One Child In 60 in UK
'Suffers From A Form Of Autism'
By Sue Reid for the
Far more children have autism than
previously thought, a study of British school pupils has found.
Researchers now believe as many as one
in 60 children has some form of the condition.
The disturbing findings, which are due
to be made public within weeks, mean that up to 216,000 children in the
UK could suffer from an autistic condition, although many have not yet
The research could have a major impact
on public services in Britain with many more youngsters potentially
needing a lifetime of special care.
Families caring for severely autistic
children say their lives are devastated by the condition, and looking
after sufferers of autism and related disorders already costs the
nation £28billion a year.
The latest study, by academics at
Cambridge University's respected Autism Research Centre, involved
thousands of children.
Controversially, it showed autism rates
were nearly twice as high as the figure of one child in 100 which is
currently accepted by the National Autistic Society.
It also surpassed the one in 87 figure
revealed by research among south London pupils three years ago, which
was published in the Lancet medical journal.
Cases of autism have significantly
increased over the past 40 years.
In the 1980s, for example, a study found
only four in every 10,000 showed signs of childhood autism.
The Cambridge study, led by Professor
Simon Baron-Cohen, states clearly that the apparently higher rate found
recently is down to better detection and diagnosis.
The outline results of the professor's
research have already been revealed at a major international conference
of world experts on autism, although they have not yet been formally
The audience in London was told that
autism spectrum conditions have shown a 'steady increase' over four
The researchers conclude that a figure
of one in 60 gives an accurate picture.
They estimate that one per cent of
children - one in 100 - are known to have an autistic condition.
But, significantly, they say that for
every three known cases, there are two unknown. This equates to five
cases in every 300 children - or one in 60.
'This has implications for planning,
diagnostic, social and health services,' the researchers told the
Benet Middleton, of the National
Autistic Society, yesterday welcomed the study's findings, saying: 'It
is very likely there are people affected by this complex condition who
have been completely overlooked by education and health officials and
remain undiagnosed.' The Mail understands that two possible lower rates
of autism among children - around one in 74 and around one in 94 - are
also cited in the study.
These were estimates made by
statisticians to compensate for missing data - for instance, when
parents failed to return survey forms.
Even these lower rates, which were not
mentioned in the study's conclusion, would still have a significant
impact on schools, social services, and the NHS.
Anti-vaccine campaigners have previously
claimed a link between autism and the MMR triple jab given to children
aged between 12 and 15 months.
However, the Department of Health has
dismissed the idea and Professor Baron-Cohen said: ' Environmental
factors such as chemicals and children's exposure to testosterone in
the womb are a more likely cause.
'At this point, one can conclude the
evidence does not support the idea that MMR causes autism.' Yesterday
he declined to comment on the new findings, which will be published in
the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Dr Richard Halvorsen of Baby-Jabs, a
private vaccination clinic in London, told the Mail this week: 'The
Cambridge figures are very concerning.' In the U.S., President Barack
Obama has just launched a multimillion dollar offensive to combat
autism and find its causes.
• • •
NY Times: An Outbreak of Autism,
or a Statistical Fluke?
By Donald G. McNeil Jr. is.gd/otDJ
Ayub Abdi is a cute 5-year-old with a
smile that might be called shy if not for the empty look in his eyes.
He does not speak. When he was 2, he could say “Dad,” “Mom,” “give me”
and “need water,” but he has lost all that.
He does scream and spit, and he moans a
loud “Unnnnh! Unnnnh!” when he is unhappy. At night he pounds the walls
for hours, which led to his family’s eviction from their last apartment.
As he is strapped into his seat in the
bus that takes him to special education class, it is hard not to notice
that there is only one other child inside, and he too is a son of
“I know 10 guys whose kids have autism,”
said Ayub’s father, Abdirisak Jama, a 39-year-old security guard. “They
are all looking for help."
