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Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Autism Gym, Missing in LA, Desperate for Help

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Feb 1. 2014, Tuscaloosa (AL) News: LEND A HAND 2/2: Valentine's Day fundraiser will benefit Arts 'n Autism

Feb 1, 2014, Sheboygan (WI) Press: Family commitment: Desperate for help for their autistic son, the Shapiros found themselves lost in a legal morass (with video, photos)
Feb 1, 2014, Phoenix, AZ CBS 5: Researchers look to K-9 DNA to identify human autism genes

Feb 1, 2014, Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch: Smart, Mooney help promote autism awareness

Feb 1, 2014, Connecticut Post: A gym for those with autism

Jan 31, 2014, CBS Los Angeles: LAPD Seeks Public's Help In Locating Missing Man With Autism

Jan 31, 2014, Voxxi.com: Are alternative therapies for autism safe?

Jan 31, 2014, Jackson (MS) Clarion Ledger: Autism insurance bill passes first test, awaits next

Jan 31, 2014, BroadwayWorld.com: Chicagoland Chapter of Autism Speaks to Host AN EVENING WITH THE STARS Fundraiser, 3/2

Jan 31, 2014, Sonoma County Gazette: NEW Guidelines for Childhood Immunizations

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Autism Gym, Missing in LA, Desperate for Help" »

Teresa Conrick

Mary Conrick's Autism Sibling Perspective: Pain and Laughter

Megnmary
By Mary Conrick

The year I was born, 1995, was a happy but hard time for my family. It was happy because they had a new child in their life, but difficult because their older child began to show symptoms of  Autism. My name is Mary and I have a sister, Megan, with severe autism. I have not really been open about discussing my sister and autism, but now I am beginning to open the doors that were shut for a very long time. I was ashamed, not of my sister, but of her disability. I was ashamed that she gave my parents extra worries and responsibilities, how the kids would laugh at her, and how I am not able to hear her voice and able to talk to her. It’s frustrating all the things that come with autism, so I just would kind of hide it. I hated small talk. The first question that would come up was “do you have any siblings”. I used to change the topic or answer it vaguely. Then, I would ask the person about their life. I would keep asking them questions pertaining to them, not me, until the topic was changed to something totally irrelevant like SpongeBob. I didn’t want anyone to know because I thought they wouldn’t understand. I didn’t want to explain her condition because it was difficult for me emotionally and mentally to talk about it. I would get flustered or cry. The worst part is if I decided to tell them, they would say “I’m sorry”. That doesn’t really help because they didn’t cause her autism and I felt like they were taking pity on my family. Later on, I realized that people don’t really know what to say because what can one say when someone tells you that. It is awful hearing about someone’s struggles and you can’t say “I hope she recovers from her autism soon,” because not everyone is that lucky. When I wouldn’t reveal details about my sister, people would say the wrong things that would hurt more. “Can’t your sister drive you over here?” “Maybe you can be maid of honor at your sister’s wedding. Comments like that hurt more than telling someone about my sister’s condition. Sometimes I secretly wished she could drive me places and I could stand next to her at her wedding. 

It is also difficult to have friends over because you never know what can happen. Autism is spontaneous. Megan could be running around naked, start having a violent tantrum, or have a grand mal seizure. Even though I live with my sister, I still can’t handle these situations fully. When she would become violent or have a seizure, my mom would tell me to go somewhere else. That place would either be in my room with headphones on, a friends’ house, or a sidewalk without a destination. I would sob constantly because not only is she hurting my mother, she is hurting herself. She is violent because of pain she can’t control in her body. She bites her arm until it sheds blood and bangs her head on the wall until there’s bumps. It breaks my heart every time. I wanted to help but, I still ran away because it was the easiest thing to do. There were a handful of times where I had to help with my sister’s violent episodes because my mother wasn’t home. One of her caretaker’s would be at my bedroom door knocking to get my attention. I was terrified to face my sister when she was violent, but I wasn’t scared because looking past the violence, I saw my sister in pain and I just wanted her to feel better and smile again.

Continue reading "Mary Conrick's Autism Sibling Perspective: Pain and Laughter" »

Cathy Jameson

Left to His Own Devices

DevicesBy Cathy Jameson

Ronan loves electronic equipment.  I can’t say exactly when he was drawn to them, but I know it goes back a few years.  From hitting the same button on one toy making it light up over and over and over and over again soon after the negative effects of his vaccine injury took over his development, to choosing to continuously play songs on a playlist uploaded to his iPad, Ronan is content to scroll, tilt, swipe, tap and click.

Ronan’s got access to the Wii, xBox, iPad, iPod, DVDs and an old school VHS machine.  As much as he’d like to, he doesn’t use all of those electronic devices at once.  Over time, and with guidance, Ronan’s love of electronics has actually helped us introduce useful skills:  understanding that he has to share with his siblings as they play a Wii game while he waits for his turn; finding a favorite song to calm him down after his behavior has escalated; practicing sight word recognition with spelling and reading apps.  But, if I’m not paying attention to how much time Ronan’s had with some of these devices, he will easily isolate himself with them.  That leads to turning functional leisure time into a chance to perseverate again.  We’d rather he use the devices as they were intended and also hoped he’d use the ones with typing and speech features to tell us what he knows or needs.

With how technology has opened many an opportunity for other children with severe expressive speech disorders, I’ve gobbled up every success story I could find on using assisted technology devices.  I was floored hearing Jeremy’s graduation speech,  I was encouraged after reading Schuyler’s Monster and I am delighted to be able to follow Carly Fleischmann’s story on her Facebook page.  Ronan’s not yet ready to give a full speech yet, but he’s increased his desire to tell us what he needs or wants. 

We had an assistive communication device a few years ago, but Ronan wasn’t making a good connection with it.  Then it needed repairs.  We’d looked at replacing it with something ese like the GoTalk or Neo.  Trying to save money while raising non-verbal child with the intense needs Ronan has is not always an easy task.  So, we thought some more.  Then, we had a light bulb moment:  why buy something when we have something else? 

We happened to have an iPad and an iPod and went back to attempting to utilize speech apps with Ronan.  Over the years, we’ve tried using them.  Some were easy to use while others were not.  But because we’d already introduced other features on the iPad and iPod (like games and being able to access youtube) the speech apps we downloaded were less as exciting.  I tried to hide them, but Ronan knew they were still there.  He was more interested in playing than recognizing that his typing and tapping skills could open more doors. 

The more we tried the speech apps, struggles, both his and mine, increased.  So did his possessiveness over the devices. 

  CJ feb 1

 

Since we were having little success using the iPad and the iPod for communication, it was time to brainstorm again.  After getting the book, Reading by the Colors by Helen Irlen www.irlen.com I had an idea.

Continue reading "Left to His Own Devices" »

Tim Welsh

Tanner's Dad: Why Some React Differently

RouletteBy Tim Welsh

Autism explained: Tell me why some do, some don't, and why some react differently.

Have you ever experienced a Bee or Wasp sting? One of the questions I get asked often is "If it is the vaccines causing Autism, how come all or more children don't get it?" This is a true story from my youth. I believe it puts into perspective graphically what I believe happens and may help you when you are answering questions like this. Some details may be a little fuzzy because this was close to 35 years ago, but I think you will realize how much an impact it had on my life to be as vivid and long.

During summer vacation as I was growing up I was given the opportunity to go away for  camp. I was able to venture forth from just a couple of days to over a month. I had many varried experiences. Soccer camp in the UK. Liberal Religious Youth camp on the other side of San Francisco Bay. Boundary waters between Minnesota and Canada. YMCA, Boy Scouts and Even Girl Scouts Camp. My Mother was a troop leader and I got to tag along. I guess that is something I need to talk to my therapist about.

One year about Christmas time, I got in my head that I wanted to learn how to ride horses. After a few months of research we found a suitable camp about three hours from where we lived. The deposit paid. Long supply checklist received,  anticipation and excitement mounted. Two whole weeks on a real western dude ranch! Trail rides, camp fires, Lake swimming, hiking, Singing, and Girls / Coed! Oh My! Heaven for a teen.

Continue reading "Tanner's Dad: Why Some React Differently" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Working, Autism Speaks Boycott

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 31, 2014, Philly.com: A Challenge at Work Might Ease Autism Symptoms in Adults

Jan 31, 2014, AP Magazine: Autism Parenting Magazine has officially joined the Boycott of the Autism Speaks Charity

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Working, Autism Speaks Boycott" »

Adriana Gamondes

Man Flu: The Sorrow and the Suffering of American Flu Politics

AG mF 1

By Adriana Gamondes

 Have you ever tended to a guy with the flu or encountered  the dreaded “man flu syndrome”?  I was accused of reverse sexism by an online troll for daring to mention it, but it really is a “thing” and it’s mostly mocked by guys themselves.  Striking almost exclusively in English speaking countries, man flu has inspired many audiovisual tributes. 

Australia!

England!


England!

And a post-alternative punk cult band from England!

Actually I couldn’t find any man flu spoofs coming out of the US, where we have no sense of humor at all about influenza.  Here, we take man flu dead seriously.  And deadly it is—to family harmony and marriage anyway. According to many a mom, it’s even worse than “angry dad on vacation.” The sorrow and the suffering. The cries and whispers. And the woe.

