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Live Through This

Champion fall out boyBy Cathy Jameson

“…if I can live through this…I can do anything…”

I heard a song a few months ago while driving around town running some errands.  It was still playing on the radio when I got to my destination.  Rocking out to it while sitting in my car in the Costco parking lot, I waited until the song ended before resuming my busy day.  Once it was over, I turned off the car and grabbed my shopping list.  Repeated the refrain as I walked into the store, I told myself, Don’t forget to look up the lyrics when you get home.  It would be a few hours before I’d make my way back home though.  When I finally got there, I completely forgot to look it up.  Last week in the midst of some other errands that had me running all over town, the song came on again.  I had just turned on the car.  Staying in the parking spot so I could listen to the lyrics, I rocked out to the song once again.  

…I’m calling you from the future

To let you know we made a mistake

And there’s a fog from the past

That’s giving me, giving me such a headache…


Golly, is that my life or what?  It isn’t every day, mind you, but I do feel like mistakes have been made.  Some people can look past mistakes, theirs and ones made by others.  They can let the past go, and I applaud them, but I will still sometimes struggle with the “I would have if I could have” thoughts that pop into my head.  They pop into my head when Ronan has another seizures, when he lashes out at his loving therapists, and when he pulls his sisters’ hair.  Those frustrating moments bring out the worst in Ronan.  They can bring out the worst in me and make me want to throw every positive thought I have out the window.    

…I got nothing but dreams inside

I got nothing but dreams…

 

Ahh, yes, those dreams.  Those dreams!  I believe in them, and I hope in them fully.  Dreams help me put one foot in front of the other.  They help me get out of whatever funk I have gotten myself into, too.  Falling into a funk - that happens, and it’s hard to get out of sometimes.  Most of the time the funk happens when I get a peek back at the past.  People have told me to stop thinking about the past and to move on.  They are usually people with much higher functioning children or people who have no children at all.  I don’t begrudge them for not understanding, but I also don’t give them too much of my time.  It is sometimes pointless to talk to them because they don’t have the same deep, emotional scars I have.  But I’d love to ask them how does one move on fully when the past lingers as much as it does in the present? 

Ronan never made it through certain stages. 

He never hit some major milestones. 

He hasn’t grown up like other typically developing kids have. 

His past included enjoying baby books, watching baby movies, and wearing diapers.  Presently, he still likes his old baby books, still likes baby movies, and still wears diapers.  The past never left.  It parked itself in our home, and on some days, it rules our house morning, noon, and night!  Believe me I’ve tried to not think about the past, but it’s right there in my face all day long.  I handle it by dreaming about the future and living as hopefully ever after as I can.  That’s because …I can do anything…

People ask me all of the time, Cat, how do you do it all?  Some days, I seriously don’t know, so I sheepishly reply, I just do what I have to do.  Ronan needs me.  He needs endless support.  I do what I can when I can.  That’s because I believe that Ronan can do anything.  If I think otherwise, I’ve set him up for failure.  This kid hasn’t failed anything!  Other people may have failed him, but he has soared.    

…If I can live through this…

Continue reading "Live Through This" »


FirstFreedoms.org Files Human Rights Complaint Against Italy for Mandatory Vaccination Law

Italian GestureNOTE: From Kevin Barry of FirstFreedoms.org:

On Christmas Day, we filed a human rights complaint against Italy.  The mandatory vaccination law Italy passed violates international human rights and bioethics standards for Italy's almost 60 million citizens.

We will be filing a human rights complaint against France in the coming days because its recent mandatory vaccination rules violate the same standards for France's almost 65 million citizens.

We need your financial help to see this through!  The goal is to reverse the policies in Italy and France and to educate policy makers worldwide that vaccine mandates violate human rights and bioethics.  Parents are having their human rights taken away by the millions at one time.  We have to draw the line in 2018!!

Please give what you can to help this critically important project either via PayPal or GoFundMe.  (Thank you to Stephanie Stock for starting the Go Fund Me!)

Donations are tax deductible. 

Happy New Year to you and your families!

Kevin Barry


Dr. Jacob Puliyel on The "Dubious" HPV Vaccine

HPV adNote: Thank you to Dr. Puliyel for sharing this editorial he wrote in the Tribune India.  At the end of his editorial posted here is an article that also ran on 12/25 in the Tribune India titled Prevention is Better Than Cure that extols the use of HPV vaccines and claims ZERO adverse effects. ZERO.  You are able to comment on both articles at their links. ZERO adverse effects. I noted that Dr. Puliyel's article has ten times the social media shares as the second article. Interesting.

By Jacob Puliyel

The writer, a doctor, is the Head of Pediatrics, St Stephen's Hospital, Delhi, and a member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.  The views expressed are personal. 

Dubious Vaccine for Cervical Cancer

Before a new vaccine is introduced it is first studied in a randomised controlled trial where some are given the drug and others are given an inert substance to check the effects and adverse effects among those given the new drug. Last week, Slate published a cover story on the investigation of the randomised trials of human papillomavirus (HPV ) vaccines before approval.  The science editor conducted an eight-month long investigation, interviewed study participants and studied  2,300 pages of documents obtained through freedom-of-information requests from hospitals and health authorities.

Flawed Trial

Slate found that during the year-long study data on potential side effects were collected for only two weeks.  The rest of the time individual trial investigators used their personal judgment to decide whether or not to report medical problems as adverse events. An oxymoronic instruction to investigators was to list new problems as ‘new medical history’. There is no evidence the confidential study protocol was submitted to regulators for approval. The worksheet investigators used allotted just one line per entry for new medical history, with no measurement of symptom severity, duration, outcome, or overall seriousness. Trial participants complained to Slate that repeated complaints of debilitating symptoms were not even registered in the study as potential side effects. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is the regulator in Europe.  In an internal 2014 EMA report about Gardasil 9 – a leading HPV vaccination - obtained through a freedom-of-information request, senior experts called the company’s approach “unconventional and suboptimal” and said it left some “uncertainty” about the safety results. In the EMA’s public assessment Gardasil 9, all mention of the safety concerns had been scrubbed.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Not all recipients of the vaccine developed serious adverse effects. But there are numerous reports of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS ) otherwise known as myalgic encephalomyelitis which is characterized by long-term fatigue that limits a person’s ability to carry out ordinary daily activities. Dr Jose Montoya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University explains that the condition usually starts with an insult to the immune system—a severe infection, a car crash, a pregnancy. The first symptoms are flu-like, but months go by and the patient realizes she isn’t getting better.’ In a few genetically predisposed individuals, Montoya told the Slate editor, it is “biologically plausible” that the vaccine, which mimics a natural infection, could also trigger an immune response powerful enough to lead to CFS. To find out if that is the case, trial investigators would need to carefully track participants’ symptoms “for at least one year.” CFS is not the only serious adverse effect reported. The American College of Pediatrics has suggested one of the HPV vaccines could possibly be associated with the very rare but serious condition of premature ovarian failure (POF), also known as premature menopause.  In Japan, use of the vaccine in adolescents has been associated with such serious adverse events that it has been withdrawn from the immunisation programme.

Usefulness of Vaccine

HPV spreads only through sexual contact and therefore is not communicable in a casual manner. There are about 100 strains of HPV, and the vaccine only protects against 2, 4, or 9 of them, depending on the brand and 95% of HPV infections heal by themselves – potentially granting the individual lifetime immunity against the particular strain. Perhaps to improve uptake of the vaccine the manufacturers promote it as an anticancer vaccine rather than a vaccine against sexually transmitted disease.  But while there is evidence that the vaccine reduces infection with the vaccine strains of the virus, non-vaccine strains have been known to replace the vaccine strain and these could produce cancer. There is currently no scientific study that shows the vaccine reduces cervical cancer in the women who are vaccinated.  The efficacy of the vaccine against cancer is unknown

Cost-effectiveness READ MORE HERE.

Also published, 12/25 in the Tribune India was the following:

Prevention is Better Than Cure.


CN Purandare, Alka Kriplani & Neerja Bhatla IN India, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women, accounting for nearly one-fourth of the global burden of cervical cancer, with an estimated 122,800 new cases and 67,500 deaths annually, which is more than the number of deaths due to maternal mortality. Since these women are usually in their 40s and 50s, it is estimated that the years of life lost are greater in cervical cancer. Globally, cervical cancer accounts for 528,000 cases including 445,000 cases in low and middle income countries (LMICs). 

Epidemiology

The age-standardised incidence rate of cervical cancer varies between 5.6 and 24.3 per 100,000 women in different regions of India. Although a gradually declining trend in the cervical cancer incidence has been observed in different regions of India over the last two decades, the rates still remain significantly higher than in other Asian countries. In fact, the absolute numbers of both cervical cancer cases and deaths are on the increase due to population growth. In the West, repeated testing by Pap smear and consequent treatment of precancerous lesions led to a substantial decline in the numbers of cervical cancer cases. In India, with very limited resources to introduce and sustain effective population-based cervical cancer screening programs, there was not much progress in preventing this very preventable cancer.  The discovery by Nobel laureate Harald zur Hausen that persistent infection with one of the oncogenic, high-risk types of human papillomaviruses (HPV) is the 'necessary' cause of cervical cancer; enabled the development of primary prevention using HPV vaccination. Presently available vaccines target the two types that are responsible for 70 per cent of cervical cancers worldwide. HPV 16 and HPV 18 and can prevent over 90 per cent of high-grade precancerous lesions caused by these types. In India, there is a greater proportion of these types, making it likely that the impact of vaccination will be better than has been observed already in research studies and in countries that have implemented the vaccine program.

Efficacy of doses

Fewer than three doses of HPV vaccine would substantially reduce costs, improve compliance, ease logistics and facilitate scale up in national immunization programs.  Data to support this has emerged from trials. WHO, after reviewing the available evidence on less than 3-doses, has recommended a two-dose schedule for girls (at an interval of 6 months, which may be extended to 12 months to facilitate vaccination) if vaccination is initiated prior to 15 years of age and a three-dose schedule (at 0, 1-2, and 6 months) if vaccination is initiated after the 15th birthday and for immunocompromised individuals, including those infected with HIV.

Countries implementing Immunisation

More than 80 countries have introduced HPV vaccine in the national immunisation programs (NIPs), of which 33 are LMICs; in addition, 25 LMICs have introduced HPV vaccination in pilot demonstration programs as a prelude to national scaling up in NIPs.  In most programs a school-based approach is predominantly used to deliver the vaccine to the targeted adolescents with additional efforts using field clinics, and primary health centres to cover girls who missed vaccination and do not attend schools. Gavi The Vaccine Alliance has been able to markedly reduce the procurement price of both vaccines to Rs $5.   While Australia, Denmark, USA and Canada were the first high-income countries to introduce HPV vaccination in NIPs in 2007, Panama (2008) in Latin America, Bhutan (2009) in Asia and Rwanda (2010) in Africa were the first LMICs that introduced HPV vaccination. Early reports of protection offered by the vaccine at the population level against vaccine targeted HPV infections, genital warts and cervical premalignant lesions have already started coming from countries that introduced the vaccine between 2007 and 2010.

HPV vaccine safety

Extensive data on the safety of HPV vaccines are now available from clinical trials and the population programs. Globally more than 270 million doses have been administered with no serious adverse events linked to the HPV vaccine and with an excellent safety profile. A meta-analysis of vaccine trials concluded that the frequency of serious adverse events (OR 0.99; 95%CI 0.87-1.14) and death (OR 0.91, 95%CI 0.39-2.14) were similar in the vaccinated and control groups. The majority of deaths reported were accidental in nature, and none was attributable to the vaccines. Various rare syndromes have also been studied and none found to be related to the vaccine. A recently published study from India reported no serious adverse event attributable to the vaccine after administering 34,856 doses of the quadrivalent vaccine to 10-18 year old girls and following them over four years. Read more and comment here.


Dan Olmsted's: Six Bad Ideas that Triggered the Autism Epidemic

6Note: Our dear Dan wrote this post in 2015 at the end of the year. I miss him every single day. I know you do too. We've weathered a rotten year, friends. And I couldn't have done this without your support, financial, emotional, content, in every way. Thank you. KIM

By Dan Olmsted

We probably all know the saying that Ideas Matter. Lately I’ve been mulling a handful of ideas – very bad ideas, I’d say – that have come together to trigger, expand, and perpetuate the autism epidemic and a host of allied disorders that constitute The Age of Autism.

Today I’m going to lay them out in brief, and in coming days I’ll say more about each one, and end with the counter-ideas that could really bring us a happy new year.

Please add your own!

Bad Idea Number One. Vaccines are the Eric Clapton of Medicine; they are God. Vaccines are the number one medical accomplishment of all time, and every day in every way they make our world safer and safer. Bow down!

