By Cathy Jameson
The Age of Autism, the nation's first daily Web newspaper for the environmental-biomedical community – those who believe autism is an environmentally induced illness, that it is treatable, and that children can recover. For the most part, the major media in the United States aren't interested in that point of view, they won't investigate the causes and possible biomedical treatments of autism independently, and they don't listen to the most important voices – those of the parents. We do all those things, and more. –-Dan Olmsted, Editor
A few years ago, the editors Age of Autism called upon its readers to participate in a contest. A t-shirt was being debuted with the Age of Autism logo. Readers were asked to come up with a tagline explaining “so that's what they're all about" for the t-shirt. Creating a t-shirt as a walking advertisement was a brilliant way to continue to get the word out about the autism epidemic. After several weeks of reader input Kelli Ann Davis’ suggestion won: “Age of Autism - The Bull Stops Here.” It’s a perfect “so that’s what they’re all about” saying!
Over the years The Bull has fit several categories. The Bull could be the massive confusion on the federal level when it comes to vaccines and autism. The Bull could include the commonly sited government-funded studies that support vaccination while it completely ignores other studies that say quite the opposite. The government facts state vaccines don’t cause autism while other government statements report that vaccines result in autism. The government pays out a monetary compensation for that result in autism. Saying one thing while stating another and then changing a verb in a sentence that ultimately means the same thing is a bunch of bull!
The Bull could be the lack of support from politicians, educators or medical people when parents request their help. It’s a fact that many parents of children with autism struggle. We struggle to understand why (why did this happen to my child when he was doing just fine before). We struggle to understand the what (what caused the seizure, the encephalopathy, the digestive problems, the cognitive delays). Many parents struggle financially (effective therapies for those are approved with scientific and evidenced based but are out of reach due to high costs. Even more disheartening is that many schools refuse to offer those services when they are capable of doing so). Lots of parents struggle emotionally and spiritually (who doesn’t want to shake their fists in the air and say, “Why did this happen to me, my child?!”) Pity parties are fine every now and then but they don’t get children any healthier. Having to fight constantly for our kids’ rights, for proper services and for support is a bunch of bull.
Our community has been trying to relieve some of the burden our children suffer. When we discovered our child’s autism could be linked with a vaccine, we we’re determined to educate others. Sadly, some big names in our community have been thrown under a bus because of their work. Their names are smeared like the poop smears some children do on their bedroom walls. Asking questions is a typical response when searching for answers. Being mocked for asking questions is a bunch of bull.
The Bull could be the Skeptic or NeuroDiverse community and their attempts to tell parents like us we are wrong about our children’s autism. Clearly their diagnosis is easier to manage than my child’s diagnosis. Unfortunately, they don’t see eye to eye with why I want desperately for my son to be able like they are able to do things. I don’t understand the negativity toward our community and toward a website like Age of Autism. From what I know, the ND crowd is mostly older and independent. They are able to hold down jobs, drive themselves and can live on their own. Several have blogs that clearly show they are communicative, talented and very creative. They are successful in their careers or hobbies. What a gift! My child? Well, he’s still very young, but I only wish he had everything the ND community is able to have. He can’t dress himself completely. He can’t talk, and he certainly can’t leave the house on his own. He can’t wipe his own butt, and I wonder if he ever will. One day I hope he can drive but he can’t even get on a tricycle without fumbling and stumbling over himself. Because of his needs, I searched for help and found support within the Age of Autism community. Sometimes Age of Autism comes under attack for helping parents like me, They are blasted for reporting the truth and for continuing to investigate autism and triggers of autism. Age of Autism’s mission is to inform when those who should do so do not. Being attacked for telling the truth is a bunch of bull.
The Bull could be simply from a neighbor who thinks a child’s autism is just bad behavior. It might be the grocery store clerk who Tsk tsks you as you try to keep your child from melting down from a sensory overload. The Bull could be in the form of constant bombardment of flu shot advertisements. It could also be a failed IEP meeting as you battle a special education department. It could be from being dismissed from a doctor’s office for refusing to vaccinate. The Bull shouldn’t be so negative and so consuming, but sometimes it is.
The Bull Stops Here embodies Age of Autism and its mission to ask the questions that will uncover the truth. Not only does Age of Autism uncover the truth, it is bold enough to report it. Those of us in the Age of Autism community only want the best for our child or loved one who has fallen onto the autism spectrum. Sadly, the autism more and more children are being diagnosed with is the debilitating kind that will leave more children dependent on their families for the rest of their lives. Exposing how to manage that autism, or how to avoid the chance of that autism, is more useful than The Bull that attempts to slow us down. Slowing us down won’t stop us in our tracks. We’re too determined to do that, and we have bigger people to answer to: our children. Age of Autism’s mission has always included the children – the who and the why of the mission. For the children, it’s why I support Age of Autism.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.