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Dachel Media Review: More Autism Schools, Mental Health and Autism

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

Read Anne's commentary after the jump.

Dec 29, 2013, Marin (CA) Independent Journal: Dr. Dustin Ballard: Don't blame it on the shots

Dec 28, 2013, Chicago Tribune: Marklund Announces Plan to Expand Autism School

Dec 28, 2013, Kansas City (MO) Star: As the first KC baby of 1974 grew, so did knowledge about autism

Dec 27, 2013, Kokomo (IN) Perspective: Mental health: It's all about the money

Marin (CA) Independent Journal

Consider the just-won't-go-away proposed connection between routine childhood vaccinations and autism.

The diagnosis of childhood autism is on the rise and we are not sure why. Since the 1990s, autism rates have increased dramatically. As a parent, I have experienced a good deal of anxiety about this. I have a niece and nephew who have each been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and my wife has repeatedly agonized about the immunization process for our own children. But as a medical professional, I have unabashedly preached that routine immunization programs are critically important for the public's health. After all, vaccination efforts have a proven track record: they eradicated smallpox and made polio a disease only seen in paranoid communities. Nonetheless, the belief that routine shots could permanently alter the neurochemistry of children is frightening.

Fortunately, there exists an overwhelming preponderance of medical research against the "vaccines-cause-autism hypothesis." Vaccination efforts during the past century have made certain childhood diseases so rare that they seem like remnants of an uncivilized past. Few of us have actually seen a new case of polio or measles, so it's easy to be lulled into thinking that they couldn't possibly cause trouble again. In contrast, the primary scientific evidence supporting a link between vaccines and autism was a small study published in the medical journal Lancet in 1998 - a study that has been thoroughly discredited. Since its publication, it has come to light that there was a conflict of interest (the research was secretly funded by plaintiff lawyers) and that the data was falsified. Its findings (linking intestinal inflammation with the MMR immunization and subsequent autism) have not been replicated in larger studies and have been repudiated by the coauthors and retracted by the journal. 

Dr. Ballard sees nothing wrong with the horrific number of kids with autism that no one in mainstream medicine can reasonably explain.  He has a niece and a nephew with autism and his wife was worried about vaccinating their kids. No matter---vaccines are safe, vaccines save lives, studies show no link, non-vaccinating parents threaten us all.

There's no comment section here or I'd let loose my usual overflow of information to challenge the blanket denials of this doctor. Nothing ever changes for these people.  Most of all, I'd like to tell Ballard that unless he can show us a comparison study of vaccinated and unvaccinated children---he doesn't have any evidence that disproves a link.  

Chicago Tribune

Marklund, an organization that serves children and adults with profound developmental disabilities, announced today plans to expand its Day School with a $4 million state-of-the-art building and program that focuses specifically on children on the autism spectrum.

Thanks in large part to a $3.5 million donation bestowed on Marklund by the Ann Haskins Foundation, the school will expand its Life Skills program which provides specialized education and training to students ages three to 22 who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The new 12,000-square-foot two-story building will be built adjacent to the current school building and feature seven classrooms, therapy rooms, a multi-purpose room, offices, and observation areas and will be named the Ann Haskins Center.

"We are very excited to announce the receipt of this grant which will allow us to expand our school's Life Skills program for students on the autism spectrum," said Gilbert Fonger, president and CEO of Marklund. "Thanks to the generosity and foresight of a St. Charles woman whose own daughter had special needs, we will be able to design and build a state-of-the-art facility from the ground up with the needs of children with autism in mind." The height of every window, curvature of the walls and placement of benches in the hallways will be determined with the assistance of an autism consultant, he added. . . . .

"We are so pleased to be able to serve more students who need our specialized program," said Karen Gill, Marklund's director of education. "We currently partner with 23 public school districts to give them a place to send those students whose needs cannot be met at their own school." According to Gill, students may need to be transported to the Marklund Day School for any of a variety of reasons ranging from space or financial limitations to inability to manage the severity of the student's disabilities. "Special education directors at our partner districts are looking forward to our expansion and being able to observe best-practice techniques in the hope that they may be able to duplicate teaching methods back at their own campuses. It is always our goal to eventually be able to transition the students back into their home districts."

Why do they have to expand on a school for kids with autism? Why aren't we told about the exponential increase in the autism rate to the point where it now affects one in every 50 U.S. children, one in 31 among boys alone?

