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Age of Autism Awards: Louise Kuo Habakus, Person of the Year

Louise_habakus By Dan Olmsted    
 It’s been a rough year for people concerned about the relentless onslaught of autism in America’s children. First, the U.S. vaccine court ruled against three brave families who were fighting to establish a link to their children's disorders, dismissing the parents as dupes and their lawyers and scientists as worse. Then a slew of negative and know-nothing articles tried to make anyone concerned about the issue look not just dumb but downright dangerous.
Meanwhile, the number of afflicted children kept rising like the waters after a levee break – and the federal government’s response was suitably Katrina-worthy. The storm surge has now reached 1 in 100 children, more or less, and in some states and some populations, far more than that.
But amid the doom and gloom, there were bright spots -- none brighter, ironically, than New Jersey, the place with an autism rate so high the CDC “disappeared” the entire state in its latest calculation; not coincidentally, it’s also the home of rivers of toxic waste, an armada of pharmaceutical companies, and a torrent of legislated vaccine mandates taken to extremes never before witnessed in America.
But New Jersey is home, too, to Louise Kuo Habakus, who did something quite amazing this year – rallying vaccine advocates and concerned citizens in numbers that made the difference in the New Jersey governor’s race, defeating Jon Corzine and carrying Chris Christie, the first candidate to go on record for vaccine choice, to victory.
For this, as well as for her tireless, smart and effective educational efforts and advocacy, we’re pleased to name Louise Kuo Habakus our Person of the Year.
In doing so, we’re also acknowledging and, hopefully, encouraging some shifting currents. We’ve pleaded with complacent – and in some cases complicit -- bureaucrats and their media apologists long enough. It’s time to confront their bosses and fire them when we have to, time to tap into the innate decency and common sense of the American people – who, when they've had enough, have a long and distinguished history of throwing da bums out.
One nominator, Catherine Glastal of Fanwood, NJ – “mom to one son with ADHD/auditory processing disorder/learning disabilities and another son with PDD-NOS” – put it this way in her nomination letter:
“Louise’s website is, a site which sums up her philosophies and life's work.  I refer to her site often for its simple and direct answers.  I had been on the edge of the whole vaccine debate, but her writings pointed me in the right direction.
Here in NJ and across the United States, Louise advocates for vaccine choice in such a way that people really listen.  She has a way about her that is not confrontational and yet she gets her point across very CLEARLY.  She rallied people to vote for Christie as Governor because he was the only candidate who met with the autism and vaccine choice groups and made campaign promises on those topics.  She will ensure that he keeps those promises.
I first remember hearing Louise's name about 2 years ago. Corzine was campaigning with Obama and happened to be going to Bon Jovi's house for a fundraiser.  Louise quickly got on the Internet and phone and rallied people to come to her house with signs and their kids with autism/vaccine injury.  No confrontations.  Just a very poignant and telling shot of a lawn full of children, parents and signage as the limousines drove by.
Louise gets the job done.  I really can't explain it.  She knows her stuff and she can debate you point by point without you even knowing what hit you. 
And finally, this year I found out that Louise went to the same high school that I did.  She graduated from the American School in Japan in '81.  JB Handley was class of '86.  I was class of '85.  It makes me wonder who else is out there who went to ASIJ and has kids on the spectrum!  What was in the water?!  (half joke, whole earnest)
Again, I just can't say enough about Louise.”
We at Age of Autism couldn’t agree more. A new Age of Activism has begun in the autism community that will come to fruition over the next few years, and in 2009 Lousie Kuo Habakus helped show us all the way forward.
Dan Olmsted     is Editor of Age of Autism


Patricia Shi


Thank you for your tireless advocacy work that has made a difference in the lives of so many!

Lisa in Texas

Congratulations Louise! It is a pleasure to know you and thank you so much for your tireless advocacy for our kids and being a diplomatic, professional, well-educated and eloquent voice for the autism community! Louise for autism czar!