Has anyone also noticed that an overwhelming percentage of online biotech stealth-marketing trolls are male?  They can be found in gaggles in every media comment sections following articles even lightly brushing on biotech, usually trailing after Dorit Reiss like little ducklings from their Skeptic front group hubs, spouting pseudorational catchphrases and Latin legalese such as “cum hoc ergo propter hoc!”  defending GM crops, psychiatric drugs and shot mandates till the cows come home.  I could provide a thousand examples of male-dominated comment threads on the subject of vaccines but anyone can look for themselves. Both genders are represented on either side but men lead the Skeptic charge hands down and they tend to hang around the longest to get in the last word. With the exception, again, of Omni-Dorit.

Continue reading "Man Flu: The Sorrow and the Suffering of American Flu Politics" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Tracking For Safety

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

 Jan 30, 2014, CBS News: U.S. to fund tracking devices for children with autism, special needs

 The U.S. Department of Justice says it will fund voluntary tracking devices for children with autism or other conditions that put them at risk for fleeing their caregivers.

 The same DOJ that opposes parents who claim vaccines caused their child's autism in vaccine court is funding tracking devices for autistic kids.

Kim Stagliano

Hidden Costs of Autism: Fighting Tooth and Nail for Realistic View

Keith Dental ExamBy Kim Stagliano

I was scrolling down my Facebook wall earlier this week when this photo caught my attention.

This is Keith, a young adult with autism, and son of my friend Crystal S.  I asked her if I could share this glimpse into the version of autism often (purposefully) overlooked by self-advocates and the general media alike. While Keith himself is a handsome guy,  his autism is considered kind of ugly by those who only want you to see shiny, happy fairy tales. 

So... What is happening to Keith.

Is he having heart surgery?
No.

Is he having his appendix removed?

No.


Keith is settled into a hospital for a dental appointment. That's right. Anesthesia, a day off for Mom who is a behavioral consultant and in school to become a certified teacher, and then recovery. For basic dental work.

Imagine the anxiety for Keith.

Imagine the lost work hours for Mom.

Imagine the juggling of other children - to get them to school.

Imagine the cost.

This is autism - and there are tens of thousands of Keiths growing older every day.

Kind of bites, doesn't it?


House of Cards 200 pixelsKim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism. Her new novel,  House of Cards; A All I Can Handle 50 pixel Kat Cavicchio romantic suspense is available from Amazon in all e-formats now. Her memoir, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa is available in hardcover, paperback and e-book.

Current Affairs

Autism File Presents Wandering & Autism Info Practical Tips for Families

Lost childWe invite you to read the full article and subscribe to Autism File Magazine online for relevant, useful and timely information.

Practical Tips for Parents...


By Lori McIlwain, National Autism Association 

As we saw with the disappearance of Avonte Oqeundo in early October, wandering and bolting behaviors can happen in any setting, schools included. The 14-year-old student from Queens slipped away during a classroom transition, leading to a massive search that ended tragically last week when Avonte’s remains were found.
 
While wandering in general affects 49% of children with autism, tragedies associated with school-related wandering are exceptionally rare. This could be because there are typically less immediate threats directly near school campuses, and because there are naturally more people available to search. Either way, the fear of school-related wandering has left many parents in our community struggling with ways to keep their children safe.



How Often Does School-related Wandering Happen?
Based on a 2012 study conducted by the Interactive Autism Community (IAN) through the Kennedy Krieger Institute, 29% of parents reported that their child wandered from a school or classroom. Because there is no mandate that requires schools to report a wandering or bolting incident, we suspect the actual number is much higher.

Continue reading "Autism File Presents Wandering & Autism Info Practical Tips for Families" »

Current Affairs

Avonte's Law Proposed in New York: Tracking Devices for Autism

Avonte FindNantional Autism Association has a comprehensive plan and program to protect our loved ones with autism from wandering.  Happy to see lawmakers aware of the very real dangers of this diagnosis.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer says new legislation proposed in the name of Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old New York City boy who disappeared from his school and was found dead three months later, would fund voluntary tracking devices for children who have autism.

Schumer  (D-N.Y.), accompanied by Avonte’s mother and grandmother, Sunday to announce “Avonte’s Law.” The legislation would create a program that provides tracking devices and expands support services for families with autistic children.   Read the full story at CBS New York.

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Infant Attention, Medical Marijuana

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 28, 2014, Yale Daily News: Autism and infant attention explored

Jan 24, 2014,  KPTV Portland, OR: Oregon family uses medical marijuana to manage son

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Infant Attention, Medical Marijuana" »

Tim Welsh

A Father's View - Adding Insult to Injury.

TW carBy Tim Welsh

This week I saw news about many tragic accidents that killed,  injured and  hospitalized people. These accidents were due to weather conditions. Although the Police did ticket a few for going to fast for conditions  and some other minor infractions in my opinion they did not cause the situations. Given the horrific winter weather this year this fictional  scenario could have happened in any state. If the story ended here these were tragic situations that would have injured and altered lives for years.

What happens next in the preparation for memorial services is what we call arm chair quarterbacking. Why didn't you listen to weather news? Why did you take that route? Why were you going so fast? By far the worst, Why did you swerve left? These blame drivers and where there was a loss of life add insult to injury that will never be forgotten. Why do we do this? When we do, we hurt our friends and loved ones again. After experiencing some of these comments it got the wheels turning how many times and different ways does the families dealing with Autism see this? Most of the time the public have no idea how they insult, injure, push and turn the knife deeper.

The list of insults grows everyday. I do not know of any family that has not experienced some of these. To understand, manage, and write about some I have divided them into seven categories. In no particular order: 1. Social Situations 2. Things we say to ourselves / Spouses. 3. Government propaganda 4. Educational environment 5. Medical Establishment 6. Relatives and Friends. 7. Community Politics.  I am sure as we explore this topic there are more. I will briefly touch on a few that I see play out often, in hopes to comfort the old guard and warn the new to ASD diagnosis.

Social Situations: We live it, hear it and see it everyday. Those looks, comments and whispers in the grocery store, at church, restaurants or waiting in line. It is crazy, but you will hear comments from people you don't even know. Trust me overtime it does get easier. In the last decade people have learned a lot. New focus on Bullying and general behavior has removed some the poor treatment but there are still many ignorant individuals. Manage your energy. If I could go back to my first few years after getting the diagnosis, I would tell myself not to let those comments ruin my day. I would also say live, learn, teach, and grow but protect yourself. It is ok to ignore the ignorant sometimes. You do not have to educate the entire world all the time.

Things we say to ourselves and Spouses. I think this is one of the toughest to deal with. Many times this is where we echo something that was said or we start believing the ever expanding landscape of media propaganda. My advice here is be kind to one another. It is easy to kick and blame yourself. You will hear this often from the OG (Old Guard) Autism is a marathon not a sprint.

Government Propaganda - Many times this falls into trusting and getting our hopes too high. A young energetic man from outside the beltway promising if elected President to put in place a National level coordinator to deal with Autism. This ASD Czar would have power to effect real change. An Inter agency coordinating committee, a hearing of Congress, a promise of researching the Somali Minnesota anomaly and the list goes on. All giving lip service to prioritization, urgency, and action but yet nothing happens.

Continue reading "A Father's View - Adding Insult to Injury." »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: DSM V May Rob Services

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 27, 2014, New York Times: Schumer Proposes 'Avonte's Law' to Protect Children With Autism

Jan 26, 2014, St. Cloud (MN) Times: Increased rates of autism means rise in cost for St. Cloud schools

Jan 26, 2014, Providence (RI) Journal: Top 5 fears about vaccines (and how to ease them)

Jan 25, 2014, WHEC TV: Roundtable discussion focuses on helping families dealing with autism

Jan 25, 2014, Newsday: Autism diagnoses may decrease with new criteria

Jan 24, 2014, Boston Globe: Harvard professor and researcher Christopher McDougle featured in autism documentary

Jan 24, 2014, PBS: Inoculation Ethics

Jan 24, 2014, Jackson (MS) Clarion Ledger: Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights Calls for Choice

 

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: DSM V May Rob Services" »

Current Affairs

Advocating for Those with Autism: It’s Time To Be Politically Incorrect

Say whatBy Geoff Dubrowsky

Every time I begin this article I am delayed by the latest birth of a politically correct term.

While celebrating this weeks birth of the word “thug” I decided I better get this thing done! The media clearly facilitates this debate on the English language for ratings! The world of disability advocacy however has turned it into an opportunity to change the narrative of helping our most severely cognitively impaired loved ones.

This does not mean I am against the removal of hurtful labels. It just means, I am against them being replaced with other yet to be identified disparaging labels. I am very concerned that by removing these labels we have moved our loved ones outside the scope of the very laws that protect them. Mentally Retarded has become Intellectually Disabled, a term found nowhere in the Developmental Disabilities Act or the ADA. Intellectually Disabled, is actually a term many use to describe their brother-n-law as my wife’s brothers do! I make light of this not because I do not fear the obvious changes, but I do fear the other changes and redefinitions that have occurred under the radar.

