Kim Stagliano Feed

Merck CEO Resigns: Citing Conscience

Ken FrazierApril Fools! Well, not really. It's August 15th, 2017.  After the violence in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier resigned from President Trump's Manufacturing Council:

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier is leaving President Trump's American Manufacturing Council, saying, "I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism."

The resignation came after Trump was criticized for his response to the violence at white supremacist events in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. The president, famous for his ability to be direct and forceful, was faulted for condemning violence "on many sides."

Ken found his conscience?  I think a Ken doll has more cojones than Ken Frazier. 

Dan Olmsted always referred to AofA as "agnostic." Our discussions of autism and vaccine injury have praised and damned Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals alike. The epidemic sees no party when it strikes a family.  What happened in Virginia goes well past politics into chaos. That said, the resignation of the CEO of the very company that makes the very vaccines that have made our kids so very sick on the grounds of "conscience" from the President's Manufacturing Council is head turning.    I can only speak for myself, and I can tell you I do not condone the violence and extremism that happened in Virginia. The mantra of white supremacy and the violence are repugnant to me.  

But I fear that the the not-so-veiled undertones of vaccination status supremacy now freely discussed in America are Pan Commentapproaching a similar progression.  Crazy, you think? Not so much. We say, "Ignore your rights, and they will go away." We're seeing that. Doctors who condone calling Child Protective Services on parents who do not fully vaccinate. Laws to keep healthy American kids out of school based on vaccination status. Even a threats of violence toward families who make medical choices that go against the 100% vaccination compliant mantra.

Merck makes a fortune from vaccinations. The former head of the CDC became Merck's President of the Vaccine Division after leaving her post in Atlanta. Dr. William Thompson, a CDC scientist, blew the whistle on how the autism MMR link was watered down in study machinations - putting African American male toddlers are particular risk of autism.

How about this for intolerance? Merck's $250M equal-pay lawsuit gains heft as 400 more women claim discrimination

And who could forget the planet's BIGGEST fines for illegal marketing of Vioxx and THEN for the deaths and injuries?  Merck Vioxx killed and injured hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Continue reading "Merck CEO Resigns: Citing Conscience" »


Autism Sits Down to Separate Dining Hours Via Autism Eats

Mad men dinnerThanks to our Adriana Gamondes for sharing this link to an Autism Society  Lehigh Valley (PA) event called Autism Eats.  There is an org called Autism Eats - not sure if this is part of their work.  From the AE website: Autism Eats provides autism-friendly non-judgmental environments for family dining, socializing and connecting with others who share similar joys and challenges.

At a time when the neurodiversity community is trying to tell us to "just accept autism" or that autism is simply a neuro-difference, programs have popped up around the nation that while good intentioned, basically ghetto'ize and segregate people with autism and their families.  What do you think of separate seatings at a restaurant for those of us with kids with autism?

Sure, a night out without dirty looks, guzzling a glass of wine or beer like a desert wanderer, eating an entire meal on the plate and not out of the box hours later at home sounds good. Reaaaallllly good. I love when I can take my girls places where we "fit in." But at what cost? If autism is a gift, a difference, not a problem to be solved or a diagnosis to be healed or God forbid cured, how are we to feel about being segregated in this way?  We can go to Sesame Place - on autism day.  We can even go to Broadway! For the autism lights up matinee. Is this sustainable living? Is it a Bandaid? If so, I'll take the Bandaid. To a point.  It does bother me that we have to be treated so differently, even though, I know we do - if that makes any sense.  

My girls and I would enjoy a meal together in a restaurant offering autism eats for sure.  But make no bones about it, there is NO OTHER diagnosis that gets this treatment.   Kim

From The Morning Call in PA:

Dinner out at a local restaurant is something many families take for granted.

Continue reading "Autism Sits Down to Separate Dining Hours Via Autism Eats" »


"Just Accept It" SunFrog Autism Wearables Unacceptable To Many

Just accept itBy Kim Rossi

There is a pair of leggings making the rounds on Facebook and other social media from a quick print company called SunFrog.  SunFrog does not create the designs - they just print them for the person who is the seller. Their business seems perfectly lovely and they have a strict infringement policy in terms of copyright.  We'll get to that later.

Take this pair of leggings with the autism ribbon, Nike'esque swoosh (I can't imagine Nike sanctioned this use) and ad campaign inspired "Just accept it." Meaning autism.  Here again is the message hammered into us by the Neurodiversity movemement. Guess what? Autism is really not acceptable. People with autism (oh, like my three girls) are indeed acceptable, lovable, adorable ad nauaseam.  How about a "Just accept it" Alzheimer's shirt? Breast cancer? Bipolar? Schizophrenia?

Do you really think autism is some unicorn diagnosis that isn't serious, life threatening, family ripping, economy strapping and yes, heart breaking?  Good grief!

We shouldn't have to proclaim our love for our kids, and yet campaigns like this force us to say things like:

NO! I do not accept autism.
I do not accept that my son can not speak.
I do not accept that my daughter can not tend to her monthly feminine hygiene needs.
I do not accept that my son puts his hand through glass windows.

Continue reading ""Just Accept It" SunFrog Autism Wearables Unacceptable To Many" »


Connecticut Budget Woes Hit Adults with Special Needs Hard

Mia Mom KC bus
Mia's first day program day July 2016

By Kim Rossi

My daughter Mia has autism and is in a day program here in Connecticut.  She goes five days per week with transportation. While she is at her program I work and earn a living running Age of Autism, writing and consulting. I take care of Mia's sisters, who also have autism.

Today, a letter came home from the non-profit that runs her program (and dozens of other programs) that they are implementing furlough days for employees.  And families will have to pay out of pocket for the program and transportation - to the tune of more than $225 for the day.  There are six furlough days scheduled because Connecticut's budget is a train wreck and our  DEMOCRAT Governor thinks cutting the bone first is a fine idea. We have so much WEALTH in this state! And yet somehow services for the most vulnerable population is on the cutting block. 

I am my lodging protest right here, Governor Malloy.  Mia and her peers have a right to safe, healthy day.  Imagine if your local hospital or Alzheimer's unit said, "We'll be closed tomorrow. Good luck!"  Is care for those truly unable to care for themselves a privilege?  Privilege is the hedge fund life further down the Merritt in Greenwich and Stamford. Asking parents who've spent at LEAST 22 years taking care of their loved ones 24/7/365 to pony up hundreds of dollars because the STATE, one of the wealthiest states in the nation by the way, can't balance a budget is bulllroar.  We lost GE headquarters a few years ago. We are one of the LEAST business friendly states in America in terms of taxes and cost of living.  So what are we? We're not Republican. We're not Democrat. We're Draconiats?  Nonsense. 

How about I bring Mia and her peers to the statehouse and YOU help them manage their day. Feed them. Change those who need diapers. Work on their behaviors. Push their wheelchairs. Translate their non-verbal communication.  Sound good, Governor Malloy and the Democrats.  Oh, can I suggest you change out of your fine suit for this day? It's going to be messy.

Here's an article describing the situation further.

MERIDEN – Days from now when Connecticut begins operating without a budget, services around the state will be cut.

Governor Malloy’s Resource Allocation Plan balances $2.1 billion through cuts alone because he does not have the power to add revenue in his executive authority. This will be the state's reality until a budget is passed. Democrats in the House of Representatives say they plan to vote on a budget on July 18.

In the meantime, agencies like MidState Arc, formerly Arc of Meriden-Wallingford, are bracing for the effects of these emergency cuts. The Arc helps more than 300 people a day throughout central Connecticut. It provides services to help people with disabilities find work and learn life skills so they can gain their own independence.

Many of MidState Arc’s programs are funded under the Department of Developmental Services, which is cut by more than $4 million in the current ‘no budget’ plan. CEO Pamela Fields said it will cost them about $50,000 a month and they would have to eliminate seven positions.

“I’m not feeling comfortable that it is temporary or if it is temporary, how temporary is it? The longer those cuts are in place the more impactful it will be on the agency and the less sustainable it will be for us to move forward,” said Fields.

Continue reading "Connecticut Budget Woes Hit Adults with Special Needs Hard" »


Lucky 7/11!

Gianna HeadshotBy Kim Rossi

Please join me in wishing my daughter Miss G a very happy 21st birthday! 7-11 is a lucky number in slot machines, isn't it? Or is that roulette? Or craps?  Ha ha - autism joke - craps!  

G has come so far in her development over the years. She is funny, happy, bright, attentive and yes, still very, very much affected (and hindered) by her autism.  That said, I am proud of her every single day. 

Because she is a July birthday girl, she has one more year in the school district before she "ages out" into adult programming. 

I used to be terrified of birthdays. Every "big one" made me so sad.  Now that I already have a 21 year old (M is 22) and all three girls have crossed sweet 16, I find myself less crushed on their birthdays and able to celebrate in their unique way. This is a survival tactic for me.  I need to live and laugh and enjoy the girls, even as I fight to bring them forward within and maybe in some ways withOUT of their autism.

I accept and adore my girls exactly where they are today. I don't love autism. I never have and I never will. Make no mistake - if I had a magic wand I would consider using a certain unforgivable curse on it! (That's for you Harry Potter fans.)  It will always be important to me to tell the world about the realities of having a child with autism - whether 1, 11 or 21 or 51.

We're having cake and ice cream and maybe a drop of Prosecco Italian sparkling wine.  Let's toast Gianna and all of her peers who are turning 21 this year.

Happy birthday, Miss G.

Love, Mom


Happy Independence Day from Age of Autism

By Kim Rossi*

I grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. Arthur Fiedler was the conductor of the world famous Boston Flag heart Pops from 1930 - 1980. Fifty years! Their July 4th celebration at the Esplanade on the Charles River is iconic even today.  I remember having a pair of red and blue Dr. Scholl sandals (when they still had "the toe bump) in 1976. I was 12 years old.

Take note of the beautiful baby held up by Mom at 1:11 (hmmm, there's an interesting number) and remember that autism was 1 in 10,000 in 1976. Virtually unheard of.  Today, how  many children are unable to attend a fireworks celebration due to sensory processing disorders and autism?

Happy Independence Day.  And thanks for your continued readership and support.

Love, Kim



Must Read: Your Special Eduction Rights from Skyhorse Publishing

Your SPED rightsNOTE: I know Julie Swanson and Jen Laviano from their dedication to special education rights here in Connecticut. If you've a child on an IEP, you know that districts are often at odds with your goals for your child. Often might even be an understatement. Jen and Julie walk you through the mirror into the real machinations of special ed, where budgets and allocations dictate services, and where the "I" in IEP stands for INTEREST of the district and not the INDIVIDUAL. 

