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LA Times Dog of an Autism Series: One Family's Exclusion

La timesBy Shannon Hunt

March 2010 I rec'd email from a friend that asked it I would talk to LA Times reporter, Alan Zarembo. I then sent him an email and set up a time to meet with him at my home. The time that he was able to do the interview was during my younger sons ABA session and team meeting (all therapists and super). He sat in for the team meeting and part of the session.  He said he was interested in my family because I have two boys that are DX with ASD and both are Regional Center clients. Additionally, he was interested because my older son was DX while we lived in Southern CA.

When he arrived, I had pulled out boxes of IEP's, IPP's (regional center plan) and IFSP's (Early intervention plan), and our Data Book for ABA.  I gave up two plus hours giving him tons of information about how I have had to spent countless hours in IEP meetings and IFSP/IPP meetings and hours and hours of on-line research regarding Special Education law, CA Disability Rights and more importantly,  Bio-Medical Research.  I opened up my medicine cabinet  and showed him the supplements that I give my boys and shared with him my thoughts on why my children have autism.  I shared with him that my now 13 year old son had sudden on set on seizures just shortly after his 15 month "well child" visit that included the MMR vaccine.   I advised him that my older son is very high functioning now but that we had done lots of work that included dietary changes, speech therapy, occupational therapy and some behavior analysis.  

I advised him that my younger son, who at the time was completely non-verbal (at 6 years and still not completely toilet trained that the ABA services we received had been invaluable and that I did not know where we would be with out them.  At the time, my son was receiving 18 (down from 30) hours on ABA in the home, 2 hours of speech therapy and one hour of occupational therapy per week.  I told him how we had taken him off of Gluten, Casien and Soy a year and a half earlier.  I told him that two weeks after removing Gluten from his diet that I finally was able to get a full night sleep because my son had slept all night for the first time in 3 years.  I told him about the (sometimes) 20 bowel movements that my son would have before we put him on GF,CF, SF diet and how I was cleaning up bowel accidents ALL OF THE TIME prior to diet and supplements.  I told him about how after this son had gone to his doctor and received a flu vaccine (because he was under two and that it was recommended) that he has stopped making eye contact and started having tics and started flapping him arms and toe walking and stacking and lining toys and on and on.

At the time, I recall having a conversation with my son's ABA therapist after Mr.Zarembo left my home.  I asked her if she noticed that same things that I had noticed.  She said yes.  I wondered if that was why he was writing the article. I noticed a lot of traits that are consistent with the "Neurodiversity" movement. He appeared to very unfriendly towards the idea of ABA and talked about what a financial burden it was on the state.  I thought to myself surely he must have a different opinion after meeting my son and seeing what the therapist does with him and listening to our team meeting and the detail of the program and how dedicated his team is. Surely.

After 20 months of waiting, once I was advised it was finally running. Every day I would go to the LA Times website and read that days installment looking for my interview. It's not there today.  Oh well, it will be there tomorrow.  Tomorrow, he will write about how much benefit my youngest son has received from Bio-Medical interventions and how he regressed after vaccines. He will surely add in the information I gave him on how my older son had seizures after his vaccines.  Tomorrow he will write about how much both of my boys have benefited from ABA,  Speech and Occupational therapies. Tomorrow, he has to share with his readers all of the emotional testimony I gave him about sleepless nights with a child running around at 3 am spinning and flapping.  He must tell about the fear I have about a non- verbal child and how I long to just hear my son tell me that he loves me.  Tomorrow he will write about how sick these children are and how many of them have severe GI issues and how important bio-medical interventions are combined with traditional therapies. Tomorrow, he will share the whole story of autism.   Tomorrow never came.

Shannon Hunt is parent to two boys diagnosed with ASD.  Prior to staying home to care for her children's autism related needs, including homeschooling her youngest, she was in the insurance industry. She lives in California., 

 

Comments

Never forget the role Alan Zarembo played in prolonging the autism epidemic

For interviewing you at length and then omitting your experiences from his article, Alan Zarembo is complicit in what will prove to be an unforgivable crime against humanity.

Shannon Hunt

I did continue to VAX my kids because I did not believe that our good doctors would even suggest anything to inject into my newborn beautiful perfect baby that could harm him. When my older boy had seizures, his neurologist never suggested that they could have been induced by vaccines!! Yes, there were the "crazy fringe anti-vax" people on the web but I didn't know any of them personally. I believed the articles like this one in the LA Times (you know, written by normal, sane, with no agenda reporters) that said vaccines were safe OR omitted anything about them in their propaganda.....I mean, journalism!!

