How Mercury Triggered The Age of Autism

Conversation with the Authors of Plague

Autism Public Service Announcement

Canary Party Vaccine Court Video

A Glimpse into Autism

Meet Our Advertisers


Olmsted's Original UPI Series

  • The Age of Autism Tag
Current Affairs

Hep B Vaccine at Birth Spurs Lawsuit

Forced vaccinationsManaging Editor's Note:  Somewhere in the 8 million pieces of autism related paper that I have for my daughter Gianna, there is a "consent" form for her birth dose of Hep B vaccine at Doylestown Hospital in PA.   I had NO idea that Hep B was not an issue for a healthy infant born to a healthy Mom. I had NO idea I was allowing a medical practitioner to inject mercury into my newborn. None. It was not informed consent at all. You might have had the same experience. Now imagine having that knowledge, refusing the vaccine and facing the state approved kidnapping of your child.....  

Aliea Bidwell is filing suit against the doctor who blackmailed her into the hepatitis B vaccine for her son.

The family has set up a Web site to spread the word about her family’s ordeal. They are accepting donations to offset legal costs.|

Aliea Bidwell and Ben Gray were as excited as any other couple when their baby boy was born. Vaccine blackmail was the furthest thought from their minds. But because a pediatrician on call didn’t like their decision to refuse a vaccine, she threatened to kidnap their newborn (through legal channels, of course), if they did not consent on day one to something they neither wanted nor felt was worth the risks. It was vaccine blackmail. They were given no choice.

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1191522/parents-blackmailed-by-doctor-consent-to-vaccine-or-we-take-your-newborn/#bYHWEmuE3BJm3rdq.99\
Current Affairs

IACC Meeting July 8

IaccManaging Editor's Note: We gather this email just went out. Sorry if you missed the deadlines...

Reminder: Meeting of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

Please join us for an IACC Full Committee meeting that will take place on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET at The Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Conference Rooms C and D, Rockville, Maryland 20852. 

Onsite registration will begin at 8:00a.m.

Agenda: The committee will discuss committee business, agency updates and issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research and services activities.

Meeting location:
The Neuroscience Center

6001 Executive Boulevard, Conference Rooms C and D

Rockville, Maryland 20852

Continue reading "IACC Meeting July 8" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Update: What Does Generally Safe Mean?

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 30, 2014, Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI): Childhood vaccines again deemed generally safe

Report: There still is no evidence the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes autism, but noted a slight risk of seizures and for rotavirus and flu shots

The latest analysis of childhood vaccines confirms they're generally safe.

The report should be reassuring to parents, the researchers say. For example, there still is no evidence the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes autism. Nor is there any proof vaccines cause childhood leukemia.

This story is by AP reporter, Mike Stobbe who has steadfastly (FOR YEARS) defended vaccines and denied a link to autism. 

Continue reading "Dachel Media Update: What Does Generally Safe Mean?" »

Kim Stagliano

Autism Employment Discrimination Echoes the Irish NINA

NINA

By Kim Stagliano

I was born in Boston, Massachusetts.  My Grandmother Hannah Veronica Sullivan was born in Boston, of parents from County Cork, Ireland.  My father was born in 1922, and tells tales of discrimination from "the old days" that, well, you've seen my hair, right?   We've come a long way from the outright posting of who can apply for a job, or use a restroom. Or have we?  This line (below) is from an article Help Wanted Adults with Autism  that addresses the serious dearth of jobs for people with autism.    It seeks to offer a bright side by sharing internships that are available through a program called Project Search under the leadership of Dr. David Kuhn Clinical Director at NewYork-Presbyterian Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, - it seems which "county" of autism you live in makes a difference, however.

Interns range in age from 18 to 21 years old. They must have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder, have no violent tendencies, be able to communicate and follow a one to two step schedule.

Almost every person I know with full autism has behaviors, some are aggressive and may be viewed as violent, some seriously aggressive and definitely violent and well, that communication thing? It's the foundation of an autism diagnosis.  And you know what (of course you do, dear AofA readers) sometimes that aggression IS communication. As fas as I'm concerned, this posting is asking for people perhaps with Asperger's (there can be serious behaviors among this population) and maybe -  maybe "brushed" with autism like symptoms. None of my daughters could apply. Could your loved one with autism or Asperger's apply?

Last week I wrote about a vocational opportunity for my oldest daughter, who is starting her post-graduate years within our school district.  The more fully impaired with autism also deserve to work in meaningful jobs that take advantage of their sharp minds, unique processing ability and perseverance to a task while repsecting that yes, there are behaviors and communication deficits. Is this going to happen or not? Or will NINA be reborn as "NAWB" become the new discrimination?


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

Educated Parents: Spindly Necked, Hyper-sensitive, Low Muscle Toned, Shoes on the Wrong Feet Diaper Wearing Kindergarteners

Yoga Moms

Managing Editor's Note: This comment came in yesterday on Adriana's post The Color by Numbers Epidemic: Formerly Low Autism Rates among Ethnic Groups Skyrocketing After Massive, Coercive Campaign to Vaccinate “Underserved” Minorities. I nearly lost my breath reading the words - which summed up my approach to new motherhood completely.  I did everything "right." Yours too?  KS

This article closely parallels my personal experience in education since 1986. In 1994, 95 & 96, I (and my colleagues), observed a dramatic shift of the health of a segment of our incoming kindergartners. That segment was the families who should have had the healthiest kids- high education high income parents who were up to date, and compliant, with the latest medical advice. They took advantage of not only the required vaccines but the optional ones. They vociferously avoided the sun, mothers in wide brim bonnets and children in 1920's style full body swimsuits. No butter, soy baby formula, no eggs, anti-bacterial everything, indoor play dates, etc. The result? Spindly necked, hyper-sensitive, low muscle toned, shoes on the wrong feet diaper wearing kindergarteners. Contrasted by the kids who's parents didn't know about all of these “medical advances”. Families with insurance that didn't cover non-required vaccines, (pre-VFC, Vaccines For Children), or didn't get vaccinated until they had to have them to get into kindergarten instead of in infancy, mom's who sunbathed, fed their kids real food, let them play in the dirt, no shirt outside, etc. Their kids? Vital, bright, and alive.

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Update: Fluoride, Smog, Ultrasounds

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 30, 2014, Fox News: 'The View' used to do politics; Now, after the firings, it's just a mess 

June 29, 2014, China News: China to build 'brain database'

June 29, 2014, Science 20.com: Study Implicates Smog In Autism And Schizophrenia

June 29, 2014, Park Rapids (MN) Enterprise: What about fluoride?

June 27, 2014, Indianapolis Star: Families with autistic children struggle to get insurance coverage

June 27, 2014, Parade Magazine: Joe Mantegna: Why I Do Everything in Moderation (Including Moderation!)

June 27, 2014, WebMD: Routine Ultrasounds May Detect Autism in Utero"

June 27, 2014, Berkshire (VT) Eagle: Vermont school, educators sued over treatment of boy with autism

Continue reading "Dachel Media Update: Fluoride, Smog, Ultrasounds" »

Adriana Gamondes

The Color by Numbers Epidemic: Formerly Low Autism Rates among Ethnic Groups Skyrocketing After Massive, Coercive Campaign to Vaccinate “Underserved” Minorities

Color by Numbers Epidemic Adriana Gamondes
By Adriana Gamondes

…displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.

~Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

A recent study in Pediatrics reports that autism rates now appear to be higher among the children of American born Hispanic and African American mothers and among children of mothers within certain immigrant groups:

The study group comprised children born in Los Angeles County with a primary diagnosis of autism at ages three to five years from 1998 through 2009. The children were linked to 1995–2006 California birth certificates (7,540 children with autism from a total 1,626,354 births). The investigators identified a subgroup of children with autism and a secondary diagnosis of mental retardation; they investigated differences in language and behavior among this subgroup.

The researchers found an increased risks of being diagnosed with autism overall and specifically with coexisting mental retardation in children of foreign-born mothers who were black, Central/South American, Filipino, and Vietnamese, as well as among United States-born Hispanic and African American/black mothers, compared with US-born Caucasians. Compared to children of US-born Caucasians, children of US African American/black and foreign-born black, foreign-born Central/South American, and US-born Hispanic mothers were at higher risk of autism, characterized by both severe emotional outbursts and impaired language skills.

This report is a dramatic turnaround from only a few years ago, when the CDC reported an entirely different pattern among ethnic groups in the US:

Non-Hispanic white children were approximately 30% more likely to be identified with ASD than non-Hispanic black children and were almost 50% more likely to be identified with ASD than Hispanic children.

The earlier CDC study went on to say that it was unknown whether the disparities in ethnic rates existed because of differences in recognition or diagnosing:

The extent to which this variation might be attributable to diagnostic practices, underrecognition of ASD symptoms in some racial/ethnic groups, socioeconomic disparities in access to services, and regional differences in clinical or school-based practices that might influence the findings in this report is unclear.

But as David Kirby reported in the Huffington Post in 2009, not even National Institute of Health director Thomas Insel thought the rise in autism could be explained away by changes in diagnostic practices or “increased recognition,” so it might follow that the formerly low rates of autism among minority children could not be entirely explained by lack of recognition.  Not only were rates of autism among minorities lower, as autism rose among white children in the US, rates among Hispanics in some regions were even dropping:

In 2006, the rate among non-Hispanic white children was 102-per-10,000, but among black children it was 76-per-10,000, a 34 percent difference, and among Hispanic children it was 61-per-10,000, a difference of 67 percent.

Inexplicably, the rate among Hispanics in Alabama actually plummeted during the period in question, by 68 percent, from an already low 19-per-10,000 in 2002 to an almost rare 6-per-10,000 in 2006. Meanwhile, with the exception of Arizona, the CDC said, "prevalence among Hispanic children did not change significantly within any of the other10 sites."

For the record, my own affected twins have sixteen different nationalities, including Hispanic, North African and Amerindian as well as European. Regarding the issue of autism within various ethnic communities, when rates were low there were many public discussions of “cultural differences” that could supposedly account for cases being ignored, as if minority parents don’t notice or care when children don’t reach milestones, or that there’s more “cultural acceptance” in some quarters of children who don’t speak, sleep or who exhibit endless raging meltdowns. It should be interesting to hear what the next apologia will be now that rates among the same groups have exploded, and bitterly fascinating to see whether the pop-psych hypothesis of the “autistic killer” receives more media play as a result of the epidemic being racialized, particularly in light of the fact that the theory was founded on arguably racist research. It will also be curious to watch what happens with “investor confidence” in the multi-billion dollar autism drug market now that fresh blood has been thrown into the pool.