Written in a conversational style, you don't need to be a lawyer to understand how to learn and exercise your child's rights.  Not the traditional summer read, I realize, but you'll be a better advocate and even the playing field after reading this book.  Pre-order a copy today.  It ships mid-August.  Congrats to Jen and Julie and a big thank you to Skyhorse for publishing books so valuable to our community. K

Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson, a high-profile special education attorney and a special education advocate, tell parents of students with disabilities how to navigate their school system to get the services they need for their children.

The authors demystify the federal laws that govern the rights of public school children with disabilities and explain how school districts often ignore or circumvent these laws. They explain the often sordid politics of special education, exposing truths like the fact that teachers are under extraordinary pressure not to spend resources on costly services. Most importantly, they show parents how to get the services their children are entitled to and make the system work for them.

Many parents don’t know they can:
Ask the school for an evaluation of their child
Get a second opinion if they disagree with the school’s testing
Request parental counseling and training (to help understand their child’s disability and child development, for example)
And so much more
Complete with checklists and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Your Special Education Rights provides parents with the substantive information they need and the practical strategies that work.


Let's Kindle an Idea for Autism

Charlie brown kindleI have a confession to make. I completely underestimate my daughters with autism. It's ridiculous how dumb I am sometimes about their ability. There's an easy laziness that has come to me whereby I do not expect the girls to surprise me with new skills. Can't say I'm proud about how the exhaustion of tending to three young adults (16 - 22) has taken a toll on my commitment to bringing them forward.

Mia decided to give me a shake up. God bless her. She loves her iPad. She loves Bella's iPad. She love's Gianna's iPad and iPhone. She loves the computer. If Mia had her druthers, her bed would look like the control room at ABC World News Tonight with 15 screens running different information in a concert where she herself was the conductor. She can process and use information so fast.

At night I charge the devices and hide them until morning. This way I can sleep in until 5:00am, maybe even 6:00am.

Mia was a pure Sesame Street gal for twenty two years. But in the last 6 months, since she began her day program post school, she has discovered, to my great joy, Charlie Brown! He's a classic! I adored him as a kid and had lots of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Peanuts items in my room. My Mom even has our old Snoopy phone! So I've been delighted that Mia has moved away from Sesame Street (especially since the show is now a pharma/public health sales tool) and to the classic Peanuts.

I own a Kindle e-reader, not a Kindle Fire. A few days ago, I came downstairs to make coffee and discovered Mia sitting at my desk in my office (corner of the kitchen) swiping my Kindle. I took a look, and lo and behold, she had bought Charlie Brown books!  Mia had never seen my Kindle open. She was never taught how to use it. But she swiped, found the store, searched for Charlie Brown and.... bought two books! Most folks wouldn't assume Mia can even read.  She CAN. She can spell. I was delighted!! This was her very first individual purchase.  And a wake up call for me, for which there will never be enough coffee. Our kids, my kids, have so many skills to show us. I'm angry at myself for having to be surprised. But thrilled to know maybe Mia would like a Kindle - a more passive device on which she would have to read. 

Mia bought herself two books.

Kim


Kim Rossi Stagliano on Twenty One Then and Now

Newton 504 Bus
By Kim Rossi Stagliano

When I was 21, I had graduated from Boston College with a degree in Economics cum laude. I was bright, funny, hard working. I landed an internship and full time job with Boston's top ad agency at the time, Hill Holliday. I went to work on the Lotus Development account. Anyone old enough to remember Lotus 1-2-3? And Wang word processors (also a HH account)?  Below is a photo of me at a tradeshow - DECWORLD!  

DecWorld 87

 I lived in Newton Corner Massachusetts and rode the 304 bus to Back Bay every day. That's the bus in the above photo.

Fast forward several lifetimes. My daughter Mia is 22 and her sister Gianna is about to turn 21, just like Mom. Below is the bus Mia takes to her "job", after graduating from her extended special education schooling in our town.  She is bright, funny, hardworking. Autistic.

MIA KC bus

There she is below with her "boss," me.

Mia Mom KC bus

Mia attends a special needs day program.  Mia has vaccine induced autism. I'll be her "boss" for the rest of my life.

Neither of us had measles though, so it's all good, right?

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.


Jimmy Kimmel Now Do You Understand Our Pain?

Kimmell
Jimmy Kimmel sobbed (again) on his TV program about his newborn son and the heart surgery the baby needed. Who could blame him?   A nurse noticed that the baby's heart had a problem - and medicine saved the child.  There's no pain as sharp as watching your child in danger, with poor health, struggle, maybe even die. Remember when Jimmy Kimmel made fun of parents of vaccine injured children with autism on this same show? Remember when you noticed something very seriously wrong with your child and people like Jimmy Kimmel laughed at you and called you a liar and a silly Mommy?  Remember your children with seizures, self-injurious behavior, children who drown, are beaten by those charged with teaching them, children whose life expectancy is mid-30s  because of their autism?   We do.  This was from HuffPo in March of 2015:

Jimmy Kimmel is giving anti-vaccination advocates a taste of their own medicine.

After airing a segment with doctors hilariously explaining the reasons to get your kids vaccinated, Kimmel got hate messages on Twitter that put “Mean Tweets“ to shame. So, in the interest of fairness, the talk show host sent his “community activists” out to try and prove that vaccinations are bad (because kids prefer lollipops to needles). And the result is even more ridiculous than it sounds.

Pray, Jimmy, that you NEVER NEED US.  But if you do, we'll be here. Because THAT'S the vax injury prevention community.  We may dislike you for your callous treatment of us and our kids, but we'll help.  Despite our own broken hearts for which there is no surgery.

You owe us an apology, Jimble Kimball....  Even Wendy would not be as cruel.

I wrote the post below when Jimmy's daughter Jane was born.  KIM


Kim and GiannaDear Jimmy, Dude wtf

The Sound of Vaccine Injury

May I call you Jimmy? I feel like I know you, having invited you into my home so many times. Laughing with you. Crying with you when your Uncle Frank died. Reveling in your numerous guest appearances on The Howard Stern Show. Loving the updates from the fabulous parties you throw for him and Beth. I'm a fan, Jimmy. You make me laugh and Lord knows I need to laugh. So....  about this foray into vaccination politics. Can I just ask, "WTF?"

I know you have a beautiful baby daughter named Jane. (Love the name, so much better than Kumquat or Des Moines.)

I also know you have grown children by a previous marriage.  (We "anti-vaxxers" don't just use the Google to find "myths and debunked lies" about healthcare, you know.)

Continue reading "Jimmy Kimmel Now Do You Understand Our Pain?" »


The Complete Dereliction of Duty by Pediatricians

Washes bloodBy Kim Stagliano

Pediatricians have failed their patients with autism at every turn. Here are two pleas for help I saw recently on large, special needs groups.  Expect when your youngster grows into a teen (male especially) that your ped will throw up her hands and ask you to leave because working with him is simply too difficult.  My girls have never had a hearing or vision test at the peds office. "We can't do it, they won't cooperate." 

American Academy of Pediatrics, you stink. 100% stink.  Your members are prima-donna quitters who fire patients at will.  Real doctors treat and heal. Pediatricians today weigh kids, take blood pressure, check a few orifices and then administer vaccines and referrals out to specialists in as short a period of time as possible, stacking patients like aircraft at LaGuardia.  I have a new tagline for you, "AAP: We break them then forsake them." Catchy yes? More than measles....

Break forsake
Thanks to Laura Hayes for the meme idea!




You don't often wash your hands before a visit, you sure are soaping up now on our kids. But guess what? Shakespeare wrote it best and I hope you, Dr. MacBeth are tormented every day with, "Out out damn spot!"  Kim

After a hard visit at the pedi today (just for a well physical visit ) we were told that if my asd son doesn't start to learn how to cooperate and let her examine him , he won't be able to be under her care anymore , so I'm interested to know about developmental pedis and if they are just for development issues or can do all (well, sick, developmental) and any names of some that aren't really associated with GIANT PRESTIGIOUS MEDICAL TRASHCAN (Kim's name for this institution) (as we have never had any good outcomes with them) please feel free to pm me.

And another comment:

Continue reading "The Complete Dereliction of Duty by Pediatricians" »


Light It Up Pink for Autism with Kim Stagliano

Pink lightbulbI wrote this back in 2011. Not much has changed beyond my girls growing older and my dear Dad passing away in February at 94.  Share your thoughts on April - and what you would like to see that would help not only you, but others outside the community (are there any people left not affected in some way?)

By Kim Stagliano

I'm aware. I get it. I have 3 girls with autism. I am bludgeoned about the head, shoulders and heart every day. Awareness - it's only a word. It's passive. If I am aware that you are hungry and I don't ask if you have any food, then find you food and help you to eat, what the hell good does it do for anyone to say, "Oh, that Mary Pat is STARVING over there on Main Street and I feel uber-special helpful since I know it."

Of course most people aren't so callous about awareness - and there's a ton of great work being done not only this month, but day in and day out. Teachers, therapists, researchers with a death wish (snark alert) parents, friends, family - it's wonderful to see the outpouring of support and thought about autism. However, I'm tired, just came off a week of 3 kids with strep and have a head cold. So I'm feeling very snarky.

A month of "light it up blue?" I guess it's like Coke red. Fine. If you have the budget, you can brand anything you want. Hell, why not come up with a jingle too? Let's see.... Try singing this? "Autism was 1 in 10000 not long ago millions spent on genetics and the numbers oh they just groooooowwwww!" (That sounds best when sung out of tune sort of to the old "A sprinkle a day" Shower to Shower powder jingle, by the way.)

A month of puzzle shaped bright blue cupcake toppers? I saw those online and got so annoyed it was if I'd eaten a vat of blue die. Instant behavior problems. Whoop-dee-gluten-filled doo. Puzzles are a child's toy for God's sake not the mark of a national and growing worldwide epidemic. Let's see, colon cancer. Intestines. Maybe they get a slinky as their "logo." I told you I was snarky.

I'm tired of symbols and awareness and acceptance as "enough" for us all. I want action. I want to protect kids from death by wandering. I want adults n the spectrum to find meaningful work. I want kids with Asperger's not to be bullied into suicide or rage. I want more things than Veruca Salt could ever have demanded on her very best day. And while I know in my head that there's a lot of great progress taking place - it's never fast enough for my heart when I'm in the thick of the chaos.

