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Contest: The Autism War A Novel by Lou Conte from Skyhorse Publishing

The Autism War_revised coverLEAVE A COMMENT TO WIN A COPY!

The Autism War
has begun…

Those of us who understand the connection between vaccine injury and autism have not been fairly considered by the American media and press. We are often portrayed as “angry” or “irrational” people who have a “fringe belief” that has been “debunked”.  And we are all “anti-science” and “anti-vaccine.”

On the rare occasions when we are covered in the media, the other side quickly and ruthlessly attacks with an avalanche of criticism. Those in the research community, who speak out or question vaccine safety, face professional destruction.

As a result, the belief that the increase in autism isn’t real, even in the face of overwhelming data, has been used by the government to avoid responsibility for planning for thousands of people afflicted with the disorder. Families are beleaguered and often face a gauntlet of societal obstacles when advocating for their loved ones. People with autism face discrimination and even victimization.

Justice seems as though it were a million miles away.

I started digging into the shadowy world on the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program after word about the compensation of a case in which the federal government conceded that a child’s “autism-like behaviors” were “the result” of vaccine injury. I’ve worked in and around courts for entire professional life. I enjoy investigation and looking into the “Vaccine Court” seemed logical. Maybe I could find a sound, legal explanation to the convoluted language used in the case. Didn’t the government understand that having “autism-like behaviors” meant having autism?

Continue reading "Contest: The Autism War A Novel by Lou Conte from Skyhorse Publishing" »

Kent Heckenlively

BOOK REVIEW – The Autism War – By Louis Conte

The Autism War_revised coverBy Kent Heckenlively

Louis Conte has finally gone and done it.

Conte has written an exciting medical and legal thriller that may end up being as important to the autism community as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was to the anti-slavery movement.

I want to talk first about the fine book Conte has written, then why it is important for you to not only to go out and buy it, but to purchase several copies and give them out to friends, families, and public officials who haven’t yet understood our cause.

Conte’s main character is Tony Colletti, a former New York cop who now works in a suburban community on the Hudson River.  As the father of a child with autism, Tony’s life is upended when he fails to save the life of a boy with autism who had wandered away from his house and fallen through the ice of a frozen pond.  This event, combined with the increasing number of policemen on the force who have a child with autism convinces Colletti that he needs to use his investigative skills to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Former CBS investigative journalist, Sharyl Attkisson, called this book, “Compelling and controversial.  You know that saying about truth being stranger than fiction?  This is the truth.  I couldn’t put it down.”

From this point Colletti plunges into a world we in the autism community know all too well, a sordid intersection of media disinformation, political and scientific corruption, the influence of big money on important issues, and something that many of us thought existed only in other countries, a public and press which acts more like those in an authoritarian country where people are afraid to speak out.  In a democratic country, is the fear of ridicule more powerful than the secret police of a dictatorship?

All of these questions are presented in a fast-paced page-turner that I believe the typical person could race through in an afternoon.  But it is a book that will be difficult to forget. 

The Autism War has the potential to do something revolutionary for our movement.  Those who know me are aware that I have long advocated for non-traditional ways of fighting for our children.  I’ve often used the example of George Washington taking on the British during the Revolutionary War.  He was facing the best-trained, most powerful army in the world.  As a gentleman, he knew he was expected to engage in the enemies' definition of a fair fight – basically, the two armies squaring off against each other at a pre-arranged location, a day or two of battle, then a winner being declared.  That was a fight Washington knew he would lose.

Continue reading "BOOK REVIEW – The Autism War – By Louis Conte" »

Cathy Jameson

Multi-Meme Look At 1 in 68 With Autism

FireTheDeniers

By Cathy Jameson

I was thinking in pictures this week…

 

In simpler terms:

 

Baffling, right? 

Continue reading "Multi-Meme Look At 1 in 68 With Autism" »

Dan Olmsted, Dan Olmsted

Weekly Wrap: Fatal Conflict

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

The mainstream media covered this week's  CDC new autism data – 1 in 68 American children affected, up 29 percent in two years – without even realizing the conflict of interest at the heart of the story.

CDC is the agency that recommends and promotes the childhood vaccination schedule that so many parents know first-hand is the driving force behind the autism epidemic. The preposterous idea that there is no epidemic, or the equally ridiculous notion that it is impossible to tell, abets the CDC in avoiding culpability for what has happened the past 25 years.

But because the CDC has done such a good job of convincing the media that a vaccine-autism link has been discredited, most journalists don't realize the conflict staring them in the face. They don't understand that the CDC cannot be trusted with anything bearing on the cause or frequency of autism, that it can't be treated as a credible and disinterested source. It's amazing really: the folks that caused this train wreck by falling asleep at the switch are investigating the cause and counting the casualties, and the media treats it as gospel.

ChristieMost of the time, journalists "get" this concept -- vested interests must be disclosed and generally detract from the reliability of their claims. You could see that play out this week in Chris Christie's own internal investigation exonerating him from any culpability in Bridgegate. The big media outlets basically laughed him off the national stage, noting that his own lawyers used taxpayer money to absolve him while casting evidence-free aspersions on his "emotional" former chief of staff. (Emotional, hysterical women -- this sounds familiar!)

Yet the same day, the CDC gets away with the entirely unbelievable idea that it's unclear whether there is a real increase in autism, and never gets called on why this might serve their own purposes. That keeps the wolves from the door for a couple of more years until they can switch over to the DSM-5 and obscure matters once and for all.

Amplifying the problem is that these conflicts extend to the big media players who like to come across as ferocious watchdogs when it comes to traffic jams in Fort Lee, but have far too much at stake -- namely, pharma revenue -- and far too little intellectual curiosity to dig independently into the truth about the roots and rise of autism. Some of those journalists are just as conflicted as the CDC.

For one thing, many of the "experts" the news anchors turn to when the new numbers come out are doctors, and frequently pediatricians. That is the profession that implemented the epidemic, in my view, yet they are now helping the CDC hide the truth, whether deliberately or by being totally sunk in the orthodox quicksand.

Thus Dr. Richard Besser, not just a doctor and not just a pediatrician but the former acting BesserDirector of the CDC, for cripe's sake, is the person deemed most suited to explain it all to us on ABC's World News Tonight.

After Diane Sawyer grills Christie in a long interview, she says, "and next now tonight we turn to a startling new medical report about autism."

"Why the surge? It could be better diagnosis," Besser reports. "But experts do say there are more children with autism." Well there's your story right there, Rich -- why are there more children with autism?

"What's causing it? We know genetics play a role, that young autistic brains are physically different. But it's still a puzzle." Yes, because neither of those are causing a surge. In other words, no clue is offered as to why there are more children with autism.

Then comes the usual switch to the early intervention blather -- "doctors just aren't screening, but there's new technologies to catch it sooner." Eye tracking, new approaches to treatment -- taking autistic kids' love of trains to make them more social. Get them talking to each other about trains -- that's the ticket to responding to a damaged generation.

"Tonight, as those numbers are growing, so is the race to find out why,"  Besser reports over images of happy train-riding autistic kids.

No, it is not. The train wreck is right on track, and the race is on to hide the truth.

--

Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism. © 2014 AgeofAutism.com



 

Abdulkadir Khalif, Sponsor News

Early Bird Registration Ends 4/1 for VOR Conference on Person Centered Disability (Including Autism) Choice

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VOR 2014 Annual Conference, Legislative Briefing and Dinner Event

Making it Happen: Reforming Policy and Law in Support of Person-Centered Quality and Choice

Have you registered yet? 

When Sunday, June 8, 2014 arrives we hope you will be by our side. Great speakers have been confirmed and include attorney Bill Choslovsky, advocate and author Kim Stagliano, and Kathy Brown, President of the Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association.  

VOR’s Washington Initiative, which includes Congressional visits, will occur the week of June 9, 2014.  For more information, including registration opportunities, visit VOR’s website.

What are you waiting for?

 Here is an online registration form.

 If you prefer to respond by mail, here is a print form with conference details and registration form to mail.
From our sponsor: VOR

VOR 2014 Annual Conference and Initiative

"Keep up the good work! I found this Conference to be very educational and encouraging! Thanks for all you do!" ~ 2013 Conference Participant

Continue reading "Early Bird Registration Ends 4/1 for VOR Conference on Person Centered Disability (Including Autism) Choice" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Numbers High, Don't Know Why, Don't Cry

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.  The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and their OurKidsASD brand. 

Mar 28, 2014, CNN: Trump weighs in on vaccine-autism controversy

Mar 28, 2014, NY Times: Rate of Diagnosis for Autism Grows

Mar 27, 2014, Detroit ABC 7, STUDY: Autism likely caused by abnormal brain growth during pregnancy, not vaccines

Mar 27, 2014, TIME, Washington Post, NBC News et al. headline announce that autism starts before birth.

Mar 27, 2014, Forbes: Does Regressive Autism Exist?

Mar 26, 2014, Detroit Free Press: 'Falling' chronicles a day in the life of a family coping with autism

 

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Numbers High, Don't Know Why, Don't Cry" »

Current Affairs

Action Alert to White House As Autism Numbers Continue to Climb

FireTheDeniers
Click this Autism Action Network Action Alert to tell the White House that the negligence of CDC and NIH as the autism epidemic rages on with no sign of stopping.