The truth is, we never read about anyone who's worried about autism---the disorder that officially has no known cause, prevention or cure. Instead we read about people being "very excited" and "so pleased" about a $4 million expansion on a school for students with autism.

This is the up side of autism--more specialized classrooms and more jobs for those who work with these kids. The down side is that autism is an epidemic consuming our children with no end in sight.

Kansas City (MO) Star

This was the 1970s. Autism - a spectrum of disorders with a range of effects on brain development - was poorly understood and rarely diagnosed.
Many child development specialists still blamed what had been labeled "refrigerator mothers" or "refrigerator parents" for failing to nurture the emotional and verbal skills missing in many autistic children.

Awareness of the disorder's true genetic and neurological causes was only beginning to emerge.

So Tom Hogan was peering into a barren world on the day, when Danny was 2, that Tom realized something was wrong.

He was baby-sitting a child near the same age as Danny, and he saw a vast difference in their abilities to communicate and interact.

He didn't understand it and he didn't know where he could turn for help.

They walked alone out in the woods a couple of days later, Tom Hogan said. And he determined then that he would accept whatever life was preparing to deal them.

"I told him, 'I'm always going to be there for you.' ". . . .

The number began to grow, and it exploded in the 1990s and 2000s, to the point that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rapid growth alarmed the research community, which is still struggling to determine how much of it is the result of greater awareness and how much is the result of underlying causes. . . .

This is more phony press coverage intended to convince the public that having an autistic child is just the way it is. It's always been like this. We may not know the cause, but officials are working on it. The research community has been "alarmed" about the autism numbers.......and they're "STILL" trying to figure out what's real ("the result of underlying causes") and how much is "greater awareness."

I posted three comments. We all need greater awareness of the fact that no one in power is ever going to be worried about autism or honestly address what's happening to our children. We're just going to have to learn with live with all the autism. Eventually when we have an autism rate of two percent of forty year olds, we won't be able to remember a time when autism wasn't everywhere.

Kokomo (IN) Perspective

A mother of an 8-year-old child with autism drives the streets of Kokomo, desperate for help because her son is uncontrollably violent.

A senior citizen, incarcerated for a mental health crisis, attacks a corrections officer without warning and bashes his head into a concrete wall.

A person with a history of mental illness is released from the Westville Correctional Center with a bag of medication and few dollars. It is midnight, and there is no one there to pick him up.

In a county with no mental health services, a sheriff's deputy drives a mentally ill person to the Howard County line and tells him to start walking until someone helps him.

These are the nasty realities of mental illness. Families cannot cope. The jails and prisons cannot treat patients appropriately. And not every community has the resources necessary to provide care.

More than two dozen mental health professionals, law enforcement officials, public officials, and social service providers gathered at Bona Vista last week in a summit to discuss the growing problem of treating the mentally ill in Howard County. The overriding theme of the discussion was funding. There isn't enough money to meet the needs.


Excuse me...autism is not a mental illness!!




Dr. Ballard is one of those folks, it seems, who have opinions about things they haven't read. Here's the Lancet paper "author retraction" (minus a paragraph of preamble):

"The main thrust of this paper was the first description of an unexpected intestinal lesion in the children reported. Further evidence has been forthcoming in studies from the Royal Free Centre for Paediatric Gastroenterology and other groups to support and extend those findings. While much uncertainty remains about the nature of these changes, we believe it important that such work continues, as autistic children can potentially be helped by recognition and treatment of gastrointestinal problems.

We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised and consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider that now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings, according to precedent."

So the authors didn't retract their findings; they said their findings had been supported and extended. What they are saying is that they shouldn't have mentioned parental observations that MMR had precipitated their children's medical crises because that created a hullabaloo.


Oh, yeah John Stone is right about that one.
They always use up the old vaccines; no matter what.
They just don't recall those vaccines.

John Stone

I believe old stocks of thimerosal containing DPT continued to be used into 2005 in the UK. Part of the scandalous history of how thimerosal was kept in infant vaccine in the UK for 5 or 6 year after the scam was exposed in the US is recalled in my article:

Also, thimerosal may have made a brief exit from flu vaccine but it has been back in since 2009 and presumably given to pregnant women. There are no national UK figures for autism but it is true that numbers have continued to rise steeply in Scottish schools (but the vaccine schedule keeps on expanding too, most without mercury but with all sorts of other goodies).