Bad Idea Number Two. The evidence for Number One is clear. “Study after study” has shown that vaccines work wonderfully and that the so-called “risks” are effectively zero – a one-in-a-million chance of anything serious happening. (“One in a million” is pharma speak for zip, zilch, nada, roll up your sleeve.)

Bad Idea Number Three. Disagreeing with Numbers One and Two is Unacceptable Speech. Claims that vaccines are more dangerous than advertised are bogus and should be suppressed. You need to be a conspiracy theorist, a purveyor of junk science, a pathetically gullible parent looking for someone to blame for your damaged kid, or out-and-out anti-vaccine to harbor such ideas.  

Bad Idea Number Four. Conflicts Don’t Count. Drugmakers, doctors, legislators, bureaucrats, TV programs buoyed by pharma money are immune to the usual concerns that conflicts of interest -- profits, incentives, campaign contributions, ad dollars, liability worries -- require extra vigilance by the press and public. The drug companies may be caught red-handed in corrupt dealing, Congress bought off, the media lazy and desperate for drug dollars, but when it comes to vaccines (see Number One), they have only our health at heart!

Bad Idea Number Five. Because the first four are true, we must trust The Experts who are working hard every day to help us stay happy and healthy. They are god’s messengers on earth.

Trust. The. Experts.

Continue reading "Dan Olmsted's: Six Bad Ideas that Triggered the Autism Epidemic" »


"Constant Race To Keep Ahead of Him," Tot with Autism Drowns

Paul Kevin Rozier

NOTE: Imagine the agony of losing a child, on Christmas no less. Paul Rozier drowned in a nearby pool. A story as oft repeated as A Visit from St. Nicholas is in December. In fact, my "On this  Day" that dumb Facebook reminder of ghosts of every day past, showed a similar drowning in 2014. Where is the outcry from our Public Health officials, our Pediatricians, Nurses, School Teachers and media on the scourge of autism drownings? Where is the demand for a cure so that these kids have a chance at something other than a watery grave with the Sirens’  call? Had this boy died from measles, we'd be on a red alert. There is no BLUE alert for autism. It just happens. What a shame. Time to check out the post Christmas sales. Make sure you get your flu shot. The lack of genuine concern is criminal.

On this day drowning


MILILANI, OAHU -- The body of a missing 7-year-old boy on Oahu was found in a backyard pool at a vacant house Christmas morning, according to police. CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB reports Paul Kevin Rozier had wandered about a half mile away from his home.

Investigators believe Rozier drowned, and there are no signs of foul play.

His family went out shopping on Christmas Eve, leaving Rozier home with cousins when he disappeared. They say he was autistic, and sometimes left the home.

"It was a constant race to keep ahead of him and to be able to keep him in the house," said Paul Rozier, the boy's father. "Though he was only partially verbal, he was extremely smart."

The boy's family asked for help on social media, so strangers from all over the island came to help look for him.

"His teachers, his therapists and behavioral techs and just random people who heard us calling for him on the street and asked what was happening were searching," said Rozier.  Read more here.


Part 4 Grist For the Mill For the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective

                                                 Deliverance painting
                                                                                                       Teresa Elliot, “Deliverence”

By Adriana Gamondes

Read part 3 here

Read part 2 here

Read part 1 here

The Burning Question

The study  reporting the massively elevated rate of early death among individuals with autism came out over a year ago.  Even less reassuring is that the study was done in a country—Sweden—that has far better healthcare and disability systems than the US as well as a voluntary vaccine program and lower rate of autism.

But as cruel as the news was, it was grimly validating of all the measures many families have taken to keep affected children alive, often in the face of bitter criticism that these concerns are unfounded and the measures unnecessary. All the same, it’s something no one wants to be right about.

In the report, individuals with autism, especially “high functioning,” were found to commit suicide at much higher rates than typical peers, and children with autism are 28 times more prone to suicidal ideation.  Accidents were also a leading cause of early death. But the reigning cause of early mortality in autism is seizures, which cut lifespan by thirty years on average.

Researchers note that individuals with autism are also up to 40 times more prone to seizure disorders than the general population, which must be one of the factors that has spiked the statistical rate of epilepsy to the current 1 in 26 in the U.S., not the older figure of 1 in 100 that was reported  by study authors.  Authors further note that many individuals with autism develop seizures in their teens and twenties in a late-onset form that tends to be far deadlier than epilepsy in typical individuals for reasons that researchers don’t (or won’t) understand. 

But that’s something else parents know, isn’t it? Though it’s impossible to foresee every cause, autism parents tend to develop a radar for many of the triggers of neurological events—the toxic and allergic exposures, the depleted nutritional status, the infections and stressors— that inch children closer to the abyss of full-blown seizure disorders. This is because immediate families live with the immediate fallout. 

After the study came out, my husband and I had an epiphany. We realized what many autism parents are doing  when we issue “too much information” on health concerns, special diets, treatments, institutional abuse, wandering deaths and seizure risks is that we’re asking an important question of those in our family circles. We’re asking who among our clans would not only watch out for injured children but also who might do what it takes to keep those children out of institutions and alive for more than a few years in the case we were taken out of the picture through disability or death.  Parents may also be asking who among their families will be raising the next generations to actually give a damn about their disabled relatives once those in the older generation die or become too infirm to manage.  

Continue reading "Part 4 Grist For the Mill For the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective" »


Family First

Family StoryBy Cathy Jameson

Knowing how much work it takes to keep Ronan happy and safe, my sister's family is more than patient with us when we visit.  They are more than generous, too.  Before we arrive, they've stocked their shelves with safe food items for Ronan to eat because they understand that sore tummies are not easy to deal with.  Knowing he's a kid who's prone to wander, they promise to help keep an extra eye on the doors with us when he’s in the house.  Fully understanding that Ronan needs some quiet space, one of the cousins takes time to clean up his room for Ronan and offers to sleep on the floor in another bedroom.  It's a lot of work to host us, but we never feel like we've overstayed a welcome when we're at my sister's house.  

Overloaded with excitement, the siblings were beside themselves with joy when we began to pack our bags to travel to family for Christmas.  I was excited, too.  I was until a diaper exploded in my sister's washer.  If you've never experienced a full diaper exploding in a washer, consider yourself lucky.  

Having completely forgotten about it by the time I got to wash a very full load of linens Ronan had peed on in the middle of the night, I was embarrassed.  The gel beads from the diaper and the pull up he wears over the diaper each night were everywhere.  In his pajamas, all over the full-size afghan throw, and in his socks that I'd washed, it would take 45 minutes to find and remove every single bead.  Trying to find the positive after dealing with that mess, I told my sister she now had the cleanest washer in her neighborhood.  We laughed because what else can you do in a situation like that?  

Continue reading "Family First" »


21 Year Old With Autism Left at Hospital for 5 Months in CT

All aloneDO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMASTIME AT ALL?  Below is a story you will see over and over in 2018 and beyond.  Where the hell is our concert? From CT, where I live. My girls have programming thank God. Not every child in CT gets funding. And programs are still hit or miss.  Remember Alex Spourdalakis? Remember Skye Walker? Some adults with autism have vicious, dangerous behaviors - a sad and PAINFUL truth.  And parents are getting older, and exhausted. There are siblings to worry about and  survival triage becomes the goal.  This young man has been shuttled around a hospital for 5 months. It's a travesty.

We need more than a BAND AID.....  Kim

###

A young man with autism and an intellectual disability was abandoned by his family in July and has languished at Manchester Hospital, with no medical diagnosis, for virtually all of the past five months as the state’s disabilities agency maintained that there were legal barriers to taking him into state care.

The 21-year-old has behavior problems, and he has shuttled between a hospital room, the busy emergency room, and an area normally reserved for psychiatric patients, according to an advocacy group that has taken up his cause at the behest of a hospital staff deeply concerned that they are not equipped to care for him. On Friday, state officials said they were finally prepared to offer services to the young man.

His presence in the emergency room is indicative of a statewide quandary, as hospitals have become the dumping ground for a growing number of profoundly disabled children and young adults.

The young man was first dropped off at the hospital on July 28 and has been in the hospital since then, except for a 10-day period in which his family took him home. His parents then brought him back to the hospital on Dec. 10, said Nancy Alisberg, legal director for Disability Rights Ct in Hartford. She said it was her understanding that the young man had been aggressive toward his parents and brother.

Alisberg said that while hospitals are seeing more of these cases, this was an extreme example.

Continue reading "21 Year Old With Autism Left at Hospital for 5 Months in CT" »


NYT Reports: A Federal Ban on Making Lethal Viruses Is Lifted

The flyNote: From the "what could possibly go wrong?" files....

A Federal Ban on Making Lethal Viruses Is Lifted

Federal officials on Tuesday ended a moratorium imposed three years ago on funding research that alters germs to make them more lethal.

Such work can now proceed, said Dr. Francis S. Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, but only if a scientific panel decides that the benefits justify the risks.

Some scientists are eager to pursue these studies because they may show, for example, how a bird flu could mutate to more easily infect humans, or could yield clues to making a better vaccine.

Critics say these researchers risk creating a monster germ that could escape the lab and seed a pandemic.

Now, a government panel will require that researchers show that their studies in this area are scientifically sound and that they will be done in a high-security lab.

The pathogen to be modified must pose a serious health threat, and the work must produce knowledge — such as a vaccine — that would benefit humans. Finally, there must be no safer way to do the research.

“We see this as a rigorous policy,” Dr. Collins said. “We want to be sure we’re doing this right.”

In October 2014, all federal funding was halted on efforts to make three viruses more dangerous: the flu virus, and those causing Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

But the new regulations apply to any pathogen that could potentially cause a pandemic. For example, they would apply to a request to create an Ebola virus transmissible through the air, said Dr. Collins.  Read more here.


Generation Rescue Shares Touching Story of Autism Santa Visit

Christmas hopeNOTE: It seems to me like America is in a pretty grim place of division, anger, abhorrent behavior and rancor. The holidays call for peace, happiness, joy and gratitude. Below is a perfect Hallmark card for the holidays.   Some of our kids do not speak. My Bella has very few words. She uses "Hello, Mama" for most every verbal request. Smart kid! Check out this young boy, a recipient of the Generation Rescue family grant program during his first successful visit with Santa Claus.  Please don't believe the Scrooges and Grinches who tell you autism is not treatable. That acceptance is all you need. All there is. So many of us old timers heard that over and over. There was no Google when my kids were tots. Today? You can get to Generation Rescue and other orgs, national and local to get true meaningful help for your child.  Thank you to Jenny McCarthy and Generation Rescue for their tidings of great joy - and hope.

###

After years of being uncomfortable or frightened, a warrior mom participating in the Rescue Family Grant Program was shocked that her 6-year-old son with autism was excited to see Santa.

“William has always been interested in Santa but when we would go see Santa, he just couldn’t handle it – refused to speak or look in Santa’s direction and would start to cry.

We also always had to hold him. Last year we even went to great lengths to take a Santa train ride and have a private appointment with Santa in his train coach. That didn’t even work.

This year it all changed. I know this sounds dramatic, but it felt like an early holiday miracle!

When it was time for Santa to arrive, he did so on a firetruck lit up with Christmas lights. I told Will we needed to line the street to greet him. He got so excited, but I held my breath.

Santa’s Christmas Firetruck stopped in front of us and Santa climbed down the ladder and came right over to us. Will looked Santa in the eyes and said ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Thank You’ when Santa handed him a candy cane. Will also chased down Olaf the snowman and gave him hugs and danced with him!

6-Year-Old With Autism is Excited to See Santa

After years of being uncomfortable or frightened, a warrior mom participating in the Rescue Family Grant Program was shocked that her 6-year-old son with autism was excited to see Santa.

“William has always been interested in Santa but when we would go see Santa, he just couldn’t handle it – refused to speak or look in Santa’s direction and would start to cry.

We also always had to hold him. Last year we even went to great lengths to take a Santa train ride and have a private appointment with Santa in his train coach. That didn’t even work.

This year it all changed. I know this sounds dramatic, but it felt like an early holiday miracle!

When it was time for Santa to arrive, he did so on a firetruck lit up with Christmas lights. I told Will we needed to line the street to greet him. He got so excited, but I held my breath.

Continue reading "Generation Rescue Shares Touching Story of Autism Santa Visit" »


Part 3 Grist for the Mill for the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective

Deliverance painting

Teresa Elliot, “Deliverence”


By Adriana Gamondes

Read part 2 here

Read part 1 here


A Dirty Game

Some autism families have been very lucky to find tremendous emotional support and even occasional respite within their family networks. Others swear this is the case while their affected children are very young but then find the support falling away once those children reach their teens and are no longer quite so small and cute.  Some find themselves completely alone immediately following diagnosis. 

