Why Can't We Face The Truth? Having An Autistic Child Wrecks Your
‘Autistic Children Are Now Seen As A Burden’
Six New Autism Insurance Reform Bills Introduced
Report Cites FDA's Weaknesses Over Drugs, Devices
Don't Risk Going Unvaccinated
"Senator Gillibrand": Supporter of Vaccine-Autism Research
Hacker Accused Wins Fight
An Investigation Of Ribosomal Protein L10 Gene In Autism Spectrum
Autism, Food Aversions, and Eating Challenges: Effective Answers that
Help - Special Free Tele-Seminar
Shots In The Dark
Special Issue of "Autism Advocate" Available For Free Download
Re: Don't Risk Going Unvaccinated
On Autism and Testosterone
Obama's To Do List
SOMETHING ABOUT AUTISM NOW
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Why Can't We Face The
Truth? Having An Autistic Child Wrecks Your
By Carol Sarler on dailymail.co.uk
Thanks to a moment of everyday terror, I
think I knew before anyone else. My friend's two-year-old had climbed
upon a chair from which, with customary toddler clumsiness, he fell.
Like all children, he managed a second
of stunned silence - then howled like a banshee. Like all adults, I
rushed to pick him up, to cuddle, to soothe.
What was unexpected was his response:
visibly fearful of my touch, he kicked my belly, disengaged himself and
A life sentence: Many parents of
autistic children have to give up their jobs to become full-time carers
(picture posed by models) I added that to the list I was already
mentally composing: no eye contact, ever. Not even with his mum. No
shred of attachment to toys, pets, people. Obsessive, repetitive
behaviour. Crazed by the sight of other children. Hmm.
By his fourth birthday, still with
nappies, but without speech, everyone else knew, too.
Tom was - I mean is, and always will be
- autistic. I've been thinking a lot about Tom, who's now seven, as the
debate rages over the possibility of a prenatal test for autism, with
abortion then optional.
And, so far, most of the argument leans
towards such a test being undesirable and unethical.
Brave and devoted mothers - notably
Charlotte Moore, whose book, George And Sam, about her two autistic
sons, is immensely powerful - have clung to the positives brought into
their lives by their children.
Backing the emphasis on the positive
have been those who point to the frequently high intelligence of the
autistic savant, as if we are talking about phalanxes of Mozarts and
How much poorer we would be without,
say, the astonishing brain of Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man! Who would or
could babysit this child? Well, maybe. But not as poor as Tom's family:
three generations of lives - I include his own - wrecked, for ever, by
his cussed condition.
His parents, let us call them Cath and
John, bear the brunt. Immediately after diagnosis, she beat herself
senseless with blame; so many theories, each making it her fault.
Should she have allowed her son to have
had the MMR jab? Was it, as some said, a behavioural disturbance caused
by 'bad' parenting? Once, she even convinced herself (from something
she'd read) that it was mercury poisoning from eating tuna during her
Theories, however, were soon to defer to
practicalities. They strove for a normal life: simple things, such as
going shopping together.
But with the best will in the world, how
many shops - or, indeed, how many customers - are going to tolerate a
child who screams, bites, defecates and destroys everything within
reach? Besides, dangers lurk. Last time I bumped into them in a
supermarket car park, Tom was bawling hysterically. Why? Because he had
seen a bird. So, mostly, Cath and John stay at home.
Both their careers are over
- not, as for many with small children, on hold for a few years. Each
knows that neither will work full-time again.
There have been attempts with special
schools, but none succeeded. Sanity is preserved by each parent having
a hobby (fishing and tennis), so one babysits while the other takes a
They rarely go out together, for who
else - other than one plucky grandmother - would, or even could,
babysit this child?
+ Read more: tiny.pl/vcd2
• • •
‘Autistic Children Are Now
Seen As A Burden’
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick talks about how raising an autistic child is
made infinitely harder by the charlatans waging the ‘war on autism’.