Autism is terrifying the community of
Somali immigrants in Minneapolis, and some pediatricians and educators
have joined parents in raising the alarm. But public health experts say
it is hard to tell whether the apparent surge of cases is an actual
outbreak, with a cause that can be addressed, or just a statistical
In an effort to find out, the Minnesota
Department of Health is conducting an epidemiological survey in
consultation with the federal Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. This kind of conundrum, experts say, arises whenever there
is a cluster of noncontagious illnesses.
While there is little research on autism
clusters, reports of cancer clusters are so common that health agencies
across the country respond to more than 1,000 inquiries about suspected
ones each year. A vast majority prove unfounded, and even when one is
confirmed, the cause is seldom ascertained, as it was for Kaposi’s
sarcoma among gay men and mesothelioma among asbestos workers.
It is “extraordinarily difficult” to
separate chance clusters from those in which everyone was exposed to
the same carcinogen, said Dr. Michael J. Thun, the American Cancer
Society’s vice president for epidemiology.
Since the cause of autism is unknown,
the authorities in Minnesota say it is hard to know even what to
“There are obviously some real concerns
here, but we don’t want to make a cursory judgment,” said Buddy
Ferguson, a health department spokesman. Even counting autism cases is
difficult because the diagnoses are first made by the schools, not
doctors, and population estimates for Somalis vary widely. Results are
expected late this month.
Even if the department confirms that a
cluster exists, it will not answer the question why. Still, Dr. Thun
said a possible focus in one ethnic group “increases my sense that
investigating it is essential.” The next step, he added, would be to
look at Somalis in other cities.
A small recent study of refugees in
schools in Stockholm found that Somalis were in classes for autistic
children at three times the normal rate.
Calls to representatives of Somali
groups in Seattle and San Diego found that they were aware of the fear
in Minneapolis but unsure about their own rates. Doctors familiar with
the Somali communities in Boston and Lewiston, Me., had heard of no
“It’s a concern here, but we haven’t
done anything to look specifically,” said Ahmed Salim of Somali Family
Services in San Diego.
Shamso Yusuf of the Refugee Women’s
Alliance in Seattle said tearfully that her own daughter had been given
a diagnosis of autism, “and I see a lot of parents who have 5-year-olds
who cannot speak.” But no Seattle study has been done, she said.
Somalis began arriving in Minneapolis in
1993, driven out by civil war; now their population in Minnesota is
estimated at 30,000 to 60,000. The city is welcoming and social
benefits are generous, but many live a life apart as conservative
Muslims, the women in head scarves and long dresses. Many Somali men
have jobs as taxi drivers or security guards; others are accountants or
run shops in the mini-malls catering to Somalis.
Antivaccine activists are campaigning
among them, which worries public health officials, especially because
some families go back and forth to Somalia, where measles is still a
significant cause of childhood death, according to Unicef.
One of the first to raise the alarm was
Anne Harrington, who worked in special education in the Minneapolis
schools for 21 years.
In the last decade, she said, “we’ve
begun seeing a tremendous number of kids born here who have the more
severe forms of autism."
Last year, she said, 25 percent of the
children in preschool classes offering the most intensive treatment had
Somali parents, while only about 6 percent of public school enrollment
Dr. Daniel S. McLellan, a pediatrician,
said that when he began practicing at Children’s Hospital six years
ago, he was struck by how many autistic Somali children he saw.
“They had classic symptoms,” he said.
“Really impaired language, didn’t watch faces, didn’t make eye contact,
didn’t communicate with gestures, just lost in their own worlds. Nobody
would mistake it for anything else."
Speculation is rampant about possible
causes: living conditions in Somalia or in refugee camps in Kenya;
traditional medicines; intermarriage; genetic predisposition; vitamin D
deficiencies due to a lack of sunlight; and, of course, vaccines.
But each theory has weaknesses.
+ Read more: is.gd/otDJ
• • •
Number of Young Girls on Diabetes Drugs Skyrockets 147%
(NaturalNews) The number of girls
between the ages of 5 and 19 taking prescription drugs for diabetes
increased 147 percent between 2002 and 2005, according to a study
conducted by researchers from Saint Louis University School of
Medicine, the Kansas Health Institute, and the private company Express
Scripts, and published in the journal Pediatrics. The prevalence of
other chronic diseases among both boys and girls also increased
dramatically in that time.
