DominoesBy Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

I’m currently reading the memoir, “All But My Life” by Gerda Weissmann Klein, an account of her survival as a Jewish woman in World War II Poland.  Maybe it’s an unusual choice for the dad of a daughter with autism but it has its attractions for me.

The New York Times praised it as “A moving personal testament to courage” while The Boston Globe wrote that the story was so moving because of “the passion with which she looked through the horror and found a heart-felt and basic goodness in humanity.”

World War II ended sixty-three years ago, eighteen years before I was born.  Ever since I became politically aware I have known the outlines of that conflict. The identity of the good guys and the bad were never in doubt.

The question then becomes, why read such stories at all, if you already know what it’s going to happen?

When I studied writing I learned that what makes a story powerful is the lessons it teaches to the people of any time.  I enter into this disturbing story of the Holocaust not to find out what happens to one single woman, but to know the strength people can show in difficult situtations.  I am interested in the “courage” and the “heart-felt and basic goodness in humanity”, not the depravity.

And there is one more lesson I take away.  The underground movements of today are the mainstream of tomorrow. 

What Gerda Weissmann Klein could not know on that morning in 1939 when the bombs first fell on her hometown of Bleitz, Poland was what history would make of the invaders of her homeland.  Sixty-nine years later there are few insults more vile than to call somebody a Nazi.

Although the tragedy of autism is immense I will refrain from using such epithets against the medical and pharmaceutical establishment.  Instead, I compare them to foolish children who play with the powers of God and then walk away from their messes.

In my science class I teach students how the use of DDT in our country to stop mosquitoes nearly wiped out the Bald Eagle.  It was supposed to be such a great advance that in 1948 the scientist who first synthesized it won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.  My students easily grasp the idea of unintended consequences.  They often seem to understand the concept better than adults.

I believe our struggle will one day end.

I believe that sometime soon, there will be a medical, scientific, and legal consensus that vaccines have neurologically damaged, and in some instances killed, a significant number of children.

At this moment in time all three leading candidates for President of the United States have urged research based on our concerns.  The government has conceded in a single case that vaccines led to a young girl’s autism and seizures.  I believe more concessions and outright defeats await our government.  The process is inexorable, just as it was inevitable that free people would eventually triumph over tyranny.

A movement which has been underground for years is moving into the mainstream. 

What comes through in Gerda Weissmann Klein’s book so movingly is the concern of the parents for the lives of their children.  We fight as well for our children.  We’re not looking for someone to blame.  We are looking for what went wrong and how to fix it.

That will be the narrative of the future.  It’s that story people will be reading over and over again sixty years from now. 




The case that Kent is referring is the Hannah Poling case. Here's just one article to read; there are plenty https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20080306/dad-in-autism-vaccine-case-speaks-out#1

Beleagured Autism Mom

Sanford, When people refer the the conceded case of the girl with autism they are referring to Hannah Polling.
If they refer to a boy it is usually Bailey Banks case. What is so different about these kids compared to over a million others diagnosed with "autistic-like symptoms" in the U.S.? Answer: nothing, other than their parents are not MDs and lawyers who signed non-disclosure agreements as part of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. These sealed cases were leaked. The CDC is not looking for the primary cause of "autism like symptoms", because they already know. They are determined to deny the facts of these cases, because to do otherwise would be financially damaging to the lucrative vaccine program.

Grace Green

I don't think you're curious enough to have engaged brain before reading the article. I can think of no writer on this issue who writes more clearly and succinctly than Mr. Heckenlively Esq. He is not putting a "case" here, but making observations and basing on them some hopeful predictions. Those haven't to this date come to fruition, but many of us remain hopeful. Watch this space.


What is the case described here: "The government has conceded in a single case that vaccines led to a young girl’s autism and seizures." ?

I'm curious.


