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Autism One Features Julie Obradovic: Taking it to the Teachers

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By Julie Obradovic

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak on a graduate panel. I had been asked to do so by one of my professors in Educational Administration. I will receive my second master’s degree in education next week.

Back in November, I was in his class the night of the congressional hearings on autism. For the first time ever, I kept my phone out and peeked at the emails and texts coming in from friends who were there. I could hardly pay attention, and at one point, I did one of those weird silent “YEAH!” moves with my fist pumped at the most inopportune time. One of my classmates looked at me like I was nuts.

My professor made a comment that night. Something to the effect of never being able to Google his name, and how he could care less. He told us that if we really wanted to get into administration we’d better be ready to be disliked, to take a stand, and to fight for what we believe is right.

I snickered. Been there, done that, I thought.

Our task that night was to write about it, and so I did. I told the whole sorted tale of the last ten years of my life. How it happened, what I did about it, and where I am today. And then I submitted it hoping I wouldn’t get dropped from the class. You just never know what people are going to think.

When we got our papers back, he asked to speak with me privately.

Oh. Crap. Here it comes.

But I was wrong. He wanted to meet me for coffee and learn more.

We met for over an hour in January. By the end of our conversation, he asked me if I would like to participate in a panel he was putting together. In light of the Sandy Hook shootings, he wanted me to talk about the role of skyrocketing illness in children and how that is effecting education and society. I was honored and gladly accepted.

And so last month the panel convened. In front of an audience of undergraduate and graduate students, each of us shared a unique perspective on education. In addition to my topic, we discussed the impact of mass media, security risks, bullying, resources, and even the dignity of human life. It was a panel full of controversial positions, which was oddly comforting.

I wish I could say I wasn’t nervous. That’s not true. I’ve long wondered why Education has not held the Medical Industrial Complex accountable for the problem they created, perpetuate, and profit from, and yet for which educators are held responsible in every way imaginable.

But it’s one thing to think that and a whole different thing to say it. This was a chance I couldn’t pass up, and simultaneously, a chance that made me want to throw up.

I structured the 15-minute talk into several segments: the problem, the impact, the cause, and the solution. I gave the current statistics on physical and neurodevelopmental disorders; discussed how they are impacting our success in schools, our society, the economy, and the military; made some predictions about the future; went into the causes (the “M’s” as I call them; mercury, medicine, and mankind) and tried to offer some solutions for moving forward.

Clearly that’s a lot to talk about in that amount of time, so I barely touched the tip of the iceberg. But I said it. I put it out there.

Afterwards, I got a lot of reactions. Most were from the classmates I knew who were stunned that I had never shared any of this with them. One was from a different professor who asked me to talk to our class the next time we meet. And others were interested audience members complimenting me on my delivery.

Most exciting, I had brought a box of Age of Autism books with me and passed them all out. One special education teacher asked for four, and has since requested more. I gladly obliged.

Surprisingly, no one confronted me. I had thought for sure someone would want to challenge me or tell me I was crazy or something. No one did. In fact, the only comment someone made to my face was, “You forgot an ‘M’. Monsanto.”

I laughed and agreed.

But sure enough, there were critics. They just chose to do it anonymously. Within a few days the evaluations were shared, and although I am happy to report I was repeatedly referred to as interesting and informative, I did have a few angry responses.

“Autism is NOT a chronic illness. Autism should NOT be considered one. Science is PROVING it is genetic!”

The words were capitalized and underlined. This person was angry.

I was disappointed this person didn’t say anything at the panel. This comment is a perfect example of a very real problem in education. This is what teachers are taught, that autism is a genetic, lifelong, unavoidable, and untreatable condition. I’m not surprised my words offended them. For if that part of their training is wrong, what else is? It’s unnerving.

I would have loved to been able to calmly and matter-of-factly respond, “I’m sorry, but you’ve never been more wrong about anything in your life, and I can prove it. Here, have a book.”

I will continue to speak out about this issue. Educators and taxpayers, I hope, are finally tired of being bankrupted by, blamed for, and frankly, shot at, because of mental and physical conditions created and exacerbated by those who profit from them.

How’s that for unnerving?

Julie Obradovic is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.




