Dachel Media Review: Autism in MN Somalis
Dachel Media Review: Antidepressants, Vaccine Choice, Hope

Boyling Mad: One Shy, Quirky Singer Does Not a Hidden Hoard Make

Apples and orangesManaging Editor's Note: Susan Boyle may indeed have professionally diagnosed  Asperger's  (does the AS diagnosis still exist in the UK?)  We do not diagnose or un-diagnose at AofA.  I remember thinking she had a very difficult life and hoping the program brough her success. However, if you watch her first performance on BGT below, you see eye contact, humor, full facial expression and a charming sense of humor and sass. Not to mention the angelic voice.  I'm trying to think if she reminds me more of my Mia, Gianna or Bella.....   Ahem.

By Anne Dachel

The story, Susan Boyle is part of autism's 'invisible generation, was put out by the BBC News on Dec 9, 2013.

Scottish singer Susan Boyle been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. She is one of thousands of people who have the condition but were not diagnosed earlier in life.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) Scotland recently warned that there is an "invisible generation" of older people with autism.

The charity said there was still a tendency to associate the condition with children but it estimated that one in five people with autism were over 60.

Until a generation ago, the condition was often misunderstood and misdiagnosed.

Susan Boyle, who is 52, is typical of many, having spent years believing she suffered slight brain damage at birth.

Robert MacBean, from the National Autistic Society Scotland, said a "good diagnosis experience" was very important, regardless of a person's age. . . .

Oh, so there are autistic adults but they're "invisible."  We just haven't found them yet. 

In Sept, actress Daryl Hannah (also 52) announced that she has autism.

Daryl Hannah and Susan Boyle are both being promoted as proof that autism is nothing new. They're both 52 and they have Asperger's/high functioning autism.

I said this is not proof of no real increase in the comments in this recent TIME article and was promptly attacked for being anti-vaccine. 

I said that this proves nothing. Accomplished entertainers mildly affected have no relationship to what's happening to our kids. Does Susan Boyle have seizures? Does she have chronic constipation? Diarrhea? Does she stim? Does she have uncontrollable meltdowns? Does she make eye contact?  Have echolalia? Was she normally developing but around age two suddenly and dramatically lost learned skills? If the answer to each of these questions is "no," then please don't compare Susan Boyle to our kids.  You don't know what you're talking about.

I think there's going to be a real effort made to "find" the older people with autism. To the unsuspecting public, it'll be proof that all these kids with autism are nothing new. Parents of children on the spectrum would like to believe that officials and doctors are telling the truth. I think the alternative reality is a lot harder to swallow and a lot scarier.

I've always said the biggest lie about autism is that there's been no real increase. If that flies then vaccines aren't an issue. If autism was around like this before the massive increases in the number of shots our kids get, then we have proof of no link.

The public is being conditioned to discount what they know is true: THERE WERE NEVER KIDS LIKE THIS WHEN THEY WERE GROWING UP.

Now we're being told that we just haven't gotten around to diagnosing the adults.

I think the National Autistic Society in the UK is the biggest promoter of the lies.


Roger Kulp

I do wonder if Susan is being exploited.I don't believe we have heard from Susan herself about her diagnosis.If we have,I would like to see what she has to say about it.More importantly,I would like to hear what Susan thinks of neurodiversity,and the anti-cure movement that goes with it.

I am sure it was next to impossible for a child with genuine Asperger's to get a diagnosis in the 50s,60s,and 70s.I don't think we should deny the struggles these children faced at the time.I only got my original autism diagnosis because it was more severe and obvious.

I hope you all go to the CFD blog I linked to,and read my story.I think my case proves that in the 1960s there were children like we have now,with the very same medical causes of their autism that we are seeing now.There just weren't very many of them.The question we ought to ask is did diseases like cerebral folate deficiency,or mitochondrial disorders exist,say before 1900.Maybe they didn't.

It is also possible that most of the children like this that were around 40,50 years ago are dead now.Either from acute infection or undiagnosed metabolic diseases.I nearly died a number of times before I finally got a medical diagnosis.Call it divine intervention or just dumb luck that I survived.Either way I think I may be unique in my age group.I would love to be proven wrong.


