Autism: How Dumb and Blind Were Doctors Twenty+ Years Ago?
By Anne Dachel
We often read that all the autistic kids everywhere are nothing new. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the watchdog agency on America's health, never seem worried. Regardless of the statistics, autism's increase is explained as merely "better diagnosing" by doctors. In other words, less able doctors just used to mislabel autistic children as something else. CDC officials and doctors love to take credit for the explosion in the numbers which they attribute to a broadening of the definition of autism and greater awareness on their part. Where only one in 10,000 kids had autism in the 1970s, today, after of studying eight year olds in 2000 and 2002, officials have determined that one in every 150 children, one in every 94 boys on average in the U.S., has autism. (They didn't give us that rate until 2007, but no matter, everything's under control.)
This is a very important issue for the CDC because they've come under enormous fire from parents who claim that the dramatic increase in the vaccination schedule has caused an explosion in the autism rate. It certainly looks like a cause-effect relationship--More vaccines = More autism. The CDC's response to this allegation has been to deny it's real. Since it's impossible to claim that the number of vaccines hasn't increased (SEE: HERE), they instead tell us that there really isn't more autism, just doctors getting better at recognizing it.
Lots of top experts have chimed in about the good job the medical community is doing. When the one in 150 rate came out, world renowned vaccine defender Paul Offit told ABC's 20/20, 'People that we once called quirky or geeky or nerdy are now called autistic.' Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp from the CDC was in Newsweek saying that it isn't that 'the rates of autism have gone up, just that now we have some more definitive data.' And Julie Gerberding, then head of the CDC, took a little of the credit for herself explaining that the new numbers were because 'our estimates are becoming better and more consistent.'
Experts haven't deviated from that stance. Recently, Larry King Live covered the autism-vaccine debate with Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, Dr. Bernadine Healy, and J. B. Handley on one side and Dr. Margaret Fisher and Dr. Max Wiznitzer on the other. Wiznitzer was billed as an autism expert with over 25 years experience in the field. Not only that, but he also made a name for himself testifying against parents who claimed that vaccines injured their children. On LKL, Wiznitzer denied an increase in autism. He said more kids are now called autistic because of a "loosening of the diagnostic criteria." He threw in other phrases like "genetic causation" and "pre-natally based" in an effort to explain why kids become autistic.
Too much of a good thing?
It's becoming clear that "better diagnosing" may be responsible for a major problem. News stories are out ever yday about parents of autistic kids who can't access help for their children with autism. State by state efforts are being made to mandate insurance coverage for autism treatment because most insurance plans won't help you if your child has autism.
As I listened to Wiznitzer talking about the controversy on LKL, I realized that with over 25 years experience in the field, he was one of the architects of the better diagnostics when it comes to autism. After all, 25 years ago doctors weren't as good finding autism. Wiznitzer himself must be doing his job a whole lot better than when he started practicing medicine and he sees nothing to worry about with a waiting room filled with spinning, hand-flapping kids.
Doctors may have gone too far.
If the zealous efforts of Wiznitzer and others in medicine have led to the labeling of so many kids with autism and because of it, they're being denied needed help, maybe they should stop it. On April 11, Forbes Magazine put out a story on insurance for autism. In "Michigan part of growing push for autismcoverage", HERE readers learned that one family had to spend $19,000 on autism treatment in one year alone. "Many families can't afford the therapies and are forced to go without them." The situation of Michigan families is the same all over the U.S.
Rep. Joan Bauer from Lansing was quoted saying, 'Excluding autism from coverage is completely arbitrary. It's unfair. It's wrong. And it sets back efforts to understand and to treat this disorder. These are treatments our children need to help them live their daily lives.'
One part of the Michigan story jumped out at me. The same family paying $19,000 for therapy had another son who wasn't autistic, but who also needed speech therapy. "The Ingham County couple says their 9-year-old son Lane, who isn't autistic, has had some of the same speech therapy. But his was paid for by insurance companies."
This made me wonder if calling kids "autistic" ends up causing them to be excluded from getting therapy. We're told regularly by the people who know that autism hasn't increased. If these kids have always been here, we must have done something with them. I mean it's a little hard to miss an autistic child, even a mildly affected one, so we must have provided for their special needs. If all this greater awareness and better diagnosing is the cause of the problem, it may be necessary to stop calling kids autistic. I'm sure lots of parents would be happy having their kids called 'geeky' or 'nerdy' instead of autistic if it means that they can get insurance coverage.
In addition, I'm worried about just how much better the "better diagnosing" might actually get. Recently in Britain, Cambridge University released a study that showed that their autism rate was at a jaw-dropping one in every 60 children, one in every 38 boys. It's realistic to think that kids on both sides of the Atlantic are pretty similar, therefore I'm afraid that it's only a matter of time before the U.S. autism rate is updated to one in 60 too.
We should act now in order to prevent this from happening. An autism rate of one in 60 in the U.S. would only mean that even more kids are excluded from therapy. So stop calling them autistic. The crisis will be over. Parents won't see their finances drained paying for help because insurance companies would stop discriminating.
In truth, quibbling over the label or pretending that autism is some endemic condition that's always been around is like arguing over where we want to sit in the life boat. We are in the midst of a catastrophe. No one can reasonably explain why so many kids can't behave, communicate, or learn. The list of diagnoses given to children for learning/behavior problems is endless.
News articles everywhere on the Internet paint a much darker picture than what Wiznitzer described.