Continue reading "Light It Up Pink for Autism with Kim Stagliano " »


Ha ha! Infectious Disease "Specialist" Now Attacks "Anti-science left"

Offit_blogBy Kim Stagliano

Honest to God, what does this man do all day except pretend he's Tweedledee and Tweedledum's other brother: TweedleDOOM. Contrariwise is his mantra.   Paul Offit is now attacking the gluten free diet and healthy, chemical free food choices. Did I mention he's an infectious disease doctor at Children's of Philly? He's devoted much of his life to attacking autism families - most of us here at AofA know that. He does this to protect vaccinations as a whole - and as his livelihood.  Now he's going after food and the "anti-science left" that is fighting for SAFER, chemical free food.  Mon-san-t-OH MY GOD.  (Google Age of Autism Paul Offit for a whole lot of articles on his vaccine patents and shameful attacks on autism families over the last decade+.)

WHAT-ever.....

War On Science: Gluten-Free Madness Needs to End

Trump appointees to head the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to the contrary, the war on science isn’t limited to conservatives. Liberals have their own anti-science biases. Where conservatives often reject science based on their literal interpretation of the Bible or due to an abhorrence of federal regulations, liberals appear to be motivated by a belief that all things natural are good, anything with a chemical name is bad, and everything that profits an industry is really bad (unless that industry makes dietary supplements).

If you don’t believe in the existence of the anti-science left, just walk into a Whole Foods store. At Whole Foods, you can buy products guaranteed to be free of: (1) one of the most important scientific advances in the 20th century (“GMO-free”); (2) a chemical resin that the Food and Drug Administration as well as every other regulatory agency that has weighed in on this subject has declared safe (“BPA-free”); and (3) a component of wheat that causes a disease that affects about 1 percent of the American population (“gluten-free”).

The gluten-free is probably the saddest fallacy—and the most destructive.






Happy St. Patrick's Day from Kim Rossi Stagliano!

St pat smaller
NOTE: This is just the type of post that would have earned me an email from Dan Olmsted, "Kimbo, you add the right touch at the right time, thank you..." or something kind and reassuring like that.  Goodness I miss him. His memorial is tomorrow in Falls Church, Virginia.

2:00pm at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home
9902 Braddock Road
Fairfax, VAUS22032

Readers are invited.

By Kim Rossi Stagliano

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

This is how we Rossis (Staglianos) roll. When I lived with my parents in 2005 - long story, really, you should read about it (insert eye roll) Bella made this fabulous Leprechaun hat with beard. So, we donned it, laughed our McArse's off and took photos. Mom, Dad (2 weeks gone this week at 94, his mother was a Sullivan) the girls and me.

My family was always blessed with laughter - we make jokes, tease each other, find joy in the simplest things and smile even when there's a potato famine and the Guinness has run out. Laughter = love.

Today - St. Patrick's Day - was my Dad's sister's b-day. She'd have been 98 I believe. She lived past 90. She met my girls when she was 88 or so and just "got them." Auntie Gert (nee Asunta Rossi) lost a son to violent crime, my handsome cousin Stephen. She knew what it felt like to have a child wounded, hurt, a Mother's pain. She got me. I loved her very much. My girls went to her 90th birthday party. No one in the Rossi family batted an eye - they offered a helping hand. All of them. That's family. Some are blood. Some are not. Some are gold. Others are pyrite - shining on the outside but rotten on the inside - "Fool's Gold" as pyrite is known.

Happy St. Patrick's Day. May the road rise to meet you. Always.

Love, Kim



How Autistics Could Help Their Tribe

AofA comments ND
NOTE: Thanks for the kind emails. A few of you have asked about Dan's memorial service. Here are the details.  You are cordially invited, Saturday, March 18 at 2:00pm.  Kim

Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home
9902 Braddock Road
Fairfax, VAUS22032

By Kim Stagliano

2017 hasn't been an easy year.  We lost Dan O in January and my Dad passed away 12 days ago at the age of 94. Dan and my Dad were the two men who called me a unique nickname - "Kimbo." Dan didn't know my Dad called me that - he came up with it himself. Not Kimba. Not Kimmy. Not OhMyGoshJustKeepTheSiteRunning. Kimbo.  Even when my Dad could no longer hear well enough to speak to me on the phone, my Mom would say, "Richard, it's Kim on the phone," and he'd yell from across the room, "Hello, Kimbo! How are you!"   I miss Dan every single day.  And now, I'll miss my Dad too. But these are the turns that life takes, and I accept them.

Speaking of acceptance.  I posted an important WhiteHouse.gov petition on our Facebook page last week, and here as well.  Take Action to End the Autism Epidemic and Implement Comprehensive Reforms of Vaccine Safety Policies It calls for an overhaul of vaccine safety and to end the autism epidemic.  Well, this brought out two strident commenters on our page.  Sometimes we ignore these Facebook comments, Adriana, Cathy and I.  We don't moderate FB too much - we haven't had to, most comments are from people like you and me who are just trying to get through the day taking care of their loved ones with autism.  Two autistic commenters came in guns and assumptions blazing.  I chose to respond. 

We're less than a month away from the silly season of celebrating autism. April Fools Day lasts all month long for us.  Autism is no joke.

Melvin wrote: "Yep better call a national emergency to stop people like me being born, thanks for that."

Continue reading "How Autistics Could Help Their Tribe" »


Invitation: Meet Robert Kennedy Jr. and Support World Mercury Project

RESCHEDULED TO 4/18 DUE TO... Blizzard!

WMP invite (2)
By Kim Stagliano

Friends, I'm happy to invite you to an unique event on March 14 to support Robert Kennedy Jr's World Mercury Project.  Tony Lyons, Publisher of Skyhorse Publishing, is opening his home in New York city for a meet and greet and special presentation by Robert Kennedy.   We can share a nosh and an Immunitini together!

We need all hands on deck to eliminate mercury from our medicine and elsewhere.  We're so far deep into the vaccine trenches that we can't see the land above us. Most parents outside our realm are clueless - I say that with no rancor.   They have been told, screamed at, preached to, browbeaten with "all vaccines are safe and mercury is gone."  We were once trusting souls too.  We need to educate and inform them and the Kennedy name goes a long, long way.

This event and everything World Mercury Project does moves the ball down the field for vaccine safety awareness - and yes, that is what we need whether we want to support vaccine bans or choice.   This means working collaboratively, and we're happy to support our friends and colleagues at WMP.

I hope to meet some of you there. The donation is $250.  We understand that this is a dear price for many (most) of us.   If you can not attend, you can show your support with a donation of any amount.  Click here. Every penny counts. From this we know, at Age of Autism/AutismAge.   Every donation is important. 

To RSVP please contact Tony's executive assistant Kersten Kim, who will then provide additional information.  kkim@skyhorsepublishingnyc.onmicrosoft.com.


President Trump Asks at Parent Teacher Listening Conference: "Have You Seen An Increase in Children with Autism?"

Parent TEacherBy Kim Stagliano

Yesterday, President Trump held a parent teacher listening conference.   The full transcript is HERE.   What caught our ear was the President's  question to a special education teacher.   Say what you will, President Trump has shown more interest in the reality of the autism epidemic than any President before him.  Is it lip service? Time will tell.  Katie Wright Tweeted earlier that her Mom, Suzanne Wright, tried more than a dozen times to get Michelle Obama, the former first lady, to talk about the autism epidemic, to no avail. 

Katie Tweet FLOTUS

Neurodiversity had a stranglehold on the Obama administration. IACC has been a complete failure. And families are drowning. 

Yesterday, an autism Mom wrote on Facebook that she was leaving her son in a mental health facility because of his raging autism. He could no longer live at home.  She was heart broken. Bereft. THIS is the agony so many of us face. Not whether our kids will work at Apple or Microsoft.

So, have YOU seen an increase in autism?  From the transcript:

  1. BAUMANN: Good morning, I’m Julie. I teach special education at a public school in New Jersey.

THE PRESIDENT:  Very good.  Thank you.

  1. QUENNVILLE: Hi, I’m Jane Quennville, and I’m a principal of a special-ed center in Virginia serving children ages five through twenty-two with autism and physical and medically fragile conditions.

THE PRESIDENT:  How is that going?

  1. QUENNVILLE: Well --

THE PRESIDENT:  Have you seen an increase in the autism with the children?

  1. QUENNVILLE: Yes, yes. In fact, our school has shifted its population -- saw more children with autism, definitely.

THE PRESIDENT:  So what’s going on with autism?  When you look at the tremendous increases, really, it’s such an incredible -- it’s like really a horrible thing to watch, the tremendous amount of increase.  Do you have any idea?  And you’re seeing it in the school?

  1. QUENNVILLE: Yes, I think -- I mean, I think the statistics, I believe, are 1 in 66, 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism.

THE PRESIDENT:  And now it’s going to be even lower --

  1. QUENNVILLE: Probably.


Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.


Sing, Sing a Song. Sing of Happy, Not Sad. A Tribute to Dan Olmsted

Dan awardBy Kim Stagliano

I've struggled with how to  honor Dan here at AofA.  One of the main differences between Dan and other journalists is that Dan listened. He listened to mothers telling him that their children changed post vaccination. He didn't run to his desk and write that we were vindictive lunatics looking to blame anything and everything for our kids' autism. HE LISTENED to the mothers (and fathers) and started investigating.

I have this video of my daughter singing the Carpenters' song, "Sing," made famous (at least in our house) by Sesame Street. It has been a theme song here for more than 40 decades. Mia loves it. I loved it as a girl.   During great autism struggles, when I feared for Mia's life during seizures or when she was lost during a vacation, I would think to myself, "If anything happens to her, we will play SING at her funeral." 

Instead, she is singing it here, for me, for you, for Dan Olmsted. My dear friend.  The video is 1:11 long. For those of you who follow me, you know that angel numbers play a big role in my life.  1:11.



Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

Sing, sing a song
Let the world sing along
Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

Dan I worked together, hand in glove. I've said to a number of friends since his death, "It's like we're on a jumbo jet. I'm the co-pilot. I've been flying the plane with the pilot, taking the controls when he needed a break, with a great crew all of whom are able to fly the plane. Except now, I'm the pilot. And it feels differently. Lonely."

But I will sing, in Dan's name.  Of good things. Not bad. Of happy. Even though I am sad.

Love, Kim


HuffPo Removes Prominent Writer's Post: Can You Guess Why?

HuffPo REMOVAL with sentence
By Kim Stagliano

Today really isn't the day to poke this Mama bear. Neither was yesterday.  Tomorrow isn't looking good either. JB Handley and many others posted a piece from HuffPo on their Facebook pages. The post was by HuffPo health contributor Martha Rosenberg. Ms. Rosenberg has written many posts for HuffPo. 

