July 31, 2008

The Merck Mafia

... I am not actually being factious here.

Suffolk County, New York has filed a suit against Merck and Schering-Plough with lots of big words in it like "RICO" and "indictable".

Shearlings Got Plowed/Pharmalot

July 30, 2008

The Passing of Dr. Frank Engley

From Linda Weinmaster:
It is with deep sadness that I inform the autism community that we have lost another hero. Dr. Frank Engley passed away last night. It is no exaggeration to say that Dr.Engley was the very first scientist to raise the alarm of the dangers of thimerosal with his landmark paper.  This last year infused him with a sense of purpose and determination to alert the world that the use of thimerosal must be stopped. He was deeply saddened that the FDA never followed through with his recommendations on eliminating thimerosal from all human biologicals. It was my honor and privilege to know this incredible man.  I will miss his brilliance and sense of humor.  You are my hero Dr. Engley. 
Linda Weinmaster
Vice President
No Mercury
Trustee; Alan D. Clark Research Foundation 
From Anne Dachel:
The efforts of Dr. Engley to prevent this disaster will be a lasting
tribute to him.  We need to remind the public of his early findings:

"Doctor Frank Engley a researcher and microbiologist who served on boards with the Centers for Disease Control, the FDA, and EPA throughout the 70s and 80s.

"I am afraid they have a tremendous amount of pressure being brought to bear by the medical profession, by the pediatricians, by congress, and by industry, and so they are under pressure&and someday they will have to live with the fact with what they said is wrong," Dr. Frank Engley.

Dr. Engley says the FDA knew about the dangers of thimerosal back in the 70s and 80s, when he served on its boards.

"Industries did not comment. They thought it was just generally going away. And it practically did. They came out with another report. The FDA about eight years later, and about 1998." Dr. Engley said.

"I would say to you, the FDA is partly to blame for the mecuricals still being on the market all that length of time. If they would have followed through with our 1982 report, vaccines would have been freed of thimerosal and all this autism as they tell me would not have occurred. But as it is, it all occurred," said Dr. Engley."

July 28, 2008

Choosing Michael Savage as a Teacher

When we give someone a national radio show, we are, in effect, choosing a teacher. When we pay that teacher, or go back again and again to be taught by him, we endorse that teaching.

Ask yourself, is this a man that you want teaching your children, your parents, your friends, your neighbors, your child's bus driver, the woman at the grocery story and the angry young man on the corner? Is this the teacher that you want to learn from?

There are SO many voices today available for us to learn from. There are teachers out there who have many of the same core political and social beliefs as Mr. Savage, but speak to those issues with engaging wisdom rather than the irresponsible cruelty.

If there is one theme that conservative talk radio can be boiled down to, it is that of personal responsibility. The irony of being taught lessons in personal responsibility by someone whom cannot simply apologize when they do something wrong, something my six year old with autism can do, should be obvious to everyone paying attention to this issue. I want to remind everyone of Mr. Savages response to the criticism of his comments when they first appeared.  From Radar:

While advocates for those suffering from the disorder are outraged, the unrepentant chatterer expressed pride in his ability to inspire "discussion on the subject," which has resulted in exactly the kind of publicity he desires. "What else do you think I should make fun of," he went on to ask a reporter, "pediatric cancer? Juvenile diabetes? Seriously, I'll say anything! Just keep writing about me!"

One of the themes in my writing is the immeasurable damage that is done in our world, and to our disabled children specifically, simply from the inability to repent.  We teach our children to say that they are sorry and clean up their messes when they do something wrong, but we don't hold ourselves to this standard, nor do we hold our leadership to this standard.

If we do not hold Michael Savage to even a minimum standard of wisdom that someone with a bully pulpit like his should maintain, and if we do not hold him even to a minimum standard of repentance for this attack on disabled children and their struggling parents, then truly, there is no minimum standard.  If this is not enough for people to walk away from him, then ask yourselves if there is anything that can be said that will leave a bad enough taste in people's mouths to cause them to walk away?

And if not, what does that say about what we have become?

It is time for us to move on from this teacher to one who will exercise his or her gift for teaching with more wisdom and grace, who has the maturity to learn from those they injure and is responsible enough admit culpability and clean up their mess when they wrong.

HT: Theresa Cedillo

July 27, 2008

Mainstream Medicine Does It The Max Power Way

Max Power: Kids, there’s three ways to do things. The right way, the wrong way, and the Max Power way!

Bart: Isn’t that the wrong way?

Max Power: Yeah, but faster!
The theme of the day is the outing of the efforts by Mainstream Medicine to deal with the problem of parents turning on their brains and doing their own research in to vaccines.

Medicine is quite upset that parents are no longer ignoring MainMed's conflicts of interest, swallowing their unsatisfactory answers to important vaccine questions, failing to notice pediatricians collective yawn at the autism epidemic (and the ADD epidemic and the diabetes epidemic and the asthma epidemic etc.) and deciding to go to other sources of information.  The solution they propose?

They have decided to take autism seriously, engage the parent community a dialog that holds them to account in their vaccine statements, throw out bad research, acknowledge the truckload of evidence that backs the vaccine/autism theory, design studies in partnership with parents that will answer the important questions and enforce ethics guidelines to attack all the credibility and conflict of interest problems they have.


They are doing it the Max Power way.  They are going to take the failing tactics of the passed decade but this time do more of it with more famous people, better graphics and an interactive experience.  New and Improved Dismissal of Parent Questions and Concerns.  Now with more Patronizing!  Apparently since giving inadequate answers to parents in the exam room has yielded such a poor result in maintaining high rates of vaccine uptake, they are going to up the ante and take their bad shtick to You Tube.

On Age of Autism Katie Wright has a piece on the CDC's recent conference call to figure out how to get parents to just stop asking questions, and stop doing their own research and just vaccinate like they are told.

