December 23, 2020
Vol. 12 No. 179
- December 24
Autism Events Calendar
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Disney Trip Drowning Victim Was Little Angel
Autistic Boy Among Kids Taken From Filthy Home in KY
Autism is No Barrier To Local Small Business Owner
N.J. Officials Meet With Vaccine Choice Group
Rumors Spark Polio Vaccine Panic In South India
Hope That Blood Taken At Birth Helps Find Cure For Genetic Diseases
Program Will Help Find, Rescue Disabled
United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona Opens Center in Yuma
Dr. Andrew Wakefield on Autism One Radio
Smoke and Mirrors: Dr Richard Horton and the Wakefield Affair
Disney Trip Drowning
Victim Was Little Angel
From belfasttelegraph.co.uk is.gd/d4U1
The five-year-old boy who drowned after
he fell into a swimming pool during a dream Christmas trip to
Disneyland Paris was last night described as a little angel.
Staff at the Thomas Cook-owned Explorers
Hotel close to the resort have confirmed there was no lifeguard on duty
when Colum Canning, from Londonderry, fell into the water after
disappearing from his mother's view.
His parents had taken Colum, his twin
brother Kieran and his sister Caitlin (7) on the family holiday to
celebrate the boys' birthday on Boxing Day. The devastated Canning
family are now preparing to bring his body home on Christmas Eve.
The family are believed to have been at
the Explorers Hotel near the resort for only an hour before the tragedy
occurred. He is thought to have been in the water only a few minutes
before he was spotted and a Scottish tourist jumped into the pool in a
bid to save him.
Sadly, Colum had lost consciousness and
could not be revived. After being on a life support machine for two
days, Colum lost his fight for life on Saturday.
His parents, Martin Bradley and Karen
Canning, have decided to donate the boy's organs.
His aunt, Sophie Martin Canning, said
Colum was a lovely five-year-old, who was full of mischief and
inseparable from his twin brother, Kieran.
Residents of the Springtown Road area in
Derry were in a state of shock yesterday after news of the tragedy
Close family friend, Linda McConnell,
said: I'm a close friend of Karen; we would have taken each others
children to school.
This has been devastating news for this
time of the year. The whole street has been affected by it and it is
very quiet at the moment as everyone is trying to come to terms with
what has happened.
Colum was a very outgoing wee boy but
you would never have seen him out on the street without his brother
Kieran. They were very close.
They both have autism but it never
stopped them getting on like other children. He was a little angel, he
will always be an angel.
Gerry Cosgrave, the headmaster of the
school Colum attended, St Eithne's, said: It's such a terrible
tragedy, especially coming so close to Christmas. It's terrible for the
family. The staff are totally and utterly shocked and everybody feels
for the wee boy and his parents.
Close family friend and neighbour Donna
Grant said: It must be terrible for them. Karen is such an attentive
mother, she never ever lets those boys out of her sight. She is so
protective of the twins.
Autistic Boy Among Kids
Taken From Filthy Home in KY
From kypost.com. is.gd/d589
A call to police on Saturday night from
Hamilton County Job and Family Services may have saved two young boys,
one of which has autism.
The officer who went to the house on
Rutledge Avenue in Price Hill following the complaint described the
living conditions as extremely filthy with flies and nats all over the
house, as well as garbage, feces and dirty clothes.
Fifty-year-old William and 49-year-old
Diana Miller are both charged with child endangering.
A case coordinator discovered the home
in disarray and called police.
Police say the 10-year-old boy has
autism. A 12 year-old boy was also found inside the home.
Authorities assigned the two boys to a
The Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office
says an arrest warrant has been issued for Diana Miller.
William Miller is scheduled to return to
court on January 6.
Autism is No Barrier
To Local Small Business Owner
Cumberland Times-News. is.gd/cZOJ
Because of his autism, 22-year-old
Andrew Pegg of Frostburg has not spoken a single word since he was 2
years old. Yet, he owns Andilla Designs & Graphics, a home-based
business that personalizes gifts and advertising products.
