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Saturday, September 6, 2014                                           ReaderSupported. Editor
Lenny Schafer
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TheKids Who BeatAutism

      By Ruth Padawer, NYTimes

MarkMacluskie, 16, who is no longer autistic. Credit Mark Peckmezian forThe New York Times

      At first, everythingabout L.'s baby boy seemed normal. He met every developmental milestoneand delighted in every discovery. But at around 12 months, B. seemed toregress, and by age 2, he had fully retreated into his own world. He nolonger made eye contact, no longer seemed to hear, no longer seemed tounderstand the random words he sometimes spoke. His easygoing mannergave way to tantrums and head-banging. “He had been this happy, happylittle guy,” L. said. “All of a sudden, he was just fading away,falling apart. I can’t even describe my sadness. It was unbearable.”More than anything in the world, L. wanted her warm and exuberant boyback.
      A few months later,B. received a diagnosis of autism. His parents were devastated. Soonafter, L. attended a conference in Newport, R.I., filled with autismclinicians, researchers and a few desperate parents. At lunch, L. (whoasked me to use initials to protect her son’s privacy) sat across froma woman named Jackie, who recounted the disappearance of her own boy.She said the speech therapist had waved it off, blaming ear infectionsand predicting that Jackie’s son, Matthew, would be fine. She waswrong. Within months, Matthew acknowledged no one, not even hisparents. The last word he had was “Mama,” and by the time Jackie metL., even that was gone.
      In the months andyears that followed, the two women spent hours on the phone and at eachother’s homes on the East Coast, sharing their fears and frustrationsand swapping treatment ideas, comforted to be going through each stepwith someone who experienced the same terror and confusion. When I metwith them in February, they told me about all the treatments they hadtried in the 1990s: sensory integration, megadose vitamins, therapeutichorseback riding, a vile-tasting powder from a psychologist who claimedthat supplements treated autism. None of it helped either boy.
      Together the womenconsidered applied behavior analysis, or A.B.A. — a therapy, muchdebated at the time, that broke down every quotidian action into tiny,learnable steps, acquired through memorization and endless repetition;they rejected it, afraid it would turn their sons into robots. But justbefore B. turned 3, L. and her husband read a new book by a motherclaiming that she used A.B.A. on her two children and that they“recovered” from autism. The day after L. finished it, she tried theexercises in the book’s appendix: Give an instruction, prompt the childto follow it, reward him when he does. “Clap your hands,” she’d say toB. and then take his hands in hers and clap them. Then she would ticklehim or give him an M&M and cheer, “Good boy!” Though she barelyknew what she was doing, she said, “he still made amazing progresscompared with anything he’d gotten before."
      Impressed with B.'simprovement, both families hired A.B.A. specialists from the Universityof California, Los Angeles (where A.B.A. was developed), for three daysof training. The cost was enormous, between $10,000 and $15,000,covering not only the specialists’ fees but also their airfare andhotel stays. The specialists spent hours watching each boy, identifyinghis idiosyncrasies and creating a detailed set of responses for hisparents to use. The trainers returned every couple of months to work ona new phase, seeking to teach the boys not just how to use language butalso how to modulate their voices, how to engage in imaginative play,how to gesture and interpret the gestures of others. The families alsorecruited and trained people to provide A.B.A. to their sons, so eachboy received 35 hours a week of one-on-one therapy.
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•• •


CalgaryPilot Project Tries To Find IT Jobs For People With Autism

      By Bill Graveland, TheCanadian Press

LoganOlafson (left) and Matthew Ford work on electronics in a handoutphoto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Meticulon

