Hope.
Bob Wright on Autism and Vaccines

Age of Autism: We Are One!

First_birthdayBy Dan Olmsted

I'd BEEN planning in my head what to say about our first anniversary here at Age of Autism, but typically a reader solved the problem. I alluded to the fact our one-year mark was coming up Nov. 10 in a recent post, and a commenter named Hannah's Dad said this: "Happy One Year Old, AOA. Activism. Investigative Journalism. Poop stories. Community support all rolled into one!"

Now, that is impossible to improve on, but let me elaborate on it just a bit. First, we have what many a mainstream rag would kill for -- readers who really care about the subject we cover and participate in our coverage. When I first started my Age of Autism column at UPI in 2005 it carried a tagline that said, "Age of Autism aims to be interactive with readers." Boy, howdy! AOA has morphed from sitting in the corner of a cluttered newsroom writing pretty much nonstop about what seemed obvious to me -- something is happening here and we DO know what is, don't we, CDC? -- into a real community that pretty much sustains itself.

I say "pretty much" because we do have hands-on editors who read every post and every comment, debate amongst ourselves (passionately sometimes, just as readers do) and try to do better every day. Kim Stagliano is the heart of AOA; Editor at Large Mark Blaxill, Media Editor Anne Dachel and Legal Affairs Editor Kent Heckenlively all do yeoman's work. J.B. Handley tells it like it is better than anybody ever has. And our much-admired colleague in digging dirt, the pioneering and persistent David Kirby, now appears here, too. As does the gutsy Katie Wright and many other parents and family members whose voices ARE the voice of Age of Autism. One thing I'm proudest of is these voices now include Jake Crosby, a college student with Asperger's.

None of this would be happening without the sponsorship of four great autism organizations -- Generation Rescue which generously incorporated us with its predecessor site, Rescue Post (Kim came along, thank our lucky stars); TACA; SafeMinds and Autism Research Institute. We've also picked up great advertisers including major sponsor Lee Silsby. And readers have donated via our PayPal button (consider a year-end contribution, won't you? We're a pretty hardscrabble operation compared to The Big One; think thousands of small donors -- $5, $10, $20. Look where that got that Obama guy!).

Our readership has grown tremendously and continues on an upward arc (mainstream newspapers, eat your heart out -- and maybe ask yourselves why). Our coverage, we hope, is entertaining, fearless, ground-breaking and in-your-face (well, in the faces of the people whose faces we should be in). And there's more to come -- if there's one principle I want to convey, it's that we're in it for the long haul. We aren't going anywhere, just as those of you dealing with autism and related disorders on a daily, yearly and lifetime basis aren't, either.

So, here's to a new year, a new era and causing more trouble to the best of our collective abilities. In more ways than one, dear reader, we really are One.
--
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.

Comments

Lea Schizas

Happy Birthday, Age of Autism. You have been a source of education and inspiration for me from the first issue I read way back when.

Jeanne

Happy Birthday Age of Autism!

Thank you for being the light at the end of my dark tunnel.

Thank you to every contributor for your words.

Thank you for giving us all a place to come together and build a stronger community.

Thank you Kim for your strength, encouragement, and kindness... oh, and that sharp humor or yours is also greatly appreciated!

And thank you Age of Autism for speaking the truth. My truth. Our truth.

chantal Sicile-Kira

Bon Anniversiare, Happy Birthday! I am so glad Age of Autism exists. Dan and Kim, Mark and JB, thanks for creating this - love the writing and content. Knowledge is power, and laughter is necessary, so I am glad you have a sense of humor as well.
Thanks for being here for the community!

Here's to many more happy and healthy birthdays!
Chantal

Allie90

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glDGAo9SIqs

Here's a song for all everyone "We are ONE".
Many thanks too all the gifted writers. You bless us with your insight and talent each day.
Thank you for helping our community unite and heal together.
xxxxoooo

mlinn

Happy Birthday! I just donated for the first time (what took me so long, I do not know, sorry)! Thanks for all you do and for creating a community where we can inform, share, and grow stronger together. Don't take it personally, but I hope we only celebrate a few more anniversaries! Imagine vindication and fulfillment of our hopes! Your work will get us there, thank you and god bless--

Louis Conte

Dear A of A:
Happy Birthday to the one thing I absolutely have to read every day.

You have provided a place where the truth is said everyday.

The commentaries are always great and the little pictures at the top of the posts are really giggleliferous! I still laugh at the photo next to the post about Amanda Peet.

Thanks,

Louis Conte

sign lady

The perfect blend of support and advocacy. Thank you!!!!!!

Teresa

Happy Birthday AoA!!