Adrienne and Lawrence-
Sorry for bringing up the AIDs thing. I should have done a better job at making my point.
1)I in no way think TV viewing had anything to do with my sons autism. That's why I asked if you read the study -- to me the correlation between autism and TV viewing is weak -- there are too many potential confounding factors. My son did not have much interest in TV as a young toddler. Now however, (he is 4), if we allowed it, would watch TV all day. What do we suspect? Well, we have stopped all booster vaccinations on our children (Older one is non-ASD, the younger one is ASD).
2) This study came out after my son was diagnosed. Ironically, it was one (of several things) that led me to become concerned about the vaccine-autism connection. The CA timeline of autism prevelance coupled with the increases in the recommended vaccination scheduling are compelling, and in my mind, warrant a deep dive.
3) I do have familiarity with HHV-6 -- thanks for the links. My husband has Multiple Sclerosis -- yes Dad has MS, son has autism -- we are a "neuro diverse" family. HHV-6A was found in both AIDS and MS patients in the mid 80's. Many of the current drug therapies that were developed for MS patients were an off shoot of AIDs research. We will have to agree to disagree on the AIDs story. Yes, there were gross medical/judgement errors at the onset, but I do believe that the "mainstream" (ie CDC, NIH, etc)medical community recognized their errors and mobilized quickly thereafter. My point, which I did not make well, is that I am not seeing this recognition (ie we need to change course) in the mainstream medical community toward autism. I probably should not have brought the whole AIDS discussion up and should have used MS as an example. I apologize if I offended, it wasn't my intention.
4) My other point is that there are far less prevalant diseases (like MS) which receive much more research funding and analysis. There are numerous epidemiology studies of MS which impacts ~ 1:750 to 1:1000. Coming from the "MS Community" into the Autism Community has been distressing on many levels (and also created an eery sense of deja vu). I can tell you, living with someone with MS and someone with Autism, they are both NEUROLOGICAL illnesses, that manifest themselves differently. My husband has balance issues, walking issues, coordination problems and significant visual deficits. My son has apraxia, poor fine and gross motor planning skills, etc (and I'm sure you know all the rest). No one is suggesting that my husbands neurological illness is due to "watching too much TV", "Schizophrenic" parents, or "refrigerator moms". Yet, with my sons neurological illness -- anything goes! No one in the mainstream MS medical community is suggesting that my husband has "bad genes" and that MS is all genetic. In fact, it is just the opposite. The MS community has continually discussed a "genetic predisposition" that is triggered by an environmental agent (most of them think viral). With autism, it seems the mainstream medical community is focused ONLY on a genetic link. Things that are studied and said about autism, just would not fly regarding any other illness. In fact, I think I may copy and post this last line on the latest statement (the "endearing" one) from Ofitt.
5) We will have to agree to disagree on studies. I want to see a big study on the Amish. With the Amish, there would be a better control of confounding factors (geographic, genetic, food supply, etc). The main reason I want studies is so we can move more quickly toward prevention. I know given the sad state of affairs that this is a long way away -- but I can still hope.
Sorry for the long post, but as you can tell, I'm completely appalled at some of the nonsense I've read about autism, and in general, how those with autism and their families are treated (and not treated) by the mainstream medical community.


Re this statement from Max "Our culture is so enamored of television and the computer that it resists the accumulating evidence that early over-exposure leads to behavioral problems in children."

I don't think anybody denies TV 24/7 is bad for children and causes problems-but autism? I think not.

It sounds like you don't even know what autism is. I encourage your to get out of your lab and find out. You see vaccines and other environmental insults(poisons) cause it most of it.


I'm on board. I just meant to make the distinct point that not all physicians and research teams are part of the massive group looking to "keep our kids sick." We can't possibly think we're ENTIRELY alone on this - if for no other reason, our kids can't afford for us to be so pessimistic. But I got your point.



All those "highly respectable researchers and physicians looking to combat AIDS," are doing a good job of elbowing out all the scientists and critics of the HIV theory who are arguing that the CDC-supported conventional wisdom about HIV being the cause is dead wrong. And you don't hear them talking much about HHV-6 which is now seen as causing the "progression" of AIDS which is another way of saying that HHV-6 may be a necessary ingredient in AIDS. The whole AIDS story has yet to be written.

The people who have been suggesting that HHV-6 is the real issue in AIDS have been treated like the people who believe there is an increase in autism. They have been ignored or mocked.

But that may be changing. HHV-6 is about to get some new respect at a conference in June:

Hopefully, by the time they hold another HHV-6 conference, there will be a lot of new research on the relation between HHV-6 and autism. The HHV-6 and autism debate will dwarf the autism and vaccine debate.