      Calgary - Organizersof a pilot project say the very factors that pose challenges for peoplewith autism could be qualities that help them excel in the informationtechnology sector.
      The project inCalgary aims to train and find jobs for individuals with autism tocarry out software testing as well as to oversee quality assurance anddata verification.
      The federalgovernment recently allocated $150,000 to the Sinneave FamilyFoundation and Autism Calgary's not-for-profit organization, Meticulon,for the project.
      "At the moment, onlyabout 20 per cent of individuals who have autism spectrum disorder areemployed. We think in the next 10 years we can double that number,"said Tom Collins, president of the Sinneave Foundation.
      "We look for peoplewho are comfortable with repetitive types of tasks, who have a realattention for detail, individuals who are comfortable doing the samething and being very precise about it.
      "If you and I dodata entry all day long, we have about a four to five per cent errorrate. Someone on the spectrum with the kinds of skills we need willhave a negligible error rate."
      "People with autism,many have precise attention to detail and the ability to focus for muchlonger periods of time," added Dr. Margaret Clarke, seniorvice-president and scientific adviser for the Sinneave Foundation.
      Autism disorders arecharacterized by social and communication difficulties, stereotyped orrepetitive behaviours and interests and, in some cases, cognitivedelays.
      The Western EconomicDiversification office predicts that by 2016 Canadian employers willneed to hire some 106,000 IT workers. That's expected to pose asignificant recruitment challenge.
      Informationtechnology is the application of computers and telecommunicationsequipment to store, retrieve and transmit data, often in the context ofa business or other enterprise.
      Software companyMobility Quotient, which pr
oducesapps such as JustWine for wineenthusiasts, has hired one of the Meticulon students to punch in dataabout wine-tasting events. It can be tedious work, but CEO NikhilSonpal said the employee does her job to a T.
      "She doesn't travel.She's uncomfortable travelling, but she says she goes on a vacationevery time she goes to work, because she can look at these differentplaces that she would never go to that have these wine events," Sonpalsaid.
      "She's excited everytime she comes to work. I don't believe in labels. Words don't matterto me. It's results."
      The Centers forDisease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 68 children incommunities in the United States were identified with autism spectrumdisorder in 2013.
      The report said thedisorder is almost five times more common among boys than girls.
      The pilot project isscheduled to last for one year.
      Follow@BillGraveland on Twitter

• • •

Entrepreneurshipthe Answer For Some With Autism

       By JoyceM. Rosenberg AP

      When Matt Cottleasked his boss to let him work in the supermarket's bakery, she toldhim he'd never do anything more than collect grocery carts.
      After six years ofbagging groceries and pushing carts, Cottle wanted more. He had alreadylearned how to do some baking.
      Cottle is autistic.And today he's an entrepreneur, the owner of Stuttering King Bakery,turning out batches of cookies, brownies and scones for cafes andbusinesses and groups that need catering.
      "I was like, OK, Iam destined to do something greater than that," Cottle says in thekitchen of his family's Scottsdale, Arizona, home, where he spendshours each day filling orders. He generates $1,200 monthly. He namedthe business for Britain's King George VI, whose struggles to speakwere the subject of the film "The King's Speech."
      Cottle is one of afew known small business owners with autism, a brain disorder thataffects a person's ability to comprehend, communicate and interactsocially. There are varying degrees of autism, but even autistic peoplewith the greatest capabilities can find it impossible to get a jobbecause they take longer to read or process information, or becausethey struggle to hold conversations. One in 68 people have some form ofautism, according to government figures.
      There is a growingmovement to help autistic adults find jobs, but for Cottle and hisfamily, the answer was a business of his own.
      Cottle had takentraining to do search and rescue operations. And he tried working in abakery. Both times, he encountered people who didn't understand him,and who ended up yelling at and insulting him, his mother, Peg Cottle,says. He wanted to enroll in a culinary school, but an administratorgently told him and his parents it wouldn't work out. Four years ago,the Southwest Autism Research and Research Center, or SAARC, connectedCottle with a pastry chef who mentored him. In August 2012, heunexpectedly got an order from a cafe operated by Phoenix-based SAARC.At that point, Cottle told his parents he was starting his own bakingbusiness.
      "I'm happy as anangel," he says.
+ Read more.

• • •


Whenthe Caregivers Need Healing

      By Catherine SaintLouis, NYTimes

NicholasPinter's autism and bipolar disorder pose challenges for hisparents. His father, Mike, right, learned mindfulness methods to helpreduce his stress. CreditCourtesy of Pinter family