I want to apologize to Susan Boyle for my comments. I don't have any right to question her diagnosis or to critique her in any way, outside of what she is offering which is the beauty of her voice and talent. I do think we all have a right to question whether she is being exploited. My guess would be yes. But again, I am sorry if I was being judgmental. She does not deserve that and I hope for her that she is able to enjoy her success and life without suffering the extremely intrusive exploitation that comes with modern celebrity. If she is in fact autistic, that ugly downside of her career would be hardest for her to cope with.


I know that people who have terribly ill children are suffering greatly as a familes. This is a truly tragic situation made worse by our crazy government institutions and medical system. But a lot of this seems to be a sort of one-up-manship, my problems are so much worse than anyone else so those people can't even be on the spectrum. I understand that, but it seems to have some limitations as a viewpoint. It is true that many children, recently, are much more damaged and in my opinion is is undeniably environmental. However, I was diagnosed with aspergers and have had hundreds of doctors, am not married, have no children, am on disability and on and on. If I can talk, I guess I have no problem. In fact the whole situation has been just horrendous even though I am vastly improved due to biomed treatment. I am living with my father and have no idea how I will manage in the future. When I think of it I can't sleep which only makes things worse. I am a little tired of hearing how great things are for people like me. If you tried it some time I am not sure you would have the same point of view. I feel like I can barely go on another day. I don't think everyone has the same thing, but autism is a descriptive diagnosis. I have severe gluten and dairy intolerance diagnosed by biopsy years before this new wave of kids. That has to be something similar.

Kristi Rowe

You are right. I am 51. There was NOT an autism epidemic when we were growing up. But if you think about it, all they have to do is wait for our generation to grow too older to advocate, and then the generation to pass on, and there will be no one to remember. They are only 25 years away from the population thinking all this autism and other illnesses and learning disabilities that have skyrocketed ….that it's normal. If they can't win one way…they can win with time.


I forgot to add that it is certainly possible that more children being born prematurely could explain some higher incidence of seizures or lung problems but I still wonder if something environmental is happening.


you are so right about the many people who have described vaccine side effects and who have been "undiagnosed" over the internet. Whenever I have mentioned my grandmother having had G-B as a 'side effect' I find people usually believe it but even then, some people suggest that she would have had it anyway if she had got the flu, which I feel is absolutely untrue. There does seem to be a double standard in place.
@ Richard, no I tend to not believe you. Any older teachers I have talked to and the few who have commented here have all said that sure, there always have been some hyperactive kids and of course children who found it difficult to learn. They were usually in separate classes decades ago and then again, longer back in time we had the one room school house. Of course one needs to factor in institutions as well, but no teacher I have ever heard thinks that there is "no difference in the kids." Many have grandchildren and they have gone in to the schools to help or just hear about all the problems from their children who are parents now or their friends. Do they not have high numbers of children with asthma, severe peanut allergies, seizures now in England? It sounds to me like your mother really isn't so in touch with what is happening or maybe the children there don't suffer from these things so much (I doubt the latter). These were not present either in the numbers they are today. Am I saying that's all down to vaccines? No, but something environmental is happening to our children.


If you want answers to your questions about Susan Boyle, I'd suggest that you read her autobiography.
She was diagnosed a year ago, but yes, the diagnosis of Asperger's is still used in the UK, yes, she had seizures as a baby and again in an interview about a year ago said that she had epilepsy, yes, she's had meltdowns, etc.
So please don't insinuate that she was not properly diagnosed.


Whether she is or isn't, some of this discussion borders on gossip. The possibility of her being used to prove better diagnosis I think is fair to discuss, but when it delves into her personal problems, I don't think that's right. She can read what's written here too.

Roger Kulp

The video Sue linked to is very revealing.You can see at 9:05,during a rehearsal Susan starts having a meltdown,and starts crying,and again at 20:21.It is obvious she has been prone to meltdowns all of her life.Starting at 14:05 the movie goes in to a good bit of detail about her history that led up to her diagnosis.

I continue to be surprised how a lot of people,who ought to know better,continue to lump all different types of autism together.There was a recent Harvard Uiversity study,that confirmed what a lot of parents and those who work with autistics have known all along.There are at least four distinct autism subtypes.The study call them comorbidity clusters.

