Managing Editor's Note: You can subscribe to Steven Higg's blog
By Anne Dachel
As autism continues to overwhelm our children and health officials still haven't figured out if there's a problem, the Internet has become a source for answers for countless thousands. The mainstream media rarely deviates from announcing the latest autism gene study and giving us the standard claim that no one knows if more kids have autism. Vaccines have been exonerated. Major news sources work to lull the public into autism acceptance. Autism happens; we just need to adjust and accommodate it.
Any rational adult can recognize that something is very wrong. A generation of children is now afflicted with a disorder no one ever heard about 30 years ago. Kids like this weren't around when we were young. Enter the Internet. Real information is a click away. Sources that never make the network news can be found there. One of these, the Bloomington Alternative (HERE), is outstanding. The work of Steven Higgs, editor and publisher of The Bloomington Alternative since 2002, deserves recognition by the autism community. Higgs (editor@BloomingtonAlternative.com) collects his columns in a blog called Autism and the Indiana Environment.
Here is his own description of the blog's creation: "It's been a year since John McCain piqued my reporter's curiosity about the parallel epidemics of autism and environmental pollution that have swept our nation the past couple decades, a journalistically productive and, sadly, intellectually reaffirming 12-month period, to be sure.
Since the Arizona senator announced on the campaign trail last year that he would find the cause of autism if elected, I have pursued the question through interviews with parents, clinicians, advocates, physicians and researchers; stories, articles and books; and more than a few studies and videos. I've also published nearly a dozen-and-a-half stories on the subject in The Bloomington Alternative, CounterPunch online and print editions, NUVO and IU Alumni Magazine.
So far, nothing I've found contradicts my initial premise that toxic pollution is a contributing factor to the meteoric rise we've seen in the incidence of autism. To the contrary, that argument seems more plausible today than it did when I began this time last year. All signs point to "yes," so I am taking this project to the next level.
Phase II, as it were, will involve a more in-depth analysis of the connection between environmental pollution and autism in Indiana, within a new literary framework. From this point forward, the online aspect of this project will be called the "Autism and the Indiana Environment" blog. And it will involve research for a book with a working title of "Autism and the Environment: Indiana, Industrial Pollution and Developmental Disabilities," as well as more freelance writing."
Higg's stories are easily found on Google News.
Dec 27, 2009, Defeating autism, now (HERE) talked about biomedical and dietary intervention.
Dec 20, 2009, Autism epidemic in Monroe County (HERE) gave readers this stunning information:
"Dec 18, 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report that put the incidence of autism in the United States at 1 in 110 for children born in 1996, or 0.9 percent of the population. A survey, sponsored by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration and published in the journal Pediatrics in October, showed 1 in 91 children between the ages of 3 and 17 had autism.
"According to figures submitted by the Monroe County Community School Corp. (MCCSC) to state and federal governments last year, one in every 60 students, or 1.7 percent, had an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis in December 2008."
Dec 17, 2009, Heavy Metal Kids (HERE) explored the impact of toxic exposures.
And Dec 6, 2009, Seeking the cause of autism (HERE) talked about the controversy linking vaccines to autism.
"Handley, founder of what is now known as McCarthy and husband Jim Carrey's Generation Rescue, says thimerosal is but one of dozens of vaccine-based substances that could contribute to the upward trend of ASD diagnoses.
" 'In the 1980s, we gave a max of 10 shots to youngsters, today 36,' Handley wrote in a Nov. 15, 2009, e-mail. 'With this 'simultaneity' of layering on shots, how do we figure out what thing about shots is causing the trouble? Yes, mercury is particularly bad, but we're giving 36 shots with 81 separate ingredients, all thrown onto the schedule rapidly since 1990, which just happens to parallel the rise in autism.' "
These are the stories that should be on the front page of every newspaper and the lead reports on network news. Sadly, they're not. There are too many interests that force the mainstream media to downplay what's happening to our children. We owe a debt of gratitude Steven Higgs for giving the public the truth. His courageous efforts add another voice to a growing chorus. People are listening--especially those who realize that traditional news sources stopped caring about what's happening to our children long ago.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.