The new “official autism” numbers were released minutes ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 among all eight-year olds evaluated in 2010, 1 in 42 boys, and 1 in 189 girls, more than a million children. The last time the CDC released these numbers in 2010 the numbers were 1 in 88, and 1 in 54 boys. Undoubtedly the real numbers today are much higher than this 4-year old data.

To describe the federal response to the autism epidemic as lackadaisical would be far too generous. It is actively negligent. And the most disgusting, and criminal part of this epidemiology is that the old excuses cannot be ruled out. And we have been hearing those excuse for twenty years. Changes in diagnostic criteria, even though the last change occurred 16 years before this study began, better case finding, and diagnostic substitution will be trotted out once again providing the cover for the CDC, the pediatricians, the psychiatrists, and the federal government to pretend they are concerned, to fake taking action, and ignore the worst pediatric epidemic in American history.

Continue reading "Action Alert to White House As Autism Numbers Continue to Climb" »

Current Affairs

Autism Groups React to New CDC-Reported Prevalence of 1 in 68 Children

National Autism Assoc

AUTISM POLICY REFORM COALITION URGES GOVERNMENT EXAMINATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES, AND FOCUS ON TREATMENT AND SERVICES

WASHINGTON, DC (March 27, 2014)—Today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the newest autism prevalence statistics.  For children born in 2002, the prevalence of autism was 1 in 68; 1 in 42 boys.  Almost 60,000 US 12 year-olds likely have autism.  Thirty years ago, autism affected 1 in 2,500 children; there has been a 37-fold increase.

Katie Weisman of SafeMinds stated, “Broader criteria and awareness cannot account for this magnitude of increase.  The federal government continues to spend millions of dollars ineffectively and ‘potentially duplicatively’ according to a recent GAO report.  We need to identify environmental triggers for autism, prevent them, and develop effective treatments.”

Holly Bortfeld of TACA stated, “The federal government has spent $1.6 billion on autism since 2006, but the money is not helping those affected in meaningful ways. We need to improve medical treatment for the many co-occuring health concerns of individuals with autism and address the wave of students who are aging out and entering an adult world with no plan for them. ”

The Autism Policy Reform Coalition (APRC) is advocating for changes in the U.S. Government’s response to the autism crisis and represents a constituency of over 100,000.  The APRC is calling for significant changes in the Combating Autism Act, which is to be reauthorized by Congress this year.

Continue reading "Autism Groups React to New CDC-Reported Prevalence of 1 in 68 Children" »

Current Affairs, Mark Blaxill

President Obama: Fire The Deniers! CDC Reports 1 in 68 Autism Rate

FireTheDeniers
Contact the White House to ask President Obama to fire the autism epidemic deniers from CDC and NIH. The leadership in charge of public health has failed a generation of children.  Read an open letter to President Obama demanding accountability for this tragic increase in autism that is radically altering the American family -  unabated.  A nation can not sit idly by and watch 2.4% of its young males moved from regular education into special education without serious future impact. Thank you to Mark Blaxill for the following graphics.

Slide1 Slide2

Continue reading "President Obama: Fire The Deniers! CDC Reports 1 in 68 Autism Rate" »

Current Affairs

Autism Organizations Demand CDC Accountability Following Autism Rate Rise to 1 in 68

CdclogoIn response to the new CDC autism prevalence rate, several organizations  FireTheDeniers   concerned with the skyrocketing rate of autism put together this letter demanding accountability from the federal government for their response to the autism epidemic. This coalition of concerned organizations invites other organizations to join this effort by adding their names to the signature line.

If interested in adding your organization, please contact Rebecca Estepp at:
rebecca.estepp@gmail.com. You can contact the White House using this link.

The CDC press release follows the letter below:

March 27, 2013

CDC: 2.4% of American 12 Year Old Boys Have an Autism Diagnosis

President Obama: Fire the CDC and NIH Autism Epidemic Deniers Immediately

Dear President Obama,

Fire the deniers!  Fire the federal employees who deny the existence of an autism epidemic.
An American child is diagnosed with Autism every 8 minutes – a rate that continues to rise.  President Obama, you need to remove the federal autism leadership at NIH and the CDC.  Until leadership at NIH and CDC realizes that it is impossible to have a genetic epidemic in one generation, there will not be a proper emphasis on environmental research and subsequent treatments.

Your Federal autism team is at best, misleading you (and the country) and at worst, outright lying.  Please consider appointing a special prosecutor to investigate their malfeasance.  
The undersigned Autism advocacy organizations request that you immediately send a clear message and fire the three federal employees who have made a career of denying the autism epidemic:  CDC’s Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp and Dr. Coleen Boyle as well as NIHM’s Dr. Thomas Insel.  

Yeargin-allsoppIn 1981, Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp joined the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The autism rate then was 1 in 10,000. Under her watch, the rate of autism prevalence has gone from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 68 --- increasing 14,700% while Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp has been counting.  Despite this precipitous rise, she can’t be sure if it’s a real increase.   For the past twenty years the increase has been attributed to changes in diagnostic definition and better case finding by the CDC despite the lack of data to confirm those comforting suppositions. Even worse the CDC has never conducted, or ever even proposed doing, the basic epidemiology that could determine definitively the extent of the increase.  (1) Rice CE, et al., Evaluating Changes in the Prevalence of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (2012), http://www.publichealthreviews.eu/upload/pdf_files/12/00_Rice.pdf, at 12.

While Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp should have been sounding the alarm for the past 20 years, instead the best she can say is “a true increase cannot be ruled out". (1)   Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp also counts the autism rate unbelievably slowly. Using 21st century technology, the CDC can find tainted eggs, spinach or cantaloupes within a matter of hours or days. How is it acceptable for the autism rate to be counted at age eight with a four-year time lag to process the data her agency collects?  It takes twelve years for her to come up with a current autism rate, which is simply unacceptable. Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp is not up to the job of supervising the autism count honestly. We demand that you fire or reassign her to a position where she can do less harm.  

Continue reading "Autism Organizations Demand CDC Accountability Following Autism Rate Rise to 1 in 68 " »

Current Affairs, Mark Blaxill

Mark Blaxill 2009: Lies, Damned Lies and CDC Autism Statistics

Light bulb fire

Managing Editor's Note: So... this was my note in 2010  as we awaited the new CDC prevalence numbers.  Usually I have to update a "Best Of" to reflect the current date.  Not this one.  NOTHING has changed....     Here is the old intro new intro save it for the next go round intro:

We anticipate new autism prevalence numbers from CDC any moment. As April Fool's day and the cerulean silly season of awareness and celebration approaches, we thought we'd run this post Mark Blaxill: Lies, Damned Lies and CDC Autism Statistics again. This is the third airing of this post as the numbers continue to climb with no sense of the urgency and action this epidemic demands.

Dark_alley By Mark Blaxill first published in 2009.

It’s official now, real autism rates have exploded to 1 in 100 American children. We’re facing a national public health emergency of historic proportions. Bigger than swine flu. Bigger than polio. Bigger than almost anything one can imagine except AIDS. No matter how hard some may try, it’s impossible to escape the inexorable upward march of the numbers.  Even Tom Insel, head of autism research at NIH and not exactly the autism world’s greatest forward thinker, has conceded the obvious: “There is no question that there has got to be an environmental component here.”

Following last week’s release of the latest CDC autism surveillance report, no amount of methodological obfuscation (“autism prevalence has clearly gone up but there are no real incidence studies”), epidemiological nihilism (“we simply can’t know without large scale, well-controlled, prospective studies”) or social deconstructionist nonsense (“autism is an intolerant invention of modern society”) should escape scorn . Anyone with brain, a conscience and an ounce of integrity must acknowledge that we face a crisis. Meanwhile, those who would accuse the autism parent community of “denialism”, unscientific reasoning and irresponsible irrationality need to explain how their own theories, so dependent on the evidence-free suggestion that rates are rising because of “better diagnosing”, deserve to be considered respectable scientific speech. There is no more unscientific position in public health today than the fiction that rising autism rates come from better diagnosing. Let’s be clear, the only evidence for better diagnosing is wishful thinking. Our public health institutions deserve no credit for a job done better; quite the contrary, they deserve an investigation into their negligence.

Nowhere is the institutional pattern of negligence, deception and propaganda surrounding autism more apparent than in the work of the Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) network. The design of the ADDM, a project of the CDC and its parent agency the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), reveals in sharp relief how determined CDC is to evade its autism responsibilities. And while there is no evidence of fraud in the preparation of the ADDM data, that’s about the only good thing you can say about the work. To be blunt, every ADDM publication so far has betrayed a fundamental dishonesty, reporting analysis that has been twisted for bureaucratic purposes to mask and suppress the magnitude of the autism problem. It’s a disturbing display of the triumph of public relations over professionalism, propaganda masquerading as science.

In their latest exercise in spin management, the CDC released a new ADDM publication last week: at noon on the Friday before Christmas. The timing of this release-- a transparent attempt to bury the surveillance news as deeply as possible-- was an indication of the seriousness with which the CDC treats the autism problem. In case anyone missed it, the leadership of the DHHS in the Obama administration has clearly selected influenza as their priority health policy concern; but their autism policy position has been less clear and this release of the ADDM findings marked the first major autism position statement of the new administration.