      “This has happenedbefore,” she tells herself. “It’s nowhere near as bad as before, and itwill pass."
      Robbie Pinter’s21-year-old son, Nicholas, is upset again. He yells. He obsesses aboutsomething that can’t be changed. Even good news may throw him off.
      So Dr. Pinterbreathes deeply, as she was taught, focusing on each intake andrelease. She talks herself through the crisis, reminding herself thatthis is how Nicholas copes with his autism and bipolar disorder.
      With these simpletechniques, Dr. Pinter, who teaches English at Belmont University inNashville, blunts the stress of parenting a child with severedevelopmental disabilities. Dr. Pinter, who said she descends from “along line of the most nervous women,” credits her mindfulness practicewith giving her the tools to cope with whatever might come her way. “Itis very powerful,” she said.
      All parents endurestress, but studies show that parents of children with developmentaldisabilities, like autism, experience depression and anxiety far moreoften. Struggling to obtain crucial support services, the financialstrain of paying for various therapies, the relentless worry overeverything from wandering to the future — all of it can be overwhelming.
      “The tollstress-wise is just enormous, and we know that we don’t do a reallygreat job of helping parents cope with it,” said Dr. Fred R. Volkmar,the director of Child Study Center at Yale University School ofMedicine.
      “Having a child thathas a disability, it’s all-encompassing,” he added. “You could see howpeople would lose themselves."
      But a studypublished last week in the journal Pediatrics offers hope. It foundthat just six weeks of training in simple techniques led to significantreductions in stress, depression and anxiety among these parents.
      Researchers atVanderbilt University randomly assigned 243 mothers of children withdevelopmental disabilities, genetic syndromes or psychiatric issues tomindfulness training or “positive adult development.” At the start ofthe study, 85 percent of the participants reported significantlyelevated stress; 48 percent said they were clinically depressed, and 41percent reported anxiety disorders.
      The first grouppracticed meditation, breathing exercises, and qigong practices to honemental focus. The second received instructions on curbing negativethoughts, practicing gratitude and reclaiming an aspect of adult life.Both groups were led by specially trained mentors, themselves theparents of special-needs children.
      The parents wereassigned some unlikely homework: In the mindfulness group, forinstance, they were told to bring a moment-to-moment awareness to adaily activity like chopping vegetables. An assignment in the positivedevelopment group might entail taking a “guilt inventory” to assess ifyour guilt is healthy or counterproductive.
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• • •

WanderingPoses Perilous Situations For Children With Autism

USC researchers aim to help concerned families grappling with‘elopement'

       By MikeMcNulty


     The mother of a5-year-old boy with autism recalled a frightening experience at anamusement park.
      “We were going intothe arcade, and he was right beside me,” Noreen said. “I look down,”she remembered, “and he is gone."
      Relying on anability to anticipate her son’s actions and experiences — “what wouldDaniel be doing?” she asked herself — Noreen backtracked to the familycar in the parking lot. As she approached the vehicle, she spotted twosmall feet peeking out from behind a tire.
      “I found him,” sherecalled, “like, ‘I’m ready to go.’ "

Another day,another crisis
       Crisisaverted. But one month after that incident, a pajama-clad Danielquietly walked out the front door of his home. A passerby notifiedpolice after pulling Daniel away from a busy intersection just as hewas starting to cross.
      A 2011 nationalsurvey of parents found that almost half of all children with autismhave wandered away from home or school.
      Such stories arelikely familiar to parents of children diagnosed with an autismspectrum disorder. But “wandering” or “elopement” — the clinical termsused to describe a child’s sudden absence from controlled environmentswithout adult supervision — is a behavior only recently identified ascommon to this population.
      To explore thisproblem in more detail, Assistant Professor Olga Solomon and ProfessorMary Lawlor at the USC Division of Occupational Science andOccupational Therapy analyzed digital video and audio data providing alook into the experiences of African-American families and theirchildren’s autism diagnoses, interventions and services in Los AngelesCounty. The data has been collected for “Autism in Urban Context:Linking Heterogeneity with Health and Service Disparities,” amixed-methods urban ethnographic research project funded by theNational Institute of Mental Health.
      Theinterdisciplinary research team includes Professor Sharon Cermak of theUSC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and fourfaculty members from the Keck School of
Medicineof USC: Marie Poulsen,professor of clinical pediatrics; Thomas Valente, professor ofpreventive medicine; Marian Williams, assistant professor of clinicalpediatrics; and Larry Yin, assistant professor of clinical pediatricsand medical director of the Boone Fetter Clinic at Children’s HospitalLos Angeles.

 ‘Darting’episodes can be fatal
      A 2011 nationalsurvey of parents found that almost half of all children with autismhave wandered away from home or school — a behavior often described byfamily members as “running,” “bolting” or “darting."
      Because the childrenhave no physical features distinguishing them from typically developingpeers, strangers who witness an unsupervised child with autism may notrealize anything is amiss. Combined with the disorder’s social andcommunication deficits, which may deter a child from approaching astranger to ask for help, these episodes can be especially dangerous,even fatal.
+ Read more.

