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A Final Post: Autism and the Long, Long, Bumpy Ride

Thank you typeNote:  Join us in wishing Teresa Conrick well as she ends her time with Age of Autism.  When Dan and Mark launched AofA 13 years ago next month, Teresa became the go-to for Dan's research.  Her dedication to her daughter Meghan has always shone in every post she wrote for us. For you. We shared the bond of raising a daughter(s) with severe autism. At one time, we were fairly rare. No more. Autism has ravaged a generation and a half. Our daughters in are in their 20s. The Age of Autism rages on, even as our small rebel alliance is now, smaller. 

I think we all feel a shift in our community. Some of it is the boot on our necks of censorship. Some is the natural progression of organizations and careers, such as we might call them. Some of it is sheer exhaustion.  Voices and messages are changing.  But who will carry the torch for the autism community that we have fought to keep in heart and minds for so many years? This group of youngsters who are now adults careening toward that day we all fear - when we leave them behind?   We have much to consider about our future and the message we must continue to share. This IS the Age of Autism, after all.

Thank you, Teresa. 

###

TC kannerDear AoA Readers,

I have been on a long pause here on AoA and after much thinking and deliberation, I have decided to retire.  I started writing for AoA about twelve years ago, in fact here is my first post from February 21st, 2008: AND THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO…

I am no wimp.  I have had my share of hard days but have learned to survive, to take it on the chin.  I am no fan of the lemons into lemonade propaganda, but instead investigate those damn lemons and find out if they could help or hurt. “

And that’s what I have done for the past twelve years and longer, investigating the medical ramifications of autism.  I feel now though, that I no longer am able to report on medical, autism research as the political landscape and Covid - 19 landscape have become a frenzy of impediments. I do wish good health to everyone and their children.  Much of the medical research I have been following is on hiatus due to Covid-19.  It is disappointing and I hope that will change as the months evolve.

I also want to share some current and past thoughts.  From the past that intertwines with the present, my favorite piece here on AoA and what inspired me in many ways.  From Dan Olmsted in 2007, a hero to me and many others: 

Dan Obit Headshot

As many of you know, I wrote the Age of Autism column for United Press International for two years, and I became convinced by my own reporting that autism's origins are recent -- triggered by something new in the environment -- and that treatment can work. I located the very first case ever described in the medical literature, Donald T., and heard from his brother the remarkable story of Donald's recovery from severe autism when gold salts were used to treat his juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease. To state the obvious: The very first case of autism recovered with biomedical treatment, but the doctors ignored it because they were so busy blaming parents. Now they don't blame parents for causing autism, they just blame them for trying to do anything about it….The Age of Autism will be wide-open and transparent in its reporting and commentary on causes and treatments; I am beholden to no individual, organization or fixed point of view. My commitment is to in-depth reporting. ...We'll follow the truth wherever it leads, and we hope you'll come along with us and, if you can manage it, donate to The Age of Autism and help us pursue this story. Fasten your seat belts – it's going to be a bumpy ride.



Bumpy ride.

Important words then and now. A medical success on a child diagnosed with autism from the 1930’s, one of the FIRST ever diagnosed.  Dan’s death three years ago definitely affected many, like me, who looked upon him for his perseverance and compassion in helping so many affected children and young adults.  The ripple effect of the political craziness as the years have passed, has made important, meaningful autism research more difficult. Little did Dan know that a pandemic would strike us.  He and I had talked about the 1918 influenza pandemic more than once, as we were both horrified and fascinated with it.  

The bumpy ride has been a constant for many of us living with our children, young or adult, affected by autism, especially severe autism.  I have written dozens of articles about my daughter and her difficult, increasing medical symptoms. She has immune abnormalities and has been also diagnosed with autoimmunity. I have investigated much and discovered more along that long, bumpy ride that began in the 1930’s, with those original children, ultimately diagnosed.  Here are some of my favorite contributions:

Hormones, Autism and Seizures - A Dangerous Mix-2011

Autism and Pandas, 2011

Late Onset Autism and Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Part 2-2011

BRAIN ON FIRE - From Autoimmunity To Madness, 2012

Anti-NMDA-Receptor Encephalitis Added to DSM A Medical Causation of Autism-2012

Autism and Dr. Bernie Rimland: Harmful Exposures and Susceptible Children-2013

Regressive Autism-2013

Immune Treatments For Autism, 2013

Autism and the Microbiome: Antibiotics May Damage But What About Mercury?-2014

The Microbiome In Regressive Autism-2014

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Damaged Microbiome in Autism-2014