Continue reading "Mark Blaxill 2009: Lies, Damned Lies and CDC Autism Statistics " »

Mark Blaxill

Awaiting Autism Prevalence Numbers: What Did the CDC Know and When Did They Know It?

CdcpoliticsManaging Editor's Note:  New CDC autism prevalence numbers due out later today. Mark Blaxill wrote this in 2009. How many children have been diagnosed in 5 years?

By Mark Blaxill

With the recent announcement of the "largest ever" study to investigate the causes of autism, run through Kaiser Permanente (the HMO that lost vaccine safety data implicating thimerosal in harming children) and led by Lisa Croen (the epidemiologist who first attempted to deny the autism epidemic with faulty data), sometimes you just want to shake your head and wonder, what on earth is going on down in Atlanta?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was once a proud and prestigious agency, staffed by the most elite corps of disease fighters on the planet, manning the front lines of the most threatening health problems facing mankind. Today, riven by dissension and ridiculed by many, the CDC has made a mockery of itself in failing to get to the roots of the most critical public health challenges of the day, including, but not limited to, autism. The consequences of its failures are profound. Morale has deteriorated and Congress has been investigating the agency for months.

Reflecting their loss of trust in the CDC's objectivity, autism advocacy groups have actively lobbied to reduce (and even zero out) CDC funding in the Combating Autism Act. The CDC has dual responsibility for monitoring vaccine safety and promoting the vaccine schedule; at the same time it's also responsible for surveillance on diseases like autism. In light of widespread concern over the link between autism and vaccines in the autism parent community, when the CDC announces that it's launching a new effort to find the cause of autism, it's hard not to think of OJ Simpson offering a reward for finding his wife's killer.

It was not always so. Indeed, in the midst of the AIDS epidemic, it was the CDC that took the lead—often against the intransigence and conservatism of NIH researchers—in tracking down the causes of the AIDS epidemic and taking steps to reduce its toll on society. For many years, CDC was held up to the world as a model government agency. Yet in autism, we have truly seen the downward spiral of the agency reaching its nadir: defensive, secretive and non-responsive to a health crisis in full flower. There are undoubtedly larger forces affecting the agency and its leadership. But if (as I believe to be the case) there are turning points in the lives of large institutions, critical crossroads at which difficult choices are made, then the CDC's handling of the autism epidemic is certainly one such turning point. Poor choices at crucial moments can lead, not only to negative consequence on a specific issue, like autism, it can cause the institution to lose its way. In a way, autism has been both a strategic and a moral problem for the CDC. For it's in the autism epidemic, I would suggest, that the CDC has truly sold its soul.

All of which leads me to ask the question, when did the CDC make this choice? What was the point in the history of autism when CDC leaders had the chance to honor its long history and raise the alarm over the autism crisis? Some would point to the infamous Simpsonwood meeting in the summer of 2000, where evidence of thimerosal's neurotoxicity, already tampered with in ways unknown to the meeting participants, was swept aside. I have certainly been in the forefront of the critics of the CDC work on vaccine safety issues, but I believe the CDC was already well past the turning point by Simpsonwood. I would suggest we need to look a bit earlier to find the CDC's crossroads in autism. For that, we need to look couple of years before the summer of 2000 and a bit further north.

The CDC lost its way on autism in Brick Township, NJ.

Continue reading "Awaiting Autism Prevalence Numbers: What Did the CDC Know and When Did They Know It?" »

Current Affairs

Staggering Autism Increase... From 2009 and The Band Plays On

Elephant in the room Managing Editor's Note:  Remember when 1 in 110 was considered a staggering autism prevalence? We are waiting for new numbers later today, March 27, 2014. This post ran on December 21, 2009.

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

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

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

Continue reading "Staggering Autism Increase... From 2009 and The Band Plays On" »

Current Affairs

CDC 2009 "Good Old Days" When Autism was 1 in 110

40000 Managing Editor's Note: This post ran on December 17, 2009. We are waiting for new prevalence numbers today, March 27, 2014.

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

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


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

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

Continue reading "CDC 2009 "Good Old Days" When Autism was 1 in 110" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Star Power, Blue Lights, Acceptance

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.  The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and their OurKidsASD brand. 

Mar 25, 2014, Costa Mesa (CA) Daily Pilot: Star power sheds light on autism

Mar 25, 2014, Miami Herald: Documentary on autism premieres at UM

Mar 24, 2014, Boone (NC) High Country Press: Celebrate April: Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month with Two Screenings of Film ‘Neurotypical’

Mar 21, 2014, 9News, Denver, CO:  Immunization bill vote set for Friday

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Star Power, Blue Lights, Acceptance" »

Kim Stagliano

New CDC Numbers Coming Tomorrow

47724666

by Kim Stagliano from a FB post

... and the rates are continuing to rise.

How many more American children will have their lives - their families' lives radically changed by autism? Autism is a tough road - no matter how "affected." It changes everything in the same way that Alzheimer's does - think I'm kidding? I'm not. We need TREATMENT, LIFE CARE for those here and PREVENTION for those to follow. We can NOT have American children taken out of the employment pool and thrust into the social services pool at the continually growing rate. The umemployment rate for Asperger's is dangerously high too - don't be lulled into a false sense of security by anecdotes. By one or two celebs. It's DAMN HARD to navigate the neurotypical world for a person on the spectrum - and I say that NOT to denigrate for a moment. All the BLUE LIGHTS in the world mean nothing. We need ACTION. Not awareness. God help us all.

Kim - exhausted beyond human endurance by autism.

John Stone, Vaccine Safety

WHO Officials Rig Inclusion Criteria for Vaccine Injury in Developing World

Rigged dice"Garbage in Garbage Out: World Health Organization officials rig inclusion criteria for adverse vaccine events in the developing world."

By John Stone

An unusual correspondence has been appearing beneath the abstract of an article in Pubmed led by redoubtable vaccine safety campaigner Jacob Puliyel  (possibly chosen as a venue by him so that the discussion could take place on the open web). The paper by Tozzi et al including veteran Johns Hopkins Institute of Vaccine Safety professor Neal Halsey assesses the World Health Organization Adverse Event Following Immunization criteria which further dilute the possibility of adverse vaccine events ever being acknowledged. Alberto Tozzi is lead the author of the notorious CDC funded Italian thimerosal study which received widespread media publicity in 2009 despite the fact that the data could have been specially selected not to discover anything. This being the case the new paper finds  Tozzi on fine form. Dr Puliyel’s letter headed  ‘DEATHS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES WILL COUNT FOR LESS’ reviews how the system has worked in practice rather than whether health officials like it. It states in conclusion:

“Under the new scheme, fatal AEFI in developing countries will be falsely recorded as ‘Not an AEFI’, simply because some time or test criterion was not met. Death is the worst AEFI possible. Continued use of the CIOMS [Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences]/WHO scheme will result in missing an important opportunity to pick up signals that could save lives…”

There are further contributions from Paul G King,  Brandon Horn, Y Mahdavi, Lokesh Tiwari, Toni Bark and Akash Malik, an Indian government official, but no response so far from the authors. In the original paper - which is not available on the open web - Prof Tozzi acknowledges research grants from Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline  and Sanofi Pasteur MSD. Read further here.

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.

Current Affairs

ACTION ALERT: Federal HHS Appropriations Robbing Autistic/Disabled of CHOICE

Action alertManaging Editor's Note:  Do you think the Federal Government knows what is VOR logobest for your son or daughter into adulthood? Do you think decision makers and advocates who have limited understanding of the major differences between autism and "traditional" intellectual disability have any idea how or desire to  make sure your child has a lifelong INDIVIDUALIZED plan? IEPs might end with school - that does NOT mean our children suddenly fit into the old models of disability.  Or the new models.  In fact, we know they do not - otherwise there would be NO sensory movies showings, sensitive Santas, special Broadway performances, Autism day at amusement parks and the myriad other accommodations we need for people with autism.   "Funding deinstitutionalization" sounds terrific.  Until you learn what is meant by "deinstitutionalizion..." 

Thank you to our sponsor VOR for advocating for us all. Here is their message and alert. KS

Dear Friends,

The U.S. House Appropriations' Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee is considering its Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

This week the Subcommittee is receiving public input via a hearing and written testimony. VOR is calling on the Subcommittee to "prohibit the use of HHS appropriations in support of deinstitutionalization activities which evict eligible individuals with I/DD from HHS-licensed and funded homes.

VOR feels strongly that no federal agency should define “choice” so narrowly and illegally as to disenfranchise the most vulnerable segment of our disabled population.

If you agree, BY MARCH 28, 2014 (this Friday!) please support VOR's testimony with a letter of your own (a template is provided, just click here). The deadline to submit written testimony for the record is this Friday, March 28.
   

To take action, simply click on this Action Alert.

You'll be asked to provide your contact information and with a simple "click" your letter will be sent directly to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee. It's an easy way to lend your voice in support of quality care based on individual needs and choice, regardless of setting, for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Gratefully,

VOR
Questions? Contact thopp@vor.net

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Medical Choice in Crosshairs

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.  The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and their OurKidsASD brand. 