Katie Wright

Of course! I can't believe this did not occur to me! Of course, Zarembo's entire perspective is totally neurodiverse. He lacks all empathy with these families because they do not conform to his understanding of autism.

Adam M

COULDN'T HELP BUT BE REMINDED OF THIS

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

2 TIMOTHY 4:3

Vicki Ward

All these comments are wonderful, and I deeply appreciate this website. I emailed Mr. Zarembo the following, re:
autism boom -

The import of this article is amazing to me because a local psychologist finally admitted to me that it is almost impossible to receive an Asperger's syndrome [diagnosis] by the definitions of the diagnostic manual, but I finally got my diagnosis, at age 61. I had done what you suggest is so dubious - I read about it and immediately recognized myself. This in 2008, sometime after the 1994 change, which supposedly caused a "floodgate"!

Indeed, you have some other very notable contradictions in this article: parents desperately shopping for all too easy to acquire diagnoses, the presumable subject of the article - is it real? - junked by a sociologist, of all medical experts, and last but not least: the easy hoodwinking of the CDC, the public school system, psychiatrists and psychologists wholesale, and researchers looking for causes, by: overanxious parents!
Since you afforded these parents so little credence, how do you suppose these others afforded them too much? Are they all delusional?

Instead of attempting to resolve these contradictions, the article begs the question: is it real? Is this really journalism?

Trina

This really you know what - all the time you gave and info and still nothing?????? What is wrong with these people??

Julie Leonardo

Benedetta, it was the same man the author of this piece is talking about: Alan Zarembo. What a yutz!

Adam M

RE: BARRY

LOVE OF MONEY. (COVETOUSNESS) MONEY IS JUST A TOOL.

Carol

After reading _Into the Buzzsaw_ by Kristina Borjesson, I started thinking about TWA 800 and how almost all of us have become convinced that the plane was brought down by a spark in the central fuel tank in spite of the fact that there are many, many eyewitnesses who saw a fast-moving bright flare rise vertically from the earth's surface, level off and intersect TWA 800.

Such is the power of PRopaganda.

Kimberly Howell

Thank you all for your thoughtful and emotional posts! One thing that I think we are all forgetting is that the MILLIONS of children that are ASD diagnosed have twice that many parents - and we are ALL voters, we ALL have a voice. I don't think anyone will every change the media or their lack of concern about the issue - - but the people that control the funding, and control the legislation - they have the power to actually make significant changes. Unfortunately, this is NOT a subject any of the policial candidates ever discuss. Perhaps we need parents and granparents to become policial leaders to help address this problem and get the appopriate funding where it needs to be channeled.

My husband has two sons on the spectrum. He has custody, and I have raised these young men since they were 4 and 5 years old. They are now 19 and 17 years old. "My" 19 year old wasn't potty trained until he was 7. He couldn't attend public school all day until he was in 3rd grade, and even then, he couldn't eat in the cafeteria - too much noise, too many different smells. It was terrible for him. "My" 17 year old is a senior. HE is considered an Asperger's kid. His only goal in life has been to join the millitary. We have tried to explain that it is NOT an option for him. He thought we were just telling him that because we didn't want him to be sent to a war zone. He contacted a recruiter last week. He was told that he didn't qualify for the millitary. Now I have a very patriotic young man that is heart broken. Our 19 yr old will always live with us, and at this point I think the 17 year old will as well. Neither has the ability to care for themselves, balance a checkbook, or even understand the value of money.

Prior to becoming the boys step-mother, i read every book I could on Autism (in 1998 there were very few out there). I read the books, and thought, heck, I can do this. I had no earthly idea what I was in store for me. People can read books, they can listen to stories from parents, but until they have personally been forced to clean feces off the walls, or brush their child's teeth because of the feces caked on their teeth, or had to leave a restaraunt because there was nothing on the menu the child would (or could) eat, or tried to explain Autism OVER AND OVER AND OVER to the school administrators, the teachers and the aides, or TRIED to take a child with Autism on vacation - - THEY REALLY JUST CANNOT GET IT. Autism isn't a "diagnosis" as many seem to think that we want. . . Autism is a way of life that changes EVERYTHING. My husband and I realize that we will never be able to retire - they boys care will require us to work until we die. And speaking of THAT issue. . . .how frightening it is to think of the day that we are not here to protect our children??!?!! That is something that can keep you awake at night, and make me cry now to think of it.