April 4 AR: Arkansas Democrat Gazette Autism-treatment bill falters in House panel HERE
"Parents of autistic children can't afford to spend $50,000 a year for the treatment."
"A bill to require insurance coverage of autism treatment failed Friday in the state House Insurance and Commerce Committee after opponents said it would wreck some insurance plans."
April 5, ME: Foster's Daily Democrat Maine bill would require insurers to cover autism
HERE. " 'All too often, parents of children with developmental disabilities find it difficult and impossible to afford the expensive tests needed to properly diagnose this disability and after the diagnosis, to provide the treatment necessary to help the child,' he said. 'Given the tendency of insurance companies to avoid covering expensive diagnosis and treatments, I believe that this mandate is necessary.' "
April 6, NY: Albany Herald Autism center to host walk HERE "The school systems are overloaded; it is becoming more and more prevalent, and there are not enough doctors to meet the need," she said. "Behavioral therapy is not covered (by insurance), so it is very expensive-and it's all private pay."
April 8, MI: The Detroit News State lawmakers push for autism treatment coverage
HERE "Currently, most health insurance companies cover only screening for the disorder, leaving families with autistic children to bear the high costs of treatment on their own. Treating autism can cost a single family $50,000 or more annually."
April 13, VA: Roanoke Times Bouncing for autism HERE "The cost of therapy sessions -- between $200 and $300 per hour -- is prohibitive."
At the end of Larry King there was an exchange between JB Handley and Max Wiznitzer that showed the truth about what autism is doing to our children.
Handley: "It's going to be shocking for parents to learn that the CDC and the AAP don't actually acknowledge that there's been a real rise in autism cases. The Department of Education in 1992, 16,000 kids were getting autism services--today, 225,000. That means that in 1992, they were missing 93 percent of kids with autism. Where are the adults with autism? They don't exist. These numbers are real, but if you don't acknowledge there's been a real rise, you don't have to go find the environmental agent that caused it."
Wiznitzer: "...In 1992, we weren't counting as much as we're counting now. ...Families recognize the value of having a diagnosis for their children to get services and there's lots of services and there's lots of money that follows it. As these individuals get older, frequently they become less symptomatic and you may no longer see the features of full-blown autism and they may get another label. And that raises the issue of what do we do with them when they get older. How do we make sure they have quality lives...quality work...quality living resources."
Nothing in the stories above describes a situation where an autism diagnosis leads to "lots of services" and "lots of money that follows it" as Wiznitzer described. And nothing in Wiznitzer's response to the statistics given by Handley had a basis in reality. What evidence has the CDC or AAP ever come up with to prove their insane claim that we've always had so many disabled children around? The CDC gets billions of dollars to run health care in the U.S. and they can't even give us the current autism rate. They can't show us the adults with autism that people like Wiznitzer claim are out there somewhere. Based on what research does Wiznitzer say that autistic adults may lose the symptoms of autism? The CDC has never shown us a significant adult population with autism, much less one where individuals have become less symptomatic.
Since Wiznitzer doesn't think there's been an epidemic increase in autism, I have to wonder why he's concerned about making sure "they have quality lives" as adults. According to Wiznitzer autism is nothing new. If that's true there should be lots of provisions already in place to care for them as adults.
It is becoming abundantly clear that autism looms over us like an approaching tsunami. On April 4, the Washington Post laid it all out with stunning numbers.
"The bill for the tide of autistic children entering adulthood over the next 15 years [will be] an estimated $27 billion annually in current, non-inflation-adjusted dollars by the end of that period. The number of autistic children expected to need extensive adult services by 2023 - more than 380,000 people - is roughly equal to the population of Minneapolis.
Randy is just one of hundreds of thousands of autistic adults to whom society pays frighteningly little attention. The price of their care will affect all Americans, not only those who have autistic children. Along with housing, day programs, transportation to those programs or jobs, and higher-than-average medical costs, adults with autism require steady supervision and support."
(Washington Post, Still Overlooking Autistic Adults April 4, 2009 HERE)
It is my sincere hope that doctors like Wiznitzer, who watched this disaster unfold and did nothing will still be around when hundreds of thousands of autistic adults have nowhere to go and there isn't money to pay for their care.
It's now too late for anyone to claim that they were misled and that they had no idea that autism really was an epidemic. And it's simply ludicrous to continue to pretend that this disaster is merely "better diagnosing."
Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.
Everyone should also consider other environmental sources of mercury beyond vaccines. The rivers in Houston (where my son suffered severe regression at age 2) are no-eat fishing zones due to mercury toxicity (no, he didn't eat the fish, and we left there after 2 years, more or less as quickly as possible without losing the income necessary to care for ourselves and our children.)
I don't think there are many places in the US that aren't blanketed by coal fired powerplant effluent. And we all just recently brought compact florescent bulbs into our homes - a common argument I have heard about them is that the powerplant emissions reduced by use of a CF bulb contain more mercury than the bulb itself does - scary thought no matter how you look at it.
And, like vaccines, the environmental mercury load has been steadily increasing for the last century. There was an interesting reduction in the Florida Everglades in the late 1980s, alligators and other top predators were dying of mercury poisoning and the scientists were all mystified as to where it was coming from since it was so widespread. Someone finally pointed at the waste incinerators in Palm Beach county, they tried shutting them down and almost immediately the mercury problem in the Everglades improved dramatically.