Docs are encouraged by Nurse Patricia Stinchfield to act compassionate and humor parents, but never encouraged to actually consider the idea that have a point.  And right on cue she points us back to Dr. Paul, "100,000 vaccines at once" Offit:
"I like Dr. Paul Offit’s analogy of the ocean analogy. So describe to parents that the immune system’s like an ocean. And that at that first two month visit for example, they’re going to have eight antigens added to that immune ocean.

Think of it like eight cups of water being added to an ocean. It’s far from overload and far from being too weak to accept those."
Since when has eight cups of water managed to change the behavior of the entire ocean, put it on high alert, and get it to seek out and kill every shark contained in it across the surface of the planet and occasionally overstep its banks and incapacitate New York City?

And how about this gloss over in teaching docs how to asses were the parent is coming from in order to talk them into vaccinating:

"Sometimes we’ll find parents that say well I came in at two months and they got a bunch of shots. I thought that was all that they needed.

What’s their experience? Maybe they have a person in their family who has had a significant side effect to a vaccine. What are their emotions? What are their beliefs? Try to determine that."
Note that a family history of vaccine injuries is something to talk a parent down from, not something that the doctor should take into account and USE MORE CAUTION IN VACCINATING!

Nurse Stinchfield boils down the point of the conversation with parents in this telling statement:

"You want to keep the conversation focused. You want to control without being controlling...

...But we need to help parents be guided to the answer together.

We wouldn’t say to a parent, well your child needs open heart surgery, but that’s up to you. You can choose if you want to do that or not.

So I’m not sure why we say that when we’re talking about vaccines.

So the need for vaccination is the same as the need for open heart surgery, and parents should be "guided" to believe that they ultimately cannot say no to either.

So this is not an earnest conversation by any stretch.  It is a manipulation with a predetermined outcome.  "To control" the parent in to vaccinating.

When my husband read this, he hearkened back to the four months he once spent selling cars.  "You know what that is?  That is text book, day one lesson in how to sell.  They are not giving medical advice, they are selling vaccines exactly like I was taught to sell cars".

And she also asks doctors to keep in mind that:
"...there is not a physiologic reason to design an alternative immunization schedule. And there’s no biological rationale for splitting up a dose, giving an (M) and an (R.) (instead of MMR)."
And that is pretty much all the evidence we need to know that MainMed is not only not taking our concerns seriously but they are not even listening to our vaccine safety arguments.

Did I mention that the conference call was entitled , "Why Science Is Not Enough".  Because, of course, CDC believes that Science has spoken and there is no evidence of any link between vaccines and autism.

The most mockable part of this conference call?  The fact that they didn't actually bring in mothers who are not vaccinating to actual hear their concerns, they brought mothers who were "in the vaccine business".

Katie was right, you need to read this thing for yourself.  I could go on, but I think I have made enough points here.

Natural News has a story on a JAMA study on You Tube videos with the focus on countering the messages that urge caution in vaccinating.

"[YouTube is] the perfect venue for an anecdote, both positive or negative," Jennifer Keelan said. Wilson said that vaccine advocates can no longer ignore or marginalize anti-vaccine advocates.

"In the past that could work, but it's not going to work anymore. Now there are ways for people with these viewpoints to communicate with each other," he said. "These sites are now providing people with a mechanism by which they can bypass the conventional filters and get their messages out. It can be dangerous."

Some observations on this quote by this University of Toronto researcher.

First, it acknowledges that the plan of mainstream medicine for dealing with people who question the safety and efficacy of vaccines was to "ignore and marginalize" them.

Second, it acknowledges that there have been "filters" in place to keep any voice that critizes vaccination from being heard by the general public.

Of course we have been living this for years, so it is no surprise to us.  But it is interesting to see docs finally admitting it.

Bottom line, The Semmelweis Reflex is still in full effect.  Decades passed and untold numbers of people died between the time Semmelweis discovered that doctors were making their patients sick by not washing their hands, and the time when germ theory was accepted by MainMed and docs actually started washing their hands.  How long will it take before they realize that they are harming their patients with their hubris and actually investigate and address the vaccine problem correctly?

The truly shameful thing?  MainMed has the Semmelweis story to learn from, yet it does not learn.

Chandler's Chelation in the Local News

We were interviewed by a New Hampshire paper that ran two stories today.  One about our experience with chelation and the other about the NIMH Study.

Please note the superhuman cuteness of my baby.

Mother: 'We're not waiting for the government'

Article Date: Sunday, July 27, 2008
Courtesy photo Chandler Taylor, 6, of Brunswick, Maine, gets biweekly chelation treatments at the Chelation Medical Center in Gray, Maine, to treat his autism.

Ginger Taylor wasn't sure what she could do to help her son, Chandler, when he first was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 2.

But after the Brunswick, Maine, woman discovered how much he benefited from chelation therapy, as well as a gluten- and casein-free and special carbohydrate diet, Taylor found the answer to her prayers.

She said her son, now 6, is well on the road to recovery.

Chandler receives biweekly, 15-minute intravenous treatments at the Chelation Medical Center in Gray, Maine, to remove lead, mercury and other toxic metals from his body. The treatments use a fluid containing agents that help remove the metals from the bloodstream. He also receives "Myers" cocktails to restore minerals and vitamins to his system, Taylor said.

The family's health insurance will not cover the procedure, the cocktail or special diet supplements. Taylor said they pay $300 weekly for everything, but the results have been worth it.

Courtesy photo Scott Taylor of Brunswick, Maine, plays with his son, Chandler, 6. Chandler was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age 2 and his parents said a combination of chelation treatment, a gluten-free and casein-free diet and a special carbohydrate diet have helped him develop better speech and learning skills.

"In the first two weeks he had dramatic improvement, and he started potty training. He has better eye contact, and his words took off," Taylor said. "He went from speaking four-word sentences to four sentences."

She said her son also started playing better with his older brother, Webster, 7, and her neighbor's children, who are the same age as Chandler. With the help of an aide, he also has attended kindergarten in the Brunswick public schools and she is hopeful he'll do well when he attends first grade this fall.