The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation
Services and the Maryland Rehabilitation Association recently presented
Pegg with its annual Personal Achievement Award at a statewide
conference in Ocean City. Andilla Designs & Graphics is evidence
that individuals with severe disabilities can build a future with the
right mix of community programs and family support.
The award honors a former consumer of
the Division of Rehabilitation Services who has overcome barriers to
reach personal and economic independence.
Pegg has received assistance from his
DORS counselor, Erin Shahan, and his family. Since certain aspects of
his business are difficult due to his disabilitymarketing and driving,
for examplehe is assisted by Derrick Swandol, a job coach from
Spectrum, a local non-profit agency.
A part of the Maryland State Department
of Education, DORS, with initial consultation from its Reach
Independence through Self-Employment Program, assisted Pegg with his
start-up costs and purchase of the equipment he utilizes to make his
creations. He continues to acquire new business from individuals as
well as organizations.
+ Read more: is.gd/cZOJ
N.J. Officials Meet With
Vaccine Choice Group
By Jennifer Kohlhepp for
As a follow-up to the recent Vaccination
Choice Rally in Trenton, a group of parents who believe their children
have been injured by vaccines got a chance to meet with Heather Howard
of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS).
The five parents who are also members of
the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice (NJCVC) were invited
Dec. 3 to meet with Howard and seven senior members of her department
at the NJDHSS building in Trenton. Gov. Jon Corzine promised in
September to hold the meeting, when he was addressing a large group of
parents gathered on NJCVC member Louise Habakus' front lawn in
Middletown after attending a Democratic National Committee fundraiser
for now President-elect Barack Obama.
Public pressure has been steadily
mounting in support of the parental vaccination choice bill currently
in the health committees of the Assembly and Senate. A260/S1071 would
provide for a conscientious exemption to mandatory vaccinations. Over
10,000 people have signed a petition in support of this bill.
The NJDHSS publicly opposes the bill in
a statement on its Web site. The department contends that broad
exemptions to mandatory vaccination weaken the compliance and
enforcement structure mandating vaccines for school entry and continued
attendance. The department states that if parents can waive vaccination
requirements, the dissolution sets precedent for other mandatory health
screenings or services to become optional. The department also believes
that New Jersey has numerous characteristics that make it particularly
vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases, including a large
population, a past history of preventable disease outbreaks, a high
number of immigrants, and New Jersey's "corridor state" nature. The
department believes the highest number of children possible should
receive vaccines to protect themselves and others due to these
The NJDHSS states that all vaccines
currently licensed in the United State are safe and effective and that
New Jersey only mandates vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug
Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other government and
professional organizations. The department also contends that many
vaccine-treated diseases do not have other effective treatments and
that the resurgence of vaccine-prevented diseases would cause economic
and human costs related to time lost from work, medical care and public
health interventions. Finally, the department believes the more
exemptions it allows, the more difficult it would be to prevent
vaccine-preventable diseases in the state's communities.
+ Read more: is.gd/d529
Rumors Spark Polio Vaccine
In South India
Bangalore, India (Reuters) - Thousands
of parents and their children protested outside hospitals in the
southern Indian city of Bangalore following false rumors that children
had fallen sick after being given polio drops, police said on Monday.
Police said nobody had fallen ill from
the vaccine and filed a complaint against a local TV station, saying it
helped spread panic following the rumors of children contracting fever
Police used megaphones to cool tempers
at a government hospital on Sunday night where more than 3,000 people
had gathered, as traffic slowed to a crawl in parts of the infotech
Protesters pushed some doctors and
smashed hospital windows, after their children were administered polio
drops as part of a government immunization drive launched more than a
"They were all worried and aggressive,"
Bangalore's assistant commissioner of police, Ashok Kumar, told
Reuters. "It was a difficult situation. They left only after doctors
and police officials assured them of their children's safety.