Yes, the autism spectrum does have some kind of genetic component, my father and his father were both "quirky," as am I, but my sons are both non-verbal at ages 5 and 7, only toilet trained within the last year, and while they are generally sweet kids, they are beyond any kind of weird that my family has produced in living memory.
Posted by: M | April 16, 2009 at 10:49 PM
Sheril, that is one of my biggest piss off's...someone using the word "retard". I've gotten into a screaming match with some dim wit in one of my classes over that word. There were two women pretend arguing in the back of the class. They were going back and forth "no you're a retard","no you're a retard" it went on and on...then she said it, "I'm not retarded, I'm autistic." Let's just say the shit hit the fan. I was up out of my seat and in her face so fast...I really don't know what came over me. It took my friend Erica to stop me from getting my hands around her throat. I just know that I was truly offended by it. I understand what you are saying about using the word "autistic". I have for the last couple of years, refered to my son as having autism. BUT there are times when it comes out..."I'm sorry but he's autistic, what's your problem and why the hell are you staring at us?" I've tried A LOT in the last year to try and answer the questions. To meet the stares with..."Do you have a question?" Instead of flying off the handle. I'm still coming to terms with the word autism as a whole. AND it's been years since our diagnoses. No one means to offend Sheril, it's just different ways of getting to the larger picture.
Posted by: rileysmom | April 16, 2009 at 06:34 PM
Polio peaked at about 1 in 3000 children in 1954, and they rather quickly figured out & solved the problem.
Autism is now 1 in 150. 1 in 60 in some areas.
After nearly 18 years of "study," the CDC and FDA still cannot seem to locate the difficulty.
However, they continue to "refuse to look" in any area where they may find the actual cause of the problem.
Many are /and will be "more than happy" to secure funding to look in the wrong place for years to come.
Posted by: Curtis J | April 16, 2009 at 05:31 PM
I totally agree that the appropriate language is not always the easiest language to use in writing or in speaking.
I just wanted to politely point out that how we say things either perpetuates the stereotypes or breaks down barriers for people with disabilities.
I wholeheartedly believe that attitudes about our children need to be changed before any real change can come along. And our words reflect attitudes, whether we think that way or not.
Just like the toddler I overheard yesterday at a daycare telling another child that he was a retard. I guarantee you that the child using the word was trying to convey a negative message to his playmate. And he had definitely heard the word used in that way somewhere before.
Our words reflect our attitude about things...and can tell us a lot about what a person holds as deep personal belief.
Words have injured my fellow friends very deeply...and I would like for that to start to change. It has to start with us.
Posted by: Sheril Bergman/ SKIP ..Special Kids...Informed Parents | April 16, 2009 at 12:03 PM
I don't really understand how use of the word "autistic" as an adjective implies that autism defines the person. I don't mind if someone describes me as "a tall woman" rather than "a woman of height". Fact is, I am tall, and there are a lot of other adjectives that could describe me as well. No single adjective completely describes my identity, yet these adjectives may still be accurate and I don't feel a need for them to be made into nouns.
I do usually try to use expressions such as "people with autism" rather than "autistic people" out of respect for those who request this, but it does sometimes make for longer more convoluted sentences.
Posted by: Twyla | April 16, 2009 at 11:24 AM
Unfortunately (at least in Massachusetts) your child has to have the ASD diagnoses to receive the teaching and classroom aid at the school level; if you don't have it your child probably won't be entitled to special edication services. But with this same ASD diganoses kids are denied desperately needed insurance coverage for therapies the schools either cannot or will not provide.
Posted by: Lisa B. | April 16, 2009 at 10:31 AM
RESPONSE FROM DR. BOYD HALEY
To All: I really like Dr. Healy and nothing I am going to say should be taken as a negative regarding her. I appreciate that the genetic causation for autism was somewhat dismissed. However, her comment that we haven’t the foggiest notion as to what environmental exposure that causes autism is one that I cannot agree with. The medical establishment just refuses to look at the logic and science behind the possible causations of this epidemic. They place their faith on “the 2004 IOM and CDC comments” which said vaccines/thimerosal are not causal. The opinion of the CDC, the 2004 IOM committee and the AAP today are most dependent on 4-5 epidemiological studies done by non-Americans (and vaccine manufacturer employees) and mostly (4 of 5) on foreign data bases where the exposure to vaccines were not as much, nor as early, as in the USA. It is amazing to me, that with an epidemic of such importance to our country’s future, that the CDC has gotten by without one epidemiological study done by Americans at a prestigious USA institution and done on a USA cohort group. This is a failure of our federal government and the agencies that are supposed to protect American citizens.
Below are my rationale (not exclusive to me) for pointing directly to thimerosal in vaccines as the major cause of the increase (but not the only contributor).
1. The toxin has to be one that affects boys more than girls.
2. The toxin exposure has to occur before 2-3 years of age, including in utero time (excludes most exposures from eats, drinking and drugs).
3. The toxin had to increase in the time frame of 1988-90.
4. The toxin had to increase in all 50 states at the same time (follow the US Dept. of Education Individuals with Disabilities Act data).
5. The toxin had to be able to cause the pleotypic toxic effects as evidenced by the multiple biochemical abnormalities observed in autism by direct or secondary effect mechanisms. Some examples would be low glutathione levels (Dr. James), aberrant methylation (Dr. Deth), low sulfate levels (Dr. Waring), abnormal urinary porphyrin profiles (Dr. Nataf), low Molybdeum levels, elevated neopterin levels (Dr. Nataf), etc.