Words such as “choice,” “inclusion,” “integration” and “community,” have been conveniently redefined to mean only certain choices or certain places according to the user’s ideology. My own fear builds when the user’s ideology is based in profitability. In these instances, individuals with disabilities have suffered due to a lack of individualized care. The families and caretakers are also suffering from a deterioration of options. Options for living, options for care, options for vocational advancement and options for safety. Service providers across the Country and US Government agencies are interpreting language without considering societies most vulnerable population. Individuals that are afflicted with Fragile X, Severe Autism, Mental Retardation and other developmental disabilities affecting a person so severely that they cannot speak, use a bathroom, feed themselves, understand danger or express pain. People whom when faced with change or pain cannot express themselves in any other way than a violent outburst that endangers themselves or others.

Continue reading "Advocating for Those with Autism: It’s Time To Be Politically Incorrect" »

Cathy Jameson

Surviving the Flu Naturally

Fear sellsBy Cathy Jameson

I caught the flu two weekends ago.   I survived the flu without getting a flu shot.  After taking an extra week to fully recover from the aches, pains, fever, congestion and general malaise, I can tell you all about it. 

Before I got sick I had been feeling a little tired for a few days.  But raising five kids, one of whom has a severe vaccine injury, leads to exhaustion quite frequently.  I figured I’d get through whatever was making me drag my feet once our schedule lightened up a bit.  Just in case I was coming down with something, though, I made sure to get to bed a little bit earlier and upped some supplements known to boost the immune system.

Before I go into more of the details, let me back up a bit.  Not long before I started to feel sluggish I saw another big stink being made about getting the flu shot.   Citing the CDC’s  over-used scare tactic of “36,000 flu deaths per year” statistic, even though “…[the] CDC does not know exactly how many people die from seasonal flu each year…”, people like me, who hadn’t yet gotten a flu shot, were being told they had just about two more weeks to get one for it to be effective.  With how advertising for this particular shot if hyped from September through May, I wasn’t aware that there was an expiration date of sorts for its effectiveness (not that I was going to run out and get “the damn vaccine” mind you). 

Ironically, the day I got sick was when the media warmed those two weeks were up.  No matter.  I was ready.  

I would take the flu standing up. 

Kid jumping

 

Err, I mean, laying down. 

CJ woman in bed
 I sniffled.  I sneezed.  My throat hurt.  My head ached.  I wanted my Mommy.

Continue reading "Surviving the Flu Naturally" »

Dan Olmsted, Dan Olmsted

Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Outcomes

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

It's often said that the worst fear of parents with an autistic child is this: What will happen after we're gone? This week brings the reminder that there is an even worse fear: What happens if my child dies before I do?

The death of Avonte Oquendo, whose remains were identified this week, brings that fear into high relief. The only good is its reminder, if one were needed, that "being autistic" is not the same as being "differently abled," and that the autism community cannot simply fend for itself. I remember sitting next to Bernard Rimland as he told the mother of a high-functioning young man -- a mother who felt her son was humiliated by the depiction of autism as a disability -- that if her son was content and capable, more power to him. That was not the kind of autism Bernie was talking about.

Nor was he talking about the kind of "autism" on display among certain high-functioning self-advocates and celebrities whose "coming out" only serves to diminish the seriousnesss of the real autism epidemic. (I'm reminded of Tracey Ullman's skit in which she played a minor, over-the-hill starlet who tried to stage a career comeback with a book titled something like, "My Lifelong Battle With Drugs, Alcohol, and Depression." When all else fails, talk about your heroic personal struggle.)

It's also often said that autism does not shorten one's lifespan, but I'm beginning to wonder. As more and more kids with the severe, immune-compromised, physically ill kind of autism age out into adulthood -- "after the bus stops coming" -- the prospects look bleaker, not better, for so many. The denial of the epidemic has allowed planning for the tsunami of young adults headed our way to fall into abeyance. Puberty seems to hit many children not only with new and sometimes disturbing behaviors, but with seizures and other new and frightening problems.

Continue reading "Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Outcomes" »

Sponsor News, Vaccine Safety

New Disclosures on Vaccine Safety Data Link

SafeMinds banner

The U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recently revealed, as a result of oversight requests by Congress, a research paper written by Thomas Verstraeten, MD titled Increased risk of developmental neurologic impairment after high exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines in the first month of life that documents statistically significant adverse health outcomes associated with exposure to the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. The announcement of yet another thimerosal paper that was written by CDC officials, but not publicly made available until now, is sending ripples throughout the autism community and elsewhere.

According to the newly released document, CDC epidemiologic surveillance officers utilized the Vaccine Safety Datalink (a large linked database from four health maintenance organizations in Washington, Oregon, and California) containing demographic, medical and immunization data on over 400,000 infants born between 1991 and 1997 to conduct the investigation.  The data was categorized according to cumulative exposure to ethylmercury (thimerosal) after the first month of life and the subsequent risk of the infant developing degenerative, neurologic or renal disorders. In the paper the authors found an elevated relative risk (RR) for the following disorders: Autism 7.6, nonorganic sleep disorders 5.0 and speech disorders 2.1.  In a court of law, a relative risk of 2.0 typically implies cause and effect.

The newly released document mirrors an earlier analysis obtained by SafeMinds through a Freedom of information act request filed in early 2000.  This is when SafeMinds obtained hundreds of emails, minutes to the now famous Simpsonwood meeting and the “Generation Zero” data, the first computerized run of the Vaccine Safety Datalink investigation into thimerosal containing vaccines and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Continue reading "New Disclosures on Vaccine Safety Data Link" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: False "Undiagnosis" To Mimic Drop?

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 23, 2014, Worcester (MA) Telegram: Autistic students affecting Worcester school budget

Jan 23, 2014, Forbes: Big Data Crushes Anti-Vaccination Movement

Jan 23, 2014, Philly.com: New Diagnosis Rules Could Lead to Drop in Autism Numbers

Jan 23, 2014, Fox News: Number of kids with autism may drop under new criteria

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: False "Undiagnosis" To Mimic Drop?" »

Current Affairs, Nightmares

Autism Action Network Avonte Found: Call for Independent Investigations

Avonte memorial

From our friends at the Autism Action Network.
 
The worst fears of many were confirmed with the positive identification of remains found washed up on the Queens’ waterfront as those of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year old boy with autism who was allowed to wander away from the Riverview School in Long Island City on October 4, 2013.

 Avonte was non-verbal and assigned to a classroom of six students with one teacher and an aide, which In New York would indicate it is a self-contained class for the most impacted students. According to published accounts, Avonte wandered away from his classmates and aide or aides in the school cafeteria, he then was challenged but not stopped by a school security worker as he left the school. School personnel did not determine that Avonte was missing for at least an hour and then they waited another hour before contacting the police department.
 
We are calling for a full investigation by independent entities into the multiple failures of the New York City Schools that lead to Avonte’s death. If Avonte’s mother had allowed Avonte to wander away from home she would at the very least be the subject of a child endangerment investigation. Therefore, we are calling upon Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown to launch an investigation into the possibility of criminal negligence on the part of New York City employees responsible for Avonte’s safety.
 
 Richard Brown
 Queens County District Attorney
 12501 Queens Blvd.
 Jamaica, NY 11415
 (718) 286-6300
 
The New York City Council does not have much power but it can launch oversight hearings.

Continue reading "Autism Action Network Avonte Found: Call for Independent Investigations" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Comics Book, Autoimmune, DSM V

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 22, 2014, GreaterGoodMovie.org: Vaccinations: The Smoking Gun in Autoimmune Disease and Autism?

Jan 22, 2014, KPIC CBS 4 Roseburg, OR: Children need immunizations by Feb. 19 to stay in school

Jan 22, 2014, San Jose Mercury News: What happens when autistic children become adults

Jan 22, 2014, York (PA) Dispatch: First issue of autism comic book released in York stores

Jan 22, 2014, WPTV Boca Raton, FL: Boca Raton facility provides safety net for adults on autism spectrum

Jan 22, 2014, Philly.com:  New Diagnosis Rules Could Lead to Drop in Autism Numbers

Jan 22, 2014, Los Angeles Times: More on the unsavory history of the vaccine-autism 'link'

Jan 21, 2014, AutismDailyNewscast.com: Emma Nicholson talks about her autistic son Ben and how she taught him to swear

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Comics Book, Autoimmune, DSM V" »

Current Affairs

Take Time To Dream and Live

James FryeBy Wendy Frye

We were well into our parenting years the first time we took a real break from our "unique" routine. Our way of life, with autism in the home....well, lets just say it was a rarity to move in a group LET alone consider just WHAT it would take to achieve one of America's finest family pastimes - taking a vacation.

Our eldest son, diagnosed on the autism spectrum at the age of 3 1/2 years old, was making measurable progress. He found his voice in his 8th year - and was being released from physical and occupational therapies at school. Now, I don't think I need to detail the herculean efforts poured into this young man to get to this place - or feel bad about the $90,000 outlay. We took personal debt (aka credit cards) to a whole different level. But Man! Oh! Man! we had finally made it to a positive, measurable milestone. What a perfect time to pause, take a honeymoon from all the therapies per se, and quickly celebrate a little bit of progress.


It was our last purchase made on the last line of credit we had available - a trip for four to Disneyland. And was it ever worth every single penny PLUS interest, fees and the stamps to mail in payments! Well before Mickey Mouse got pissed and quit handing out VIP passes to families who could use the extra time and assistance, we were able to secure that very golden ticket to fast-tracking the park attractions. While I had to physically force my eldest son to stay with me on the first ride (yep, that was me manhandling my son - don't judge unless you live the life, friend) soon after that, he was hooked. We finished 16 attractions that first day, going on to have a delightful dinner in the French Quarter of the park and ultimately enjoying the best vacation of our lives.