Thank you all once more for all that you do to fight the daily battles, and for trying to keep Autism in the headlines. Just another regular mom, Kim

Benedetta

Julie Leonardo;
What was Alan's full name - the one that sent the crap back to you?
He needs to be added to a ever growing list of crimnals -

The kind of list like they made at the end of War World II of leaders, officiers, and guards to Nazis death camps.

Every conflict of this magnitude has an ending for those on such a list. Of course I would not have thought it would gone on for 30 plus years -- I never thought it would get worse? I just thought it would be a small percentage like my kids and my family and I just had to accept that was the way it was for the greater good and bare it.

I did not know enough about human nature to know that once they saw they could take a few kids and no one could stop them they decided it was okay to take even more.

Stagmom

Until it happens to YOUR CHILD most people are in Joe Paterno/Catholic Church ANGRY DENIAL and must denigrate those of us who've seen our kids tumble in order to preserve their sense of safety and justify their decisions. Vaccine injury simply CAN NOT BE TRUE in their minds. It's an old story - defile those who disturb your world order. It doesn't work forever.

Barry

It's amazing how many people are willing to lie about this issue.

Especially when you realize, that the direct result of the lie they're all telling, is the unspeakable suffering of innocent, defenseless children.

I guess money truly is the root of all evil.

EllenDiann

You would think she would stop giving her kids vaccines? Don't you KNOW. www.nvic.org for help to know.

Julie Leonardo

I emailed them with this letter:

Subject: Regarding your Series on Autism

Hello,

I have briefly scanned the first part of your series: Discovering Autism Epidemic of Disease or Discovery?

I have to admit that I am a bit disheartened from what I have read. It appears to me that the basic consensus of the article so far is that the increase in Autism is just a factor over better and earlier diagnosis, coupled with a more lax diagnostic criteria. I have to tell you that as a mother of an autistic child (coupled with Down Syndrome,) I know hundreds of mothers of autistic children. Many of them, if not most, fought to get any diagnosis, though it was evident that their children fit the criteria. I have a second child myself who has ASD characteristics, but none of the experts would diagnose her as autistic. So it is pretty insulting to insinuate that parents and schools are just diagnosing children willy nilly in order to get benefits. I DO know moms who have autistic children who refuse to get diagnoses, on the other hand, so that their kids don't get labelled and singled out. That DOES happen, and frequently.

As far as the genetic theory of autism, there may be a genetic susceptibility just like you can have a genetic susceptibility to alzheimers or heart disease, but that doesn't mean you will get it, especially if you live a lifestyle and avoid the things that could trigger it. But Autism is NOT genetic like Down Syndrome is. THAT is a true case of genetic. But even that is caused by something not working right in the body, which causes the chromosomes to stick together in the process. There is actually only one form of genetic DS (translocation), and that is not the majority of cases. So even something Genetic is not genetically transmittable.

Something in the environment either prenatally ("born with it") or postnatally (regressive autism) is happening. Even the government admitted this in the following link:

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=1ab3cf42-802a-23ad-4a3a-686da83bf6d0

People from all over the place, families, special ed teachers who have been in the field for decades (I have personally spoken with a few myself,) heck, even Dr. Oz (!) are admitting that there is an epidemic of Autism. It is real, and it is increasing. Just take a look around at the senior centers of the world and see how many elderly autistic there are. There aren't many. There should be if the numbers have not changed. The current estimate of autistic teens about ready to leave the school system is about 1 million, so it should be easy to find a similar number of autistic elderly, yes? But where are they? Do a search of nursing homes and get those people diagnosed. I will bet you any money that there won't be nearly the number of people.

The fact is, the people working with our kids, scientists, doctors, therapists all know that our children are being poisoned by our environment. Which chemicals? All of them, interacting with each other and synergistically damaging their neurological systems. Autism is an umbrella term to describe behaviors and symptoms, not a real disorder. Autism is Lyme disease, mitochondrial disorder, food allergies, PANDAS, Cerebral Folate Deficiency, and other disorders. It's many illnesses on top of each other and not a psychological disorder. Any parent could tell you that. We don't need all of the eye gazing and genetic studies. All of the genetic studies won't do any good in helping the children of today or even the next couple of generations. Down Syndrome can teach you that. All that happens with genetic information is the ability to test for it earlier so you can abort. DS is a prime example of the. the estimate is that 92-95% of positively prenatally diagnosed fetuses are aborted. New testing has just come out that can be done in the first 10 weeks, and it's very accurate. So how many more will be aborted? You see, there is no cure when the genes are found. Only testing available to terminate pregnancies.