However the defection plays out, for years I’ve been hearing the same story from countless autism parents—the crisis when they find themselves mysteriously alienated from the extended family fold, usually after coming under severe criticism for some aspect of their parenting.  

The complaints and charges fueling the attacks might all be different, but the effect is the same: the stricken children at the center of the fracas are left even more isolated than they were already.  I’m beginning to think that’s the whole point.

One parent I know suddenly disappeared from Facebook, explaining later in private that she couldn’t take how her  extended family were using social media as a buffer to avoid having any contact with her disabled child. They would post birthday greetings on her Facebook wall in place of gifts, cards and, most importantly, visits. This parent’s son was too “severe” for family to deal with.

Another friend found herself cut out of a family elder’s will because, as he argued before the entire family (minus her and her affected son), she had fabricated her son’s autism to leech off the state. Never mind that her son’s diagnosis was well documented. Never mind if she barely took advantage of available public programs because, with all the defunding, the quality of certain services had become appalling and often came with scary and unwanted strings of state control. In her case, none of the remaining beneficiaries offered to share their cut or attempted to argue with the cruel elder, leaving this friend in a state of shock and, ironically, all the more in danger of being dependent on the state.

In her case, what gave bystanders the luxury of opining that her son never had autism were all the grueling effort and sacrifices she’d made along the way to get him to that level, to the point of nearly impoverishing herself. In that story, her son was too recovered for family to deal with.

There are so many other stories of parents being informed that their disabled children weren’t welcome at family celebrations or events that all the other children in the extended family and half the neighborhood attended.  I’ve spoken to too many parents who were told, often by those near and dear, that they should institutionalize their affected children who “belong with their own kind” so that they “don’t hold back the others.”

Some unreflective types might bluntly admit that they can’t stand being around disabled child or adult family members, but most seem to opt for the more socially defensible tact of spinning blame from parenting practices. In these dramas, parents find themselves blamed for being overly protective or not doing enough to rein their children in; they’re criticized for their choice of school or lack of school in the case of homeschoolers. They’re criticized for letting their children eat junk food in an attempt to head off meltdowns and self injury or for feeding them an overly crunchy diet. They’re criticized for neglecting their children’s health conditions regardless of how helpless they are in getting proper care, or of spending too much time talking about and attending to health. They’re criticized for giving too much attention to earning a living to dig out from under the tombstone of “disability debt,” or of neglecting their work and finances to be with their disabled children.

But I think the tactics are just a cheap and easy way of feigning concern for a disabled child while simultaneously abandoning them. It’s a dirty game. The bystanders get their cake—or so they think: a life free of the “burden” of disability. And they eat it too—or so they think: they can try to convince themselves and those around them that they’re not simply shallow and apathetic.

Continue reading "Part 3 Grist for the Mill for the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective" »


Dengvaxia Vaccine Controversy In Philippines

Dengvaxia
Note: Thank you to AHRP for this report on the controversial Dengue fever vaccination program in the Philippines. Even if you are fully pro-vaccination, this story should make you pause for a moment or several.  Children ages 2 - 5 ran a risk of contracting Dengue fever post vaccination. This reminds us of the MMR data that showed a higher autism risk in African American males under the age of 3 - data that was scrubbed clean.

###

This is a developing news story focusing on the corruption of industry-initiated government vaccination policies. The case involves Sanofi and the launching of its Dengvaxia vaccine in a massive school-based Dengvaxia vaccination campaign in 830,000 Philippino school children.

The World Health Organization reports that dengue, a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, is endemic in 100 countries, and the number of reported dengue cases has skyrocketed. In 1996, less than half a million (0.4); in 2005, 1.3 million; in 2010, 2.2 million; and in 2015, there were 3.2 million reported cases.

Sanofi Pasteur tested its vaccine Dengvaxia (CYD-TDV) in two parallel Phase 3 randomized trials (June 2011 – March 2012). CYD14 was tested in 5 Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam), in 10,275 children aged 2–14 years. CYD15 was conducted at in 5 Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, in 20,869 children aged 9–16 years.

But Sanofi failed to examine the reason that young children aged 2 to 5 were at increased risk of severe dengue infection; the company encouraged the Philippine government to initiate a massive, school-based Dengvaxia vaccination program. One year after 830,000 children in the Philippines were vaccinated, and a major scandal erupted in the Philippines, the World Health Organization changed its initial equivocating recommendation (by the same Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety) regarding Sanofi’s dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia:  Read more here.


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 12 The Age of Autism

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

Today is day 12 of 12 and I thought it only fitting to feature the book that shares the name with our site. Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill drew an exquisite map of the autism epidemic. Sadly, much of the world is unwilling to acknowledge the man made epidemic that threatens to change the fabric of our nation as boys are affected in such numbers that our socio-economic systems will feel a seismic shift. But this is America. So carry on friends. Buy your holiday gifts. Think about which TV show to binge watch next. Wait for the next Apple phone. There's nothing to see after all. In the AGE OF AUTISM.....

The Age of Autism bookDay 12: The Age of Autism by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Much of the public discussion about autism has missed the point about the possible causes. To solve this question, two writers began digging into the history of other degenerative neurological disorders. Their research led them to discover incredible and previously unacknowledged links between a strain of syphilis which left suffers raving mad, the spike in incidence of schizophrenia during the Industrial Revolution, and the hidden commonalities between the parents of the first children diagnosed with autism in the 1930s.

The Age of Autism connects these dots to form a startling new thesis: behind each of these disorders – and many more – was exposure to mercury, the most toxic non-radioactive substance known to man.





The Set Up Martin WalkerDay 11: The Setup by Martin Walker

In 1988, the British government launched the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, even though central figures knew that the vaccine could cause brain damage, autism, and other problems.

The Setup traces the extended efforts made by drug companies, with help from the British government, to cover up their responsibility for putting a vaccine known to be damaging on the market. It details the way public relations companies, social media, legal teams, judges, and reporters all utilized covert media tactics and public statements to deceive, ultimately leading to the British General Medical Council (GMC) initiating the famous trial against Andrew Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith, and Dr. Simon Murch. The vaccine was on the market for over four years, but the parents of the nearly 1,600 affected were not only excluded from that trial but are still awaiting their day in court. Instead, they have all had to shoulder an immense financial burden and many have become the subject of court actions over spurious charges. The trial also destroyed Wakefield’s reputation―despite the fact that within months, a high court judge declared Walker-Smith innocent on the grounds that the GMC panel, acting as jury, had misunderstood the evidence.

Any parent whose child has become sick after a vaccine will appreciate the dedication of investigator Martin J. Walker, and his exposure of a cover-up the British government and pharmaceutical companies hoped to hide forever. Available Spring 2018.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 12 The Age of Autism" »


GSK Advocates Gardasil for Boys and Cervarix for Girls in Confidential Communication to UK Vaccine Committee

In a remarkable response to a Freedom of Information request to the UK Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation by Angus Files the committee have published the following information:

 

 Section 43 – Commercial interests


The fact that GSK is advocating a gender-neutral program using Cervarix in girls and
Gardasil in boys is confidential and commercially sensitive, and disclosure of GSK’s
position would prejudice the commercial interests of GSK:


If details of GSK’s position on advocating a gender neutral programme were
disclosed in response to the request, it would be accessible to GSK’s competitors,
who would gain insight into GSK’s development plans and strategy with respect to
the market positioning of Cervarix in the UK. In a normal competitive environment,
GSK’s competitors would not have this insight. GSK does not have similar insight
into its competitors’ strategy and development plans, and therefore disclosure of
GSK’s position puts GSK at a competitive disadvantage. This information is therefore
exempt from disclosure under Section 43 of the Act.


GSK’s views on the cost effectiveness of a gender-neutral program using Cervarix in
girls and Gardasil in boys is confidential and commercially sensitive, and disclosure
of GSK’s position would prejudice the commercial interests of GSK:
GSK’s comments on the cost effectiveness of a gender neutral programme and the
reduced cost in girls when using Cervarix instead of 4vHPV reveal GSK’s potential
strategy with respect to the market positioning and pricing of its Cervarix product. In
a normal competitive environment, GSK’s competitors would not have this insight.
GSK does not have similar insight into its competitors’ pricing and market positioning
strategy, and therefore disclosure of GSK’s position puts GSK at a competitive
disadvantage. This information is therefore exempt from disclosure under Section 43
of Act.

Open scientific exchange:
GSK has shared its innovative ideas on a gender neutral program with the JCVI in
the spirit of open and honest scientific dialogue, with the aim of generating
discussion on how to deliver a comprehensive and cost effective protection to the
public. Disclosure of this information would discourage GSK from sharing such
information and innovative ideas with the JCVI freely in the future.


Public interest:
It is in the public interest for a normal competitive environment to be maintained, for
example so that potential suppliers can compete fairly and competitively in a future
public procurement process and the procuring authority can get the best possible
deal for the public purse. It is also in the public interest that open scientific exchange
is maintained, so that GSK and its competitors can share innovative ideas with the
JCVI without fear of their commercially sensitive and confidential information being
disclosed publicly. 

The accompanying heavily redacted letter discloses concerning a recent study (phase III PATRICA)  of the efficacy of Cervarix for women:

The validity of this data has been challenged as it is based on one study only and follow up time was limited to four years

The source of the criticism has been redacted.

 

 


Slate On Gardasil Inadequate Safety Testing (No It's Not April 1st)

Vioxx now gardasilWhen I was a 28 year old sales exec, my boss, mentor and dear friend taught me a phrase that I've used in all areas of my life, especially with my girls. "Don't punish progress,"  When there's a positive, don't poop on it with a qualification or indication that the progress isn't enough or worse with a negative.  So when I read this opening from Slate.com, I had to pull back a bit. (Thanks Ginger Taylor for the heads up on this article.)

There’s no evidence that the HPV vaccine causes serious harm, but an investigation shows the trials weren’t designed to properly assess safety.

Oh, the heck with it. So, if the studies were not designed to properly assess safety OF COURSE THERE'S NO EVIDENCE THAT THE HPV VACCINE CAUSES SERIOUS HARM!  This is exactly what happened at Simpsonwood regarding autism and vaccines. It's why Poul Thorsen is having tea with a mermaid in Denmark.  No harm? Sure, except for the plethora of severely paralyzed, injured and deceased victims.

Read Mark Blaxill's series on the CDC/Merck partnership that created Gardasil titled, "License to Kill."

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On a sunny autumn day three years ago, when Kesia Lyng was 30, she had a visit from her youngest sister, Eva. The two were close, and as they sat at the kitchen table in Lyng’s apartment, Eva confronted her chronically ill sibling with a painful fact: “You almost can’t take care of your own kids,” she told her. “You can’t keep pushing yourself so hard.”

Lyng, who was living with her husband and their two children in a lusterless part of Copenhagen, Denmark, had been struggling for years with inexplicable health problems: joint and muscle pains that came and left, powerful headaches, and a crushing exhaustion that even copious amounts of sleep could not cure. She was working part-time in the kitchen of her daughter’s kindergarten, the latest in a string of odd jobs. But her sick days had begun to multiply again. Often she would call her husband at work, sobbing from weariness, and ask to be picked up. At home, she was drained, with no energy to clean or cook or tuck the kids in bed. In her medical records, which she shared with me, her doctor noted that she was “having a very difficult time” and that she worried about losing her job if she asked for a sick leave.

Continue reading "Slate On Gardasil Inadequate Safety Testing (No It's Not April 1st)" »


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 11 The Setup: How Corporate Greed Damaged Thousands of Children and Censored Andrew Wakefield

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

The Set Up Martin WalkerDay 11: The Setup by Martin Walker

In 1988, the British government launched the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, even though central figures knew that the vaccine could cause brain damage, autism, and other problems.

The Setup traces the extended efforts made by drug companies, with help from the British government, to cover up their responsibility for putting a vaccine known to be damaging on the market. It details the way public relations companies, social media, legal teams, judges, and reporters all utilized covert media tactics and public statements to deceive, ultimately leading to the British General Medical Council (GMC) initiating the famous trial against Andrew Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith, and Dr. Simon Murch. The vaccine was on the market for over four years, but the parents of the nearly 1,600 affected were not only excluded from that trial but are still awaiting their day in court. Instead, they have all had to shoulder an immense financial burden and many have become the subject of court actions over spurious charges. The trial also destroyed Wakefield’s reputation―despite the fact that within months, a high court judge declared Walker-Smith innocent on the grounds that the GMC panel, acting as jury, had misunderstood the evidence.

Any parent whose child has become sick after a vaccine will appreciate the dedication of investigator Martin J. Walker, and his exposure of a cover-up the British government and pharmaceutical companies hoped to hide forever. Available Spring 2018.