Continue reading "Take Time To Dream and Live" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Older Dads, New Clinic

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 22, 2014, MLive.com: New autism clinic gives parents fresh, closer treatment option in Genesee County

Jan 22, 2014, Courier-Mail (Australia): Men in their 40s more likely to have children with mental disorders as biological clocks are ticking

Jan 21, 2014, Fusion.net:  Bill Gates on Developing a Better (and Thinner) Condom

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Older Dads, New Clinic" »

Cathy Jameson, Nightmares

Rest In Peace Avonte Oquendo

Avonte memorial
Managing Editor's Note: Yesterday a news alert came in - the remains found in NY had been positively identified as Avonte Oquendo, missing 14 year old with autism who ran out of his school unsupervised (but not unseen) by staff.  We've been praying for his return since October 4, when he vanished into thin air - not an easy feat in congested Queens, NY.  Most of us whispered under our breath, "Water, go to the water, he went to the water."  Well, today we have his return - not what we wanted - but as a Mother, I think there must be some comfort in being able to bury your child and know you can still watch over him, even in death. To the Oquendo family, our heartfelt condolences. There but for the grace of God and a stroke of luck go most of us and our precious children.  RIP, Avonte.  Love, Kim  Send condolence cards to:

The Perecman Firm
Attn: The Oquendo Family
250 West 57th Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10107

By Cathy Jameson

Last week, worry gripped my heart as I read that body parts discovered off the shore of the East River appeared to match that of a missing NYC teenager.  Missing since October 4, 2013, Avonte Oquendo wandered from his school.  Accusations and assumptions about how he was able to leave unsupervised are still being investigated.  Answers from that investigation may take time, but after months of wondering where Avonte wandered can finally be answered.  Several days after the grim discovery of bones and some clothing items, DNA positively identified the remains as 14-year old Avonte.  Words cannot express how sad I am for his family.

As the mother of a child with autism who is prone to wander, the possibility of a fatal outcome because of wandering is never far from my mind.  Ronan has gotten away from us before, but has been recovered quickly and with a far less search and rescue endeavor as Avonte’s search required.  Because I know the fear that comes with this sort of situation, each time I hear stories of children with autism wandering, I try to pray.  For month, I prayed for Avonte and his family as did many of us.  My prayers changed Wednesday.  Tears and sadness accompanied them.  The more overcome I was, I stopped praying.  I just couldn’t say any.  The reality of autism and of this devastating situation has become far too common and more than I could bear.

Autism affects a great many.  Autism can change a life, and sometimes in a way that is anything but positive.  Autism and wandering is not uncommon.  Autism is difficult, costly and consuming.  Autism can bring a family to its knees in a moment’s notice.  And what was confirmed again this week, autism can be deadly.

Continue reading "Rest In Peace Avonte Oquendo" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Attacking Vaccine Safety Advocates (Again)

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 20, 2014, Kennewick, WA Tri-City Herald:  Top 5 fears about vaccines (and how to rest easier)

Jan 20, 2014, Journal News Westchester County NY: Autism cause brings out area's best

Jan 20, 2014, Los Angeles Times: The toll of the anti-vaccination movement, in one devastating graphic

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Attacking Vaccine Safety Advocates (Again)" »

Teresa Conrick

Dear Autism and PANDAS/PANS Researchers - Listen To The Parents

Listen_to_me_by_rachellove147-d34d13dBy Teresa Conrick

My daughter, Megan, born in 1993, has had a diagnosis of autism since 1995.  Throughout the years, Megan has suffered from perpetual infections. As a young child, she had chronic ear infections.  She was put on antibiotics but never probiotics and back then, I was not aware of that very important connection.  She also was bedridden numerous times, for days with mysterious viral infections and fevers, rashes, and also gastrointestinal distress.  Diarrhea and constipation then took over with blowout enuretic episodes.  In 2000, her behavior began to escalate. Biting, screaming, breaking glass on the hard floors and pouring liquids out on any carpet she could find.  Odd, perseverative and destructive behaviors became the norm. Doctors constantly told me, “it was her autism” causing the behaviors but they were wrong. Stool testing, done by a doctor who was seeing other children then with similar issues and an autism diagnosis, revealed that Meg had a painful, protozoan parasite, Giardia lamblia, which colonizes and reproduces in the small intestine.  She also had another persistent parasite, Blatocystis hominis, as well as chronic fungal infections from Candida albicans.  It was also discovered that Meg tested intolerant to gluten and casein.

It took eighteen months to clear these infections – and those behaviors. Tears, prayers and hope were my sanity as I watched often helplessly as Meg led a life of suffering. I even remember getting a call from the Department of Public Health, inquiring how and when Meg began to have symptoms of this long-lasting Giardia, as if I had somehow ignored her plight. She was on prescriptions -Nystatin for the yeast and Flagyl (Metronidazole) for months to kill those microbial infections. I put her on a gluten and casein free diet, too.  As the years marched by, we would be revisiting Flagyl for her numerous Clostridium infections.  As soon as one infection seemed to be finally dissipating, another would take its place.

In 2007, Megan began to flush all kinds of things down the toilet – toothbrushes, shampoo caps, toys – whatever would make its way into that curious hole.  Calling the plumber and doling out cash seemed to be happening more and more, the worst being for a small rubber ball that perfectly made its way through the toilet odyssey only to be lodged in the pipe in the hallway wall.  The plumbers took mercy on me by finally introducing me to my very own “snake” thereby saving me hundreds of precious dollars that were needed more for biomedical treatments. Yes, this behavior was also related to infections.  It seemed that each time Meg would begin this ritual of obsessive flushing, she would test positive for Streptococcus infection.  Then began the odd, body tics; dilated pupils; urinary accidents; vocal tics and not wanting to walk through the doorway of her bedroom.  Eating became less and less and she wanted to wear sunglasses all day and night.  What stopped this – antibiotics AND probiotics– but, permanent removal of these devilish bugs and parasites would prove to be the journey we continue to travel. As puberty hit, hormones began to ramp up these behaviors and then grand mal seizures began. 

Since first writing about Megan and PANDAS, I have had so many parents contact me about their children.  Example, a good friend who cares for her grandson, also with an autism diagnosis, began to see new and increasing behaviors that were concerning.  Some of those behaviors were beginning to happen at school and in places where people do not understand the connections between microbial infections and negative behaviors.  Obsessive questioning about rabbis; church bells; long rages; dilated pupils; some talk of “what if” harm to others; wandering behaviors and frequent body tics in his sleep. Armed with a list of labs that I emailed to her, she was able to get some testing done and the evidence was clear – infections were running rampant in this teen:

Continue reading "Dear Autism and PANDAS/PANS Researchers - Listen To The Parents" »

Current Affairs

Part 3--Regressive Autism---a New Hypothesis to End an Enigma?

Hypothesis
Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.                                                          

By Bill Welsh

“First of all they ignore you,
 then they ridicule you
 then they fight you
and then you win"

Ghandi.

It is important to remind readers that this series of articles is based on a ‘hypothesis’---a theory. It was made clear in the first episode that this is not a criticism of any earlier hypotheses. So please read the 3 episodes in as neutral a manner as you can, then discuss.

I will summarise the two previous articles and respond to some of the interesting points raised.

It is proposed that the role of auditory processing disruption should be given closer consideration as a material factor in the development of autistic symptoms. It is also proposed that a vaccine contaminant, namely Mycoplasma fermentans, an undesirable by- product of the cell-line technology used in some vaccine manufacturing processes, may be directly responsible for many of the symptoms commonly seen in regressive autistic children. This would include not only auditory processing problems but also chronic gastritis.  (It has been claimed elsewhere that 6% of commercial vaccines are contaminated). Mycoplasma’s opportunistic nature and affinity to the cilia, the hair like structures that extend from nearly all mammalian cells including the cilia containing areas of the inner ear, G.I tract, the eyes’ photoreceptors, and central nervous system would explain a great deal of what is articulated by parents when describing their child’s regression.

 Mycoplasma fermentans is a bacterial pathogen and if it were proved to be in the cells of regressive autistic children the source of the contamination would be difficult to disprove, in my (naive?) view.

In response:

To answer ‘Not an MD’: I mentioned herbal treatments and I can recommend the book “Healing Lyme Disease Co-infections” by Stephen Harrod Buhner. It contains comprehensive (but somewhat harrowing) information on mycoplasmas and includes a rather complex herbal treatment protocol. I have discussed my theory with the author and he says “This makes a lot of sense to me”.

Continue reading "Part 3--Regressive Autism---a New Hypothesis to End an Enigma? " »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Self Advocating, Sound Sensitivity

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 19, 2014, SILive.com: At one Staten Island middle school autistic students are speaking out for themselves

Jan 19, 2014, Scottsbluff (NE) Star Herald: The importance of child vaccines 

Jan 18, 2014, Akron (OH) Beacon Journal: Story time for Xavier: New monthly program aimed at kids with disabilities opens at library

Jan 18, 2014, CBS News: Why do some autistic children strongly react to noise?

Jan 17, 2014, TheStir.CafeMom: Still Think Vaccines Cause Autism? Watch This (VIDEO)

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Self Advocating, Sound Sensitivity" »

Kim Stagliano

The Unique Discipline of Martial Arts for Autism

 

Hanko ryu Kim Shirley
Update - Mom is now a Karate student herself!
Kyoshi and Dan kicking
Look at that proud smile!