• • •

Samplingof Media Reports of Abuse Against The Autistic for 2014:

InMaryland, twoteenage girls faced sentencing after holding a butcher's knife to thethroat of a 16-year-old boy with autism and luring him onto ahalf-frozen pond until he broke through. They refused to help. Theyrecorded the incident on a cellphone.

TwoCaliforniaparents were arrested for rooming their 11-year-old son in a large dogkennel.

ANew York Cityparaprofessional punched an 11-year-old boy with autism in a schoolcafeteria. Police, after watching video, charged the paraprofessionalwith felony assault, endangering a minor's welfare, menacing, andharassment. The boy had spilled water, and had not understood theparaprofessional's request to clean it up.

AMichigan teacherverbally mocked in class a 10-year-old male student with autism stuckin a chair. She recorded the incident on her cellphone.

InTexas, threeteens robbed at gunpoint, beat, and knocked down a 17-year-old boy withautism.

Recordedon video ina Walmart parking lot, a Florida man was arrested on child abusecharges for beating with closed fist a nonverbal, 13-year-old boy withautism.

Alsoin Florida, andon video, a special education school bus driver was arrested on childabuse charges for repeatedly slapping across the face a 10-year-old boywith autism physically restrained in a harness while on the bus.

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•• •


MiddleEar May HoldAnswers For Autism Treatment

      By Julia May

Revolutionary:American Psychiatrist Stephen Porges, left, and JoeTucci, chief of the Australian Childhood Foundation, in Melbourne.Photo: Josh Robenstone

      You're home alone,in bed, with the lights off. You hear a dull thud at the other end ofthe house, like an intruder trying to break in. You hold your breathand your eyes widen. Your heart pounds, your ears strain. You want toget up and investigate or pick up the phone to call the police, but youcan't. You're frozen with fear.
      Behind theseinstantaneous physical reactions is a system designed to protect you.It begins in your middle ear, which detects the sounds and feeds themto your brain, which communicates to your nervous system that danger isimminent. This triggers physical reactions suited to the level ofthreat. Fortunately, for most of us, the visceral urge to fight, fly orfreeze is relatively uncommon.
      But for people whohave experienced trauma or neglect, and those with some psychiatricdisorders, everyday scenarios can switch the nervous system to highalert. So accustomed are they to danger they detect it everywhere,unable to distinguish between friend and foe.  Flooded withfear, they freeze out other people and can end up estranged fromsociety. It can harm every aspect of life, from forging relationships,to learning, to being physically well.
      Americanpsychiatrist Stephen Porges has spent his life trying to decode thenervous system. In the process he has explored the function of themiddle ear in helping us sense danger, interpret emotional meaning,express ourselves and even stay alive.
      He has developed asimple but "revolutionary" therapy, called the Listening Project, whichhe says retunes the nervous system via the middle ear, to trigger botha sense of safety and the ability to socially engage.
      Dr Porges hassuccessfully treated children with psychiatric disorders and learningproblems in the US and, in a pioneering study with the AustralianChildhood Foundation, will treat Australian children affected bytrauma. His supporters hope it could present a breakthrough in the waywe treat and support children who have experienced abuse orneglect.  +Read more.
• • •

FederalOfficials Order Medicaid To Cover Autism Services

      By Michelle Andrews

      When YuriMaldonado's 6-year-old son was diagnosed with autism four years ago,she learned that getting him the therapy he needed from California’sMedicaid plan for low-income children was going to be tough.
      Medi-Cal, asCalifornia's plan is called, does provide coverage of autism servicesfor some children who are severely disabled by the disorder, incontrast to many states which offer no autism coverage. But Maldonado’sson was approved for 30 hours a week of applied behavioral analysis(ABA), a type of behavior modification therapy that has been shown tobe effective with autistic children, and she was worried that wasn’tenough.
      So she and herhusband, neither of whose jobs offered health insurance, bought anindividual private policy for their son, with a $900 monthly price tag,to get him more of the comprehensive therapy.
      "I don't know anyfamily that can really afford that," says Maldonado. "We made somesacrifices."
      That should bechanging soon. In July, the Centers for Medicare & MedicaidServices announced that comprehensive autism services must be coveredfor children under all state Medicaid and Children’s Health InsuranceProgram plans, another federal-state program that provide healthcoverage to lower-income children.  Although coverage ofapplied behavioral analysis, which uses positive reinforcement andother techniques to encourage behavior change, isn't explicitlyrequired, advocates expect it will be covered.  "Since ABA isthe most accepted, effective treatment that isn't experimental andinvestigational, you can't just exclude it entirely," says DanielUnumb, executive director of Autism Speaks' legal resource center.
      "It's going to helpa ton," says Maldonado. "We'll be able to pay our rent on time, andwe'll be able to pay some bills that we have."
+Read more.

