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Autism - Picture This

By Cathy Jameson

I was listening to a radio news station a few weeks ago when a story about pedestrian safety was being discussed.  Citing an increase in outdoor activity, longer days and potential bicycle, pedestrian and traffic accidents, the Street Smart project kicked off in early April.  Images on the posters that would adorn bus stops, the sides of city busses and kiosks in the metro Washington, D.C. area is part of the in-your-face advertising.  Literally.

Street Smart

Traffic safety with a hint of reality.   It’s pretty clever.

What if we had our own autism-vaccine-injury smart campaign?  Not that we have to ask permission to post the thoughts, images and documented proof of what our severely affected children deal with.  But can the general public stomach the “smart” side of autism that the mainstream news doesn’t show?  Could they tolerate looking at the poop smears?   Would they be able to watch the seizures parents videotape to prove that their child seizes?  Can the unaffected handle what affected parents work through, manage and battle day in and day out? 

We‘re already outspoken.  We’ve revealed the truth forthrightly.  But our speaking truth to the public has not gotten us results we want.

Maybe ‘shock and awe’ would be more useful.   The Street Smart campaign has taken common sense, added a side of powerful imagery and voila!  Responsibility, accountability and compassion are evoked.  Human lives are at stake with autism also; arousing images can put a human face on autism, the difficult, too often hidden devastation that strikes our kids.

I can’t count how many times some people new to autism tell me, “I had no idea it is as bleak as you describe…”

What if we attached hard-hitting visual reality to our already powerful words?

Picture this:

•    Overhead shot of a mom wrestling her 10-year-old to the carpet so she could change his poopy diaper

•    Close-in shot of a dad clutching his weepy daughter while her mom struggles to cut her hair

•    Panning a medical exam room and zooming in on the sweaty faces of three beleaguered adults trying to draw blood from a screaming, sensory-overloaded toddler

•    Camera swooping down to capture frantic mother and typical siblings chasing after a child who has gleefully escaped

Autism Smart.  It’s raw.  It’s real.  I fear it would be too much for common folk to handle. 

The pedestrian Street Smart advertising is pure genius in targeting drivers’ attention.  Maybe if we are more direct about our children’s autism-related and clearly visible struggles, we too will get the attention we need.  It could work.  But only if we ask the public at large to picture this.

Ronan  April

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.


Cat Jameson

I am inspired to make some visuals with some of the suggestions made in the comments. Keep the great ideas coming. Either leave another comment with an idea here, or send them to me at catjam34@yahoo.com. Once I have a few created, I will be sure to share them in a future post.

Thank you!

Christine Thompson

Be Wise Before You Immunize

Rows upon rows of baby shoes for those afflicted by vaccine injury.


Hera's idea is SO, SO good. Except maybe for the final tagline. No need to editorialize at all. The facts that no one knows are so strong. Billboards, radio, TV. Wouldn't some of those California people with lots of money finance a massive media campaign? Somebody would really try to stop it.


Lots of my friends are on Pinterest. I just went there and typed "autism" into the search bar. Lots of happy, inspiring quotes, and pins linking to websites that talk about awareness, as well as websites with educational ideas, apps, etc. I couldn't really find anything that really gets in your face and right down to the bare facts.
I also see a lot of funny and sarcastic memes that get passed around on Facebook, and it seems that people really respond to them. We have some really clever people here at AOA that could probably put together a series of memes about autism that bypass the happy and go straight to the real. If we were to flood Pinterest and Facebook with them, they would get passed around by interested people. Social media can be a powerful tool.
I often link articles from AOA and elsewhere on my Facebook, but the fact is most people are too lazy to read an article about something that doesn't affect them. However, a short, clever and to the point meme or "poster" would get attention from more people, and get shared. Best of all, it's free.

Something to think about.


I would love to see an ad that just factually and quietly listed all the children compensated for autism, death or brain damage by the govt, something like
Child A MMR resulted in brain damage compensated in 1992
CHild B MMR resulted in brain damage compensated in 2003
Child C Multiple vaccinations resulted in symptoms of autism. compensated in 2004 ......
Just the facts. With case after case after case.
In the kind of calm quiet voice used to report injuries or deaths from a war.

Hard to have that argued with or taken off the air.

maybe the final tag line;
Vaccine Injury. What if it was your child?


I would support that. Especially after coming off another sickly sweet "autism awareness month" where there were loads of stories about how au-some and au-mazing awetism is. Barf. What is the most difficult to stomach is when I see the big autism orgs supporting this nonsense. Our state ASA chapter posted on their facebook a poster that said "my only special need is to be loved and accepted" Groan. I commented "must be nice 'cause we got a whole lot of needs going on over here."