By Kim Stagliano

My Facebook friends know that I train in Karate and  Kobudo (weapons) five or six days a week. On Saturday  I had completed a one hour kickboxing class in the morning and a ninety minute weapons class in the afternoon. Feeling tired, and ready to go home, I was chit chatting with a few other students and the dojo owner when I heard a keening cry outside. A sound all too recognizable having heard my own daughters cry out the same way. An "autism cry."  "That's my next student, my private lesson," said Kyoshi Danilo Torri, a 6th Dan black belt instructor who has trained since the age of seven and owns Hanko Ryu Martial Arts in Trumbull, CT. 

I had met an autism Mom at a meeting with our mutual Department of Disability Services case Kyoshi with Mia manager last Fall.   We had much in common.  She is a writer, and is looking at all options to help her son. She's a Warrior Mom.  I told her about the dojo's private classes for children with special needs. My own daughters train every week in simple exercises suitable to their abilities.

Sure enough, a few moments later, the beautiful blonde woman I had met opened the door and cajoled her crying son to enter the dojo.  She gently guided him to a seat to take off his shoes. He was crying out, as if in pain. "It's his gut," Mom said in her elegant Israeli accent. "He is often in pain."  Ah, called that one.  Wish I hadn't. She did her best to ease his discomfort as he squatted on the bench, posturing and holding his head. We greeted each other and I continued to gather my belongings before leaving.

As she was explaining to Kyoshi about her son's needs and behaviors, the child lashed out as quick as Bruce Lee himself, smashing his mother in the face.  Kyoshi instantly stopped the attack with very firm but resp----  well, I could explain what happened, but I think Mom can do a better job. This is what she wrote on her FB wall later in the day.  And what I wrote as well.

Please meet attorney and author of Autism Mom Shirley Blaier-Stein.

Kyoshi and Dan 2
Dan listening to Kyoshi.

Today at karate class I had a very special surprise.

Dan has been crying and whining all day today. Abdominal pain, as usual. When it was time to go to his new karate class (we’ve only been to one – absolutely amazing – class), he was whining, but still managed to get ready and come with me to the car. When we got there, even though he was in pain, when I gave him the option to go in or go home, he chose to come inside with me. Just after I helped him take off his shoes and explain to Kyoshi, the teacher, and Kim Rossi Stagliano, a fellow autism mom and a phenomenal writer, who also recommended this teacher to us, about what’s going on with my boy, Dan smacked me in the face really hard.

It was his way of saying ‘I feel terrible and I don’t want you to talk about me with these people while I’m present,’ and he had a point, but it really hurt.

What happened seconds after that smack, was so surprising and touching. Kyoshi grabbed Dan’s arm and told him to never hit his mother again and to say sorry (which Dan did!), and soon after that he took Dan inside the studio to start karate practice. Within seconds Dan started to cooperate with him.

Kim wrapped her arms around me and let me cry in her hug. When I felt a little better she ran to grab tissue paper and sat really close to me until I was OK. She did not leave until Dan’s practice was over and until she convinced me to join her and a group of other autism moms in karate practice and kickboxing, which I’m going to do starting next week.

I felt so lucky that Dan and I got to be supported by these two wonderful people today. Kim’s wonderful book is called All I Can Handle: I’m no Mother Teresa. Kim, I’ll never forget this day.

Today you were a mother to me.

Concurrently I had written on the Age of Autism FB page:

Continue reading "The Unique Discipline of Martial Arts for Autism" »

Cathy Jameson

Dream for Tomorrow

By  Dream Cathy Jameson

Today autism affects 1 in 50.  Odds are that more families will find themselves closer to an autism diagnosis today than yesterday.  Today doesn’t sound too promising, does it? 

Several times in his now famous speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. used the word today:

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history…

…a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today…

…we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition…

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note …

…as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny…

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream today.”

I have a dream too.  But my dream is for tomorrow. 

As far as autism is concerned and how it affects my son, today breeds dread and frustration.  It capitalizes on my fears.  The worry I have about autism and for my son keeps a tight grip on me.  It strangulates my thoughts and shrouds my thinking. 

Afraid of what isn’t being done for Ronan and for a great many other children, today brings no solace, just more anxiety.  Looking outside of my own home, today doesn’t look so good in other places either.  Newspaper headlines in America promote ineffective flu shots as our best defense against a temporary sickness.  They sing praises for immature celebrities’ behavior while neglecting to address a growing national crisis.  Headlines scream Look here! Look there! But just don’t look at autism.  Look the other way instead.

Continue reading "Dream for Tomorrow" »

Current Affairs

NY Authorities Find Remains: #FindAvonte

Avonte FindHuman remains are undergoing DNA analysis to see if they might solve the heartbreaking mystery of 14 year old Avonte Oquendo's disappearance after being allowed to elope from school last October 4th.  We wil bring you updates as available.

From CBS New York.

By Crimesider Staff

COLLEGE POINT, N.Y. - The attorney for the family of Avonte Oquendo gave a news conference Friday addressing reports of human remains found along the shoreline in Queens, N.Y. possibly belonging to the autistic boy who has been missing since Oct. 4, reports CBS New York.

 

Police boats, helicopters, detectives and water units are searching for additional evidence Friday after the remains were discovered around 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

David Perecman, attorney for Avonte's family, said he spoke to the boy's mother, Vanessa Fontaine, about the new developments 2 a.m. Friday.

Officers responding to a 911 call found a possible arm and legs on the rocks in College Point, police said.

Police also found a torso, some clothing and a dark-colored sneaker in the water, sources told CBS New York.

"It's a size five-and-a-half Nike Jordan sneakers and a size 16 jeans, which are both what Avonte was wearing on the day he left, which are troubling things to hear," Perecman told reporters Friday at the scene in College Point.... Read the full article HERE.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield

Dr. Andrew Wakefield Responds on Inside Charlottesville with Coy Barefooot

Coy logo

Here we have another great interview with Coy Barefoot. Earlier this week we brought you his interview with AofA's Mark Blaxill. Great to see Dr. Wakefield here. Enjoy.

GUEST:
Dr. Andy Wakefield, physician, medical researcher, and author of Callous Disregard and Waging War on the Autistic Child.

TOPIC:  Coy Barefoot talks to the British physician who was vilified, demonized and attacked from all sides, and who sparked a firestorm of controversy over vaccines, autism and public health.

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE:  Tuesday, January 14, 2014.

LISTEN HERE

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Future Care

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 16, 2014, CBS 19, Charlottesville, VA: Planning for Future Care of Special Needs Children

Jan 13, 2014, Del Mar (CA) Times: Carmel Valley author releases new edition of award-winning book on autism

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Future Care" »

Tim Welsh

Lessons Learned from Failure.

Autism Friendly BusinessBy Tim Welsh

One of the most difficult things I think for people to do is analyze and come clean publicly when it comes to failure. I had two major failures that I will be putting to bed in 2014. I had great intentions, great plans, and most of the people involved were angels. Although there  was one major of devil. I am not sure if it is because I am so passionate to move mountains that sometimes I trust the wrong people. In this blog I will review the two projects and hopefully we can learn some lessons together.

The first project was Autism Friendly Business. This for profit venture was put together to teach businesses how to deal with the many new customer service situations arising from the aging of the population dealing with Autism. We provided an assessment of a businesses knowledge about ASD, provided recognition, tools and marketing to raise their level of service for those on the spectrum, those with special needs and all customers. We tried numerous levels of membership but ultimately the business climate was such that very few progressive forward looking entities took advantage of our services.

We actively supported with social media those businesses that expressed  a desire to learn and Autism Aidgrow with us. We were able to get a number of sign ups from very small to mega corporations. Of course, doing a start up with next to no operating capital and a team spread coast to coast is a little crazy. All of us dealing with loved ones on the spectrum, loss of jobs, injuries to spouses, elderly parents and much more. Bottom line this model was ahead of its time and it's time may never come. I would love to visit with anybody thinking that they can set up a for profit in this sector. Attacks came from many naysayers and individuals who I assumed would be supportive. You learn a lot about the psychology of your peers when you try to make a living here.

Continue reading "Lessons Learned from Failure." »

The Crippling Cost of Autism: When Will People Notice?

Money pileOur Anne Dachel has been hollering at the top of her lungs for YEARS that the autism epidemic has and will continue to ravage families.   The story below is from Canada, but in America, it takes a hand in the pocket to make citizens take notice.   Remember the gas prices of a few years ago, when electric cars ruled the highways and Hummers looked like dinosaurs? Today? Prices dropped a fraction and the H2s roared back to life. We have really short memories in America.  Autism will hit social security, Medicaid and many other government and private sector programs with a vengeance in the next 5+ years as the epidemic of kids "ages out" of school into........ 

My fear is that once America grows angry at the "sudden" explosion of people  handicapped by autism - from kids like my own to people with Asperger's on disablity or other government programs, the green light will shine to consider eugenics and post-birth eugenics a viable option. It scares the crap out of me.   KS

From Canada's Calgary Sun:

The lifelong cost to families with a severely autistic child is $5.5 million in a province lacking in adult care for the condition, says a University of Calgary think tank.

