The Neurodiversity Movement Should Acknowledge Autism as a Medical Disability
Best of: My Hanging Offense

Challenge Accepted! College Application Essay from an Autism Sibling.

Strong womenBy Fiona Jameson

This was one of the essays I wrote for a college application.  During the application process, I was asked to answer a prompt:  How do you think you will be challenged in the STEM field?


I find myself constantly challenged when it comes to being labeled as someone who’s against science.  If you really knew me, you would know that that does not describe me at all. 

As I grew up watching my brother regress from being a typical child to losing skills and now being completely dependent on my family.  My outlook on what we were told to believe, that the greater good always outweighs individualized patient care, had obviously changed the sicker my brother got.  While my belief does not correspond with the beliefs of society, it is what I know to be true. Over the years, I’ve had to defend my views, including the fact that my brother’s childhood vaccines affected his development.  I was able to do that in several classes and even had the opportunity to present them in a project at the national level.  I may not have changed anyone’s mind, but if there is anything that I have learned about my brother’s experience, it’s that I should speak up when given the chance. 

While there is still much to discover in the STEM fields, to include why some people are more affected by pharmaceuticals and their known side effects than others, we must never assume that the science is settled.  How can it be?  Scientists strive daily to know more about natural phenomenon and how it relates to the world.  I am fascinated by that and am excited to continue to pursue my love for science and learning at the next level.  


Fiona was accepted into several schools and was offered a spot in two university’s Honors Programs.  She plans on pursing a Biology major and will follow a pre-Med track. 




Fiona! Bears could not be more proud of you!


Fiona--I know Ronan knows his sister loves him. Someday I hope he will know just how brave she is. Ronan has indeed help shape your character.


Congrats to Fiona that her hard work paid off! Your brother is so lucky to have such a smart, independent thinking big sister looking out for him (and all kids with regressive autism). I hope you will do great things in the field of Biology and Medicine.


They are pretty strict about getting your Hep B in these medical programs.
Even with a biology degree, my daughter did not get in to the nursing program right away. She finally did get into a very good accelerated program close to where we moved, again. It was back close to home at her parents and grandparents alma mater . She took all three of the Hep B vaccines, because each step of the program, they were requiring proof she was vaccinated , and if she did not; we felt that they would kick her out.

It was about this time that I begin to realize that her childhood Kawasaki disease had been brought on by her fourth DPT vaccine seven weeks after receiving it. That Kawasaki disease came in many forms and not all present with a constant and prolonged high fever, or mottled skin. It was a time of realizing that my daughter had also been profoundly affected with the DPT vaccine and here we were again back for more.

A week after her third Hep B vaccine, she came down the stairs and said she had always felt stiff ;she moved like an old woman after Kawasakis got done with her at 2 years old. She could barely turn her head but this was far worse.

She had some test done, she had high ANAs, she had high rates that indicated inflammation. We had regular visits to the Immunologists and Rheumatologists ( I wonder if we could put on the ends of ologists another Latin term meaning Fraud, ignorant, no nothing, take your money for nothin in return, quack).

Congratulations about getting in, and when it comes time prepare for what maybe out of your hands.

Sharon D Kistler

Congratulations, Fiona! We need both masculine and feminine energies to be in balance! And we need to be courageous enough to speak up.

I do hope as you pursue your pre-med track that you become educated about functional medicine (watch/read Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Kelly Brogan, Chris Kresser, James Maskell and the like) and the kind of healing that spirituality (watch/read Dr. Joe Dispenza and Greg Braden and the like) can offer. The Conventional medicine system has long been broken. Your calling is so much stronger because you already experienced that first-hand in your family. Blessings and good luck!

Teresa Conrick


What a great essay! You are awesome to defend your brother and defend both your views as his sister, but also the science that is being ignored. Best of luck and please keep posting! If you need any research about autism I would be glad to help. How proud your family must be as you blaze this trail.


gerardo martinez

Blessings to you and your family. I pray that you become an M.D. We need more young doctors with kind hearts and an abundance of common Sense. Best wishes!