Two cents worth from a grandmother with two affected grandsons--and they are not even biologically related--one is adopted. A billboard of signatures of parents of vaccine-injured children. Just small signatures, the specific names are not the point. Filling the billboard space. Call it Series One. Put out another one with more parent signatures. Call it series Two. And so on. I've seen a form of this work pretty well. When my husband and I were active advocates with something of a reputation during the later years of the Civil Rights Movement, an all African-American group addressing poverty issues in a poor area of our city started something called "Operation Breadbasket." They weren't taken seriously. What we did to support them was to collect signatures along with a dollar for each signature(enough at that time.) When we had a bunch of both we bought an ad--pretty good size in the local newspaper. We simply said "We support -------" naming the group. It caused quite a ruckus, bringing some city leaders, among them a prominent judge, to our door wanting to know what the H was going on. We got a lot of face time to discuss our viewpoint. In the end, the Operation Breadbasket organization got some support they likely wouldn't have. It seems to me there would be thousands of parents out there who would contribute a signature to go on a billboard with a bunch of others, simply headed "Our child is vaccine-injured."


"Vaccines do not come with informed choice discussions."
"Please do your research first,review adverse effects before you vaccinate."
We need our own poster.


GREAT IDEAL!!! This REALLY needs to be done!!!!

David H. Payne


Media is huge in the autism war. Every one of you owns a camera of some sort phone or video and that is the start of it.
Obviously you all own computers, we have lots of subjects to photograph, certainly no shortage there. We have our own stories as well and no one can tell your story like you no one.

Now all you need is a website and a server.

Talk about things that women AND men, parents like and love it really is pretty much universal. Talk about your hopes and dreams for your child and your fears. Do not hold back you do not have to cry but you may when you recount the initial joy and the subsequent pain.

Talk about the sacrifices that you and your family have had to make. Talk about your weight gain your lack of time your lack of affection and loss of joy your endless worry.
Also talk about your love of God, life, health, family and people and how you feel it is your responsibility as a Christian (or whatever your religious belief) man or a woman, a spouse, a parent, a neighbor and as a person that believes in truth and real science to tell the people all of the people and to warn the people in your community what happened to your child and your family and what you know in your heart caused it. Simply explain that you are willing to tell your true story despite withering criticism from like minded people in government, drug dealers also known as pharmaceutical companies and weak people called pediatricians.

Let me ask you if somebody set that website up for you would you come and participate? Would you tell your story? Would you cry foul? I have the perfect name for the web site: VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM


Angus Files

Here in the UK meantime..you are not allowed to show a picture with caption child in distress on any public mode of transit,,,you can however show a dog,bear,cat in whatever state of distress you want...with caption..

Stack that up and send it on the back of a postage stamp to the UK Goverment..


tara mcmillan

Love it- Where do I sign up?



You can't cater to those who will turn away and curl up no matter how you present the message. People are so over saturated with information that they become desensitized and numb. I think only an honest in your face presentation will get through to those who can be woken up. The others will follow along eventually, once the message is accepted by those around them and they perceive that the waters are safe. What currently passes for autism awareness is a disgrace.

Several days ago in another comment I mentioned The Food Revolution Summit hosted by John Robbins and his son, Ocean Robbins. This is the second year that they've had this online interview series and I got so much out of it last year, that I wanted to tell everyone. But after I posted, I thought maybe I shouldn't have put that here, at AOA, because it really isn't about autism, so I added a quick second comment saying so. Well, this morning I was listening to John and Ocean give their rap-up talk to the series and I heard Ocean say that his twin boys born in 2001 have been diagnosed with autism. I was blown away. I went to their blogs and it seems that the twins, born prematurely, have a severe form (my description, not theirs). I am so stricken. This makes me so sad, not just because these are such good people, not just because a celebrity's child is affected, but that here I was thinking that this wasn't going to be about autism so I maybe shouldn't share that here, and it was after all.

And you know I am torn, because the Robbins' have a very gentle and loving but yet powerful way about them, about getting their message across. Does that apply here? I don't know.

Theresa 66

re: Carolyn,
For our eldest child -NT ( well mostly ) and even for a few
warts on the youngest - with autism/pandas/ect... we used a
homeopathic product for shingles. The older child was embarrassed
with all the warts on her hands and the youngest would bite his
and make them bleed.
The ped. tried burning/ect... removal - just got worse. We tried all the OTC,too. I asked dr. about this being a viral thing, but all they had to offer was burning/cutting off. I could'nt believe that more appeared after that. Good thing we
did'nt go this route with the little one. He would have lost it.

I think it was auera or aeura,
shingles formula.

I tried it on a whim thinking she had
chicken pox and a non-painful case of shingles, in her history.
I thought it was miraculous.
Just what we used, may not work for everyone.

Carter's Daddy

The homogenized version of autism the media and AS publicizes is not real awareness.

Carolyn Guzman Fitzenreiter

After lysibe and Vit C didnt work, took my 14 yo 5 foot 7 150 lb son into the peds for wart removal. I asked, "How strong is your staff?" He recommended an OTC liquid. Wuss. The OTC only made the wart spread. Going back for removal.


I am a firm believer in the premise of fighting fire with fire. BUT I also am a believer in not overwhelming the ordinary man or woman, (who knows next to nothing about the subject of autism), with graphic images of the everyday awfulness of having to cope with such an injured child. People will simply look away as Donna L. has already said.