The first was characterized by seizures (n = 120, subgroup prevalence 77.5%).

The second (n = 197) was characterized by multisystem disorders including gastrointestinal disorders (prevalence 24.3%) and auditory disorders and infections (prevalence 87.8%),

and the third was characterized by psychiatric disorders (n = 212, prevalence 33.0%).

The last group (n = 4316) could not be further resolved.

The prevalence of psychiatric disorders was uncorrelated with seizure activity (P = .17), but a significant correlation existed between gastrointestinal disorders and seizures (P < .001).

The correlation results were replicated by using a second sample of 496 individuals from a different geographic region.

CONCLUSIONS:Three distinct patterns of medical trajectories were identified by unsupervised clustering of electronic health record diagnoses. These may point to distinct etiologies with different genetic and environmental contributions. Additional clinical and molecular characterizations will be required to further delineate these subgroups. http://asdresearchinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/breakthrough-co-morbid-clusters-in-autism/

Susan is clearly in subgroup three.As the article says,you really can't compare one subgroup to another.

If only the DSM-V description was this good.

Autism,ADHD,schizophrenia,and autoimmune diseases have all been steadily increasing,but what a lot of people do not seem to understand is what we are seeing is most likely the end result of at least four generations of alterations of the human genome,from exposures to drugs and toxins in the womb.Genetic damage passed from one generation to the next.A genetic epidemic that has gradually been building for most of the last century,with epigenetic damage showing up now,from what parents,grandparents,and great grandparents were exposed to in the womb.The epigenetic dam finally bursting in the 1990s.

Vaccines may only be a very small part of the picture.

If you want to learn more about epigenetics,this BBC documentary is the best place to start.


The many entries in this blog give a pretty good education in how it applies to autism.


But in a lot of these cases,the children with autism are not always the first person in the family who was effected,especially if there are serious problems with the mother.One disease that seems to be relatively common in mothers of autistic children,is multiple sclerosis.MS is now pretty much established as an epigenetic disease,as well as one caused by defects in methylation,just like some forms of autism are.


Cerebral folate deficiency,which I have,is yet another disease caused by epigenetic changes in methylation.Let me close by posting a link to a blog that our Facebook group for Cerebral Folate Deficiency has started.The certification for the lab where the folate receptor autoantibody test was developed is in jeopardy,so our group has started a blog where members post stories about how the test and the diagnosis has helped us.


Yeah, Richard I subbed a lot, I taught full time a lot too.
If you don't see a kid day in and day out there are things you will miss.

For instants: teaching science full time I found out a number of kids I had previous subbed for -and thought they were sweet normal - loved to talk to them - did that a lot--- , but when it came time for me to be responsible in finding out what they were retaining, and how they could perform - I learned they had severe learning disabilities. Then in would walk the special ed teacher to change the grades --or give them some extra help.


So Susan can walk out on stage and charm people; it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have autism. My child with autism can get in front of a big sports arena full of people and perform a kata. And he isn’t the only child with autism at his dojo that can do that. These days at karate, my son is charming and jokes with people, including people in his age group. When he first started though, he couldn't focus, didn't listen and just ran around. And yet at home, he won’t call a peer to come over and hang out or make plans to meet. He has never had a "best friend". I'd have a big issue with anyone who wanted to claim my son didn't have autism.

I don’t know much about Susan, particularly that she was oxygen deprived at birth (so autism is simple a label for the symptoms of brain injury), other than what I looked up during a google search. I did come across some descriptions of her behaviour though which to me, lend credence to the AS dx. Who in their late forties, but someone on the spectrum, would admit to not having ever been kissed?

“Her recent odd behaviour surrounding the release of her highly anticipated album last month - which included sucking her thumb in public, strange body movements and face-pulling - has only renewed speculation that she's not fit to handle the immense pressure of her meteoric fame. “
‘I love kids and would have liked to be a mum,' she admits.Despite this wish, the famously single star, who openly declared she's never been kissed...”


The documentary tells only "just one side" of Susan Boyle. There is no mention of her long history of verbal, physical, and "inappropriate" assaults on others.

Richard Lockwood

@jen - My mother is a primary school teacher (retired, but still keeping in touch with, and working occasionally at the schools she taught at) and she tells me there's no difference in the kids - just that kids today have a diagnosis. Her verdict is that nothing's changed but the way those kids are treated.