What’s also bitterly fascinating—and not mentioned in media coverage of the recent study on high rates of autism among ethnic groups— is that there had also been a radical shift in ethnic and economic demographics regarding vaccine uptake. At one time, for instance, African Americans were the least compliant and most “under-vaccinated”:

Factors That Distinguish Fully Vaccinated Children from Undervaccinated Children (2001 NIS)

These analyses indicated that, compared with fully vaccinated children, undervaccinated children were significantly more likely to be black than Hispanic or non-Hispanic white; younger; or foreign-born than born in the United States. Undervaccinated children were significantly more likely to have a mother who was young; widowed, divorced, or separated than married; had educational attainment that was high school or less than a college degree; and whose preferred language was English than Spanish. Finally, undervaccinated children were significantly more likely to live in a household with an annual income below the poverty level than in a household with an annual income greater than $75 000…

Unfortunately the study above, which was originally accessed in June, 2011, may have been bowdlerized—the title and text altered.  In any case, the old link to the 2001 study (Pediatrics)  now redirects to a 2004 study which weaves in the updated issue of “unvaccinated” privileged white children whose parents avoid vaccines rather than having reduced access—something not mentioned at all in the 2001 study. The original 2001 title appears only in the citations of other studies at this point.  

Continue reading "The Color by Numbers Epidemic: Formerly Low Autism Rates among Ethnic Groups Skyrocketing After Massive, Coercive Campaign to Vaccinate “Underserved” Minorities" »

Cathy Jameson

Who Am I to Judge?

Perfect momBy  Cathy Jameson

Hush, now. It’s okay. Close your eyes. Sleep. Shhhhh, she whispers. Shhhh….

A young mom is quietly lulling her toddler to sleep. They are sitting in the pew in front of me at Church. She holds him gently in her arms while stroking his hair. At the end of the pew is the woman’s husband. He is handsome, relaxed and proud of his family. He glances over at his wife, reaches for and touches her shoulder. On either side of the young mother are the toddler’s older siblings. Ages 7, 5 and 2, this family’s children appear healthy, happy and typical. Subconsciously, I smile. I think about how perfect they look and how lucky they are.

I see families like this one often. Normal moms. Typical kids. Regular dads. I walk past them at the grocery store, in parking lots and around our community. I take in the ease of their movements and the liveliness of their conversations. As I watch and listen to them, I long to experience what I think they have—freedom.

Do they see what I see?

Do they appreciate what they have?

Do they realize how fortunate they are?

They are free of seizures, of wandering and having to draft IEP goals. They are not ruled by weekly therapy appointments, on-going doctor visits and support groups. Their schedule is theirs to create as they wish. I know I’m just a stranger looking in, and I realize that I see only a fraction of their day, but as an outside looking in, I can tell that their life is very different than the one I live.
Normal moms. Typical kids. Regular dads. I used to be that person, living like those people and participating in their lifestyle. I don’t run in their circles now, and they rarely step into mine.

Years of managing my son’s vaccine-injury and the medical issues that came with it has done a number on me. On days when Ronan’s health takes a turn for the worse, not only does he tank, but I do too. I’m no longer the relaxed mom who thinks she can take everything in stride. I panic. I mentally run away. I become hyper-vigilant, overstressed and sometimes a tad judgmental.
I think back to when this all started. I want to curse my foolishness and the choices I made. I close my eyes remembering the past and can’t help but wonder how different life would be if what happened to Ronan really didn’t happen. Some days I even wish that this wasn’t happening. Pretending that things would magically return to what I considered normal won’t help. That’s when things can go from bad to worse.

On those very tough days, my thoughts become clouded and my hopes are crushed. It’s hard to be hopeful when my child’s life is documented in a case file, in multiple case files actually. Lots of people would agree that it’s better to have a positive attitude. But with all that I have had to overcome, and with how children are still being vaccine injured like Ronan was, my heart isn’t always in the right place. And sometimes it stays somewhat hardened. I feel it harden more in certain situations.

As much as I try to not let it affect me, my heart hardens when I learn that typical moms choose to follow the same steps I took that I wish I’d never taken.

Continue reading "Who Am I to Judge?" »

Dan Olmsted, Dan Olmsted

Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Missing the Boat in Lake Geneva

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

This week we got an e-mail from a Wisconsin couple whose local paper is The Lake Geneva Regional News (as a suburban Chicago kid I went to camp there for many summers. It's beautiful.) They attached an article from last week titled, "In county, some parents say no to vaccines." It begins: "ELKHORN -- Walworth County is not immune to the anti-vaccination movement." It went on to talk about the rising number of vaccine exemptions parents were obtaining for their children, and included the usual boilerplate handwringing from public health officials.

GEneva


"A lot of [parents] have misinformation about vaccinations," said Elizabeth Walsh, public health supervisor at the county health department. "They say that vaccinations cause autism and listen to celebities on TV. It is frustrating as well as concerning." And so on -- you no doubt get the picture.

The e-mail painted a very different picture. I'm going to print the whole thing, including some nice comments about AOA (sue me!), because it really does explain why we do what we do, and will keep on regardless:

--
Thank you first for your commitment to the Age of Autism!  Without this beaming lighthouse of information most of us would be lost, and our family thanks all of you from the bottom of our hearts!
 
Our only 2 grandchildren were damaged from vaccines.  Mom & Dad have to work because as most of you know insurance companies do not pay squat!  So our retirement was ended and grandma cares for our precious grandsons.  We do not wish to contact the Regional News as we'd be recognized, as this is a small town.  It would be wonderful if someone would answer the Regional News who can hit all the reason why vaccines are so dangerous!  If one child could be saved by their parents becoming informed from feedback you've given to them then it would be a wonderful gift!
 
Thank you all for being there for so very many of us!

Continue reading "Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: Missing the Boat in Lake Geneva" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Update: Measles, CARES, More

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 26, 2014, Washington Post: The ethical negligence of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children

June 26, 2014, New York Times: Putting Us All at Risk for Measles

June 25, 2014, NJ.com: Legislation to enhance federal aid for autism research passes House of Representative

June 25, 2014, Bloomington (IL) Pantagraph: Autism-pesticides link not proven, advocates said

Continue reading "Dachel Media Update: Measles, CARES, More" »

Current Affairs

Ask Senators to HOLD S2449 Autism CARES Bill for Improvement

Stop-collaborate-and-listenAction Alert: Stop the Bill – Call These Senators and ask for them to HOLD the bill

The BAD BILL has now passed in the HOUSE and in the Senate HELP committee!!

On Tuesday June 24, 2014, the House voted a passed H.R. 4631, renamed, "Autism CARES" The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act.

On Wednesday June 25, 2014, the Senate version of this same bill passed in the Senate HELP Committee.

Now we have just 48 hours to stop the bill from passing AS IS!!

Now it goes to the full Senate for unanimous consent vote. One Senator can place the bill on hold and allow us to fix the bill.

Today was unusual in that the Senate HELP committee took the bill out of committee for the vote in the morning and set up meetings that were closed to the public and during that time took a closed door vote.

THIS IS A BAD BILL AND WE NEED YOUR HELP TO STOP IT!!

If no Senator objects, this seriously flawed bill -- continuing the failed status quo of federal autism policy -- could be headed to the desk of the President within days. 

The Autism Policy Reform Coalition (APRC) stands by individuals disabled by autism, their families and communities, in stating that this is a bill that needs drastic improvements. APRC has been working to reform the Act with policy for environmental research; better coordination and accountability in government structures; better medical services for individuals with co-morbidities; help for wandering, neglect, abuse, and restraints; and better prevalence counting and epidemiology. Our policy is online at: www.autismpolicy.org/our-mission

Continue reading "Ask Senators to HOLD S2449 Autism CARES Bill for Improvement" »

Anne Dachel

Q&A with Sharyl Attkisson (C-Span)

SharylMedia Editor Anne Dachel's Note: Sharyl Attkisson talked about her career, the state of the media, and her future plans with Brian Lamb of C-Span. (Watch here.) Ms. Attkisson left CBS News in March 2014..... Thank you to Bob Moffit for sharing the link with me

Brian Lamb asked her why she left:

"Primarily because there just wasn't a market for what I think I do best. . . good investigative reporting, preferably on topics that are under-reported or underserved

 otherwise, and often on topics that other people don't want to touch because they get so much pushback or blowback.  I like covering those kinds of topics.   It doesn't mean they're easy to cover, but I think that's important." 

Lamb showed a clip of Attkisson from an interview from five years earlier.  At that time, she loved her job at CBS. "This is the best!"  She added, "The joke is, you're only as good as your last story."

Five years ago, she felt, "Overall, this is exactly where I want to be and what I want to do." She said her bosses "heavily support" her work.

Lamb asked her, "What happened?"

Attkisson: "I think overall, not just at CBS, according to my colleagues. . . there's been a declining appetite for investigative reporting. It's gotten harder and harder. . . Any kind of reporting that goes after the powers that be.  There are such organized, well-financed efforts that go after the reporters and the reports, before, during and after they're being crafted.  It's a lot of trouble and it ruffles a lot of feathers, and it upsets a lot of people." 

Why are they concerned about "the powers that be"?

Continue reading "Q&A with Sharyl Attkisson (C-Span) " »

Current Affairs, Sponsor News

The Reailty of the Autism Epidemic: What Happens When Autistic Children Age Out of School?

FutureManaging Editor's Note: This post on the SafeMinds site is a glimpse of the future for so many of us.  The world is "aware" and "cares" and softly lit under blue lights while our kids age into an abyss of service, employment and housing choices regardless of the severity of their autism and Asperger's. Life will not be easy and we will have to work harder than ever.  And so we will.

By Heidi Roger

This time of year is very hard.

My friends and colleagues are all attending high school graduations, going to graduation parties, and talking about what colleges their kids got accepted to.

My son Andrew is not going to college.

Andrew is 19 years old but he does not have a driver's license, he has never had a girlfriend, he has not learned to shave himself. I have to help him wash his hair when he takes a shower.

Your friends talk about the milestones, rites of passage, and new opportunities for their kids. You nod and smile even though your stomach gets a knot in it, not because you aren't happy for your friends-you are-just because you had so many hopes and dreams for your own child too.

Jennifer and I talked on the phone every day. Her husband barbequed the best ribs in the state of New Jersey. Their daughter was born four months before Andrew and we were deliriously hopeful together. Jennifer had another child, Avery, a year after Andrew was born. Andrew was 27 months old when he was diagnosed with autism. I hit the ground running trying to help him, researching treatments, finding other parents to talk to , fighting-I mean advocating-for his education with our ill-informed school district.

When Andrew was five, we went to Jennifer's house for  a visit. Andrew walked around the room looking at colorful things that caught his eye. Avery was only four years old, he grabbed Andrew's Magna Doodle and made a beautiful drawing of a flower : "Look, Mommy, look what I drew!" Avery was being four -a typical four -that's all, but I couldn't breathe. My heart was broken in a thousand pieces.  Read the full post at Safeminds.