A world effort to beat polio has
succeeded in slashing the number of cases by 99 percent over the past
two decades, but the disease is still endemic in India, Pakistan,
Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Suspicions about polio vaccines worsened
after a major outbreak in India in 2006, when some Muslims resisted
polio drops for their children following rumors that it was part of a
Western ploy to sterilize their offspring.
Polio, which is incurable, leads to
India has had 535 polio cases in 2008 so
far compared to 471 in the same period last year, according to data
from the World Health Organization (WHO).
See Also: Panicky Mobs Damage Hospitals, from the Times of India. is.gd/d0qs
Hope That Blood Taken At
Birth Helps Find Cure For Genetic Diseases
By Pat Shellenbarger for The Grand
Rapids Press. is.gd/d511
Millions of blood-stained cards, one for
every baby born in Michigan since 1987, are stored in file cabinets at
the state Department of Community Health.
That's because state law requires each
newborn get a poke in the heel so a few drops of blood can be squeezed
out and tested for certain diseases. The cards then are filed away,
kept for 21 1â2 years, then tossed out.
Researchers at the Van Andel Institute
and Michigan State University believe the three million blood-stained
cards could hold a wealth of information about genetically linked
diseases, including juvenile diabetes, cerebral palsy, autism, asthma
and some cancers.
James Resau, deputy director of special
programs at the Van Andel Institute, called them "a vast, underutilized
By studying the genes in those stains
and taking medical histories of the babies -- many now teens and adults
-- doctors could predict which future babies are most likely to develop
certain diseases and begin treatment before symptoms appear, he said.
"The potential is, for diseases that
have a genetic component, you could test for earlier diagnosis," he
said "The earlier you intervene, the better the chances.
The idea of unlocking the genetic clues
in those millions of blood stains came to Resau and MSU researchers two
years ago. For years, scientists have been able to extract DNA from
dried blood. To do what they were proposing, they would need to detect
the ribonucleic acid (RNA) in those tiny blood spots.
Conventional wisdom said it couldn't be
+ Read more: is.gd/d511
Program Will Help Find,
By Gina Macris.
Portsmouth, Rhode Island Under the
direction of the Portsmouth Fire Department, the town is the first
community in the state to offer Project Lifesaver, through a grant from
the National Autism Association, the department announced.
Project Lifesaver is a nationwide
tracking program to locate missing people with cognitive impairments
and developmental disabilities. Individuals at risk are given a
wristband that emits a radio signal that can be tracked by search
personnel. The program has a perfect recovery rate and an average
search time of less than 30 minutes, the National Autism Association
Portsmouth was chosen by an anonymous
donor who contacted the NAA.
Our department is thrilled to have
received funding from NAA to implement this vital program, Fire Chief
Jeffrey Lynch said in a statement. Last year, we were involved in a
search-and-rescue effort to locate a man from Prudence Island who
suffered from Alzheimers and wandered from his home. We were able to
locate him the following day, but he later succumbed to his injuries.
Had he been wearing a wristband, we would have found him almost
immediately and his tragic death could have been prevented.
Wristbands are available for eligible
Portsmouth residents, including those affected by autism or Alzheimers
disease. Families with someone at risk should contact Lynch at (401)
Parents and caregivers can also find
safety tips on the NAAs site at
The NAAs FOUND Program, which funds
Project Lifesaver, relies heavily on donations. Donations can be made
by visiting www.nationalautismassociation.org and clicking on Make a
United Cerebral Palsy of
Southern Arizona Opens Center in Yuma
By Darin Fenger for yumasun.com. is.gd/cZIv
Waiting lists and long drives to Tucson
are now in the past for clients of United Cerebral Palsy of Southern
Arizona, which recently opened its first center in Yuma.
United Cerebral Palsy of Southern
Arizona, which actually covers a handful of disabilities, now offers
clients in Yuma services ranging from special therapies to providing
in-home visits care providers can enjoy a much-needed break.