Autism in HeelsDay 10: Autism in Heels by Jennifer O'Toole

Autism in Heels, an intimate memoir, reveals the woman inside one of autism’s most prominent figures, Jennifer O'Toole. At the age of thirty-five, Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, and for the first time in her life, things made sense. Now, Jennifer exposes the constant struggle between carefully crafted persona and authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power. Her journey is one of reverse-self-discovery not only as an Aspie but--more importantly--as a thoroughly modern woman. Available Summer 2018.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 11 The Setup: How Corporate Greed Damaged Thousands of Children and Censored Andrew Wakefield " »


Part 2 Grist For the Mill For the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective

Deliverance painting
Teresa Elliot
, “Deliverence”

Grist For the Mill For the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective

Part 2

Read part 1 here.

By Adriana Gamondes

Bearers of the Unbearable Bear

If bystanders or the professionals who originally diagnosed our once catastrophically disabled children would now have trouble believing how they’ve progressed, that’s not our problem. It’s a problem of institutional theory of cause. If you believe that autism is genetic, lifelong and static or a matter of Freudian phallic substitution, then our kids are miracles and my husband and I are living gods.

That’s right. We’re deities. We cause autism with our minds. We can also make it disappear through divine intervention.  Bow down before us, ye mortals.

But if you believe autism is a form of chemical brain injury— an acquired, man-made, industrial-age affliction which can occasionally improves due to non-psychotropic, integrated medical interventions— then we’re just damned lucky.

Lucky relative to the many individuals whose injuries are far too severe to recover or whose families can’t afford it. Lucky relative to the horrendously high death toll among the afflicted. Lucky relative to being at war.

My husband and I manage the combat pretty well most of the time. You don’t curl up and give way to despair while a battle is still raging. Instead we “despair of” certain circumstances or conduct in a sort of “What hath God wrought in man?” kind of way. There’s no time for sadness. We have children to save and blessings to count. One blessing is our kids’ significant recoveries. It’s good news. But our good news comes with bad news about how our once non-verbal, once seriously ill, once severely disabled children were injured to begin with. We’re the bearers of more bad news regarding the risks our children still face. To our despair, we’re getting shot for it regular intervals.

What adds to the despair is that sometimes misguided attacks come from those within our own clan, from those who believe they mean well, who might dote over typical kids, cry over lost puppies in the pound or the plight of landmine victims half a world away. Some may even occasionally be generous with material resources, but never with time. Not the time it takes to read the books and studies that explain, nor the time it takes to get to know the children at the center of so much unwanted drama.

But we don’t hate the people who’ve caused these dramas or who’ve ridden roughshod over our children’s tragedies in the past.  What we hate is the drama and the tragedy. I also hate going into details because I hate the details. I hate having to put anything related in clever terms to make it digestible or readable.

 If I had to give one reason why my husband and I haven’t been able to bring ourselves to see or speak to the individuals who most recently maligned us or their enablers, it’s because the mere act of having to defend ourselves also requires dredging up memories of the worst periods of the children’s lives that seem to come with a soundtrack of screaming souls in purgatory.   It’s as grim as watching the sun rise on three hours sleep for four years and made worse by having to go through it under the gaze of people who refuse to understand. 

And now the same onlookers are having a problem because the kids play a hand of poker to decide who has to wash the dishes, and because they’re expressive and empathic and charming in ways that defy previous diagnoses.

But our children aren’t out of the woods yet.  That’s probably another core reason we can’t face the snipers at the moment. If certain individuals judged and blamed in the face of past struggles, if they’ve already said or done terrible things in periods of grief and difficulty,  what could we expect from them if, God forbid, any of the disasters that are statistically so common in autism befell our children in the future? 

For the moment, the twins’ symptoms have become hazy and are wrapped in a lot of typical child behavior, but still surface enough to make them hard to be around for those who look to children to amuse them and provide them with reflections of family pride and golden projections of hope and unfettered potential. In some senses, the children’s risks are just beginning as they hit the teen stage. There are no guarantees of unfettered anything.  

Continue reading "Part 2 Grist For the Mill For the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective" »


Autism Reflections and the Jesse Tree

The Jesse TreeBy Cathy Jameson

Every evening for the last two weeks, I’ve read a page from a book called The Jesse Tree.  Bought years ago when I was still teaching, the book rests on a shelf in my living room for most of the year.  Filled with hope and thoughtful reflections, I look forward to using it with my own children starting the first week of Advent.  The book is very simple and helps us remember the reason for the season.  Read aloud right before we eat dinner, the kids learn something from it.  Most days, I do, too. 

The book I have encourages conversations about Jesus, about His lineage, and about how we’re called to serve others in His name.  The messages are quick and concise, and the symbols that accompany each story are meaningful as well.  The very first symbol is a family tree.  The tree’s branches are empty on day 1, but the excitement of which story and which symbol will be next keeps my kids interested.  Ronan isn’t as in tune as his siblings are, and he offers no input when I ask the kids about what they think the next story will be, but he sits and listens to the chatter around the table each night. 

One message that popped off the page at me on Tuesday evening had me going back to meditate on the passage and the short prayer that accompanied that day’s devotion.  The reading was from Exodus, the reflection was about Moses and the people of Israel, and the symbol was the Ten Commandments.  But it was something else that the author stated that caught my attention: “People live in the kind of society they build.” 

How true. 

As a child, the society that I envisioned I’d be living in as an adult is much different than the one I am living now.  Plus, never did I ever think I’d be part of two societies–one where my typical kids hang out and one where my child with special needs hangs out.  Sure, we crossover, but many times Ronan will stay in his own world while his siblings frolic and thrive in another.  As a family, we try to bridge the two societies as much as we can.  Ronan joins the siblings at their sporting events.  They join him for some of his therapy sessions.  They share some time together which we all find inspiring.  Some things shouldn’t be shared, though, like when Ronan becomes aggressive and attempts to pull his sisters’ hair.  We work through those terrible times always praying that positive encounters will be right around the corner. 

As a child of the 70s, I knew nothing about autism.  As a teen in the 80s, I still hadn’t heard of the disorder.  As a teacher in the late 90s, I had yet to see a student who struggled like so many children do today.  By the 90s, I’d finally heard of autism, but it wasn’t until the next decade did my son’s autism introduce me to a society where I have become a long-term resident.   

Thinking about who’s helped me find my way in a place where I had no direction and that I had desire to be, I recalled past conversations with other newbie parents.  I remembered other parents, the veterans of the community, and their words of wisdom.  I also thought about the groups and companies that helped me learn how to help Ronan.  Honored to serve others, each person I’d encountered had become a beacon for me.  Their acts of kindness were forever etched in my heart, and each one is still very much cherished by me. 

Continue reading "Autism Reflections and the Jesse Tree" »


CDC Chief and Financial Conflicts

FitzgeraldThe swamp sure is full still.....  CDC Director can't work on matters regarding Opioids and Cancer - and  is hobnobbing with Bill and Melinda Gates. Can we get her to recuse herself from all things autism? Wait, CDC has already done that as an agency. Wouldn't Dan have had a field day this story?  BTW, Fitzgerald has it backward - you get rich in industry AFTER you leave CDC. Ask Julie Gerberding.  

AofA's Editor at Large Mark Blaxill has written numerous posts about the CDC. Here are three classics from our exclusives you might want to revisit. The swamp has been overflowing for a very long time with no draining in sight.

Mark Blaxill: Lies, Damned Lies and CDC Autism Statistics

What Did the CDC Know And When Did They Know It (part 1)

What Did the CDC Know and When Did They Know It? (part 2)


WaPo: ATLANTA — After five months in office, President Trump’s new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been unable to divest financial holdings that pose potential conflicts of interest, hindering her ability to fully perform her job.

Brenda Fitzgerald, 71, who served as the Georgia public health commissioner until her appointment to the CDC post in July, said she has divested from many stock holdings. But she and her husband are legally obligated to maintain other investments in cancer detection and health information technology, according to her ethics agreement, requiring Fitzgerald to pledge to avoid government business that might affect those interests. Fitzgerald provided The Post with a copy of her agreement.

Last week, Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the senior Democrat on the Senate committee that oversees CDC, wrote that Fitzgerald is raising questions about her ability to function effectively.

“I am concerned that you cannot perform the role of CDC director while being largely recused from matters pertaining to cancer and opioids, two of the most pervasive and urgent health challenges we face as a country,” Murray wrote.  Read more here.


Is the Vagus Nerve the Culprit Behind Speech Delay?

Gen Rescue SquareGenerati0n Rescue has a provocative post running today on their blog. Is the Vagus Nerve the Culprit Behind Speech Delay?

Team GR: Part of a healthy routine is staying in alignment. We asked chiropractor Dr. David Foss to help explain the vagus nerve and how it may be affecting individuals with autism.

Written by David Foss, D.C.

As much as I love watching some classic Elvis shows in Vegas, new studies on the vagus nerve and its implications to those with autism spectrum disorders make me sing, “Viva Las Vagus!”  

We can now understand so much more about the reasoning behind some of the behaviors that those with autism exhibit because of their neurology.   

Science can now explain how “vagal tone” influences social behavior, immune function, digestion, detoxification and heart rate.  Having a better understanding of functional neurology allows doctors to give hope for autism recovery.  

Let’s first start with some understanding of the vagus nerve and what it’s responsible for. I’ll then introduce what can happen when the vagus nerve is stressed, what can cause stress to the vagus nerve and finally how to correct the imbalance to bring about an optimally functioning nervous system.

Continue reading "Is the Vagus Nerve the Culprit Behind Speech Delay?" »


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 10 Autism In Heels

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

Autism in HeelsDay 10: Autism in Heels by Jennifer O'Toole

Autism in Heels, an intimate memoir, reveals the woman inside one of autism’s most prominent figures, Jennifer O'Toole. At the age of thirty-five, Jennifer was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, and for the first time in her life, things made sense. Now, Jennifer exposes the constant struggle between carefully crafted persona and authentic existence, editing the autism script with wit, candor, passion, and power. Her journey is one of reverse-self-discovery not only as an Aspie but--more importantly--as a thoroughly modern woman. Available Summer 2018.



The autism job clubDay 9: The Autism Job Club by Michael Bernick and Richard Holden

The Autism Job Club is a groundbreaking book for bringing adults with autism and other neuro-diverse conditions into the work world.

The book has its basis in the autism job club that the authors have been part of in the San Francisco Bay Area, the job-creation and job-placement efforts the club has undertaken, and similar efforts throughout the United States.

The authors review the high unemployment rates among adults with autism and other neuro- diverse conditions more than two decades after the ADA. Bernick and Holden also outline and explain six strategies that, taken together, will reshape employment for adults with autism: the art of the autism job coach; the autism advantage in technology employment; autism employment and the internet economy; autism employment and the practical/craft economy; autism and extra-governmental job networks; autism and public service employment.

The Autism Job Club is a vital resource for adults with autism, their families, and advocates who are committed to neuro-diverse employment, not unemployment. But also speaks to a far broader audience interested in how to carve out a place for themselves or others in an increasingly competitive job world.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 10 Autism In Heels" »


Dr. Bob Sears on 1 in 36 Autism Rate

Ask_Dr_Sears_Trusted_Resource_For_ParentsFrom Pediatrician Dr. Bob Sears on the AskDrSears website:

The Centers for Disease Control just released their latest findings about autism:

  • In 2014 the rate of autism was 1 in 45 children
  • In 2015 it rose slightly to 1 in 43
  • In 2016, the number jumped up to 1 in 36 kids

For boys, the rate is 1 in 28. For girls, it’s 1 in 80.

The survey also found that the number of children diagnosed with any developmental disability increased from 1 in 17 kids to 1 in 14 – about 7% of all children.

It’s important to know that there are two ways in which the CDC researches autism rates. They originally began by gathering surveillance data on reported cases of autism from about 11 different states. They collected data on all 8 year old children who were diagnosed with autism, and extrapolated that to give a nationwide rate. That’s where the numbers 1 in 150, then 1 in 110, then 1 in 68 came from. The main drawback is that it took many years to research and report data this way, and the information is very old by the time we get it. For example, for kids born in 2004, the CDC had to wait until they were are 8 years old (2012), then take two years to gather the data on diagnosis rates, then publish it. So, we didn’t learn the rate of autism in these kids until 10 years after they are born.

Now the CDC has added a second method: the National Health Interview Survey. This nationwide parent survey tabulates health information on a variety of topics, and it gives us an immediate look at the rate of autism in kids now. And this is where these new numbers came from.

Continue reading "Dr. Bob Sears on 1 in 36 Autism Rate" »


Grist for the Mill for the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective

Deliverance painting
Teresa Elliot, “Deliverance”

 

Part 1

By Adriana Gamondes

F*ckyoulujah

The last words Age of Autism editor and founder Dan Olmsted communicated to me shortly before he died were on January 11th, 2017. We were discussing a few editing issues with the following series. What he said was “Don’t rush the fine wine.”