We need stories like this to go by the wayside in order to get help for our kids. As long as the increase in Autism is buried and attributed to numbers, then Autism hasn't changed and nobody has to hurry to find help for our kids. That's the sad outcome of all of this. The reality that may have to hit home is that those 1 million that are leaving the school system have no support outside of school. And the low estimate for care for them is $3 million A PERSON. That's the low estimate. And who is going to pay for them? They are going to bankrupt the country at this rate. So you see, it is in your best interest to get this issue on the top of the list of priorities for our scientists. Enough genetic studies! Let's get real research done, chemicals, pathogenic studies, nutritional studies, new therapeutic techniques. That's what we need, not genetics and eye gazing. That's a waste of your precious tax dollars and mine. Do you want to caregive for my now 7 year old in diapers who won't let me dig the feces out of under her fingernails? There are about 10-18% of those with autism who have DS and Autism out there, and they are on the lower end of the function spectrum. So you see, you should be doing a report on this. And not to urge testing in order to abort, but to get real help.

And the best thing of all is this. Once you do a story on this and get the right information out, a lot of these things that we know to work also will have a positive affect on juevenile diabetes, asthma, allergies, and other illnesses of the immune system. They're all connected. But that's another letter for another day.

So be a hero, and please, please get out the truth. Stand up for us and don't be a tool of those who don't care.

Sincerely,
Julie Leonardo

And this is the crap he sent back:

Thanks for your thoughtful email. There’s no denying that autism still carries a stigma and that some parents remain in denial. But overall, the trend has been in the opposite direction: The stigma has eased and the definition of autism has expanded as have the efforts to identify it, and the diagnosis has gone from being one of last resort to one that many parents will fight for to help their children (as your email acknowledges). We’re not ruling out the possibility of a real increase in incidence; the efforts to find environmental causes are still very worthwhile. But the evidence is quite clear that these social factors can explain a significant part of the growth. As a newspaper, that is what we were able to focus on. When the scientists figure out the causes, we’ll report on that on the front page too. Best, Alan

Amanda C

We too spoke to Zarembo at length regarding the school district's bottomless pockets for litigation against special ed students. When I read his first installment I wrote him and told him don't you DARE mention me or my child in your paper. He lied to me. He completely misrepresented what he was doing and he is a bottom feeder.

Sarah

Call me crazy but I really think a global eugenics agenda is what's driving this train. Why? Because in regard to the media there have been too many instances where outright lies have been told, distortions made (autism is genetic, autism increase is due to better diagnosing), data manipulated, bad science promoted and the public being deliberately mislead. These media types have talked to parents, they have been handed information, they've been provided evidence of injury yet the bias continues and the lies are repeated over and over.


IMO, the media is a tool of the social darwinism agenda. Influence public opinion to create a negative perception of autism while promoting genetic improvement. Fear of autism will help sell technologies like genetic pre-screening, embryo pre-selection. Autism genome registry will be used as a screening tool. Sophisticated. clever. evil.

Lisa Smith

Channel 12 in Cincinnati ran a piece on the flu shot where the doctor asked what do you have to lose. I sent them a list of the things I lost due to the shot. 24 days in the hospital, 6 months of physical therapy, 4 years with no feeling in my legs, $250,000 in medical bills and on and on. They asked if I would talk on camera, I agreed and sent them the vaccine court ruling that all of my damage was caused by the shot. And guess what they no longer wanted to interview me.

Anne McElroy Dachel

I believe the real reason for the LA Times series was to spin the really big lie about autism: THERE'S BEEN NO INCREASE. AUTISM HAS ALWAYS BEEN AROUND; WE JUST CALLED IT SOMETHING ELSE. THERE'S NO REASON TO WORRY.

Zarembo left a lot of things out of this report. He concentrated on high functioning types of individuals much like they did with the idiotic questions on the British survey. There is a well-orchestrated effort to allay the growing fears about autism. If autism has always been a part of the population, then there's nothing to worry about. Autistic adults are out there. We just need to look for them. Zarembo claimed that they're in institutions. "Many more are thought to be in prisons, homeless shelters and wherever else social misfits are clustered." The vast majority are living "in plain sight" all around us.