The National Institutes of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., proposed doing a chelation treatment study earlier this month to determine how it helps children diagnosed with autism. If the study is approved, it would mark the first time the federal government has taken a close look at an alternative treatment for autism.

While Taylor said she's pleased the federal government wants to study the benefits of chelation as an autism treatment, she said the NIMH should have done so long ago.

"Parents have been reporting for years that it has been helping their kids," Taylor said.

She also said the danger associated with chelation has been exaggerated, calling it safe if administered properly by a doctor certified by a chelation board.

"We're not waiting for the government to do anything," she said.

Doctors with Defeat Autism Now!, or DAN, believe children with autism are unable to break down metals such as mercury and lead the same way normal developing children do because their immune systems are compromised.

They believe gluten- and casein-free diets, which don't use wheat and dairy products, and alternative treatments like chelation, can remove toxic metals from children and eventually let them function normally.

Taylor said her son benefited from the diet and chelation almost immediately after he started it in California, where the family lived before moving to Maine in 2006.

She said her son "started calling me mommy again for the first time in 10 months."

Unlike a standard blood test doctors use to detect high levels of lead and mercury, Taylor said a chelation test focuses on urine. In Chandler's case, his first chelation test showed he had high levels of lead and mercury, she said.

She said the family stopped chelation for nearly two years and had his urine tested again for metals after they moved to Maine. The test showed he again had elevated levels of mercury, lead and toxins, she said.

She said she believes her son may have ingested lead from mouthing toys later recalled for having lead paint. She said her son also may have ingested lead paint from the window frames of their Maine home.

She said she's not sure if her son will completely recover from autism, but believes chelation treatments have made a huge difference.

"We are going to keep doing it until all the metals are gone," she said.

New frontiers in autism research

Article Date: Sunday, July 27, 2008
Dr. Patrick Mulcahy

Some advocates believe the federal government's willingness to study the benefits of chelation treatments may signal a turning point in the fight against autism.

"It's long past due," said Ginger Taylor of Brunswick, Maine, who has a 6-year-old son diagnosed with autism who has been receiving chelation treatments for more than a year. "Parents have been reporting for years that it has been helping their kids."

The proposed study is one of several recent developments that may shed new light on the causes of the neurological disorder, which affects one of every 150 children, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has said 25,000 children per year are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and the U.S. spends $35 billion yearly in federal dollars on related services, ranging from early education programs to adult services.

But advocates are not optimistic researchers at the National Institutes of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., will end up producing a chelation treatment study of value unless they can approach it the right way.

Dr. Susan Swedo, who heads the federal institute's in-house autism research, is the principal NIHM investigator who wants to do the study, according to Joseph Carey, an NIHM spokesman. He said the study was put on hold for safety concerns after an animal study, published last year, linked DMSA, a chelating agent, to lasting brain problems in rats.

Swedo has proposed recruiting 120 autistic children ages 4 to 10 and giving half DMSA, a chelating agent, and the other half a placebo. The 12-week test would measure before and after blood mercury levels and autism symptoms. The study outline says failing to find a difference between the two groups would contradict reports that chelation works, according to NIHM officials.

Many parents, including Taylor, also have said they're hopeful the Hannah Poling case in March in Georgia will force the federal government to study the relationship between childhood vaccines and autism. Federal health officials conceded that vaccines may have contributed to Poling developing autism.

Poling, a 9-year-old girl, suffers from a condition that affects her mitochondria. Her parents filed a claim with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Vaccines Compensation Program, saying childhood vaccines she received when she was 19 months old triggered her autism.

The government conceded in March that vaccines may have hurt Hannah and has agreed to pay her family for her care.

Advocates long have contended that the mercury preservative thimerosal, which has been used in vaccines, and the policy of administering several vaccinations in one shot to children at age 2 may be the trigger that causes children with a genetic predisposition to develop autism.

Nearly 5,000 families are seeking compensation because of autism or other developmental disabilities, citing vaccines and thimerosal, which has been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2001 except in certain flu shots.

Earlier this month, NIMH Director Dr. Thomas Insel said his group has proposed studying chelation, currently used by doctors to treat lead poisoning.

Last year, the National Institutes of Health spent less than 5 percent of its $127 million autism research budget on alternative therapies, Insel said. He said he is hopeful the chelation study will be approved. The federal government now spends a total of $300 million each year on all forms of autism research.

Dr. Patrick Mulcahy, a Kennebunk, Maine, osteopathic physician with the organization Defeat Autism Now!, or DAN, said he's pleased the government wants to do a study.

"Overall, it's showing that the government and organized medicine is starting to validate or question that there is some valid reasoning for doing these types of treatments," Mulcahy said.

DAN formed to raise private funding for autism research, including on alternative therapies such as chelation, citing low federal spending.

Mulcahy does not offer chelation treatments, but does prescribe methyl-B-12 shots every three days to help children with autism rid their bodies of metals. He also prescribes gluten- and casein-free diets.

"I actually think the diet would be more of a fruitful study," he said.

Nationwide, at least three deaths, including one of an autistic child, resulted from improper chelation treatments, according to the CDC.

Meanwhile, researchers continue to find new genetic clues about autism's cause.

Earlier this month, Dr. Christopher Walsh and Dr. Eric Morrow of Harvard University searched for genes and mutations associated with autism in 88 families from the Middle East, Turkey and Pakistan in which cousins married and had children with autism. They studied families in which parents share ancestry because the strategy increases the chance of finding inherited genes.

The researchers reported in the July 11 issue of "Science" that they linked several gene mutations to autism. The largest group of implicated genes are involved in changes in synapses — the areas between neurons in the brain — that underlie learning. Such genes are vital to the developing brain.

"Autism symptoms emerge at an age when the developing brain is refining the connections between neurons in response to a child's experience," Walsh said.

Other NIMH funded research includes the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange, a project initiated by the Cure Autism Now Foundation. Genetic samples are being collected from several hundred families with more than one member who has been diagnosed with autism so scientists can learn more about the genes that hinder brain development.