Hearty congratulations, Ms. Jameson!


It's called "pharmaco-genetics", and it's less than 20 years old. A new-born baby, in SCIENCE terms.
Some people are "slow metabolizers", some are "fast metabolizers", and most are somewhere in between. This is the result of genetic-determined protein and enzyme processes in the human body.
And then there's the equally NEW SCIENCE of the gut microbiome, and the fact that serotonin, and other "brain" chemicals, are mostly made by neurons in the gut. It's no coincidence that MOST persons with autism also have serious immuno, intestinal, and OTHER health conditions....
Autism involves the WHOLE COMPLEX human physical, chemical, and BIOTIC/BIOME system....
I say, NAMASTE, to Kavita Ramdas.
Her quote, above, is so 100% RIGHT-ON CORRECT and INSPIRATIONAL, that I'm literally getting teary-eyed....
KEEP UP the GOOD WORK, my friends!....

Hans Litten

Skoufis - Liar Thief Scoundrel - Polio nonsense

About a dozen so-called anti-vaxxers and their children protested outside a public forum held by New York state Senator James Skoufis Tuesday. They were there in opposition to the Democratic senator’s vote in favor of repealing a religious exemption from vaccinations, which became law in June.

“Will it take the return of polio before we start taking this more seriously?” Skoufis asks.

“There is the return of polio. They changed the name of it,” Buglino says. “They changed the name of polio.”

“Vaccines only work when all or most of people are immunized. And so that’s why I do believe we needed to do away with the religious exemption,” Skoufis says, “If there… We still have the medical exemption in New York state, and so…”

“It’s impossible to get,” Buglino says. “It’s impossible to get.”

Kathleen Buglino of Chester has three children and her middle one, a son, has autoimmune issues. Buglino says neither her pediatrician nor specialist will sign a medical exemption, especially after the religious repeal became law in June.

“It was tough enough beforehand,” says Buglino. “It’s even tougher now.”

Buglino and her kids carried posters, including a certificate for her middle son’s attendance record.

“Healthy children, all children have a right to school. They have a right to an education, a public education,” Buglino says. “My children have been healthy. I have a child who got 100 percent attendance this past year, but yet he’s being considered a health risk to the school. How is this possible? Because I won’t vaccinate him?”

Buglino says she helped organize Tuesday’s turnout, in part via the New York Alliance for Vaccine Rights. The protestors stood with signs outside Betty’s Country Kitchen in Washingtonville, Orange County, where the Democrat was holding the first of his “Skoufis on Your Street” forums in his 39th District. First, he stopped on the sidewalk to speak with the protestors, and said they were welcome to attend his forum.

“I’m sorry that there are some individuals and a handful of communities, quite frankly, in New York state that continue to believe this junk science that exists,” Skoufis says. “But society demands that government step in and protect the public’s health, and that’s what we did when we eliminated the religious exemption. This was good public policy. I was proud to support it.”

Buglino responds to Skoufis’ having stopped to speak with her and the other protestors.

“I was surprised that he actually stood here as long as we did. I really did expect him to kind of push through,” says Buglino. “So I was glad that he stood and he listened. I do believe that he has a lot to learn about our side of the issue.”

“What religious beliefs are valid according to the Constitution? Which ones did the Constitution say are valid? Buglino asks.

“Would you like me to speak or do you want to just yell at me the whole time,” Skoufis says.

“I’m not yelling at you,” says Buglino.

“Please do,” says another.

“Ok. So let’s, let me try and address a few of your points here. Number one, when we talk about the Constitution... I’m going to address this right now,” Skoufis says. “California repealed the religious exemption a number of years ago. I don’t get to decide what’s constitutional. You don’t get to decide what’s constitutional. The courts get to decide what’s constitutional.”