"We've got a lot of sick children," said
researcher Emily Cox of Express Scripts. "What we've been seeing in
adults, we're also now seeing in kids."
Researchers examined the prescription
records of almost four million children every year between 2002 and
2005, using the Express Scripts patient database. Because the company
only administers prescription drug benefits for private insurers, the
researchers noted that their findings might not apply to uninsured or
The researchers found the largest
increase in the use of diabetes drugs -- more than a 50 percent
increase in all children between 5 and 19. Among boys, the increase was
only 39 percent, compared with 147 percent in girls. Among girls
between 10 and 14, the increase was 166 percent.
Researchers attributed the overall rise
of diabetes drug use to increased obesity among children, but could not
explain the sex difference.
+ Read more: www.naturalnews.com/025855.html
• • •
Austria: 2 Killed At Autistic Self-Help Group
Vienna: Austrian police say a gunman
fatally shot a 24-year-old woman during a meeting of a self-help group
for people with autism before killing himself.
Police spokeswoman Iris Seper says three
men and two women met every Friday evening at a Vienna therapy center
of an Austrian autistic organization.
She says the 29-year-old briefly left
the group Friday evening and returned half an hour later wearing a mask
and carrying two guns.
He fired multiple shots at the woman
while the other group members fled to another room. Seper says the man
then shot himself. The others group members were unharmed.
Police are investigating the
relationship between the two and trying to find out where the man got
his guns from.
• • •
Autistic Man Describes
By Anna Krejci, Dells Events.
Living with autism can be a lonely
journey, but 27-year-old Taylor Crowe hasn't let the disorder control
Autism can interfere with a person's
ability to communicate, but Taylor, who is autistic, overcomes it every
day as an aspiring career speaker on the disorder. Taylor is also a
character animation artist who earned a certificate from the California
Institute of the Arts in 2006.
He plans to make a living by using his
art for commercials and also by delivering speeches not only on autism,
but on animation as well.
Taylor spoke Tuesday at the 7th annual
CESA 5 School-based Speech-Language Pathology Institute at the Kalahari
Resort in Lake Delton. He addressed 500 speech-language pathologists,
the kind of professionals who helped him for 14 years to achieve his
Taylor was a featured presenter because
of his experiences with autism. According to conference coordinator
Dallas Kerzan, at the conference last year participants were surveyed
and indicated they wanted to learn more about autism and their field.
"There's more and more autistic kids
being identified, and so SLPs would like to know strategies and
techniques that would specifically help them address those needs in the
students that they serve," she said.
• • •
California School District Litigates
Against Homeless Autistic Child
Imagine you have lost your house in a
tragic fire. On coming back to salvage any possessions, you find
a summons from the school district taped on your charred front door
right next to the "condemned" sign.
Well that is exactly what happened to
the Woo* family in Laguna Beach school district. Jana and Jeff
Woo have 3 school age children, Pete and Suzy have learning
disabilities and Jason (age 12) has high functioning autism along with
Jason spent several years in a Special
Day Class (SDC) that had resulted in a lot of emotional damage.
Jana advocated to have him put in the regular classroom with his
non-disabled peers as required by Federal law. Federal law
requires that disabled children shall be educated with non-disabled
peers to the maximum extent possible. Jason was returned to the regular
classroom with his peers and is doing very well. However,
at the last IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting, the district
insisted that they want to put Jason back in the same self contained
classroom that caused him so much anxiety. Jana and Jeff refused
to sign the IEP. Unless the parents consent to the change in
placement, the school district cannot switch Jason's placement without
filing for due process. So that is what the Laguna Beach
School District decided to do.
Tragically, the Woo's had a severe house
fire last week and the school district decided to file against Jason
Woo the next day. The Woo's came back to their house trying to
salvage any belongings that might have survived the fire. There,
taped to the door, next to the condemned sign, was the summons from the
school district lawyer.