The Autism Tissue Program has received funding from the Harvard Brain and Tissue Resource Center, the NIMH and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Researchers can study post-mortem brain tissue with imaging methods.

All of those research projects involve gene-mapping, which has been the federal government's preferred track to understanding autism.

Dr. Stephen Edelson, director of the Autism Research Institute in San Diego, Calif., said the fact that the federal government even wants to study chelation could signify a turning point.

He said doctors with the American Academy of Pediatrics now are having extensive dialogue with DAN! doctors about the benefits of gluten- and casein-free diets and other treatments.

Edelson said potential research breakthroughs will happen when the medical community, federal government and autism advocacy groups come together and pool their resources. He compared such an effort to how Americans worked together at home and abroad to achieve a singular goal to win World War II.

He said he's optimistic continued public pressure from the growing number of parents with children diagnosed with autism will lead to serious studies about the relationship between childhood vaccines and the disorder.

"More is happening, but not enough," Edelson said.

July 25, 2008

CBS News on AAP, Every Child by Two and Paul Offit's Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Promotion


AAP, Every Child by Two and Paul Offit have begun to get the public scrutiny from a mainstream medial outlet on the huge sums of money they get from pharmaceutical companies and how those conflicts of interest (both disclosed and undisclosed) should call into question their claims of 'independence' and their claims of vaccine safety.  These three sources are almost always portrayed in the media as reliable sources for vaccine safety information that are only working in the interests of children that parents should turn to for advice. Their Pharma ties are almost never mentioned.

Sharyl Attkisson was generous to these three vaccine promoters in her piece.  She didn't even mention Offit's scolding by congress for his serious ethics breaches and conflicts of interest during his time on the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.  Nor did she mention the absurd safety statements that the incoming head of the AAP, David Tayloe, has been making, as he did on Good Morning America.  Really there is enough here for hours of in depth news magazine coverage or even a book or two.

I hope that this story will lead to some more in depth coverage of the shenanigans that are going on in the relationships between Pharma, health authorities, professional organizations and the medical industry and get the media to examine with new eyes the evidence for the vaccine/autism connection.  I hope that parents will consider these huge cash payouts before taking the word of these people as gospel.

And I ESPECIALLY hope that wise pediatricians who do want to make balanced, informed vaccine recommendations for their patients will stop listening to these very questionable sources and begin to do their own research into vaccine safety, rather than taking the AAP's word.  We are never going to bring balance to the vaccine program or transparency to the vaccine/autism relationship until those who are making bank off shots stop calling the shots and influencing the process.

Someone email this to Amanda Peet before she does those ads for Every Child by Two.  She has already sullied her self by considering calling Paul Offit as "doing her research", and she needs to know who she is getting into bed with.

My Dear Husband's comments:  "That is the first interview Paul Offit has ever turned down."

July 24, 2008

WHK in Clevland Will Reportedly Drop Savage

Trish Paolucci, autism grandma, reports that she spoke with Mark Jaycox, General Manager of the station and he said that he is finalizing plans with their lawyers to drop Savage on August 4th.

The station has 32 affiliates and Jaycox told Paolucci that he hopes they will all follow suit.

UPDATE: Confirmation

"Michael Savage's controversial remarks about autistic children have gotten him booted off Cleveland's airwaves.

WHK AM/1420, the only Cleveland-area station carrying Savage's radio talk show, is break ing its contract with Savage's syndicator, Talk Radio Net work, said Mark Jaycox, who manages the Cleveland stations under the Salem Com munications corporate um brella. WHK is owned by Cali fornia-based Sa lem Communi cations.

"This guy's a knucklehead, and I want to get rid of him," Jaycox said..."

July 23, 2008

Charlottesville Station WINA Drops Savage

July 23rd, 2008
WINA Replaces Michael Savage with The Dave Ramsey Show
Last week on his nationally syndicated show talk host Michael Savage made some very uninformed and reprehensible comments concerning the growing issue of autism in America.  NewsRadio 1070 WINA vehemently defends the right each of us has to the freedom of speech.  We also understand that sometimes people make mistakes.  However, Michael Savage has shown no remorse and offered no apologies for his fact-less tirade and has, in fact, tried to justify his insensitive remarks.  Our mission at WINA has always been to offer the best possible and most stimulating talk for Charlottesville.  It is clear that Michael Savage no longer fits with our or your high standards.
Starting tonight WINA is proud to replace Michael Savage with The Dave Ramsey Show.  Dave Ramsey has been a fixture of the WINA Weekend Lineup for years and can now be heard every weeknight from 8pm to 10pm.  Particularly during these tough economic times we feel that Mr. Ramsey’s message is much more useful and positive.

Round Up: NAA's FOUND, Poling Schools Novella, Too Many Sick Kids, More Outrage at Savage, Kirby on Peet, NZ Angry Over Expensive/Usless Vaccine

  • The National Autism Association (NAA) has announced the launch of a new program called Found, aimed at providing families and counties nationwide with safety tools for children with autism which will immediately fund $54,400.00 to provide at least eight counties with Project Lifesaver equipment and tracking watches. The program was made possible by a huge donation from Pixies Train Ride and the half a million visitors to her site.  God Bless you Pixie!
  • Dr. Jon Poling reminds Dr. Stephen Novella about the facts in his daughters case and requests that he refrain from attacking autism moms.
  • Allison Edwards is outraged over all the sick little boys in the UK.
  • Kim Stagliano takes another swing at Michael Savage over at the Huffington Post.
  • Also on the Huffington Post, David Kirby with observations and more observations on the Amanda Peet kaffuffle.
  • New Zealanders angry that $200 million was spent on a much hyped meningococcal vaccine that only protects 30% of users, for only 7 months, and that they were not given informed consent before taking the shot.
  • Mercola on avoiding mercury and other metals.

July 22, 2008

Cisco/Webex Ax Savage

"We are in the process of removing any affiliation with this media outlet
and radio personality. Thank you for your interest and attention to
this matter.