Think of all the kiddos Louise has saved!!! Keep it up!

Jane Sheppard

Congratulations, Louise! You certainly deserve all the recognition! Looking forward to collaborating with you in the future.


Excellent choice! With Louise on our side the future looks very bright!

dan olmsted

To essfox -- my comment about how the CDC "disappeared" the state of New Jersey comes from Mark Blaxill's recent post here
in which he notes:

CDC has removed states with high and/or rising rates. Following the 2002 report, NJ, Utah (UT), West Virginia (WV), and Arkansas (AR) were all removed from ADDM (an action that was not visible to the public until last week). These 4 states were ranked #1, #3, #5 and #6, respectively out of the 14 states reporting results from 2002.

• This purge not only excluded states with high rates in 2002, it also excluded 2 of the three states with the largest rates of increase between 2000 and 2002: WV with a 39% increase in just 2 years, and NJ with a 7% increase. Only the CDC’s self-managed program in GA, with an autism growth rate of 17%, remained in ADDM.


Congratulations, Louise! You have accomplished monumental goals through your intellect, business acumen, compassion and energy. I hope to see many more of your eloquent essays reprinted here at the Age of Autism. And I look forward to your next state and national autism initiatives.

Joan Campbell

Well done Louise from Joan in Scotland.


please explain "the CDC disappeared the entire state in its latest calculation"

i rip on the CDC and their "stats" to anybody who'll listen and this is certainly important ammunition....


Jill DeMairo

Congratulations, Louise. Catherine's letter put it perfectly. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. You rock!

Katie Weisman

Nobody deserves this more than you. I am in awe of the amount of time and energy you have spent the past few years "fighting the good fight". You have truly made a difference to kids and families. Thanks for all you have done!

Maureen H. McDonnell, RN

Louise, Congratulations! You've been working long and hard on these issues....assembling small groups, organizing rallies, speaking at conferences. Your efforts to shift the consciousness of our culture and bring about real change has been remarkable! My hat's off to you! All the best, Maureen
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Alison Davis

Louise is a great example for how one person can really make a difference for us all.

Louis Conte

Congratulations. All your hard work has led to this.

I am very proud to know you and to work with you.

Louis Conte

Mayer Eisenstein MD, JD,MPH

Congratulations to my dear friend Louise. The perfect choice.



Louise, I've been cheering for you, cheering with you, and cheering to hear you are evn more officially and "formally" recognized for your tireless work. Yer the bomb!

From across the US, over here in the 7th state to pass anti-thimerosal legislation, T.


What a great choice. It is my privilege to know Louise. She is an incredible advocate and a great example to us all.


Excellent choice!!

Cathy Jameson

congratulations, Louise! That was a beautiful write up too, Dan.

Angela Warner

Congratulations Louise!!!

You are a leader by example, and you have blazed a trail not only for the children of New Jersey, but children everywhere.

I look forward to working with you in the coming months and I positively can not wait to see you again at Autism One and give you a great big HUG!

Congrats again Lady! You deserve it! Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for our children!

Ginger Taylor

Lou! The One Woman Wrecking Crew!


Congratulations Louise!! So well deserved! And thank you ever so much!!
p.s. I'm still interested in working with you with govetorial race here in Iowa for 2010. We all need to have the right to chose.


Louise is an extraordinary person, and she is quite deserving of this award. She is an absolute inspiration to so many (myself included), and she has the power to galvanize everyone around her and get them motivated to fight for what should be their inherent right-- vaccination choice. Sometimes, a very big, important person with a very big, important voice comes in a very small package. Someone like Louise. We are so lucky to have her in NJ.

P.S. Did you hear her speak in Albany, NY on the Capital steps? Wow!


The first thing I remember about Louise was seeing a photo of a heroically lovely person over a year ago. I'm not exaggerating at all to say that everything she's said and done since has only added to the impression that she's truly extraordinary and the feeling that she's a figure of historic dimensions.