I do believe however in presenting pure facts and in showing the dignified way in which most parents of vaccine injured children are trying to cope. If one wishes to make a powerful impact take a tip from any theatre director. 'Underplay the Drama, don't overplay it. Play it for real, not for effect.' It is far far more effective.

I know, it is all down to money guys, but there is a need, a profound and an important need to ratchett up the reality of this Epidemic. If one had the money one could do amazingly wonderful things in the media. Involve Satchi and Satchi. Call Nigella, she married one of them. Is she on our side? But one does need a coordinated team to do this, contact celebrities if one must. I'm not suggesting mums and dads, I'm suggesting a United Fund be set up for such a purpose. And then hand it over to the professionals. This has gone beyond Facebook appeals now. Just my opinion.

Andy has the AutisMediaChannel now and that is slowly getting recognised as a mainstream source of alternative information.


I think this is important but I think Jeff Ransom's idea about a billboard describing the federal government's shielding of pharma for responsibility of their product is even more crucial. It puts pressure on them.

cia parker

Your proposed campaign is necessary, as evidenced by this article on Dr. Mike, linked by Anne Dachel a few days ago:'
The author tries to persuade the parents fearful of having a child with autism that autism is great, fun, just an interesting "difference," that children who can't talk, walk, converse, etc. etc. are just as good and just as happy as everyone else, and should just be accepted for who they are, no effort being made to change them, because it isn't really a disability at all. I said that ontological value is very different from survival value, give me a break, but those who are paid to spout this nonsense will spout it ad infinitum. It's the latest pharma psych campaign, to make those fighting autism look intolerant and negative. Totally revolting, but in what other direction could they have gone at the latest CDC figures?


Also compiling and publishing a purely anecdotal survey of affected families, not unlike how Consumer Reports surveys car owners for their experiences. Car manufacturers and other industries live in fear of Consumer Reports, which is largely based on consumer experience with various products and services. It doesn't really matter if Ford or Toyota think the consumer's reports are true or fair. What matters is that the public learns about other consumer's experiences and decide for themselves. What if 100,000 parents of autistic children answered the question, what do you think caused your child's autism? How about - how would you rate the vaccines that your child received?

Bob Moffitt

Cathy .. rightly so .. asks:

"What if we had our own autism-vaccine-injury smart campaign? Not that we have to ask permission to post the thoughts, images and documented proof of what our severely affected children deal with. But can the general public stomach the “smart” side of autism that the mainstream news doesn’t show? Could they tolerate looking at the poop smears? Would they be able to watch the seizures parents videotape to prove that their child seizes? Can the unaffected handle what affected parents work through, manage and battle day in and day out?"

Cathy .. I don't think we would have to create such a video from scratch .. all we need do is to have Autism Speaks take the time and fund the effort to RE-BROADCAST THEIR ORIGINAL .. EXCELLENT .. VIDEO PRODUCTION:



When I first saw this presentation .. shown rarely on television .. about ten years ago .. I think on the Don Imus show .. then on MSNBC .. I was greatly encouraged by its honest representation of what it was like living with "autism every day".

How about Autism Speaks "re-creating an updated version" .. using the very same parents .. to describe how much progress has been made in the ten years since the original video. Hopefully this updated version would include some real success stories .. that may provide encouragement to those that follow in their journey to recovery.

One more thing .. as I see it .. the children in the original "Autism Everyday" appear to be the same age as my own grandson at that time .. and .. in my humble, admittedly uneducated opinion .. these children ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE THIMEROSAL "YEARS" .. WHICH AS FAR AS I UNDERSTAND IT .. HAVE YET TO BE COUNTED IN THE CDC'S MOST RECENT 1 IN 50 NUMBERS.

I remember Simpsonwood wherein Vanstraten (?) stated he couldn't make the statistical evidence of harm done by thimerosal laced vaccines "go away". Well. it took the powers that be a full decade of "better diagnosis and broader definition" ruse to distance themselves from that "statistical evidence".


There is no counter argument to people running over pedestrians in the street. The counter argument (or should I say brainwashed mentality) to vaccine damage is that famous mantra, vaccines save lives.
I think that's why we face so much opposition, not necessarily because people don't know how grueling autism can be.


Cathy, you basic idea is very good. But for more impact, we should run photos (of course with parental permission) of autistic kids who wandered away and drowned. That would be an effective answer to those who tell us to "celebrate autism."

Donna L.

I used to think that this approach would work, that if the general public could only see how autism really is, they'd begin to understand and show compassion. Now I'm not so sure. Several years ago, during some particularly awful behavioral issues my son was having, I divulged the details with my parents and sisters. Their response? "You need to put him away somewhere." As if he was some mangy stray dog I'd pulled out of a dumpster rather than this beautiful child whom they'd held as a newborn and played peek-a-boo with before his descent into autism. It was hands down one of the single most painful experiences I've had during this whole autism mess. I've since learned to keep my mouth shut.

I could be wrong (and I hope I am) but I'm afraid that if we showed the general public the true hellishness of autism, they would hate our kids even more than they already do.

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