Patrick J. Moran
Director, Marketing
Cisco, WebEx Technology Group"

Missisippi Dumps Michael Savage

From SuperTalk Mississippi:

Effective immediately, Michael Savage and his Savage Nation Radio Show has been canceled on all Super Talk Mississippi stations.

Michael Savage's comments about Autistic children were beyond inexcusable and are unacceptable. Super Talk Mississippi and the Gallo Radio Show have assisted numerous Autism organizations on the air in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Autism is a serious condition affecting children and adults in Mississippi. We appreciate our many listeners who notified us of Savage's comments, especially those listeners who have autistic children.

Steve Davenport, CEO
Telesouth Communications, Inc.

My message to Steve Davenport:

"Thank you for standing up for my beloved son with autism by dumping a profitable show that hurt our kids.

Through tears, Thank you."

Radio Shack Distances Themselves from Michael Savage

...and wants everyone to know it.

David Sapp is the father of a little girl with autism who believes that Michael Savage, "needs to pick on someone his own size, not my 4 year old daughter."

Below is the response he received to his letter to Radio Shack asking that they pull their ads.

Apparently Radio Shack already had an agreement in place with radio stations that their ads were NOT to run on Savage's show. The stations were not abiding by their agreement.

Thank you for your email to RadioShack's Media Relations Department. We appreciate and share your concerns.

We would like to emphatically state RadioShack was not and is not a sponsor of the Michael Savage radio show. In fact, our agreement with the radio stations airing his show specifically excludes his program (along with several others) as one on which our commercials may appear. Any ads that may have run on the July 16 broadcast of this show were in direct violation of our advertising contract with these radio stations. The stations have admitted their mistake to us and apologized for the confusion they have created. We will continue to investigate all local stations that air Michael Savage to ensure any unauthorized ads airing on Michael Savage are accounted for and that this does not happen again in the future

Unfortunately, the stations’ mistake was heard by many individuals such as you who have since spread the inaccurate message that RadioShack sponsors this program. Likewise, Web sites that were quick to post our name as a sponsor without investigating the actual facts have been very slow to correct the record online. Until that happens, we would greatly appreciate your help in spreading the correct facts through your own personal network.

Once again, thank you for writing and allowing us the opportunity to set the record straight.

Charles Hodges
Director Media Relations

July 21, 2008

Shannon Responds to Michael Savage with Much More Grace Than I Have to Offer Right Now

Dear Mr. Savage,

My name is Shannon Johnson and I am the proud parent of a 13 year old son with autism.

If you met my son, you would probably think that he was very funny, as he would not hesitate to smile and call you weird, which is his best attempt at a compliment. He would find you intriguing because you have facial hair and he would want to touch it with his sticky fingers that usually smell like his last meal. He seems taller than he actually is because he walks on his toes. It makes it hard for him to wear shoes, but he will tolerate flip-flops in the summer and slip on shoes in the winter, as long as he can take them off as soon as he gets in the car or enters the house. Although he eats like a horse and I literally have to keep a lock on my refrigerator door, he is skinny and underweight, probably in part because of his severe digestive issues. Without a special diet of gluten-free and dairy-free foods, and a multitude of supplements, enzymes and medications, he wouldn’t even digest a fraction of the food that passes his lips. For the majority of his life, he has experienced more restrictions, seen more physicians, been poked more with needles and been tested more by psychologists than most adults can ever imagine. Through it all, he has been braver and more courageous than anyone I have ever met.

Naturally, it disappoints me to hear someone of your intelligence and of your influence describe children with autism as “brats”. I can only assume that you are referring to the fact that some children with autism are known to have behavioral meltdowns or tantrums.

Honestly, my son is one of those kids. If you saw him in public having a meltdown, you would probably deduct that he was screaming because he couldn’t have a new toy or another ice cream cone; that he was using his lungs to manipulate his parents into giving into his selfish requests. However, you would be completely wrong. Instead, he might simply be reacting to the fact that the sights and smells, the sounds and colors in the mall, or at the grocery store, have overwhelmed his already over-stimulated sensory system and he needs to retreat to the safety of the car right away.

In this heightened moment, his anxiety would be revved up and he would lose his ability to verbally communicate his needs. He would then rely on his tears to inform me or his father that his system had had all that it could take, no matter what goodie we might offer, no matter what reward lay in our cart….And then, once he was safe away from the sensory assault, he might ask, as he has in the past, “What can we do next time so that it’s not so loud in the store?”……Certainly, we have even sat in the rain to eat a meal outside when the restaurant lights were too bright or the music inside too loud for our very sensitive boy.

If you stood outside my son’s door sometime, Mr. Savage, as I invite you to do if you are ever in my neighborhood, you might hear my son ask God in heaven to “please make me get better soon.” Not really the words of a “brat”, Mr. Savage…Only a very affected child who doesn’t feel good most of the time, and would do just about anything to just be like everyone else.

Shannon Johnson
Co-founder, www.foggyrock.com

Michael Savage Stands By His Statements


"Michael Savage, the incendiary radio host who last week characterized nearly every autistic child as “a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out,” said in a telephone interview Monday morning that he stood by his remarks and had no intention of apologizing to those advocates and parents who have called for his firing over the matter...."


While advocates for those suffering from the disorder are outraged, the unrepentant chatterer expressed pride in his ability to inspire "discussion on the subject," which has resulted in exactly the kind of publicity he desires. "What else do you think I should make fun of," he went on to ask a reporter, "pediatric cancer? Juvenile diabetes? Seriously, I'll say anything! Just keep writing about me!"

AFLAC Pulls Ads From Michael Savage

From A-Champ:

Thank You AFLAC
The Autism Action Network Was Contacted Today By Sears to Say They Do Not Advertise On Talk Show Host Michael Savage's Show. We say thank you to Sears for letting us know. We are removing Sears from our contact list. We are advised that Home Depot informed Autism United that they do not advertise on Savage's show.
Some objected to our link to the Media Matters web site. We have no connection to Media Matters and have no opinion one way or another about their work. Our link was placed on our alert because Media Matters posted the audio on their web site of Savage's  offensive comments about individuals with autism.
One more thing: we don't care whether or not Savage stays on the air. We really do not care what he says, except we demand respect for our children with autism.
 That's What We Want For Our Kids!
We Demand Respect for Our Children and All Individuals With Autism!