My heartfelt thanks to all of you brilliant and talented advocates who stay up late and rise early to keep the best, dang autism blog on the planet spinning!

best-

Teresa

Angela Warner

Happy Birthday!!! Age of Autism!!!

Ya Say It's Your Birthday!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_1PAx5Ycwo

When I eat my slice of angel food cake tonight, yes I'll be celebrating my own birthday, but I'll be celebrating AoA's birthday too...

As Karen said:
"Thank you for my sanity.
A safe place to come and hear the truth."

And I have to add, to speak the truth.

Thank you to EVERYONE here who makes Age of Autism what she is... a wonderful, hopeful, and safe haven!

Ang

Shauna- Together In Autism- www.togetherinautism.org

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
You are providing not only a life line to MANY, but valuable information and support by supplying the interactive posting. Keep up the great work. Thank you for your dedication, you guys are awesome!

Shauna
Together In Autism
www.togetherinautism.org

Jack's Dad

Keep up the great work!

I just filed my VICP claim for my son Jack's vaccine injury. Can anyone advise me on what the next steps are with the omnibus autism proceeding? I filed my claim and sent in my $250 check, but when will they review these claims? Any recommended reading?

When I look back, it's so obvious Jack's autism was an "injury." After his MMR, he forgot how to SPEAK AND EAT WITH UTENSILS. How is that any different than a brain injury akin to a stroke or driving over a roadside bomb? It's called brain damage. Losing the ability to eat with a fork is hardly a behavorial diagnosis.


Nonna C

Happy Birthday AOA!

I cannot imagine my daily routine without a cup of coffee and reading AOA first thing each day. You continue to bring outstanding insight and information to the autism community and beyond. Thank you for being a voice in the darkness and I sing your praises whenever I have the opportunity. Keep it coming.

Heather

Happy 1st Birthday AoA!!
You started your journey not long after I started my journey with my sons diagnosis. You help me laugh on days when I didnt think that was humanly possible, and give me hope on days I need it the most.
You are an amazing band of Parent Warriors!!!!

- Heather

Cathy Jameson

Thank you Age of Autism for being a voice to so many! I check in here several times a day to see what's new in the world. You guys have a great platform and wonderful sources to tell it like it is. I appreciate being able to read and contribute, to celebrate and vent, to listen and be heard.

Here's to your first year--Happy Birthday!

Cathy Jameson

karenatlanta

Thank you for my sanity.
A safe place to come and hear the truth.
I was always a faithful reader of the Age of Autism.
How beautiful that it turned into a community of friends.
What a unique, diverse safe haven.
We love you JB,Dan,Kim and all the editors!
A voice for the voiceless.

kim

thanks to everyone at AoA for my daily obsession! i know that if anything goes down in the autism fight, i'll be one of the first to know because i hit refresh so often! thank you thank you for all your hard work. you inspire me so much...so now i'm off for a TV interview on vaccines and autism!

Kelli Ann Davis

AoA ROCKS! Always has...always will.

I'd like to take this opportunity to *publicly* say what I may not always convey in *private* [Think: election] to Kim, Dan, Mark and JB: You four are absolutely phenomenal and I have nothing but the utmost respect for all that you do!!! I’m proud of your accomplishments and no matter what I may say *behind closed doors* I will ALWAYS be "Momma Hen" to this site!

I love my *oasis* and ain't no one gonna trash it under my watch! [Thank God the elections are over!!]

Best to you all my friends,

Cluck, cluck

Kelli

Anne Dachel

Has it been a year already? OMG. I can't tell you how proud I am to be associated with the voice of the autism epidemic.

Those in denial about everything need to understand one thing: We are never going to stop. The autism community is united and it's everywhere. Age of Autism is a big part of that reality.

Officials are on the defensive constantly these days and their claims sound increasingly hollow. They have no answers.

AoA has the message of truth and hope. It's unbeatable!

Anne Dachel
Media editor

nhokkanen

My thanks to Kim, Dan, Mark, Anne, J.B., David, all the writers and commenters and readers of Age of Autism. This is a unique and powerful communications venue. I hope it continues for years to come as our families age. But I also wish there was no need to push government to act ethically, and put the first two words back into the phrase "health care providers."

Twyla

Happy Birthday, congratulations, and thank you so so much!!!

K Fuller Yuba City

Happy Birthday!
Finding this site and the community that comes with it was a real blessing.
You are making a difference in a very real way. All of you at AOA do more than keep us informed, you help us be involved.Thanks.

Rachel Ford

Happy Birthday AoA!

I enjoy this website every day. What an amazing group of intelligent, creative, dedicated, and focused individuals from the editors and contributors to the community of commenters. We are hardly a group of "desperate parents"! Collectively our voice WILL be heard and positive changes will continue to happen.

Jack

I think Tanner's first words were a highlight for all of us.