I would strongly suggest that elevated mercury exposure via thimerosal is the only causal factor as it can explain explicitly all of the 5 items above.
First, mercury is the only relevant toxin that I know of that is dramatically more toxic to males than females. The published research show enhancement of thimerosal (mercury) toxicity by testosterone (male hormone) and protection by estrogen (female hormone). This appears to be the one piece of information the opposition does not want to directly address.
Second, the CDC mandated vaccine program, which exposed day old infants to levels of mercury that would be EPA safe if they weighed 275 pounds, was started about 1988 and in all states. Plus, the USA has gone from being a “low infant mortality’ country to where we now stand at #41 on the international infant mortality list. If indeed the vaccines against infectious diseases are working and has lowered death rates to these diseases, just exactly what causes of death has caused the increased high rate of our infants dying today? Have we traded measles, mumps and hepatitis for more lethal illnesses? Without a doubt, our current vaccine policy has not made our infants healthier than they were before, and this strongly implies our vaccines and the vaccine program today is not as safe nor effective as it could be.
Third, I and others can mechanistically explain the abnormal biochemistry and tissue damage seen in autistic children as being caused by inhibition of specifically mercury sensitive enzymes or pathways. This is not rocket science, it is rudimentary basic biological/biochemical science----and it is being ignored by physician administrators who lead our state and federal health departments and our vaccine development programs. Maybe their education is lacking in this area.
Place into this mix the studies made available to our 2004 IOM committee and later publications that show autistics have a higher mercury body burden and poorer mercury excretion abilities than neuro-typical children, the lack of autism in non-vaccinated or lesser vaccinated children (the Amish as presented by Dan Olmsted), the increase in asthma rates with earlier vaccinations from the Mannitoba study, and many other relevant studies and you get the idea we do not have honesty or integrity in the medical establishment and government agencies that have been assigned to protect our population from infectious diseases.
I agree with Dr. Healy that we need to work together and I think all of the “anti’thimerosal in vaccines” researchers would agree with this. But how do you get such research funded when the decision makers in this area continually push to fund more “studies to identify the genetic causes of autism” and have not, to date that I know of, funded one good study which allows an independent group to look at vaccine/thimerosal causation? It is hard to be agreeable when you are excluded from the important decision making discussions.
Boyd E. Haley, PhD
University of Kentucky
Posted by: Anne Dachel | April 16, 2009 at 09:54 AM
Hi, Sheryl, I'm Kim - from A of A. I've written about how autism is what my kids have, not who they are - and I try not to use autistic whenever I can. Sometimes it gets cumbersome to keep saying "boy with autism" in a post and I revert to autistic for flow and readability. I can't speak for Anne - but I'm guessing she feels similarly to us.
It's odd, we don't call kids with cancer cancerous but we do call kids with diabetes diabetic. I don't like that much either.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
Posted by: Stagmom | April 16, 2009 at 07:59 AM
I want to say that this article is particularly powerful and enlightening. Too bad that the right people are not getting it!
There is one thing that I would like to politely bring to your attention. I read this story and found the wording interesting. I am not particularly bothered by words like "autistic children", but I have learned from my friends who have various disabilities that words affect them very much.
My daughter is no more "autistic" than a child who has cancer is "cancerous". There is a vast black hole of difference in describing people with autism as people first, their disability second...as in "my daughter who has autism" ....and "my autistic daughter".
Words do make a difference. I am just respectfully asking that you please consider your words carefully when writing and speaking about our children with autism.
thank you for listening. I get so much out of reading these articles...please keep it up.
Posted by: Sheril Bergman/ SKIP ..Special Kids...Informed Parents | April 16, 2009 at 07:52 AM
Want to know a term I rank right up there with "better diagnosis?"
School authorities throw it in our faces and admonish us with the term which is meant to describe a terrible new trend they aim to discourage.
Well maybe - just maybe - the reason so many parents are hovering over their children is that one in six of them has a neurological disability, not to mention all the others with immunological and other conditions linked to overvaccination. "Helicopter parents" is the new "blame the parents" term, when in reality, our children are medically and emotionally needier than ever due to government negligence.
Posted by: annoyed | April 16, 2009 at 02:09 AM
This is just out from ABC NEWS:
Autistic kids' parents angered by bureaucratic hurdles
"Parents with autistic children have battled long and hard to get government help. So when they were promised thousands of dollars in federal funding last year, they got their hopes up. But now many of them are angry and disappointed at the bureaucratic hurdles they have to jump to get the money....
" 'We understand that 1,337 children have received early intervention services, they have got the diagnosis and they are receiving services,' Bill Shorten said. But that is little comfort for those who missed out."
So tell us again about "lots of services" and "lots of money" for autism.
Posted by: Anne Dachel | April 16, 2009 at 01:40 AM
Thanks Anne for writing about this and working hard to get the message out. It is like a Twilight Zone episode when we have to listen to the Drs. Wiznitzer and Offit infomercials -- different mouth but same bullshit. How do they keep dishing out this crap? Oh, yeah -- they are actors and are able to play their parts.
Posted by: Teresa Conrick | April 16, 2009 at 12:38 AM
According to this 1971 article, I'd say just as stupid as they are today.