And the courts upheld California’s repeal. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the repeal legislation in mid-June, following a measles outbreak in parts of New York City and Rockland County that began in the fall of 2018. Skoufis’ district represents a portion of Rockland and Ulster Counties, and most of Orange County, where there are more than 35 measles cases.

“There’s no religion that takes exception to vaccines. So there, we had this on the books, this religious exemption, for many years, but Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, there is no organized religion that has a problem with vaccines, and so why did we have a religious exemption?” Skoufis says. “The fact is that many, too many people, were hiding behind this religious exemption and using it as cover for their conspiracy theories, that this vaccine somehow causes autism which, all of that has been debunked time after time.”

Again Buglino:

“I have to home school. I’m a public school teacher,” says Buglino. “I’m going to go to school all day long and teach in Rockland County to come home and home school my children at night and on the weekends.”

Her rising seventh-, sixth- and third-grade children were attending Monroe-Woodbury schools. The mothers asked to meet with Skoufis another time on the issue, and Skoufis said he would. Susan Blakeney agrees with Skoufis’ vote. The Blooming Grove resident, now retired, worked for a pharmaceutical company for 30 years, where her first program was working on the oral polio vaccine.

“Vaccines are known for their herd immunity, and it’s, we need the majority of the population to be protected, and then everybody will be protected because it doesn’t allow the virus to come in and infect people,” Blakeney says. “So, anti-vaccine protestors, they can do what they want, but they shouldn’t be allowed in public, especially in public schools, and public daycare, or anything, anything in public. They should stay to themselves.”

Attorneys Robert F. Kennedy Jr., with Children’s Health Defense, and Goshen, Orange County-based Michael Sussman filed a lawsuit July 10 in New York State Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the repeal of the religious exemption to vaccination, on behalf of 55 families. The mothers who spoke with WAMC say they are not part of that suit, but were asked and intend to file affidavits in support.

The anti-vaxxers say they will organize groups to turn out at all of Skoufis’ public forums and will do the same at events of other area state lawmakers who voted to repeal the religious exemption from vaccines. As of July 17, Rockland had 282 conf

Gary Ogden

Bravo, Fiona! Those who say "the science is settled" about any topic clearly have no idea, on a fundamental level, of the nature of science. True inquiry involves the examination and evaluation of evidence, and evidence is never complete. The scientific process can, and should, falsify hypotheses which are not true, but can never offer absolute proof that an hypothesis is true. In a court of law, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the accepted standard, but not in science. The preponderance of evidence can raise our level of confidence that a scientific hypothesis is likely true, but it can never be irrefutable. The statement that "vaccines don't cause autism" is, thus, "anti-science." It is a political statement. And it is an hypothesis which has been falsified. In Karl Popper's terms, it has seen numerous black swans. I applaud your intention to go into the biological sciences. Fascinating field. From your life experience, you have the appropriate degree of skepticism to become an honorable scientist. You will have to be tough, as many of our universities have become so politically charged. Few areas in life are more "anti science" than politics.

Aimee Doyle

Fiona - lovely short essay. Congratulations on your college acceptances. I know you'll do incredibly well. Have enjoyed your Mom's columns over the years, and I look forward to seeing more of yours.

Kudos on your courage to stand your ground and present your research to teachers and classmates and even a national audience. Don't be discouraged if you didn't change minds. Don't be discouraged if people disagree. It's a slow process. Took a long time for me to come around to the idea that vaccines damaged my son. You planted seeds. That matters.

Thinking too - on the whole "greater good" idea - remember, it's not at all clear that vaccines really do act for the "greater good." Lots of sick and compromised kids out there.

All the best to you.

Hans Litten

I think this is the winning strategy.
Going after their very weakest point

The Original Someone #1

Now THAT gives me hope! Bravery and truth sans insidious rejection and condemnation. Thank you for sharing your wonderful college essay with us, Fiona, and congratulations on your acceptances at several universities and honors programs, as well. God bless you, too!

Bob Moffit

You go girl .. God speed in your pursuit of TRUTH

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