By Helene Guldberg tiny.pl/vcft
This article is republished from the
December 2008 issue of the spiked review of books.
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick’s Defeating
Autism: A Damaging Delusion is not only a moving personal account of
the challenges faced by parents of a child with autism. It is also a
powerful exposé of the damaging effects of the numerous
promise to ‘defeat autism now’ through various ‘biomedical’ treatments,
such as special diets and supplements, detoxification and medication.
‘Parents are fighting the wrong battles
against the wrong people at the wrong time’, Dr Fitzpatrick told me
when we met in a café in Hackney, London, near his GP surgery.
believes parents are held back from doing what is best for their own
children by the false promises of biomedical campaigners, whose ‘rage’
is ‘a divisive and destructive force’.
Not only are many of the so-called
‘cures’ for autism that they promote worse than useless - causing
discomfort and distress to the children, and even, in very rare cases,
death - but the continual drive to ‘defeat autism’ prevents parents
from coming to terms with their children’s condition, and can cause
them to have a rather negative view of their own children.
‘The unresolved grief of parents of
children with autism is a particular problem’, writes Fitzpatrick in
his book, ‘because they still have a child though perhaps not the child
There has been a similar experience in
my own family. The firstborn child of my youngest brother, Chris, was
diagnosed with a severe form of epilepsy at the age of six months.
Although there was a possibility that a combination of anti-epileptic
drugs or neurosurgery might cure his epilepsy, in retrospect it was
clear that his neurological disorder would very likely result in
moderate or severe learning difficulties.
Facing up to the fact that your child
may never develop normally or lead an independent life is very hard for
any parent, and will inevitably take time. But at some stage acceptance
is necessary, not just for the parents’ own peace of mind, but also for
the good of their children. Otherwise, as Fitzpatrick asks, ‘what
happens to the child, the human being, who is seen only as a “burden”?’
Of course, raising a child with severe learning difficulties is
difficult, but it is a lot more difficult in the absence of acceptance.
Parents of children with autism who are
bombarded with all kinds of promises of wonder treatments are prevented
from working through their grief and reaching the stage of acceptance.
All of the emphasis on ‘windows of opportunity’ and the importance of
‘early intervention’ puts an immense amount of pressure on parents of
children with autism and other learning difficulties, who often end up
running around desperately seeking a ‘cure’, and trying one after
another; they can become obsessed with ‘fixing’ their child.
+ Read more: tiny.pl/vcft
Note: The opinions expressed in
COMMENTARY are those of the author and
do not necessarily represent the views of the Schafer Autism Report.
• • •
Six New Autism Insurance
Reform Bills Introduced
From Autism Speaks.
Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri,
Mississippi, Utah and Washington have kicked off their 2009 legislative
sessions with the introduction of autism insurance reform bills,
joining New Jersey, Michigan and Virginia, which currently have active
bills making their way through their respective state legislatures. All
nine bills are supported and endorsed by Autism Speaks, and require
private insurance companies to provide coverage of medically necessary,
evidence-based autism therapies, such as Applied Behavior Analysis
Each bill has been referred to a
committee and is awaiting a hearing. For more information and to take
action on these bills, click the following links: Kansas -- "Kate's Law
(Senate Bill 12); Massachusetts -- House Bill 0067_001; Missouri --
Senate Bill 167; Mississippi -- House Bill 720; Utah -- “Clay's Law”
Senate Bill 43; Washington -- "Shayan's Law" (House Bill 1210, Senate
• • •
Report Cites FDA's
Weaknesses Over Drugs, Devices
From uk.reuters.com. tiny.pl/vccj
Reuters - The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration, hampered by increasing globalization and a rise in
complex products, may not be able to adequately protect the public's
health, the watchdog arm of Congress said in new findings released on
"As a result, the American consumer may
not be adequately protected from unsafe and ineffective medical
products," the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in
adding the FDA to its list of "high-risk" areas of the federal
New laws were also challenging the FDA's
ability to ensure the safety of pharmaceuticals, biologic drugs and
medical devices, it added. The GAO releases its list at the start of
each new Congress to help lawmakers set their priorities.