Damn Those Vikings Bear Pipeline Protestors

Why Does This Cruel Animal Practice Persist?

Don’t Believe These Meat Industry Lies—Part Two.

Women Won’t Take Risky Medicines Lament Drug Company-Funded Bone Associations

This post was removed after 24 hours:

Vaccines Are Totally Safe Say the People Who Brought us Vioxx, Bextra, Baycol, Trovan, Phen-Fen, Xarelto, Raxar and Seldane....

But those of us who know that HuffPo is HuffNO when it comes to anything other than a$$kissing Wayback machine vaccines are wily. Well lookey here!!!   Huge thanks to Ginger Taylor and Lisa Stuckey for this link to the Wayback machine for the full post as it stood for a brief moment on the site.   The full body copy follows the screen shots at the end of this post, please scroll down.  Here's the link to the post in Wayback - and some screen shots below as well. 

HP 1
  HP3

Continue reading "HuffPo Removes Prominent Writer's Post: Can You Guess Why?" »


Kim Stagliano Asked in 2009: What if President's Child Had Autism

Apple store  Stag GirlsBy Kim Stagliano

In 2009, I wrote an article for Huffington Post (back when they would let autism-centric posts run) that asked, "What if the first child has autism?"  My hope was that President Obama would make a difference for us. Here, 8 years later, the Federal government has accomplished precious little in terms of making life better for families facing the unbelieveable challenges of autism. We had a safety and wandering code added to medical codes - a good thing. But overall, we were slammed on vaccine safety, glossed over by the adulation of neurodiversity and our medical rights were diminished in state after state as draconian vaccine laws were passed, the most egregious which was SB277 in California.

Katie Wright Tweeted that her late Mom, Suzanne Wright, asked First Lady Obama more than a dozen times to talk to her about autism. "Sorry disappointed @Flotus. My Mom tried 19x 2 interest her in ANYThing autism. Obesity easier I guess."  (See below)

Katie Tweet FLOTUS
President Trump is clearly willing to stomp on the third rail topics. His brash, eye popping leadership style (love it or hate it) makes him a wild card. Much of the nation is dead set against him as President. And yet, today, he becomes our President.  Will President Trump help our community? I know there has been speculation about his handsome son and the possibility of some sort of diagnosis. I'm not inclined to guess or armchair diagnose. Not my style. He's a boy. Not a poster boy.  Time will tell. 

Here's the HuffPo piece I wrote.

As a Mom, one of the highlights of the inauguration was watching the first children, Miss Malia and Miss Sasha Obama, revel in their father’s day. They were poised and yet still childlike. Eyes bright. Smiles wide.

Their mother, our elegant new First Lady, was able to fully share the day with her darling daughters. Did you notice the glances and grins they shared? I sure did.

And then I became sad.

As an autism Mom, I thought about how different the day would be if the First Lady had a child with autism. Here’s one scenario:

The First Lady is holding her child’s hand tightly as they walk toward their seats, her smile tempered by the interference from her autismometer, the scanning system she uses at all times to gauge her child’s mood, temperment, ability to manage the input and to anticipate a meltdown. In her other hand she holds a metal ring on which hang dozens of plastic cards with simple pictures and words. It’s an odd accessory.

The boy is wearing a pair of bulky, Bose noise canceling headphones to help him tune out the roar of the crowd. His eyes are cast down to the floorboards.

The lines laid out before him capture his attention. He stops. He sits down.

A brief look of panic crosses his mother’s face. She erases it. Then gently, lovingly signs, “stand up.”

He lies down.

Continue reading "Kim Stagliano Asked in 2009: What if President's Child Had Autism" »


Keep Age of Autism on Screen in 2017!

Donate to AofA
Hi readers, followers and friends. We have some exciting behind the screen news coming soon. In

Kim Girls 2015
Kim Rossi Stagliano, Executive Director of Autism Age with her three daughters with autism.

2017 we'll be more focused than ever on bringing you the news from deep inside the autism epidemic - the new administration brings many questions and as with any new admin - worries and hope.

We rely on your TAX DEDUCTIBLE donations - large and small alike. Every penny goes to keeping us online. We run lean and mean! (Especially before I've had my coffee...)

We'll have new donation options in 2017 - for now, we invite you to donate $5.00, $10.00, more if you can. www.paypal.me/autismage or send a check payable to Autism Age PO Box 546 Trumbull CT 06611.

Thanks!  Kim, Dan and Mark


A Visit from St. ThereIsNoAutismEpidemicandVaccinesareSafe

Santa sleigh

For many of us, the holidays are bittersweet. We buy our adult children Sesame Street toys. We worry about how to manage the noise, lights and hubbbub of a large family meal. Is Auntie Bev going to serve GF food? So many hurdles - will any of the 8 nights of candles be peaceful? And so it goes.

Take a moment for yourself - especially you Moms. Go into a room and close the door. Sit. Breathe. Know that you are doing your best even when it feels like you rival Joan Crawford at her worst. Soldier on. You have support and love everywhere within our community and we will always bolster each other. You are us. We are you.

Love, KIM



Twas the night before Christmas, to our readers we say

Thank you kindly for logging on every day.

Your comments were written with keen thought and care

In hopes that we'd publish them and not put them "there."

Blaxill and Olmsted with science expose

The strange world of pharma and how it all goes.

And Kim in her office (so close to the stove)

Baked up post after post and some cookies with clove.

The stories keep coming - vaccines that did shatter

We ask every day, "Will our voices soon matter?"

Continue reading "A Visit from St. ThereIsNoAutismEpidemicandVaccinesareSafe" »


This Is What Happens When Kim Posts While Drinking Homemade Wine

Mommy Wine Contest KimBy Kim Stagliano

Got your attention, did I?  Yes, I'm sipping a glass of homemade Italian wine that could strip wallpaper, but I'm as sober as a judge. Mike Judge.  No, really, I am.

Quick Friday post here.  Reality check. Autism stinks. Autism lies. Autism smothers the true person inside. In this case, my gorgeous, bright, happy, chatty, calendar perseverating Gianna. She's 20 and in eval time at school.    Here's the deal.   I have what we call a PPT here in CT this morning. Part of our meeting is to review a psych eval.  Can I tell you something?

PSYCH TESTS BLOW!!!!

Hmmmm, maybe that last gulp of wine was not necessary.

Let me try again.

PSYCH TESTS BUY US SERVICES!

Yup.

From Gianna's psych eval for a meeting today:

Reason for Referral:

Gianna was referred for her triennial evaluation by the Planning and Placement Team to assess her current levels of functioning in order to determine continuing eligibility for special education and related services. Gianna currently receives special education and related services as a student with Autism. Gianna will be turning 21-years-old in the 2017-2018 and will age out of school based services. This evaluation will also aid in developing transition services for Gianna.

Background Information:

Gianna is a twenty-year-old girl currently in the Elite Program, a community based program offered through XYZ Public Schools that offers transitional services, community experiences, and vocational training for students with disabilities aged 18-21.

Continue reading "This Is What Happens When Kim Posts While Drinking Homemade Wine" »


2016: The Year the Candidates Forgot Manners and Autism

VOTE!
By Kim Stagliano

Well, we vote tomorrow here in America.  If you don't live in this country, it's hard to explain how exhausted we are by our years' long process of primaries and then the general election. It just goes on forever.   We have to laugh or we'll cry, right? Maybe we'll scream.

Here at AofA, as a non-profit (and in an effort to maintain our sanity) we don't discuss politics as a rule. We certainly don't declare our loathing or loving for any candidate in any office from dog catcher to Commander-in-Chief.  

I've seen friendships destroyed on social media over this election. Civility has been kicked to the curb. Emotions are running high.

One thing we can probably agree upon, however, is that real issues facing Americans have taken a backseat to high drama accusations.  And this serves none of us.  

Autism has been all but ignored.

Perhaps that's a good thing, since we know that just when we think the government's handling of the epidemic could not get any worse, the numbers rise. Families falter.

In 36 hours we'll have a new President-elect.  Please hold good thoughts that the process goes smoothly, safely and that we don't suffer cyber or other attacks.  Get out and vote. However you choose. Don't ignore your right to vote.

If you choose to comment - please don't bother sniping about the candidates. We can turn on the any TV channel for that.

KIM

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.


Kinsey French: From the "Maybe The World Isn't Going to Hell in a Handbasket" Files

Kinsey FrenchI had to share this lovely story of a bride who invited her special education students to her wedding. Two of my girls' teachers have gotten married - and both invited the girls to the Church. We went! Each time we sat near the back, once we moved into the  "crying room," which is what we Catholics call the glassed-in room with piped-in sound reserved for families of babies and other screamy types.  We'd never have disrupted a wedding - just being there was lovely!    Special Ed teacher Kinsey French invited her students to be IN her wedding.  There are oodles of photos, click the story to see them.  The joy leaps on the screen.  KIM

From Distractify.com

When planning for her wedding, French invited all six of her students who have Down syndrome, to join in on the festivities and attend the ceremony as ring bearers and flower girls.  Read and see the photos here.


A Tale of Two Americas

Defarge 2By Kim Stagliano

It was the best of times. It was the weirdest of times. Written with apologies to Mr. Dickens at a time when I feel a great kinship with Madame Defarge, the character from A Tale of Two Cities who knitted names of her  oppressors into her handwork during the French revolution.

ATOTC is my favorite Dickens novel. Who doesn’t swoon a bit when Sydney Carton says, “"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known," as he sacrifices himself for his love, Lucy?

This weekend I was in South Texas - McAllen to be exact -  for the first (and I sure hope the first of many) S. Texas Special Needs Conference. I had the honor of being keynote speaker. The audience was primarily first generation Mexican, McAllen is mere miles from the border.  The Moms are getting younger by the minute or maybe I’m just getting older. I’m pretty sure that’s the case. But no matter where I travel or who I meet, our stories are woven together like Madame Defarge’s knitting. We knit one and pearl two as mothers sharing the intense emotions of having children with special needs, especially autism.  Our language does not matter. All differences fall away like a head from the guillotine. 

Here at AofA we've been taking note of a scary movement in our nation. It seems to me that in a time when the rights of all Americans are at the forefront - one group is being thrown to the wolves.

MY GROUP.

For those us who advocate for the right to say NO to vaccination or to say, "I'll decide when and how much" we are being cast back to some very dark times.

Yesterday, Cathy Jameson wrote about comments from Google that went something like this:

The Unvaccinated should be corralled into their own society. With the hopes that child protective services would soon pay a visit.  And maybe the sheriff, too. To take unvaccinated children away and to arrest The Unvaccinated’s uneducated parents who willingly choose to expose the public to disease. Because it’s unfair for vaccinated people to be subjected to The Unvaccinated, that’s why! 