Yes, in fact, I do know the Waldeman Study (2006). Is it the fact that I'm not convinced by the "evidence" in the manner that you are the reason you're asking? I don't know about your kids. I know what happened to mine, and it didn't involve the television - neither him nor I. Also, I've got a Pediatrician on board who agrees with me (oh, and by the way, he's just a regular AAP Fellow, not an autism specialist). What's really interesting about your post is your pointing out (as some kind of positive!) probably the most heinous crime against humanity ever perpetuated by govermental agencies (alongside the autism epidemic) - the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the fact that innocent people suffered and died for almost a decade while "the powers that be" argued over whose name and Institute would be given credit for discovery of the virus, INSTEAD of informing the public how the disease was transmitted and what people could do to stop it. That, of course, and the tainted blood supply that infected thousands of people through transfusions. Wiping out the blood supply and starting over would have been "too costly." The "acceptable losses" parallel is downright disturbing and is, in my opinion, criminal. Certainly there were and still are many, many intelligent and highly respectable physicians and researchers looking to combat HIV. However, to draw some kind of parallel about epidemiological studies that "researchers might do regarding autism" leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. I've read too much about the beginning of HIV and AIDS and the role of governmental agencies. Oh, and I come from a family of doctors. They talk...



Do you really want the CDC to repeat the great job they did on AIDS on the epidemic of autism? If you knew the real story of AIDS you wouldn't say that.

At the same time the CDC was looking at so-called AIDS in the gay community, the same basic syndrome was breaking out in heterosexuals but being identified as what is now called "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." An epidemiological and political wall was built between the two syndromes, one was blamed on HIV and the other was basically psychologized into a joke.

The virus AIDS and CFS had in common, HHV-6, was not recognized as the key to both these syndromes because HIV became the official cause of AIDS, even though it eventually became clear that HHV-6 does more damage in AIDS than HIV and even after evidence surfaced that there are cases of AIDS with no evidence of HIV. Yes, cases of AIDS without HIV.

Insofar as HHV-6 has emerged as a problem in autism, that means that the rise in autism incidence may be a byproduct of all that wonderful work the Medical Keystone Cops at CDC did on AIDS.

For more on HHV-6 and autism:


Adrienne and GetitRight -- do you know the study "Dr. Max" is referencing -- The Waldeman 2006 Study? It's actually quite interesting. Waldeman has an interesting discussion on autism prevelance at the start of the paper. The study suggests that TV watching increases during raining weather, and this could be a potential cause of autism. Of course, rainy weather could also be bringing mercury in the air into our ground water, but we will just ignore that little pesky fact. On pages 11-12 of the study, Waldeman goes thru a historical timeline (70's-90's) of the increase in autism and overlays the introduction of electronic media (ie VCR/Cable/DVD) as the cause of the increase. Of course, the vaccination schedule increased as the autism rate increased. This second pesky fact is completely ignored because "of all the studies that prove there is not a connection". The study does not really discuss other society changes during this time period (ie increase in working moms, children in day care -- with the associated increase in number of illnesses, more packaged foods, etc). He backs up his theory with - LOL - THE AMISH! Yes they do not watch TV and they do not get autism! Voila! Problem Solved! Turn off the TV's folks! Of course, the Amish also do not get vaccinated (they also eat a basic natural diet, don't use microwaves/electronics/cell phones, etc). Waldeman actually cites Dan Olmstead, but ignores his theory of low autism rates in The Amish because "all that connection has been disproven". I don't think Waldeman read the post on AoA about the Amish autism cases increasing as they are getting vaccinated (lol-or maybe they are sneaking some TV). I would love to see the CDC do a "downtown" statistical study on The Amish (especially in Lancaster, PA) since there are higher rates of autism in non-Amish surrounding counties. I still don't understand why the CDC does not do epidemiology studies on autism "clusters" vs the Amish. I know they did numerous epidemiology studies during the AIDS "epidemic" outbreak in the 80's -- even tracing cases back to "patient 0". There have been numerous epidemiology studies on MS outbreaks and clusters, why not for autism? At one point, the CDC, NIH, and the medical community had the will and brain power to battle serious epidemics, partner with the community on prevention strategy, and develop medical treatment plans to counter the illness. It is shameful that the current "mainstream" medical community has done nothing in the face of this rising epidemic facing so many of our young children.

Kelli Ann Davis

Pssst....TV causes autism?

You forgot to address him as *Dr* Maxson, etc. etc. etc.


Never thought you would hear that from me, did ya ;-)


Dr. McDowell,

Since you are a Jungian therapist, I would appreciate an elaboration of your reasoning behind your decision to attach your commentary about television and autism to this particular post.

Thank you very much.

TV causes autism?

"Meanwhile, Waldman's results cannot be dismissed. Their scientific and statistical validity is clear."

Dear Maxson J. McDowell, a couple of questions for you:

1. If TV watching causes autism, why do some kids lose their diagnosis after sequential homeopathy? Its when you give a child the same remedy as the vaccine they received and it works on the principal of "like cures like."