25, 2014, NY Times: Seeking Autism’s Biochemical Roots

Mar 24, 2014, Slate.com: Could a 3-Year-Old Just "Disappear"?/Why parents shouldn't worry so much about regressive autism

Mar 24, 2014, Collegian.com: Asperger's and vaccinations

Mar 23, 2014, Forbes: Worried About Measles? Don't Call Dr. Bob Sears

Mar 23, 2014 ,New York Times: Eliminate Vaccine Exemptions

Mar 17, 2014, UC Davis: Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorder, an Emerging Global Public Health Priority next MIND Institute Distinguished Lecture

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Medical Choice in Crosshairs" »

Dreams, Treatment

Assurance of Things Hoped for, Evidence of Things Not Seen

Sword in the stone
By Brooke Potthast

It has been almost one year since our son James had the opportunity to use the RPM method of communication with Soma Mukhopadhyay.  James is verbal but not conversational, and his speech is best described as being very “unreliable” as well as hard to understand. James has gone from almost no real communication to total communication in 6 months.

Needless to say it has changed everything for him and for us. I tell people it is bigger than marriage, childbirth or winning the lottery. It seems as though every day we learn something really big about James and his heart and mind.

When I first realized that a lot of what we thought about James was wrong, I called Dan Olmsted. Over coffee I told him, “I think mercury toxicity creates silent geniuses.” I’ve always been certain that thimerosal and my dental amalgams caused James’ regressive autism and I am now fairly certain that a huge percentage of children or young adults with autism are not intellectually disabled, not even learning disabled, but so severely sensory-motor disabled they can’t show us.

We thought James, who is 14, was around 2nd grade in his academic understanding and that was spotty. When we decided to homeschool and let him use the letter board fo spelling answers, he was able to do 9th grade work in just a few months. We thought he couldn’t add and he easily does algebra and recently asked to learn about cube roots.  I am not writing this out of pride for our son. I am telling you this because I don’t think he is the exception, I think he is the rule. In the last year I have seen this over and over again in teens and children who are in life skills classes and who educators and doctors have said are cognitively disabled. When given the opportunity to use RPM or something like it they show us that they have not just been taking it all in, but assimilating it in a typical and functional manner. One day early on our homeschool teachers gave James a vocabulary test. They gave the word “gullible” he spelled “easily fooled." Those examples are endless.

But the most remarkable thing we have learned about James and what I wanted to share in this piece is that despite having suffered in ways unimaginable he (and I think so many of his peers) has great hope for the world and for forgiveness and understanding. It is hard to even put into words what life would be like trapped in your body. Thinking and understanding just like everyone else but not being able to join in a conversation, tell a joke, verbally express love or anger or sadness. To not have friends, have education be limited; the list is long and painful.

But here is a “legend” written by James this week. When I read it my first thought was to put it on Age of Autism because I thought it summarized so much of what this community experiences and it gives us some hope. James said in another conversation that he remains hopeful and I’d like to think we all can. The background is that he is doing Medieval literature in school right now and they have read Beowulf, Sword in the Stone, etc. After discussing (on the letter board) the Sword in the Stone he was given this assignment: (his writing is in Caps)

Why was it so hard for people to believe that Arthur pulled the sword from the stone?

BECAUSE PEOPLE CANNOT BELIEVE THINGS THAT THEY DONT UNDERSTAND.

Continue reading "Assurance of Things Hoped for, Evidence of Things Not Seen" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Vaccine Machine Rolls On

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.  The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and their OurKidsASD brand. 

Mar 23, 2014, Philly.com: Many Americans believe widely discredited health conspiracy theories

Mar 23, 2014, PJMedia.com (Los Angeles): Colorado House to Consider Controversial Vaccination Law

Mar 23, 2014, AboutAutism.com: Six Things To Consider Before Giving to Autism-Related Charities

Mar 23, 2014, Portsmouth, NH SeacoastOnline:  What are those shots you're giving my baby?

Mar 23, 2014, West Hartford News: Upcoming 'Sparkling Celebration' to benefit Autism Families CONNECTicut

Mar 23, 2014, Carlisle (PA) Sentinel: Shippensburg University to support World Autism Day

Mar 21, 2014, Pittsburgh Tribune: Vaccine access crucial

Mar 21, 2014, WXIA Atlanta: Vulnerable children turned away as Ga. legislature adjourns

Mar 21, 2014, NY Daily News: San Francisco-area chemist says autistic daughter cured by MSG-free diet

Mar 20, 2014, Ventura County (CA) Star: CI to light the John Spoor Broome Library blue, host public events for World Autism Awareness Day

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Vaccine Machine Rolls On" »

Anne Dachel

To Journalists on the Eve of Autism Awareness Month

School flu shotBy Anne Dachel Blue sand timer

Dear Fellow Members of the Media: (That includes all of you at CBS, NBC, CNN, Forbes, New York Times, Chicago Trib, LA Times, et al.)

April is coming up and I wanted to say a few words about the month dedicated to autism awareness.  Many of us in the autism community are tired of stories about lighting the world up in blue and celebrating autism as if parents should be happy about a diagnosis.  We've endured years of feel-good coverage about awareness, fund-raising walks, and no explanation for the mystery of autism.  

Most of all, we want you to do your jobs. 

Do you know what reporters are really supposed to do? 

Five years ago I found this youtube by Bob Woodward.  (Remember Bob?  He and Carl Bernstein were the famous reporters at the Washington Post in the 1970s, who exposed Watergate and helped bring down a corrupt president.  They even made a movie about them.



Woodward said that a good journalist does three things when covering a story and I thought I'd pass them on to you with the hope that you would apply them to your reporting on autism.

First, you're supposed to CHECK SOURCES.

Woodward: "It means checking everything, talking to half a dozen or even a dozen people for a day story. If it's something longer, you want to totally surround and saturate the subject."

Second, you need DOCUMENTATION.

Woodward: "I have not really ever seen a story in a newspaper or on television or even on radio that couldn't be enhanced with some sort of documentation that would support or add more detail to what the story is about."

Third, you're supposed to CHECK INFORMATION FIRST HAND.

Woodward: "Get your ass out of your chair and get over there."

This is the kind of stuff we the public think reporters do when they cover a topic, so when you start giving us stories about Autism Awareness this April, we want you to do it like professional journalists.

Instead of stories with photos of happy kids on playground equipment or a 30 second video of a cute four year old interacting with a speech therapist on the news, show us the dark side of autism--the teenagers in diapers, the non-verbal children who spin and rock endlessly, and the really sick autistic kids with seizures and bowel disease.  People deserve to know just how badly autism can affect a child.

Continue reading "To Journalists on the Eve of Autism Awareness Month" »

Cathy Jameson

"Unintended Acceleration" Vaccines: Sales Over Safety

Toyota recallBy Cathy Jameson

ABC Reports on Toyota Recall

 “Car manufacturer Toyota has agreed to pay a staggering $1.2 billion to avoid prosecution for covering up severe safety problems with “unintended acceleration,” according to court documents, and continuing to make cars with parts the FBI said Toyota “knew were deadly.”

A deferred prosecution agreement, filed today, forced Toyota to “admit” that it “misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about two safety related issues affecting its vehicles, each of which caused a type of unintended acceleration.”

Toyota “put sales over safety and profit over principle,” according to FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos.”

Oh, boy, did this article make me see red.  I remember watching the news when people were reporting that their cars were malfunctioning.  I also remember the asinine claims that the auto manufacturers offered while trying to deflect that a legitimate problem existed.  Instead of properly address the dangers Toyota drivers were facing, excuses were made and critical time was wasted.  Several people lost their lives despite customer’s pleas to thoroughly investigate the issue.  What Toyota did and how they handled this situation is inexcusable. 

I couldn’t help but think of how eerily familiar the Toyota customers’ statements and troubles sounded.  While reading the article I saw several comparisons of what Toyota drivers had to deal with what has also happened to the vaccine injured.  One thing was not so familiar though.  Justice was finally served to a set of customers who were terribly wronged.  I can’t say the same thing has happened yet for many of us. 

But, I can certainly see other comparisons similar to the unfortunate events Toyota customers faced. 

“The disregard Toyota had for the safety of the public is outrageous,” Venizelos said.

When media reports arose of Toyota hiding defects, they emphatically denied what they knew was true, assuring consumers that their cars were safe and reliable… More than speeding cars or a major fine, the ultimate tragedy has been the unwitting consumers who died behind the wheel of Toyota vehicles.”

What’s been outrageous for us?   That vaccines have been pushed on the public for decades with little to no regard toward how individuals handle being vaccinated.  Clamping down and enforcing vaccine safety can’t happen when they’re sold as safe and effective though.  I don’t know how they could be.  Even when the government calls them unavoidably unsafe, and while each vaccine comes with an extensive list of negatives reactions, vaccines are sold with no liability.  Too many double standards get in the way of taking care of vaccine consumers.  Vaccines have a safety net.  People questioning vaccines get run over instead of helped. 

Moving on

Continue reading ""Unintended Acceleration" Vaccines: Sales Over Safety" »

Dan Olmsted, Dan Olmsted , Vaccine Safety

Weekly Wrap:The “Trutherization” of Vaccine Injury

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

It’s interesting – in the sense that a train wreck that leaks toxic fumes and kills an entire town of sleeping souls is “interesting” – to watch the mainstream media descend deeper into denial about vaccines and autism.