My daughter is studying to be a nurse. While I realize there is a small minority of medical personel out there who "get it"
I almost feel like she is crossing over to enemy lines. I also worry for her as we both carry the MTHFR C677T and have double copies for it. Vaccines could potentially kill her. While I have written her a comprehensive religious exemption, I know it is only a matter of time before they take those away too. She is getting married next month and she and her fiance have decided not to vaccinate after her brother's vaccine induced autism, and the fact that the menactra vaccine almost killed her. They have NO idea what a battle they are going to be facing. I have a feeling I will be going to a LOT of pediatrician visits with them, because they KNOW I will get in any doctor's face that dares try to vaccinate my grandchild! I refuse to let anyone else in my family suffer if I can prevent it!!!!!

White Rose

To anonymously , and I say the same to Offit\Salisbury\Godless and the rest ......if only these 3 would follow my advice .

Vaccinate yourself and your family (its an expensive way to learn though) and you'll see soon enough who is telling the truth and who are the (b)liars .

Nurses do as they are told .....pretty soon they'll be doing what we tell them , for it is us , on here , that will be running the show and calling the shots (or not) .

billie joe

Did you tape your talk? Are you sharing your powerpoint? Can you at least share the stats you used?


well done - can you correct one spelling mistake - sorted should be sordid


That took guts, way to go, Julie! And congratulations!


I am not blaming the nurses or the nursing students.
I blame the nursing professors.
How much of a good talk do they have to give?
How oftenn do they have to give it"
How many lectures during a course do they have to stand up and drum it in.
How much do they have to beleive it?

I think most nurses pretty much know -or suspect, esp when they are getting the Hep B, flue shots and the DTaP (it is still a bad one).

Angus Files

Thanks Julie very to the point and to real to be doubted..


Jeannette Bishop

Thank you so much for standing and speaking out, and I'm grateful to your professor for giving you the chance! I think that many teachers are particularly positioned to see how the increasing vaccine schedule very closely matches changes for the worse in our youth, but I'm not confident most are politically open to the possibility (it's not just teachers, but--I'm not fully sure why--I feel very limited in ability to go into this at school).

Your anonymous responder has me again wondering why autism in particularly invokes such denial? What is the threat, exactly? Is it just that too many trusted institutions will appear corrupted or compromised, if one has to "learn" that autism is man-made? Are people afraid to see the somewhat variable collection of injuries involved in various autisms because it makes them have to consider so many others' suffering in a different light? Is the whole spectrum of damage just too much to accept as man-made?

Or is it that all the "lesser" damage is still an acceptable "mystery?" Even if we are causing it, we are able to "deal" well enough with those injuries so there's no urgency for life impacting preventative changes to be considered? But autism crosses some kind of line--maybe we have to consider that we are unequivocally violating the rights of some here with our lifestyle--so that it particularly MUST NOT be iatrogenic?


Years ago there were nurses crying at Congressional hearings because they did not want to be forced to give the DTP shot as it was harming children.

(before the DTP was taken off the market and replaced by the DTaP shot)

Now they seem comfortable given eight or nine vaccines on the same day....

Shiny Happy Person

Benedetta - I recall overhearing an RN in a local hospital once quietly saying "it's something in the shots", during a conversation she was having with others around the apparent increase in chronic childhood illness. There may be many in the nursing profession that just don't have the kind of courage that Julie managed to summon to question the status quo. As a CSJ editorial stated many years back, this kind of discussion is a "career-ender".

Jackie Sebell

Excellent...thanks for sharing! :)


I had to chuckle a bit at the poster above, Benedetta's (she has a great point), comment. I was a nurse (RN) and I have a child with Autism, specifically Asperger's, now Autism Spectrum Disorder (DSM-V). After seeing what happened to my child after the MMR-V (which was discontinued due to high adverse reaction rate), I know, in some cases, vaccines play a definite role. I ended up leaving nursing and going back to school for a my behavioral science degree. While the nursing profession definitely has a pro-vaccine mentality, a few of us know enough to see through it. Great article. ;)


anonymously; Probably was changing over to education from the nursing department.

Is the education building close to the nursing building because while you were taking -- there were probably about 10 more professors in the nursing building telling the students it is genetic. It is not the vaccines. That vaccines are safe, 100percent of the time. That they don't ever cause problems -- because they just don't. And believe me it is said again and again and again in nursing classes. Drummmmmmmmmmmmmmmed

Bob Moffitt

Julie .. "you go girl!!!"

Admittedly I am not a fan of "The View" .. but .. I think the women on The View often cite this phrase when they want to pay high compliment to something extraordinary that some woman has done.

No one deserves it more than you do.

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