Keep up the good work AoA.

Cathy

When I found AoA, I thought I had stumbled across something that had been around for ages. It's been a year of reading AoA for me. I pass on articles to my doubtful but always amazed (and partially converted) scientist DH. I can't tell you what this site has brought to my life. Thank you!

Bruce Brenan

Happy Birthday AOA,

Your website has been very informative to my wife and I re the variety of issues that revolve around the subject of autism, in particular, the vaccine-autism link. What i especially love are the parent's comments that tell of their experiences (which we can then relate to) and that anectotally prove that there is indeed a biomedical cause for our kids developmental and behavioral problems.

Because of what i have learned here, i have been able to tell others. Because of the shared experiences of other parents, my wife and i don't have to feel we're all alone, like we have in the past. And we have "ammo" to use when confronted by friend and family members who aren't as well informed. In addition, we the parents can inform each other of different findings and therapies.

Lastly, even though you are turning 1 yr old, it doesn't mean this website should get it's 1 yr wcv shots, though i'm sure Dr Offit wouldn't mind giving you his 100,000 cyber vaccines. I want to see this website to stay vocal for a long time, not become silent after 18 months and develop cyber GI symtoms. ;o)

Keep up the fight!

Tanners Dad

Congrats... I'v e been watching the ticker. I think that AOA will hit the Millionth visitor mark soon as well. To bad we are too busy cleaning up the poop to get together to have one of those Black Tie affairs. I often dream about having the resources to attend those events and actually have the cash to donate. During the last year we have ridden the highs of Tanners first words to me losing my job. Through it all, I owe a lot to AOA for giving me the sanity to hang in there. Keep up the great work.

jennifer

I just found you guys a few months ago, too, and I love the AoA site. From the people who work with special needs kids, THANK YOU!! This site is like a breath of fresh air. I can't think of a better way to get your messages out (other than maybe sky writing). Congratulations to you all.

Ginger Taylor

Congratulations and Thank You and Keep Fighting and... of course.... here's to this blog becoming obsolete as soon as possible.

Tori Tuncan

Thank you, AoA, for all you do and for your encouragement of Lend4Health!

Tori Tuncan
Founder, Lend4Health
www.lend4health.org

John Stone

It's a brilliant enterprise. Well done!

Cindy

JB rocks. I love people who tell it like it is and boy oh boy is JB ever THAT. Right to the point, cuts through the bullshit.....

My hero.

And Kim -- your series on Nancy Minshew had people rolling on the floor, particularly me.

Cindy W.

Maurine Meleck

I'll drink to that! Thanks to everyone on AOA who work so hard for all of us.

Ben's Dad

Happy 1st b-day AoA!
I love the unofficial tag line! Issue after issue, I've come to rely on AoA and its writers contributions elsewhere to give me the straight...story behind the stories we see in the news. In looking for answers I kept pulling up your old articles Dan that presented our case in a remarkably clear and logical way, and I consider it a personal accomplishment worthy of bragging rights that I found this site before my wife. While my hope is for a speedy demise to the age we are in, I expect that AoA will continue to be a leader in bringing individuals with autism, their families and concerned people everywhere together into an informed nurturing community.

We are asking family members to make contributions to our favorite advocacy groups in liu of presents this year, and some have asked us to do the same. You can expect something in your stocking.

Julia C.

Yes, I didn't realize AOA was that young either. I happened upon it several months ago, and assumed it had been around for years.
I have participated on a lot of blogs over the years, but none have had the sense of community and common purpose as this one has. I come here to learn, to laugh, to cry, and to know that there are others out there just like me.
I may not post very often, but I read here every day. Thank you, everyone, for your unique perspective, your wit, and most of all, your hope for a better tomorrow.

Nicole

Honestly, I didn't know that AoA was just turning one. My son was officially diagnosed one year ago this week. It didn't take long for me to find AoA. I soaked up every article, every piece of hope, and every study. The writing is absolutely phenomenal; better than anything I could find in any major publication. I assumed you all had been here for a while before me. I couldn't possibly imagine trying to overcome the throws of autism without this smart, witty, and savvy community. Carry on AoA, carry on!!
Nicole

Maria

Happy Birthday!

Thank you for all you do!

Stagmom

I'd like to thank JB Handley for calling me one Spring day in 2007 and asking if I'd like to help create a new blog that he had in mind - that was Rescue Post. And then Dan and Mark joined us and we became Age of Autism. Together, along with our editors and contributors, Anne, Kent and David and JB's eye opening posts we've grown every week.

I think the best part of A of A is the comment trail. We've created a community in an area where discord is the name of the day. That's no small feat.

Happy Birthday to ALL of us!

Thanks, everyone.

KIM

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