Failure to Disclose Conflict of Interest in AAP/Pediatrics Statins for Children Recommendation

Earlier this month the AAP got their hinder handed to them by... well everyone... for recommending that children as young as eight years old be put on cholesterol lowering meds. From Pharmalot:

Quote Of The Day: ‘I’m Embarrassed For The AAP’

"The American Academy of Pediatric guidelines released this week recommend that some children as young as 8 years old be given cholesterol meds is, predictably, causing controversy. Why? A lack of evidence, for one thing. Nicolas Stettler, an assistant professor of pediatric epidemiology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the AAP panel defends the decision by saying extrapolating data from adults using cholesterol meds makes sense. Not everyone agrees.

“To be frank, I’m embarrassed for the AAP today,” Lawrence Rosen of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, and vice chairman of an academy panel on traditional and alternative medicine (see photo), tells The New York Times. “Treatment with medications in the absence of any clear data? I hope they’re ready for the public backlash."

Today we have learned that the Pediatrics article in which the recommendation was made did not include the conflicts of interest of the writers. Shocker.

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
Pediatrics Fails to Disclose Industry Ties in Lipid Guide for Kids . . .

The American Academy of Pediatric’s new cholesterol guidelines for children did not reveal the industry ties of three of the six authors despite its policy requiring conflict of interest disclosure in its flagship journal. The recommendations, which appeared in the current issue of Pediatrics, caused a national uproar by recommending statin drugs for children as young as eight if suggested dietary interventions, including the use of foods fortified with fiber, stanols, and sterols, proved ineffective in lowering lipid levels in overweight children.

The lead author, Stephen R. Daniels, a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, has served as a consultant to Abbott Labs and Merck. Abbott makes baby food, while Merck markets Mevacor, a statin. Co-author Nicolas Stettler, an assistant professor at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia , consults for numerous firms including Wyeth Nutritional and the Dannon Institute, a non-profit wholly funded by Dannon Yogurt.

Co-author Jatinder Bhatia, a professor at the Medical College of Georgia, has commercial ties to Mead Johnson, Ross Labs, Forest Laboratories, Dey Labs, and Inhibitex. Mead Johnson, a unit of Bristol-Myers Squibb, produces fortified foods for infants and young children.
So parents if your elementary school child has high cholesterol and is overweight, don't bother changing him to a diet of whole, unprocessed foods like organic fruits, veggies and naturally raised meat bought straight from farms that use healthy farming practices or taking him off the processed foods made for you by the good people at Dannon. Just put them statins made by Merck, who is totally sure that their Gardasil is not killing your daughters.

I can't believe that anyone (Amanda Peet) is questioning whether or not the medical industry is capable of "conspiracies". They are in the press practically every day!  All they have to do to is just not give you important information like, 'Oh yeah.. we are all getting paid by companies that will profit from our recommendations', or '...and when we say there is no proof that chelation will improve autism, by that we mean that we have never looked into it' and of course it would be helpful for parents decision making if they actually said, "What I mean by 'there is no convincing evidence that vaccines are a cause of autism, what I am really saying is that there is lots of evidence that vaccines cause autism, but we won't read it and therefore we don't allow ourselves to be 'convinced' by it'.

HT: Mary Webster

Home Depot Pulls Ads From Michael Savage

From John Gilmore:
Home Depot just called the Autism United office and said they are pulling their ads from the Michael Savage program.

Keep up the phone calls and the emails. Hopefully there will be more to follow.

UPDATE: Clarification from Home Depot Communications:

"To clarify, I work at The Home Depot and can confirm that we do not currently advertise on The Michael Savage Show, nor do we have any kind of sponsorship in place with the program. We support many AM radio stations and weekend home improvement programs that run on these stations. Sometimes an ad will run in error during other programming, or our logo will appear on the station Web site, which we suspect may be the case here.
Sarah, Home Depot Communications "

Action Alert From A-CHAMP

Talk Radio's Michael Savage Trashes Individuals With Autism –/ Act Now To Show His Conduct Is Not Acceptable!

Michael Savage Calls Children With Autism "Brats" and Autism a "Scam"

Take Action!
Use the Autism Action Network to Tell Savage's Broadcasters and Sponsors What You Think of Savage and His Offensive Remarks


That's What We Call The Words of Trash Radio Host Michael Savage

(t/n Michael Weiner)

Take Action Against Michael Savage's Remarks!

"Idiot" "brat" "moron"

These are just a few terms Savage used to describe children with Autism on his radio program. He went on to say autism, a lifelong debilitating disorder that leaves many children without the ability to speak and in constant pain, was a "fraud" and a "racket" perpetrated by inept parents.

Do not permit Savage's offensive statements to go unchallenged. Savage and his broadcasting syndicators must be held accountable for his hateful and ignorant tirade. Contact his sponsors and demand that they withdraw their support. Most reasonable people, and most for-profit corporations, do not want to be identified as oppressors of the disabled. Your words will have great impact and will make the choice clear for them.