Dan was kind. At the time I resisted making a joke about the series being a “fine whine” because Dan had a sense of humor, but not when it came to grim and bleak topics. The series is about abandonment of the disabled, so if it’s fine wine, it’s a bitter vintage but a subject Dan fundamentally understood, which is something I understood about Dan. His interest wasn’t in well-covered stories but in neglected, silenced, untellable stories. It’s why, as a journalist, he took on an issue he was not personally obliged to because too often those more obliged will not. 

I’m convinced this contrast is one of the reasons for the high divorce rate among autism parents. In comparison to the strong bonds forged in the midst of shared conflict or the respect that’s inspired for those who walk the walk, less ride-or-die partners will seem that much more disappointing as well as less ride-or-die friends or family.

For better or worse, autism is a filter of the finest mesh. Even if a marriage survives the strain, other relationships may not. That’s been my family’s experience. My husband and I just had our 20th anniversary but there were a few empty chairs at the celebration.

There was a reason for it.  Around Easter, 2016, we learned that our parenting had come under attack from a few members of the extended family circle.  Yes, the controversy was about autism. The attack was off the wall and spectacularly unfair, the drama spread, sides squared off, the opposition’s enablers leapt in and our defenders landed in the line of fire. People who’d known each other most or all of their lives stopped speaking. When the smoke cleared, we were looking at real wreckage.  

The clichéd war terminology is deliberate. The holidays. Obligatory family interactions. Autism. Bullshit— that thing that pushes many affected families over the brink and ends up in studies that conclude autism parents have stress levels equivalent to combat soldiers

The stress of disability isn’t confined to immediate family either. It radiates.  In The Drown and the Saved, Holocaust survivor, political historian and scientist Primo Levi compared extreme stress to the North Pole, proximity to which can cause moral compasses to stutter. He added that this is particularly true in individuals who lack any solid political or philosophical armature.

Continue reading "Grist for the Mill for the Turning of Backs: When Family Defects from the Defective" »


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 9 The Autism Job Club

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.



The autism job clubDay 9: The Autism Job Club by Michael Bernick and Richard Holden

The Autism Job Club is a groundbreaking book for bringing adults with autism and other neuro-diverse conditions into the work world.

The book has its basis in the autism job club that the authors have been part of in the San Francisco Bay Area, the job-creation and job-placement efforts the club has undertaken, and similar efforts throughout the United States.

The authors review the high unemployment rates among adults with autism and other neuro- diverse conditions more than two decades after the ADA. Bernick and Holden also outline and explain six strategies that, taken together, will reshape employment for adults with autism: the art of the autism job coach; the autism advantage in technology employment; autism employment and the internet economy; autism employment and the practical/craft economy; autism and extra-governmental job networks; autism and public service employment.

The Autism Job Club is a vital resource for adults with autism, their families, and advocates who are committed to neuro-diverse employment, not unemployment. But also speaks to a far broader audience interested in how to carve out a place for themselves or others in an increasingly competitive job world.


An Unfortunate CoincidenceDay 8: An Unfortunate Coincidence by Julie Obradovic

In her poignant account, Julie Obradovic discusses her heart-rending struggle with her daughter’s autism and her subsequent quest for answers. She reveals the feelings of depression and helplessness brought on by the diagnosis and her initial inability to find help. Unwilling to give up, however, Obradovic began fighting, finding a treatment for her daughter and going on to campaign on behalf of others. An Unfortunate Coincidence is the result of this fight. The account takes its readers through the political, historical, and scientific developments behind the greatest medical controversy of our time, including:

The findings of the vaccine injury compensation program
Investigations of CDC fraud and the subsequent congressional hearings and findings
The identical symptoms of autism and mercury poisoning
Eyewitness reports of families and educators
The author’s struggle to present her point of view and the backlash intended to silence it

Ultimately, An Unfortunate Coincidence will ask the readers to take a closer look at the evidence uncovered by ten years of research and decide just how many coincidence claims they are willing to accept.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 9 The Autism Job Club" »


Whom Does the Childhood Vaccine Injury Act Protect?

WMP...Hint. It isn't the kids.

Note: We're happy to share this post from Deirdre Imus on the World Mercury Project website. Ms. Imus has been a steady presence of support and education in our community for many, many years.  We owe her a debt of gratitude.

By Deirdre Imus

The laws of a country are, generally, designed to protect its citizens. How this ideal is interpreted is a topic of debate in various circles, but its goal is lofty, if not quite perfect. Of specific necessity are laws aimed at protecting children, including child abuse, welfare, and labor laws. Of zero necessity, in my view, is the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA), which sounds like it has the best interests of this nation’s young citizens in mind, but actually serves a much different purpose.

Congress passed the NCVIA in 1986, and President Ronald Reagan signed it into law soon after. Taken at face value, the law has some admirable provisions: it established improved communication regarding vaccines across all Department of Health and Human Service agencies; required health care providers who administer vaccines to provide a vaccine information statement to the person getting the vaccine or his or her guardian; and established a committee from the Institute of Medicine to review the literature on vaccine reactions.

Dig a little deeper, however, and the NCVIA does less to protect patients than it does drug companies making vaccines. When Reagan signed the NCVIA, he also created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which allows anyone—children and adults—who have suffered an injury (or worse) following a vaccination to file a claim. To date, it has paid out nearly $4 billion in compensation since 1988, including the 2008 case of Hannah Poling, whose family received more than $1.5 million in the first-ever court award for a vaccine-autism claim.

Lifting liability

Read more here.

While this might sound like a good thing, one must read between the lines. The NCVIA also sets limits on the liability of vaccine manufacturers. They don’t have to pay a dime, in most cases, if someone is injured as a result of a product they make. Is there any other industry afforded such immunity? The pharmaceutical industry makes billions of dollars annually producing, promoting, and injecting a product that is known to injure people in myriad ways, and bears zero responsibility when a child—or an adult—suffers as a result.

The system is broken, and it’s why the founders of the nonprofit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), which worked with Congress in the 1980s to get the NCVIA passed, began calling in 2015 for its repeal. In a press release, NVIC co-founder Barbara Loe Fisher noted that the federal vaccine injury compensation program has become “a drug company stockholder’s dream and a parent’s worst nightmare.” In the same document, co-founder Kathi Williams argues that the provisions that their organization helped secure in the law are not being enforced, and most children getting government-recommended vaccines are denied vaccine injury compensation.


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 8 An Unfortunate Coincidence

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.


An Unfortunate CoincidenceDay 8: An Unfortunate Coincidence by Julie Obradovic

In her poignant account, Julie Obradovic discusses her heart-rending struggle with her daughter’s autism and her subsequent quest for answers. She reveals the feelings of depression and helplessness brought on by the diagnosis and her initial inability to find help. Unwilling to give up, however, Obradovic began fighting, finding a treatment for her daughter and going on to campaign on behalf of others. An Unfortunate Coincidence is the result of this fight. The account takes its readers through the political, historical, and scientific developments behind the greatest medical controversy of our time, including:

The findings of the vaccine injury compensation program
Investigations of CDC fraud and the subsequent congressional hearings and findings
The identical symptoms of autism and mercury poisoning
Eyewitness reports of families and educators
The author’s struggle to present her point of view and the backlash intended to silence it

Ultimately, An Unfortunate Coincidence will ask the readers to take a closer look at the evidence uncovered by ten years of research and decide just how many coincidence claims they are willing to accept.

Autism AdulthoodDay 7: Autism Adulthood: Insights and Creative Strategies for a Fulfilling Life―Second Edition by Susan Senator

One of the biggest fears of parents with children with autism is their looming adulthood and all that it entails. In this Second Edition of her lauded book Autism Adulthood, Susan Senator further tackles the challenges of adult life on the autism spectrum on the more severe end of the spectrum – those who cannot communicate for themselves, honestly discussing the complex decisions that await all parents and caregivers. To help parents find the guidance they need to provide fruitful lives for their autistic loved ones’ and the support they themselves need, Senator shares her own family’s personal story about her son, Nat, and his struggles and triumphs as an adult with severe autism.

Autism Adulthood
features interviews with parents, caregivers, researchers, and professionals. Each vignette reveals firsthand a family’s needs and goals―the circumstances, thought processes, and unique solutions. Sharing the wisdom that emerges from parents’ and self-advocates’ experiences, Senator adds her own observations and conclusions based on her long-term familiarity and understanding of autism. Told in Senator’s trademark warm, approachable style, Autism Adulthood, Second Edition paints a vivid and thought-provoking picture of many people grappling with grown-up, real-life autism. Senator’s is the only book of its kind, as real families share their stories and their creative solutions.

Environmental Causes of AutismDay 6: The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism By James Lyons-Weiler

The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism delves deep into the full body of past and current research to reveal how genetic predispositions and environmental factors can combine to produce the conditions autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

To make this groundbreaking volume, Dr. James Lyons-Weiler combed through the past fifty years of published research on autism, exploring subjects such as genetic variation, mechanisms of neurotoxicity of metals and pesticides, and the central and combined roles of each in causing autism.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 8 An Unfortunate Coincidence" »


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 7 Autism Adulthood

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

Autism AdulthoodDay 7: Autism Adulthood: Insights and Creative Strategies for a Fulfilling Life―Second Edition by Susan Senator

One of the biggest fears of parents with children with autism is their looming adulthood and all that it entails. In this Second Edition of her lauded book Autism Adulthood, Susan Senator further tackles the challenges of adult life on the autism spectrum on the more severe end of the spectrum – those who cannot communicate for themselves, honestly discussing the complex decisions that await all parents and caregivers. To help parents find the guidance they need to provide fruitful lives for their autistic loved ones’ and the support they themselves need, Senator shares her own family’s personal story about her son, Nat, and his struggles and triumphs as an adult with severe autism.

Autism Adulthood
features interviews with parents, caregivers, researchers, and professionals. Each vignette reveals firsthand a family’s needs and goals―the circumstances, thought processes, and unique solutions. Sharing the wisdom that emerges from parents’ and self-advocates’ experiences, Senator adds her own observations and conclusions based on her long-term familiarity and understanding of autism. Told in Senator’s trademark warm, approachable style, Autism Adulthood, Second Edition paints a vivid and thought-provoking picture of many people grappling with grown-up, real-life autism. Senator’s is the only book of its kind, as real families share their stories and their creative solutions.

Environmental Causes of AutismDay 6: The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism By James Lyons-Weiler

The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism delves deep into the full body of past and current research to reveal how genetic predispositions and environmental factors can combine to produce the conditions autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

To make this groundbreaking volume, Dr. James Lyons-Weiler combed through the past fifty years of published research on autism, exploring subjects such as genetic variation, mechanisms of neurotoxicity of metals and pesticides, and the central and combined roles of each in causing autism.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 7 Autism Adulthood" »


Age of Autism Matching Gift Event Success!

Thank you typeDear Friends: Thanks to everyone who donated in our November Matching Gift program. You generously gave $4510 which our donor is matching.  Frankly I'd like to sing his/her name to the world. But the gift is anonymous.

In our little corner of the world, that's a lot of thanks!

When Dan died, I had just taken over the day to day business management of the non-profit called Autism Age. I am Executive Director of this Connecticut based non-profit. I worried about whether or not we could continue as the nations first daily web newspaper of the autism epidemic. Dan's presence was a comfort to me. A rudder that kept us going full steam ahead. He was a friend. A mentor. Our leader. I miss him every single time I hit, "publish."  John Stone has been a steady source of support and guidance in our new iteration. Mark Blaxill and Jen Larson and our sponsors at Generation Rescue and Safeminds are our backbone. I so value their commitment and work. Brooke Potthast, board member and dear friend to Dan in DC has been an angel of support as we've navigated the changes - including that dreadful day our domain went "poof!" for a short time! There were so many loose threads to pull together so fast after Dan's death. I'm sharing this "inside baseball" with you not to generate sympathy, we each have our own share of day to day problems!  I want you to know that we are as committed as ever (and many think we should all be committed) to bringing you a community of information, news and support as our kids grow up. I think our work is more important than ever. We need to tell the old stories of vaccine injury and severe autism. We need to support families whose young children are just starting their journey.

If you can make a small donation, we'll welcome your effort. "Many a little makes a mickle."  Don't forget to send me your company's matching gift forms too.

Simply click AgeofAutism.com/donate.html to pay online. Or, if you prefer, you can mail a check made out to “Autism Age” to:

Autism Age

P.O. Box 110546

Trumbull, CT  06611

Thank you. Happy Holidays.

Kim

 


Autism Rocks the Casbah: Tehran Building Schools

Tehran
From Tehran Times:

“Shortage of funds and facilities is impeding establishment of autism schools unless we have enough students nationwide, but it is our policy to set up schools for autistic children in Tehran,” ILNA quoted the organization’s director Majid Qadami as saying on Saturday.

