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Angie Dickinson Shares Story of Aspergian Daughter

Angie d Angie Dickinson Breaks Her Silence and Reveals the Heartbreak of Mothering a Daughter with Asperger's

by Ed Leibowitz
Please go to Parent Dish to read and comment on the full article.

Composer Burt Bacharach and his actress wife, Angie Dickinson, with their daughter, Nikki, 2, around the swimming pool of their Hollywood home in 1969. Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS
When Nikki Bacharach was born in the summer of 1966, her parents were among the most sought-after couples in Hollywood. Angie Dickinson was a gorgeous film star who had appeared opposite John Wayne, Lee Marvin and Frank Sinatra. In the '70s, as the lead on NBC's "Police Woman," she would become the first actress to carry a hit drama in prime time.

A brilliant composer, Burt Bacharach had already written hits for Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones, and would win two Oscars before Nikki turned 3.

From early childhood, Nikki suffered from the effects of her premature birth and the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome. Socially withdrawn and obsessive, she craved repetition and fell into bouts of frustration and rage. This was at a time when autism was believed to strike only the severely impaired -- "far gone mental cripples," as Life magazine put it -- and didn't apply to highly verbal, precocious kids like Nikki. The American Psychiatric Association wouldn't include Asperger's in its diagnostic manual until 1994, when Nikki was 27. She was diagnosed several years later, but her symptoms continued to worsen. In January 2007, at age 40, she committed suicide...

...Being a New Yorker, Burt was very pro-psychiatry. In his world you did that sort of thing -- go to psychiatrists. I'm from North Dakota, and there we didn't. We go barefoot. Nikki began getting psychiatric treatment when she was about 8. The psychiatrists had no answers. There was one I would kill if I could get away with it. He'd tell me that when she'd act out or keep talking or repeating herself, I should just say something like "doorknobs" or "spaghetti." Something to make her go "Hmmm?" That's hardly explaining why she can't cope. He didn't get to the heart of what she needed at all.



Hi Kathy Gray, I am guessing you don't understand much about vaccine injury. It doesn't necessarily harm everyone in a family. Some people are more susceptible than others. And autism can have multiple causes, including fragile X, very rarely.

You seem to be implying that only you know how to love an injured child ( how strange) and that because your child is thriving, all other disabled children are thriving in the same way.

How would you feel about someone talking to blind people in the same way?
For example, if someone said; My son wears glasses, and sees fine, so your complete blindness is a blessing, quit complaining about how much it hurts when you bump into things, he holds down a job and you can't even navigate the bus schedule ?

I celebrate when any of our injured children thrive, and your son is no exception. I am thrilled he is enjoying his life and doing so well.

The things you talked about though, the reasons you say his life is so good,you do realize they are things that many kids with more severe autism can't ever achieve, don't you? People are blessings, but they are not blessings only based on what they can do. We can love our severely disabled children even if they will never achieve what your son can. Those with children paralyzed by vaccine injury still love their kids, even if they will never get out of a wheelchair, but please tell me you are not insensitive enough to walk up to everyone in a wheelchair and tell them how blessed they are to be in a wheelchair , because your son can walk.

This is the sixteenth birthday of Kim's little girl.

I hope you will also celebrate her child's achievement. And maybe, count your own blessings before you tell strangers with more severely disabled children, children who have been disabled by a medical intervention, how grateful they should be that someone caused harm to their children.

Grace Green

Kathy Gray,
At 29 I felt pretty good too, and whatever problems I did have I wasn't aware of them because I didn't have a diagnosis, which I now know should have been mercury poisoning. People are still saying "doorknobs" and "spaghetti" to me, but now I know it's their problem not mine! The physical health effects however get worse as you get older if you don't get those heavy metals out, as I'm now doing in my 60s. How I wish I had known when I was 29 as it would have been so much more effective at a younger age. I sincerely hope your son finds out the truth before it's too late for him.