• • •


PlungeInKindergartners' Vaccination Rate Worries Health Officials

       By PalomaEsquivel, Sandra Poindexter

     A student receives awhooping cough vaccination; the state is experiencing a whooping coughepidemic, with more than 7,500 cases this year. (Los Angeles Times)
      California parentsare deciding against vaccinating their kindergarten-age children attwice the rate they did seven years ago, a fact public health expertssaid is contributing to the reemergence of measles across the state andmay lead to outbreaks of other serious diseases.
      The percentage ofkindergartens in which at least 8% of students are not fully vaccinatedbecause of personal beliefs has more than doubled as well, according todata on file with the state. That threshold is significant becausecommunities must be immunized at a high rate to avoid widespreaddisease outbreaks. It is a concept known as herd immunity, and formeasles and whooping cough at least 92% of kids need to be immune,experts say.
      High vaccinationlevels in the U.S. have helped millions of children avoid seriousdiseases and saved tens of thousands a year from paralysis, birthdefects and death, experts say. But the risk of infectious diseaseremains a concern. Recent measles cases, for example, were brought intothe country by travelers and quickly spread to several unvaccinatedindividuals.
      "Five days a week,[children are] in their small classroom," said Shannon Stokley, anepidemiologist at the National Center for Immunization and RespiratoryDiseases, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."That's the perfect conditions for spreading germs and spreadinginfections."
      State law requireskindergartners to be vaccinated against measles, pertussis ( whoopingcough), polio, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, chicken pox, diphtheria andtetanus.
      Parents who sayimmunization is against their personal beliefs can get exemptions. Someopt out of all the mandatory shots, while others allow students to getselect vaccinations. There are also temporary and medical exemptions.
      That makes exactvaccination rates hard to assess. But the upward trend in beliefexemptions is troubling to health experts. California is coping with awhooping cough epidemic and earlier this year experienced a cluster ofmeasles outbreaks, thanks in part to insufficient vaccination.
      The anti-vaccinationmovement is being driven by parents who question the medical consensusthat inoculations are safe. Some are concerned that vaccines couldtrigger autism — a theory that has been thoroughly discredited byscientists.
      Holly Blumhardt, amother of three unvaccinated children (two of them attend Orange Countypublic school), said her family believes in staying healthy "from theinside out." In her view, that means taking vitamin and mineralsupplements, steering clear of genetically modified foods, gettingregular chiropractic care and maintaining an "active lifestyle."
      "Most parents wantto do the … healthiest thing for their child," Blumhardt said. "Itshould be their choice."
+ Read more.

• • •

QuiTam, Class Action Cases Against Merck Proceed

      By Gina Passarella, TheLegal Intelligencer

      A Pennsylvaniafederal judge has allowed the majority of claims to proceed againstMerck & Co. in a qui tam suit and related antitrust putativeclass action over the company's testing and government sales of itsmumps vaccine.
      U.S. District JudgeC. Darnell Jones II of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued oneopinion Friday in two related suits—United States v. Merck &Co. and Chatom Primary Care v. Merck & Co.
      Two formervirologists at Merck brought claims as relators under the False ClaimsAct, alleging Merck, the sole company approved by the U.S. Food andDrug Administration to sell a mumps vaccine, falsified testing of theefficacy of the drug and misstated the drug's efficacy to thegovernment as having a 95 percent efficacy rate, according to theopinion. The United States declined to intervene in that suit.
      The putative classaction is based on the claims made in the qui tam action and arguesMerck's alleged "manipulation and misrepresentation" of the vaccine'sefficacy allowed for Merck's monopoly of the mumps vaccine market,Jones said. The class action raises various Sherman Act violations andviolations of state laws, according to the opinion.
      Merck moved todismiss both actions.
+Read more.
• • •