+ Read more: is.gd/otAx
• • •
New Mexico Becomes the 9th State
to Pass Autism Insurance Reform
From Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks today joined New Mexico
families and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding the
state’s legislators for passing Senate Bill 39, which requires
insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically
necessary autism therapies. The bill passed the House today in a
vote of 51-15, following unanimous passage in the State Senate, and now
heads to Governor Bill Richardson’s desk for signature into law.
The New Mexico bill requires insurers to
cover up to $36,000 a year for treatments and therapies, including
Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for children until age nineteen, or
age twenty-two if the individual is enrolled in high school. The bill
also sets a maximum lifetime coverage limit of $200,000. Applied
Behavior Analysis (ABA) is recognized as an effective, evidence-based
treatment for children with autism. The law specifies that there
cannot be any limit put on the number of visits to an autism service
provider and that the maximum per year benefit will be adjusted
annually for inflation.
• • •
Nevada Parents Plead With Lawmakers
To Restore Autism Program Funding
Carson City, Nev. (AP) - Advocates of
funding for autism programs pleaded Monday with Nevada lawmakers to
ignore Gov. Jim Gibbons' proposed cuts in such funding and pump $2
million into efforts to deal with the neurological disorder.
Jan Crandy of the Nevada Commission on
Autism Spectrum Disorders told the Assembly Ways and Means Committee
that the commission, created by the 2007 Legislature, is severely
underfunded and reaches less than 7 percent of eligible children.
The governor's proposed budget includes
no funding for the program.
Crandy noted that 137 children currently
are served by the program and there are another 219 children on a
During Monday's hearing, tearful parents
recounted stories about autistic children who didn't talk for years and
had violent outbursts. Many said the treatment provided for their
children made a huge difference, and they couldn't afford the costly
treatment without the state's help.
• • •
Song Therapy Is Music To Autistic Kids’ Ears
By Jean Hwang for The Washington Post. is.gd/otBJ
When it’s bath time for Janna Simpson,
her mother sometimes throws together a tune. “Take a bath, take a bath,
take a bath,” Judy Simpson might chant, luring her daughter into the
Janna isn’t a toddler, and her mother
isn’t simply singing along. Janna is a 15-year-old with autism, a
speech impairment and a seizure disorder. Music, Judy Simpson says, has
been key to getting her to engage in such everyday activities as taking
a bath; it’s also an alternative to verbal instructions in helping her
overcome social and behavioral problems.
Janna, who never developed normal
speech, receives formal music therapy at West Virginia’s Hedgesville
Middle School, where she is enrolled in a classroom for students with
autism. Her mother, a former music therapist who is director of
government relations at the American Music Therapy Association, based
in Silver Spring, Md., continues with that therapeutic approach at home.
“Latitude, longitude, looking through a
microscope: Such skills are not important,” Simpson explains. “She
needs basic skills to live, such as brushing her teeth, taking a bath,
the pragmatics of engaging with people. This is a difficult thing to
Simpson’s confidence in music therapy is
based on her own experience and that of other parents of children with
autism who are eager to find ways to increase their children’s ability
to function. But exactly how and to what extent music therapy works is
not well understood. Just over a year ago, a session titled “The Autism
Agenda” at the American Music Therapy Association conference stressed
the need for more research and for practice to be based on evidence.
Despite the limited data about its
effectiveness, making music has become an integral part of many
programs for children with autism. Leanne Belasco, a music therapist at
the Kennedy Krieger School’s Montgomery County, Md., campus, says music
gives structure and a predictable rhythm to verbal directions. When
Belasco strums her autoharp to her students, she sings encouraging,
instructive lyrics such as, “I know I have what it takes; I am a good
listener” and “Be flexible."
At the school, where all 37 full-time
students are enrolled in music therapy, Belasco begins her 30- to
45-minute sessions by singing a refrain: “Hello, everybody, it’s time
for music today.” She wheels around the group seated in a horseshoe
formation, addressing each student in song as she does so. A
16-year-old, who regularly wears headphones in class because of his
auditory sensitivities, responds with apparent enjoyment, as does a
younger boy, who strums the autoharp with seeming pleasure as he rocks
back and forth in his chair. When Belasco asks her students to shake
the blue plastic maracas she has passed out, classroom assistants help.