"We report the case of a boy with dysgammaglobulinaemia who died  with giant cell pneumonia and disseminated measles seven weeks after receiving live attenuated measles vaccine.
From age six weeks the patient had frequent infections associated with a rash on the face, scalp, and limbs. He was given three doses of triple antigen (Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus)and oral live attenuated poliomyelitis vaccine; the third dose at the age of eight months. Fifty-six days later live attenuated measles vaccine was given. One week later he developed a pyrexial illness with a skin rash. There was no known contact with the measles. An elder brother had a similar illness at two days old and died at seven months earlier with staphylococcal brochopneumonia, a cervical abscess, and boils on the neck."
"Measles virus which was isolated from lung, spleen, and a lymph node behaved as an attenuated strain."
"Our patient had measles virus antigen in the lungs, liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and bone marrow, and also in the thymus, which may have inhibited recruitment of thymus-differentiated immunocytes (Burnet, 1968). Live vaccine viruses which are attenuated in virulence for normal children may be pathogenic for immunologically incompetent children."
Too bad for you, Mr. Brian Deer. Andrew Wakefield was eleven at the time of this BMJ report.
Posted by: Insert On-Line Personae Here | April 16, 2009 at 12:06 AM
Anne you said:
"When the one in 150 rates came out, world renowned vaccine defender Paul Offit told ABC's 20/20, 'People that we once called quirky or geeky or nerdy are now called autistic.'"
...I would love to lock a clone of my son in a room with Paul for a day to see if he could survive the clone's quirky, geeky, nerdy personality aka Autism (per his words). I promise he would not!
Paul would be running scared while screaming a confession that his minimalistic, over-simplified explanation was a profound understatement of the complexity and severity of Autism in an effort to confuse the public that he believes is extremely ignorant.
That would put his bogus argument to rest. What a crackpot!
When my mother, born in '51, was growing up, she only knew one child with a condition that she now knows was Autism for all of the rocking, repetition, hand-flapping, ear covering, and spinning he would do.
He was her cousin Jimmy and he was never around when there was a large amount of guests. This may have been commonplace in the past to keep people with Autism sheltered for their own protection, but I beg to differ that they have all disappeared into thin air.
HERE'S MY PROPOSAL:
PART 1: Let's challenge Offit, Gerberding, Yeargin-Allsopp, and Wiznitzer to locate the hundreds of thousands of adults that should be from the baby-boomers generation that have Autism. They should be easy to track since according to Wiznitzer, there is an abundance of money that flows for a diagnosis of Autism. Every individual should have long ago flocked for the piles of money that go hand in hand with an Autism diagnosis. (Are the stacks of cash locked away in some vault with a bottomless pit?)
Oh wait, that's right, we already know they're not out there because we would have heard the government's announcement that our taxes were going to leave us penniless to pay for their very high needs. DUH, MR. WIZNITZER, DUH!
Yet another attempt by a representative of the AAP, CDC, big pharma crony phonies to arrogantly imply that we are complete IDIOTS! YOU are the idiot Mr. Wiznitzer if you think anyone is actually buying into your word vomit!
PART 2: I think that we need a true debate in which the experts are held to a higher standard of credibility and are required to provide citations to support their arguments. We could even do this in multiple parts to allow them to come back with any citation they were lacking in round 1. I know the experts on this side of the vaccine-autism debate would prevail in a historical landslide.
Without much doubt, the AAP & CDC reps would likely never accept such a challenge because they don't have valid citations for their arguments. In fact, if they did, they would be providing those arguments in their numerous public appearances, don't you think?
DUH MR. WIZNITZER, DUH!
How stupid do you think we are you arrogant pr**k!
Man, I am glad they are wrong because otherwise all these kids that are recovering, including my own, (under their theory), were probably never sick! (Their other ridiculous claims)
Anne, you said:
"It is my sincere hope that doctors like Wiznitzer, who watched this disaster unfold and did nothing will still be around when hundreds of thousands of autistic adults have nowhere to go and there isn't money to pay for their care."
I think his ignorance will be delivering a good swift kick in the A** when he's taxed to beat hell to support all of the individuals with Autism.
Sadly, because of the devastation his lies may lead to, this would be a far inferior punishment for his failure to act and for contributing to its disaster.
He is doing this by misleading the public in regard to the need to help and serve the hundreds of thousands of individuals with Autism.
Thank you for your wonderful writing, Anne.
Posted by: sranzau in MN | April 15, 2009 at 11:04 PM
Twyla, you're exactly right. It's just like peanut allergies: I think I would remember if ANYONE I knew in elementary school couldn't eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich--yet you hear all the time about how parents are just freaking out over nothing, that kids have always been allergic to peanuts, yada yada yada. I think I would remember if I had ever met anyone with autism--and I now know two kids under the age of 20 who have Asperger's. No trick-or-treater at my parents' house was ever on the spectrum, but two trick-or-treaters at my house last fall were clearly autistic.
(And as for the line of BS about how kids with Asperger's were just "the weird kid"--tell me how many weird kids you knew with chronic diarrhea!)
Posted by: Theresa | April 15, 2009 at 10:15 PM
Better diagnosis my ***...FOOT!! Where were they all before? I'm sure we all would have noticed all the disconnected children wandering aimlessly.
You just want to knock on their heads and say...HELLOOOOOO McFLYYYY???!!!! Reality is here!
