By J.B. Handley
Courageous Somali Parents:
I have had the pleasure of getting to know a number of you via phone and email over the past few months and you have my deepest respect and admiration. You remind us all that parental love and commitment to our kids is universal.
I have chosen to refrain from commenting publicly about autism in your community until after the November 15th meeting you had with the Minnesota Department of Health, because I wanted to give the MDH the benefit of the doubt that they would offer real information and real solutions to your community's overwhelming challenge with autism.
As we all know, the MDH's response to the crisis of your community was underwhelming. As such, I wanted to share with you my advice for what to do now.
A little background
There is a fact pattern emerging regarding Somali children born in Minnesota, and it is deeply disturbing. What we do know:
1. Estimates are that 1 in 28 Somali children born in Minnesota have autism. That's five times our national average of roughly 1 in 150. The Somali parents tell you that it is the easiest thing in the world to verify this very high number: just look at the composition of any special education class in Minneapolis.
2. Many Somali parents are blaming vaccines for triggering a regression in their child's development that led to autism. Is it all parents? No. But, my conversations to date lead me to conclude it is the overwhelming majority.
Somali parents, I offer this advice as the father of a son with autism. Like many of you, I watched my normal son descend into autism after receiving his vaccines. I genuinely believe too many vaccines given too soon in our children's lives is the primary trigger for the autism epidemic. Just to clarify: I'm not a doctor, I'm not giving you medical advice, I'm giving you my opinion.
I also want to tell you something that I think many of you have already realized: you cannot trust the Minnesota Department of Health to do the right thing. They may help you find educational services for affected children, and that's a very good thing, but they will do nothing to help reduce the number of Somali children with autism in the future nor help the ones with autism recover and resume normal functioning.
You see, the Minnesota Department of Health is nothing more than a puppet for the Centers for Disease Control, and they will never lead the way in addressing the vaccine issue. I'm personally embarrassed for our country to see the behavior of these people, but they are simply acting out many universal human traits of denial, corruption, and self-protection.
So, Somali parents, it is time to take matters into your own hands, and only you can accomplish this. Here is what I would do if I were you:
1. Organize yourselves.
The more unified and deliberate the voice you have, the more power you have. Use the free speech we all have, but use it as a community and you will be heard. Create an organization name, meet, appoint officers, and make sure you are unified. Do not let infighting weaken your positions or resolve.
2. Declare a state of emergency within your community and create a new vaccine schedule for your kids.
As some of you have learned, giving children 36 vaccines by the age of 6 is very, very new. In the 1980s, we only gave 10 vaccines. As I wrote about in a piece HERE a few months back, I lived in 9 foreign countries before I was 10 years old and only received 5 total vaccines – and no one worried that I wasn't protected from deadly disease.
Also, in 1986, when our US Congress chose to insulate vaccine companies from liability, there was never any talk of a need for 26 incremental vaccines for our kids - we were simply trying to keep vaccine makers from going out of business. With 10 vaccines on the schedule in 1986, NO ONE, not even the CDC, said we needed MORE vaccines. Read about that history HERE
The reason we have so many new vaccines for kids is business, not health. Each vaccine adds $1 billion or more to a vaccine maker's pockets. Our children are simply pawns in this unfortunate corrupt game that we see in so many industries involved with health.
So, the assertion by the MDH that your child needs 36 vaccines and must have every single one is fiction, nothing more. Just like all the US children born in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s who were vaccinated from truly deadly diseases, you can meaningfully reduce the number of vaccines given to your children and still be a responsible parent. Prevent deadly disease while preventing autism!
I would recommend your community issue these emergency guidelines to all Somali parents immediately:
1. Mothers, do not receive any vaccines while pregnant, or within 18 months of planning to become pregnant
2. Do not have any dental work, particularly silver filings, while pregnant
3. While pregnant, take a minimum of 1,000 IU per day of Vitamin D
4. In the hospital, do not accept or receive any vaccines for your child
5. In the first year of life, try to avoid all antibiotics when your child is sick with an ear infection unless the illness is life-threatening
6. Do not give any children a vaccine until they are at least 12 months old
7. Do not give more than one vaccine per doctor's visit. If a doctor wont work on this schedule, find new doctors as a community who wil
8. Spread each vaccine out so there is a minimum of 3 months between them.
9. Never get a vaccine while your child is sick or taking antibiotics
10. Consider these vaccines for your child, and only these vaccines: Polio, DTP, and MMR.
11. For MMR vaccine, consider not giving to boys. At the least, delay the shot until a child is 2, and try very hard to break the shot up into three shots.
12. Once you have given one shot of each vaccine you want to give, DO NOT do a second shot until you have had a titer test done on your child. It is highly likely that a single shot was enough to generate immunity, as immunity takes in about 95% of cases after one shot.
13. Make sure all parents know their rights.
As some of you have learned, giving shots to your child is NOT required by the law, and Minnesota provides exemptions based on Religious, Medical, and Philosophical grounds. Click HERE to find the detail for how to file for exemptions under Minnesota State law. They cannot make you vaccinate your baby without your consent!
14. Send a delegation of Somali parents to Autism One.
Over the next few months, Generation Rescue will reach out to your community to try to help treatment begin for as many affected children as possible. As one way to further your education, Generation Rescue will finance all costs for up to ten Somali parents to attend the Autism One conference in Chicago in May of 2009. In the meantime, I encourage parents to read our website at Generation Rescue and start to initiate some of the simple interventions for your kids using diet and supplements.
15. Stay strong.
As your community receives more publicity in the coming months, stay strong. Know your rights. Do not accept lies. Protect your children. Your fight is our fight. Your experience is our experience. We are here to help you. We will tell your story. We will not be intimidated.
Wishing you all Godspeed Somali parents, we are in this fight with you. I imagine a Somali community where within 2 years, the rate of new autism cases has dropped to nothing and the affected children are recovering. This vision can become a reality through your actions.
The 2008 CDC Vaccine Schedule HERE
The 1983 CDC Vaccine Schedule HERE
My favorite article by a doctor, A User Friendly Vaccine Schedule HERE
J.B. Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue and contributor to Age of Autism.