Julie Obradovic

My Autism Yardstick

Yardstick heartBy Julie Obradovic

For quite some time now, I’ve been using my experience with autism as a way to measure life.

“Well, it’s not autism,” I’ll think as a friend tells me about their child’s issues.

“Been through worse,” I’ll shake my head at what seems to be a trivial matter comparably speaking.

“Do you have any idea what you could be dealing with?” I’ll sigh at the person complaining about a problem I perceive as no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Without realizing it, I gave myself a yardstick by which to measure my life and others: my autism yardstick. As if it were lying down in the grass in front of me, symbolizing life before autism on one side and life after on the other, until now I have used it unconsciously to rate anything from trauma to illness to complaining to whatever.

It isn’t autism.

Been through worse.

Do you have any idea what you could be dealing with?

On the surface, it doesn’t necessarily seem like a bad thing. Autism indeed, for me, was a traumatic experience. Watching my healthy child slip into a world without words while experiencing tremendous illness and suffering is hard to describe accurately or completely in terms of how it hurt me as a mother.

Coupled with a medical community that didn’t know how to help and blamed me for her problems all while being left to navigate recovery on my own only doubled the pain and fear. I have no shame in saying it was by far the worse experience of my life, and I make no apologies for that.

And there is a lot of truth in those statements. It isn’t autism. Been through worse. Do you have any idea what you could be dealing with? I have a hefty dose of perspective that I bring to all situations. Those thoughts have served me well.

However, I’ve recently become aware of how those thoughts have gone from helpful to hurtful. The very same thoughts that made that yardstick a tool to measure growth and give perspective also made it a tool to dole out punishment. The scary thing is, I had no idea.

1. They have made me insensitive.

It isn’t autism

Been through worse.

Do you have any idea what you could be dealing with?

At some point these thoughts allowed me to put myself on the pedestal of pain, as if no one who hasn’t lived what I have lived could possibly ever have something difficult to deal with or worthy of being upset about.

Continue reading "My Autism Yardstick" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Catholics and The Common Good

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 25, 2014, Health.com: Mother's Birthplace May Affect Autism Risk in Kids

June 24, 2014, Health News: Parents of children with autism often have autistic traits

June 24, 2014, U.S. Catholic: Vaccines are for the common good by Kira Dault

June 24, 2014, TIME: Raising an Autistic Child: Coping With the Costs

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Catholics and The Common Good" »

Dan Olmsted, Dan Olmsted

Midweek Mashup: Yes, Pesticides and Pollution Can Cause Autism – and That Implicates Vaccines

MashupBy Dan Olmsted

When it comes to autism causation, the chemicals are coming home to roost. Just on Saturday I reviewed new research suggesting a link between pollution and both schizophrenia and autism. Mice exposed for just a few hours to the kind of pollution caused by traffic had inflammation in their brains; inflammation kills brain cells; dead brain cells cause all kinds of mental mayhem. I pointed out that in our book, The Age of Autism, we proposed for the first time that general pollution – namely, the coal-fired Industrial Revolution that spewed arsenic, lead, and mercury – fueled the amazing rise of schizophrenia in modern times (as well as a number of other inflammatory diseases including autism).

This week has begun with more evidence for our not-so-crackpot theories –another link between pesticides and autism. Reports CBS News: “Pregnant women who live within a mile of spaces where commercial pesticides are applied appear to have an increased risk of having a child with autism, a new study suggests. The risk that a child would develop autism appeared to be highest for women who lived near farms, golf courses and other public spaces that were treated with pesticides during the last three months of their pregnancies.” (As Anne Dachel points out, this is just the latest of several studies linking pesticides and autism -- and ADHD, Parkinson's etc. The media is in perpetual Groundhog Day mode; I don't think anyone covers autism as a news beat, except us, so they don't remember anything past about midday yesterday.)

No doubt the ABV lobby – Anything But Vaccines when it comes to autism causation – will cling for dear life onto this as they have onto the traffic-causes-autism research. After all, they like to point out, we’re talking prenatal exposures here, and autistic regression after vaccination is a key element of the vaccine case. So let’s blame prenatal pollution and pesticides  --but not vaccines, period, ever! Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Continue reading "Midweek Mashup: Yes, Pesticides and Pollution Can Cause Autism – and That Implicates Vaccines" »

John Stone

UK Care Act Puts Autistic People in Harm’s Way: Write to the Consultation

Us-uk-flagManaging Editor's Note: While we are thinking about the Autism CARES bill, aka Combating Autism Act, the UK has its own concerns regarding legislation for people with autism.

By John Stone

Legislation by the British government will fail autistic people, the United Kingdom’s National Autistic Society has warned  :

Details on the rules determining who will get adult social care from April 2015 have been published today (6 June), as part of a Government consultation on the regulations and guidance accompanying the Care Act 2014.

The NAS does not believe the proposals for the new national eligibility criteria reflect the basic needs of adults with autism, on crucial issues such as staying safe, building relationships or being verbally prompted to carry out tasks. They also fail to ensure that adults with autism will be assessed by assessors who have sufficient autism training.

Unless the proposals are changed to cover the specific needs of people with autism, the new system risks leaving many outside of the care system and at risk of harm.

The measures can be read about here  and you can write to the consultation at this email address . I have written as follows:

Continue reading "UK Care Act Puts Autistic People in Harm’s Way: Write to the Consultation" »

Current Affairs, Dan Olmsted, Dan Olmsted

Bad Bill Rising: House, Senate Primed to Screw Autism Families Once Again

SettleBy Dan Olmsted

Sources tell us that both chambers of the United States Congress will pass similar versions of the newly named but basically unchanged Autism CARES act this week, confirming once again that the federal government couldn’t care less about the autism epidemic engulfing the nation.

The House was marking up the bill Tuesday. It was expected to pass through a suspension-of-the-rules vote as early as the end of the day. In the Senate, the HELP committee will take up the bill Wednesday, and it's expected to sail through the full chamber by unanimous consent. While there may be some ironing out of differences between the two chambers, a final bill is expected to move to the president’s desk with no further chance of intercepting it. (See end of story for appeal to HELP committee chair Tom Harkin [(202) 224 3254] asking him to delay vote.)

“Autism families are getting f----d again. Autism Speaks should be ashamed of themselves,” said one person who has been attempting to head off the legislation AS and federal bureaucrats have been pushing for months.  Autism families will let out a “primal scream” when they realize it’s happened again, he added. 

The new law is looming despite efforts by outgunned and underfunded autism advocates to add more environmental research and targeted funding to the bill. They say the process was hijacked by special interest and disability advocacy groups and that, once again, Autism Speaks big-footed the process with its lobbying. The result: Status quo ante -- and inadequate.

Continue reading "Bad Bill Rising: House, Senate Primed to Screw Autism Families Once Again" »

Kent Heckenlively

Book Review: Mercury Poisoning – The Undiagnosed Epidemic by David Hammond

Mercury David HammondBy Kent Heckenlively

I’m always telling anybody who asks that one of the challenges of our movement is to attract the general public to our issues.  There are so many pieces to this puzzle, our individual stories, the influence of special interests, the corruption of science, but at its heart the question is a simple one: what factors are causing an unprecedented rise in chronic diseases like autism, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease, to name just a few?

It was with these thoughts in mind that I was delighted to pick up David Hammond’s new book, Mercury Poisoning – The Undiagnosed Epidemic, and find that he had so successfully navigated these treacherous waters.  His book is well-organized, easy to read, and authoritative.  Hammond has an excellent writing style and his chapters each take on a specific question, such as how mercury increases the toxicity of other metals, or the complexity of mercury symptoms.

Like most of us, Hammond comes to these issues through personal experience.  He was a laborer in a steel factory in Australia and suffered from the effects of mercury poisoning via inhaled mercury vapors from the scrap metal in molten steel.  He was fortunate enough to find an internet forum comprised of people who had also been exposed to mercury, undergo chelation, and recover his health.

In an unemotional, but straight-forward manner Hammond makes his points.  Modern man is exposed to heavy metals far in access of our ancestors.  Even low levels of mercury, over time, can lead to very severe health problems.  Mercury exposure works in combination with other metals, increasing their toxicity.  Hammond provides examples from the medical literature of the diseases which can be caused by mercury poisoning, and details cases of people who have removed the mercury from their bodies and regained their health.

If there is somebody in your life who is curious about mercury exposure, or you are confused about this important issue, I encourage you to go out and buy this book.

Kent Heckenlively is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.

Dreams, Kim Stagliano

The Future's So Bright... I Might Have to Wear Shades.

Giggling Pig Mia and Hannah

By Kim Stagliano

This is my daughter Mia. She is 19 years old and just finished her fourth year of high school.  Next Fall she starts in a new program within our district called Trac21.  This is a pilot program, the first in our area outside of private autism schools, to serve the autism population in their "gap" years between traditional secondary school and aging out at age 22. 

Our Special Education department recognized early on that the "regular ed special ed" post grad program, called "Elite" in our town, was not going to work for the autism population. (Yet another example of the newness of the epidemic in the last twenty or so years. There are almost no housing or work programs specific to autusm.) First off, it is an itinerant program. The students meet in different locations every day of the week. Second, it is primarily vocational in focus with emphasis on the job sites where you usually see people with disabilities, like stocking shelves at retail and working in a grocery store.  

I was on a committee that ate Dunkin Munchkins and drank coffee for two solid years in an effort to find a site  for Trac21, plan vocational locations and craft a meaningful day for the two students who would be part of the 2015 school year. 23 months into planning, we had a pilot program. Mia will have almost a full school day, with academics in the morning, vocational work, life skills training and the familiarity of a room within the high school near friends and staff she already knows and trusts. Overall, I'm pleased. 

Continue reading "The Future's So Bright... I Might Have to Wear Shades." »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Camps, Crops, Campaigners

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 23, 2014, Newsweek: Autism Risk Much Higher for Children of Pregnant Women Living Near Agricultural Pesticide Areas

June 23, 2014, Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Housing planned for autistic residents

June 22, 2014, UK Daily Mail: Crop sprays 'raise risk of autism in unborn children': Campaigners claim odds can be increased by around 60%

June 22, 2014, Politico.com: How Congress Brought the Measles Back

June 21, 2014,  Lewiston (ME) Sun Journal: Parents, teachers work to educate rising number of Maine kids diagnosed with autism

June 21, 2014, Charlotte (NC) Observer: Camp celebrates kids with autism

June 21, 2014, Liberty Voice: Liberty Voice: Measles Vaccination Rejection Could Be a Public Health Issue

June 20, 2014, Fox 43: Philadelphia -America's most autism friendly city?