MomWho Tried ToKill Her Autistic Daughter Pleads Guilty To Child Abuse

Imagecourtesy of: Heritage Broadcasting

      Kelli Stapleton, aNorthern Michigan mom who tried to kill her autistic daughter Isabelleand herself, has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of first-degreechild abuse, MSN is reporting.
      In a plea enteredTuesday morning in Benzie County Circuit Court, Mrs. Stapleton avoideda trial for attempted murder. Nevertheless, she is still facing life inprison, according to Benzie County Chief Assistant Prosecutor JenniferTang-Anderson. It’s a sentence Mrs. Tang-Anderson hopes Mrs. Stapletonreceives.
      A conviction of thisfelony carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison, and the prisonsentence we expect it to carry is the right resolution for thecommunity, the defendant, and our victim, Isabelle.
      Kelli Stapleton hadkept a blog detailing the difficulties she and her family had faced inraising a child with autism, according to Daily Mail. As a very smallchild, Isabelle (known affectionately as “Issy”) rarely slept. It wasonly when she was put on medication, at age 8, was she able to focusand remain calm. Still, she was prone to violent outbursts; twice shebeat her mother into unconsciousness, and her younger sister Ainsleywas so terrified of Issy’s outbursts that she hid in her room for herown safety. Issy was also violent toward her classmates at school, tothe point that her parents made the decision to pull her out of regularschool and place her in the Great Lake Center for Autism Treatment inPotage, Michigan.
      Despite Issy’sprogress, Kelli was at her “wit’s end” with Issy’s behavior. She wouldlater tell hospital workers that she felt it would be best for her andher family if Kelli and Issy both “went to Heaven.” Detective RickSekely told Michigan Live:
      “[Kelli Stapleton]intended to kill her daughter and commit suicide and it was basicallybecause of all of the years of frustration with her daughter’s autismand her behavior."
      Prosecutors allegethat on September 3, 2013, Kelli told Issy that the two were going togo camping and eat s’mores. Instead, Mrs. Stapleton gave Issy extramedication to put her to sleep, and then lit a charcoal stove in thefamily’s van, believing that carbon monoxide poisoning would kill themboth. Both Kelli and Issy likely would have died had Kelli not openedthe van door to get more charcoal, letting fresh air in. Still, Issyspent four days in a coma, and her recovery has been described as“miraculous."
      As of this post, nosentencing date has been set.
• • •

FourDead, One Autistic Child, In Illinois Murder-Suicide

      (CBS)– Four familymembers were killed in a murder-suicide Saturday evening inside aresidence in west suburban Elmhurst.
      Police identifiedthe family members as 82-year-old Francis Stack, 82-year-old JoanStack, 48-year-old Francis Stack Jr. and 57-year-old Mary Stack. Allfour had gunshot wounds to the head.
      According to theDuPage County Coroner, Frank Stack Sr. committed suicide after killinghis wife and two kids.
      Elmhurst policeresponded to the request of a well-being check around 6:45 p.m.Saturday in the 600 block of Chatham. They entered a home and made theterrible discovery, finding four family members dead all with gunshotwounds.
      “When the officersarrived at the scene they entered the home and found several familymembers deceased,” said Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth. “There isno danger to the residents or the community at this time."
      While investigatorslabel what happened in the home as a crime scene, neighbors describe itvery differently.
      “He made a difficultdecision that he felt was the right thing to do,” said neighbor PeteSterchele.
      Sterchele has livednext to Francis Stack for more than a decade. He says Stack’s wife,Joan, was unable to leave their home due to severe arthritis andterminal cancer.
      They had a son,Francis Jr., and a daughter, Mary. Sterchele describes both as havingautism and severe disabilities.
      “He loved thatfamily very much and I think the burden got too much for him,” he said.“He did mentioned to someone else wouldn’t it be nice if they could allgo together.
      While policecontinue to investigate, Sterchele believes Saturday night – Stack madethat thought a reality.
      “We have all come tothe same conclusion that we all really admire him for what he did,”said Sterchele.