Thanks for the information. It is interesting that after the UK stood fast in promoting the MMR despite public outcry, conflicts of interest and scientific controversy, even going so far as to make single vaccine alternatives unavailable, that they then went and removed thimerosol overnight from pediatric vaccines, except for the flu vaccine, which may or may not have impacted subsequent autism rates.

Shameful that here in the US thimerosol laced vaccines were allowed to be used up.

The thought has occurred that we don't know how thimerosol free the new vaccines actually are. If the thimerosol is used in manufacturing and then supposedly removed, if no reliable independent party is monitoring the end product, we really can't be certain how much is in those vaccines. We have every reason to doubt the validity of Pharma's word.

Even with the open questions, I hope that you will be able to compile that data in the UK.


I have always been a gardener from a long line of gardeners and canners.
My greatest treasure is the blue book of canning from the 1930s given to me by my grandmother.
Pickling recipes in this book though were difficult and always complicated in this blue book because this was a canning book - putting food in jars and sealing them. This book was not into fermenting as much as putting vinegar on the food and throwing some alum in to help make them crunchy.

If you look on the internet for an article on pickling from wiki

Under the heading of the pickling process
Let me quote what they say:

"Alum was once used as a preservative in pickling and is still approved as a food additive by the U.S.A. Food and Drug Administration, but alum in repeated small doses may cause brain damage"

This is eating it - having to go through the GI track and it might get in the blood stream -- not a prick of needle to deliver it directly under the skin and into a muscle.


Except Tony;
Before they "kind of" took out the mercury in 2004 in UK- here in the United States three or four years earlier they had a secret conference about Mercury: then turned around in less than a year, and had another secret conference on "aluminium".

So there is a lot of stuff to keep it from being straight forward and it will be hard to tease it apart.

The kind of taking out mercury was only one thing to mess it all up.

Tony Bateson

The UK Government withdrew all paediatric vaccines containing Thimerosal at 31st August 2004 and replacement Thimerosal free vaccines were supplied for exclusive use from 1st September 2004. The situation on Flu vaccines that may have contained Thimerosal is less clear as is the extent of their use, or the groups of adults and children to whom they were administered. What is clear however, is that the channel for Thimerosal would overwhelmingly have been DTP jabs at 2,3 and 4 months in infants. What is also very clear is that a Thimerosal Divide would have been opened up in the UK amongst children born either side of the date of 1st September 2004. Annual birth rates at that time were 600,000 + or - indicating that research into a comparatively small group of 300,000 could yield irrefutable evidence of the impact of this material upon UK infants.

Tony Bateson, Oxford OX4 2SQ, UK.

Roger Kulp

I think you're missing the point of the article about the Hogan family.While autism has definitely been on the rise,we should never ignore the struggles of the families of those who were actually diagnosed back then.I ought to know,I was one of those children diagnosed with autism in the early 70s.One very important thing this article ignores,is one what is going to happen to Danny after his father dies.It is clear from this article,Danny has lived with his dad all along,and he has been Danny's primary caregiver.Parents of this generaton,like my mother,or like Tom Hogan should be recognized for the exceptional job they did at the time,when they could have just put their kids in an institution,and be done with it.

But these parents are dying off,and not everyone is as lucky as I was in finding a cause and treatment for their autism.Most of these adults do not come to the attention of adult protective services until after the parents are gone.Had I not found a great DAN! doctor,who had been working with me for three years before my mother died,and had done all the right tests,I would have been in a terrible situation.

We need to be ready to take care of adults like Danny Hogan now,however many there are of them,and not just talk about what happens decades down the road,when parents of today's children and young adults are gone.


"Threats to any part of the delicate vaccine research and development network jeopardize the rapid development and supply of new life-saving and life-enhancing vaccines for the American people."

Thanks for that quote. What a loaded statement. What kind of "threats" are they referring to? Why do they say that the vaccine research and development network is "delicate"?


Hi Tony,
Did the UK take all thimerosol vaccines off the shelf in Sept 2004 or as in the US, was old stock allowed to be used up? Also, does the UK give flu vaccines to pregnant women and also, is the flu vaccine containing thimerosol in use in the UK? One more - is the flu vaccine recommended for children beginning at age 6 months as in the US?