June 19, 2014, NorthJersey.com: Millburn High School Autism Awareness Club gives $2,700 to Autism Speaks

June 18, 2014, Offaly Express (Ireland): Dr Eddie Column - Helping to navigate Autism

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Camps, Crops, Campaigners" »

Please HELP Restrict Autism CARES bill from Funding Abortion Research

Restrict Autism Cares AbortionManaging Editor's Note: This post deals with a number of important and politically sensitive topics.  Please use Twitter to reach ranking D's and R's (see lists at end of post.)  Tweet as many decision makers and leaders as you can and share their "@" in a comment so we can follow. A sample Tweet could simply read, "Restrict Autism CARES S2449 Bill from Funding Abortion.  Use Hashtag #RestrictAutismCARESAbortion.    Pope Francis @Pontifex is on my list.  Those who have autism today deserve more than Autism CARES (formerly known as Combating Autism Act) offers. And filling the coffers of genetics researchers and orgs who promote and fund them for what essentially boils down to eugenics should be anathema to all of us, regardless of politcal or social point of view. Thank you.  Here is a link to this post you can copy and share too - Help Restrict Autism CARES Bill From Funding Abortion Research.

By Kevin Barry

There can be no dispute that autism is expensive to society.  One recent estimate placed the cost of autism in the United States at $236 billion dollars per year.   

Is abortion one of the methods the Federal Government wants to use to lower the astronomical 1 in 68 autism rate in the United States and reduce the cost of autism?

The focus on genetic research with respect to autism suggests so and this is not unprecedented. As a consequence of prenatal genetic testing, more than 90% of fetuses which test positive for Down Syndrome are aborted.  Please help us make sure research which could lead to selective abortion for autism is not funded by taxpayer dollars.  

In May 2008, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), the organization created by this same Autism bill which has been recently renamed Autism CARES, made it clear that IACC sought the same 90% “preemption” figure for autism as Down Syndrome.  The articulated goal was to “develop interventions for children at risk for ASD with the goal to preempt autism in 90 percent of younger siblings.”    (page 156)

If IACC’s preemption goal is not largely related to abortion, why is the intervention goal targeting younger siblings?  Genetic research leading to selective abortion should not be part of the federal autism prevention strategy.  

A recent (6/10/14) fundraising email from Autism Speaks’ President Liz Feld promoting their AUT10K program also raised serious concerns about the goals of their research agenda, which has always mirrored the federal government’s agenda.   In the email, Ms. Feld writes:

Unlike previous genome studies, which have traditionally focused on just 2% of DNA codes, the Aut10K program is taking aim at the entire human genetic sequence. And it's already yielding some interesting data. For instance, we are learning that:

- It is possible to identify autism-related "markers" in individuals with autism; 

- Those markers are leading to the understanding of various kinds of "autisms".

- Mutations that arise in sperm, eggs and very early prenatal development can play an important role in autism.

- By studying the complete genome, we can help parents identify other medical conditions that can be hard to diagnose in children with autism.

What type of intervention is Autism Speaks targeting for “very early prenatal development”?  Very early prenatal development is the period when abortion is legal. Is Autism Speaks suggesting “drug discovery” for a first or second trimester fetus or some other intervention?

Continue reading "Please HELP Restrict Autism CARES bill from Funding Abortion Research" »

Cathy Jameson

Online Quizzes: What Do You Know...About Vaccines?

Quiz ShowBy Cathy Jameson

I’ve seen quite a few quizzes posted on Facebook lately.  From What Kind of Animal Should You Get? to Which TV Mom Are You? and Where Should You Live?, people are letting an algorithm tell them something they probably already know.  These quizzes are usually done for pure entertainment purposes, but many people are quite proud of the results and post them for others to see: 

“Dog.  Of course!  I love love love my dog!”

“Sweet! I got Mrs. Brady.  She’s always been my favorite J

“Texas!  Been here all my life and have no plans of leaving!”

As silly and fun as these quizzes are, I wonder if parents were given a real quiz, say at their child’s “well-baby” visit, could they answer the questions correctly.  They’d be simple questions, as you will soon see, but, I wonder if people would have the vaccine knowledge to answer the quiz correctly.  There’s only one way to find out. 

Go ahead.  Take the quiz: 

What Do You Know About Vaccines?

1. What are the vaccine laws in your state? 

2. Does your state mandate that all children get all vaccines to enter school?

3. What is a vaccine exemption and who can get one?

4. If your state has a vaccine exemption, which one(s) can be granted?

a) medical

b) religious

c) philosophical

d) none of the above

5. If you are being bullied into getting vaccines, either from your medical provider or from a school nurse, what action(s) can you take? 

Continue reading "Online Quizzes: What Do You Know...About Vaccines?" »

Dan Olmsted, Dan Olmsted

Weekly Wrap: Pollution Causes Schizophrenia, and Other Not-So-Cranky Ideas

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

I was interested in the recent study that linked autism and schizophrenia with pollution. From Fox News: 

Exposure to environmental pollution may cause brain changes that make people more vulnerable to developing autism or schizophrenia, according to a new study published in Environmental Heath Perspectives. ... Now, researchers from the University of Rochester have uncovered the biological mechanism that may explain how pollution can put people at a higher risk for both autism and schizophrenia. . . . . After four hours of pollution exposure during two four-day periods, mice exposed to pollution experienced marked changes in behavior compared to mice living in an environment with filtered air. . . "That kind of air pollution produces inflammation, it is going to produce inflammation peripherally and in the brain as well. And when you produce inflammation in the brain, you can kill cells there," Cory-Slechta said.

While the pollution in question in this study is the type generated by traffic, it's worth pointing out that the first to link general pollution to the rise of schizophrenia was  apparently ... us! In our 2010 book, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and Man-made Epidemic, we looked at the staggering increase in schizophrenia, particularly in England, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. A lot of the high and mighty in England thought it was just ... better diagnosis. (Sound familiar?)

Mark Blaxill and I were thoroughly persuaded, however, by the painstaking research of E. Fuller Torrey, whose book The Invisible Plague charted the rise of mental illness. (And he's no crackpot -- he was the featured interviewee on 60 Minutes' recent report on mental illness and mass violence.)  Torrey was more focused on the fact that schizophrenia did increase, rather than why; he was busy  fighting off the mental-health version of the skeptics we all face who like to say, Epidemic? What Epidemic? He was kind enough to let us review and cite his voluminous research, and let me tell you, it is completely convincing. Strange as it seems, mental illness of the kind we deal with these days really did go from a standing start to an epidemic.

In our chapter called Pollution, we focused on schizophrenia, "The Industrial Revolution offers what is perhaps the first case study in how polluting the environment may have created conditions that give rise to new disease." We noted: "Starting around 1750, more and more peopole simply went mad in England and Wales. Statistics in E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., and Judy Miller's book The Invisible Plague, on 'Insane Persons in Psychiatric Hospitals, Workhouses and Under Care' tell the story. In 1807 the total was 5,500; by 1870 it was 54,713 -- a staggering tenfold increase over the 1807 figure. Yet historical references to insanity are few and far between before the middle of the 1700s. The meager references to madness that do exist before this time don't usuallly reference any kind of early adult onset, a characteristic that often accompanied this emerging form of mental illness."

What was happening? Most likely, some of the elements in coal -- especially lead, but also mercury and arsenic --could trigger brain disease in susceptible individuals (or just about anybody breathing that toxic stuff day after day without even the benefit of smokestacks dispersing it). Certainly, the idea that lead is implicated in schizophrenia is not new. Opler and colleagues proposed in 2004 in Environmental Health Perspectives that prenatal lead exposure might be a risk factor for later-onset schizophrenia, and that the continued use of leaded gasoline outside the developed world is a concern.

But linking the historic rise of schizophrenia to general pollution -- that appears to be our idea, one that we developed with data, charts, and logical argument four years ago. I bring this up now not to crow (although establishing priority in the publication of ideas is important for all kinds of reasons), but to suggest that those of us who link environmental exposures to modern illnesses are not so crackpot after all. We are just a little ahead of the game.

Continue reading "Weekly Wrap: Pollution Causes Schizophrenia, and Other Not-So-Cranky Ideas" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Hear About the Herd?

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 20, 2014, Financial Post (Canada): Junk Science Week: Vaccinating the 'herd' By Lawrence Solomon

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Hear About the Herd?" »

Current Affairs, Vaccine Safety

CDC's Vaccine Safety Research is Exposed as Flawed and Falsified in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journal

CdclogoWATCHUNG, N.J., June 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Just months after U.S. Congressman Bill Posey compared the Center for Disease Control (CDC)'s vaccine safety studies to the SEC's Bernie Madoff scandal, malfeasance in the CDC's studies of thimerosal-containing vaccines has, for the first time, been documented in peer-reviewed scientific literature. While the CDC states on its website that "low doses of thimerosal in vaccines do not cause harm, and are only associated with minor local injection site reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site," the journal BioMed Research International now provides direct evidence that the CDC's safety assurances about the mercury-containing preservative are not fact-based, according to the article's lead author, Brian Hooker, PhD.

The paper opens by citing over 165 studies that have found Thimerosal to be harmful, including 16 studies that had reported outcomes in human infants and children of death, acrodynia, poisoning, allergic reaction, malformations, auto-immune reaction, Well's syndrome, developmental delay and neurodevelopmental disorders including tics, speech delay, language delay, ADHD and autism. These findings by multiple independent research groups over the past 75+ years have consistently found thimerosal to be harmful. "Substantial scientific evidence exists and has existed for many years that the vaccine ingredient thimerosal is a developmental neurotoxin" says George Lucier, former Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program.

Studies showing harm from thimerosal sharply contradict published outcomes of six CDC coauthored and sponsored papers – the very studies that CDC relies upon to declare that thimerosal is "safe" for use in infant and maternal vaccines. Dr. Hooker, biochemist and vaccine industry watchdog, said of the six CDC studies, "Each of these papers is fatally flawed from a statistics standpoint and several of the papers represent issues of scientific malfeasance.  For example, important data showing a relationship between thimerosal exposure and autism are withheld from three of the publications (Price et al. 2010, Verstraeten et al. 2003 and Madsen et al. 2003).  This type of cherry-picking of data by the CDC in order to change the results of important research studies to support flawed and dangerous vaccination policies should not be tolerated."  

Dr. Boyd Haley, international expert in mercury toxicity and a co-author of the recently published paper said "There is no doubt that authorities in the CDC have initiated and participated in a cover-up of vaccine-induced damage from thimerosal to our children----and this I consider criminal." The paper, "Methodological Issues and Evidence of Malfeasance in Research Purporting to Show Thimerosal in Vaccines is Safe," was published on June 6 and contains eight pages of evidence that the CDC has had knowledge of the vaccine preservative's neurological risks, yet continues to cover them up.