Kathy Gray

I have a 29 year old aspy son. Diagnosed at 12. He is one of 3 sons. Only one with Aspergers. So all this talk about vaccines or metal contamination in utero are like a load of crap. While he can be difficult and absurd at times man is he smart and interesting. I choose to see him as gifted not damaged. He has, with difficulty, managed to adapt to some normal life goals. He works now for our city and they offered the job to him after being a volunteer for 2 years.
So guit trying to blame it on someone or something and relax, enjoy and feel blessed. It doesnt go away and it isnt a bad thing its just different.

Donna K

I want to thank you for your openness to share the struggles your family has faced over the years with autism and other vaccine injury complications and the special insight you provide from that perspective. I've learned alot from you. Here are a couple of readings you might not be aware of in regards to epilepsy and also bipolar, not to mention OCD.

Intrigued by my daughter's response to the sedative ketamine that was administered orally to her in the hospital prior to a surgery, I was very interested to find out the mechanism that caused the ketamine to quiet her seizure activity. My daughter has seizures that are refractory to all of the seizure meds currently available. After the administration of one oral dose of ketamine she had a week long hiatus from seizure activity. Also, her OCD and aggressive behaviors receded and she slept very well that week. Excess glutamate can cause all sorts of trouble besides epilepsy as I'm sure you know.

Unfortunately, we also found out that my daughter's OCD behaviors go through the roof after acetominophen use, a conservative dose at that. It was so bad she seemed like she was having a psychotic-like episode, but she was unable to describe what's going on because she is so severely affected by her autism. Acetominophen depletes glutathione. If your daughter suffers from glutathione depletion, that may very well complicate her bipolar, if not create it.


I long have given up on any neurologist being-- hummm --knowledgable.

It took years to get a seizure reading on an EEG for my son. To the point that it was riduculus, I mean really riduculus! He was 17 YEARS OLD when we finally got a dignosis of epilepsy. Come on this had been going on for year, and years, and years.

That is after he had a dignosed seizure disorder as a l year old,(stupid ped said it was febrile seizure and he would outgrow it - liar)
Then years, and year of numerous strange episodes that I complained about, numerous grand mals, numerous myclonic jerks, numerous incidents of not responding as he sit there shaking all over and biting his tongue. They were so stupid about it I really thought they were trying to cover it all up - and I am still not sure that is not the case. But then again I may not really appreciate the fact that really smart people in books - those that can get through medical school are really very uncreative idiots.

Now my daughter has bipolar. She had a psychoic episode, and she is now on Lamitcal a seizure medicine. As a matter of fact there are a lot a seizure medicines that are used in controlling bipolar. So, I too think ---- that a psychotic episodes may well be a type of seizure too.

A couple of months ago on the community board news they featured a football player that had bipolar. He too had psychotic episodes. He said that his father referred to those episodes as seizures. So do I.


Something struck me about her psychiatrist telling her to say random words to get her to go "hmmm?" though. My 8 year old had two seizures during the summer, his first ever. Both times I said the words "Donkey Kong" (his absolute favorite game that I don't let him play very often) to get him to "come to". When I told this to the neurologist, she laughed and said it was probably just a coincidence. I don't think so.

I think these episodes of rage, the bouts of inattentive stimming/wandering/whatever - even OCD, are seizure related too. I have had people tell me their child had a seizure on EEG during a rage.

Anyway, I wasn't very impressed with our new neurologist, she didn't think any of his other behaviors were seizure-related either, I beg to differ.


The first year of mass vaccination with MMR in the US was 1963.

Autism Grandma

As I was reading this article I kept recognizing the symptoms and indicatiors or Mercury poisoning. As Teresa Conrick posted: "The description of Nikki's aversion to noise and her extreme strabismus are very classic signs of mercury toxicity... I also wanted to stress that neither parents or Nikki's being in an incubator (isolation) caused her condition."