You'll probably call me a liar, but that's the way she sees it. (This is West Yorkshire, England).


Perhaps teens and young adults on the borderline of ASD get pushed over the toxic tipping point later in life as their body burden accumulates. One sadly common route is medical mercury, from annual flu shots and amalgam tooth fillings.

cia parker

Harris Coulter, co-author of A Shot in the Dark, thought that everyone born after WWII (meaning the DPT generation) had been brain-damaged by the vaccine, some more than others, obviously. I reacted when I got the DPT at three months old by screaming for several days, my brother reacted a year later when he was born by beating his head against the bars of the crib. We both have Asperger's now, and we both have autistic children. Everyone thought we were normal growing up, I was delayed in speech acquisition, but after that, spoke and wrote well and did well in school. I couldn't talk to people as a child, and had no friends as a child, but got many friends when I went to the university at seventeen. I know several people that are employed full-time and have university degrees, but have a very hard time putting sentences together in a coherent way and even finding words. There's no contradiction in any of this. Like the autism found now in Scandinavia, where far fewer shots are given, and the autism tends much more to be the milder Asperger's type, the huge increase in number and type of vaccines given in the U.S., and the hep-B at birth, have resulted in the huge increase of much more severe autism here.


@Richard Lockwood: According to the UC Davis Mind Institute, autism is indeed rising meteorically, and it's not just better diagnosing.

That does not mean that it is not occasionally misdiagnosed, over diagnosed, or even sometimes not diagnosed when it's indicated.

I am especially concerned about new autism diagnoses of now-adults. As we see with ADD/ADHD (see recent NYTimes article), there may be a pharmaceutical-industry-pushed effort to diagnose--and perhaps medicate--people who do not really qualify for the diagnosis, INCLUDING ADULTS.

As so many have stated, it is not wise for us to diagnose/undiagnose via the internet.

However, there does seem to be a double standard. Parents who post that their child had a severe reaction to vaccines are "undiagnosed" over the internet all the time by vaccine defenders.

Yet, parents who have been immersed in autism care for decades for looking at someone like Susan Boyle and saying, "hey, wait a minute, this does not remotely look like anyone with Asperger's that I've ever seen.

Now, she may or may not actually have autism.

From my perspective as someone who has taught autistic students, and who is also an autism parent, I do recognize traits of autism in videos of Darryl Hannah from 25 years ago. There is obvious lack of eye contact, there is not-so-subtle stimming behavior with her hands, and she talks about not understanding social cues--and this was well before autism became anything anyone had ever heard of.

But Susan Boyle has no obvious signs of autism. Her eye contact is good, her speech has no flat affect, she consciously does "body language," nor are there any apparently missed social cues.

Awkward gait is a physical/mechanical issue, and is not diagnostic of Asperger's. It is also typical of any overweight, middle-aged person.

Leaving a live-televised stage without waiting for the judges the first time one has ever appeared on stage? Also not diagnostic of autism. A fair percentage of competitors have done exactly that, without an autism diagnosis, because when you finish performing in any other venue, YOU LEAVE THE STAGE. That's called "normal."

Susan Boyle was diagnosed as an infant with oxygen deprivation during birth, with resulting brain damage--a clear diagnosis with a clear cause.

If her brain damage is actually autism, then we are finally admitting that autism is, indeed, brain damage, and that is certainly a game-changer.


I'm so glad someone else had the same reaction as I did when SB came out with a AS diagnosis. The problem is that with Daryl Hannah, Susan Boyle and Dan Akroid being the faces of autism I can see how the response will be "We don't need a cure!'


Oh, come on. Watch the video. Observe Ms. Boyle walk straight out there, having no apparent problem standing before celebrities and an audience of thousands, proceeds to chat and flirt with the judges, then performs brilliantly. There is not a hint of inhibition as she reaches out with her eyes and body language to all, repeatedly. Give me a break.


Corrected post:

According to her bio http://www.biography.com/people/susan-boyle-454696 Susan Boyle was diagnosed AT BIRTH as having suffered from oxygen deprivation that resulted in mild brain damage.

So does this open the door to admitting that autism is, in fact, brain damage?

