling 3 viruses at once; you know the weak, the infant who may need a bit more time.  What if they are unable to take one of the viruses due to allergy of an ingredient, but have decided to go ahead with one or both of the others?  Well too bad, allergy or not you have lost your right to choose.  It’s now, all or nothing. (HERE)

I’m shocked at such a move.  Why on earth at a time when some Doctors are just barely beginning with work with their patient’s parents by creating a schedule per individual child, is Merck deciding to pull the plug?  Is this something they believe will quiet the supposed anti-vaccine crowd?  Quiet the MMR/Autism controversy?  I highly doubt it.  This is a mistake of monumental proportions that will likely come back to bite them as given only the choice of all or nothing, many more may choose nothing.  So you can stop banging down our doors at that point because the blame will be in the mirror.

Continue reading "MMR: It’s ALL or NOTHING! Say goodbye to choice." »

Silencing Autism

Radar By Sara DiFucci

For those of you who haven't read Julie Obradovic's article "The Autism Treatment Acceleration Act", I suggest you do so now (HERE.)  This very important topic seems to have slipped under the radar a bit.
 
Essentially, right now there  is a proposed federal bill in draft form that may establish the Medical Home Model as the way of the future for health care, particularly for Autism and other chronic diseases. In essence the MHM is a government run HMO where they along with insurance companies will have the authority to choose our service providers (you know, doctors, therapists, and medical specialists) via government contracts. Actually, it seems it may be even more restrictive in choice than most HMO's. 

Continue reading "Silencing Autism" »

Third Hand Smoke: Dangerous!

Smoking babyBy Kim Stagliano

 I don't condone smoking. I don't smoke. I wouldn't let you smoke near my kids. But this kind of article makes smoke come out of my ears. 

First it was organic baby formula (demon sugar!) and now the mere touch of your nicotine stained hands on the davenport (that's a really outdated word for a couch, by the way) threatens your child's health. Yes, third hand smoke is dangerous, according to the AAP.  Why don't they just publish a study that concludes, "We're doomed. But don't worry. Soon we'll have a shot for that."?

Continue reading "Third Hand Smoke: Dangerous!" »

MSG and Autism

MsgBy John Erb

His name was Bruce.  He was always ready to greet me with a smile whenever I came in to work with him at the residential facility he called home.  Bruce was my first experience getting to know someone with Autism.  Even though he was forty, and had lived all his life with the symptoms, he had never been formally diagnosed.  But even without the paperwork from a psychiatrist to back it up, Bruce had all of the standard signs:  the problems with social interaction, the obsessions, the repetitive physical movement.  He also had one more thing: he was fluent in French.  It was those many years ago when I first met Bruce that I realized, in some ways, he was smarter than me. 

This experience twenty years ago shaped my view of Autism and the direction of the research journey I have taken.  In 2003 I finally put my ideas to paper.  In the book called The Slow Poisoning of America, I theorized that something was actually causing the brains of those with ASD to grow too much.  The culprit:  Monosodium Glutamate. Introduced to the America diet in 1950 it is an amino acid added to food to make it taste better and to vaccines to stabilize the active ingredients.  At the time I published this idea I had little scientific evidence to support it, more of a “hunch” than hard core science.  But over the last 5 years I have gathered enough published medical studies to validate a highly probable link between this excitotoxin and the Autism epidemic.

Continue reading "MSG and Autism" »

Age of Autism Welcomes The National Autism Association

NAAHELPINGHAND We're starting 2009 with great news! We're thrilled to announce that National Autism Association is now an organization sponsor for the year. 

NAA joins our other valued organization sponsors TACA, Autism Research Institute, SafeMinds and Generation Rescue and our corporate and treatment category sponsor Lee Silsby.