Wow, take healthy children away from their parents.

Segregation. Corralling. How about just tossing us into railroad cars and calling us the VAX/CSX crowd? 

America is not a nation that takes its freedom lightly.  The current tone and tenor toward vaccination and medical rights is becoming severe and old fashioned. It smacks of Jim Crow laws.

Jim Crow laws were state and local laws enforcing racial segregation in the Southern United States. Enacted after the Reconstruction period, these laws continued in force until 1965.

Sanctioned segregation. 

Continue reading "A Tale of Two Americas" »


Clinton: "Let's Protect All Our Kids." Did Secretary Clinton Pull A Nancy Snyderman and Expose Others to Disease Risk?

Do as i sayBy Kim Stagliano

During the political season, vaccination mandates and exemption considerations have been part of the conversation.   Candidates are branded "anti-vaccine" for any discussion other than,  "Vax early and often without thought."  Vaccine rights are certainly relevant here at Age of Autism, where so many of us have vaccine injured children, grandchildren, and loved ones. 

With this in mind, I listened carefully to a CNN report yesterday as I was driving home from Massachusetts to Connecticut with my three daughters, after a visit with my parents. Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton was said to have "overheated" at an event commemorating 9/11 in New York City and then "stumbled" when she got into her vehicle. A later reporte amended the story:

From CNN yesterday: Hillary Clinton has pneumonia, her doctor said Sunday, hours after the Democratic nominee stumbled and exited a 9/11 commemoration ceremony early.

Clinton was diagnosed on Friday with pneumonia, and "was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule," Dr. Lisa Bardack said in a statement.

"While at this morning's event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely," said Bardack, chairman of internal medicine at the Mount Kisco Medical Group.  Read more here.

Take a look at the video below.




Stumbled? I see a poor woman who has perhaps passed out, appears limp and is dragged into the vehicle - her shoes are toes down on the pavement.  It's a sad moment to watch, for sure. She is a mother. And a grandmother....  Ah yes, a grandmother. This brings us back to vaccination. Clinton tweeted her thoughts on vaccines in a Tweet:

Clinton tweet
Let's talk about protecting "all our kids." 

Continue reading "Clinton: "Let's Protect All Our Kids." Did Secretary Clinton Pull A Nancy Snyderman and Expose Others to Disease Risk?" »


"The Use of Fear To Justify Oppression..." George Takei

George Takei Tweet
By Kim Stagliano

How many of our readers are George Takei fans? I sure am! From his Sulu days when I used to watch Star Trek as a kid, to his unbelievably fun and entertaining appearances on The Howard Stern show over the last several years, I just love him.   He's a smart man.  Learned. Thoughtful. And as a Japanese-American internment camp survivor and a gay man, he is acutely aware of oppression and coercion.   Is he aware of the health oppression known as asthma, diabetes, autism, developmental delays, anxiety, and the host of other pediatric epidemics? He's also one of the most social media savvy celebs - especially for his age - close to 80.

And he lives in California, home of SB277, the law that removed vaccine exemption rights from Californians and has robbed children of their right to attend school.   The measles outbreak in California was the impetus for SB277.   After all, you have to be carefully taught - to hate. Hate disease! Fear disease! Chicken pox and measles were once benign childhood rites of passage in America. No more. Fear sells vaccines. Fear passes laws. Fear allows corporations to control politicians.

WWGS?  What Would George Say?



I read his tweet above with interest. My first thought was how do we tell Mr. Takei about SB277 and the push to take away some of our most basic rights vis a vis vaccination?  How do we tell Mr. Takei that Candidate Clinton is not prone to allow us to retain our healthcare rights - regardless  of what she does within her own family?  She knows best?

Clinton tweet
How do we educate Mr. Takei on the TSOOO-nami of vaccine injured children across the nation?

The use of fear to justify oppression is never the answer. We'd like all of our kids to live long and prosper. Wait, that's Spock.  And forcing vaccination is illogical.

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.


Schools Been Blown to PIECES! YAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!! (Autism and Adulthood.)

By Kim Stagliano

I know that the Alice Cooper classic rock song "School's Out" is politically incorrect. I don't much care.  I am the mother of one, two, three daughters with autism. I'm tired. And I'm often cranky.

Not today. I'm so happy I need to pinch myself to make sure I'm really me.

Check this out:  Here's the report I got from my oldest daughter's new adult day program.  My response is in crayon. Try finding a pen around here.

Mia MDAC
She attends Monday - Friday from 9:00 to 2:30pm at two programs that are part of a large organization in my county.  Four years ago I said out loud, "Mia will NEVER go to a day program at such and such!"   Dopey me.   So, her core program is very autism specific. The staff is well trained. Kind. Young. Energetic. Underpaid. She is also attending a totally cool Art Cooperative program in a funky space that you or I would be happy to call home every day.  This was the note I got after her first day of adding the art program. Pay attention to this line "No drops."  One of Mia's behaviors is to drop to the floor onto her knees like a sack of cement and remain there when she is not happy with what's going on - especially during transition. In fact, another day program in the area - that shall not be named (yet.... ) all but turned Mia down because of this ooooooh so difficult behavior. Is dropping to the floor a disruptive pain in the  you know what behavior?  Yes. Is it the the worst of possible autism behaviors? Heck no.  

ZERO DROPS is huge, giant, life changing. And it tells me that Mia feels good. Safe. Respected. In control. Honestly, I'm giddy.


I think Mia is thrilled to be done with the constant data tracking of ABA based school.  She's sick to death of prompts and charts and rewards. Life is not prompt based. For any of us. Sure we need reminders and incentives. But the overdrive school models are not relevant to the real world. 

Respecting her and meeting her where she is right now is what's making a difference. The team likes Mia. She's a nice young woman who sings off key with joy and who, when she makes eye contact with you, really connects with  your soul.  She shines. And her new program honors her. 

I've told her team that I'm writing about Mia's journey. 

SCHOOL'S OUT FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We can do this. Take heart. More soon.

KIM XOXOXOXOX

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.


Week One: Autism for Adults

FutureBy Kim Stagliano

Quick update on my oldest daughter's first week in her adult autism day program.  The future I worried about is here. And guess what?  Although it's very early, I'm not as terrified as I thought. Dare I say we have:

Relief!

Success!

Happiness!

Our team has worked really hard to welcome Mia to her new routine.  The program is part of a large Mia summer 2016organization here in Fairfield County, CT.  They offer over 40 "day programs," and Mia will be in two. One is arts based the other, her core program, is called "INSPIRE."  Mia calls it, "InSPIDER." We love that.

We've had excellent communication. Texts. Emails. Notes.

The transportation office has be patient with me.

And Mia seems to be happy.  Today, she is delivering Meals on Wheels in the area. I love that.

More soon!


Say Goodbye to School Days and Skittle Ways When Autism Ages Out

Skittles
By Kim Stagliano

From time to time when I'm not too grumpy or tired or busy with mastering adult skills, I'll be writing about autism and aging out. My oldest finished school earlier this month. Forever. She turns 22 in December.
Retro data counter1) By high school, ditch the data clicker. I mean it. Reams of graphs and charts detailing how many times your child tore a piece of paper (Ugh! Destruction!) or slapped her hand on the desk (Ugh! Aggression!) will not help the next group of providers. At all.

2) Ask the paras to step back. Literally. Let your child learn how to walk on his or her own in the hallways without a para at his or her arm. Eyes on arms length should be ample. We changed classes 3 minutes before the bell when one of my kids was having issues with pinching other kids in the halls. Many adult programs have a 5 - 1 or  3 - 1 ratio. Your child will have to learn to be somewhat independent. Scary, yes?

3) Ease way off the prompts the way you ease off the gas on a curvy exit ramp. A prompt dependent adult will have a hard time keeping up in a program that is not prompt based. No programs are prompt based at this time.  Well, very few. 

4) Programs that claim to be for special needs "including autism" likely are not. At. All. Just like we have schools devoted entirely to autism, we are going to need adult programs for job training, mentoring, dayhab, EVERYthing tailored to autism.

A local program that I will call Durmstrang Special Needs Program was stymied by my daughter's minor behaviors.  I mean what on earth would they do with a young woman who sits DOWN on the floor and will not get UP when told under stress?" Imaging the horror!  How could they possibly manage having to come up with coping strategies and a behavior plan to assist her in this huge transition. How about doing your job as a special needs center that claims to include autism with the $49,000 the State of Connecticut was ready to spend with you? 

I know for a fact they have already tossed one young man with autism for his behavior.   "I see no indication that Mia can work within a group," said the director to my team. Ouch.  It's true, Mia had a behavior this year. The Sit In. 

Programs want the shiny, happy disabled!  (You know I mean no disrespect to my friends who have kids with other serious diagnoses so don't snark on me.)  The "Mayor" (this is how Skittletini one young man was described to me at the Durmstrang Special Needs Program) who can speak and smiles at you and maybe stands a bit too close but is a social delight. Heck, I loved the guy when I met him.  I only wish Mia had his social ability. Alas, autism is not the Mayor. Autism might not look at you at all, let alone smile. But autism hears you, sees your judgemental looks. Autism, like KMart, sucks to many programs.

Oh yeah, even among misfits we're misfits! Cue the elf song and let's build some toys.

Check out every program in  your area where you think your child might be headed by the time your your child is in 10th grade. And then spend the next years working with your school team to prepare your child.

More later. Mia starts her program Friday or early next week. I'll keep you posted.

Pass the Skittletini.... make it a double. Wait, make that a triple. Gianna and Bella are next.

NOTE: I encourage you to read this book by my friend Susan Senator - from Skyhorse Publishing - Autism Adulthoodfor ideas on how other families are tackling adulthood for kids at all ranges of the spectrum and with stories from adults who themselves are on the spectrum. Autism Adulthood by Susan Senator

Kim Stagliano is a never-you-mind year old woman with three children on the autism spectrum. She is high functioning in many areas, although many routine tasks of daily living continue to elude her including: privacy within her own home, lack of constant worrying, cash flow competency and the ability to plan her future. She continues to qualify for services. Kim Stagliano is also Managing Editor for Age of Autism.


Before Caitlin, Edward and the Temple of Vaccinia


Temple of vaccinia
Thanks to Kevin Barry and JB Handley for this info on FB. The title alone piqued my interest - I had once written a Huffpo titled "Dr. Paul Offit, Pope of the Church of the Immaculate Vaccination."  Vaccines have had a mythical, pseudo-religious status since their very earliest days it seems.  "The Temple of Vaccinia" is rather regal sounding, don't you think? .  In reality, they are a century plus long Tuskegee experiment.