Numerous other groups, including the
Institute of Medicine and various advocacy organizations, have cited
the FDA's challenges in keeping dangerous or ineffective products off
the U.S. market.
The agency itself acknowledged it needs
to be retooled.
"We need your partnership to reshape the
agency and to provide us with the resources and legislative authorities
necessary to support our work," Acting FDA Commissioner Dr Frank Torti
said to members of Congress in a statement dated Wednesday.
"For many issues of risk, science does
not give us all the answers. When we do not yet know the answers, the
FDA will be honest and forthcoming about our uncertainty," Torti said
in his statement, which also addressed consumers, scientists and
Representatives for the agency could not
immediately be reached for specific comment on the GAO's report.
GAO investigators said the FDA needs to
have better data on its inspections of facilities in other countries
and conduct more inspections.
+ Read more: tiny.pl/vccj
• • •
Don't Risk Going
By Paul Offit on Huffington Post. tiny.pl/vccz
This past year the United States
witnessed a measles epidemic that was the largest in more than a
decade. About 135 people, mostly children, were infected with measles;
some of those children were hospitalized with severe dehydration and
others with pneumonia caused by the virus.
Why did this happen? The answer can be
found in a study published in December 2008 in the American Journal of
Epidemiology that received little attention from the media. The
authors, epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public
Health, examined school children in Michigan whose parents had chosen
not to vaccinate them. They compared clusters of unvaccinated children
with clusters of documented whooping cough (pertussis) outbreaks. Not
surprisingly, the clusters overlapped. The authors concluded:
"Geographic pockets of vaccine exemptors pose a risk to the whole
This is exactly what had happened during
the measles epidemic in 2008. Almost all of the children who caught and
transmitted measles were unvaccinated. The authors of this study had
provided an insight into the obvious. If parents choose not to
vaccinate their children, not only do they put their own children at
risk, they put others at risk. Because no vaccine is 100 percent
effective, some vaccinated children can still get pertussis. Others at
even greater risk include children who haven't completed the entire
series of pertussis vaccines or those who can't get vaccines because
they are receiving steroids for asthma or chemotherapy for cancer.
+ Read more: tiny.pl/vccz
• • •
Supporter of Vaccine-Autism Research
Huffington Post - By David Kirby. tiny.pl/vcck
If media accounts about Kirsten
Gillibrand of New York are correct, then I am pleased to be the first
to report that my new Senator is a supporter of research into possible
connections between vaccines and autism.
The presumptive Senator, a moderate
Democrat from the Hudson Valley, is sure to join the growing chorus of
voices in the US Senate - and well beyond - in calling for more Federal
funding for scientific studies into vaccines and autism, including
Senators Kennedy, Dodd, McCain, Lieberman and Enzi, among others, and
former Senators Clinton and Obama.
In the 110th Congress, Representative
Gillibrand was one of 22 Co-Sponsors of H. R. 2832, the "Comprehensive
Comparative Study of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Populations Act of
2007." This bill would direct the Secretary of HHS "to conduct or
support a comprehensive study comparing total health outcomes,
including risk of autism, in vaccinated populations in the United
States with such outcomes in unvaccinated populations in the United
Ms. Gillibrand could hardly be labeled
as "anti-vaccine" - nor could the bill that she cosponsored, which was
introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), another short-list contender
to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat.
"Securing the health of the Nation's
children is our most important concern as parents and stewards of the
Nation's future," the text of the bill says. "The Nation's vaccine
program has greatly reduced human suffering from infectious disease by
preventing and reducing the outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Childhood immunizations are an important tool in the pursuit of
+ Read more: tiny.pl/vcck
• • •
Hacker Accused Wins Fight
A British computer hacker has said he is
"gobsmacked" after winning the right to launch a fresh challenge
against moves to extradite him to America.