NAA is run by dedicated people who do not make large salaries or work in elegant offices (hey Wendy, is your office elegant?) Officers include Rita Shreffler, Wendy Fournier, Ann Brasher, Kelly Vanicek, Lori Brozek. Board members include Scott Bono, Lori McIlwain, Laura Bono, Claire Bothwell, Leslie Davidson, Rosemarie Dubrowsky, Becky Grant-Widen, Deirdre Imus, James A. Moody, Lyn Redwood, Adrienne Rousseau and Katie Wright.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Welcomes The National Autism Association" »

Wackosphere's To Do List:

Spock Curious as to what the Wackosphere* is doing tonight?

1) Polish Starship Federation badge from 1983 convention (Spock sneezed on it, remember?)

2) Organize Hotwheels collection by engine size, horse power and slip differential

3) Order Saved By The Bell, The College Years DVD set (Screech rocks!)

4) Crash Generation Rescue Change.gov Autism Question (led by the one eyed king)

*Mark Blaxill wrote about the group of usually anonymous bloggers in a world he called, "the Wackosphere." See below.  Click HERE to read the Age of Autism post on GR's message to Change.gov that provoked the Wacko's to action.

Continue reading "Wackosphere's To Do List:" »

New York Times Reports Death of Pharma Kotchkes

Syringe pen Managing Editor's Note: See the lovely syringe pens to promote the Pediarix vaccine? Please keep reminding yourself. Vaccines are exempt from the vagaries of pay to play. Vaccines are exempt from the vagaries of pay to play. Vaccines are exempt from the vagaries of pay to play.  I was in the promotional products industry for fifteen years. I sat at a Celebrex marketing meeting in Indianapolis where I presented diamond earrings for the doctors to give their wives as part of the promotional plan.  I made Coach leather Rx pads with gold monograms for doctors. I go to confession a lot.  Kim

...Last year, besides giving away nearly $16 billion in free drug samples to doctors, pharmaceutical companies spent more than $6 billion on “detailing” — an industry term for the sales activities of drug representatives including office visits to doctors, meal-time presentations and branded pens and other handouts, according to IMS Health, a health care information company.

The industry code also permits drug makers to pay doctors as consultants “based on fair market value” — which critics say means that companies can continue to pay individual doctors tens of thousands of dollars or more a year.

“We have arrived at a point in the history of medicine in America where doctors have deep, deep financial ties with the drug makers and marketers,” said Allan Coukell, the director of policy for the Prescription Project, a nonprofit group in Boston working to promote evidence-based medicine. “Financial entanglements at all the levels have the potential to influence prescribing in a way that is not good.”

Read the full article from the New York Times HERE.

Generation Rescue To Change.gov on Autism and Healthcare

Dining room Managing Editor's Note:  Kelli Ann has kindly supplied all the info you need to vote if you'll please scroll through the post. If you have your own change.gov letter, please run the link to it in our comments so readers can consider voting for it too. I know many of our readers are actively engaged in the process. Thanks. KS

By Kelli Ann Davis

Vote to Promote Change in 2009

Yesterday morning, I received an e-mail from John Podesta at “Change.gov: The Office of the President-Elect” encouraging me to join with others in submitting and/or voting on questions I thought important for the Transition Team to address: “We recently launched a new feature on Change.gov called Open for Questions. Thousands of you responded, asking 10,000 questions and voting nearly a million times on questions from others. Now that we've answered some of the most popular ones from the last round, we are open for questions again. Ask whatever you like, and vote up or down on the other questions to let us know which ones you most want the Transition to answer.”

The latest outreach project “Open for Questions: Round Two” follows closely behind two other initiatives undertaken in recent weeks by President-Elect Obama – “Your Seat at the Table” and “Health Care Community Discussions” (HERE).  Apparently, his administration is moving towards greater transparency and public involvement and evidently it is working; twenty-seven hours later, 39,000 questions have been submitted and 2,000,000 votes have been cast!

Recently, Generation Rescue hand-delivered the following document to the Transition Team (Read it HERE) outlining our high priority issues for autism.  We also requested a formal meeting with the new administration in order to discuss the key issues in detail. 