2. Why do all kids with autism improve their functioning and some lose the diagnosis after successful chelation therapy wherein heavy metals such as mercury and aluminum and lead are removed from the body? Did the TV send the mercury into their bodies?

Caveat - the few kids who do not lose diagnosis even after the above-mentioned therapies is because their bodies have been severely damaged and a lot more needs to be done to get them to the point where the above therapies can work.

Barbie Hines

"In scientific terms, Waldman's research is highly convincing. Nevertheless is has been ignored or dismissed. Our culture is so enamored of television and the computer that it resists the accumulating evidence that early over-exposure leads to behavioral problems in children. Parents of autistic children dread feeling blamed and so resist the possibility that their use of television, DVDs, or computer games may inadvertently have triggered autism."

I tried to avoid addressing this...I truly did...but I just cannot help myself (Oh my! Perhaps I'm adhd due to my television consumption!) This is just ridiculous...most of our children started showing significant signs of autism around the age of 15 - 18 months...you know, when the MMR, Varicella, 3rd DTAP and 3rd Hib/HepB are typically given...Most children have not watched significant amounts of television by the age of 15- 18 months...definitely not 1 in 150...yes, this research has been ignored and dismissed...and understandably so...


Thank you, Maxson J. McDowell PhD, LMSW, LP, for reminding me that even the most educated in our world still may live in the dark, so to speak. I wonder, however, if you've ever met any mother whose 12-24 month old child is watching television on a regular basis PRIOR TO DIAGNOSIS? In my experience, (don't worry, I only have a Bachelor of Science degree, years of Social Work experience and firsthand parenting experience with two children - I can't compete with your credentials) children aren't even INTERESTED in television to the extent it might cause the (sometimes) irreparable damage that our fun-loving friend Autism has. On the other hand, I've seen up close and personal the damage that vaccines have caused in some children. My apologies for any misdirected callousness; however, you've joined the "It's T.V. watching!" party a few years too late.


Risk of autism increased by "early childhood exposure to television" ?

Well, let's see.

What about children who are already autistic before they are old enough to watch television?

What about the idea that *being* or *becoming* autistic -- for reasons completely unaffiliated with watching television -- what if becoming autistic increases the likelihood of watching television?

And in addition, or alternatively, what about the idea that a vitamin D deficiency -- and *not* the television watching -- increases the risk?

Have you addressed those questions? (And there are more).

I have seen some claims about 'early TV watching' and haven't seen those, or other, issues being addressed.

You need to think a little harder.

Max McDowell

A major environmental trigger for autism has already been identified. Michael Waldman's research (2006)[1] has proven that autism is strongly correlated with early childhood exposure to television. Such exposure, like autism, has risen dramatically in recent years. These results do not prove that TV causes autism, but that early exposure to TV seriously increases the risk of autism.

In scientific terms, Waldman's research is highly convincing. Nevertheless is has been ignored or dismissed. Our culture is so enamored of television and the computer that it resists the accumulating evidence that early over-exposure leads to behavioral problems in children. Parents of autistic children dread feeling blamed and so resist the possibility that their use of television, DVDs, or computer games may inadvertently have triggered autism. 

Both the public and many researchers have been misled by the evidence that autism is correlated with genetic factors (Time, 2006)[2]. In fact the genetic evidence shows that genetic factors may predispose an infant to autism, but that genetic factors alone do not cause autism. For example, when one genetically identical twin is autistic, the other is usually not autistic.

Research on autism is often flawed by mechanistic assumptions about the brain. It is now well-established - but not widely understood, even amongst biologists and medical professionals - that biological structures are not mechanisms but dynamic systems. Mechanisms miss-function when a component is faulty - hence people expect a faulty gene to cause autism. Dynamic systems organize themselves with extensive input from the environment. These issues, and their implications for autism, are explained more fully in my on-line article in Dynamical Psychology (2004)[3].

Meanwhile, Waldman's results cannot be dismissed. Their scientific and statistical validity is clear.

(My own scientific experience was as a molecular biologist at Duke University, M.I.T., and the M.R.C. Laboratories in Cambridge, England.)

Maxson J. McDowell PhD, LMSW, LP

(1) www.johnson.cornell.edu/faculty/profiles/wald... 
(2) www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,15486... 
(3) www.goertzel.org/dynapsyc/2004/Autism04.htm

Kelli Ann Davis

“Instead, I compare them to foolish children who ***play with the powers of God *** and then walk away from their messes. In my science class I teach students how the use of DDT in our country to stop mosquitoes nearly wiped out the Bald Eagle. It was supposed to be such a great advance that in 1948 the scientist who first synthesized it won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.”