The latest round of tut-tutting comes in the wake of a report that Americans are prone to believe in conspiracy theories, in particular that the government, corporations or both are trying to cover up the truth about some health information, USA Today reports.

“20 percent believe doctors and health officials push child vaccines even though they ‘know these Chris Hayesvaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders.’”

Over on MSNBC, Chris Hayes blamed the recrudescence of measles in Manhattan (20 cases or so) on “purveyors of anti-science hokum” like Jenny McCarthy. “This kind of thinking, it spreads like disease.” The segment was dubbed “Anti-Vaccination Trutherism.” Psychiatrist Dr. Gail Salz, laughed off the vaccine-autism connection: "This is essentially a coping mechanism gone awry. It makes us tremendously anxious to feel that we have no control over the possibility that our baby could get autism, and to be life-ruining, it's terrifying. So that idea that we can identify something that makes us less anxious."

And this, apparently, requires belief in extravagant conspiracy theories. Well, what is a conspiracy after all? It’s more than one person working in concert, and in secret, to effect a desired and usually nefarious result.

Clearly, doctors and public health officials do know that vaccines can cause autism, because they couldn’t have missed the press accounts of awards in vaccine “court” for children who developed autism as a result of vaccination. Further, studies have found a much higher rate of autism and other developmental issues in boys vaccinated as newborns with the Hepatitis B vaccine.

There is a concerted effort to keep these truths from emerging and to replace them with the false idea that vaccines have been vindicated as never causing autism. That in effect is the “trutherism” right there.

What I find amazing is the credulity of the press – many journalists are too young, and some apparently too naïve, to run this idea through their Watergate filter. Here’s the truth: Public officials – and putting “health” in between those words doesn’t inoculate them – do conspire to create certain outcomes when their professional mission and personal reputation are on the line. And corporations are not immune, obviously.

I didn’t have to look far to be reminded of how complicit corporations can be in conspiracies. In the same Thursday issue of USA Today that reported on the health conspiracy beliefs, two stories caught my attention.

One – Toyota agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle a criminal case involving its handling of those deadly accelerator problems a few years back. “Today, we can say for certain that Toyota intentionally concealed information and misled the public about the safety issues behind these recalls,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “Put simply, Toyota’s conduct was shameful.”

I love this part: Toyota, to save its corporate scalp, agreed to allow a monitor to oversee its “safety communications, its internal handling of accident reports and its processes for handling technical bulletins.” In other words, the government wants to prevent another conspiracy to hide the truth about unsafe products.

Two – GM President Mary Barra penned an op-ed in which she fell on her stick shift to apologize for the mishandling of safety recalls, delays that appear to have caused a handful of deaths.

“Everyone at GM regrets that it took so long to confirm the problem with the Cobalt and similar models and issue a recall. We are deeply sorry for the lives lost and the lives it has affected.”

She’s deeply sorry, in effect, for a conspiracy to conceal safety defects over many years.

What’s so crazy about all this is that drug companies are not held in terribly high regard in the first place, and for good reason (Vioxx, four hour erections, et al). Neither is government. Neither is the media. Yet these three groups team up to treat those with well-earned reasons to be suspicious as “truthers.”

Measles is inconsequential in the fact of the real truth – that the autism epidemic is driven by excessive vaccination. But anti-vaccine truthers get blamed for every illness this side of spring fever, and probably for that.

Continue reading "Weekly Wrap:The “Trutherization” of Vaccine Injury" »

Winner Watch Me Learn Autism Video Modeling Series

Watch Me Learn Set
CONGRATS to Jennifer Mulry who has won the Watch Me Learn  series of 7 DVDs courtesy of Mary Beth Palo!! 

Maintaining the comfortable, familiar, and fun social environment loved in the classic series, these videos add extra teaching video, setting up a vocabulary section and a small group teaching session which can be utilized in the classroom or in therapy. This gives the facilitator a very simple tool to teach the necessary language and to teach the skill in isolation before generalizing it into a play or real-life scenario.

Learning the target skills is fun and easy when it involves friends!

Learn more about video modeling at Watch Me Learn.

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Media Encourages Bullying of Jenny McCarthy

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.  The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and their OurKidsASD brand.

Mar 20, 2014, MSNBC: Anti-vaccination trutherism

Mar 20, 2014, Business Wire: Stanford Autism Center to Hold Annual Autism Symposium April 19

Mar 20, 2014, Toronto Sun: Is there a cure for stupidity?

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Media Encourages Bullying of Jenny McCarthy" »

Cathy Jameson, Vaccine Safety

Debating Vaccines Online

Kristin Cav
Kristin Cavallari

By  Cathy Jameson

Jenny The View
Jenny McCarthy

An honest mom’s response made late last week during an interview opened the doors to a circus frenzy typical of the mainstream media.  If you’ve stayed up with vaccine and autism news since that comment aired then you’re already well aware of the lively conversations that have taken place on the internet about it. 

A great number of people came out of the woodwork offering their opinion about vaccines and about Kristin Cavallari’s choice to not vaccinate.  Some people left a comment or two in online forums while others cranked out a good 10,000 or more.  Everyone had something to say.  Or prove.  Or demand.  Or yell IN ALL CAPS.  Quite a few parents who have children with documented vaccine injuries merely wanted to leave a heartfelt thanks while other people, many of whom appear to hail from a pro-vaccine stance, badgered those parents with malicious responses in reply. 

Karen Ernst
Every Child By Two's Karen Ernst

Baiting parents and belittling them and their well-thought out opinions

Reiss
Law Professor and Protector of Vaccines Dorit Reiss

became the new discussion.  It wasn’t about Kristin anymore.  The attack turned toward the parents who have wised up about vaccines.  Moms were belittled.  Their science was shot down.  Parents were told their anti-vax choices were putting innocent people at risk.  It never makes sense to argue that point because the majority of people in this country have the choice to vaccinate or not.  It’s quite simple, really.  If we parents don’t want to vaccinate, they don’t have to.  That right is protected by law.  But some people forget that little fact and would rather have an online hissy fit instead.

Even though I had several opportunities to say something as the story went viral, because I too am thankful Kristin’s knows that she has a choice in the matter, I kept out of the fray.  I watched instead.  Many times I wish I hadn’t.  I am all for discussing and offering insight to others in a public forum, but there is no need to point fingers at moms who are vocal about a personal decision.  But that happened repeatedly last week.   

As the days went on, while the media did nothing to calm the drama they started, more people added to online conversations.  What struck me as the most unfortunate after reading thread after thread after thread was that in all the comments, not one person chimed in saying,

“Hey, 

Thanks for the info, everyone!  Your incredibly heated discussions have offered me a significant amount of useful insight.  It even helped me make the decision to vaccinate/to not vaccinate my child.  Keep up that fantastic back-and-forth dialogue.  I’m sure it’ll help someone else too!” 

Nope. Not one. 

Continue reading "Debating Vaccines Online" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Chemist Reverses Daughter's Autism

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.

Mar 20, 2014, Fox News: Chemist claims she reversed daughter's autism

Mar 20, 2014, Ars Technica: What's driving the rise of autism diagnoses vs. what drives autism

Mar 19, 2014, WSAV Savannah, GA: Last Shot for Georgia Autism Insurance Bill

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Chemist Reverses Daughter's Autism" »

Current Affairs

SharylAttkisson.com Untouchable Subjects. Fearless Reporting.

SharylWe're happy to share Sharyl Attkisson's website  SharylAttkisson.com and upcoming book, Stonewalled: One Reporter's Fight for Truth in Obama's Washington. Sharyl has stuck her neck out for the autism community time and again when other reporters and journalists have stabbed us in the back and then turned their backs on the story of a generation. Not Sharyl. Please bookmark her site and join us in wishing her well in her continued career. View her other books at Amazon as well.

Sponsor News

Another Smoking Gun for Environment/autism Link

Safeminds 2014 LogoAn analysis of 100 million US medical records reveals that autism and intellectual disability rates correlate with genital malformation incidence in newborn males, an indicator of exposure to harmful environmental factors. The study also finds that Autism and intellectual disability incidence decreases dramatically in states with stronger regulations on diagnosis.  Read article

An innovative methodology from researchers at the University of Chicago was used to detect the role of environment on population level for autism risk. The study shows the strong contribution of non-genetic, i.e., environmental factors driving autism rates. Our only quibble is the author’s supposition that vaccines play a weak role. This inference is due to the methodology not incorporating time trends but only single time point geographic differences. Since vaccines are given across geographies, this methodology would not be able to detect any effect of the burgeoning vaccination schedule over time. Nevertheless, a much needed and welcomed study.

Read the full post at the SafeMinds site.

Vaccine Safety

Japan: International Medical Researchers Issue Warning about HPV Vaccine Side Effects

GardasilFrom SaneVax: The Sane Vax Mission is to promote only Safe, Affordable, Necessary & Effective vaccines and vaccination practices through education and information.


The International Symposium on the adverse reactions experienced by girls who have been vaccinated by Human Papillomavirus vaccines and subsequent events which took place in Tokyo on February 25th and 26th have sparked a high-profile debate over HPV vaccine safety, efficacy and need.