Continue reading "Generation Rescue To Change.gov on Autism and Healthcare" »

Age of Autism Awards 2008 Journalist of the Year: David Kirby

Davidkirby By Anne Dachel

It is my great privilege to name David Kirby, Age of Autism's Reporter of Year.  I know that for many of us in the autism community, that's an understatement.  David should be receiving a lifetime achievement award for what he's done.
 
I'm qualified to write on this, not because of any degree in journalism, but due to my years of dealing with members of the press who report on autism, especially the topic of vaccines and autism.  Many other parents do the same thing.  Our earnest hope is that they'll report both sides of the issue honestly.  It's rare that this happens, however.  Most in the media are content to give the last word to the medical community and to federal health officials who adamantly deny that vaccines could be causing autism.  Even though I always send the facts--the science that disputes the tired mantra of "studies show no link," few reporters take notice, even when what I send directly contradicts what they've written.  Sometimes, someone will write to tell me that they'll save my email, "in case I ever write on this topic again."  Even worse, is an email from a reporter saying, "Please don't send me any more information on autism; I'm no longer covering this issue." 

Continue reading "Age of Autism Awards 2008 Journalist of the Year: David Kirby" »

Deborah Kotz of US News on AAP and Dr. Paul Offit

My way or highway By Kim Stagliano

Lord, the AAP and Paul Offit are painfully transparent. Deborah Kotz of US News certainly sees straight through their agenda when it comes to managing the health of American children versus mainlining the steady stream of vaccinations per a rigid schedule. (We'll post more about this at Age of Autism soon.)

...Along with this policy statement and numerous research papers, the journal contains a "special article" that quite frankly shocked me for its one-sided treatment of a very important issue with regard to vaccinations. Unfortunately, instead of allowing a pro-and-con debate about the benefits and drawbacks.  ...What's worse, the lead author, Paul Offit, who heads the vaccine education center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, clearly has a conflict of interest. Read the full US News blog entry HERE.

The AAP and Dr. Offit are in full court press mode to counteract the forthcoming book The Autism Book: Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention from Dr. Bob Sears (see his post about vaccinations and how to create a flexible schedule for your child at Age of Autism HERE.)

The AAP doesn't give a rat's ass about children with autism.

Continue reading "Deborah Kotz of US News on AAP and Dr. Paul Offit " »

Age of Autism Awards 2008 Couple of the Year: Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey

Jj2 By Kim Stagliano

It's my great pleasure to honor Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey as our Age of Autism 2008 Couple of the Year.

Jenny was smart enough to disbelieve the doctors who told her that Evan's lot in life was cast when he was diagnosed with autism. She roared into action, saying what so many of us have said over the years, "F you, I'm taking care of my son. Get out of my way." (I figure in a post about Jenny I can kind of drop the F bomb.)  Then she got busy recovering him.  But she didn't stop there. She started a crusade to educate parents, doctors, teachers everywhere that autism is treatable. That kids are making great progress and even recovering.

Warrior mothers Somehow she found the time to write two amazing, best selling books to empower other parents; Louder Than Words and Mother Warriors, produce a line of DVD's called Teach2Talk, speak at several autism events and appear on national television and in the press.

Meanwhile, Jim Carrey was busy starring in Horton Hears a Who and his new movie Yes Man. (Have you seen it yet? Go already. You deserve a break.) 

Continue reading "Age of Autism Awards 2008 Couple of the Year: Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey" »

Age of Autism Awards 2008 Mother of the Year: Katie Wright

Katie and christian BY Mary Webster

If the true measure of a gift is determined by the sacrifice required, Katie Wright has given us the greatest of gifts.  Despite her obviously close, loving relationship with her parents, she was willing to risk a public rift to share her son's struggle with autism and her beliefs about what caused it.  Considering Bob and Suzanne Wright's tireless efforts as founders of Autism Speaks, Katie's willingness to take a public position on such a controversial issue created a situation that would have, undoubtedly, challenged the bonds of even the closest of families. 
 