Autism and PANDAS/PANS Researchers, Listen to the Parents, 2014

Autism And The Microbiome: Knock-Knock-Knock Penny And The Increasing Observations Of OCD- 2014

First Peanut Allergies Cured and Now Milk Allergies - Bacteria Strain is Superman of the Gut-2015

Research Shows the Microbiome Controls the Microglia: Implications for Autism?-2015

Revisiting Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis and Autism- 2015

Autism's First Case: From Old Gold to New Treatments, 2016

Thank You, BHARE For $15,000 To Continue Microbiome Studies-2016

Autism and the Microbiome: Will Fecal Transplants Be the Next “AWAKENINGS?" Part 2-2016

Dear David of 1932: What Factors Led to Your Autism?-2017

Hormones From the Microbiome: Implications in Autism- 2017

Small Study Shows BIG Success: Fecal Microbial Transplants and Autism-2017

Dear Autism and PANDAS/PANS Researchers - THANK YOU, 2018

Brain on Fire the Microbiome Autism and Autoimmune Encephalopathy Part 2, 2018

Minocycline and Autism: This Antibiotic Is Not Just For Acne Anymore- 2018

IVIG, Autism and Immune Dysfunction- 2019

Autism, Twenty-Seven Years Later and What Have We Learned? Part 1- 2020

Autism, Twenty-Seven Years Later and What Have We Learned? Part 2-2020

One thing I did early on and continued through all of those years, was to find and use the most reputable sources for our readers ---- journals, books, research papers, and I lived on Pubmed.  I would fact check research if I was not familiar with the content, to make sure it was accurate.  If it was complicated, I would try my best to define and break down information.  Autism research is multifaceted and some of it can be irrelevant and driven by agendas, not always related to actually helping individuals with a diagnosis of autism.  Some studies and articles were not worth our time, as they have kept autism as a genetic prisoner and wasted millions of dollars so individuals, agencies and universities could keep getting paychecks.  Such a shame and that type of research should be considered criminal.  

Meg sick age 5

When I look back on those earlier years, Meg and I have come a long way.  Pain and suffering was a life she had along with anger and frustration. Caring autism parents have been there for me.  Some have recommended doctors while others have shared medications or supplement names helpful for their own child.  Meg has seen doctors of gastroenterology, integrative psychiatry, neurology, endocrinology, neuroendocrinology, allergy, immunology, and our favorite doctor, our MAPS doctor, who has never given up on our affected children and is unrelentless in her search for appropriate medicines and treatments.  She is the reason Meg is happier and healthier. Her knowledge and expertise has given us a new lease on life. My extreme gratitude to her and others who have touched our lives in such caring ways. Over the years, I have been contacted by parents, readers, doctors, and researchers, who have been helped by the articles I have written.  I cannot tell you how gratifying that has been.  Helping other families with severely affected children get on a better path to health has been my purpose in sharing here on Age of Autism. The immune and microbiome road has been the most helpful for us and that seems to be true for many of them as well.  

If I were to put all of the years of research into a list, sort of like mounting evidence to a recipe of both causes and treatments:

  • Autism’s start happened at a time when chemicals (ethyl mercury) were being introduced, manufactured and then used in consumer products.

Graphic from here

I also want to thank Kim ❤ so much for her magnificent care as Managing Editor.  She has given so much time, energy, and devotion each day, month and year.  She has been the key and the glue for AoA over all of these years.  I always imagine her making a strong pot of coffee each morning as the day would unfold on Age of Autism.  I have always appreciated her passion in her writing and as mom to her beautiful daughters.  My best wishes to her, our Contributors, and all of you.

Teresa

.



Comments

Hera

Teresa, Thank you for your tireless work and care for this community. I hope you and your daughter get a chance to rest and regenerate as you move onto a different phase of your life.

Cait

Teresa, your articles have been very interesting and instructive. I hope you will continue your research!

Peggy Merenda

Teresa,
I can not thank you enough for your articles and research. If not for you and AOA my son would not be as recovered and his younger brother might never have gotten his diagnosis. Without your guiding articles, I would still be fumbling through the microbiome and immune dysfunction. My sons are healthier and have brighter futures because of you! Thank you seems inadequate to express just how grateful I am. God bless you and your family and grace you with continued healing and peace.

Teresa Conrick

Dear All,

Thank you so much for your care and support. I have loved researching and writing. I will never give up.

Carolyn KylesMom

Teresa you are literally a genius and have drawn connections that should have earned you a Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

Seriously.