The Researchers’ Organization Sounding a Warning concerning the Adverse Reactions induced by Human Papillomavirus Vaccines, led by Dr. Harumi Sakai, a former professor of Tokai University, School of Medicine and a former leader at the immunochemical research team at Texas University, Galveston, reported that Sin Hang Lee, MD, former Associate Professor at Yale University and currently  pathologist of Milford Hospital, Dr. Francois Jerome Authier, MD, a professor at Universite Paris XII and a doctor at Systeme Hospital Henri Mondor de Paris, and research fellow Lucija Tomljenovic, a PhD from the University of British Columbia, presented evidence regarding the risks involved with HPV vaccines during the symposium, two press conferences and a government-sponsored public hearing on February 26th.

The public hearing was attended by eight medical academic members of the Japanese government’s Advisory Council on the Alleged Adverse Reactions to HPV Vaccines, several top-ranking Health Ministry bureaucrats, medical doctors and journalists from the nation’s major newspapers and television networks.

Continue reading "Japan: International Medical Researchers Issue Warning about HPV Vaccine Side Effects" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Smearing and Bullying Vaccine Safety Advocates

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.

The daily media update is sponsored by:

Mar 19, 2014, KSTP Minn/St. Paul: New Partnership to Help Minneapolis' Somali Community with Autism Treatment

Mar 18, 2014, Rockingham NC Your Daily Journal: The crazy anti-vaccination movement

Mar 17, 2014, Huffington: Nearly Half Of Americans Believe In Medical Conspiracy Theories

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Smearing and Bullying Vaccine Safety Advocates" »

Natalie Palumbo

The Vulnerable And The Vile: Two Tragic Stories On Children With Autism

AntNat2013By Natalie Palumbo

I’m 19 years old, a freshman at Ringling College of Art & Design, and the only sibling to an older brother with low-verbal autism. Over my spring break, I came across two distressing articles one right after the other. Both outlined tragedies involving a child with autism, and both involved people acting in horrific ways towards these children. Disturbing to me as well was the locations where these incidents took place. Both are places I have frequented at one time or another.

According to the Herald-Tribune, a Sarasota County newspaper in Florida, “Court documents detailed how Melissa was ostracized from her half-siblings and allegedly abused. She was deprived of food and removed from Oak Park School. To control her, the Stoddards allegedly tied her to a board and duct-taped her mouth to keep from crying out. Melissa, who had autism, and was known for her tantrums, died Dec. 17, 2012.”

When I first came across this article, I was struck by the fact that it happened in Sarasota County close to where I attend college. This is a sobering reminder of why I will need to protect my brother in the future. Anthony could never imagine such cruelty, and I could never explain it to him.

If we are to understand the broad scope of individuals on the autism spectrum, we have to be made aware of all the possible outcomes, and not just an optimistic few. If autism is portrayed as a novelty for inspiration, then the public will believe that autism is nothing to worry about. Who wouldn’t want an exceptional child?

While I was still sick over the brutal details of Melissa Stoddard’s tortured life and death, another horrifying article surfaced from WJLA ABC 7 by Jay Korff. The headline read, “Two Maryland Teens Admit to Assaulting Boy with Autism”, and this excerpt stated the following:

“MECHANICSVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - St. Mary’s County authorities allege that 17-year-old Lauren Bush and another 15-year-old unnamed female – both students at Chopticon High School – videotaped multiple assaults they unleashed on a 16-year-old boy with autism.

Sheriff Tim Cameron says the allegations leveled against these girls are among the most disturbing he has dealt with in his career. He says that several times between December and February, the suspects preyed on the victim – assaulting him with a knife, kicking him in the groin, dragging him by the hair, coercing him to engage in a sex act too disturbing to broadcast, and even forcing him to walk on a partially frozen pond.”

Continue reading "The Vulnerable And The Vile: Two Tragic Stories On Children With Autism" »

Current Affairs, Vaccine Safety

Documentary in the Works "Vaccines: Are They Safe And Effective?"

Movie reel redIndieGoGo campaign to fund a new documentary from Richard Milner.

Help us complete this documentary! You can be a part of ensuring that this groundbreaking video on vaccine safety is completed. Featuring a discussion between Boyd Haley and Paul Offit, the documentary offers important insights on what can happen when industry profits, rather than human health, drive government vaccine recommendations.



Dr. Offit appears often on national television as an expert on vaccination. By not inviting any of his many critics, the mainstream media gives the impression that he has none. This false impression leaves the public uninformed on the very real threats posed to children’s health through an overly aggressive vaccine program that now recommends children receive an astounding 48 vaccines by the age of six.

Your donation of $10 to $15,000 will allow us to complete the project. In return, you’ll receive:

• A complete bibliography of 145 published scientific studies proving the danger of mercury in vaccines.

Continue reading "Documentary in the Works "Vaccines: Are They Safe And Effective?"" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: April Awareness Brings Vaccine Injury Denialists

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.

The daily media update is sponsored by:

April Update

Mar 18, 2014, ID State Journal: A.F. student raising awareness of autism: Ribbon tying ceremony set at park on April 1

Mar 17, 2014, Utica (NY) Observer Dispatch: Autism Awareness Program at Dunham Public Library

Mar 16, 2014, Mason City (IA) Globe Gazette: Autism fundraiser scheduled for April 2

Mar 17, 2014, Liberty Voice: Jenny McCarthy: Should She Blame Vaccines for Autism?

Mar 17, 2014, OregonLive.com: The foolish anti-vaccine cause: Rich Lowry

Mar 17, 2014, Wales ITV: Parents claim: "Special Educational Needs no better now than 30 years ago"

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: April Awareness Brings Vaccine Injury Denialists" »

Current Affairs, Teresa Conrick

Autism Sibling Mary Conrick: Coming Home to Autism: Snapchats and Selfies

MC 2 Meg clearBy Mary Conrick

The anticipation of seeing my family after two months was finally hitting me. My phone had broken over the weekend and I was in an unfamiliar train station. All I wanted was for spring break to start and to have wireless connection again. On my long train ride home, I was reminded of this unfortunate event, the incapability to communicate with the outside world and how much I missed my family. Emails were not available either because the train didn’t have Wi-Fi. I felt kind of lost and alone and longed to be home once again, not an outsider without a cell phone, Wi-Fi and a family. To distract myself, I planned my homecoming. I thought about receiving a new phone from AT&T and grabbing an Italian beef with my dad, hugging my mom, updating her about my traveling experiences, and taking snapchats and selfies with my sister Megan. I always miss Megan the most because even with a working phone and Wi-Fi capabilities, I still am not able to communicate with her unless I return to sweet home Chicago.

When my train arrived, after circling the city then going backwards into the station (half an hour process I might add), I was beyond ready to go home. I departed from the train, used a payphone for the first time in my life, and got through to my dad after the 3rd try with dropping numerous quarters on the ground. I found my dad in the middle of Union Station and held my arms wide open. His demeanor changed from distressed to fully content. One family member down, three more to go I noted in my head. I still was longing to see my mom, Megan, and my dog. After attaining a new phone, grabbing a bite to eat, and running a few errands, I finally made it home. Everything was going according to plan. My mother was still at work but Megan was home. Her personal support worker was there at the time and I asked her if Megan was doing well. She said she has started to feel slightly better but it has been a rough morning. From the 1st floor, I can hear Megan’s vocal tics, which means she is not feeling well and should be left alone. I ignored her comment and the vocal noises and sprinted upstairs with hope that whatever mood Megan was in, she would feel elated to see me. I had this unrealistic hope that somehow I can change her sickness, her mood, and her autism just this once. Somehow through, I thought by Megan and I reuniting, that everything would be different for a brief moment. That was all I thought about on the train coming home to her.

I slammed Megan’s bedroom door wide open to find Megan on the end of her bed sitting upward. Her eyes were half- open and she did not have an excited expression on her face.  She didn’t even flinch when I came in. “Hi Megan. I’m Home!!!!!” I gave her a bear hug, then paused to look her in the eyes. She barely glanced at me. We made eye contact but it wasn’t welcoming one bit. She looked irritated, infuriated, and unpleased. The green in her eyes was not calming, but alarming. They turned a dark shade of green like the deep depths of the ocean, a place no one wants to envision. Her brow was furrowed and she pushed me away from her. I was naïve and I tried to tickle her, started dancing goofy and laughed in a manly way that usually makes her chuckle at least, but again, the same response. 

Continue reading "Autism Sibling Mary Conrick: Coming Home to Autism: Snapchats and Selfies" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Awareness, Pollution and What?

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.

The daily media update is sponsored by:

Mar 17, 2014, SFARI: Rising awareness may explain spike in autism diagnoses

Mar 16, 2014, Forbes: Autism, Pollution, And Genital Malformations: The Missing Link

Mar 16, 2014, WND Commentary: Research confirms antidepressant-autism link

Mar 15, 2014, Central FL Future: Rising autism numbers cause for alarm, but some say it’s a drill

Mar 14, 2014, Fox 10 Phoenix: New study shows autism risk higher with older men

Mar 14, 2014, Fox News: Autism disorders greatly linked with environmental factors, study claims

Mar 14, 2014, Chicago Tribune: Kristin Cavallari Jay Cutler not vaccinating kids

Mar 13, 2014, The Daily Beast: Thanks, Anti-Vaxxers. You Just Brought Back Measles in NYC

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Awareness, Pollution and What?" »

Anne Dachel

The Weather Channel Makes Rain for Pharma

WeathervaneBy Anne Dachel

The Weather Channel is incredible. One week they report VACCINES DON'T CAUSE AUTISM and one week they later they quote a top researcher who admits that for some kids, they could.