• • •

NYMom Charged In Girl's Death Could Get Trust Fund

      White Plains, N.Y.(AP)- A New York special education teacher accused of killing herseverely disabled 8-year-old daughter by withholding food and medicalcare could inherit nearly $1 million from the girl's trust fund - evenif she's convicted.
      Nicole Diggs and hernow-husband have pleaded not guilty to charges of negligent homicideand child endangerment in the 2012 death of Alayah Savarese(sah-vuh-REES').
      Authorities sayAlayah wasn't regularly fed, didn't receive proper medical treatmentand suffered welts from neglect. Diggs' lawyer denies her clientneglected Alayah.
      If convicted, Diggswouldn't automatically be prohibited from inheriting because the chargedoesn't allege she intended to kill the girl.
      The $2 million trustfund came from a malpractice settlement stemming from complicationsduring Alayah's birth. The girl was unable to walk, talk or feedherself.

• • •

AutisticTeenager Paralysed After ‘Bullies Force Him Off Bridge OntoRocks 50ft Below’

Joshuatold his family he had been bullied by the same group of boysfor the last five years (Picture: photographybylorna / Wales NewsService)

      An autistic teenagerhas been left paralysed after bullies forced him off a bridge onto therocky bank 50ft below, his family claim.
      Joshua Davies, 18,has been told he is unlikely ever to walk again after he was allegedlypelted with stones by bullies that he climbed a bridge to escape from –causing him to fall.
      Joshua, who wasdiagnosed with Aspergers when he was 14, told family members he and afriend were being chased by a gang of boys who had given him trouble inthe past.
      ‘Joshua and hisfriend were walking by the river, when they realised some boys werefollowing them,’ stepfather Michael Morgan, 35, told WalesOnline.
      ‘They heard themshout ‘there they are – let’s get them!’ and climbed on to the steelsupports of the bridge to get away.
      ‘One of the stoneshit Joshua on the shoulder, then another hit him on his heel and helost his grip and fell.’ According to Joshua’s family, the teen hasbeen bullied for the last five years by a gang of boys which has forcedhim to avoid certain parts of his local area in Pontypridd, South Wales.
      Earlier this summer,they claim Joshua was attacked by the group when he refused to buy themalcohol.
      And Michael addedthat his stepson had approached police for help on more than 15occasions.
      ‘I believe thiscould have been prevented,’ he said.
+ Read more.

• • •


Opinionof Death byCaregivers Evolves

       By ChristyGutowski and Vikki Ortiz Healy

      Four crosses wereplaced in front of the Stack family home in Elmhurst last week. FrankStack's neighbors expressed sorrow and empathy after learning the82-year-old caregiver killed his ailing wife and two disabled children,then himself. (Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune)
      The actions of anelderly Elmhurst man — committing homicide and suicide — inside hisfamily's tidy bungalow last Saturday have fed into a complex debateabout death at the hands of family or other caregivers of the elderlyand severely disabled.
      According tosurviving family members, Frank Stack's killing of his ailing wife andtwo adult children with developmental disabilities came from "a placeof love." Multiple neighbors and friends joined in strongly defendingStack's lifelong devotion to his family — including his final act.
      And those spiriteddefenses may highlight a shift in the way societal views have evolvedover the last few decades on suicide, the stress of caregiving and thevalue of life, some experts say.
      "The fact that thesympathies go to the perpetrator tells you there's somethinginteresting going on here," said Kristi L. Kirschner, professor ofmedical humanities and bioethics at the Northwestern UniversityFeinberg School of Medicine.
      But to lawenforcement officials, there's no gray area.
      DuPage CountyState's Attorney Robert Berlin said Stack would have been heldcriminally responsible had he lived and the evidence supported charges.The circumstances of a crime are a factor used in mitigation atsentencing — but would not have influenced whether he was prosecuted,Berlin said.
      "If the evidence isthere and we can prove he killed three people, regardless of his age,he would be charged," Berlin said. "There is no exemption — murder ismurder."
      Police entered theStack home Aug. 30 at the suggestion of a concerned family member anddiscovered the bodies of Stack, 82; his wife, Joan, also 82, who hadbeen receiving hospice care; and their two disabled adult children,Frank Jr., 48, and Mary, 57.
      Although there wasno suicide note, police said the retired utility lineman shot his wifeand children before turning the gun on himself.
      Joan and Frank Stackare survived by two married daughters, five grandchildren and fivegreat-grandchildren. In an exclusive statement provided to the Tribuneon Thursday, Gloria Stack, who asked to be identified only by hermaiden name, said her parents both experienced health issues in recentyears. Her mother's health had deteriorated, she said.
      Although the agingparents had arranged for "Frankie" and Mary to live in small nearbygroup homes in the late 1990s, they brought them back to the familyhome in Elmhurst nearly every weekend and for holidays. Despite thedifficulties they had with the "tremendous amount of work" that wasrequired and the responsibility they felt for the children, theirdaughter said she doesn't believe her parents ever complained.
+ Read more.