When one student seems pained by the exercise, the assistants
physically settle him in his chair.
+ Read more: is.gd/otBJ
• • •
Corrupt UK Journalist Exposed in Conflicts
" A Character Assassin Caught in the Act"
By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill on
At the source of the [UK] General
Medical Council’s (GMC) investigation and trial of Dr. Andrew Wakefield
lies a man named Brian Deer. In his first Sunday Times article on
February 22, 2004, Deer accused Wakefield of launching a “public panic”
over the connection between the MMR vaccine and autism by failing to
disclose his conflict of interest and participation as an expert
witness on behalf of a group of families involved in vaccine litigation
against the British government. Since then, Deer has alleged many
things. Among them are the following: that he is an independent,
investigative journalist; that he is not a complainant in the GMC
investigation; that Wakefield is guilty of medical misconduct; and that
Wakefield and his co-authors committed scientific fraud.
According to documents obtained by Age
of Autism (Melanie Philips of The Spectator reported on these documents
last month, but we provide for the first time a copy of the key
document here is.gd/oqK7 and new
information on Dr. Wakefield’s complaint against Deer; a copy of Dr.
Wakefield's original 3/13 complaint to PCC is here tinyurl.com/df798z and the
addendum is here tinyurl.com/dlfbjn.
Deer’s claim that he is not the complainant in the GMC investigation is
false. In a February 25, 2021 email addressed to Tim Cox-Brown of the
GMC, Deer first listed the GMC reference numbers of Drs Andrew
Wakefield, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, and then wrote the
following opening sentence.
“Following an extensive inquiry for the
Sunday Times into the origins of the public panic over MMR, I write to
ask your permission to lay before you an outline of evidence that you
may consider worthy of evaluation with respect of the possibility of
serious professional misconduct on the part of the above named
registered medical practitioners"
+ Read more: is.gd/oqob
• • •
Rock the Puzzle, presented by
the Northeast Ohio Autism Group
Friday, April 3 from 7 p.m. - 1 a.m.
House of Blues, Cleveland
Northeast Ohio Autism Group’s annual
fundraiser, Rock the Puzzle, benefiting Rainbow Babies & Children’s
Hospital’s Autism Center, will be held Friday, April 3rd at the House
of Blues located on 308 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland.
Hosted by Q104’s Allan Fee and WKYC’s
Andrea Vecchio, the evening will feature the music of Stan Miller,
Blues DeVille, Nick Zuber, Second Place and Breakfast Club.
Madison Ohio’s Grand River Cellars will
provide a special selection and tasting of wines with labels designed
by Cleveland-area children diagnosed with autism. The labels were
chosen from designs sent in by over 50 adults and children with autism
during an annual contest. Photos of the labels are available upon
For more information, visit www.rockthepuzzle.com.
• • •
World Autism Awareness Day
April 2, 2021
Polly Tommey, mother of a child with
autism, editor-in-chief of The Autism File magazine, and founder of the
UK registered charity The Autism Trust, has launched a national media
campaign across the UK, USA, and Canada to coincide with World Autism
Working from her home in London (where
the 40,000 circulation magazine The Autism File magazine is designed
and produced each quarter), she persuaded iconic celebrity photographer
Terry O'Neill to take a photograph of her with five other mothers who
also have children with autism.
The result is a powerful image:
Within days of the campaign being
announced and a preview of the image being posted on the Internet,
groups of mothers from across the world began joining in and creating
their own versions of the image within their local communities. These
mothers represent the worldwide autism community in locations from
South Africa to Mexico, Belgium to the United States, and more.
Polly was approached by the UK’s Mail on
Sunday. The Mail's YOU magazine will feature the story of the campaign
along with details from each of the six mothers. This will be published
on March 29, 2009.
+Read more: www.sarnet.org/doc/AAday.doc
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