Mar 13, 2014, The Weather Channel: How Environmental Toxins Can Cause Autism

"Environmental factors such as toxins and pesticides can cause severe health problems, especially for pregnant women and fetuses. For male fetuses, the harmful effect of exposure to these toxins work like this: Toxins can cause genital malformations, which are then linked to autism and intellectual disability, according to a study from the University of Chicago published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. . . .

"'Autism appears to be strongly correlated with rate of congenital malformations of the genitals in males across the country,' said study author Andrey Rzhetsky, Ph.D., professor of genetic medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago, in a press release. 'This gives an indicator of environmental load and the effect is surprisingly strong.'"

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Top U.S. Scientific Misconduct Official Quits in Frustration With Bureaucracy

David%20Wright-page-001

We have been pointing out the flubs and flaws (a kind description) of HHS, CDC and other government institutions as they relate to the autism epidemic since our inception. Here is a compelling look from an insider.  Can a true scientist - one who makes a hypothesis, creates an experiment, conducts the experiment and announces the results - survive in today's world?

Read the full article at ScienceMag.org.

The director of the U.S. government office that monitors scientific misconduct in biomedical research has resigned after 2 years out of frustration with the “remarkably dysfunctional” federal bureaucracy. David Wright, director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), writes in a scathing resignation letter obtained by ScienceInsider that the huge amount of time he spent trying to get things done made much of his time at ORI “the very worst job I have ever had.”

ORI, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), monitors alleged research misconduct by researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other Public Health Service (PHS) agencies. It runs education programs and reviews institutions’ misconduct investigations, each year posting a dozen or so findings of misconduct, defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism. It also recommends PHS sanctions, such as barring researchers from receiving grants. ORI’s visibility has grown recently along with a rise in retracted research papers, some involving misconduct.

Observers lauded Wright’s appointment in December 2011, which ended 2 years in which the office had no permanent director. Wright, a historian of science at Michigan State University in East Lansing, had served as an ORI consultant and came in with plans to beef up training programs. But on 25 February, he fired off a fiery resignation letter to his boss (see below), HHS Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) Howard Koh. (Wright’s departure has not been formally announced by HHS and was first made public last week by the blog Retraction Watch. HHS spokeswoman Diane Gianelli declined to comment on why Wright left but confirmed his resignation and said that Don Wright, an Office of ASH (OASH) official who is unrelated to David Wright and had previously served as acting director, will resume that position.)

Read the full article at ScienceMag.org.

Current Affairs, Vaccine Safety

Kristin Cavallari: "Anti-Vaccine?" Or Pro-Informed Health Decision?

Kristin CavNote: Welcome to newcomers.  When you think of Monstanto and food what's your instinct? That is our reaction to the vaccine injury denial industry. Follow Kristin on  FaceBook & Twitter @KristinCav and please share your story as a show of support for medical healthcare  freedom rights.  American rights.  After all, neither the manufacturer (pharma) nor the doctor who delivers the vaccination bears any liability for injury or death. YOYO - You're On Your Own - if your child is harmed.  The leading spokesman for "vaccine safety" is Dr. Paul Offit - and he is heavily invested in the industry. See our Exclusives category for copious info to help you make an informed choice for yourself and your family.

By Zack Peter Your_rights

I want to take a moment to throw a huge THANK YOU out to Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler for making a very well research and thoroughly thought-out decision to not vaccinate their son, Camden. And I want to thank Kristin for her courage to come out and publicly admit that and stand proudly behind her decision.

Too many people make irresponsible decisions — both to vaccinate and to not — without weighing out all the benefits and side-effects of vaccinations.

Do your research people. Read up. I’m not telling you to vaccinate. I’m not telling you not to. I’m telling you to educate yourself. Autism is real. Stats have reached 1 in 50. That scary. For a celebrity (in today’s age) to speak out publicly about such a controversial issue shows an immense amount of bravery, considering all the backlash she is likely to face, online and in the media.

Thank you, Kristin. Thank you, Jay. Wishing your family lots of health, happiness, and wellness for many years to come!

Tweet me @JustPlainZack or reach me at justplainzack.com. Or, as always, simply leave a comment.

Cathy Jameson

Color Blind or Color Conscious?

Color_blind_test_wall_clockBy Cathy Jameson

While I was taking an introductory college course on the history of education, segregation and discrimination came up.  We spent several classes discussing those topics and what role they played in the school setting.  As the discussions intensified, the phrase “color blind vs. color conscious” entered the conversation.  Color conscious focused on a person’s skin color while color blind did not.  Toward the end of the semester, after many lengthy discussions and debates, including ones about how to treat and teach students in special education programs, one of our assignments was to answer the question, “What type of educator will you be, one who is color blind or color conscious?” 

I took the position that being “color blind” had more benefits than being “color conscious”.  Color blind allowed me to see my students as people first, then see their ability, disability or physical features second.  Being color conscious may be needed in some situations in the classroom, but overall, using that outlook exclusively could draw unnecessary or negative attention to an attribute that has no bearing on a person as a whole. 

I don’t remember what grade I received on that assignment, but for years, I’ve acted as “color blind” as possible.  I see that my children have as well… 

As Ronan’s abilities turned into disabilities, we were drawn to other families in similar situations.  The more time we spent together with these families, we went from seeking their advice to making play dates with them.  We eventually faded out the meet ups we’d been scheduling with typical families as we discovered more common ground with our new friends.  My typical kids never complained about not being able to play with the typical friends we used to see.  They were happy playing with everyone they met.  This included their new friends, many of whom had special needs. 

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Dan Olmsted, Dan Olmsted

Weekly Wrap: No, Adam Lanza Did Not Have Asperger’s

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

Adam lanza

This week’s New Yorker has a gripping article by Andrew Solomon on Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, based primarily on interviews with his father, Peter. To me, the first thing to pop out is that his diagnosis – Asperger’s disorder – doesn’t make any sense.

Here’s the key part: “Adam Lanza was never typical. Born in 1992, he didn’t speak until he was three, and he always understood many more words than he could muster.”

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. Since this quickly turns into alphabet soup, here's a footnote from our book The Age of Autism – Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic:

“’Pervasive developmental disorders’ is the diagnostic category often referred to as autism spectrum disorders. The three main categories of pervasive development disorder (PDD) include autistic disorder, PDD-NOS (not otherwise specified), and Asperger’s syndrome. A diagnosis of PDD-NOS is similar to but less severe than autistic disorder and includes language and communication delays, unlike Asperger’s.”

So my question is, how on earth did Adam Lanza get an Asperger’s diagnosis? Yes, in some ways he was functional, although he had the full panoply of seriously autistic traits – “such hypersensitivity to physical touch that tags had to be removed from his clothing. … A doctor diagnosed sensory integration disorder, and Adam underwent speech therapy and occupational therapy in kindergarten and first grade.” His shop teacher said he could hold a Bunsen burner to his wrist and not flinch.

Continue reading "Weekly Wrap: No, Adam Lanza Did Not Have Asperger’s" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Police Brutality, License Plates

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.

The daily media update is sponsored by:

Mar 13, 2004, WBNS-10TV Columbus, OH: Licking County Mom Says Police Acted With Excessive Force Against Her Autistic Son

Mar 13, 2004, Philly.com: More Evidence Environmental Exposures Contribute to Autism

Mar 13, 2004, Forbes: What Public Speaking, Autism, And Vaccinations Have In Common

Mar 12, 2004, Contra Costa Times:  To raise a child with autism, it takes a village

Mar 12, 2014, Chattanoogan.com: Autism Awareness License Plate Campaign Pre-Sells 1,000 Plates

Mar 11, 2014, KETV Omaha: Researchers seek early detection for autism

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Police Brutality, License Plates" »

The HUGE Market of Autism and Blood Testing Investment by Google

Blood-moneyBy Tim Welsh

I should probably address these topics in two separate blogs but they seemed to be mashed together due to this recent event. One more preface, I apologize for climbing on my soapbox for this one.  I just seem to have a difficult time seeing the end point.

I was visiting with another Dad and he offered this with a raised corner of the lips smile...

"The prospect of the biggest and most powerful Autism awareness advocacy and research organization in the world teaming up with the biggest and most powerful organization on the Internet doesn't concern me at all." - One Dad Said.

Did you know another Autism Speaks pow wow took place grabbing headlines around the country. The 3 day Washington Summit to drive funding to their organization and mission stirred up many different segments of the community last year. Now to start March off they held a conference to discuss with silicon valley big money and others the huge market and investment opportunities coming shortly due to the coming flood of adults with Autism.