Posted by: DannysVoice | April 15, 2009 at 08:51 PM
Thank you Anne for speaking the truth! Thanks also to you and Joy for your weekend work tutoring our daughter and other autistic children. You and Joy are just what children need. Bless you always! Tim, Rose, and Sherylrose.
Posted by: Tim Ziegeweid | April 15, 2009 at 08:06 PM
Cherry, this is a very interesting point:
"Anne, I once read an analysis of autism from the view of evolutionary biology, and it would be nice to get something like that printed in AOA. It is simply impossible for there to be a normal(genetic) rate of autism as one in 150 or one in 60, because when you have a disorder which makes it difficult to procreate, that disorder is quickly eliminated from the gene pool and could never possibly be more common than one in ten thousand or even one in fifty thousand. Any biologist would quickly see the absurdity of a claim that autism was always common but we did not notice it."
Posted by: John Stone | April 15, 2009 at 06:34 PM
The MIND institute published a study. Where they said autism IS indeed on the increase. Discounted is research & data artifiacts & awarness of dx. IT is an epidemic. IT IS a huge problem. There is no doubt that my daughter within a month became autistic.. She can not speak anymore, she flaps, has no attention amoung a lot of other classic symtoms. She LOST nearly all her acquired skills previously obtained just after she turned 3.... You never hear about this ever happening in history until now esp. with such volume. If it where always there nursery rymes, fables, folklore, & all kinds of cultural rellics would tell us that. It is not there. This is the stuff scary nursery rymes are made of IN this generation.
Here is some info on the study: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/news/mindepi_study.html
Posted by: Kevin | April 15, 2009 at 05:44 PM
How do these people sleep at night? Better diagnosing? They may try to explain away a 'brain disorder' like autism (their words, not mine) with better dx, but then how do they explain the explosion in childhood asthma, leukemia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and in my opinion cerebral palsy, which, like MS, is a demyelination disorder that we know now is caused by vaccine-injury....those ALL show outward signs--try explaining those away with better diagnosing....where were all the kids with these conditions 20-30 years ago? That's right..they weren't around in these numbers, either.
Children manifest the toxins in vaccines different ways: hundreds of thousands of children harmed by the toxins in vaccines will eventually be diagnosed with autism. Thousands more will be diagnosed with asthma due to allergens in those same vaccines...thousands more with terrible eczema from the same toxins in the same vaccines. Thousands more will never make it past infancy and will die 'mysteriously' as a cause of "SIDS", which many us rightly believe to be related to vaccines. I believe that many of these childhood conditions come down to vaccine-injury based upon the way a child's immune system responds to toxins.
It's too easy to claim better diagnosis with a condition like autism that is, according to the CDC, neurologically-based and therefor does not present physical signs like a child with asthma or diabetes.
Insurance companies hate the word autism...they also love it because it DOES preclude autistic kids from getting the therapy they need. My son ONLY got his therapy and naturopath paid for by our insurance because of his diagnosis of CP and severe allergies. Our doc doesn't even code for autism...it is an automatic denial.
Posted by: Julie Swenson | April 15, 2009 at 05:10 PM
Thankyou, Steve, I agree 100%. A lot of the talk about treatment and therapy for autism is just what the public needs to make them relax and not worry about autistic kids. If someone is getting treated, he must be getting better, right? - So we can worry about other problems, .,REal problems. I dont think anyone has a clue about what we are up against with the autism epidemic until they have actually seen an autistic child.
Anne, I once read an analysis of autism from the view of evolutionary biology, and it would be nice to get something like that printed in AOA. It is simply impossible for there to be a normal(genetic) rate of autism as one in 150 or one in 60, because when you have a disorder which makes it difficult to procreate, that disorder is quickly eliminated from the gene pool and could never possibly be more common than one in ten thousand or even one in fifty thousand. Any biologist would quickly see the absurdity of a claim that autism was always common but we did not notice it.
Posted by: Cherry Sperlin Misra | April 15, 2009 at 03:03 PM
Thank you Anne, This gives me more to work with on Sat when I come face to face with the "great and all knowing" Wiznitzer.
Posted by: rileysmom | April 15, 2009 at 02:29 PM
This is just a fabulous piece. Thanks so much for all your work. How come nobody calls him NITWITZER? Just wondering.
Posted by: Maurine Meleck | April 15, 2009 at 02:11 PM
Part of the problem is that psychology is such a young science. They keep changing the names of disorders. Manic Depression became Bipolar, and Multiple Personality Disorder became Dissociative Disorder. Is it a coincidence that Autism numbers went up as Childhood Schizophrenia numbers went down? ... Isn't it funny how Flapjacks declined in popularity just as Pancakes gained popularity?
Do these higher Autism numbers include people with Asperger's, who were once simply known as "the weird kid?" I read somewhere that Asperger's Syndrome was added to the DSM IV in 1994, although it was first defined in the 1940's
I'm not trying to be argumentative, I just like to look at issues from EVERY possible angle. I'm not denying that we are all exposed to many more toxins than we were 30 or 40 years ago, we are, and children are just more susceptible than adults.
Posted by: Kathy | April 15, 2009 at 02:01 PM
This is my personal tribute to JB Handley and the other courageous advocates on Larry King Live two weeks ago. They made brilliant points. They were the voices for the voiceless and they told the truth.
Below is a video segment from the show. Dr. Bernadine Healy challenged the points made by Wiznitzer. She isn't convinced of safety and he and others should be very worried when a top American doctor disagrees with their claims.