To Hear Savage's offensive comments for yourself with some helpful commentary that puts him in his place, click on these links:


Send a message to Savage's broadcasters, syndicators and commercial sponsors:

(Use our messaging system to contact them but also fax and call them directly – where a web address email is indicated go to their web site):

Buckley Broadcasting/WOR Radio
General Phone Number: 212 642 4500
111 Broadway 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10006

Home Depot
(770) 384-4646

Sears Public Relations And Communications
(847) 286-8371
contact through their website:

Media Relations_
Riverfront Campus _Mail Stop #CF7-130_300 RadioShack Circle _Fort Worth, TX 76102-1964_
Phone: (817) 415-3300_
Fax: (817) 415-2585_
E-mail: media.relations@RadioShack.com

1-800-99-AFLAC (1-800-992-3522)
Laura Kane, 2nd Vice President External Relations Aflac Incorporated_1-706-596-3493
Mechell Clark_
Media Relations Manager_

Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
One Busch Place
St. Louis, MO 63118
Email through their site:
1 800 DIAL BUD
(1 800 342 5283)

Michael Savage

Talk Radio Network
Talk Radio Network
Talk Radio Network
P.O. Box 3755
Central Point, Oregon 97502
Phone: 541-664-8827
Fax: 541-664-6250

The Savage Nation
The Savage Nation
The Paul Revere Society
150 Shoreline Hwy, Bldg E
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Fax: 415-339-9383
Here is a sample message you can use:

Dear Michael Savage Sponsor or Supporter:
We have learned that your company sponsors or supports Michael Savage's radio program.

On a recent program, he attacked children with autism, claiming that autism was a fraud and a scam. He went on to say: 

"I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is."

Savage also used offensive terms to describe autistic children, such as "idiots", "morons" and more.

We parents and family members of an individual with autism will not tolerate Savage's offensive and unacceptable conduct. We respectfully request that your company withdraws their advertising dollars from his programs and, if you broadcast or syndicate his radio show, that you dismiss him immediately.

Autism affects 1 in 150 children in the USA. Each of those children has a circle of family, friends and supporters who share the concerns of the child. We would say that there are likely 10 people for every child with autism who shares that child's concerns.

When you consider this request, please consider that as many as 1 in 15 Americans will be watching your decision and how you react will have a powerful impact on their opinion of your company.

We hope and trust that you will do the right thing.


The Autism Action Network
Message Brought To You By A-CHAMP
Advocates for Children's Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning

See Our Action Alerts. Click the TAKE ACTION! button

July 20, 2008

Merck Clears Itself of Liability in Gardasil Injuries and Deaths

Merck has checked into things and believes it is not culpable in any of the health problems that are being reported by families of those using the product. So we can all go back to using it now. Even on our boys.

Merck is proud of Gardasil.

"Merck has analyzed the adverse events reported for GARDASIL relating to the recent reports of death and paralysis, and based on the data available to Merck, believes that no safety issue related to the vaccine has been identified."

July 18, 2008

Savage Attack on Our Children

Michael Savage has joined in the attack on our children. Apparently they are faking it and we are encouraging them to do it for the money. You know... all that money we get for having autistic kids?

The recent attacks on our kids initially made me angry, but now I am just grieving and becoming depressed over them.

I will let Wade take this one:

July 16, 2008

Amanda Peet, Paul Offit, Parasites and Biostitutes

JB has shared the contact information for Ms. Peet's representation.  I took a moment to write to them:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Amanda Peet and Paul Offit
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 11:48:57 -0400
From: Ginger Taylor
To: Stephen.huvane@pmkhbh.com, ekranzler@management360.com

Dear Mr. Huvane and Mr Kranzler,

You may have already gotten word on this, but your client may need a little more back ground on who this doctor that Ms. Peet is taking her cues from, Paul Offit, actually is. 

Paul Offit is a doctor at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and is very often seen in vaccine autism stories making claims that vaccines are safe and have no relationship to autism.  But what those stories do not tell the audience is that Paul Offit is a vaccine patent holder and consultant for Merck Pharmaceuticals.  He is a co-creator of the Merck RotaTeq vaccine that is on the CDC's current vaccine schedule.  It is a vaccine that prevents Rota Virus, a benign virus under which subjects experience a miserable day or so of diarrhea and vomiting, and from which you usually gain immunity after having it twice.  The CDC recommends treating it at home with Pedialyte to prevent dehydration.  In third world countries, Rota virus can be a more serious threat to children's health, because death can occur from severe dehydration due to lack of infrastructure, clean water and basic sanitation.  But in the US, it is not a serious health threat to any one with indoor plumbing or within driving distance to a 7-11.

In addition, Paul Offit's RotaTeq can cause a very serious, life threatening condition called intussusception
in which the intestine actually folds up, telescoping in on itself.  The FDA has confirmed that RotaTeq killed one child in such a manner this year.  A previous Rota virus vaccine, Rota Shield, was taken off the market for causing the same problem.  And this far, RotaTeq has more reported incidences of intussusception than it predecessor that was removed from the market.  RotaTeq also causes Kawasaki Disease.

Many people, myself included, believe that the vaccine schedule is too aggressive and should be pared down.  If the CDC decides to remove any vaccines from the schedule, surely the first to go will be Paul Offit's vaccine.  Further, if parents do as we are urging, and start evaluating vaccines one at a time to see which are important for a child to have, and which are not really needed, the first one that parents will likely stop buying for their kids will be RotaTeq, and that will effect the sales of his vaccine.

Further, Paul Offit was personally reprimanded by the U.S. Congress, at length, for his ethics problems.  He actually sat on the ACIP, the CDC committee that decides what vaccines go on the US schedule, and voted for RotaShield to be added to the schedule, knowing full well that it would pave the way for his own vaccine, Rotateq to be added and be immediately put into wide spread use as soon as it came to market.  Which is exactly what happened.  Offit should have abstained from any comments or votes on any thing to do with Rota virus because of his conflicts of interest.

Paul Offit is the poster child for medical conflicts of interest.

When you take vaccine advice from him, it is as if you called Merck to ask if their products cause autism.

Finally, Paul Offit makes completely irresponsible and ridiculous statements about vaccine safety.  In Baby talk magazine he was quoted as believing that studies, "theoretically show an infant could handle up to 100,000 vaccines at one time … safely."  I personally wrote to Offit, assuming that of course this was some sort of misprint.  It wasn't.  He replied, "The figure of 100,000 is correct, and probably a little conservative."