Carolyn Flannery

Well Richard you might be surprised to hear this but it is actually difficult to get an autism diagnosis. As soon as my son recovered past the head banging state where a net ufologist said he had autism he was re-classified as PDD by the state and that would not appear in the autism count. I think Richard if you are really curious about this and I will give
You the benefit of the doubt how about finding a first grade or daycare teacher who is in her 60s or 70s and ask her how many autistic kids she saw at the start of her career vs now. I asked my sons daycare teacher. Also how about going to your local school and ask to see the special ed classrooms for the youngest severe and less severe kids. Then ask yourself if you remember seeing kids like that in your classroom as a child. Ask the school office how many special ed teachers they employ now vs 1980. How many speech therapists? How many classroom aides? Do you really think they give those services away just because? Just do your own research. I think if nothing else you will gain compassion and empathy for the struggles of raising an autistic child. I hope.


ChrissyD- I completely agree with you. I have worked in institutions years ago and toured several as part of my work/education. Absolutely, there have been *some* persons with autism in these institutions diagnosed back then as having 'mental retardation' (complete with stimming). However, by no means were there persons with autism 30-40 years ago in the numbers that we are seeing today. De- institutionalization simply cannot account for the increase in numbers of persons with severe, non- verbal autism.
Sorry if that bothers you Richard but ask older school teachers what they think.

Carolyn Flannery

If indeed Susan Boyle and Darryl Hannah have a lower ability to process toxins,then their fans should be grateful they did not receive the full vaccine schedule. For if they reacted with autistic symptoms from the much lower vaccine schedule of their childhood they would surely have ended up seriously damaged now and the world would have never heard that voice or enjoyed that acting. This shows us what beautiful talents lie in our autistic children, hidden by the fog of vaccine reaction. To me it only makes the plight of severely autistic that much more heartbreaking to think
Of the loss of their gifts to the world as well as to their families. I realize that the press is trying to equate mild functional aspergers with serious autism. But these cases prove our point. Mild exposure to toxins =milder autism. Full exposure to toxins=full blown autism in that same brilliant gifted population. And there were always those like dr Rimlands son who developed more serious autism even with the lower dose. The numbers prove the point. What was once so rare is now a deluge. At some point people are going to simply scoff at the media reports like this. We can give them the only interpretation that makes sense--yep quirky uncle precious generation--serious debilitating injury this generation. Genetics plus trigger. If you get shot 30 times instead of 5 you are much lore likely to get injured.
Duh. People are starting to get it. They are starting to listen. They are realizing the media is corrupt on this issue. They know the autistic child next door is far more injured than Susan Boyle.


I'm a medical professional working in the field of geriatrics in the US for 20+ years. I now work in a long term care facility, but have worked in a variety of settings...inpatient hospitals, outpatient clinics, home visits on homebound elders, performing evals for APS for at-risk seniors, and so on. I can think of only a handful of adult folks I've treated in my long career that have autism or were possibly autistic but mis-diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder like schizophrenia or with 'mental retardation'. They are out there but not in the same percentages by any means. I'm seeing them a little more now, but they are younger folks in their 60's and early 70's. Even still, I could count them on my two hands. If you think they are being warehoused in psychiatric institutions I also spent a year in training in an inpatient geropsychiatric facility. I can say with a fair degree of certainty those folks were not autistic. They were mostly schizophrenic with intact language skills but active delusions and/or paranoia and/or hallucinations; nobody stimmed but some did have parkinsonian movements from the psych drugs; no echolalia; rarely had gut issues etc., etc. If there was going to be a hidden population, I think I would have come across them either with Adult Protective Services or at least in the inpatient psychiatric facility. Honestly they are not there. Autism truly is rare in adults and non existent in older adults.

Richard Lockwood

You can't have it both ways. Either autism rates are rising massively (to 1 in 50, or 1 in 36), and that includes people with Aspergers and high functioning autistics such as Ms Boyle, or, as Jillba insists, "autism" is only people with seizures / non-verbal / danger to the public and "in diapers". If that's the case, the rate of autism is far lower than 1 in 50.

Again, I don't expect this to be published.