LARRY KING LIVE: http://iaminformative.blogspot.com/2009/04/jenny-mccarthy-and-jim-carey-larry-king.html
Dr. Healy: "The focus that we have on autism today and the embarrassing recognition that we know so little about it, in terms of what causes it, in terms of how to treat it, ...I think that says that we have neglected this disease for all too long--in the face of this growing epidemic, if we want to call it that. We have got to focus on it and we've got to listen to families. And I think that environmental triggers in the context of a genetic predisposition makes a lot of sense. But we don't have the foggiest notion what those environmental triggers are. Vaccines might be one of those components. Let's respect that. Let's investigate it. And I don't think it's been fully investigated."
Posted by: Anne Dachel | April 15, 2009 at 01:58 PM
With the creation and worldwide use of the internet, and all of the parents talking(screaming) about our kids and regressive Autism the news is out for all to hear and read. If there were millions of 30 and 40 and 50year old affected people, their families would be bringing them out of hiding and into the light. Prove it Dr Wiz.or shut-up. It is only my opinion but he is no expert.
Posted by: K Fuller Yuba city | April 15, 2009 at 01:30 PM
This "no increase" swill comes not only from those who have a direct stake in the vaccine program. It comes from most anyone who makes a living off of "treating" autism instead of "preventing" it. This brings a whole host of clowns into the picture: therapists, neurologists, etc. By claiming a non-reversible inborn brain disorder, behavior therapies and prescription pads seem like the sensible approach.
Posted by: Steve | April 15, 2009 at 01:29 PM
In Minnesota from 1997 to 2002, autism services from DHS nearly tripled -- from $39 million to $110 million. I've got a call in for a more current number.
I do believe that over the years adults on the autism spectrum have slipped through the diagnostic cracks. But not to the extreme extent that Wiznitzer would like to believe. Does he say there's no increase because the number of patients he sees in his office each day remains static?
I also believe that adults' lifetime body burden of toxins can reach a tipping point, resulting in physical and mental malfunctions. Further testing is needed.
Posted by: nhokkanen | April 15, 2009 at 01:15 PM
Awesome job, Anne! Thanks is too small a word.
Posted by: Erik Nanstiel | April 15, 2009 at 01:04 PM
Sometimes we can get a little lost in the vaccine autism link. One has to wonder what the accumulative affect is of other environmental factors do, to a vaccinated, heavily vaccinated child. For instance, the case of municipal waters full of fluoride, which is more pronounced in the last two decades in more cities than ever (Blood Brain Barrier breaching, high aluminum and mercury). The fact that our economy forces mothers to work, stopping breastfeeding, putting them on baby formulas that have high iron (feeding microbes), MSG, Rocket Fuel. Then we go with the replacement item of High Fructose Corn Syrup, which contains mercury and heavily prepped foods which contain MSG, Preservatives, Colors, Transfats, Acyrlimides. Put on top of that the prevelance or overprevelance of mothers with autistic children who on average have MORE amalgam fillings in their teeth, which routinely outgass MORE mercury than what is in vaccines. Then you go with more endocrine disruptors, birth practice which essentially changed over decades to cord clamp baby within seconds instead of minutes letting full body volume of blod to baby and asphyxiate them via immediate cord clamping, which, essentially is done more often in C section births (high in our popultion), pitocin induced deliveries, etc etc. Then, my good friend Jim, who has posted that chemotherapy drugs, known mutatgens, are being found in our waterways. Put on top of that, parents birthing children much older, soils that are depleted of selenium which derive and supply our glutathione levels (and, the low selenium soil states have the highest rates of autism), our excessive need to cover us up under the sun by sun block with related VITD3 deficiencies. Copper piping in home, therefore, high copper in kids mimicing Wilsons Syndrome. INfectious vector diseases, such as lyme, which is paralleling the autism epidemic and in which is found in high numbers in kids/families with autism (www.liafoundation.org )- please....let's think about this...we are creating a PERFECT STORM. Parents now are more toxic than ever, STD's are largely spreading (syphilis can cause autism in utero), and so on and so forth.
I do think vaccines tip the scales, shoot the loaded gun so to speak...so is CDC really taking all of these things into account? NO. Perhaps they think why the one cause idea is wrong... maybe they REALLY KNOW, its the combination. IT's sort of like a kineseology move....arm out, test the toxin, you can't leave your arm up by two fingers pushing down on you. Vaccines may just that extra push the body doesn't need to go into serum sickness. After all, even herds of cows if they are fed improperly, have low selenium etc, are born lame after mothers are vaccinated.
A toxic, infected body, is not going to be healthy, and ready for such an onslaught of high vaccine uptakes. We simply are forcing our luck when we trust that our child, is going to handle it. It is a GUESSING GAME, which I heavily protest against. I don't believe in this day in age, ANY vaccine is safe, effective, and or necessary.
Especially, ESPECIALLY, when there is a family history of reactions, illnesses during vaccines, and or autoimmune diseases in the family. Even the use of TYLENOL, a recent product forced on us more heavily on the last two decades, which we often use to reduce vaccine fevers is in question. (www.rollingdigital.com/autism ).
