I thought I would share one of these stories.
From Kendra Pettengill:
I just learned a very tough lesson.
When my daughter Keely and I were invited to the DAN conference I also got a call from a TV reporter. He was asked to do a story on Autism by his station, and it was to be big, several minutes worth on two consecutive nights. He wanted to highlight Keely and I and our success story.
He admitted to me he knew nothing about Autism. I sent him a 12 point paper pointing out what I feel are the 12 biggest issues in Autism. I told him straight up that his bosses would never allow him to tell the real story, and the last reporter that did in Texas lost her job. He assured me that they were family owned and he could do any story. I told him that he might be able to tell one of the twelve points, or maybe weave in two of them, but no more than that or it would be confusing, watered down, and wouldn't make the point.
He and a camera man came and spent an entire Saturday at our house. We poured our hearts out to him. I told them every detail of getting the diagnosis, her horrible symptoms, and the prediction of her ending in an institution by the age of 12 or 13. I talked abou how abandoned families are, that no treatments are offered here in Oregon and how we had to go it alone, with help from family only. I told him all about DAN and Keely's horrendous reactions to her vaccines, her near death and then Autism. How we started the GFCF diet and within two weeks she started talking. We then started her ABA program and progress exploded. And he met her, and interviewed her. Both he and the camera man seemed not just shocked by her condition and abilities but she charmed the hell out of them. She was, I can assure you on her A game. I gave them before and after videos as well as her diagnosis including graphic descriptions of her worst behaviors observed during diagnosis.
Dr. Rimland had sent a message that he would do a phone interview with the reporter. The reporter never followed up on that offer, missing a huge opportunity. But the story just aired Wednesday and Thursday nights and Keely and I were not included at all. The reporter apparently ran into the ND crowd in Eugene and gave two nights of fluff stories with people only mildly affected. Despite weeks of advertising this huge piece and two part series titled "THE AUTISM EXPLOSION", the epidemic and xplosion were never even mentioned. Causes, treatment, and especially recovery were not mentioned.
We were sold down the river. He didn't even have the journalistic integrity to tell me we were being left out of the story. Hundreds of people were waiting to see it. I am devastated, but I should have known better. You would not have known what the face of Autism looks like from this fluff. The worst journalism I have seen yet. I have written over 10 letters that friends and family and autism families are sending to KEZI as I cannot send them all in my name.
Keely has worked so hard, she is mainstreamed now in third grade, 100% independent, no pullouts, no aide, making Straight A's. I am so proud of her and how very far she has come. She deserved to be recognized and to help give families hope that recovery is possible and that there are treatments that can make a difference in the outcome of these kids. I cannot believe how ticked off I am.
Here is the information on the station reporter and the two pieces he did.
http://www.kezi.com/content/contentID/15480 (Part 1)
http://www.kezi.com/content/contentID/15492 (Part 2)
KEZI 9 News - Tristan Mcallister
He didn't say anything about Autism. They advertised constantly with this ominous music, "Tune in for our two part special, The Autism Explosion why the huge numbers in Oregon" and then never addressed it. They didn't even say what the numbers are, didn't as why. Just advertised that was the story, then showed two semi-interesting human interest stories.
I found out that he met up with the woman in the first part who is friends with the woman in the 2nd part. Her name is Nan Lester and to many of us in Oregon she is public enemy #1. She is pretty much in the ND camp. She has dictated policy to the local school district and other families are left to live with her view of things or go elsewhere. She interjects herself into anything Autism related in Eugene. She interrupts parents at school meetings and then smooths the ruffled feathers of school officials and tells them that a great job they are doing. I know families in Eugene homeschooling rather than subject their child to the Eugene programs dictated by Nan Lester. [ed. note - in a later email Ms. Pettingill reiterated her opinion of Ms. Lester, but says that her comment that she was public enemy number one, "might have been a little strong".]
The kids in this epidemic are not going to teach art classes or get a drivers license, or get married, nor does anyone have hopes of them being a Senator or President. They put forth a very narrow view of Autism, gave as my own mother said, "Zero information about anything to do with Autism", and left our story of overcoming all the odds and diversity, struggling as a single parent to provide programs for my daughter and having enormous success through biomedical, chelation, and ABA to where we are today, they left our story on the cutting room floor. Hundreds of people were watching to see how they would present Keely and I, and he completely left us out. Apparently causes, treatments, and potential recovery are just too controversial, but fluff is ok.
What a story of hope we could have been to parents not knowing what to do.
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