Tony Bateson

The moment Dr. Ballard said 'the primary evidence for a link between vaccines and autism was a tiny study in 1998' I realised that it is possible to possess a completely empty head about such an important subject and still feel qualified to advise others from the professional standing of a doctor. I strongly recommend Dr Ballard to spend a few thousand hours researching this subject at which point he would inescapably ponder how on earth the medicine/pharma complex kept the lid on a worldwide tragedy for so many years.

I write from the UK which I believe offers the only hope to determine this question once and for all. It has reliable vaccine take-up data, it has diagnostic data, it dropped Thimerosal use in paediatric vaccines overnight at 1st September 2004. I believe with effect from that date autism diagnoses fell sharply, so much so that figures are being withheld. But the UK also has really good birth registration data, it would be possible to identify children born either side of the Thimerosal Divide and establish the respective prevalences of autism in those groups now they are nine years old. Let us launch a UK Review forthwith. I have led several large scale initiatives in the UK in the autism field and I am confident this is do-able within a short space of a few years.

Tony Bateson, Oxford OX4 2SQ, UK


Making it a religion does explain a lot of things that goes on in medicine.

Vicki Hill

"A mother of an 8-year-old child with autism drives the streets of Kokomo, desperate for help because her son is uncontrollably violent."

Whether it is the autism causing the uncontrollable violence or a co-morbid mental illness (and a significant percentage of people with ASD DO have a co-morbid mental illness)...the fact remains that the mental health system is the only system we have for dealing with uncontrollably violent individuals who have not broken any laws. Doesn't matter whether the cause is mental illness or autism or neurological - our psychiatric units are the only places around to deal with dangerously violent children or adults.

More and more, the psychiatric community is being forced to deal with patients who also have autism. They are reaching out to the autism community for advice and offers to collaborate. Too often the response has been "autism is not a mental illness!" Okay...but what would you have them do? A friend of mine at a local psych hospital tells me that when police show up with a violent person with autism, she has a choice: accept the patient...or let the police take him to jail. She knows her environment isn't the best for him, but she knows it is certainly better than jail.

Bob Moffitt

Marin Independent Journal quotes Dr. Ballard:

#1 "The diagnosis of childhood autism is on the rise and we are not sure why. Since the 1990s, autism rates have increased dramatically"

How is it possible for Dr. Ballard to make that observation .. without at least mentioning the "dramatic" increase in childhood vaccinations that corresponds exactly to the mysterious "rise" in childhood autism diagnosis?

#2 "But as a medical professional, I have unabashedly preached that routine immunization programs are critically important for the public's health. After all, vaccination efforts have a proven track record: they eradicated smallpox and made polio a disease only seen in paranoid communities."

I understand why someone who "unabashedly preaches" about the "critical importance" of vaccination .. would rely solely upon a "proven track record" claiming they "eradicated smallpox and polio" .. but .. having just read "Dissolving Illusions by Dr. Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk .. and .. based upon scientific historical facts therein .. there is ample evidence to "prove" BOTH diseases were NOT "eradicated" by the vaccines he credits for doing so.

Unfortunately, what is true .. is the historically false success claims of the Smallpox and Polio vaccines are mainly responsible for today's medical practioners .. such as .. Dr. Ballard .. who no longer practice medicine as either "art or science" .. instead .. they practice it as a "religion" .. requiring them to dismiss all evidence of harm being done as medical "heresy".

As an example .. consider this quote from a "special article by the National Vaccine Advisory Committee":

"Collaboration and cooperation of government agencies, such as, NIH, CDC,FDA, USAID, DOD, large vaccine companies, small research companies, and academia are essential to continue success and fulfill the promise of recent advances in science and technology.

"Threats to any part of the delicate vaccine research and development network jeopardize the rapid development and supply of new life-saving and life-enhancing vaccines for the American people. What is the optimal size, scope and configuration of the US vaccine enterprise? These questions should be debated only in the context of a full understanding of how the current system works and its record of effectiveness. These National Vaccine Advisory Committee recommendations will help to ensure that public policies take into consideration this research and development network and foster and sustain it to facilitate the timely introduction and supply of new vaccines".

There is no way Dr. Ballard .. or any other medical practicioner .. is going to dare risk becoming a professional medical "heretic" . simply by asking troubling questions regarding the "religious beliefs" as taught by vaccination's "highest priests".


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