Is it all vaccines? No. I think it is the accumulative affect of all these toxins, all these unknown factors, and known factors, that is driving this epidemic. Inflammation can start in utero, and it's finish or end point, is vaccines, where there is not going back. The toxins are to blame, stressed out oxidatively (a gift given from you to child), and let's just say it, forced by greed and averice and nondisclosure. In such a toxic world, are not our kids like the current situation of the polar bears, in which they are forced to realign their thinking, move on to safer colder places, and whom are forced to swim larger distances for their foods. I don't think we get this yet. I don't think we get, that our kids are on the way to extinction, from normalcy.
Posted by: Kathy Blanco | April 15, 2009 at 12:42 PM
They always talk about how the doctors didn't know about it/missed it, whatever, but what this absurd notion doesn't ever mention is what about the parents?
As a kid I had pretty severe asthma (the only kid in school by the way) and some seizures. I guess I was ahead of my time. I remember the worry my parents had, the way they watched over me, the way they searched for answers to make me healthier. This notion that, not only doctors, but parents just didn't pay attention to kids 25 years ago is the silliest one forced upon us.
So damn absurd.
Posted by: Jack | April 15, 2009 at 11:50 AM
Ah, yes, I remember it well -- back in the days when I was in first grade in the mid 1960's and there was that little boy who sat next to me who never talked. He would drop his pencil over and over on the desk, and when the teacher told him to stop he would shriek loudly and sometimes throw himself on the floor. He seldom seemed to hear anything anyone said to him and would just flap his hands. During free time he would strum on the heating vent. I asked the teacher, "Teacher, what is wrong with Joey?" "Why, whatever do you mean?" she replied. "Well, he acts kind of different," I said. "Gosh," she replied, "I hadn't noticed." And you know why she didn't notice? Because she didn't have any special training on autism.
His pediatrician didn't notice anything amiss either. Of course, this boy did not receive any special services/treatments like ABA or dietary intervention. But he grew up and graduated from high school even though he hadn't learned to read and write. Nobody noticed, you see, because they weren't as well trained as today's professionals.
He went on to get a job, even though during the interview he couldn't say anything and just made a few unintelligible sounds. And he spent his time at work studying the shadows of leaves on the floor and playing with his kalaidescope and pinwheel. Luckily, he was able to blend in and he kept his job, because nobody at his office was trained in the diagnosis of autism. Now he is one of the "hidden hoard" of adult autistic people who don't get counted.
In conclusion, why all this promotion of autism awareness? The whole problem is the heightened awareness and special training in diagnosis of autism. If there was just less of this, our kids would grow up and blend in unnoticed and live perfectly normal lives like in the good old days before all this “better diagnosis”.
P.S. To any who may be neruodiversity advocates, yes I do realize that this description represents only one segment of the autism spectrum, and many people with autism can read and write and speak fluently. But many of our kids cannot, unless fortunate enough to benefit from early biomedical and behavioral and educational intervention.
P.P.S. Did my story seem implausible, like maybe I was just making it up? Yes! This didn't really happen. How could it possibly happen?
Posted by: Twyla | April 15, 2009 at 10:49 AM
Anne I physically want to vomit when I hear a raging epidemic blown off by better diagnosis.
Most parents I know floundered around for months and years before they got a diagnosis!
What an insult to university educated doctors and teachers of years gone by.
As though they would have not identified stimming and a school aged child silent.
Give me a break. Shame on the media for recycling that ignorant quote over and over again!
Posted by: karenatlanta | April 15, 2009 at 10:38 AM
Remember 10 years ago when the speech therapists were saying the introduction of the sippy cup was causing speech problems. They were on the forefront-who would think it was the introduction of 26 more doses of vaccine and not sippy cups.
Has anyone noticed that developmental milestones are now nebulous? It used to be an 18 month old should have 15 words. Now it's dumbed down to 8-10 words and a disclaimer that all kids develop differently, etc. I was at a party on Saturday. All three kids there under the age of three weren't speaking or gesturing appropriately. Two are definatley on the spectrum. The new NORMAL is not the old NORMAL when I was kid. I look at the 90's as the mercury generation and the 2000's as the vaccine generation. Sad.
Posted by: Holly M. | April 15, 2009 at 10:00 AM
I know its one of the 6 impossible things to believe before breakfast!!!like dan olmstead, wrote about in spectrum.in my opion,(.mad max has the sincerity of a pitt viper), this whole thing is ..like some strange trip down the rabbit hole...as special master Vowel informed us..tossing out claims as she manages to invoke the white queen..while turning down care for a childs vaccine injury..this is bizzaro world .keep up the fight warriors i think we can take the queen....candace
Posted by: candace passino | April 15, 2009 at 09:39 AM
Great article Anne.
Riley'smom- if you read this. Why don't you print this off and take it with you on Saturday and ask Wiznitzer to comment? Heck-it would be nice to pass this out to all the attendees that day.
They wish they would have saved themselves 20 bucks and skipped his lecture full of lies and misinformation.
Posted by: Andrea | April 15, 2009 at 08:46 AM
Wonderful post! Should be a required read for all US legislators. We should post a list of legislators around the country who do NOT support Autism insurance bills. Which politicians do not support disabled children???? That will really help their re-election efforts around the country!
With regard to Max, I picture instead the 'Get Smart' charter saying, "I missed it by that much!" (when it comes to 'better diagnosis') He's an idiot!
Thanks again Anne.
Posted by: No Fan of MAX but Insurance Mandates YES | April 15, 2009 at 08:45 AM
Excellent post, I'm sending it to my legislators!
Posted by: AnneS | April 15, 2009 at 07:32 AM