Qadami made the remarks over the 3rd International Autism Conference.

The organization is dealing with different groups of students [suffering different kinds of disabilities] and that the organization is firstly tasked with identifying and then providing services to these students, he added.

The Special Education Organization has 23,000 personnel providing services to some 137,000 children of whom 2,000 are suffering from autism disorder.

“Every year we examine some 1.4 million children to identify those with specials needs,” he noted.

Continue reading "Autism Rocks the Casbah: Tehran Building Schools" »


John Stone Presents Written Evidence to UK Parliament

Palace_of_Westminster _London_-_Feb_2007
By John Stone, UK Editor Age of Autism

This morning AoA posts its evidence, prepared by John Stone, to the House of Commons Select Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry into “fake news” which has been published by the committee. The evidence was published by the committee two weeks ago contemporaneously with farcical reports in the Daily Mirror that Vladimir Putin was using  the web to undermine the United Kingdom vaccine program. It was also submitted before it came to our attention that Andrew Witty, until earlier this year CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, had been appointed to head a new state body to fast track the approval of pharmaceutical products, one of a row of appointments effectively demolishing all remaining boundaries between the British state and the pharmaceutical industry (and GSK in particular).

data.parliament.uk

Age of Autism [1] is a United States based web journal founded in 2007 dealing with issues such as autism and vaccine injury, but also with wider issues to do with health and potential environmental harm – and ultimately of civil rights. Since 2008 I have published hundreds of carefully researched, fact based articles on the site [2], only two of which I have ever taken down -  and even in those cases not because of legal challenges. I write as a well-informed citizen and parent, not as a professional. The sources of my information come in the main from government websites, peer reviewed publications, industry websites and mainstream media - only often viewed from a different critical angle or simply just highlighted in a different context.

The view of Age of Autism is that having great bureaucracies working on behalf of governments and corporate interests deciding what is true – or even machines operating algorithms to decide it -  is a prospect little different from the world of George Orwell’s 1984. It is troubling in an era when the mainstream media cannot be relied upon to provide reliable information that attention and suspicion is being diverted to other sources on the internet.  The internet is presently a chaotic place, but that is infinitely better than the alternative which would be information controlled on behalf of governments and global corporations, which could never be held to account.

The present author remembers visiting a bookshop in East Berlin across Unter den Linden from the gigantic Soviet Embassy in the early 1980s: there were perhaps no more than ten different titles for sale. There were quite a lot of copies of each, although I do not know that anyone wanted to buy them. The East German population was then controlled by the notorious Stasi. Of course, we can have a pseudo pluralistic situation in which hundreds of different websites report from the same agencies but this kind of controlled reality is equally bogus and shallow. Unfortunately, no historical lesson seems to be learnt for very long.

It is, for example, not at all obvious that discussion of the effects of medical interventions should be controlled through government departments or industry public relations agencies such as Science Media Centre and Sense About Science. In 2005 a House of Commons Health Committee report on the influence of the pharmaceutical industry heavily criticised the Department of Health and the MHRA (the medicines licensing authority) for failing to keep any distance from industry [3], and twelve years later the situation has dramatically deteriorated, not least because the kind of over-sight provided by the 2005 Health Committee has never since been replicated.  Perhaps this present committee would do better to inquire into the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the media, which would at least be lot easier to define than “fake news”.

At issue in this instance is not only freedom of information, but things like informed medical consent, or even consent at all. The possibility of becoming a pharmaceutical dictatorship, is not far off – in some respects already with us. And along with forced medication comes the removal from the public domain of open debate, suppression of information about harms, and a captive market for an indefinitely expanding group of products which citizens then have to pay for through their taxes.

Continue reading "John Stone Presents Written Evidence to UK Parliament" »


JB Handley: Did British scientists just solve the autism puzzle?

Britian doorNOTE: We've excerpted this from JB Handley's Medium.com blog. 

Five clear, replicable, and related discoveries explaining how autism is triggered have formed an undeniably clear picture of autism’s causation, and possibly ways to alleviate the symptoms, too. Most of the research that has created this understanding has been published in the last 36 months, and largely from international scientists in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Israel, and China. The U.S. media? Silent.

STAFFORDSHIRE, England — Of course there’s great irony that scientists emanating from Great Britian may have provided a final piece of data explaining how, exactly, autism is being triggered in at least some children. Students of this debate know that in 1998 another British doctor — Dr. Andrew Wakefield — sounded an alarm based on a case series report he and twelve of his colleagues published describing a novel bowel condition in children with autism. In the case of Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues, they chose to disclose in their study that the majority of the parents of the children in their study had reported regression into autism after a single vaccine: the MMR.

Dr. Wakefield’s recommendation for how to deal with the regression into autism some parents saw after the MMR was pretty modest: he recommended the MMR vaccine be broken up into three separate shots. Wait until you hear what a different British scientist, this one the world’s leading expert on the neurotoxicity of aluminum, just said last week about children’s vaccines.

Read the full piece here.

 


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 6 The Environmental & Genetic Causes of Autism

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

Environmental Causes of AutismDay 6: The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism By James Lyons-Weiler

The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism delves deep into the full body of past and current research to reveal how genetic predispositions and environmental factors can combine to produce the conditions autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

To make this groundbreaking volume, Dr. James Lyons-Weiler combed through the past fifty years of published research on autism, exploring subjects such as genetic variation, mechanisms of neurotoxicity of metals and pesticides, and the central and combined roles of each in causing autism.

Lyons-Weiler provides a major overview of all aspects of the condition of autism, reviews changes in diagnoses and treatments, and explains how genetic information can be used to tailor effective treatments, and sometimes reversals, of the symptoms. He also presents practical forward-looking suggestions on how to design future studies to facilitate the discovery of biomarkers for autism risk and how to classify the full range of autism spectrum disorders.

Autism is considered one of the most mystifying conditions of our day, and alarmed scientists, doctors, politicians, and parents are desperately trying to understand why the condition is escalating. According to the CDC, rates in the United States have risen from an estimated one in two thousand children in 1980, to one in sixty-eight in 2012, and a new National Health Interview Survey shows a rate of one in forty-five. By the time you read this book, that number may have changed yet again.

While most autism researchers focus on either environmental or genetic causes of autism, Lyons-Weiler’s opus demonstrates that to fully understand the condition and to finally put its rate on the decrease, it is essential to pay attention to the science showing how the two classes of factors interact.


DenialDay 5: Denial by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Even as the autism rate soars and the cost to our nation climbs well into the billions, a dangerous new idea is taking hold: There simply is no autism epidemic.

The question is stark: Is autism ancient, a genetic variation that demands acceptance and celebration? Or is it new and disabling, triggered by something in the environment that is damaging more children every day?

Authors Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted believe autism is new, that the real rate is rising dramatically, and that those affected are injured and disabled, not merely “neurodiverse.” They call the refusal to acknowledge this reality Autism Epidemic Denial. This epidemic denial blocks the urgent need to confront and stop the epidemic and endangers our kids, our country, and our future.

The key to stopping the epidemic, they say, is to stop lying about its history and start asking "who profits?" People who deny that autism is new have self-interested motives, such as ending research that might pinpoint responsibility—and, most threateningly, liability for this man-made epidemic.

Using ground-breaking research, the authors definitively debunk best-selling claims that autism is nothing new—and nothing to worry about.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 6 The Environmental & Genetic Causes of Autism" »


Good Lord

Sunday thoughtsBy Cathy Jameson

My son’s vaccine injury has kept me from believing in the system.  It’s also kept me from being grateful for pharmaceutical companies, especially ones that cannot be held responsible for damages their products cause.  So when I heard that a pharmaceutical company listened to the people and created something that the people wanted - and that we were being asked to thank them, my interest was piqued.  It stayed piqued when I learned that a morally acceptable vaccine, a vaccine that did not contain aborted fetal cell lines, was now on the market for consumers. 

I’ve written about how certain ingredients found in some vaccines go against my beliefs as a Catholic.  Aborted fetal cell lines?  In vaccines?  Yes.  That revelation was one of the first things that made me begin to question vaccines my children were scheduled to receive.  At the time, I was faithful to the schedule and hadn’t planned on deviating from it.  I can’t recall now who told me about the cell lines, but the more I started to read about the process the more horrified I became. 

I still have print outs of what I’d started to look up.  I still have emails between friends and a local doctor who shared the same concern that I did.  These other parents and I knew that we couldn’t opt for those vaccines.  But what could we do?  Our kids’ pediatricians were quick to tell us our children needed them.  Schools were even quicker to tell us young parents that our children needed those vaccines for school entry (which I later learned was not entirely true).  Some parents were beginning to delay their kids’ shots and others quietly opted out completely.  I respected their decision, but I was the one mom who planned to continue to take her children to their well-child visits religiously.  The problem of how to stay on schedule became a bigger problem though.  Determined to not veer from it, I remember doing everything I could to find vaccines not created with those cell lines.  I even called other pediatrician offices in other towns to ask which manufacturers they used.  Everyone used the ones we Catholics should not be using.  I was at a crossroads: give my kids the shots that go against my morals, or consider opting out.  I hadn’t planned on opting out, but I eventually had to.  In hindsight, I want to thank the Lord for that! 

Continue reading "Good Lord" »


Khali Raymond: Author and Blogger Talks About His Asperger's.

Khali raymondNote: We're sometimes called to the carpet for not featuring the voices of people with autism on AofA.  "Nothing about us without us" is a phrase used within the self-advocacy community. We do not exclude on purpose.  I think many, maybe even most, of our readers' children have autism to a degree where writing about themselves is not possible. I was pleasantly surprised a couple of weeks ago to receive an email from Khali Raymond. He asked if we would publish his story. Please visit his site. If you're a teen or adult with autism reading this post, please, we encourage you to share your story. You do not have to agree with all of our opinions and positions at Age of Autism to write for us. We value and need your stories so that we can understand our own kids better. Please leave a kind comment for Khali - and thank him for his submission. Kim

By Khali Raymond

Living with Asperger's is not an easy feat. It never is. imagine yourself in a room full of people. All of those people are laughing and mingling. Meanwhile, you aren’t. You’re sitting there in the corner all alone, watching everyone make nice with each other. Nobody doesn’t even acknowledge that you’re there. You just sit there, crushed from the inside. You have trouble expressing yourself because you don’t know how to. Your fear of being rejected eats you up. Your fear or feeling inadequate to others eats you up. As you’re living with this disorder, those whom you’re around can’t understand your pain. You’re constantly feeling glum and angry. You feel as if this condition drags you into an abyss, an abyss that leads you to a point of no return.

I have this feeling. Growing up, I could never fit in with others. As a kid, I couldn’t look an adult in the eye. I never had the capacity to. There was just something about looking at another person that made me feel very uncomfortable. In social situations, my heart would pound very fast. I would tend to get nervous. I would always be the one that got left out because I couldn’t relate to the other children. Being bullied didn’t help curb my condition, it only worsened it. Every day, I would walk around and get laughed at. I would be humiliated every day. I would be made fun of because of the way I talked, walked, and looked. Imagine trying to answer a question in class and the kids would mock you. Every word you would say, they’d make this expression, trying to take the words from out of your mouth.

As I was around my family, they couldn’t relate to my condition either. I constantly sent them cries for help and they just rejected me. Nobody listened. This only made me feel even more depressed. The bullying in school got so bad that I nearly tried to kill myself at the age of eleven. I was going to leap from out of my bedroom window, but my mom stopped me in the process. I would use writing as my means to communicate. I loved to write. Whenever I was in class, I would be the first person to get up and share what I’ve written with the class. I impressed my teachers with my impeccable writing abilities. My creativity was amplified. There was nothing limiting it.

Continue reading "Khali Raymond: Author and Blogger Talks About His Asperger's." »


Violent Aggression and Autism: The Hidden Shame, Secret, Cover Up

Angry kidNote: Many AofA families have children whose autism includes severe aggression toward him/herself and others. For every pie in the sky feel good story, there are families openly swearing about the reality of autism under their roof. Or, in many instances, at their child's residential school, a placement made necessary by the violence. Each time The Good Doctor comes on TV, or Sheldon makes a funny comment, parents want to throw a dish at the screen to shatter the TV and the illusion that autism is a Swiss army knife of skills and gifts. Do our kids have skills and some sort of gifts? Honestly, only some. 