Katie could have chosen to quietly seek treatment for her son, Christian, while privately working to affect change, but she didn't.  She was the first to appear on the Imus in the Morning show and wave her son's vaccine chart in the air as she chastised the medical community for not taking these children's illness and their parents' concerns seriously.  She was the first to sit on Oprah's stage and challenge a physician "expert" who stated that vaccines don't cause autism.  In telling her story, Katie is as direct, open, and honest as Dr. Tom Insel is cautious, qualifyingly calculated, and deflecting.  

Continue reading "Age of Autism Awards 2008 Mother of the Year: Katie Wright" »

Age of Autism Awards 2008 Child of the Year: Hannah Poling

Hanhah poling By Kim Stagliano

Managing Editor's Note: I just learned that today, 12/27 is Hannah's 10th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Hannah.  And we're having some difficulties with commenting today - perhaps due to end of year maintenance at the blog company. My apologies.

Age of Autism honors the beautiful Miss Hannah Poling as our 2008 Child of the Year. 

From CNN last Spring, ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The parents of a 9-year-old girl with autism said Thursday that their assertion that her illness was caused by childhood vaccines has been vindicated by the federal government's decision to compensate them.

"We are very pleased with the government's decision," Hannah Poling's father, Dr. Jon Poling, a neurologist in private practice in Athens, Georgia, told reporters Thursday. "It has been eight difficult and heartbreaking years since our daughter's injury."

A federal program intended to compensate victims of injuries caused by vaccines concluded last November that Hannah Poling's underlying illness that had predisposed her to symptoms of autism was "significantly aggravated" by the vaccinations she received as a toddler and that her family should therefore be compensated.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Awards 2008 Child of the Year: Hannah Poling" »

Age of Autism Awards 2008 Person of the Year: Dr. Bernadine Healy

Healy By Dan Olmsted

It was the shot -- or, rather, the words about the shots -- heard 'round the world. In a U.S. News column in April and then a brave interview on CBS in May, one person yanked the vaccine-autism debate back into the mainstream of medicine where it has always belonged.

For that, and more, it is a pleasure to name Bernadine Healy Age of Autism's Person of the Year.

This was not a hard decision. Just listen:

 "I think public health officials have been too quick to dismiss the [vaccine-autism] hypothesis as 'irrational,' without sufficient studies of causation... without studying the population that got sick," Dr. Healy told CBS's Sharyl Attkisson. "I have not seen major studies that focus on 300 kids who got autistic symptoms within a period of a few weeks of the vaccines."

 Holy moley.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Awards 2008 Person of the Year: Dr. Bernadine Healy" »

Age of Autism Awards 2008 People of the Year Honorees

  Tip the hat 

By Dan Olmsted

-- Claudine Liss and Louise Habakus for best tag team of the year, staging a rally on the lawn of a house Obama and Corzine had to pass on their way to a party, and then questioning Obama on his vaccine stance at the party.

--  Dr. Alan Sherr. This nomination comes from Kim Bastible, Mom of Luke Bastible 5 y/o ASD:

"Dr. Alan Sherr, Chiropractor and Medical Director of the Northport Wellness Center, has been treating autism spectrum disorder in his practice for many, many years -- long before it became "fashionable" to do so. 

Continue reading "Age of Autism Awards 2008 People of the Year Honorees" »

Happy Hanukkah from Age of Autism Where Miracles Matter

Hanukkah Happy Hanukkah!  If you aren't familiar with this holiday, read this description to see why we might want to consider changing the puzzle piece to a candle. 

Hanukkah -- the eight-day festival of light that begins on the eve of Kislev 25 -- celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.

More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G0d.

When they sought to light the Temple's menorah, they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.

To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Hanukkah. 
 

New! Autism Ribbon Decorative Flag for your Home!