It seems like she was born to the role of leadership for this movement, but no one is "born" to see their child suffer this way. Like the rest of us, I wish she hadn't been initiated by seeing her two of her children injured in order to attain the first-hand knowledge which adds even more power to her inherent grace and intelligence. But as long as we can't turn back time, we can be grateful that we have such amazing people like this speaking out for us.

John M. Hemenway (Bedford, Virginia)

Everyone on this list needs to contact their Congressman and Senators to find out who their Congressman/Senator's designated
"autism expert" is. It they do not have one, kick and scream until they appoint somebody.
Then, you need to be as helpful to that person as possible, forward them summaries of and copies of key past articles, as well as summaries of key current articles, as they occur, to make sure the appointed autism expert is properly informed. Be careful not to overwhelm them. Make sure that the appointed autism expert gets recognition with the Congressman/Senator for being responsive to you.
Then, think up a local event full of ASD parents and ask the Congressman/Senator to come talk. Or, show up in mass at an event that the Congressman has organized in your district. You don't have to wait until election time, but work with the local staff to pick a time when you know your Congressman/Senator will already be visiting the home district.
This will make the Congressman/Senator get up to speed on the issues, hopefully, based on the information you have provided.
Most important - let the Congressman/Senator know your people are numerous and highly motivated. They know what that means to voter turn out, campaign contributions, and their ability to raise volunteers.

Just another mom

Thanks Louise for your leadership!

Katie Wright

Louise is the perfect choice!

She is such an amazing Mom and an articulate and powerful voice for our community.

New Jersey had NO idea who they were going up against when they started in with their insanely aggressive vacccine mandates. Louise has helped all NJ families fight for the right to make these important health decicions for their children.

Just like autisn, Louise takes no prisoners. She brought vaccine choice to the forefront of a brutal governors race. Christie is the first NJ governor to listen to our community thanks to all of Louise's efforts.

Thank you Louise!!!!!!!!


Congratulations, Louise!

Is there still time to run for Congress in 2010 ??


What an excellent choice! Thank you, LKH, for being such an articulate and determined advocate!!


This honor is SO well deserved! I remember getting Emails from Louise early on, wondering who is this person? A force to be reckoned with that's who she is! Louise we honor your tireless advocacy! Thank you!

Karen S.

You couldn't have made a better choice. I've worked closely with Louise on New Jersey vaccination issues, and her drive, hard work, intelligence, and ability to organize quickly have never ceased to amaze me.

Laura Cellini

Fantastic choice! Go Louise!!!!



Lisa fioranelli

Congratulations, Louise! You are truly an inspiration to all of us fighting the fight.

Jim Thompson


Thank you for your dedication, hard work, persistence, and passion for the safety of children.

Teresa Conrick

Congratulations, Louise! Excellent choice and wonderful description of her efforts and advocacy.

Bob Moffitt

Wonderful choice for AOA's "person of the year". That Louise labors within the very "belly of the beast" that is New Jersey...home state of the most aggressive "mandated" childhood vaccine policies .. is a true testiment to her personal courage.

Thanks Louise for all you do!!!!


perfect choice.....congrats and keep up the good work you do

Maurine Meleck

Louise, what a terrific honor this is for you. I congratulate you a million times over.
You are truly deserving. Thanks, Maurine

Holly M.

Great choice! When I hear Louise speak, I want to be like her. Calm, cool and powerful. Like Dr. Bernadine Healy. Glad your in the great Garden, I mean PHARM state of NJ.

Tanners Dad

Louise, it has been quite a year. I know my year has been better getting to meet you in person. Your mission motivation & action are a blessing to all. Congratulations You deserve much more than a pat on the back. Thank you. Tim

John Stone

Very well done Louise - I trust Governor Corzine will only be the first politician to pay for their betrayal of our children.



What an outstanding woman and champion. A model citizen fighting for us all. Thank you for bringing her to my attention.


Great choice - congrats Louise.

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