I also wanted to address the ethics and concerns about the Google investment in the start up SynapDX Corp that claims to be developing a blood test to identify Autism in Children earlier. Is this the big economic opportunity they are talking about? I am very concerned that the theme still seems to be focused on genetics and the continued exploitation of the community specifically those on the spectrum and parents.

Before I dig myself into too big a hole, I need to make a declaration. I believe in the free enterprise system. I would love to be involved in and make a living to support my family and provide therapy and support long term for Tanner in this market place. I have attempted to do that with our training and education venture. Autism Friendly Business. I spoke about this "Failure" in an earlier Age of Autism post. Many people quickly told me there are no failures in life just lessons learned.

Continue reading "The HUGE Market of Autism and Blood Testing Investment by Google" »

Current Affairs, Vaccine Safety

New York Vaccine Action Alert

Autism action networkIt is time for New Yorkers to win back the right to decide which vaccines Action alert our children get, and when they get them. More than half the American population lives in states where parents have the right to decide. These states include California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, Vermont and a dozen others.

Most other developed democracies in the world have this right including Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, Germany, etc. But not New York.

Please click on the Take Action Link below to send a message to your State Senator asking him or her to sign on as a co-sponsor to S3934 introduced by Senator Martin Malave Dilan of Brooklyn, and ask your Assemblymember to sign on as a co-sponsor of Assemblymember Tom Abinanti’s A6359.

TAKE ACTION HERE

Please share this message with friends and family, and please like Autism Action Network on Facebook to help spread the word.

Theoretically, we have the right to an exemption from vaccine mandates for medical and religious reasons. But just ask anyone who has tried to get a medical exemption in New York, physicians are afraid to issue them for fear of reprisals from the state health department, and school districts such as New York City ignore them anyway.

Continue reading "New York Vaccine Action Alert" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Cure Funding, Lastest Research

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.

The daily media update is sponsored by:

Mar 12, 2014, MedicalPress.com: Wishing to be another gender: Links to ADHD and autism spectrum disorders

Mar 11, 2014, Chicago Sun Times: Durbin calls for more biomedical research 'cures' funding

Mar 11, 2014, Holland (MI) Sentinel: Don't be alarmed by the numbers

Mar 11, 2014, Huffington: Here's The Latest Research On Autism Spectrum Disorder

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Cure Funding, Lastest Research" »

Anne Dachel

Harvard Review of Psychiatry Misses Most Everything About Autism

FrustratedBy Anne Dachel

Monday, March 10, 2014, the Harvard Review of Psychiatry presented their autism research update  in the article, What's new in autism spectrum disorder?

Harvard is letting us know that experts are looking into autism and trying to find answers.  (And I'm sure the name "Harvard" is meant to impress us. As the report said, it's "state-of-the-art.")

"What's new?" Such a pleasant question, as if we have all the time in the world to look into autism. They're saying there's been "exciting progress" in autism--especially regarding "possible genetic causes."

Of course, autism isn't referred to as a crisis here--it never is. Instead, it's 'one of the most challenging disorders to treat and the public health concerns,' according guest editors Drs Jean A. Frazier of University of Massachusetts Medical School and Christopher J. McDougle of Harvard Medical School.

HERE'S WHAT'S NEW:

"Leading experts provide state-of-the-art reviews on six topics: the genetics of ASD; the use of psychoactive drugs; symptoms of special clinical problems, including obesity, gastrointestinal problems, and sensory issues; and transitioning to college."

Blaming parents with bad genes for the development of autism is of utmost importance.

"Genetics. Over the last few years, there have been "unprecedented advances" in understanding the genetic causes of ASD. Hundreds of genes conferring varying degrees of ASD risk have been identified to date. Many of these genes also appear to be risk factors for related neurodevelopmental disorders and psychiatric problems. While many unanswered questions remain, it may soon be possible to make specific genetic diagnoses in children with ASD."

And where would the medical community be if they couldn't talk about prescription drugs for autism?

"Psychoactive medications. Despite limited evidence, psychotropic drugs are widely used to manage behavior problems and mental health disorders in children with ASD. For medication classes-including antidepressants and stimulants-effectiveness may differ for youth versus adults with ASD. New treatments affecting specific neurotransmitters and the hormone oxytocin are under development, and may help in targeting the 'core symptoms' of ASD.

Genes are not only linked to autism but also to why your autistic child is overweight."

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Current Affairs

Age of Autism Named Top 125 Exceptional Twitter Account for Special Needs

Twitter logoI received this email yesterday - thanks to all of our Twitter followers those who RT our Tweets helping us to help families around the world who are facing the challenges of autism.  Follow us at Twitter.com/AgeofAutism.  @AgeofAutism.

Hello Kim

I'm thrilled to announce that PhDinSpecialEducation.com has just published a collection of 125 Exceptional Twitter Accounts Covering Special Needs, and @AgeofAutism is highlighted on it. Feel free to check it out here.

There's a wonderfully supportive and knowledgeable community of Twitter users discussing special needs and special education. We think anyone teaching special ed should join the conversation, and we're hoping this list will make it easier for them to find highly informative accounts such as your own to follow!

We're hoping this article will inspire as many new people as possible to get involved with the online community surrounding special needs and special education. Could you help make that happen by sharing a link to this article through your website, and of course through Twitter as well?

Thanks so much for all you contribute to the online discussion about special needs and let me know if you have any questions at all.

Sarah Paulson
Editorial Team
@SpecialEdPhD

Vaccine Safety

Informed Consent and MMR Vaccination

MmrManaging Editor's Note:  Thank you to Elizabeth Hart for allowing us to excerpt  a post from her site Over-vaccination. "Challenging Big Pharma's lucrative over-vaccination of people and animals."

‘Informed consent’ and the Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine – challenging the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

As I have argued previously on Over-vaccination.net, it’s likely that most children will be immune after the first dose of the live Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

However, mass populations of already immune children are being arbitrarily revaccinated with a second dose of the live MMR vaccine because a small proportion of children may not have responded to the first dose.  

In other words, millions of children are being over-vaccinated with the second dose of live MMR vaccine.  Read the full post at Over-vaccination.

Natalie Palumbo

Natalie Palumbo: Autism, Wandering, and Avonte Oquendo

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By Natalie Palumbo

I am 19, a freshman in college, and the only sibling to an older brother with low verbal autism. For months, I had been following the heartbreaking story of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old boy with non-verbal autism who went missing on October 4th, 2013. Avonte was wandering unattended in the halls of his school in Queens, New York, and went out a side door and vanished into the city. The idea that a child could be so vulnerable while in the “care” of his school is horrifying. Avonte was lost, non-verbal, and no one could find him. I could only imagine his family’s anguish when weeks of searching turned into months. I felt their agony that this could and should have been prevented. Avonte should not have been alone.

When I first heard about Avonte Oquendo, I immediately thought of my older brother, Anthony. He is 23 and has low verbal autism. He cannot live independently. I will be his caregiver when my parents are no longer able. I think about my future all the time, and my promise to care for Anthony. My concerns about keeping Anthony safe can overwhelm me. For families like mine, the thought of your loved one wandering alone and unable to communicate is our worst nightmare. That fear makes me reluctant to trust Anthony’s care to anyone outside my family.

Wandering behavior is the impulsive running or walking away from social and physical boundaries to aimlessly explore. It is a common trait for people with low and non-verbal autism, and a crippling fear for families. The escape risk is so great for some, they prefer to remain at home. Some children with autism will even wander away from trusted adults or guardians. Many of these stories end in tragedy. People with autism can be fascinated by water, and drowning is a terrifying possibility. Even those that can swim may be overwhelmed by fatigue, the elements, or unable to cry for help. It’s even worse to think that because these individuals are unable to report crimes or abuse, they are easy prey.

For months, I followed the story of Avonte’s disappearance with my heart in my throat. Every passing day, I became more afraid and heartbroken for his family. My sadness got worse when I learned Avonte had an older brother, Daniel. I put myself in his place. I can’t even imagine the terror his brother must have felt worrying about Avonte. The thought of Anthony missing filled me with unimaginable pain. In December, I shared my sibling perspective in an article hoping to spread awareness and help for Avonte. I thought about what Avonte’s family was going through over the holidays, and it humbled me. I was grateful to spend time with Anthony, and it made me hope to see Avonte home with his family soon. So many volunteers and autism families spent the holidays wishing the same thing.

On January 17, 2014, I saw an article entitled, “Police Investigate Whether Human Remains Found in Queens are Missing Autistic Teen Avonte Oquendo”. I tried not to cry in class. Human remains and clothes matching Avonte’s were found near the East River. It had been three months since Avonte had disappeared. The police continued searching for evidence for several more days. I felt heartbroken for this family as they awaited DNA tests. When they proved the remains were Avonte, I was devastated. I could only imagine their grief.

So many people volunteered hoping to bring Avonte’s family good news. After DNA results brought a tragic end to Avonte’s story, the tremendous outpouring of grief began. Web pages devoted to organizing volunteers became memorial pages. People from everywhere wrote poems, created art pieces, and sent notes of consolation to Avonte’s family. I mixed one of my sky photographs with an image of Avonte, and wrote words of concern for all the people that came together to help. This easily could have been a story about my brother, and that reality frightened me.

Continue reading "Natalie Palumbo: Autism, Wandering, and Avonte Oquendo" »