Autism_flagOne of the largest decorative flag manufacturers in the country has designed the first Autism Affinity Flag (with the help of a certain Managing Editor), with a portion of the proceeds going to National Autism Association. The background reads: "Autism One in 150" in yellow, blue and red.

28" x 44" (fits on a flag pole attached to your house): $24.99

11.5" x 18" (fits on a garden sized holder): $14.99

Shipping is free within the Continental US. Hardware is available at home and garden stores and mass merchants. Flag_ad_001_2

To order: 

Send me an email at kimstagliano@gmail.com with the size(s) you want, the quantity and shipping address.
  I'll email you your amount due to confirm you order and you can pay us through the PayPal Donate button on the site.  (I'm working in creating a store, we have T-shirts coming in January!)

If you're interested in a wholesale order through the vendor for your  organization, contact me and I'll connect you with the manufacturer.

Larry King Live Postponed for Rerun

Rerun By Kim Stagliano

We regret to inform our readers that Larry King Live's program featuring Jenny McCarthy, Stan Kurtz and J.B. Handley of Generation Rescue has been postponed.  Enjoy the rerun of Brad Pitt talking about married life. 

In the meantime, please feel free to let the producers of the show that you would like to see Jenny McCarthy, JB Handley and Stan Kurtz on with Larry King Live.

Please email Larry's team now at Larry King Guests and let them know.

Sign Up to Lead a Healthcare Discussion for Obama

Sign up to lead a health care discussion over the holidays. Click HERE for the page at Change.gov.

Health care is a top priority for President-elect Obama and for Senator Tom Daschle, Secretary-designate for Health and Human Services (HHS). They both are committed to health care reform that comes from the ground up -- that's why this holiday season, we're asking you to give us the gift of your ideas and input.

Sign up to lead a Health Care Community Discussion in your home, community center, or even a local coffee shop, anytime until December 31st.

We'll provide you with a special Moderator's Guide that will give you everything you need to get the discussion going. Secretary-designate Tom Daschle will even choose some discussions to attend in person.

He recorded this short message to talk a bit about why these discussions are so important. Watch the video and sign up to lead your own Health Care Community Discussion.

 

Elementary, Easter Seals

No shit sherlock By Kim Stagliano

Selected results from a new national Easter Seals study on autism, released Tuesday:

--79 percent of parents of children with autism are extremely or very concerned about their children's future independence, compared to only 28 percent of typical parents.

-Only a third of parents who have children with autism are confident their children will always have a place to live.

Click HERE to read more useless information that any parent of an autistic child would have told you for a large coffee and 15 minutes of respite time.  Is this what we can expect from the partnership of ASA and Easter Seals?  

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.

A of A Contest: Win Julie Matthews' Book Nourishing Hope

NourishinghopecovershadowDEANNA TURNER IS OUR WINNER! 

And LOOK! Julie is offering 10% savings for A of A readers! And she is generously donating an additional 10% to Age of Autism to support our efforts! Click on the ad to the right. Order now for the New Year!


Win a copy of Julie Matthews' book, Nourishing Hope, Nutrition Intervention for Healing Our Children Why Diet Can Help and a Holistic Approach to Implementation.

CONTEST IS CLOSED. To enter just leave a comment - make sure to include your email address on the email line so that I can contact you.  We'll choose the winner on Wednesday.

Nourishing Hope (visit the website HERE) provides parents of children with autism and practitioners who believe recovery is possible with the proven scientific understanding of why diet helps children heal. It comprises extensive clinical nutrition experience and intense research. Readers are given practical steps for dietary intervention and a roadmap for getting started, evolving, and customizing the varied approaches. This book is dedicated to those parents and clinicians who are relentlessly workingto help heal children and gives them reason to hope and persevere.

Autism File Magazine Conference Call: How to Prepare Families for the Holidays

Holiday_frustrationMomsFightingAutism.com Hosts a Free Web Conference Call Sponsored by The Autism File Magazine:  How To Prepare Families For The Holidays.

