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Autism Advocacy: Who Speaks for You?

Age of Autism Weekly Wrap: From Lemons, Lemonade (and no Flu-Mist!)

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaBy Dan Olmsted

When I was a kid and set up a lemonade stand, the price was one safety pin. I’m not sure why my mother settled on that – maybe she needed safety pins or didn’t want me getting too avaricious too young – but the idea of making real money was not on my radar.

Now, however, it is, thanks to a very cool girl named Elizabeth Mazer, who recently sent the following letter:

“Dear Age of Autism, Today in Annapolis, Maryland, there was a street festival called ‘Crafty Kids.’ Lemonade Stand 1In this event, kids set up tables and sell goods on Maryland Avenue, and get to give 50% profits to a charity of the kids’ choice.

“I have an autistic 14-year-old brother named Max. To raise money, I set up a lemonade booth for 50 cents a cup, which was successful. In the end, I wanted to donate 100% of my profits to autism.

“In total of the checks, there is $48.50. Thank you for opening an autism charity to raise awareness!”

“Sincerely, Elizabeth Mazer, Age 10.”

Thank you, Elizabeth! We survive and thrive on individual donations – yours is sufficient to purchase our domain name – – for another year. (Our annual fund drive is coming up next month – tax deductible!  More later on all that.)


Lemonade 2Regular readers may recognize Elizabeth’s last name. Her dad, Josh, is a loyal AOA reader and writer. We recently posted his letter to the editor of the Annapolis Capital Gazette, in which he called out the school board for recommending FluMist vaccine to students -- a live-virus vaccines that can shed.

“The introduction of FluMist into county schools makes some kids get flu like symptoms, or flu, and then have to stay home,” he wrote. “Further, no in school provision exists for parents who do not want their children exposed to the viral shedding.

“The board defers to CDC recommendations on vaccine policy. Both share a complete lack of accountability if your child gets sick, misses school, or suffers a more serious adverse reaction. One wonders if there is a financial incentive in the form of state and federal grants tied to FluMist. What other explanation is there for this backward and contradictory policy?”

Well, we have an update:  “County schools cancel nasal flu vaccines,” the Capital Gazette now reports. 

“The FluMist vaccine, a nasal spray, will not be given to Anne Arundel County Public School students this year due to a manufacturing delay, according the county Health Department and the school system.

“The Health Department has no FluMist vaccines available and don't expect them to arrive in time for flu season.”

How convenient, as the Church Lady would say. The article does note, “The cancellation in Anne Arundel schools comes at a time when the effectiveness of FluMist is being questioned by health organizations.”

And by concerned parents like Josh Mazer. If this vaccine is being pushed on kids in your area, he suggests you might forward his letter and the newspaper’s follow-up to school officials: “Watch them scramble for a cover story as they frantically unwind their FluMist program! It's fun, it's easy, and it works!"

One lemon at a time.


Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.


Susan O.

Way to go Elizabeth (and Josh)!
And thanks so much for sharing that fantastic picture - it really made me smile and brightened my day :)

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you, Elizabeth and Dad! Impressive work!


Great job, Elizabeth!
Thanks for showing us your very cute dog too! :o)

Karen Woytowitz

Recently visited my son at the University of Maryland. He said they tried to push the flu shot on him at the health clinic, and he said "my mom told me not to get the flu shot". My son suffers from ADD and is currently being treated by a MAPS doctor for mitochondrial dysfunction. When his friends asked why he wasn't getting the flu shot, he told them "my mom thinks vaccines can cause neurodevelopmental disorders in some people. Apparently his friends said they went and researched this, and none of them are getting the flu shot. Imagine that...doing your own research. Maybe this is the audience we should be directing efforts towards. Maybe they will drive the change.

Lisa Thompson

Well done, Josh Mazer!

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