At the High Court, lawyers for Gary
McKinnon, 42, from north London, said his health would suffer and he
would be at real risk of suicide if extradited.
Two judges ruled that his case "merits
substantive consideration" and granted him permission to seek judicial
• • •
An Investigation Of
Ribosomal Protein L10 Gene In Autism Spectrum
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are
severe neurodevelopmental disorders with the male:female ratio of 4:1,
implying the contribution of X chromosome genetic factors to the
susceptibility of ASD. The ribosomal protein L10 (RPL10) gene, located
on chromosome Xq28, codes for a key protein in assembling large
ribosomal subunit and protein synthesis.
Two non-synonymous mutations of RPL10,
L206M and H213Q, were identified in four boys with ASD. Moreover,
functional studies of mutant RPL10 in yeast exhibited aberrant
These results provided a novel aspect of
disease mechanisms for autism - aberrant processes of ribosome
biosynthesis and translation. To confirm these initial findings, we
re-sequenced RPL10 exons and quantified mRNA transcript level of RPL10
in our samples.
Methods: 141 individuals with ASD were
recruited in this study.
All RPL10 exons and flanking junctions
were sequenced. Furthermore, mRNA transcript level of RPL10 was
quantified in B lymphoblastoid cell lines (BLCL) of 48 patients and 27
controls using the method of SYBR Green quantitative PCR.
Two sets of primer pairs were used to
quantify the mRNA expression level of RPL10: RPL10-A and RPL10-B.
Results: No non-synonymous mutations
were detected in our cohort. Male controls showed similar transcript
level of RPL10 compared with female controls (RPL10-A, U=81, P=0.7;
RPL10-B, U=61.5, P=0.2).
We did not observe any significant
difference in RPL10 transcript levels between cases and controls
(RPL10-A, U=531, P=0.2; RPL10-B, U=607.5, P=0.7).
Conclusion: Our results suggest that
RPL10 has no major effect on the susceptibility to ASD.
Author: Xiaohong Gong, Richard Delorme,
Fabien Fauchereau, Christelle M Durand, Pauline Chaste, Catalina
Betancur, Hany Goubran-Botros, Gudrun Nygren, Henrik Anckarsater, Maria
Rastam, I. Carina Gillberg, Svenny Kopp, Marie-Christine
• • •
Autism, Food Aversions,
and Eating Challenges: Effective Answers that
Help - Special Free Tele-Seminar
Tuesday, January 27, 9:00-11:00 pm EST, 6:00 - 9:00 pm PST Topic Guest
: Lori Ernsperger, PhD
Moderator: Chantal Sicile-Kira Sponsored
by The Autism File magazine. Those who register at www.momsfightingautism.com/teleseminar
will receive a free download of an article from the latest winter
edition of The Autism File magazine to be published on January 29.
Subscriptions available (www.autismfile.com).
Lori Ernsperger, PH.D., an expert in the
field of autism and behavioral disorders, has over 22 years' experience
working in the public schools as a classroom teacher, administrator,
and behavioral consultant. She owns and operates Autism and
Behavioral Consulting, an agency that works with school district
personnel and families to provide effective educational programs and
best practice strategies for students with autism and behavioral
disorders. Dr. Ernsperger has authored two books, Keys to Success for
Teaching Students with Autism and Just Take a Bite: Easy Effective
Answers to Food Aversions and Eating Challenges, and co-authored Girls
Under the Umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Practical Solutions
for Addressing Everyday Challenges.
Chantal Sicile-Kira is the author Autism
Life Skills: From Communication and Safety to Self-Esteem and More - 10
Essential Abilities Every Child Needs and Deserves to Learn www.chantalsicile-kira.com
• • •
Shots In The Dark
We are proud to announce a new film from
award-winning senior documentary filmmaker Lina Moreco of Canada.