Continue reading "CDC's Vaccine Safety Research is Exposed as Flawed and Falsified in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journal " »

Current Affairs, Vaccine Safety

Flu Update & CDC's Amazing Alice In Wonderland Website

JabberwockyBy  David M. Burd 

The below U.S. Government text (following my own writing) is current and copied from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  As stated by CDC, "The English language content on this website is being archived for historic and reference purposes only."

Though first published by CDC in 2009 their website remains the same in 2014, concerning the vast majority of annual flu shots that contain the ethylmercury (thimerosal) preservative. The CDC repeatedly claims this mercury preservative is completely harmless so I won't bother to specifically cite their repetitions.  Just read for yourself. Be forewarned, you may vomit.  

Importantly, it is worth noting thimerosal/mercury has been banned in vaccines for decades in the rest of the world  BECAUSE it is recognized as a devastating neurotoxin - yet NOT recognized as such by the CDC and its domestic Health Industry Allies as enumerated in CDC's website dogmatic text (below).

It is also crucial to review in 2009 that scores of millions of doses of H1N1 flu shots laden with mercury/thimerosal were injected into infants and pregnant mothers (in addition to the "normal" flu shot) as panicked American parents acquiesced to the national hysteria generated by the CDC. Thus, countless millions received double and even triple doses of mercury.

At the end of said 2009-2010 H1N1 flu season, U.S. "flu-associated" pediatric deaths of 281 were three to nine times so-called normal years, with numerous news accounts of pregnant mothers aborting their unborn babies after getting their CDC-promoted mercury-laden flu shots (with the vaccine-mercury passed into the developing fetus).  

So, as to today, the latest 2013-2014 flu season is over.  Canada's PHAC and the US CDC (using the same flu reporting protocols) have respectively reported zero (0) Canadian pediatric flu-associated deaths; whereas flu-associated U.S. pediatric deaths were ninety-seven (97).  

Guess what?  Ninety-five percent (95%) of Canadian parents refuse flu shots for under two-year old infants (per Pediatrics Journal paper published by canadian doctors two years ago), and Canada had zero mortality this last flu season.  Whereas 52% of pestered, fear-mongered American parents had their babies injected with TWO (2!) toxic flu shots, the first at at six months and the second at seven months, as vigorously promoted by the CDC and followed by America's negligent pediatricians.

Continue reading "Flu Update & CDC's Amazing Alice In Wonderland Website" »

Kim Stagliano

The Perfectly Imperfect Family

Kim summer headshot 2014By Kim Stagliano

Wednesday, 6:28pm

I just fed my family dinner. My husband is doing the dishes. Mia is laughing and making stimmy sounds to an old Sesame Street CD-ROM from the year 2001. Oh, the CD-ROM does not play in our current computer - in fact, we no longer have any of the old Sony Sesame Street CD-ROM computer games. Mia found her old friend Elmo on You Tube and she is watching another person play the games.  She is wearing her evening attire. Black yoga pants and a black T-shirt. She changes into this outfit each day, after wearing her blue jeans (got her into shorts today after weeks of work) and a pink shirt. Pink. Not lavender. She's no dummy. I tried telling her it was "purple pink." No soap.

She's happy.

Gianna is pacing back and forth in the family room near Mia. Always near Mia. This room is open to our kitchen, and my office is a corner office. Corner of the  dining area of our kitchen.  She is holding her iTouch and a blue rubber duckie. In the background are the sounds of running water and clanking pans, NY Channel 4 news, Mia's voice, and Pink Floyd's Breathe - playing behind my log-in screen on Gianna's log-in on my computer (there goes the helicopter sound) as part of a series of  PBS BoohBah videos that have been set to all manner of musical tastes. Miss G loves music. And Pink Floyd.  And Sammla Mammas Manna Mix. And Dimmu Booghir.

She's happy.




Bella is upstairs watching Sesame Street Count With Me seated next to he ooccupational therapy steam roller device in her room.  There is every chance she is naked.

She's happy.

Why am I giving you a blow by blow of my household? My unusual household filled with autism and stims and communication deficits and sleepless nights and 24/7/365 work for Mark and me?  My home full of fear for the future (my 19 year old "graduates this week.) Why?

Because across town, right now, is the wake of a 15 year old cheerleader from our high school. A perky, blonde "perfect" kid from the cheer bow in her hair to her bouncy toes.

She committed suicide in her home last weekend.

She was 15 years old.

There is no perfect kid. Ever. We love our children as they are - we try to help them in every way possible. I do for my girls. You do for your children. And I know that AA's heart-broken parents did for the same for their child.

Continue reading "The Perfectly Imperfect Family" »

Current Affairs

MIT Researcher’s New Warning: At Today’s Rate, Half of All U.S. Children Will Be Autistic (by 2025)

Pesticide flagManaging Editor's Note: Dr. Seneff presented at Autism One last month.  You can watch the video here.

We excerpted this post from Nick Meyer's AltHealthWorks site. You can read the full post at his site.

Research scientist Stephanie Seneff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a widely published author on topics ranging from Azlheimer’s Disease to autism and cardiovascular disease, raised plenty of eyebrows recently with a bold proclamation on autism at a special panel in Massachusetts about genetically modified organisms and other topics.

“At today’s rate, by 2025, one in two children will be autistic,”  Seneff said last Thursday in Groton, MA at an event sponsored by the holistic-focused Groton Wellness organization.

Seneff presented slides showing a remarkably consistent correlation between the rising use of Roundup (with its active ingredient glyphosate) on crops and the rising rates of autism; while it doesn’t show a direct correlation it does give researchers plenty to think about, especially considering Seneff’s research into the side effects of autism that mimic glyphosate toxicity and deficiencies.

The slide notes that the heaviest use of Roundup, Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller, began in 1990 and continued to rise since. Meanwhile, the  number of kids with autism has gone from 1 in 5,000 in 1975 to 1 in 68 today, a puzzling and frustrating stat that shows no signs of slowing down and one that correlates strongly with the rise in glyphosate use.

Of course, autism is a complex problem with many potential causes, but the numbers are particularly of note considering how close the correlation is, and Seneff’s credentials.

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: AZ "Born With Autism?"

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 17, 2014, AZ Republic: Southeast Valley school teaches children with autism

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: AZ "Born With Autism?"" »

Unintended Ecological Consequences of Vaccination

Andy AustinBy Anne Dachel

You can't bring up the link between vaccines and autism without hearing about a paper published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, in 1998.  The author was the much vilified doctor, Andrew Wakefield, and for the sixteen years, the media has blamed the controversy over vaccines and autism on Dr. Wakefield, (and of course, "former Playboy bunny," Jenny McCarthy). 

(I just finished my book, The Big Autism Cover-Up, and the second chapter is all about how the press made Wakefield into the fall guy for linking vaccines and autism.)

The media loves to tell us about how Wakefield produced a fraudulent study and lost his medical license, conveniently leaving out the details--like the fact that parents came to him for help because he's a gastroenterologist and their kids had bowel disease--which they developed along with autism after receiving the MMR vaccine. I have never seen coverage where a member of the press actually talked to even one of the 12 parents Wakefield wrote about.  No one wants to hear the truth about his work.  No reporter ever mentions the fact that the British government indemnified the MMR maker, so it would be the government that would have to take responsibility for the damage done, something that would be a huge incentive for them to attack this man. 

Dr. Wakefield is a hero to the autism community. He does not quit. There are lots of doctors who know what vaccines are really doing to our children, but they remain silent. It takes a special kind of courage to stand by the truth and have your career and your reputation destroyed. Wakefield has been a constant presence at the annual Autism One Conference in Chicago since its beginning and this year's talk, the Legacy of Vaccine Injury,  was all-empowering for the parents who were there.

While the media continues the pretense that all the science is in and parents should have no fears about vaccinating their children, Wakefield is out there challenging both the claims of vaccine safety and efficacy. And he's not going away. Despite the fact that, as he said, he's a "disenfranchised" scientist, he talked about his current work in filmmaking.  He's out to educate parents who are new to the controversy, but none-the-less worried.  He has, as he said, "the most extraordinary stories to tell."  Films are a most important medium because, according to Wakefield, the story of just one person has more of an impact than talking about what happened to a million people. It "can persuade the agnostic."

Wakefield made it clear that while the vaccine makers continue to promote their products, the tide is turning against them.

Continue reading "Unintended Ecological Consequences of Vaccination" »

Fight Alzheimer's but "CARE" about Autism? Tell DC You Need Action Not Just Acceptance.

AANTake Action!

Autism research way to little, and misdirected    

Please contact your member of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC and ask him or her to reject House Resolution HR. 4631 and Senate Bill S. 2449, the reauthorization (refunding) of the former Combating Autism Act. In a truly bizarre move the bill has been renamed the Autism CARES (Collaboration, Accountability , Research, Education and Support) Act. This was done to placate the people who think that there is nothing wrong with autism and that we should not look for the causes, treatments and possible cures for autism.
   
Please click on the Take Action link above to send a message to your member of the House of Representatives and your two US Senators to let them know that federal autism research efforts are wholly inadequate and misdirected. Tomorrow we will be sending you your Reps phone numbers and ask you to call.
    
We believe that the federal government spending on autism research has been a fraction of that Money down the drain required compared to the scope of the epidemic, and the money allocated so far has been misspent.  Finding the environmental causes of autism, the biological mechanisms in the body, treatments and possible cures, need to be the focus of a redirected federal autism research program at a far larger scale than the current proposal.
    

Continue reading "Fight Alzheimer's but "CARE" about Autism? Tell DC You Need Action Not Just Acceptance." »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: EPA Whistleblower on Science of Sewage Sludge Safety

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 16, 2014, BBC: Half of adults with autism 'afraid to leave house'

June 15, 2014, Bangor Daily News: Autism Lives Here: Father's Day Edition

June 15, 2014, Truth-Out: How the EPA Faked the Entire Science of Sewage Sludge Safety: A Whistleblower's Story

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: EPA Whistleblower on Science of Sewage Sludge Safety" »

Natalie Palumbo

Losing My Religion

By Natalie Palumbo

I’m 20, a rising sophomore in Motion Design at Ringling College of Art and Design, and the younger sibling of an older brother with low-verbal autism. I recently finished my first year at Ringling with all A’s and B’s, and one of my demo reels was included in the Best of Ringling gallery for 2014.



Adjusting to being away at school often made me reflect on my life at home. I thought about how different my life was compared to my peers, and how that reality made me withdraw from social groups. It made me remember the moment I realized my brother would not recover from his autism. That realization changed my life forever.