Below is a common story. Of love, exasperation, desperation and a plea for help. Families snap.  Mothers murder their kids. Fathers commit murder suicide. It's a horrible outcome for some who reach the end of their rope. We never condone killing our children with autism. At the same time, we can say that we understand the raw, visceral despair and fear that strikes - when our children strike us with ferocity. Autism and violence is an ugly secret. These children will not be able to live in group homes. They will not be able to hold even a volunteer or sheltered workshop job. Gone are the days of a day program populated by placid, cognitively disabled but socially able adults. Autism will devour current programs whole - and spit out the bones. Get real, America. GET REAL.

Atlantic CTV News

HALIFAX -- A heart-rending case involving a Halifax-area boy has triggered new calls for a national strategy to help families with children who can become violently aggressive because of severe autism.

The case of nine-year-old Callum Sutherland illustrates what happens when families can't get crisis assistance, according to Autism Canada and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance.

Carly Sutherland took the rare step last week of holding a news conference to plea for help with her sometimes violent son, who is due to be fully released from a confined hospital unit on Thursday.

Sutherland told reporters her son, and her family, are frightened by how they will cope.

Cynthia Carroll, the chairwoman of the alliance, said families across Canada are reporting more severe cases of aggressive behaviour, and a lack of help.

"As we continue to work in silos across the provinces and territories, the risk increases and everybody holds their breath that for each case that hits the media that it's not a fatal case," Carroll said.

Continue reading "Violent Aggression and Autism: The Hidden Shame, Secret, Cover Up" »


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 5 Denial by Olmsted and Blaxill

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

DenialDay 5: Denial by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

Even as the autism rate soars and the cost to our nation climbs well into the billions, a dangerous new idea is taking hold: There simply is no autism epidemic.

The question is stark: Is autism ancient, a genetic variation that demands acceptance and celebration? Or is it new and disabling, triggered by something in the environment that is damaging more children every day?

Authors Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted believe autism is new, that the real rate is rising dramatically, and that those affected are injured and disabled, not merely “neurodiverse.” They call the refusal to acknowledge this reality Autism Epidemic Denial. This epidemic denial blocks the urgent need to confront and stop the epidemic and endangers our kids, our country, and our future.

The key to stopping the epidemic, they say, is to stop lying about its history and start asking "who profits?" People who deny that autism is new have self-interested motives, such as ending research that might pinpoint responsibility—and, most threateningly, liability for this man-made epidemic.

Using ground-breaking research, the authors definitively debunk best-selling claims that autism is nothing new—and nothing to worry about.


Your SPED rights Day 4: Your Special Education Rights by Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson

The definitive guide for parents of children with disabilities is out. This book is authored by two special education experts and draws on decades of experience from the front lines of special education advocacy.


The authors, Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson, detail a strong, practical, and results oriented perspective that helps parents cut through the fog of special education to get the services their children deserve.

"Our bottom line is parents are often ineffective at advocating for their child because they don't know their rights," said Jennifer Laviano, co-author and special education attorney. "We see it time and again: The child doesn't get what he or she needs because the parents don't know what they don't know. This book looks to change that," Laviano added.
 
Your Special Education Rights demystifies the federal laws related to public school children with disabilities and explains how school districts often ignore or circumvent the law.

"We're passionate to pull the curtain back on the realities of special education - and tell parents the truths that school districts don't always disclose," said Julie Swanson, co-author and special education advocate, who's also the mother of a child with a disability. "Our message to parents is - plain and simple: Know your rights or run the risk of being taken advantage of," Swanson added.

Your Special Education Rights provides parents with vital information and specific guidance to address key challenges - including: How to respond to special education "urban legends" like your child is "too smart" for services; how to avoid "toothless" language in a special education plan; and overcoming discrimination and low expectations. The book also explains why now, more than ever before, parents must be vigilant to protect children's rights - and how recent Supreme Court case law and changes at the federal level impact children with disabilities.

Though Your Special Education Rights is for parents primarily, educators and administrators can also learn how difficult it can be for parents to understand the special education system, which hopefully helps schools and parents work more closely.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 5 Denial by Olmsted and Blaxill" »


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 4 Your Special Education Rights

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

Your SPED rights Day 4: Your Special Education Rights by Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson

The definitive guide for parents of children with disabilities is out. This book is authored by two special education experts and draws on decades of experience from the front lines of special education advocacy.


The authors, Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson, detail a strong, practical, and results oriented perspective that helps parents cut through the fog of special education to get the services their children deserve.

"Our bottom line is parents are often ineffective at advocating for their child because they don't know their rights," said Jennifer Laviano, co-author and special education attorney. "We see it time and again: The child doesn't get what he or she needs because the parents don't know what they don't know. This book looks to change that," Laviano added.
 
Your Special Education Rights demystifies the federal laws related to public school children with disabilities and explains how school districts often ignore or circumvent the law.

"We're passionate to pull the curtain back on the realities of special education - and tell parents the truths that school districts don't always disclose," said Julie Swanson, co-author and special education advocate, who's also the mother of a child with a disability. "Our message to parents is - plain and simple: Know your rights or run the risk of being taken advantage of," Swanson added.

Your Special Education Rights provides parents with vital information and specific guidance to address key challenges - including: How to respond to special education "urban legends" like your child is "too smart" for services; how to avoid "toothless" language in a special education plan; and overcoming discrimination and low expectations. The book also explains why now, more than ever before, parents must be vigilant to protect children's rights - and how recent Supreme Court case law and changes at the federal level impact children with disabilities.

Though Your Special Education Rights is for parents primarily, educators and administrators can also learn how difficult it can be for parents to understand the special education system, which hopefully helps schools and parents work more closely.


How to Prevent Autism-RGB for web Day 3: How To Prevent Autism by Dara Berger

The statistics are alarming and become more so every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, making it one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the United States. Further, the CDC estimates that parents with a child on the autism spectrum can have nearly a 20 percent chance of having a second child with autism.

In How to Prevent Autism, Dara Berger shares her personal journey with autism. She describes everything that went wrong with her son that led to an autism diagnosis and everything she did differently to prevent her daughter from suffering the same fate. She interviews eight well-known ASD experts--including doctors, nutritionists, nurses, and scientists--about the factors that have led to the growing epidemic of autism. Based on the best practices for preventing autism in children, each professional offers perspectives grounded in their own research and their patients’ improvements. The book covers every detail--from the importance of mothers’ cleaning out their bodies preconception, through common genetic mutations that may put children at risk, to the crucial role of nutrition in prevention.

All parents agree that every choice counts when it comes to the health of their children. As Dara Berger makes clear in this personal, informative, and authoritative book, the stakes could not be higher when it comes to autism.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 4 Your Special Education Rights" »


Immunity and Impunity: Corruption in the State‐Pharma Nexus

Crime sceneNOTE: Interesting look at the state-pharma connection from Australia - which is taking lessons from America.  The article examines corruption within the state‐corporate nexus as it relates to vaccines and the ‘pharmaindustry’; that is, the networks of industry, medical and political actors involved in their research, manufacturing, regulation and dissemination. It argues that the structure and conduct of these alliances operate as mechanisms of control, stymieing open debate and independent
inquiry around the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Paddy Rawlinson
Dap - Criminology And Policing, Humanitarian And Development Studies (ssap) Associate Professor In International Criminology, Criminology (ssap)
Western Sydney University, Australia

Critical criminology repeatedly has drawn attention to the state-corporate nexus as a site of corruption and other forms of criminality, a scenario exacerbated by the intensification of neoliberalism in areas such as health. The state-pharmaceutical relationship, which increasingly influences health policy, is no exception. That is especially so when pharmaceutical products such as vaccines, a burgeoning sector of the industry, are mandated in direct violation of the principle of informed consent. Such policies have provoked suspicion and dissent as critics question the integrity of the state-pharma alliance and its impact on vaccine safety. However, rather than encouraging open debate, draconian modes of governance have been implemented to repress and silence any form of criticism, thereby protecting the activities of the state and pharmaceutical industry from independent scrutiny. The article examines this relationship in the context of recent legislation in Australia to intensify its mandatory regime around vaccines. It argues that attempts to undermine freedom of speech, and to systematically excoriate those who criticise or dissent from mandatory vaccine programs, function as a corrupting process and, by extension, serve to provoke the notion that corruption does indeed exist within the state-pharma alliance.

Click here to download paper.


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 3 How to Prevent Autism

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

How to Prevent Autism-RGB for web Day 3: How To Prevent Autism by Dara Berger

The statistics are alarming and become more so every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, making it one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the United States. Further, the CDC estimates that parents with a child on the autism spectrum can have nearly a 20 percent chance of having a second child with autism.

In How to Prevent Autism, Dara Berger shares her personal journey with autism. She describes everything that went wrong with her son that led to an autism diagnosis and everything she did differently to prevent her daughter from suffering the same fate. She interviews eight well-known ASD experts--including doctors, nutritionists, nurses, and scientists--about the factors that have led to the growing epidemic of autism. Based on the best practices for preventing autism in children, each professional offers perspectives grounded in their own research and their patients’ improvements. The book covers every detail--from the importance of mothers’ cleaning out their bodies preconception, through common genetic mutations that may put children at risk, to the crucial role of nutrition in prevention.

All parents agree that every choice counts when it comes to the health of their children. As Dara Berger makes clear in this personal, informative, and authoritative book, the stakes could not be higher when it comes to autism.

Day 2: Vaccines Richard Moskowitz Vaccines A Reappraisal by Dr. Richard Moskowitz

Drawing on fifty years of experience caring for children and adults, Dr. Moskowitz examines vaccines and our current policy regarding them. Weaving together a tapestry of observed facts, clinical and basic science research, news reports from the media, and actual cases from his own practice, he offers a systematic review of the subject as a whole. He provides scientific evidence for his clinical impression that the vaccination process, by its very nature, imposes substantial risks of disease, injury, and death that have been persistently denied and covered up by manufacturers, the CDC, and the coterie of doctors who speak for it.

Continue reading "The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 3 How to Prevent Autism" »


Paradoxes for Heidi Larson: The Vaccine Confidence Lady

Dr.-Heidi-Larson-we-need-to-build-confidence-1017x469
By John Stone

In an interview for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine website, Heidi Larson, founder of the Vaccine Confidence Project housed at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:

Yes, there are potential risks—there will always be potential risks with any medical treatment. And we don’t talk enough about that.

Heidi, it is funny you should say that, because no one is stopping you from talking about it. For the rest of us there are people like you trying to stop us. For instance, Seth Berkley – director of GAVI – back in June was calling for so-called anti-vaxxers to be banned from social media. Now, I am sure you would not dissent from viewpoint that an anti-vaxxer is a blanket label for anyone at all who questions the vaccine program, its safety, the wider project of the vaccine lobby. Meanwhile, the program just expands – vaccines for diseases which may either not be mostly very serious, diseases which may be more serious but which you are relatively unlikely to get. But administered in gigantic clumps to infants who are increasingly diagnosed with developmental disabilities.

And people like us – who are often people who have experienced the harms of vaccines – are really just the people you should be keen to listen to, instead of treating us like scientific specimens, or the objects of loathing to be wiped out as voices on the web. You cannot have a conversation without having a conversation, you cannot put yourself up as some kind of honest broker when what you are really doing is just trying to annihilate dissent.

Continue reading "Paradoxes for Heidi Larson: The Vaccine Confidence Lady" »


The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 2 Vaccines A Reappraisal

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

Day 2: Vaccines Richard Moskowitz Vaccines A Reappraisal by Dr. Richard Moskowitz

Drawing on fifty years of experience caring for children and adults, Dr. Moskowitz examines vaccines and our current policy regarding them. Weaving together a tapestry of observed facts, clinical and basic science research, news reports from the media, and actual cases from his own practice, he offers a systematic review of the subject as a whole. He provides scientific evidence for his clinical impression that the vaccination process, by its very nature, imposes substantial risks of disease, injury, and death that have been persistently denied and covered up by manufacturers, the CDC, and the coterie of doctors who speak for it.

With the aim of acknowledging these risks, taking them seriously, understanding them more holistically, and ultimately assessing them on a deeper level, he proposes a nationwide debate based on objective scientific research, including what we already know and what still needs to be investigated in the future. He argues that with no serious public health emergency to justify them, requiring vaccines of everyone deprives us all of genuinely informed consent, and prevents parents from making health-care decisions for our children, basic human rights that we still profess to hold dear.

For the present, given the legitimate controversy surrounding the mandates, he proposes that most vaccines simply be made optional and that further research into their risks and benefits be conducted by an independent agency in the public interest, untainted by industry funding, CDC sponsorship, and the quasi-religious sanctimony that is widely invoked on their behalf.

Cooking with leoDay 1: Cooking with Leo by Erica Daniels.

This heartfelt cookbook tells the story of a mother desperate to heal and connect with her hard-to-reach, severely autistic son, Leo, through the most vital everyday activity—cooking.