John Stone


I agree with you about the NAS being a promoter of lies (and only nominally independent from the government) but also by the early 1960s no one doubts there were some autistic children. It is no evidence that there were similar numbers to now. There is of course the secondary point that she has only now got her diagnosis. This does not mean of course that there is a hidden hoard of 1-200,000 with lower continuum ASD. That's plainly preposterous.


Norman Roberts

I try not diagnose or undiagnose autism too, but if Daryl Hannah has autism I'm a monkey's uncle.


According to her bio (http://www.biography.com/people/susan-boyle-454696),but was diagnosed AT BIRTH as having suffered from oxygen deprivation that resulted in mild brain damage.

So does this open the door to admitting that autism is, in fact, brain damage?


Watching that clip, I totally believe Susan Boyle has AS. She is really dependent on cues. She sings and then immediately walks off the stage (and look at her gait) without waiting for the judging. Sure that could be nerves. Or not. How do you know that Susan didn’t have seizures or echolalia as a child? Or that Susan doesn’t currently have stims or uncontrollable meltdowns or constipation?

My son tested so low when he was three that they told us to start thinking about institutionalization as there was no hope. Today he is considered high functioning. To look at him now, most people have no idea what we have been through and what goes on at home in his area of security. In grade school he would come home and have an absolute meltdown the minute he stepped through the door. I would call his teachers expecting to hear how difficult his day was but I heard the opposite; that he actually had a really good day. So his meltdown was a release from trying to hold it together all day. Better at home than away, right?

That Susan is as old as she is and is on the spectrum doesn’t mean that there isn’t a real increase today. Susan would have had vaccines as a child. Most homes in the UK were heated by coal for decades; a few still are. Susan’s dad was a miner and a WWII veteran. No toxic exposures there. Susan stood out as a child and apparently was nicknamed "Simple Susan". There were/are so many children with speech and OT issues, attention and social issues, allergies etc in my son's mainstream classes that they don't stand out enough to be teased like that like they were when I was in school.

The only issue here should be about the increase. I don’t think it really should be a surprise that people with mercury exposure or a weakened response to toxins would pass that biological fragility on to their children. My son’s first exposure was in utero when my “silver” filling cracked and was leaking in my mouth for three days until my dentist could get a hold of someone qualified to remove the tooth seeing I was in my ninth month of pregnancy. Topping that exposure up was of course the Hep B jab at birth.

I’m a fan of AOA, but playing the “your autism isn’t my kid’s autism” card detracts from the real issues and just seems, well, pissy.


Let me step into this up to my chin.
Yeah it has been going on for a long time.
and the geniuses had better figure out which type of the many kinds of damages vaccines have caused and just check the numbers.

It is everything is it not.
gluten sensitivity is up.
Diabetis is up.
and on and on.
But they did exist before right?

Yeah, they existed but it is the numbers and just how severe they are.


Anonymous professional

I love Susan Boyle but I am not so sure she has Asperger's as compared to a social anxiety disorder. Eye contact,engagement, everything seems spot on. Honestly, when I saw Darryl Hannah it really occurred to me that she could have autism (Asperger's) but not so much in this case.
It's also hard to know if any meds have changed her (Susan's) affect slightly. I have seen several adults who I wonder about in terms of autism but this isn't it. In any case, it is rather desperate of them to be able to point to a small percentage of persons who may have autism and compare that to what is happening now -so many children who have severe, non- verbal autism.
By the way, I have seen some adults who, I believe, would have had severe, non- verbal autism- just not in the higher numbers we are seeing now, though.


Thank you Anne! There is a HUGE difference between being a little socially awkward versus having a real diagnosis of autism in which the person will never be able to function independently for the rest of their life. Not only does my son have seizures, GI problems, cannot communicate verbally, stims, runs out of the house into danger, etc., he is also a danger to the public (he attacks people - esp. babies) and destroys property. My son may be at the extreme end but I know many children that are truly autistic that also have extreme behavioral issues. I do not see Susan sprinting out of her house to the nearest lake or body of water. I do not know Susan's situation but I am willing to bet her mother was able to go to the bathroom, do laundry or cook dinner in peace while she was raising her. I still cannot do this things unless I have someone watching my son.


You need to watch the documentary to understand the nature of her situation. Each person is different. Performing is what gets her out of her shell.


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