Lina's work includes Medicine Under the Influence, 2007 Winner of the
Gemeaux Award for Best Documentary: Nature & Sciences.
According to Teri Arranga, U.S.
consultant to the film, "Lina Moreco's track record for
thought-provoking documentaries is evident in Shots in the Dark. From
laboratories in Canada to homes in Paris to medical practices in the
United States, and through talking to researchers, clinicians, and
survivors, Shots in the Dark's examination of possible side effects of
vaccine ingredients -- spanning three countries and examining various
health conditions -- illuminates this vital area in a compelling way
that cannot be ignored."
Please visit: www3.nfb.ca/webextension/shots-in-the-dark/
The English language film will be
available for on-line purchase at approximately the end of January 2009.
Projected U.S. Premiere - The English
language film is projected to be available for first viewing in public
in the U.S. at the Autism One 2009 Conference, Chicago, IL. (Screening
of the film will be free; copies of DVD will be available for purchase).
For information about viewing in Canada
please see website.
Following the increase in cases of
autism and other immune disorders among some particularly vulnerable
people, several recognized specialists are questioning the safety of
large scale vaccination.
Despite the serious side effects,
pharmaceutical companies, the medical profession, and government
authorities continue to bury their heads in the sand, refusing to see a
serious problem. In Canada, the United States, and France, as in most
industrialized countries, victims are almost without recourse despite
the high toxicity of substances such as mercury and aluminum contained
in vaccines. With this hard-hitting documentary, Lina B. Moreco
highlights a very worrying public health problem.
Additional Background Information:
Since they were introduced in the early
20th century, vaccines have been regarded as a tremendous medical and
scientific success. Today, perceived as a necessity, they are so
familiar to us that their potential risks are rarely mentioned.
However, the stakes are significant.
Based on recommendations of health agencies, North American children
receive about 48 doses of 14 different vaccines before the age of
6—double the amount prescribed 25 years earlier. Despite this
extraordinary increase, few studies independent of the pharmaceutical
industry have been conducted into their long-term side effects. This is
a disturbing situation given the numerous toxins, including mercury and
aluminum, contained in some commonly administered vaccines.
Several worried pediatricians and
scientists are sounding the alarm.
+ Read more: tiny.pl/vcwc
• • •
Special Issue of "Autism
Available For Free Download
By Carin Yavorcik.
Articles offer resources, insight into
ABA therapy In order to reach as many professionals as possible in the
behavioral field, ASA has just made the December 2008 issue of its
quarterly magazine, the Autism Advocate, entitled "Applied Behavior
Analysis: A Powerful Tool for Improving the Lives of People with ASD,"
available for free download on our Web site. This seminal issue on ABA
describes the many exciting developments in the field that are
improving the lives of individuals on the spectrum and their families.
To obtain your free copy, visit, www.autism-society.org/autismadvocate_aba.
For those without computer access, call 1-800-3AUTISM, x120, or e-mail
for your free printed copy (while supplies
• • •
Re: Don't Risk Going
The thing Offit can't grasp is that
parents are scared. They see the stories on the news--normally
progressing child regresses into autism following vaccinations. They
hear about autistic children everywhere that no one can reasonably
If you read Offit's new book, you'll see he doesn't believe there
really hasn't been an increase in autism. "Two phenomena likely account
for the increase. First, the definition of autism has broadened to
include children with milder, more subtle symptoms.
During the time of Leo Kranner and
Bruno Bettelheim, children with mild symptoms of autism may have been
described as 'quirky' or 'different' or 'unusual' but not autistic.