Before Caitlin, before Bruce, there was another famous Jenner.  Edward.  Dr. Edward Jenner (see below.)

Vaccines have been an experiment since the first patient, James Phipps, patient of Edward Jenner.  To be sure most of early medicine has been trial and error - long before there were any approval/safety processes in place. I happen to know that early cryo-freezing of the cornea for cataract surgery in the 1960s was conducted in Connecticut without safety approval or knowledge beyond the surgeon and the technicians who invented the technology.  A nurse was outraged, and yet the surgery continued.  The result was a highly successful company and a huge improvement in cataract surgery. America was built on risk taking.   But should that theory apply to our kids health in 2016? Today's pediatric vaccine schedule remains a mass experiment.  Ask your doctor to show you the safety data from the government or vaccine manufacturers on the cumulative safety of the pediatric schedule.  Bring a pillow, a blanket and a Kindle loaded with books. It will be a long time before you get an answer.   KIM

James Phipps, the son of a poor landless labourer, was the first person to be vaccinated by Edward Jenner. On 14 May 1796, Jenner cut into the skin of the 8-year-old boy and infected him with matter from a cowpox sore.

Continue reading "Before Caitlin, Edward and the Temple of Vaccinia" »


Eh Oh! Brace Yourself Autism Families. Nick Jr is Bringing Back Teletubbies.

Teletibbies
By Kim Stagliano

"Teletubbies! Teletubbies! On TV!" 

(Spoken with joy and excitement by my 19 year old daughter with autism.)

"Teletubbies! Teletubbies! On TV!"

(Spoken with horror, and an immediate question on how to block Nick Jr as if it were the porniest porn site ever to broadcast by yours truly.)

Tel.

E.

Tubbies.

Nick Jr. is bringing back the show starting today.

We need a battle plan to prevent the regression that's sure to follow in so many of our homes.

Kim


Autism Aging Out and Acceptance in Current Adult Programs

Mia 21By Kim Stagliano

My oldest daughter is aging out of school in a month. She has autism. She is 21 years old. She has autism. She is beautiful. She has autism. She is smart. She has autism. She has behaviors. She has autism. She droops to the floor when she doesn't want to do something. She has autism. She perseverates on the photo album in her iPad. She has autism. She wants to print 100 Peppa Pig photos on paper from the printer in our office. She has autism. She has big blue eyes. She has autism. She has a wide smile and full red lips. She has autism. She is my ward as her Guardian. She has autism. She has never kissed a boy. She has autism. She has never driven a car. She has autism. She has a deep, resonant voice. She has autism. She loves Hooplakidz videos. She has autism. She sleeps through the night. She has autism. She eats whatever I prepare for her without complaint. She has autism. She tries so hard to do her best. She has autism. She has a "untestable" IQ below 70. She has autism. She is in DDS programming and on the Medicaid waiver. She has autism. She has a fully funded budget. She has autism. She has shiny dark hair that waves and curls. She has autism. She has a fantastic memory. She has autism. She speaks in 2 or 3 word sentences. She has autism.  She needs a safe, meaningful program where she can grow and thrive and be accepted DESPITE BEING DIFFERENT from the young adults with Down Syndrome and physical challenges.

She

has

autism.

Acceptance means nothing until programs are prepared.

KIM


Kim Stagliano Talks VaXxed, Autism and More on Sirius/XM's Dirty, Sexy Funny


DSFHeaderLast Tuesday I had a blast co-hosting Dirty, Sexy, Funny, Jenny McCarthy's radio show on Sirius STARS channel 109.  

Here are the  intro (16:58) and closing (2:00)  segment which includes a conversation we had about VaXxed, autism, vaccines and the reality of having a child(ren) on the spectrum.  

Thanks so much to Jenny for the invitation and opportunity to put on high heels!   Please share with friends and family.  The information is easy to digest and helps the "layperson" understand why VaXxed is so important.  My goal was to tell an audience waiting to hear about a Kardashian tell all book about the vaccine MMR Dr. William Thompson VaXxed Dr. Wakefield censorship topic in as few words as possible.   Capisci? The segment is 15 minutes and includes Jenny's fabulously funny show intro, banter and more.  

Remember the name of the show is Dirty, Sexy, Funny, so don't go getting your panties in a bunch in the comments - OK???  

 Here you go:


And the quick closing:


Kim Stagliano to Co-Host Sirius XM Dirty, Sexy Funny with Jenny McCarthy April 19

Jenny and Kim SiriusBy Kim Stagliano

Oh, this DOES sound like fun!  Our friend Jenny McCarthy, of Generation Rescue, has invited me to co-host her Sirius XM show called Dirty, Sexy Funny tomorrow, April 19 from 10am - Noon EDT.  That's channel 109 - STARS.  

You can download a free trial to Sirius or the app - here.  

Jenny's guests include.  WONDER WOMAN!!!!  Lynda Carter, Salt N Pepa (cue the music!), Film Director Adam Shankman, and Ian Halperin, who wrote a "tell all" book about The Kardashians.  

Last year, I was on Jenny's show as a guest on World Autism Day.  Her show is a blast.  Download that free app trial and tune in!  

KIM

 


The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes

Country bunny(Cat has the day off with her family.  I hope she is enjoying a mountain of chocolate eggs.)

By Kim Stagliano

We wish our readers a very happy Easter Sunday.  When I was child, I had a favorite Easter book called "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes." Written in 1939, it sent a clear message that a young mother (of 21 babies) could have a dream, a family and prove to those with lighter "fur" and fancier clothes and bigger bank accounts that heart, willpower and love could overtake those who were "supposed" to "win."  The Easter Bunny gave her a difficult task: to deliver a special egg to a very sick boy who lived high on a  mountain.

As a grown woman, with three autistic daughters, this little book resonates loud and clear with it's message of pluck, perseverance and what a mother will do for her children - and others' too.  (See the autism connection?)

If you aren't familiar with the story: With twenty-one baby bunnies to look after, mother bunny Cottontail abandons her dream of becoming an Easter Bunny. But when Grandfather Bunny spies her perfectly behaved brood, he’s so impressed that he makes Cottontail the most important Easter Bunny of all! Originally published in 1939, Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes celebrates the timeless values of equality, hard work, and patient ambition. Featuring the Caldecott Award winner Marjorie Flack’s original hand-drawn illustrations, a beautifully redesigned cover, and bonus downloadable audio, this seventy-fifth anniversary heirloom edition is perfect for sharing with a new generation of young readers.

I encourage you to find and read this book to your own children. And for yourself.

We are each Country Bunnies. And we can indeed win the races of life to help others, and to help ourselves too.

Happy Easter, friends. 

KIM


Switched On: What Happens When Treatment Works?

Switched onBy Kim Stagliano

Kim and John BEA
Book Expo America 2007 for John's First Book Launch

Dear AofA readers, I'm going to share a few thoughts about this book by one of my first friends in the autism writing community, John Elder Robison. I know some of you will get your back up when I talk about our friendship.  And about this new book.

Please stand down.

I am too damn tired to manage a negative day. I have a 21 year old with 3 more months of school and the adulthood cliff awaits. My days are filled with trying to save our funding to pay for a palatable day program for her.  She has a 19 year old sister with autism. She has a 15 year old sister with autism too. As I'm typing this, my back is seizing up with stress pain. I'm exhausted. We haven't slept a full night in years.  Money is tighter than a 20 year old wedding dress. Like so many of you, I've been using biomed treatments and behavioral and educational programs for years and years and years. Anyone remember the old Yahoo group TNOT? Tough nuts and old timers. My 3 kids are tough nuts. I'm an older timer at 52.  Treatments have been hit or miss for us.

Today I want to talk about John and his latest book, Switched On, which is about what happened to him when a treatment WORKED. The treatment is TMS - Transcranial-Magnetic-Stimulation.  John was part of a study conducted by Harvard and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.  Read about TMS here.

Switched on Kims book
21 yea old Mia's desk. Not staged! She grabbed John's book and mine.

When I first met John in 2007. His Asperger's was painfully apparent.  At the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the day, John is an adult with autism/Asperger's.  We met at the Farmington Mall in Connecticut for lunch.  He barely looked at me. (And I thought I looked fetching that day! HA HA!)  His voice had a rather high pitch for such a large, strapping man.  Check out that photo of us, he's well over 6' tall.    I attended the Book Expo America with him. this is a huge book event, and Random House had featured John's memoir Look Me In The Eye with an impressive splash.  John and I walked the show together. I remember he had a list of books he wanted - and publishers give the books away at BEA.  I had a list too.  He walked into a booth and said bluntly to the young, mostly female marketing staff who was handing out books, "I need this (title) book."   I immediately saw their response.  They looked at John funny. They glanced at each other with the look that said, "Who the heck is this rude man?"

They did not know he was one of the hottest new authors at the event.

He did not know he had  been borderline rude and was being judged by them.  He did not notice their looks of disgust. I did. It bothered me. A lot.

Over the years following that event, I saw John gain social skills because he was interacting with the public in a new way while on book events.  Stupid he's not, and he told me at our first meeting how he had trained himself to look up and make eye contact at predetermined intervals to accommodate his Asperger's. 

But one night, I got a phone call from John that blew me away, immediately after he began his TMS. His words to me?

"Kim, I can read minds!"

Continue reading "Switched On: What Happens When Treatment Works?" »


Puzzles Bakery in Schenectady Nails the Autism Friendly/Centric Model

Puzzles exterior Puzzles treats

By Kim Stagliano

Sometimes dreams come true. Thoughts and ideas on paper spring to life before your eyes.  For instance, I'm a big Harry Potter fan.  I can recall watching the very first movie in the theatre and marveling at how each scene turned the book into a cinematic reality before my eyes.   

Puzzles Sign CupcakesWhen I was a newlywed living in Cleveland, Ohio, I joined the Junior League and volunteered at The Children's Museum. One of their exhibits was "The Great Green Room" from the classic book, Goodnight Moon.   I had no kids of my own, but I knew the book, of course.  And when I walked into the room for the first time, I was transported into the pages. 

As my girls have aged into adulthood, I've been writing the story of their future in my mind's eye. A bakery with an autism theme has been a dream of mine - far fetched - but still, a dream.

On Friday night, I saw firsthand how that dream would look when I had the great honor of speaking at Puzzles Bakery & Cafe, Puzzles Micin Schenectady, New York, whose owner, Sara Mae Hickey is an autism sibling.  From their website:

In addition to serving delicious food, the bakery-café provides adults with developmental disabilities with an opportunity for personal growth, as well as a source of income, social interaction, and a sense of purpose.