NP billboard

I was 14, and dealing with a few hardships. We were living in a new state away from all extended family, and my father was traveling for his job three weeks out of four. Anthony needed supervision at all times because of his language deficits, and I had to help my mom at home. At this point, I knew I wanted to pursue media arts as a career, and was making art constantly to cope with my pain. I was participating in competitive art programs, and won several regional and state competitions. Because I kept to myself, several students harassed me for being an art student, and resented my getting attention for it. It seemed to get worse when I won a billboard competition for a ‘No Smoking’ campaign. It was a dream come true for me to see my art on a billboard. It was validation that I could really make this my career. Even though it brought me more rejection from my peers, the thrill of seeing my art on a billboard meant more to me than their acceptance.

Continue reading "Losing My Religion" »

Sponsor News

Autism’s Environmental Component: New Research Upends Scientific Orthodoxy Strangling Autism Progress

Bill-BernardBy Sallie Bernard, President, SafeMinds

New research has just come out which will hopefully drive a stake into a scientific theory that has strangled scientific progress in autism. The theory – that autism’s cause is almost entirely genetic – hasn’t matched the evidence for decades and has undermined promising avenues to prevention and effective treatments.

My son with autism is a happy young adult with a big engaging personality. But his left hand is permanently swollen and scarred. He bites his hand when he gets anxious,occasionally so hard that it bleeds.  Sometimes we know what triggers the panic attacks. Often we have no idea. They simply arise within, from his biology. In very anxious episodes he may pound his head and cry, “my head hurts.” His gift of autism comes with a heavy price.

Bill was diagnosed with autism in 1992 when he was four and a half years old. After developing normally for 2 1/2 years, he regressed into a severe condition marked by loss of speech and motor skills, behavior dysregulation and altered sensory and mood states that finally became what is called autism.

A few years after his diagnosis, the scientific theory that autism was all genetic—inherited from family members due to rare gene mutations—emerged as a way to explain the mystery of autism. At the time, this view was a step forward from the previous theory of autism as an outcome of bad parenting. At least it attempted to view autism as biologically based rather than psychosocial, and many parent advocates became believers.

Read the full post at the Safeminds site.

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Measles, Whooping Cough and Vaccine Failure

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 16, 2014, CNN: Have an Infant? Here's What you Need to Know About Whooping Cough

June 16, 2014, Belfast Telegraph (UK): Abuse scale in autism 'devastating'

June 14, 2014, The UK Guardian: Half of autistic adults 'abused by someone they trusted as a friend'

June 14,2014, Christianity Today:  Thank God for Vaccines

June 14, 2014, TIME Magazine: California Warns of Whooping Cough Epidemic

June 8, 2014 LivingWhole.org: This Mama Isn't Scared of the Shmeasle Measles

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Measles, Whooping Cough and Vaccine Failure" »

Current Affairs, Science

And Now the Truth: Environmental Toxins "Not a Good Fit" for NIH Autism Research

Science denialBy Dr. Mary Catherine DeSoto

Background.

This is in the context of  broad disapproval and frustration within the autism community over NIH funding priorities.  The general level of concern was documented by a 2008 letter signed by eleven major autism organizations (including Autism Speaks, Autism Research Institute, Safeminds, Autism Society of America, Generation Rescue, National Autism Association). The letter stated, "Research on the environment, gene-environment interaction and treatment are underrepresented...." There seems to be great frustration among these groups and others that regardless of acts of Congress, directives or calls for serious investigation into how the environment triggers persons predisposed to autism, there is too much research focused on genetics to the detriment of studies of environmental triggers. 

The Inter-Agency Autism Committee (IACC) developed a plan that included serious research spending on investigating  autism's environmental causes. Their strategic plan was published.  In 2009 there was a program to increase federal spending (the "ARRA" funds related to the need to stimulate the economy out of recession and into recovery) and NIH announced a multitude of new funding opportunities as a result.  There was a long "Research Funding Announcement" (RFA) which is a call for scientists to submit proposals to spend available grant money on their research interests.

My experience.

Persons who get their PhDs in a scientific field learn how to get grants to support their research interests. One thing that is often done is to send an initial, short letter of inquiry, to get some feedback on how to pitch a full application for grant monies. Full applications are big long documents, sometimes 100 pages or more. 

Like many researchers employed at a university, I receive emails from my university's grant office calling my attention to new funding opportunities that might be a good match, and I was encouraged to consider the ARRA grant opportunities from NIH. I noted there were a lot of RFA's (the full document was 181 pages!).  I searched for calls with the word Autism in the announcement: there were ten. Eight clearly did not match the environmental intent of the strategic plan; they were about developing registries or comparing treatments. One was about gene and environment interactions but mentioned determining specific genetic variations and seemed to require genotyping. Only one mentioned the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Strategic Plan and measuring biomarkers.  This one looked good. 

It was the only RFA on the NIH website posted (out of 181 pages of short postings) that mentioned the IACC strategic plan or seemed to be a fit for measures of Autism's environmental triggers or exposures. The NIH document included available grant opportunities for all branches of NIH (including NIEH, NIMH etc).  I then looked up the IACC strategic plan and read it carefully.  It seemed like a great fit.  The RFA I inquired about read:

04-MH-101* Autism: Addressing the challenge. Target research gap areas identified by the Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research, including biomarkers, novel interventions, and new tools for screening, among other topics. Contact: Dr. Ann E. Wagner, 301-443-5944, awagner@mail.nih.gov [Note: Ann E Wagner is currently a branch chief at NIMH, the part of NIH directly that houses the IACC]

-


My plan was to measure toxic levels in the environment, and then directly measure the levels in children with autism and controls (biomarkers of), and correlate levels to symptoms. In this way, I could establish norms for measured biomarkers based on measured environmental exposures among typical children, and then compare those with ASD to the norms. Possibly (this is what I hoped to check), if levels were higher than expected based on similar exposure in autistic children, this would point towards vulnerability to exposure and efforts could be made to limit toxic exposures in vulnerable children. It was a good match to the strategic intent of the IACC plan because I planned to measure biomarkers of exposure, which could lead to a novel intervention. I took the time to look at the IACC strategic plan (since it was directly mentioned in the funding announcement I was interested in pursuing). I located it and read it carefully to see if my aims were congruent. They were. To wit, the IACC website strategic plan on USA's Health and Human Services website (HHS.gov) included these key statements

Initiate studies on at least five environmental factors identified in the recommendations from the 2007 IOM report.

Identify and standardize at least three measures for identifying markers of environmental exposures.

Determine the effect of at least five environmental factors on risk for subtypes of ASD.

From my read, out of the 181 page NIH document and hundreds of their RFA's, this was quite clearly the only possible match for what I wanted to do, which was to measure environmental exposure both environmentally and via biomarkers, among children with and without autism, and compare to symptom expression which could suggest strategies for intervention. However, I also had a specific methodological question about the possibility of including initial testing of a brand new technology being developed by some physicists to measure toxins. This prompted me to send a short inquiry via email. This is what I wrote.

> -----Original Message-----

> From: Cathy DeSoto [mailto:cathy.desoto@uni.edu]

> Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 5:25 PM

> To: Wagner, Ann (NIH/NIMH) [E]; Rob Hitlan

> Subject: 04-MH-101 Autism: Addressing the challenge

> We are interested in applying for the grant referred to below and will

> be submitting an application in early April. I have read the Interagency

> autism committee strategic plan and believe our aims would be a good match.

> The overall goal will be to investigate environmental risk factors,

> primarily via sources of pollution/toxic emissions from the perspective

> of genetic susceptibility for toxins having neurological effects,

> although we do not intend to measure genotype in anyway. We intend to

> propose direct measures of toxins among those with an ASD and controls

> (blood, hair or both) as well as measures of toxins in the environment

> relating to prevalence patterns, all of which will be elaborated upon in

> the actual proposal, of course.

> My reason for writing is to inquire if it would be appropriate to

> include a relatively small portion of the budget for testing of new

> spectroscopy instrumentation for the purpose of quantifying

> environmental toxins. Because we will already be proposing measures of

> toxins (for example soil samples via a grid layout in pockets of high

> prevalence) and because the new spectroscopy technique would be expected

> to allow easier and more highly accurate measures than is currently

> available (which would be explained in the full proposal), it would be a

> cost effective way to validate the method. Once validates, it is

> possible the new technique would be highly useful in relating toxins to

> health outcomes such as autism.

Continue reading "And Now the Truth: Environmental Toxins "Not a Good Fit" for NIH Autism Research " »

Kent Heckenlively, Sponsor News

Kent Heckenlively: An Autism Father's Day Here I Stand

Super dadBy Kent Heckenlively Health Choice Square

As a father, I live a divided life. My daughter Jacqueline has severe autism, seizures, and at the age of sixteen years old still cannot speak. When she walks she sways like a drunken sailor, always looking like she’s about to capsize – but more often than not making it to her destination.

By contrast, my thirteen-year-old son Ben is neurotypical. He does not have seizures or autism, and is athletically gifted. He is usually the fastest kid in his group, and as his soccer coach recently told me, “Ben has this almost sixth sense for being in the right place at the right time to get the ball.” 

My son is also highly verbal and has a wicked sense of humor. Because I’m a science teacher and a member of the executive board of my union, I’m often interacting with a few of his teachers and they tell me many of the funny things he says in class. I cringe sometimes because I recognize my barbed, sarcastic humor and know that in many instances it is appreciated and amusing to people, but fear in others it will get him into trouble. “Watch your tongue,” I’ll tell him, worried that he might be viewed as defiant, and yet secretly proud that he is nobody’s fool.

As a science teacher I’m aware that my parental life presents me with a classic science experiment. I have one child with no trace of autism or other neurological problems, and another who is severely affected. Granted, the sample size is small, but it might yet present some intriguing data for further consideration.

Continue reading "Kent Heckenlively: An Autism Father's Day Here I Stand" »

Cathy Jameson

Autism Dads—Taking the Road Less Traveled

Dad WoodsBy Cathy Jameson

Today is another ‘holiday’ for many here in the United States.  Across the country thousands of Fathers are being put on a pedestal to be honored and remembered. 

Dads of younger children will be met with happy faces, sweet giggles squealing a “Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!” greeting.  Warm hugs and lots of smiles will be given.  So will handmade arts and crafts, ugly ties and gift cards to sports’ events and hardware stores. 

I know that the many of the Dads in our own community won’t hear their child say, “Happy Father’s Day”.  They won’t receive personal gifts from their children.  Their children, like my son, are incapable of understanding the meaning of today’s festivities.  Our children might be able to participate in some Father’s Day activities, but it might be only because they are directed or told to do so.  It’s not that our children are being rude or are dismissing the role that their devoted father, it’s that they have no understanding of the concept.  The regressive nature of the autism many of our children have prevent them from that.  They cannot talk.  They cannot wish Dad well.  And they don’t know how to partake in days set aside to honor their Dad.