For many years, Erica Daniels had been out to find a successful dietary intervention for eleven-year-old Leo, who suffers from significant food allergies, gastrointestinal disease and autism. Through trial and error in her own kitchen, she finally hit her gastronomic stride of preparing nourishing meals for her entire family without gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, additives, or GMOS—with Leo by her side.

Part cookbook and part love story, Cooking with Leo takes you into the real life messy kitchen of a family affected by autism and food allergies. You will laugh and cry along with Erica and Leo as they cook, create, dance, act silly, and, most importantly, bond. A family-inspired collection of over 60 allergen-free and autism diet–friendly recipes to be prepared and shared together by your whole family, you will make meaningful connections with your child and nurture their passion for cooking with nutritious recipes.


Grim News from CDC as Developmental Disabilities continue to Rise

Lost boyThere wasn't much (any?) fanfare on the local or national news about the grim announcement from America's CDC: NCHS Data Brief ■ No. 291 ■ November 2017 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics Estimated Prevalence of Children With Diagnosed Developmental Disabilities in the United States, 2014–2016

Disability Scoop reports: An increasing number of American children have developmental disabilities, the federal government says, even as autism and intellectual disability rates remain largely steady. Between 2014 and 2016, the prevalence of developmental disabilities among kids ages 3 to 17 increased from 5.76 percent to 6.99 percent, according to figures released Wednesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rise stems from an uptick in children diagnosed with a developmental delay other than autism or intellectual disability, the federal agency said.

Take a look at the statistics and charts in the CDC report - the prognosis for males is poor as disabilities are on the rise faster for boys than girls.  If you're a teacher, coach, therapist or any professional who works with kids, what are you seeing in your field? Are the boys less able to perform, function, succeed? What about the girls? I know from my experience teaching karate, the girls overall are more prepared to learn, better able to focus and can process commands and make their bodies do what we ask faster. Choosing left or right arm or leg comes quicker. Making adjustments is easier. Behavior is superior.

The ghost of America's future is rattling the chains. The  media isn't paying attention.



The 12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing Day 1 Cooking With Leo

12 daysWe'd like to express our gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York City. Skyhorse is one of the fastest growing independent publishers in America and one of the few to tackle the toughest, most controversial topics in health and autism. For the next 12 days, we'll be creating a list of books that we hope will interest you. Some will be very familiar, like those from Dan, Mark and me (Kim) and others we hope will be new sources of information and stories to help you navigate your family's autism journey.

Cooking with leoDay 1: Cooking with Leo by Erica Daniels.

This heartfelt cookbook tells the story of a mother desperate to heal and connect with her hard-to-reach, severely autistic son, Leo, through the most vital everyday activity—cooking.

For many years, Erica Daniels had been out to find a successful dietary intervention for eleven-year-old Leo, who suffers from significant food allergies, gastrointestinal disease and autism. Through trial and error in her own kitchen, she finally hit her gastronomic stride of preparing nourishing meals for her entire family without gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, additives, or GMOS—with Leo by her side.

Part cookbook and part love story, Cooking with Leo takes you into the real life messy kitchen of a family affected by autism and food allergies. You will laugh and cry along with Erica and Leo as they cook, create, dance, act silly, and, most importantly, bond. A family-inspired collection of over 60 allergen-free and autism diet–friendly recipes to be prepared and shared together by your whole family, you will make meaningful connections with your child and nurture their passion for cooking with nutritious recipes.


Sabotage

Talk to meBy Cathy Jameson

Ronan started speech therapy again.  We’d ditched it years ago after progress had plateaued.  That, and the onset of major transition issues Ronan had going into and out of the building, prevented him from gaining anything useful from his sessions.  He would get so frustrated.  His therapists and I would, too.  We all needed a break.  That break lasted over 2 years.  When I learned that a center we got to for other services was adding speech therapy, I thought it was time to explore it again.  Ronan’s six weeks into it now and is responding well. 

Since Ronan lost his voice post vaccination, I have been hell-bent on bringing it back.  He’s retained vocalizations, but the ability to say clear, concise words has never returned.  Before I got my hopes up too high this time going into speech therapy, I reminded myself it was actually Speech and Language Therapy.  It wasn’t just speech that he’d be working on.  He and his new therapists would be working on language skills as well. 

Language includes the study of what words mean, how to make new words, and how to use words together.  Ronan has that down pat but in a different form – words in print.  Ronan can identify words.  He can point to the sentence I’ve just read aloud.  He can type.  He can maneuver a computer keyboard and a tee-tiny keyboard on a small cell phone.  His sentence structure, syntax and punctuation skills are still rudimentary, but his message is always clear.  Just today, he typed (in a series of prompts) “Lock door ipad” on his voice output device indicating that he wanted me to open the door.  The door was closed.  Behind it was his iPad.  It needed to charge.  If he saw the iPad, he’d take it as soon as he saw that it had 1% battery power.  Since he was hoping to watch some Youtube videos, I wanted to charge it a little bit longer.  Ronan didn’t want to wait, but he did after I wrote my response, “The iPad is charging.  Play something else instead, please.”  Easily, I could’ve said that, but lately, he’s responding to directions and requests better when they are written. 

Ronan screens

After Ronan lost his voice, Ronan’s speech did not quickly come back like I’d always hoped and prayed that it would.  It still hasn’t.  So he found other ways to create meaningful communication opportunities with us.  Our new speech therapist saw that during the initial evaluation and was on the same page we were wanting to further develop those opportunities, especially with the voice output device.  At least I thought she was on board until she asked me to sabotage Ronan. 

Sabotage? 

Hearing that word didn’t conjure up a warm, fuzzy feeling.  I thought the exact opposite.  Sabotage was what an overbearing, oppressive tormentor uses on its victims.  And this is the approach this new gal wanted to use with my kid?  What an awful suggestion! 

Continue reading "Sabotage" »


It's Time to Believe Autism Mothers Too

Our turnBy Kim Rossi

Like everyone in America, I've been watching the sexual harassment scandal grow ever wider from politicians to actors and directors and now to include media stalwarts Matt Lauer of NBC and Charlie Rose, darling of PBS. Matt Lauer is said to have had a lock button installed under his desk so he could lock a door on a woman without her knowing it, and perhaps to avoid standing up and exposing his, er interest. (Paging Judy Blume!)  In autism we calling locking someone into a room a restraint. Matt called it privacy, I suppose.

At what point will politicians and the media start listening to mothers of autistic children who have been screaming, some for decades, that a vaccine caused their child's autism? When do we get to move from the "crazy, histrionic, too stupid to understand real science blaming mothers" category to the "holy crap, these women (and their kids) have been living a nightmare and we made it worse"?  When do pains in the ass who dare to threaten commerce and sacred cows become legitimate citizens with a message of dire discrimination and trauma? We need our turn.

I'm looking forward to our day of reckoning.  And if you're a female looking for a job in Hollywood or the media, today is a good day to apply. I wish my almost 23 year old and 22 year old vaccine injured daughters could take advantage of this female friendly climate.

Kim Rossi is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.


1 in 36: ASD Rate Set a New Record High in 2016

Breaking news

By Mark Blaxill

The National Health Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released its latest prevalence rate for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in American children this Wednesday. Their “data brief”, which is based on information gathered in the National Health Information Survey (NHIS), reported an ASD rate for 2016 of 2.76%, or 1 in 36 American children (1).

This is the highest rate ever recorded in a national survey of children in the United States and was an increase from the rate of 1 in 45 children (or 2.24%) reported in the 2014 NHIS survey (2). The ASD information reported in these surveys includes children between the ages of 3 and 17 years of age and any diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder, including Asperger’s syndrome.

This startling new peak received virtually no media coverage and was downplayed by the NCHS, whose headline finding was that--despite setting a new American record with a 1 in 36 ASD rate: “There was not a statistically significant change in the prevalence of children ever diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder from 2014 to 2016.” (1)

Yet this new 2016 rate is a sharp increase from a highly similar 2007 report, the first year in which an NCHS survey included the question, “Has a doctor or health professional ever told you that [sample child] had Autism, Asperger’s disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, or autism spectrum disorder?” The 2007 report, also measuring the rate for 3-17 year-old children, reported an autism rate of 1.1%, or 1 in 91 American children (3).

Slide1

The NCHS, like the CDC a department within the Department of Health and Human Services, follows a different methodology in the NHIS than the approach used by the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Network (ADDM), which last reported an autism rate of 1 in 68 American children for 8-year-olds born in 2004 (4). The ADDM network’s estimates likely include fewer children with Asperger’s (only about 10% of the ADDM cases have an Asperger’s diagnosis), which may explain why NHIS ASD rates have been generally higher than ADDM rates.

Continue reading "1 in 36: ASD Rate Set a New Record High in 2016" »


ABC News Report Possible 90% Flu Shot Fail Rate in 2018

FAIL-BUZZER-350x233Note: Good grief. The spin here is ridiculous. Even if you are completely pro vaccination, this report has got to make you pause before your roll up your sleeve.   Can you think of another product outside of maybe a cancer drug, where 10% efficacy is not only acceptable, but the product is still recommended? If the flu is so deadly, as Public Health officials warn, why aren't they screaming that we need a 90% effective flu vaccine? Nope. They just tell the public the vaccine is failing, but hey, go ahead and get it anyway. Why not.  "It's better than 0%." Is it?

From ABC News

The upcoming flu season may be a particularly severe one in the U.S., some medical experts warned today, citing preliminary data from Australia, where the flu season is waning.

The flu vaccine used this year in Australia — which has the same composition as the vaccine used in the U.S. — was only 10 percent effective, according to a preliminary estimate, at preventing the strain of the virus that predominantly circulated during the country's flu season,an international team of medical experts wrote in a perspective published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

"However imperfect, though, current influenza vaccines remain a valuable public health tool, and it is always better to get vaccinated than not to get vaccinated," the team emphasized...


World Mercury Project: Hiding Behind Genetics to Avoid Culpability for Environmental Causes of Autism

WMPNote: Thank you to Robert Kennedy Jr. and the World Mercury Team for this article.  Please bookmark their site.

By The World Mercury Project Team

Genetics is the darling of the biomedical research industry. For diseases ranging from cancer to skin disorders, investigators have been busily at work for decades trying to identify the conditions’ underlying genetic causes. However, these same investigators—and the reporters who communicate their findings to the public—are often strangely incurious about the role of environmental toxins as triggers of disease.

A story about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) published in October 2017 by the news website Vox furnishes an example of this genetics-as-the-explanation-for-everything perspective. Vox senior health correspondent Julia Belluz (a self-described “evidence enthusiast”) interviewed a small sample of five reportedly “cutting-edge” autism researchers, all of whom focus on autism genetics. Given the lack of disciplinary diversity in her selective sample, Belluz’s conclusion that genetic factors are the most “well-established” and “promising” explanation for autism comes as no surprise.

Two of Belluz’s five interlocutors (geneticist Stephan Sanders and psychiatrist Lauren Weiss) are researchers at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), but neither one mentions a rigorous population-based study of 192 twin pairs published in the Archives of General Psychiatry by UCSF researcher Neil Risch and colleagues in 2011. Risch is the director of UCSF’s Institute for Human Genetics. The study’s results indicated that “environmental factors have been underestimated, and genetics overestimated, for their roles in autism-spectrum disorders.” Another study that involved families with two ASD-affected siblings (published in Nature Medicine in 2015) likewise highlighted “substantial genetic heterogeneity” in ASD, again suggesting that environmental or other shared risk factors trump heritability.

…environmental factors have been underestimated, and genetics overestimated, for their roles in autism-spectrum disorders.

To be fair, Belluz’s discussion gives a nod to a “genes plus environment” perspective on autism causation by acknowledging that an “underlying genetic predisposition or mutation” generally needs to “collide” with environmental triggers in order to give rise to ASD. However, Belluz characterizes the research on environmental risk factors for ASD as “blurry,” “murky,” “mixed” and not “robust.” Belluz also cites a study that, according to her, views shared genetic variants in families as “probably more important” as an autism trigger than shared environments. However, the article actually emphasizes gene-environment interactions and concludes that “the amount of evidence supporting a significant contribution of environmental factors to autism risk” makes it clear that “the search for environmental factors should be reinforced.”

A pivotal paper published in early 2017 goes a step further, asserting that “The term ‘heritability,’ as it is used today in human behavioral genetics, is one of the most misleading in the history of science.” The paper’s two authors argue against the “deeply flawed” assumption that “genetic influences…can be separated from their environmental context.” According to these authors, “contemporary biology has demonstrated beyond any doubt that traits are produced by interactions between genetic and nongenetic factors that occur in each moment of developmental time. That is to say, there are simply no such things as gene-only influences [emphasis in original].” Stated another way, the paper suggests that “it makes little sense to attempt to quantify the relative importance of two different factors that interact with one another [dynamically] to produce an outcome.”

Read the full article at World Mercury Project here.