Today, these children are more likely to be diagnosed with autism
spectrum disorder or Asperger's Syndrome or pervasive developmental
delay. Second, in the past children with severe symptoms of autism were
often considered mentally retarded. Today, as the number of children
with severe autism has increased, the number with mental retardation
has decreased." (p. 3-4 AFP)
(See: What is Paul Offit's Problem? tiny.pl/6znk
Offit has never had to show proof of
this claim. If there are all these undiagnosed/misdiagnosed adults,
where are they? There's never been a study that could find autistic
adults at a rate even approaching what we see in our children. When we
talk about autism, we're always talking about children with autism and
that simple fact should be scaring us all--even Paul Offit.
- Anne Dachel
• • •
On Autism and Testosterone
By Dr Lorene E.A. Amet, Principal
Scientist Autism Treatment Trust.
I think it is important to voice a
scientific view that differs markedly from that of Simon Baron-Cohen of
the Cambridge Autism Research Unit who has, according to recent media
reports, been calling for a debate on pre-natal screening for autism.
Several aspects need to be taken into
account in this important matter: Is the issue of elevated testosterone
in autism valid? Is elevated testosterone specific to autism? What are
the consequences for individuals with autism and future families
contemplating pregnancy, particularly in light of recent media coverage
depicting autism as a serious debilitating condition? What other issues
in autism are being overlooked with the endorsement of this speculative
First of all, it is by no mean proven
that an excess of testosterone is implicated in autism. Whilst the
recent study from Auyeung et al. conducted on 235 non-autistic children
suggests that there is a relationship between higher levels of
testosterone and higher autism trait quotients, it should be
highlighted that the quotient of autism that was measured in this study
relied on the use of two parental questionnaires (the Childhood Autism
Spectrum Test and the Child Autism Spectrum Quotient) and not gold
standard psychometric measurements of autism, which are based on
observations made by trained psychologists and paediatricians. The
study seemed to rely on earlier research that suggested a link between
autism and high levels of testosterone, but these were equally
controversial. One piece of research, also conducted by Simon
Baron-Cohen, suggested that individuals with high functioning autism
have a low empathy quotient, and this was attributed to excess
maleness, i.e. testosterone. However, the empathy test used for these
studies relied essentially on measuring empathy within a social
context, which, not surprisingly people with Asperger’s are poor at, as
they frequently do not have full social understanding irrespective of
their empathic abilities. A second type of research, also led by Simon
Baron-Cohen suggested that the ratio between the length of the second
and forth digit (2D:4D) in people with autism is indicative of an
abnormally high level of embryonic exposure to testosterone. These
abnormalities in 2D:4D ratios have not been replicated by others, and
are, at best, very indirect evidence of testosterone secretion. In
fact, other genetic factors are also known to influence this ratio.
Whilst some individuals with autism may
indeed have abnormal steroid metabolism, and present with excessive
androgen levels, as measured in blood and urine samples, these abnormal
findings appear to be by no means representative of the autistic
children seen today, especially children who have experienced
regressive autism, characterised by a loss of already acquired skills
in the areas of communication, socialisation and behaviour. Many of
these children present with a failure to thrive physically, and are
often under weight and have delayed maturation, which is hardly
compatible with excess testosterone.
+ Read more: tiny.pl/6znk
• • •
Obama's To Do List
Autism Screening Tops Obama's Medical
To-Do List should also include a campaign to strongly recommend that
all women have themselves tested for heavy metal toxicity before
becoming pregnant. The EPA estimates that one out of six American women
have enough environmental toxins in their body to give birth to a child
with neurological disorders. The Center for Disease Control estimates
that one out of six children have learning disabilities.
Heavy metals can be removed through
chelation therapy and other methods of detoxification. With a
continuing epidemic of autism, ADHD, Bipolar and other neurological
disorders it is imperative that we address the cause to prevent these
Besides being exposed to heavy metals
through the flu vaccine, fish and amalgam fillings, our food companies
need to be held accountable for using artificial food coloring that
contains lead, mercury and arsenic. A toxic environment with a toxic
diet equals a toxic human being and must be honestly address if we are
ever get to get a handle on this crisis.
- Deborah Merlin Mother/author www.victoryoveradhd.com
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