Our children won’t ask Dad to meet them in the front yard to toss the football.  They won’t sit next to Dad at a hometown baseball game.  They won’t ask to join Dad in the garage to tinker under the hood of the car.  They won’t suggest to ride bikes to the pool either.  It’ll be a different type if Father’s Day for a lot of the Dads in our community.  Diapers will be changed on our pre-teen children.  Dietary restrictions will rule the celebration.  So might another sleepless night and unpredictable self-injurious injuries. 

Dads in our community, the ones who stay devoted despite disappointment, despite major struggles, despite being rerouted to a different path they now travel are the ones we wish to honor today.  They are the ones who remain true to their role as father, as protector, as guide and as teacher.  It may be a different sort of teaching, a different way to guide and involve protecting their child in ways they never imagined, but the role autism Dads play are important and just as valuable. 

Continue reading "Autism Dads—Taking the Road Less Traveled" »

Current Affairs

Rep. Bill Posey Blogs: "Fix The Combatting Autism Act"

Bill PoseyManaging Editor's Note: Below is an excerpt from Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) latest blog entry  in "The Hill."

Autism Spectrum Disorder has increased dramatically in the last 25 years.  It is a crisis.  What will legislators do with a federal program which, after eight years and $1.7 billion, has failed to truly address this crisis?  Sadly, Washington is on a path to rush through a five-year reauthorization, raise spending 20 percent and hope for better results without addressing fundamental structural flaws in the current program.
 
It will not be easy to reach consensus on improving the Combating Autism Act (CAA) in a way that provides effective accountability and brings results and meaningful improvement for those living with autism and their families.  Given the magnitude of the issue on a personal and societal level, we should not settle for less than an optimal bill.  I would suggest that we work expeditiously to come together with the entire community and improve current proposals, including meaningful measures to improve the outcomes of the American people’s investment.
 

When Congress passed the CAA in 2006, there was a desire to focus the efforts and bring significant improvement.   Sadly, the CAA has not delivered measurable improvements by most standards and has had too little oversight.  Rather than a point person for autism at an Assistant Secretary level who is singularly focused on autism, the responsibility for these activities is delegated to Dr. Thomas Insel, the Director of the National Institutes of Mental Health and the National Institutes of Health, who admittedly is stretched thin and has many other duties.  He serves as Chairman of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).
 
At a recently called House Oversight Subcommittee meeting, Dr. Insel admitted that after eight years and spending $1.7 billion, the programs developed in the CAA have failed to determine the causes of the enormous increase of the prevalence of autism, failed to prevent a single case of autism, failed to produce any new biomedical treatment for autism, failed to materially reduce the age of diagnosis of autism, failed to ensure appropriate medical care for the co-occurring health problems faced by many with autism, failed to ensure even basic safety protocols for people with autism who "wander", unfortunately some to their deaths, and overall, failed the families facing autism—most especially the approximately one-third of families with children most severely affected by autism, who literally cannot speak for themselves, and whose severe disabilities portend one of the largest unfunded federal fiscal liabilities of the 21st century.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/209310-fix-the-combating-autism-act#ixzz34YNLYFxF
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

Sponsor News

Combatting Autism Act: Autism Policy Reform Coalition Seeks to Improve Stagnant Act

Safeminds 2014 LogoFrom our sponsor Safeminds on the reauthorization of the Combatting Urgent-Actions-WBMdAutism  Act: Pick up the phone and call your Representatives and Senators.  If the CDC is correct, there are 1.2 million families with affected children in the country.  That is a lot of phone calls.  Tell them what your family needs.  Tell them you support the APRC principles and that you expect them to work for a better bill.  Tell them that 5 more years of the status quo is not going to help.

By Katie Weisman, for the SafeMinds Government Affairs Committee

I’ve lived in “autism land” now for over 14 years with 3 wonderful boys.  I love my children more than my life, but I cannot say that it has been an easy road and I wonder how much less they would have to work and struggle if autism didn’t affect them the way it does.  Would they have girlfriends and be driving already?  Would they be able to write a paragraph independently?  Would they have part-time jobs and be saving for college?  I have long since given up trying to predict where they will end up and I am beyond grateful for how far they have come, from being completely non-verbal at 4, but I will never give up fighting to get back what was taken from them and right now is one of those opportunities.   They, and all of the other kids and adults with autism, deserve real help and real action.

I am asking all of you who have ever fought for your kids to help and take action.
   
CAA

The Combating Autism Act is up for Reauthorization by the end of September.  SafeMinds is part of a coalition of groups advocating for substantive change in the bill.  We are calling ourselves the Autism Policy Reform Coalition (APRC) and we represent over 100,000 families nationwide.  You can read about our member groups and our policy recommendations on our brand new website: http://www.autismpolicy.org/

In a nutshell, we are working for the following in the bill:

1) A two-office model of autism policy coordination – one for research and one for working with all the other federal agencies.  We truly need new leadership from the top down.  I want this legislation to ensure that there is at least one person with whom the “buck stops”; just one person who wakes up every morning and says, “My job is to help people with autism lead better lives.”

Right now, the IACC, which is “in charge” of federal coordination is not functioning.  It holds a handful of meetings a year, it has no authority to actually allocate any funds, and it does not have the resources to implement anything.  This is a video from the end of the July 2013 IACC meeting in which members (mostly public) express their frustration with how things are going:




2) More community input into the research that gets funded so that the priorities shift away from basic research towards studies that will help people.  Treatment, best-practice, environmental causation and prevention are all grossly underfunded.  As an example, in the last 5 years reported, $169.8 million dollars has been spent trying to find genes for autism, while only $9.6 million was spent on studies of interventions to help non-verbal individuals speak/communicate.  I do not believe that this represents the priorities of individuals with autism or their families...

Read the full post at Safemiinds.

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Update: Documentary on Montana State College's Maurice Hilleman

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 13, 2014, Montana State News: Film crew visits MSU for documentary on grad who saved lives of millions 

Continue reading "Dachel Media Update: Documentary on Montana State College's Maurice Hilleman" »

Kim Stagliano

Summertime and the (Autism) Living is Queasy

Kids pool no faces


By Kim Stagliano

I hate to be a Debbie Drowner, but I'm going to send out this reminder that our kids are so terribly vulnerable to death by drowning. There are too many children, from tiny tots to teens, who have lost their lives to a watery grave.

Please share your ideas on safety - do you go to a town pool? Do you have a backyard pool? Does your child wander or bolt?

In 2008 we rented a house in town with an in-ground pool that had a properly securing safety fence around it. Truth be told, it was the best summer of our lives.  What a luxury to have our own pool at our disposal. I did not have to worry about behaviors or even the sudden skinnydipping predicament (cute at home, not so much at the town pool). And the pool became a social tool.  The photo above is from Gianna's 12th birthday party. I invited lots of the girls' typical and autism peers and even my husband's and my friends were eager to join us for a dip. I'd love another home with a pool.

That said, the dangers are so very real for our children.  If your child is at a camp of any sort, or might swim somewhere during Extended School Year programming - please make sure the staff is constantly "eyes on arms length" and fully vigilant. Explain to family members who are not used to our level of alertness that even 1 minute can be the difference between life and death. 

A teen drowned in LA earlier this month.  The first story among the many I anticipate this summer.  Let's all work to prevent DBA - "Drowning By Autism."

Marco.....


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.

Vaccine Safety

Response to: Guest Column: Vaccination key to Maintaining Health, Fighting Disease

LetterA recent guest column in The Tahoe Daily News prompted a well-thought out response by Dawn Winkler. Below is an excerpt from the column, written by a Public Health official, and the response. We are pleased to see that the paper posted the response, allowing for cogent debate on the topic of vaccination safety.

Recent headlines declared, “Whooping cough cases rise dramatically,” “Measles outbreak in Orange County, worst in two decades,” and “Polio declared a global public health emergency.”

What do these diseases have in common? They can be prevented with vaccinations. Recently, however, we started seeing more people choosing not to vaccinate. Anti-vaccination celebrities and others have made emotional but unfounded claims that have fueled an increase in personal belief exemptions (PBEs) to school-aged vaccination.

For example, a significant percentage of parents still question if there is a link between vaccination and autism even though very large, well-done studies from multiple countries have answered that question with a resounding “No.”

As public health officials, parents and community members, we are very concerned about the rise in the number of people choosing not to vaccinate themselves or their children.

The reduction in disease from vaccination is undeniably one of the greatest achievements of mankind. Smallpox, which killed an estimated 300 million people in the 20th century, has been eradicated. The last case of smallpox in the U.S. was in 1949, and people have forgotten how terrible it was.

The world is 99 percent of the way to getting rid of polio, but this year it is re-emerging in countries that were previously polio-free. In the U.S., about 16,000 Americans were paralyzed every year from polio before vaccination. We should not forget that. We need to keep vaccinating until polio, like smallpox, is gone worldwide.  Read the full column HERE.


Here is Dawn's response: Not So Fast.

6/11/14

 

To The Editor,

 

I would be remiss if I did not respond to today’s guest column titled “Vaccination key to maintaining health, fighting disease” by Ken Cutler and Robert Oldham.

 

Had either of them taken the time to look at actual statistics of ANY pertussis outbreak anywhere in the country over the past two decades, they would have seen that the vast majority of those diagnosed with pertussis, or whooping cough, were either fully or partially vaccinated. In fact, vaccinated children may be more likely to contract the disease according to several studies.

 

As for measles, this once common, beneficial childhood disease conferred lifelong immunity, something the vaccine simply does not and cannot offer. Vaccination of any kind induces what is known as temporal or humoral immunity. Not the lifelong, cell mediated immunity that is gained by either contracting or being exposed to the disease. My own grandmother, who is still alive, is one of seven children all of whom had both pertussis and measles. She actually had both diseases simultaneously.

Continue reading "Response to: Guest Column: Vaccination key to Maintaining Health, Fighting Disease " »

John Stone

Still Covering Up: the New Autism Speaks/JAMA Study of the Cost of Autism

British MoneyBy John Stone Money stack

"The present study seems to do two things: regard notional cases based on a half-baked theory of general prevalence as actual, but also underestimating costs of individual real cases by more that three times (on a breakdown of their own figures)."