Couldn’t agree with you more!!

Have you checked out Ginger’s blog in the last week? http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/

And Vanity Fair? http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/monsanto200805

Seems Monsanto is also trying to *play God* in their quest to genetically modify corn and soy products (and pigs and who knows what else is their pipeline) and their little **creations** may actually be contributing to our children’s on-going gut issues!!!!

See Ginger’s site for the tie-in – absolutely amazing how she’s connected the dots!!!

But heck, they’ve got their patent and the money is rolling in and business is good, and by gosh that’s all that matters, right?!


K Fuller

I am not sure that I agree that we should not look for someone to blame. I think that if there are those in power, who have known for sometime that some of our children would suffer the consequences of vaccines for all,then they should suffer some kind of consequence themselves. Our son has a life sentence.
There are those who pushed forward with vaccine education with total faith that this was completly the right thing to do. We can't blame them. I don't want to think that some governmental group knew that many children may be harmed and yet made the decisions to push forward with the vaccine schedule for the greater good of all children, but this is what it feels like.
The battle for information about what was and is happening to our kids is years old. This is America, we can find a way to safely vaccinate our kids. Do we want our government and way of life to completely collapse because of their mistakes with vaccines? No, We just need it to stop, and we need help for our damaged children, and we need it now. Will we celebrate any admission of error on our governments part? Yes, for future children. I have high hopes that our son will continue to make progress. Sadly, if I dont live to be 150 I may never see how far he may be able to go.


In totalitarian societies propaganda and denial can go on for a very long time. While America is not a totalitarian society, the scientific culture that relies on government agencies to determine what is and is not the truth is able to act in a quasi-totalitarian manner at will.

Hannah Arendt thought that a strong free press could protect us from the abuses of power of government. Probably the least independent-minded part of our press is the crew that covers government medicine and science with a stenographer's pad and a fear of being cut off from sources if the wrong question is asked or the wrong story is written.

Those who have discovered something terribly wrong with what the government is saying and doing about autism think fate has shown them a moment in our history of enormous consequence. Actually, it is an even bigger moment then they realize because it involves not only autism but also AIDS, MS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the neuroimmunological virus HHV-6.

Imagine if you had to tell the public that you had made a huge mistake in calling HIV the cause of AIDS, letting the real cause spread over the last three decades, and as a result you had sentenced America and the world to a complex neuroimmunological HHV-6 epidemic that manifest itself as AIDS, MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, autism and many other medical conditions. Knowing that the truth could undermine the credibility of the CDC and the American medical establishment for a century, wouldn't you remain in a state of denial or be tempted keep this quiet for as long as possible? Arendt has written that when governments get involved in deception they also can be simultaneously engaged in self-deception. (Vietnam being her example.)

AIDS has been called a national security issue. So telling the truth about the huge HIV/HHV-6 mistake is no small consequence. It's America's medical Vietnam.

Every person suffering from the neuroimmunological effects of HHV-6 might ultimately be able to sue the government for some kind of compensation or reparations from what one could be called the biggest instance of medical negligence in history.

How would you like to be the one to tell AIDS, CFS, MS and autistic victims about HHV-6?

This can't go on forever. The optimist in us must say that one day they will have to "walk away from their messes." Their HHV-6 messes.

Anne Dachel

Kent, thank you for that incredible commentary. I often draw a parallel with the WWII era and our struggle. I agree that denials simply can't continue. There are just too many sick children that no one can reasonably explain. All the lies about autism will be exposed. Society will have to recognize the victims and what happened to them so we can stop the disaster.

Anne Dachel
Media editor

Kent Heckenlively

Dear Judgments:

The answer varies from sometime in the summer to sometime in the fall. The hold-up seems to be some reports developed in the course of planning for the MMR litigation in the U.K.

In their last conference meeting the Special Masters indicated they were ready to rule, but for these documents. Personally, I don't understand their relevance to this case except for the fact that government witnesses relied upon them for their testimony and according to one attorney, "cherry-picked their evidence". Like you, though, I am impatient for a verdict.

All the best,
Kent Heckenlively


"I believe more concessions and outright defeats await our government."

When might we expect to hear the judgements on the Cedillo and the other 2 cases that were heard a few months ago? Thanks for keeping us up to date on those.

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