While the province is a leader in dealing with childhood autism, its public system of care for adults with the neurological disability is exclusionary and poorly-developed, states a report prepared by The School of Public Policy.

And its controversial decision last year to close the Michener Centre will only worsen the situation, say the study's authors.

That often places the burden to provide care on the shoulders of families, at an equivalent cost for supports at nearly $160,000 a year, said report co-author Carolyn Dudley. Read the full article here.

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Financial Burden

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 16, 2014: WVEC Norfolk, VA: Parenting: Children and autism: 

Jan 15, San Jose Mercury News: Conference on autistic teens transitioning into adulthood set for Feb. 27

Jan 15, 2014, Calgary Sun (Canada) Costs of caring for autistic children crippling for families, says University of Calgary think tank

Jan 15, 2014, GlobalNews.ca: Families dealing with autism face heavy financial burden

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Financial Burden" »

Current Affairs, Vaccine Safety

Teri Arranga Has a Conversation of Hope with Dr. Brian Hooker

Conversation of hope


Prof. Brian Hooker, PhD, joins Teri in the debut of this new season of AutismOne: A Conversation of Hope. Dr. Hooker will be talking about documents that have been recently obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding the CDC cover-up of the relationship between autism and vaccines. In addition, he will discuss his research in the CDC's Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) database, where strong, statistically significant relationships have been found between vaccines and autism. Tune in for this vital information.

Autism One: A Conversation of Hope LISTEN HERE.

Tuesdays at 9 AM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel

Approximately 1 child in 50 is diagnosed with autism, which gives autism the undesired ranking as the most prevalent childhood developmental disorder in the United States. 67 children will be diagnosed today - that is nearly 1 child every 20 minutes. Autism is treatable and children are significantly improving or recovering following appropriate therapies. “Autism One: A Conversation of Hope” hosted by Teri Arranga, includes discussions with the most experienced doctors, researchers, and therapists in the field, parents of recovered children, and advocates for the children and families. Learn more at the AutismOne site.

Current Affairs

Part 2 Regressive Autism - New Hypothesis to End an Enigma?

FrustratedRead Bill's post from last week HERE.

By Bill Welsh                                                

If you are the parent of a regressive autistic child in the UK and have been following the controversy re vaccination’s role in what has occurred you may have to take a deep breath and adopt a seated position before reading this article.

Something is not quite right!

From the very beginning something has not been quite right!

Those of us who witnessed a precious child gradually withdraw following MMR vaccination ‘know’ that MMR is deeply implicated. We do not need an epidemiologist in Finland to tell us we are wrong. We know!

But something is not quite right!

I concede we were up against incredibly powerful forces when we challenged the safety of the vaccination programme but, notwithstanding, we should have won our case by now. Instead we are no further forward. Where did we go wrong?

My appraisal will no doubt be regarded as controversial and perhaps disloyal but for what it is worth here is my opinion of where we went wrong:

From the very beginning parents in the UK were in the hands of ‘experts’, legal and scientific. Decisions were taken before many of us had grasped what had actually happened and as a result a runaway train went hurtling down the track, careering hither and thither, across continents, into court rooms, and along the way galvanizing parents to form action groups. But a decision, central to the entire dispute had already been taken and it was that decision on which our grounds for compensation may have foundered.

I recall reading a statement by Brian Deer (I told you to take a deep breath) where he said something along the lines of ‘If I wanted to prove that MMR caused autism I wouldn’t have gone through the gut’. Interesting, because in my Edinburgh clinic we saw about 500 regressive autistic children and about 20% did not appear to have bowel issues! And some had received single vaccines rather than the MMR!

Why then did we go “through the gut”? Quite simply it was the only show in town at the time. There was only one doctor, highly qualified and compassionate, who supported the parent’s view that MMR was implicated in what had happened and not only that but he could articulate a mechanism, his hypothesis, as to what had happened.

I believe he was correct about the measles virus in the gut, but perhaps not for all the children, only for a sub-set of the sub-set. Was he only partly correct?

Andy Wakefield once said ‘my hypothesis is only one hypothesis’ which is true but at the very beginning there were we assumed no other options. The lawyers went with this suggested explanation and that was before our imaginary train had even left the station.

Continue reading "Part 2 Regressive Autism - New Hypothesis to End an Enigma? " »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Kumbaya, Speech & Vision, Vitamin Wars

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

Read Anne's comments and view the live links after the jump.

Jan 15, 2014, NPR Boston: Autism Is Hard Enough - Let's Not Make It Harder With A Fight

Jan 14, 2014, OregonLive.com: Drs. Oz and Roizen: Don't stop taking your multivitamin

Jan 14, 2014, CBS: Speech out of sync for many kids with autism, study finds

Jan 14, 2014, CNN: Vision, sound don't sync for some kids with autism, study suggests

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Kumbaya, Speech & Vision, Vitamin Wars" »

Current Affairs, Mark Blaxill

Coy Barefoot Interviews Mark Blaxill on Industry Capture, Autism's Rise

Coy logo
GUEST:
Mark Blaxill, co-founder of the Age of Autism news site and co-author with Dan Olmsted of the book by the same name.

TOPIC:  Mark discusses the latest we know about the autism epidemic and reviews the year 2013 in autism.

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE:  Wednesday, January 8, 2014.

Click here to listen.

Current Affairs, Vaccine Safety

Babies Respond To Tom Insel and IACC's Decision To Abandon Them

Tom InselIf you listened to or participated in yesterday's IACC full committee conference, please share your POV/analysis in the comments here at AofA.   IACC voted AGAINST including the words immunizations or vaccines in the strategic plan despite the link to immune response in ASD. Many of us have already had our children. Elvis has left the building. And wella, wella, wella now we have a lifetime to try to help our vaccine injured kids. But our kids have siblings, younger parents are still having babies and there are generations to come - babies who have been damned by Dr. Tom Insel.

Thank you to those who participated and did their best on behalf of our kids.  Katie Wright has summarized previous IACC meetings for us.  Her write up from the November 2013 meeting is below.  We'll have further review of yesterday's meetings soon.



By Katie Wright

Thank you to Lisa Ackerman for her recent post on the last IACC meeting, she inspired me to get my act together and finish this.

I have fallen behind because my son Christian has started developing grand mal seizures and must now be watched every minute of the day. I also have to stay on top of his twice-monthly IVIG sessions. We are waging a battle royale for insurance coverage, but it is infinitely worth it because Christian’s autism is thoroughly and completely immune mediated. That is why I found this meeting particularly infuriating, but more on that later.

OK, so our story begins at the NIH, in a jam-packed committee room filled with about 30 people, maybe 1 or 2 actual parents of someone with autism. There are 3 IACC members with very, very, very HF aspergers. The rest of the special committee are comprised of geneticists, brain imagers, psychologists and a few odds and ends.  So there you go: the autism research Stone Age. Am I giving away the whole story already?

The group was to first discuss question #1 of the Strategic Report, “When Should I be Concerned?” Frankly, I have no idea why they even need to ask this question in 2014! We really, really, really know the signs of autism now. There are over 11,000 studies on the signs of autism and probably just as many on the importance of early intervention.

Continue reading "Babies Respond To Tom Insel and IACC's Decision To Abandon Them" »

Current Affairs

Vaccine Injury: Tip of the Iceberg

IcebergBy Wayne Rohde

The Tip of the Iceberg.  A small evident part or aspect of something largely hidden.

How often have you heard the phrase, it is just the tip of the iceberg? How relevant is it today regarding the discussion of vaccines, vaccine injury, autism, and disease?

Over a century ago, Captain Edward Smith was at the control of the mightiest transcontinental passenger ship liner, the Titanic.  As he and his crew confidently sailed the North Atlantic from England to the United States, little did he know that he was about to succumb to the worst ocean disaster man has ever known.  We all have heard the stories, watched the movies and documentaries about that fateful journey.

But have we been paying attention to the iceberg that we, in current times, have encountered?

Our government, the pharmaceutical industry, and the modern medical establishment have us believe that what we see as vaccine injury is very rare.  Just a blip on the horizon, a very small speed bump.

Do you know how many vaccine injured persons filed petitions in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP)?  Only 501 petitions for the fiscal year 2013 ending September 30, 2013.  How many have been filed for this current fiscal year?  89.  And if you project that figure out as to estimate the entire fiscal year 2014, the number will be approximately 534.  In 2012, the number of petitions filed was 400, in 2011 it was 386.  We see a trend increasing each year.  The largest number of petitions filed in the history of the NVICP was 2,592 for the year 2003. 

But we really do not know how many petitions “could be” filed if the NVICP was promoted by the Secretary of the Health and Human Services (HHS) as mandated by law.  The Tip of the Iceberg can be defined as the part that is evident of something largely hidden.  So what is the hidden number of injuries that could be filed as petitions?

There have been discussions to create public awareness campaigns, only to be squelched by HHS officials.  In 2010, a public awareness campaign was shelved.  Banyan Communications received a $ 300,000.00 contract to develop a public awareness campaign.  Discussions held in meetings of the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV) centered on determining who will be the primary targets of the campaigns.  Should the focus should be on the general public or a specific group such as pediatric doctors? 

And the details of the Banyan contract which determined goals and actions plans for the Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius to implement were never put in place.  My FOIA’s (Freedom of Information Act) to examine the Banyan contract, to determine which budget paid for the contract, why was the proposed awareness campaign stopped, and who said no, have gone unanswered?