Nikki's premature birth certainly made her more suseptible to damages from the mercury and the vaccines, however if she was never vaccinated all of this suffering may have never occurred to begin with. Sadly the "miracle of modern medicine" enabled Nikki to survive her birth, but in adding insult to injury with vaccines modern medicine DISabled her from living her life in many ways, and ultimately resulted in her inability to continue living.

This statement be Angie Dickenson indicates regression and damage to the optic nerve by vaccines: "When she was released, she weighed about 5 pounds -- still quite small -- but she seemed contented and normal. In my opinion, she was doing wonderfully. Before she was a year old, though, she began having difficulties with her eyes." Based on her mother's description of Nikki's many issues, and based on all of the evidence that we have now the statistical probability of vaccines inducing Nikki's autism is very great. And it is just another devestating story of the failure of modern medicine to prevent, recognize and treat her precious daughter.

However, in spite of all this, Angie Dickenson did everything within her power to help her daughter and made the difficult choices based on the limitions at the time. She supported her daughter in developing the many talented abilities that she demonstrated in spite of this situation. Her desperate choice to pursue psychiatric intervention was really her only option at that time, although as she said, "The psychiatrists had no answers. There was one I would kill if I could get away with it." Obviously pychiatry does not resolve mercury poisoning and vaccine injuries.

This statement by Angie was heartbreaking: "She didn't know how much I loved her and would miss her and was entwined with her -- how much I wanted to make everything right for her. But I couldn't."


What a moving story. Who would have thought that Angie Dickinson was going through this. May Nikki rest in peace.

Heidi N

She's right. There are so many professionals who truly are more harmful than helpful. If the insurance didn't pay for them, they would not get paid. We should all go back to paying everything out of pocket. Then we would only choose practitioners that worked.


What an insightful article! Angie Dickinson, you are one awesome mom!! Your gut instincts seemed right on the money. Best wishes going forward.

Teresa Conrick

My comment -

My heart goes out to Angie Dickinson. I have a daughter, soon to be 18, who is severely affected. Her diagnosis according to the DSM is autism but she is being treated for the medical conditions of toxic encephalopathy; seizure disorder; mitochondrial dysfunction; food allergies (gluten, casein, soy, corn); chronic bacterial infections especially STREP, which presents also as severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and choreiform movements (Parkinsonian); chronic fungal infections; elevated titres, especially mumps,rubeola (measles); and extreme sensory dysfunction - visual, auditory and touch. The description of Nikki's aversion to noise and her extreme strabismus are very classic signs of mercury toxicity. The sparing and actual giftedness of other areas of Nikki's functioning is often the difference between the two shared autism spectrum disorders. I also wanted to stress that neither parents or Nikki's being in an incubator (isolation) caused her condition. That is old school, almost Bettleheim thinking. We now know that autism's roots are in harm from toxins, though it is controversial, much of the science shows it. Please read this review of scientific papers about autism:"Sorting out the spinning of autism: heavy metals and the question of incidence" and this groundbreaking book on the roots of autism, "The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic."


Burt Bacharach and Angie:
I am truly sorry!
Psych's -- hmmmm
Right now the State of Kentucky vocational rehabiltation department has hired a psych lady to work with my son.

All I can say is they are trying to do something, so bless them. Wether it is the right thing or not.

I was aggravated at him the other day. He lives like a pig and I got on to him which meant an all day discussion with him. He reaally does not discuss, he can argue though, and he can get mad - you would just have to be here to understand it.

But he was mad all day. I told my 81 year old mother who was frettting and worrying about it to stop worrying! Because I no longer had to do this job of getting him up, motivated, cleaning, and then out of his room to live his life because I had a pscyh (miracle worker) hired by the state of Kentucky to do this job now. All was now fine with world!

But I have no idea what ideas she is putting in his head. Cause he is not big on talking??? And I do worry.
The pscyh lady seems nice? She is a grandmother that has a grandson with autism, which she claims has never been vaccinated. I did not ask her if she was aware of the Hep B at birth shot??? But still I would like to know what these sessions are all about.

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