Officials with the nonprofit
organization say they are delighted to finally be able to serve the
people of Yuma right in their own home town. Prior to the Yuma center's
opening in November local clients were forced to travel to Tucson for
"We found that in Yuma there is such a
dire need when it comes to services for people with disabilities," said
Lupita Cuestas, regional director for United Cerebral Palsy. "One local
mother said her son had been on the waiting list for music therapy for
10 years! It absolutely breaks my heart to know that people were going
without therapy for such a long time.
United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona is
an affiliate of the national organization, United Cerebral Palsy
Association, located in Washington, D.C.
The organization's Yuma office is located 2451
S. Avenue A, Suite 20. The office can be reached by calling 317-8800.
In addition to cerebral palsy, the center also
provides services for people with autism, epilepsy and clients who are
intellectually challenged. Services are provided for both children and
"A lot of families with children with autism
come to us and they benefit from treatments with music therapy,"
+ Read more: is.gd/cZIv
Dr. Andrew Wakefield on
Autism One Radio
Tuesday, December 23 www.autismone.org/radio
Autism One: A Conversation of Hope 10:00
Topic: The Relationship of the
Gastrointestinal Tract to Autism as a Whole-Body Condition
Dr. Andrew Wakefield, MB BS FRCS
FRCPath, is an academic gastroenterologist who has published over one
hundred thirty original scientific articles, book chapters, and invited
scientific commentaries. Dr. Wakefield serves as the Executive Director
of Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas. Thoughtful
House aims to provide a research-oriented, integrated biomedical and
educational approach. Teri and Dr. Wakefield will discuss a broad range
of topics including immunologic, metabolic, and pathologic changes
occurring in inflammatory bowel diseases such as autistic
enterocolitis, links between intestinal disease and neurologic injury
in children, and the possible relationship of these conditions to
environmental causes, such as childhood vaccines. Teri will also ask
about how to remediate existing damage and prevent damage in the
future. Please visit: www.thoughtfulhouse.org
The Real World of Autism with
1:30 pm ET
Guest: Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of
Animal Science at Colorado State University and author Topic: Autism
Life Skills: Pursuing Interests (Having Fun) Join Temple and Chantal as
they discuss the importance of allowing children on the spectrum to
pursue the interests that they are passionate about. Using these
interests to teach other concepts, turning their passion into a
moneymaker or job for them, and the importance of mentors are issues
Temple feels strongly about. Temple is the author of Thinking in
Pictures, Developing Talents, Animals in Translation and The Way I See
Smoke and Mirrors: Dr
Richard Horton and the Wakefield Affair
By John Stone on Age of Autism. is.gd/d0mq
If we knew then what we know now we
certainly would not have published the part of the paper which related
to MMR, although I do believe there was and remains validity to the
connection between bowel disease and autism.
From the moment Richard Horton, editor
of the Lancet, spoke these words on the BBC evening news of Friday 20
February 2004 Andrew Wakefields career lay in tatters. For six years
Horton and the Lancet had been under pressure over his decision to
publish in February 1998 an early report
Ileal-lymphoid-nodular-hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and autism in
children of which Wakefield - a senior researcher at the Royal Free
Hospital in London - was lead author. At publication time Wakefield was
already an author of more than a hundred peer review publications, but
none before or since attracted the attention of this one. The paper, a
series study of 12 consecutively referred cases, related to a sub-group
children who had suffered adverse reactions to MMR vaccine, and
hypothesised but did not confirm a connection between their symptoms
and the vaccination.
Nevertheless, by implication the study
struck at the heart of public health policy: the Royal Free Medical
School called a press conference, and there was instant controversy.
The British government and medical establishment never forgave
Wakefield. They werent that happy with Horton either, and he knew it.
+ Read more: is.gd/d0mq
Note: The opinions expressed in COMMENTARY are those of the author and
do not necessarily represent the views of the Schafer Autism Report.
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