Sara Mae has done everything right. And I mean everything. From the design of the signage, to the soothing, bright cheerful interior (with a community room) to the menu of fun, healthy and delicious foods, Puzzles would be a great bakery and cafe even without the autism theme.  But that theme is truly the icing on the cupcake.

I think the autism siblings will change the world for our kids.  They are battle tested.  Some will become advocates and warriors on behalf of their brothers and sisters.  Like Sara Mae Hickey has for her sister. 

As April approaches,Puzzles Coffee the month of "awareness", we need to promote businesses and people who personify action, support. Eating cupcakes and drinking "holy cannoli coffee" is a pretty easy way to get started. 

Thank you Sara Mae. Thank you Elaine Rambo Hickey, her Mom, and my FB friend who introduced me to her daughter's work.

Puzzles Bakery. Check it out.

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.


March Forth!

ForcedmarchBy Kim Stagliano

Do you remember the old joke from grade school?  "Which day of the year is a command?"  "MARCH FOURTH!"    My daughters are now 21, 19 and 15 years old. We're marching forth, but I can promise you it's a forced march, courtesy of autism. What's a "forced march?" 

(military) A movement on foot by soldiers or military prisoners, who must, in order to satisfy a military requirement, travel at a speed or in adverse conditions that would normally tire them excessively.

Can we talk about being excessively tired?

Today I am having my oldest daughter's final IEP meeting before she ages out of school for.... for.... forever.

I've targeted a day program for her and met with the team about getting her a placement there.  It's really quite nice, believe it or not.  It's an artists cooperative and housed in a real art studio.  It's bright, airy, not at all "institutional" and I think she will have a safe, happy time there. At least to start.  Her program will be fully funded by DDS with a one to one assistant.  It's a 3:1 ratio program. Mia will have 1:1. This is rare.  Why? How? Because I have been in the system for five years and have a case manager who taught me the ins and outs of what I would need at age 22. 

I was clueless.

I thought 22 was a lifetime away.

I was wrong.

I know others locally who have kids who are also aging out  - and they are SOL - without funding. Why? Because thev never got into the DDS system - or they did so too late, so budgeting was already in place and did not include their children.

If you have a child on the spectrum over the age of ten, I implore you, as hard as it is, as far away as you think 22 years of age is, to contact your state department of disability services.  Ask a million questions about how to get into the system so that when or even IF your child needs the services, the funds are there.  If you recover your child before that time - amen and pass the gravy.  If you don't, you need services.  Even here in blue state Connecticut, our programs are being slashed by a governor who is a Democrat.   Getting in by age 14 meant my girls were on the list for what funding would be needed at 22.

We're all on this forced march. We're moving forward and fast. We are excessively tired.

No one cares.

Keep marching forth. It's all we can do.  Call DDS. Today.

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.

 


The AutismLand That Neurodiversity Forgot

Exist
By Kim Stagliano

The push in books, the media, journals, among politicians to normalize autism, to spread lies that autism has always been among us in the vast numbers we face today, to make it appear to be something that is just a brain difference, or worse, an improvement over mere mortals is disrespectful and demoralizing to all of us who have children on the spectrum. 

Below are videos from a Mom documenting her son's struggles over a year.   For her child, Kreed. For her family.  In my family we have 21

Mia floor
5:20am. Waiting for her iDevices. Up since 3:00am.

years plus 19 years plus 15 years of hardship. There's no point in sugar coating autism here. If anyone thinks this Mom (or I) show disrespect or that we don't accept or love our kids - please just find somewhere else to read.  Autism here is a fractured fairy tale.

The only way we're going to see any sort of serious acknowledgement of the severe impact of autism on individuals, families and society is by taking a hard look at reality.   These videos provide that.  Send us your own videos if you'd like.  We'll run them not to expose our kids - but to protect them.  Patronize us with palliative care?  No thanks, Hillary.  Lump our kids in with "normal" special ed and disabilities?  You think we have special schools for autism, sensitive Santas, autism day at theme parks, additional special education masters level certificates in autism because autism is the same as traditional developmental disabilities or because it is VASTLY different? Get real, people. Open your eyes. 

No one wants to share the dark underbelly of our lives.  The trauma of autism on a family. I see friends whose kids seize weekly, daily. Friends whose kids have such gut problems that they can't go to school and need a feeding tube. Marriages collapsing under the weight of the stress. Bank accounts ransacked. THIS SH*T IS HARD.

Here?  We don't sleep.  We're up at midnight, 3:00am, 4:00am.  We don't go back to proper sleep. Ever. One daughter wants Nick Jr to watch the schedule as each half hour ticks off - not the actual programs.  One daughter wants her DVDs in order in a case and 3 i Devices on which to stare at screen shots from HooplaKidz toddler videos.  One daughter just plain wakes up due to the noise back and forth in our upstairs hallway.   By the time 5:30am rolls around, we've been pacing, putting back to bed, moving over, hiding iPads and remotes for hours.  Then we go to our jobs. And function. Sort of.

Share your videos. Show up in front of politicians with your precious child.  My girls make grown men weep.  That's the severity of their autism - juxtaposed with their beauty and precious personalities.

Kim

 

Continue reading "The AutismLand That Neurodiversity Forgot" »


Does Eminem Give Asperger's a Bad Rap

EminemBy Kim Stagliano

I was looking for a good impending snowstorm meme on Facebook yesterday to tell me whether I'm supposed to buy bread and milk  when I saw a post  from a neurodiversity proponent saying that Marshall Mather, aka Eminem (swear to God I didn't even have to look up his real name that's how hip I am!) has Asperger's.   This stems from a blog post called Eminem And Aspergers Posted by: Emma Dalmayne.

Does he? Or is he a Narcissist? 

Our Teresa Conrick has an encyclopedic catalog of studies, quotes and info.  She offered us this article from a psychologist Am I Asperger's or Narcissist?

"With Asperger’s and NPD,  a lot of the criteria overlap. The difference is that while all people with Aspergers are narcissistic (not NPD, but self-centered; it’s a central trait), all people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are definitely not aspergers, and can be the total opposite: super smooth and charming."

And this:

Asperger's (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) are often confused with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The reason for this confusion is understandable since some of the symptoms found in people with AS and HFA are also found in those with NPD. Some of the similarities between AS/HFA and NPD may include the following:

  • apparent lack empathy
  • difficulty understanding others’ feelings 
  • eccentric personality 
  • harsh interpersonal communication
  • inability to view the world from the perspective of others
  • lack of demonstrated non-verbal cues and inability to pick-up on the non-verbal cues of others
  • lack of interest in others
  • lack of psychological awareness 
  • narrow range of interests and activities
  • obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
  • preoccupation with their own agenda
  • problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
  • self-centeredness
  • similar eye-to-eye gaze, body stance, and facial expressions
  • tendency to react to social problems/stress with depression
  • underdeveloped conversational skills

Despite the similarities listed above, the difference between AS/HFA and NPD is vast, like night and day. Here are a few examples of the dissimilarities: (See this interesting list, that shows great respect to those with true Asperger's at "Is it Asperger's or Narcissism.)

I did a bit of Googling, because as an anti-vaccine autism Mommy, I am so stupid that I think Google has answers to important questions. Here's what I found on blogs.  Hardly agreement even in the Asperger's community.

Search: Eminem Asperger's

Hip Hop Site:

Maybe he does maybe he doesn't. Who cares? And that applies to everybody imo. So what you're autistic. It's just a label. As long as you aren't throwing your shit at anyone I think you're fine.

###
>implying assburgers is a real thing
See: socially inept, selfish, self-absorbed, awkward.
I don't understand why people need to label being "weird" as some autism spectrum disorder.

###

C'mon man. My brother has autism. I can't even have a conversation with the kid. He can't even tell me how his day was. It's a real thing bro, I promise you. I'm sure their are some self-absorbed, quirky/weird people who think it's cute to self diagnose themselves with aspergers and whatnot, but I promise you autism is a real thing.

ND Site

Eminem is an Aspie? Cool.

###

If Eminem is a f*****g Aspie-- and it's not clear from the lyrics whether he's talking about himself, or taking some angst-ridden future school shooter's perspective (which would probably be the first useful thing he's done in several albums now)-- I'm going to plead misdiagnosis and retest under DSM5. This time, I'll answer "NO" to all the things I've learned to compensate for.

He's got a great voice. Wonderful sense of rhythm. Some really great rhymes.

He just also happens to be up there with Adam Lanza on the short list of company I don't care to keep.

BARF!! !! !! !

###

Continue reading "Does Eminem Give Asperger's a Bad Rap" »


Before Measles Caused Panic - Christmas 1962

Wayback machine

Here's a Best of.....

By Kim Stagliano

Let's take a trip back to Christmas, 1962. A little girl named Michele had a Christmas wish for Santa. Michele wanted to play Mommy. Mommies used to take care of sick children. It was part of their job description. Sniffles and sneezes, spotty rashes and wheezes. That was childhood, after all. Get sick, build an immune system, grow up.  Michele got a wonderful new doll from Santa that year. Her name was Hedda.

Bella bday 002

Hedda slept through the night like a dream.

Baby smiling 

Hedda smiled at her Mommy

Baby in between 

Hedda had one more face. In 1962, it was a face that every Mommy recognized and knew how to care for and love.

Continue reading "Before Measles Caused Panic - Christmas 1962" »


Sesame Street and Autism

Angry sesame StreetBy Kim Stagliano

Sesame Street announced a new character who has autism and is female.  Many of us in the autism community learned about "Julia" through Autism Daddy - who wrote, "So a few weeks back I revealed to y'all in a blog post that My Name is Frank. I Work at Sesame Street. I am "Autism Daddy" 

Sesame Street has been called to task for its lack of female Muppets.  Rosita appeared in 1991, a Spanish speaking Muppet. Zoe debuted in 1993 and then there was a long dry spell until Abby Cadabby made her debut in 2006.   So in 2015, Sesame Street decided to kill two birds with one stone, I assume.  Female and autistic.   I think a male would have been a better choice, as autism prevalence stats from 2010 show that autism affects boys at a rate of 1 in 42 versus girls at a rate of 1 in 189.  

Bob McGrathI watched the first episode as a kid, and have always loved Sesame Street.   I saw Bob "Who Are The People in Your Neighborhood" McGrath at a restaurant in NYC in 2010 and asked the waiter if I could say hello to him.  He agreed, and as I shook his hand, I burst into tears!  "BOB!!!"  I saw "Gordon" and "Susan" walking together at a book event and nearly fainted. I was overcome with nostalgic pleasure.