I've written to Zarembo several times. I've asked him why he omitted anything about the vaccine controversy, Hannah Poling, or Andrew Wakefield. I asked why he had no parents talking about biomedical treatments or a single word about regressive autism. Why wasn't Michelle Cedillo's photo and story part of the series?

Zarembo isn't a real journalist. He's a propagandist. His work is at direct odds with stories like this one coming out of New Jersey telling us that adult services for those with autism are being overwhelmed.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/health/135814883_Services_for_adults_with_autism_are_woefully_inadequate.html?page=allDelia

While completely ignoring the autism-vaccine issue, his conclusions make it irrelevant. If autism has always affected one percent of the population then there's no connection to the ever-expanding number of shots kids get.

If a big name paper like the Los Angeles Times tells us autism is just something we've always dealt with then all the parents pushing for services just better wait their turn.

I'm sure lots of people were very happy to see this series published. Every denialist out there from the CDC, AAP, NVICP, and HHS can wave the stories to prove that vaccines are safe. The problem is none of the lies will ever make our children disappear and this country can't continue to prosper with an ever-increasing population of chronically ill, disabled and dependent citizens.

Anne Dachel, Media

Adam M

RE: BARRY

AMEN. WE HAVE TO TAKE THE TRUTH TO THE PEOPLE OURSELVES. WE CAN'T TRUST OUR ENEMIES TO TELL THE TRUTH TO THE ON-LOOKERS. OUR PLIGHT IS BUT ONE OF MANY WAYS OUR GOVERNMENT / INDUSTRY / MEDIA HAVE LIED TO US, HARMED US AND THEN TOLD MORE LIES TO COVER-UP THE PREVIOUS LIES. WE NEED TO KEEP PUSHING THIS TRUTH OUT INTO THE MAIN STREAM CONSCIOUSNESS AS BEST WE CAN. TRUTH DOES WIN OUT EVENTUALLY. WE ARE GETTING OUR MESSAGE ACROSS OTHERWISE YOU WOULD NOT SEE THE LEVEL OF PRO-VACCINE PROPAGANDA IN THE MEDIA THAT WE'VE SEEN IN THE LAST THREE YEARS OR SO. EVEN TEN YEARS AGO YOU DIDN'T SEE THIS LEVEL OF CHEER LEADING FOR VACCINES. WHAT THEY'RE HOPING TO DO IS REMOVE THE DOUBT IN MOST PEOPLES MINDS BEFORE IT TURNS INTO INVESTIGATION. ONCE A PERSON DOES THAT THEY KNOW THE BATTLE IS LOST. THEY BECOME ONE OF US. THEY SEE THE ISSUE CLEARLY AND ASK WHAT ELSE HAVE THEY BEEN LYING ABOUT. THE SYSTEM THAT EXISTS TODAY CANNOT SURVIVE WITH A PUBLIC THAT HAS A MINDSET LIKE THAT.

Theodore Van Oosbree

This type of story is consistent with a push by the pharmaceutical/medical complex to influence media coverage of health issues under the guise of providing information to the public:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/18/journalism-in-drug-industry.aspx?e_cid=20111218_SNL_Art_1

Sarah

The LAT reporter was tasked with writing a hit piece. He knew going into the interview what the series angle would be..the huge financial burden autism (ie our kids) places on society. The article is meant to be divisive and rile the public's anger. The agenda: pit parent against parent and deflect the focus away from Pharma and the medical establishment. Divide and conquer. They have no intention of getting to the truth. The mainstream media has no interest in getting the bottom of what is ailing our kids or how to treat them. They are lapdogs for the industry.

Bob Moffitt

If Alan Zarembo had been assigned by the LA Times to report on the Emperor's parade .. LA Times readers would have been led to believe the Emperor had been dressed from head-to-toe in expensive materials .. carefully crafted by expert tailors.

jenna

Everyone-please stop talking to the mainstream media. Please.

Barry

Autism is an unspeakable crime against innocent children, and the tool that's been used to perpetrate this assault is vaccines.

There are two major culprits responsible for all this suffering

1. Main stream medicine
2. Main stream media

None of this could ever have happened had they not been working together, and we should not expect help of any kind from either of them.


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