There have been many news stories in the past days of  a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association - funded by Autism Speaks  - of the financial cost of autism in both the United States and the United Kingdom.  The Daily Mail notably reported that the calculated annual cost of autism in the UK of £32 billion ($ 51billion) was greater than the cost of “heart disease, cancer and strokes combined”. It might have seemed momentarily as if someone for once was dealing with the autism issue honestly. After all co-author Martin Knapp, London School of Economics professor, was co-author of a similar study in 2001 which estimated the cost to the UK as exceeding a mere £1 billion ($1.6 billion) .  That the scale of the problem might be 30 times worse now than thirteen years ago is something that many of us might have suspected. Unfortunately, what Prof Knapp seems to have discovered - rather incredibly - is that he just happened to have missed most of the cases back then. Already in 1998 (the year of the Wakefield Lancet paper) the UK's National Autistic Society had started to make out that there were in excess of half a million cases in the UK population but the 2001 paper properly ignored this assuming a prevalence of 5 in 10,000.

In the new study (table 2) we read that there are 196,489 autistic people in the UK of 18 or over with intellectual disability (ID) and 294,734 without ID.

The authors state:

“...Third,there is some controversy about current ASD prevalence. The prevalence estimates we used are lower than new figures from Peacock et al..or Kim et al…(1.5% and 2.6%, respectively). Although this does not affect our per-person costs, it can markedly affect the estimated total societal costs.We rejected the estimate of Peacock et al because it is based on healthcare claims data with no verification of the diagnosis. We rejected the estimate of Kim et al because it is based on data from South Korea and may not be applicable to the United Kingdom or the United States...”

The Kim paper is, of course, Autism Speaks’ outrageous study from the city of Goyang where apart from anything else more than three quarters of the positively screened cases were withdrawn by their families from the study before it was completed, but in both instances they are citing studies calculating autism incidence in children as a basis for prevalence in entire populations, which is a huge and unwarranted scientific leap.  With surreal precision the study posits the existence of 491, 243 autistic adults in the UK divided exactly 40:60% with and without ID. Unfortunately, there is no concrete data bearing this out. It would be remarkable if they could recover one tenth of the alleged adult cases from government data and even then most of them would be under 25. The non-existence of real data and the requirement for projection is what surely gives the game away. This would be a hugely dependent population, so why do we still not know they are there in administrative terms?

The other matter I cannot reconcile is the lifetime costs. The paper determines that the lifetime cost in the UK of a person with autism and ID is £1.5 million ($2.2m) and $2.44m in the US [added 26 June 2014]. Even in 2001 Järbrink and Knapp stated: “The lifetime cost for a person with autism exceeded £2.4 million” ($3.8m). But the new paper also gives a yearly cost for an autistic adult with ID in the UK as £86,981 (table 2) and £86,099 ($126,430 - table 4)  and £1.5m only amounts to about 17 years’ worth. Using the figures provided for childhood costs in Table 2 and a projected average lifetime of 67 years we get a grand total of £4,864,911 (about $7.8m):  more like it, perhaps,  but still I fear rather optimistic. The US lifetime figure for an autistic person with ID similarly calculated from table 2 is about $6m [added 26 June 2014]. This is our new autistic workforce. We ain’t heard nothing yet: the real financial tsunami is on its way.

John Stone is UK Editor of Age of Autism.

Current Affairs, Vaccine Safety

SaneVax Report: 50% Blame to Gardasil for French Teen's Disability

BordeauxBordeaux: On September 18, 2013, Judge Patrick Mairé handed down a decision stating Gardasil was 50% responsible for the permanent injury of a French teenager who had received two injections of the HPV vaccine. The other 50% was attributed to a genetic pre-disposition for autoimmune disorders. Judge Mairé presides over lawsuits filed with a regional branch of the CRCI in France, which is the equivalent of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) court in the United States.

Marie –Océane’s parents, Jean-Jacques and Yveline Bourguignon, have granted permission for their daughter’s story to be published hoping they can help make people aware of the potential risks involved with HPV vaccinations. They do not want anyone else to go through what they have experienced without knowing of the possibility in advance.

In 2010, Marie-Océane Bourguignon, age 15, received two injections of Gardasil® the first on October 11th and the second on December 13th. Two weeks after the first injection, she experienced sensory and motor problems in the upper limbs, lasting approximately two weeks before spontaneously and gradually regressing.

Three months after the second injection, on the 13th of March 2011, Mlle. Bourguignon was hospitalized at Centre Hospitalier de Dax for deterioration in her general health, cerebral-vestibular disturbances and sensory-motor impairment (ataxia, vertigo). On March 15, 2011, an MRI of her brain revealed lesions in the white matter.

The initial diagnosis was that she was suffering from either multiple sclerosis or acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). After multiple subsequent hospitalizations, it was determined that Marie  had developed multiple sclerosis, a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision, and severe fatigue. Marie-Océane will live with this condition for the rest of her life.

Read the full article at SaneVax.org.

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Google and Cause?

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 10, 2014, Roanoke (VA) Times: Grad conquers high school, but autism will keep posing challenges

June 10, 2014, The Hill: House panel advances revised autism bill  

June 10, 2014, CNN: Teaming up with Google to find autism cause

June 10, 2014, Fox News: Autism costs as much as $2.4 million per person, study says

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Google and Cause?" »

Teresa Conrick

The Microbiome and OCD - Hollywood, Here I Come

MicrobiomeYou can read Teresa Conrick's series on the Microbiome at our Age of Autism Exclusives.

By Teresa Conrick

In addition to more OCD on popular television shows, I discovered that there are many famous people who report having OCD:

Lena Dunham from Girls has her own personal history with OCD along with Howard Stern     as well as all of these folks: Megan Fox, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Alba, Julianne Moore, and Charlize Theron.   Cameron Diaz, Donald Trump, Leonardo DiCaprio, Howie Mandel, David Beckham, and Billy Bob Thornton have also shared that they too, have OCD .  I Lenabring them up as I think it shows how people can deal with OCD and still have careers and obviously be in the spotlight.  These celebrities may be very interested in this information about the microbiome and its key to OCD as current treatments are not very effective.  This from Harvard research:

- “Only about 10% of patients recover completely, but 50% improve with treatment.”

- “Generally 40% to 60% of patients with OCD will experience at least a partial reduction in symptoms after treatment with an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). However, many continue to have residual symptoms.”

- “The most common side effects of SSRIs are gastrointestinal distress, restlessness, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction (such as reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, and inability to reach orgasm).”

Some of their reported OCD issues 

DiCaprioTitanic and Shutter Island star Leonardo DiCaprio was obsessed with sidewalks as a child, often going back over his walking routes to repeatedly step on cracks or gum stains. Doorways also triggered his OCD.

Diaz:  Cameron Diaz, star of such films as The Mask and There's Something About Mary, admitted in a 1997 article that she suffered from a phobia of germs that caused her to clean the doorknobs in her house so many times that she faded their paint.

Dunham: Girl-of-the-moment Lena Dunham talks candidly about her battle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety in the Feb. 28 issue of Rolling Stone.  In the cover story, the 26-year-old creator and star of HBO's "Girls" says she took antidepressants in high school, and was obsessed with the number eight.

Mandel: Howie Mandel won't shake hands with people because of a fear of dirt and germs. He even keeps his head shaved in order to "feel more clean." Mandel details his struggles with both OCD and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in his book Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me, published in 2009.

BeckhamInternational soccer star David Beckham's OCD expresses itself by an obsession with pairing items and organizing them by color or type. According to his wife Victoria, Beckham has purchased three refrigerators so that he can have one for drinks, one for salads, and one for other foods. The items must be in even numbers, as well. "If there's three cans of Diet Coke, he'd throw one away instead of having three--because it has to be an even number."

Gene Research - What Is It Good For?

If you have been following the autism-gene search, the OCD genes are about the same --“candidate” genes and “vulnerability” genes but basically -- much is still “unknown.”  The ENVIRONMENT seems to be more the factor:

Continue reading "The Microbiome and OCD - Hollywood, Here I Come" »

Anne Dachel

Dachel Media Review: Hiring Adults with Autism

Online newsBy Anne Dachel OurKids ad 2013

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

June 10, 2014, Software company hires autistic adults for specialized skills

June 9, 2014, CBS News: Study puts a price tag on the lifetime cost of autism

June 9, 2014, Yahoo News Canada: Kids' seizure risk from combo vaccine could give anti-vaccination crowd fresh ammo

Continue reading "Dachel Media Review: Hiring Adults with Autism" »

Current Affairs

The Oxymoron of Safe Vaccines

Danger VaccinateManaging Editor's Note: As we continue to discuss vaccine safety, remember that vaccines have been designated as "unavoidably unsafe," “No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988, if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.” §300aa–22(b)(1).    See Cornell Legal Information for more. The following post is a response to this article on the SafeMinds site Dear Parents, you are being deceived about vaccines and autism.

By Laura Hayes

I still think it is of paramount importance for people to understand that the term "safe vaccines" is an oxymoron, and therefore, I would argue that even those who might call themselves "pro-science" would not agree that there is any "smart approach to vaccination".  By their very nature, vaccines cannot be made safe, as they artificially and unnaturally stimulate the immune system (by injecting these toxic cocktails, versus inhaling or consuming them, the first part of the immune system's response is bypassed, which is essential to trigger the next parts of the immune response...it's analagous to intervening during a woman's pregnancy and forcing the process to go out of order, missing some of the critical steps, and thinking that won't matter for the end product), with unsafe ingredients (e.g. adjuvants such as neurotoxic aluminum, proteins which cannot be broken down in the circulatory system as that needed to be done in the GI tract, and known neurotoxins such as mercury and aluminum, which are injected at a time when the blood-brain barrier is still wide open), in a way that is foreign to the immune system (i.e. via the vascular system and muscle tissue versus via airways and the GI tract), etc.  Thus, "safe vaccines" is an oxymoron of the first degree.  Then, multiply that unsafe effect by giving multiple vaccines at once, without consideration of family history or body weight, and before any allergies or metabolic problems have been discerned, and that is a recipe for absolute disaster.

Therefore, since there are no "safe vaccines", that leads to the discussion of medical choice freedom, which must ALWAYS be an essential component of any free and moral society.  However, it is especially important when there is absolutely no liability for the product manufacturers or for those who administer the product, as is the case with vaccines thanks to the egregious 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (just consider the name of that act and again you will note that "safe vaccines" is an oxymoron).  In 1986, at a time when vaccines should have been scaled back (I would argue halted altogether) due to all of the vaccine-induced injuries and deaths, and subsequent lawsuits, they were dialed up and tripled once indemnification took place.  Talk about CRAZY! Presently, exemptions for vaccines are being attacked, restricted, and eliminated across our country.  This must be stopped and medical choice freedom must be protected and properly practiced in all 50 states, with regards to all medical procedures and treatments, including vaccinations.  A "pro-science, smart approach to vaccination" must always include the option to say no, without any government interference, coercion, or cost.

Continue reading "The Oxymoron of Safe Vaccines" »