Sesame Street has has always taught kids about inclusion, and to accept differences.  It's not a big surprise that they are adding a character with autism.  Autism was as rare as a Snuffalupagus sighting in 1969.  As of 2010 (the last year for which figures are available) the rate is 1 in 68.  Another figure quietly slipped into the media last week, whispering, "1 in 45."

And while we all want our kids to be accepted, supported, encouraged, liked and tolerated, many of us in the community worry  that the Sesame Street initiative might gloss over some of the harsher realities of the diagnosis.   I think Sesame Street is to some degree targeting low hanging fruit. Little kids are accepting because the developmental gaps are not too huge. By 5th grade that changes dramatically. By 8th grade? The gap becomes a chasm. By 12th? I can tell you that there are adult/teacher facilitated programs but precious little actual social connection outside of a smile and nod for my girls. And in adulthood? God help us.

Continue reading "Sesame Street and Autism" »


Dear Americans Thinking Autism Equates to Shooters, There's This Word: CO-MORBID

SeparateBy Kim Stagliano

I live 15 miles from Sandy Hook, CT, where Adam Lanza brutally murdered his mother, 26 elementary school students and their teachers and staff members just under two years ago.  Speculation in the media was that Adam had autism or Asperger's Syndrome. My heart sunk. The thought process - "autism = violent behavior" bothered me very much.

Chris Harper-Mercer, the man who murdered so many people in Oregon is also falling under the autism umbrella in the media - because he attended a school that accepts students with emotional disturbance COMMA and Autism and Asperger's. Remember the book, Eat Shoots and Leaves?  Could be about violence, or, with the simple addition of a comma, a book about koala bears.  Even if he had a formal Asperger's diagnosis, his violent behavior would seem to signify co-morbid mental illness and/or brain injury.  

I have so many friends whose sons are on the spectrum - they have enough issues with socialization, FB autistic shooters page peer interactions and finding their way in the world without people turning a jaundiced eye toward them simply because of their diagnosis.

Yesterday, there was a horrible FB page that equated autism and shooters. The sting remains. Many of us have reported this hate age.

At the same time, if you know me, you know I also rail against the "normalization" of autism as just another way of thinking, or a brain difference. I think this denies the real struggles of autism and Asperger's. I think it alters the  response to needs for funding and support and medical care and treatment and prevention and housing and employment and schooling and the list goes on for a mile.

After Lanza, I spoke on CBS Radio.

“I don’t want people to hear Asperger’s and think mass murderer,” she said. “If anything, people with Asperger’s tend to adhere to rules, adhere to laws. They prefer order so this anarchy that Adam Lanza created is anathema to what typically would be an Asperger’s diagnosis.”

She said she would be interested to see what medications Lanza may have been taking so medical professionals could try to determine if they played any role in triggering the rampage.

“We really do need to look at the medications. Pharmaceuticals tend to be left out of the equation and I think they may be a very big part of it,” she added.

Adam Lanza's father described his son as having Asperger's Syndrome.  Our Editor Dan Olmsted countered Lanza's comments with the following, to show the interchangeability of terms. The diagnostic alphabet soup that is like pea soup, not a clear consomme.  Dan wrote:

Well, if he didn’t speak until he was three, he didn’t have Asperger’s. Straight from my hefty copy of DSM-IV, retrieved from the box in the garage: “In contrast to Autistic Disorder, there are no clinically significant delays in language (e.g., single words are used by age 2 years, communicative phrases are used by age 3 years).”

Now you tell me, but assuming his own father has his personal history right, Adam as an infant did have clinically significant delays in language. So if he had an ASD, it had to be autistic disorder or PDD-NOS.

You can read Dan's post here.

Back in 2007, I wrote a similar post on Huffington Post, after the shooting at Virginia Tech.

Autism is the new term for psychotic behavior? I THINK NOT.

There are posts buzzing about the autism lists that the media is saying the murderer at Virginia Tech was autistic. Perhaps a relative in S. Korea uttered the word and it got into a press report? Not one individual who has worked with or taught the man has mentioned autism as far as I know. That doesn't mean the rumors aren't already flying.

Continue reading "Dear Americans Thinking Autism Equates to Shooters, There's This Word: CO-MORBID" »


Flu Shot As Craig's List Ad

Heart-syringeIt's here! Time to save 20% on your CVS (we don't sell cigarettes any longer, they're dangerous!) purchase. All you have to do is submit to a liability free, mercury filled, if it were a car with this fail rate it would be a lemon flu shot!   We ran this post last Fall. But flu shot season, like Groundhog day, happens every year.

LET ME BE YOUR ARM CANDY


MDV seeks GSBWBHAMF for relationship. Could get serious and last a lifetime. Available to hook up anywhere, school, Church, grocery store, community center, drug store, mass merchant store, hospital or walk in medical center. No experience necessary, I'll do all the work. Must appreciate high fail rate, possibility of flu like symptoms for up to several weeks and a bolus dose of neurotoxic mercury.  On the plus side, you might be so injured as to receive compensation from the United States Government. Take a chance. Let me roll up your sleeve tonight, Call (666) 637-2079.

By Kim Stagliano, December 2014

New outlets reported last week that the flu shot is a poor match for the current viruses.   Fox News pointed out the some experts are questioning the CDC's forecasting:

CDC sent an advisory to doctors noting that one component of this year's flu vaccine was only partially protective against the predominant flu virus, known as influenza A (H3N2), which has mutated since the current flu shots were made....

Continue reading "Flu Shot As Craig's List Ad" »


Warning! The Rest of Her Life Is Closer than It Appears!

Objects mirrorJoin me at the Autism Education Summit in Dallas later thing month where I'll be on a panel with JB Handley talking about autism and adulthood. 

By Kim Stagliano

Today is the first day of school for my three daughters.   Bella, my baby, is a freshman in high school. She turns 15 this month. Gianna "graduated" last year. She turned 19 in July.  She is now in the "post-grad" program.

Ah, but my beautiful first born - my Mia - she is in the very last leg of her school journey. She turns 21 in December.  It  happened in the blink of an eye. Tomorrow is almost here.  Get ready, friends. It's coming for you too.   Like a monster in the middle of the night. No longer under the bed. Its sharp Mia iPad 2015 claw reaching up to slash your throat.  (Sorry, I guess Wes Craven's death has stuck with me.)

Back to Mia:

I wish I could say she is rounding third and heading home.  Let's cheer! Let's support her!  She's about to score!

Nope. She's about to age out of school into..... into..... into.....

Continue reading "Warning! The Rest of Her Life Is Closer than It Appears!" »


Where are Pan, Public Health Community, Politicians, Media, Neurodiversity Proponents as THREE Kids with Autism Wander and Die?

Head up assBy Kim Stagliano

Where is Dr. Richard Pan?
Where is Dr. Paul Offit?
Where is Dr. Tom Insel?
Where is Nancy Snyderman?
Where is Emily Willingham?
Where is Liz Szabo
Where is Anderson Cooper?
Where is Jimmy Kimmel?
Where is Penn? Teller?
Where is Amy Schumer?
Where is Ari Ne'eman?
Where is John Robison?

100+ cases of measles, zero deaths, dozens of laws in play mandating vaccines "to protect children." Three beautiful boys with autism die inside of a week? Connect the pox dots.  Pharma wants to sell vaccines. Neurodiversity wants to sell autism as a good thing we need. Hand meets glove.  Surgical glove. And we and our kids get a rectal exam....

FLORIDA

PINELLAS PARK,  FL  — A boy who drowned in a family pool Monday evening was autistic and suffered from seizures, according to police.

He was identified as 7-year-old Aston Beard.

Continue reading "Where are Pan, Public Health Community, Politicians, Media, Neurodiversity Proponents as THREE Kids with Autism Wander and Die?" »


William Coats, Clover Park School District Attorney, Says Disabled 11 Year Old Girl Not Affected By Sexual Assault

William coatsBy Kim Stagliano

Not every story on Age of Autism deals directly about autism. Sometimes we just profile the sheer stupidity and callous disregard of people who should know better.  We did this a few months ago with a State Senator who made a joke of vaccine injury.  On camera. His office read our post and apologized. We ran the apology. No need to link any of it here. Water under the bridge.

Today's  subject is one William Coats, attorney at Vandeberg, Johnson & Gandara law firm, and attorney for the Clover Park School District in Washington State. A family was awarded three quarters of a million dollars in a sexual assault case involving their ELEVEN year old daughter with special needs. Mr. Coats failed to see how an assault could possibly harm a girl whose IQ is below 70. As if low IQ, cognitive deficits, mental retardation, call it what you will, means no emotions or feelings or basic humanity.  It does not.

The district admitted it was negligent in its supervision of the boy, but its attorneys argued at trial that the girl deserved damages of no more than $50,000.

“Given her cognitive ability, it is unlikely the girl experienced many of the psychological issues customarily associated with sexual assault, such as feeling guilty or damaged,” the district’s attorney, William Coats, wrote in his trial brief.

Continue reading "William Coats, Clover Park School District Attorney, Says Disabled 11 Year Old Girl Not Affected By Sexual Assault" »


Patience and Progress

Flag heartBy Kim Stagliano

On Saturday, I was at my Okinawan weapons class when a student, another adult, said to me, "You know what? There is a video channel devoted to complaining about you!"   He was shocked. I laughed. He was kind of shocked that I laughed.  But you aren't, are you?

We all know the sites and commenters and bloggers who love to claim that we don't love our kids. We don't  even like our kids. We are bad, bad, bad parents because we want to "change" our kids.    Can I have a "get real!"?

Every parent I know with a child who is a toddler or  in his or her late teens or an adult works non-stop to make life better, safer, healthier and dare I say it, more "normal."  Doesn't matter what they think in terms of causation, vaccination, education; autism parents make James Brown look like a slacker.

Later on Saturday, Bella, my youngest, brought me her shoe.  She sat down and expected me to put it on her foot and tie it. I did not. (Oh dear, maybe I am a bad mother after all!)  No indeed. I sat in front of her, dead silent. No expression on my face. I waited. Tick tock tick tock.  In about 45 seconds she bent down and put the shoe on her own foot.  Step 1 accomplished.  I kept quiet. Stared at her.   Another 45 seconds passed and then she said, "Puh."  Doesn't sound like much does it? But I knew that "puh" is the last sound in the word help. Bella was asking me for help. 

Yesterday, she came to me again with her shoe. Here, I'll show you what happened. (Sorry, I never remember to turn my iPhone sideways.)



Continue reading "Patience and Progress" »