So the question of how many petitions could be filed is very difficult to determine.  Several factors artificially keep the level of petitions to a minimum are a lack of public awareness, difficulty in finding an attorney and medical experts, medical practitioners that deny vaccine injury can happen, the aggressive screening of potential clients by attorneys, and parents who are too emotionally drained just trying to find and maintain medical care services for their children. 

It has been argued that the number of vaccine injuries report to VAERS each year only represents a small percentage of the total number of vaccine injuries that are incurred by children and adults.  Some figures have been placed forward stating that 1%, 5% or even 10% of vaccine injuries actually get reported to VAERS.

Continue reading "Vaccine Injury: Tip of the Iceberg" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Funding, Insurance, More Schools

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.Jan 13, 2014, Vancouver (WA) Columbian: Measles cases on rise in U.S

Jan 12, 2014, Sioux City (IA) Journal: LETTER: Physician writes in support of vaccinations for children

Jan 11, 2014, Durham (NC) News Observer: Geri Dawson has devoted a career to autism treatment and research

Jan 11, 2014, TIME Magazine: Autism and alternative medicine: getting real about the benefits and risks

Jan 10, 2014, KIMA-TV Yakima, WA: Funding options for children with autism

Jan 10, 2014, WTAJ-TV Altoona, PA: MRI's, Special Glasses Used to Study Autism

Jan 10, 2014, Medford OR Mail Tribune: Vaccination law 'is really unfair'

Jan 10, 2014, Fox 13, Salt Lake City: Officials break ground on school for those with autism spectrum disorders

Jan 10, 2014, Syracuse Post Standard: Cuomo signs law that will pave the way for health insurance coverage of autism treatment 

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Funding, Insurance, More Schools" »

Sponsor News

SafeMinds 2013 Reseach That Focuses On Need To Know Science

FutureManaging Editor's Note: Last week Katie Wright wrote about the paltry assortment of research conducted by Autism Speaks. Here, SafeMinds shares their research from 2013.  Thank you, Safeminds.

A look back at Safe Minds Research in 2013 – “Research that focuses on need to know science.”

It is now widely accepted that environmental factors play a huge role in the etiology of autism. Yet, even with this fact, most autism research continues to be diverted into less fruitful areas. To date, the autism community has very little government-funded research that helps us to understand why some children are more vulnerable to environmental exposures and what those exposures might be so they can be avoided and individuals with autism successfully treated. That is why SafeMinds has been laser focused on environmental research and the gaps that exist in our knowledge of causes, treatments, recovery and ultimately, prevention.

Over the past decade, SafeMinds has funded approximately $1.5 million in research with the help of supporters like you. This research has lead to the publication of over 20 research articles / and a greater understanding of the mechanisms that underlie autism spectrum disorders. Below is a list of projects that SafeMinds funded in 2013, so be on the lookout for several new publications soon. We are proud of our research accomplishments but there is so much more we need to know to help those suffering with autism now. If you would like to help us fund more of these kinds of studies please visit www.safeminds.org and click on the “donate now” button to support our research efforts.  All donations are tax-deductible.

Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN and Laura Bono

SafeMinds Research

1. There is emerging evidence supporting the hypothesis that autism may result from a combination of genetic susceptibility and exposure to environmental toxins at critical moments in development. Recent research identified a much higher prevalence rate of autism among grandchildren of Acrodynia (pink disease) survivors, which supports the hypothesis that mercury susceptibility may be a risk factor for autism.  SafeMinds is currently funding additional research in an effort to identify genetic idiosyncratic sensitivity to mercury in an effort to be able to identify infants who are more vulnerable to mercury exposure so preventive treatments can be started early and efforts made to avoid unnecessary exposures. 

2. Vaccination is inherently an immune activating process and many parents of children with ASD report episodes of regression after vaccination. While vaccines have been tested for efficacy in protecting against pathogenic infection, there have been no studies investigating whether immune challenge through vaccination in early infancy could negatively affect neurodevelopment. Therefore, SafeMinds is funding studies in an animal model to determine if immune challenge through vaccination can affect the various cell populations in the developing brain, including purkinje cell number, hippocampal cell size and microglia.

Continue reading "SafeMinds 2013 Reseach That Focuses On Need To Know Science" »

Current Affairs

Regressive Autism---A New Hypothesis to End an Enigma?

Question markBy Bill Welsh.

It is difficult to imagine a worse scenario than the one experienced by the many parents I have met.

To witness a perfect child gradually lose all his or her skills, regress, and develop distressing behavioural difficulties, often including self injury, should never be visited on any family, but the sad reality is it has been occurring increasingly for over twenty or more years. And as if observing the deterioration of the child is not enough- even worse eventually follows, sometimes years later,—an official diagnosis of autism (ASD)! Parents soon discover that ‘lifelong’, ‘incurable’ and ‘genetic’ are the three words most associated with the condition. ‘Regressive autism’ is a diagnosis wrapped in bleak negativity.

The latest figures for the UK inform us that over 100,000 schoolchildren have an autism diagnosis. Medical officialdom is quick to re-assure society that there are valid reasons for this significant increase in ASD, including for example ‘better recognition’ and ‘widening diagnostic criteria’.

They are mistaken.

Over 70 years ago autism was identified as a new condition, and was regarded as ‘rare’, that is until about 1990 when its diagnosis began to increase markedly. It is now common. No one in medical science has offered a plausible (one that has survived close scrutiny) explanation for the mystery known as the ‘autism enigma’. This is surprising as there are plenty of clues:

Most, but not all, parents have no hesitation in identifying a vaccination event as the forerunner to their child’s gradual withdrawal. With over 1,500 parents taking legal action, in the usually non-litigious UK, during the MMR vaccine episode one would have thought the role of vaccination would have received very close scientific examination. Inexplicably this did not happen. Official focus remained on the need to maintain public confidence in MMR in order to prevent communicable diseases rather than on a thorough examination of parental testimony. Vaccination as a precursor to a child’s descent into regressive autism became a neglected vital clue.

Another disregarded clue was the consistent reporting by parents of auditory processing disorders in their child. Much of what is seen and described as autistic symptoms (sound sensitivity, communication problems, language development etc) have a clear auditory component while it is highly likely that other symptoms (behavioural difficulties, social functioning etc) might have too. Auditory processing disorders are common in these children. Is this another neglected clue?

 A scientific team in the USA carried out a large and important study of twins and concluded that 65% of autism is caused by an environmental factor, leaving only 35% of autism as genetic in origin. This game-changing news, contradicting a long held belief structure, was seemingly ignored!

A, later retracted, gastro-intestinal study of 12 autistic children in the UK apparently identified “a novel form of bowel disease”. The retraction of the study did not dispel the fact that many autistic children experience bowel problems.

In a landmark decision in the USA a child (Hannah Poling) was granted compensation for having developed ASD following multiple vaccinations including MMR.  The court’s decision was complicated by the discovery that Hannah had a mitochondrial disorder which we were told may have contributed to her withdrawal into autism. (It has since been established that many autistic children have mitochondrial disorder). Was this another overlooked lead?

Continue reading "Regressive Autism---A New Hypothesis to End an Enigma? " »

Cathy Jameson

Vaccines: "A Necessary Evil?"

Flu wolf

By Cathy Jameson

I’ve mentioned before that several times throughout the year people contact me.  They either want to find out more of Ronan’s story or they have some questions about vaccines. I’m usually quite happy to share what’s happened to Ronan as well as offer my thoughts on the current vaccine schedule.  I’m not so happy anymore.

Hey! Glad I caught you. I’m going to talk to my doctor about getting some of the shots. Don’t worry, not all of them, just the ones he says Jackie needs which means out of the four for today’s visit, so he’ll only get three.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Please don’t.  I beg you.

I hate to bug you because of all that you have going on, but can you tell me again what it means when you get a fever and a full-body rash after a vaccine?  I can send you a picture of it.  Lily’s been misssserable since her two-year old check-up. Oh, do you know how much Tylenol I should give? I can’t remember what the doc told me to give her.

Ohmygosh, no. And wait. They’re still saying to give Tylenol?  Are you kidding me? 

Hey, Cathy, I have been on the fence about vaccines.  I spoke to my doctor about them and she says vaccines are a necessary evil and I shouldn’t think too much about them…

A necessary evil?!  You’re gonna buy that?

Come on, moms.  Have you forgotten what’s necessary – food, clothing, shelter? As parents we obviously take those basics a step further.  We strive to provide proper nutrition and a clean, caring, positive environment.  We create a bond with our children.  We help stimulate their minds and foster their growth.  When those basic necessities are in place, baring major medical issues, moms have most of what they need at their fingertips.  Kids grow.  They thrive.  They hit their milestones. Life, as nature intended, has a chance.  Why complicate things by adding ‘necessary evils’, and why so many at once over such a short period of time?

I agree that ‘necessary evils’ are evil, but I refuse to think that they are necessary.  Necessarey doesn’t leave a destructive trail contributing to the annihilation of children’s health over several generations like vaccines have.  The fragility of our children’s health today is a reflection of that destruction.  Look at the national rates of childhood obesity, allergies, asthma and autism and how they’ve drastically risen as more necessary evils among other “preventative measures” have been added to our food and our environment.  Instead of preventing illnesses, necessary evils have made once healthy children turn into sick kids, and has turned sick kids into chronically ill adults.  Sadly, the wave of neurologically sensitive individuals isn’t going to end any time soon.  It can’t when necessary evils are still being glamorized, promoted and forced upon the most fragile of our population and when ill-informed moms run to parents like me for guidance. 

