Childs_handBy Kent Heckenlively

There was a moment in the Larry King interview of the Polings in which Hannah Poling stretched up her arm and her mother scratched it for several moments.  It was without doubt an odd television moment, but one I know very well.  Every night as she’s laying down for bed my daughter Jacqueline stretches out her arm and I scratch it for several minutes.

It was great because for the first time I saw a child very much like my own on television, and terrible because I couldn’t help but notice how unusual the child must appear to so many.

My daughter is an aluminum child, and like Hannah Poling also has seizures, the cause of which has eluded both traditional and non-traditional medical experts.

The day was great because the Polings got so much coverage on CNN, both of their press conference and Larry King, but terrible because the medical experts didn’t seem to have a clue as to how to respond to this new information.  They lamely continued their mantra of “vaccines are safe” and “parents should still vaccinate”, but even they didn’t seem to be fully convinced of their own opinions.

It’s said no battle plan survives contact with the enemy and that is no less true in this instance.  In their press conference the Polings seemed energized, while on Larry King they appeared subdued.  If anything, it seemed like Larry King was ready to rumble, and he couldn’t get a real fight going to save his life.

If anybody has a criticism of the Polings I simply say, you try to put your autistic child through a day with the media and see how you feel at the end of it.

I believe March 6, 2008 will go down as one of the pivotal days in the autism struggle.  Our forces waded ashore and weren’t driven back into the ocean.  In all future discussions of this issue, our camp will have a seat at the table.  The war has begun, and we’re encountering resistance, but it’s crumbling quicker than expected.

The discussions of the medical experts had a strange disjointed feeling to them.  CNN’s Dr. Gupta confessed to being confused by the gap between what the government had conceded in this case and what the CDC was telling people about what this meant.  It’s a good thing they’re confused.  From their confusion, greater clarity will emerge.

It may be the nature of human beings that when enormous changes are thrust upon them they act in ways which look foolish to the future.  Recent letters from Abraham Lincoln show in the months before the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in the Civil War, he considered paying the South $400 for the freedom of each slave, eventually ending the practice of slavery in 20 years.  But we all know slavery ended much quicker than that.  From the Emancipation Proclamation to the end of the Civil War was just a little more than 2 years.

The government has admitted that vaccines contributed to the autism of at least one girl.  There are more than half a million autistic children.  I don’t think it’s going to take 20 years to end the practice in which 29 vaccines are given to children by the age of 2.  These things take on a life of their own.  Lincoln was prepared to accept the end of slavery in 20 years.  It took a little more than 2 years.

Personally, I think things will look very different by the end of 2008.

Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor for Age of Autism. (And a very good Dad.)



I have spoken with Misty Hiatt. A friend of a friend said they knew a woman that had been compensated for vaccines causing autism in their child. I had to know more, so they got her number for me. She told me some of the details of the case, including the fact that they could not use the word "autism" in their daughter's case, and instead had to say "encephalitis". They also found measles in her daughter's csf. I always wondered why her daughter's case was never made more public? Perhaps because they were not allowed to say "autism" in court?

Robyne R

My husband and I and our little twin of whom hasn't spoken since he was 18 months old and his brother who is so very typical sat there watching Larry King and when the Mom started rubbing Hannah's arm and palm of her hand, we all looked at each other and said, Wow, we do that with Nick. Nick's twin brother said, she is playing a video game, maybe someday Nick will do that to! It was a happy moment but I later thought, if we only had the money and the knowledge to give Nick the intensive one-on-one treatment he is receiving now, our little guy might be playing a video games today. Our boys are 10 years old. Nicholas is nonverbal and adorable. Austin, his brother is an angel who was sent by God to watch over his brother. While we missed the 3 year deadline for Vaccine Court, we have renewed hope that all our children will finally be heard.


I justdid a google search on Misty Hiatt and read an article that made me feel blindsided.I thought that the Poling case was a new thing for the Vaccine Injury Compensation court and I now find out this seems like it is status quo. Apparently when someone has a strong autism case in the vaccine court the government lawyers settle up and seal the records as quick as they can and pretend like it never happened. Why not? The records are sealed and they can keep them away from the eyes of hundreds of thousands of other families who may have even stronger cases than the ones they settled.
Does anyone else feel sick to their stomach.

Raymond Gallup

The best part of the Larry King show on Thursday was the 1 minute segment with Jennie McCarthy. The rest of the show had everyone saying vaccines were important and everybody except Jennie McCarthy were falling over each other saying vaccines are OK. It dare near put me to sleep.

Raymond Gallup

Autism-Like. Why not say pregnancy-like? You are either pregnant or not pregnant. Same goes for autism. People that use autism-like why not be frivolous and jerks and go all the way and say autism-lite.

I noticed that Larry King kept saying autopsy or a word like that instead of autism which was disconcerting. I also noticed Gupta who was pro-vaccine looked rather unsure and actually scared at one point. He probably knows that this is the beginning since there are over 4,800 more cases to be decided.

Personally I hope everyone of them are ruled in favor of the plaintiffs (families and kids). The only regret I have is that our son's case couldn't be among them because of that lousy 1986 law that set a three year limitation on applying. More about that law in the book, "A Stolen Life" by Marge Grant


in fact i did wonder what happened to the Polings on Larry King as we were hoping for so much more.thanks for pointing out how exhausted they must have been by then.
by the way, we are not part of the autistic community, but we are with you all heroic parents in this fight with all our hearts!
no, you don't have to have an autistic child to see how criminal CDC and big pharma are! our hearts bleed for all the injured children

Teresa Conrick


How perfectly said. The mirrored images and feelings that we parents share is one plus for being in this "club." It was great and terrible, and I am so glad I am not the only one who felt it.