• • •

ImportantAction Alert: Share Your Vaccine Injury Stories

      By Thinking Moms'Revolution 

     Congressman Posey wants your story about yourchild’svaccines reactions: regression into autism after MMR (or othervaccines), adverse effects, long-term health outcomes, etc… He needsthese 1000′s of them ASAP so he can share the reality of our vaccineprogram with other Congressmen.  We must act now! This is yourchance to have your voice heard.  Explain what happened toyour child, and let your Representative know what is happening to ourchildren.
      Email your story toto ONE of these email addresses: pcarroll@healthchoice.orgOR marcella@vaxtruth.orgOR

• • •

SafeMindsCalls for Immediate Investigation Into Vaccine-Autism ScienceManipulation at HHS

      By SafeMinds  

Fraudinvestigation is warranted, says SafeMinds.

      In a statement,William Thompson, Ph.D. acknowledged that he and his co-authors“omitted statistically significant information” linking the MMR vaccineto an increased risk of autism in a 2004 study. An independentreanalysis of the same data suggests that African American males have a340% increased risk of autism if they received the vaccine prior to 36months of age. Thompson also admitted to a cover-up of the increasedrisk, stating, “Decisions were made regarding which findings to reportafter the data were collected, and I believe that the final studyprotocol was not followed."
      “This is the tip ofthe iceberg,” says Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, Vice President of SafeMinds.“We have found problems with every result generated by the CDC claimingno autism-vaccine link.  Sadly, their studies were utilized bythe Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to deny restitution to over5000 families whose children developed autism after vaccines."
      In 2004, CDCresearcher Thomas Verstraeten published a study examining the mercurypreservative thimerosal that had similar protocol manipulations. Thefirst run of the raw data obtained by SafeMinds showed that childrenwere 7.6 to 11.4 times more likely to have autism if they had highexposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines compared to no exposure.Four alterations of the data occurred until the final publicationshowed no statistically significant findings.
      A 2007 CDC study waswritten to minimize findings of increased autism features of tics andlanguage problems from thimerosal which Thompson now admits to in hislatest disclosures. A 2010 CDC study utilized a statisticalovermatching technique to eliminate detection of autism risk. TwoCDC-sponsored studies having data inconsistencies and conclusions wereauthored by Poul Thorsen, now a fugitive on the Inspector General’smost wanted list for wire fraud and money laundering.
      To expose thispattern of deception, SafeMinds calls for: an investigation by aSpecial Independent Counsel with subpoena and prosecutorial powers;Congressional legislation removing vaccine safety oversight from theCDC; Other knowledgeable parties to come forward with the truth asThompson has done.

     Note: The opinions expressed inCOMMENTARY are those of the author and do not necessarily represent theviewsof the Schafer Autism Report.


Today'sSAR newslist
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  InThis Issue:


The Kids Who Beat Autism

Calgary Pilot Project Tries To Find IT Jobs For People With Autism

Entrepreneurship the Answer For Some With Autism

When the Caregivers Need Healing

Wandering Poses Perilous Situations For Children With Autism

Sampling of Media Reports of Abuse Against The Autistic for 2014:

Wandering Poses Perilous Situations For Children With Autism

Middle Ear May Hold Answers For Autism Treatment

Federal Officials Order Medicaid To Cover Autism Services

Plunge In Kindergartners' Vaccination Rate Worries Health Officials

Qui Tam, Class Action Cases Against Merck Proceed

Mom Who Tried To Kill Her Autistic Daughter Pleads Guilty To Child Abuse

Four Dead, One Autistic Child, In Illinois Murder-Suicide

NY Mom Charged In Girl's Death Could Get Trust Fund

Autistic Teenager Paralysed After ‘Bullies Force Him Off Bridge OntoRocks 50ft Below’

Opinion of Death by Caregivers Evolves

Important Action Alert: Share Your Vaccine Injury Stories

SafeMinds Calls for Immediate Investigation Into Vaccine-Autism ScienceManipulation at HHS


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BiomedicalTreatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders
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