Children today are being harmed in the name of ‘healthcare’.  Some parents unknowingly submit to that.  Other parents find out long after it’s happened.  By then, though, it’s too little too late.  Their children’s health already jeopardize and their future compromised.  Influenced by necessary evils instead of common sense, life becomes more difficult than it had to be.  Necessary evils are the greed, the manipulation and the lies of the industry.  They add to the manipulation of the situation.  They cover up the fabrications that trickle down from the top.  They attempt to water down the truth.  Necessary evils can do something more sinister; they can make moms feel like they have no right to doubt, to question or to think. 

When did it become okay for moms, and parents in general, to stop thinking?  Our nation’s founders prided themselves on forward thinking, on fighting to protect their rights and on revolutionizing the way they wanted and needed things to be done.  They knew it was going to take work.  They knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  They were committed to see things through, and they acted on what was important to them to help preserve their future—their children.  Our children’s futures are important and worthy of being protected too. 

Continue reading "Vaccines: "A Necessary Evil?"" »

Dan Olmsted, Dan Olmsted

Weekly Wrap: A Glimpse of our Readers in 100,000 comments

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

Every day, four of us at Age of Autism -- Kim, John Stone, Teresa Conrick and to a lesser extent myself -- "moderate" the comments that are posted in response to articles on AOA. Unlike readers, we see them in one long string as they pop up as feedback to many stories at once.

The most current and hot-button stories, as you will imagine, get the most response, but great comments and updates are added all the time on stories from our archive -- now totaling 6,133 over six years (comment total: precisely 99,500 and counting as of 10:17 a.m. Friday). And even straightforward news updates can generate passionate and personal essays.

We call attention to these wonderful additions by highlighting the most recent on the right hand side of our home page. But something I've often wanted to do is simply run a week's worth as an article in itself to share with you what we are seeing, learning from -- and being so impressed by -- on a daily basis.

So here goes. As an FYI, and as we clearly state, we do "moderate," which means we make a decision whether to post each comment. No apologies for that -- AOA would become troll heaven if we gave the autism epidemic and vaccine injury deniers carte blanche. And we watch for personal cruelty, wishing anyone harm, invasive comments about other people's children, destructive infighting and of course libel. We run the overwhelming majority (only three were deleted in the past week, compared to all those printed below); our choices reflect what is called editing, not censorship.

To start off, here's a comment by David Thrower in Great Britain, the kind of thing that, repeated hundreds of times, has deeply shaped my understanding of the Age of Autism:

"My son was perfectly healthy until vaccinated against measles in the UK. We watched him disintegrate into profound autism in the weeks following his immunisation. No one else has put forward any, let alone a remotely credible, alternative explanation for this. I remain 100 per cent convinced that his immunisations caused his dramatic regression. David Thrower Warrington, UK"

Now for the rest, in most recent order but not sorted by the articles they are responding to -- you'll see them as we do. In most cases the theme is clear, or will become so. I've dropped only a few that either don't stand alone well or were multiple comments by the same person, in some cases making the same point on different posts.

Enjoy -- and, as always, thanks for immeasurably enriching AOA.

--

Alison MacNeil said:

Thank you Lou, This is so powerful and my response is very emotional.

Reply | Edit | View | 1 hour ago on Autism and The Echo…

Melissa said:

Interesting and enlightening article.

Reply | Edit | View | 1 hour ago on Voices for Vaccine…

Teresa Conrick said:

Thank you, Lou for writing this haunting expose. The tragedy of Minamata has always stayed with me. Those words ring so true in the epidemic of autism: “We shall pursue you to justice, and we shall not forget.”

Reply | Edit | View | 2 hours ago on Autism and The Echo…

Adriana said:

Thank you, Jenny. I remember someone pointing out that the key thing and the common ground between all these various toxic substances and sources is the "route" by which the damage is done to cellular pathways. Different substances can cause virtually the same types of injuries. So I think 2014 should be the year that the specifics of Carson's and JFK's campaign should be resurrected and the year the public stops viewing cellular science as the "forbidden texts." The science feeds policy and policy is everyone's business.

Reply | Edit | View | 7 hours ago on Soylent Greenwashin…

Linda said:

The person or persons known as "Voices for Vaccines" at the Facebook page reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. Reading the conversation, I imagine VfV to have a loud booming voice. 'THE WISE AND POWERFUL VOICES FOR VACCINES HAS SPOKEN!' Since Reiss has been called out on the ridiculous number of posts she produces, maybe it is she who is hiding behind the curtain, so she can spout all she wants (or is paid to do) posing as a different mysterious person. No matter who VfV is, the tone of the whole thing is just really weird. I wonder how much they pay people to like them. Maybe they give students extra credit to like their Facebook page.

Reply | Edit | View | Yesterday on Voices for Vaccine…

Continue reading "Weekly Wrap: A Glimpse of our Readers in 100,000 comments" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Anti-Vaccine Free Loaders?

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

Jan 10, 2014, Our View: Anti-vaccination Freeloaders Endanger Us All

Idaho ranks second-to-last in the nation for vaccination levels among its kindergarteners, behind Oregon. Less than 60 percent of Idaho's 2-year-olds are vaccinated, reports the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 11 percentage points below the national average.

It's a cultural epidemic in the American West - Alaska, Washington state, Colorado and Arizona also top the list. It's a trend founded not in science but in fear.

Six percent of Idaho's youngest public school students haven't been through the standard vaccination regime before entering school, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Just 52 percent of incoming students in Filer's district have been inoculated. . .

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Anti-Vaccine Free Loaders?" »

Current Affairs

Autism and The Echo of Minamata's Mercury Tragedy

Minamata
By Lou Conte

It began with dead fish floating on the surface of Minamata Bay in the 1950’s and ended with over two thousand certified human victims and a devastated city. In 1973, Judge Jirp Saito directed the Chisso Corporation to compensate victims of Minamata Disease, a form of mercury poisoning. Chisso’s factory had poisoned the bay and the people of Minamata. The death-bed confession of Dr. Hajime Hasokowa, a doctor, researcher and Chisso employee who uncovered the company’s role in the poisoning, was critical to the court’s decision. 

Many have heard about the infamous Minamata mercury poisoning incident but few have really considered the ordeal of the victims. Minamata’s tragedy is not just about mercury poisoning. It is about what can happen to and between people when the truth is not told.

We can learn from their tragedy. I believe that they would want us to.

Minamata was an agricultural and fishing village on the western shore of Kyusho, in southern Japan. In 1907, the Chisso Corporation opened a factory that produced plastics and other industrial products. Minamata prospered and became a thriving “one company” city. Chisso brought economic growth and improved the standard of living of the residents.

Mercury, a by-product of the manufacturing process, was dumped into the bay where it ultimately entered the food chain. Sea food from the bay was the primary source of protein for the city’s residents who celebrated their love of the sea in a yearly harbor festival.

The first signs of mercury poisoning were cats “dancing” – suffering mercury induced spasms actually - in the streets. Some of the cats appeared to commit suicide by throwing themselves into the bay.

Then people began to get sick. Some would suddenly shout uncontrollably and suffer slurred speech. Skills such as writing, holding chop sticks or buttoning shirts were lost. Victims trembled and had trouble walking. Some would tear at their clothes, writhing in agony. The residents had no idea what was happening and called it the “strange disease.” Many suffered a type of paralysis that contorted their limbs. Some died quickly, within weeks. Some lingered for years. Their suffering was appalling.

Then it got even worse. Children were born with horrible birth defects.

Continue reading "Autism and The Echo of Minamata's Mercury Tragedy" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Doctors' Autism Predictions

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

MedPageToday.com: HOT TOPICS 2014: Autism

What do you anticipate will be the most important clinical development in autism in 2014? We asked four specialists from around the country for their views: Susan L. Hyman, MD, of the University of Rochester, Robin L. Hansen, MD, of the University of California Davis, Max Wiznitzer, MD, of UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, and Joseph Piven, MD, of the University of North Carolina. Their answers touched on gene-environment interactions in early life, technologies for diagnosis and treatment, and the importance of lifelong attention to patients' needs.

Top experts make predictions about what the medical community will do about autism in 2014.

Dr. Hyman: "There's so much exciting neuro-biological research going on. We know so much more about how the brain works. . . but what's going to make a difference in 2014 is the evidence that we have for rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work of evidence-based intervention that involves early screening, early diagnosis, and intense treatment that's generalized to the home. We also know from neuro-biologic research that treatment continues to be effective throughout the lifespan. So continuing intervention through adulthood is incredibly important. There is no magic. It's rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work and that's going to be helped by the autism insurance legislation that's state by state working its way across the country. . . . "

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Doctors' Autism Predictions" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Low Vax Rates, Adult Services

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

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

Jan 8, 2014, Twin Falls (ID) Times-News: Idaho Vaccination Rates Among Lowest in the Nation

Jan 7, 2013, WPTV West Palm Beach, FL: Palm Beach Gardens mother says more services needed for adults with autism

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Low Vax Rates, Adult Services" »