Cathy Jameson

Thank you, Teresa, for all of the time and research you've shared. Your posts are important and will surely continue to educate many people. This post is my favorite one, not written by you but shared when we officially came on board. https://www.ageofautism.com/2010/04/welcome-teresa-conrick-and-cathy-jameson-to-age-of-autism.html Ten years ago! So much has happened since then--some losses, some gains, but always tons of opportunities to learn. Thanks for the encouragement over the years, and best of everything to you and your girls. xo, Cat

Angus Files

Thank you very much Teresa I still go back over many of your articles for a re-read as they have helped my son and ourselves greatly.

All the best to the future.

Pharma For Prison
MMR RIP

Paul Picha

Thank you for your important contribution. Best wishes.

Carolyn  M

Teresa,

Thank you very much for all of your reporting. I hope your daughter continues to improve - with no setbacks. Best wishes for the future.

Maurine Meleck

Thank you Teresa for all your hard work over the years. Your help to me alone has been amazing. You've been such a solid researcher and reporter on AOA for years. I never missed one of your reports
Although your stint with AOA is ending, I know our long lasting personal relationship won't end.
Love, Maurine

Beleaguered Autism Mom

Teresa, I will miss your posts. Speaking of bumps in a bumpy ride - this year I was told the path to IVIG treatment for hypogammaglobulinemia requires a vaccine challenge (DTaP or pneumonia) The lack of research maybe disheartening - but the active attempts to harm those who have already been harmed is frightening. I am sad you are leaving, but I am grateful for all you have done.

Emmaphiladelphia

@Teresa

I am new posting here, and have not seen all of your amazing body of work. I plan to make hard copies of it. Perhaps you would consider putting it in book form? Internet censorship is becoming a huge problem. My children were in the 1987 first wave of injury. I am especially interested in your gut research. While my now adult children's injuries range from ADD, autism, and severe vitamin D deficiency, they ALL have gut "issues" and are extremely thin with abnormally low appetites. This is the next area I want to research and see if I can help them improve in this area. Local doctors have been NO help. Thank you again for your immense contribution. God bless you and your family!

Tim Lundeen

Thank you Teresa! I've learned a lot from you, and wish you all the best!

Anonymous

Teresa,

Thank you so much for making science accessible and for equipping readers with the best available evidence to tackle the issues of neuro-inflammation.

You have brought sanity and hope into the discussion.

We are very sorry to see you go. We shall miss you and hope that you will stay in touch from time to time.

Bill Bradford

Teresa, thank-you, and Good Luck, and Best Wishes in all your future endeavors!....
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

greyone

Thank you Teresa for sharing that wealth of research.
Blessings on your journey.

michael

Teresa, I have always felt that you could connect dots, ask the right questions that others, so many others failed to see with everything autism. Someday, someone will dig up one of you articles and point out how close you were in figuring out the puzzle(s), and you did it with out one dollar of grant money for your research or recognition.

Thank you,

(Of course I won't be a bit surprised if I see, Teresa Conrick & Meghan--The Sequel

Benedetta

Thank you Tereasa for all you have done.
Thanks for the strep reporting and OCD, PANDAS. It kept me from falling apart earlier this year.
I always love your articles on microbiomes.
You have done great work.

Jill in MI

Thank you Teresa. Praying that both you and your daughter (I also have a Megan aged 27!) continue to heal.

4Bobby

Thank you for all you have done!

Tom

Teresa,

Yours were the articles I would always read with the greatest interest as they most-paralleled the issues my wife and I were researching with regards to our daughter. As I went from lay-person to healthcare professional, I always marveled at just how firm a grasp you have on the myriad amount of science you shared with our community. Dare I say, I find you to be brilliant, and we are all at a loss for your decision to retire.

My hope is that someday your articles will set a fire under someone who will have the wherewithal to effect even greater change than you did. That, and that you unretire, lol. Best to you and your family.

Bob Moffit

The term WARRIOR MOM aptly describes AoA's Theresa Conrick … and in my humble opinion there is no other such title .. NONE .. that equals what a WARRIOR MOM means to me and my family, my community, my country. God bless you and yours Theresa .. my family will always be indebted to your tireless work as a WARRIOR MOM and your contributions on AoA .. always a source of great hope in going forward.

Laura Hayes

Teresa,

Thank you for your many articles and contributions here on AoA, and for delving into the history, research, and evidence that continue to be ignored, dismissed, avoided, and lied about by those whose jobs it is to actually do legitimate and ethical delving.

My best to you and your family as you embark on your next chapter, which I hope includes continued healing and improvement for your daughter Meghan, and some periods of well-deserved peace, rest, and relaxation for you and your family.

John Stone

Teresa

Thank you for all you have done for our community, and for all the many questions you have asked (which stand as a tribute).

John

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