Learn tips on how  to create  meaningful holidays with children on the spectrum.

Irvine, CA December 9, 2008 -- Moms Fighting Autism, a social network on the internet that connects moms of children with autism, will host a free web conference call about Creating Meaningful Holidays with Children on the Autism Spectrum, on Monday, December 15, 2008, from  6pm to 8pm PST (9pm to 11pm EST.)

REGISTER FOR THE CALL HERE and get a free download of an article from the US / Canada premiere issue of The Autism File magazine entitled The Autism Research Institute & Defeat Autism Now!. The Autism File is an international autism magazine available in many major bookstores and by subscription at www.autismfile.com.

Continue reading "Autism File Magazine Conference Call: How to Prepare Families for the Holidays" »

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

Snake_puzzle_2By Katie Wright

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

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

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

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

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

IACC Meeting Friday to Finalize Federal Autism Research Plan

Act_nowUpdate: Dear Members of the IACC:

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

Regards,
Sallie Bernard, on behalf of -

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



By Jim Moody, Esq.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imus Ranch Foods Holiday Gift Basket!

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

Plus the Greening The Cleaning Variety Pack!

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

Good luck!  Kim

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

Organic_productBy Kim Stagliano

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

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

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

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

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

Autism: Extreme Wallet Makeover

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

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

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

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

Continue reading "Autism: Extreme Wallet Makeover" »

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

SausageBy Kelli Ann Davis

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

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

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

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

Strategy 1: Push for Predictability

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

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

Tom Daschle, Here are Our Autism Healthcare Stories

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

Tom Daschle is Asking For Your Health Care Stories

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

GO TELL HIM! (HERE)

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

My letter:

I am the mother of a vaccine injured child.

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

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

Live from Madagascar 2 at the Bow Tie Theater


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

John Robison On Aloneness, Social Failure and Asperger's

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

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

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

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

Parents Meet with NJ's Health Commissioner

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

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

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

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

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

Rimland_centerDear Mr. President:

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

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

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

Autism One 2009 Highlights!

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

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

CHANGE HAS COME!

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

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

Continue reading "Autism One 2009 Highlights!" »

Calling all Readers! Nominations for the AOA AWARDS '08

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

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

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

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

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

Hello Everyone -

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

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

A of A Contest: T-shirt Tagline

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving

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

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

President Elect Obama: A Military Autism Mom Reaches Out

Help_meBy Angela Warner

Dear President Elect Obama,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His priority is money.

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

Suze Orman on Autism One Radio

Suze_ormanDear Friends,

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

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

Faith, Love & Hope,

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

rwaters@autismone.org
http://www.autismone.org/radio/
http://www.autismone.org/radio/?radio=schedule&archive
http://www.autismone.org/radio/default.cfm?radio=family#robertw   

The Grim Future for the Avalanche of Autistic Adults

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

All grown up — now where to go?

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

By Jim McGaw

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

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

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

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

Autism United Sponsors Meeting for NY Autism Legislation

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

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

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

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

Age of Autism Birthday Winners!

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

By Kim Stagliano

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

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

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

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

Our Kids Somali or American

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

From: Hassan, Hodan M
Sent: Tue 11/18/2008 4:01 PM
To: Edit.french@state.mn.us
Cc: doug.schultz@state.mn.us; Sanne.magnan@state.mn.us

Subject: Our kids Somali or American

Hi Edith, Dr.Sanne and Doug.

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

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

Continue reading "Our Kids Somali or American" »

Autism Strikes 1 in 28 Somali Children in Minnesota

Somali_familyBy Nancy Hokkanen

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

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

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

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

Talk About Curing Autism Reaches Out to CA Wild Fire Victims

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

Help for Families Affected by California Wild Fires

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

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

How can you help?

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

Email Ideas to Arianna Huffington for the Rachel Maddow Show

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