So well said. We felt the same during all the coverage on Thursday. I couldn't help thinking how no one wants to be the door-breaker for the enviro-autism movement because that would mostly mean having an effected child. None of us ever wanted to be in this boat. It makes the Polings seem all the more heroic to me because there is nothing about this that they can be enjoying for themselves. A feeling of seeing justice beginning to be done at last is not the same as joy, elation or satisfaction. It was all for their daughter and for all our children.

Heather O

Great analysis. After having followed this link and controversy for almost 3 years, yesterday felt like a big big day. The Polings are an amazing family, they could have kept quiet, kept out of the spotlight, but instead they decided to help others.

I felt let down by the lack of discussion about the half a million kids or so with autism. Every AAP/CDC type doctor on camera didn't give them a thought, they were just there in CYA mode to defend the current growing one-size-fits-all national vaccination program.

George Wade

So far so good: one more small step ahead and thank you for understanding it.

Next steps are: to list all the other immune disrupted, oxidative stress, degenerative diseases that share some common biochemistry with autisms. Getting closer to preventing and curing Autisms will get us that much closer to helping patients with Asthma to Arthritiz. Yes ! A to Z !

Getting industry to accept that one million new chemicals NEED testing to prove their safety. NOT assumed to be safe until we are all too degenerated to care. When some of those chemicals are combined into a cocktail of pollution: they are hundreds or thousands of times more toxic than alone. If we don't know what to think of this all, without absolute proof of safety or of toxicity: then we are already mentally degenerate and would not have been fit to have sailed to the New World if we'd had the chance, would we ?

Europe is taking steps to force industry to prove the safety of it's chemistry. Although the Old World is now ahead of the New World, they still haven't cut the Gordian Knot of negative synergy of thousands of pollutants all in one soup. Well, there isn't enough food and water for all of us anyway, is there...?

Heidi Roger

Wow! I am always so jealous of you age of autism authors who come up with such creative titles and content of your articles. Exactly! A great and terrible day. So great to finally see the media paying attention to a vaccine injured family and so terrible to relive the pain of realizing that we too are a vaccine injured family. Kent, thanks for sharing your take on the day.

Sorsha Anderson

I used to be a big believer in the 'underlying' cause theory - but there are just so many of us with ASD kids - I'm starting to think that being a human child is the underlying cause...The lawyer did say they were going to argue in court that thimerosal is known for causing mitochondrial disorders.

I literally couldn't believe the doc talking about drawing blood from 100,000 kids for several years to see what causes't looking at the rate of autism among the 'never-vaccinated' an easier way to see if there is a link?


It has been said:
Trust takes years to build and seconds to lose.
The government has squandered years of building trust in vaccines and now because of a pattern of greed and lies and more greed and lies they will face ever increasing doubt,mistrust,fear and rage over vaccinations.
The special masters who will be deciding the remaining 4,999 case in vaccine court certainly do not live in a vacuum.
Since these judges have heard all the real evidence without spin,I cannot help but wonder what they think of the governments public response to the statements of the precious Polling family?

Bob Moffitt

Watching yesterday's massive media coverage of the Poling case was very encouraging, and, this "pivotal day" will serve to replenish our resolve and swell our ranks as we go forward.

I live about 50 miles north of New York City. I had several calls from people watching Brooklyn, Florida, Long Island and New Jersey....people that had never before shown that much interest in my personal crusade to ban thimerosal from childhood vaccines...all calling to inform me that some major news program either had or was about to talk about the Poling case.

I would be lying if I did not admit it felt good to hear their encouraging words.

Autism mom

"I pondered all day what "Autism-Like" really means. First we have a spectrum now we have Autism-Like."

Bugs you, doesn't it? It IS a spectrum, therefore the name is Autism Spectrum Disorder. Its like the umbra and the penumbra, you still say shadow because they together comprise the shadow.

The thing I pondered was underlying genetic defect "aggravated" by vaccines. We know autism is caused by aggravation of an underlying pre-disposition. This is exactly why everyone does not have it, only some do. Saying it like that does not mitigate the harmful effect of vaccines.

Yesterday's "performance" was nothing more than an attempt to falsely reassure the millions that what they were seeing was a unique and rare occurence unlikely to afflict the rest. We know that this is a complete and utter lie.

Tim Welsh

Great Comments Kent. I am glad to have someone feeling the same as I did watching the day unfold. I pondered all day what "Autism-Like" really means. First we have a spectrum now we have Autism-Like. Everyone was so quick to say how unique this case is. I just get a sense that they have painted themselves into a corner. They not only sounded disjointed but non-credible. Mr. P. actually corrected the Doctors a number of times throughout the day. When they started to say the mercury was out in 1999. That part made me smile... The hard part is again the question... When will we get help for those that have been injured and did not realize until after that statute of limitations had well passed?


I walked into my office building today and was told by no less than 6 co-workers that if they did not know anything about this controversy, they certainly would be more concerned now than ever about vaccinating their children. There appeared to be such a disconnect in the message yesterday and those backing the vaccine mantra seemed very nervous and unsure of they were trying too hard to convince the public and themselves. I was happy to hear what my co-workers were saying to the concern goes up the vaccination rates hopefully will go down. Those in power did nothing to convince anyone of anything yesterday.

Anne S

That's our routine too - my daughter loves to be scratched before bed. I was shocked to see that too.
Love your commentary Kent, keep on writing!

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