We in the autism community cannot understand why this man continues to be taken seriously.  Do people who are interviewing him or taking his advice understand know who this guy is?  Did Ms. Peet know who he really was when she took his council as gospel?  Does she know that his nick name in the autism community is Dr. Proffit, and that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. labeled him a "Biostitute" because his opinions on medicine are for sale?

The only thing that we can think of is that because, he is always merely introduced as a doctor at CHOP, that no one knows the whole story about him.

So now you know.  You should probably encourage your client not to tout her association with this doctor, as the exposure of his back story is getting out there.  "Distancing" might be wise for her at this time.

Ginger Taylor M.S., Parasite

July 14, 2008

Round Up: Aborted Fetal Cells in Pentacel, Psychologists Conflict of Interest, Shame for AAP, Government CYA

Watch Julie Gerberding Not Lie

I was doing a search on Julie Gerberding when I came across some surprising video.  Julie Gerberding talking candidly about smoking.

What was surprising to me was hearing her talk like a normal person.  She spoke off the cuff about her thoughts on smoking and health policy, and she was not the least bit full of crap when she did it.

Now I have only heard her talk about vaccines and autism, and the person that she is when she talks about these two topics is not at all the person I see in the above video.  When she talks about autism and vaccines she is rehearsed and condescending and carefully threads the needle with very specific, very qualified, very evasive language.  (Watch the CNN video again, both the questions and her answers are pretty clearly from a script)  Not in a million years would I expect to hear Julie speak extemporaneously on vaccine safety.

If there was ever any doubt that Julie was spouting bullshit when talking about vaccines and autism, it is dealt a death blow by hearing her talk about something else.

Nothing like hearing some one tell the truth to figure out when they are lying.  

...also it is kinda funny to hear her talk about the stupidity of knowingly giving toxins to kids via cigarettes.

Police Chief Throws Crying Child With Autism From Resturant

So... at current count our children are not allowed to cry in planes or in restaurants

At this rate, we should go ahead and ask for some sort of "separate but equal" system since our kids are such a huge problem with people with such delicate sensibilities that hearing a disabled child cry rocks their whole world.

This stuff sucks and it is really starting to make me angry.

July 13, 2008

Pharma has GOT to Listen to This Man

Ad Age’s Garfield: Pharma Must Clean Up Its Act

Watch the video

AIA 2.0

The blog she is a'changing.  A little.

When I started writing four years ago, things were very different.  New developments or relevant media coverage was few and far between.  Now, even when I am spending hours a day reading, I can't keep up with all the developments.  Autism could have its own news channel.

So I am going to shift things a bit here, but wont change them dramatically.  I assume you have already noticed the new look.  I will be announcing my new sponsor soon, but I will only have one sponsor.  And I will start posting a round up of stories that you may be interested in with limited or no comments, but won't stop posting my usual commentary.

And as Age of Autism is becoming the "newspaper of record" for our community, I will consider my blog an adjunct to it.  My own personal editorial page if you will.

I hope the changes will be helpful to you.


July 12, 2008

Calling All Florida Autism Parents

Your AG has taken note of what happened to Alex Barton and wants to hear your stories of mistreatment in Florida schools. Chances are you have a few. Give him a call. (866) 966-7226
After PSL autistic boy's case, Attorney General weighing more complaints from parents

TALLAHASSEE — Stemming from its investigation into a Port St. Lucie autistic boy voted out of kindergarten, the state Office of the Attorney General is looking at how children with autism are treated in Florida schools.

"We want to understand this issue on a more global scale," said Sandi Copes, press secretary for the Office of the Attorney General in Tallahassee. "To see if there is an underlying problem."

Since the office's initial investigation into the case of 5-year-old Alex Barton, several people with autistic children have come forward with their own complaints, Copes said.

Parents are expressing frustration their complaints haven't been heard, so the Attorney General's office wants to talk with them to see if there's any way to help, she said. Those discussions could take place in the coming weeks, she said.

The investigation began after Alex told his mother, Melissa Barton, he was voted out of his kindergarten class by his fellow students. Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo told police she wanted Alex to hear from his peers how his behavior affected others. She then took a poll as to whether Alex should be allowed to return to the classroom, according to reports.

Alex lost the vote, 14 to 2.

At the time, he was in the process of being tested for Asperger Syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism. He since has been diagnosed with the disorder, Barton said.

The St. Lucie County School District continues to investigate the incident.

When the Attorney General's office investigated Alex's situation, Barton mentioned other parents who had contacted her regarding the treatment of their autistic children, Copes said.

Barton said she is glad parents finally have someone paying attention to them.

"Finally, things are getting done," she said. "There is some justice in it."

It's no longer just about Alex, she said.

"There are other children out there that have been waiting (for help) a very long time," she said. "No one has been listening forever."

The Attorney General's office is trying to compile a list of participants to meet and talk about their issues, Copes said. The investigation is statewide and not concentrating on one area in particular, she said.

Meanwhile, Barton said parents are trying to mobilize. She said now is the time for parents with complaints to come forward.

The Office of the Attorney General is interested in talking with parents of children with autism who have concerns about their child's treatment in schools. Parents with concerns can call the citizen services hotline at (866) 966-7226.

July 11, 2008

Our Children Change Us

Paul's tribute to his son:

"And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
But I don’t know how
Because maybe
You’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all
You’re my wonderwall

-Wonderwall by Noel Gallagher

Wonderwall is a lyrically fantastic, hauntingly sung song. I’m sure the lyrics above resonate with many people and for differing reasons.

When I hear Wonderwall on the radio I think of the current journey I’m on and the most influential person in shaping my life.
And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
I never signed up for having an autistic child. I thought I signed up for a straight line path through life. Obviously, that isn’t the case. Lacking control and knowledge of the future has rocked me to the core, but has provided a real kick in the pants wake up call to live life. The unknown brings exciting potential, but also has anxiety riddled possibilities. I need to accept the unknown and do my best in the now to help my son. The now matters, the future will take care of itself.
There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
But I don’t know how
No single person has taught me more about life than my son. I don’t know if many 7 year olds hold this type of impact on their fathers. He has taught me (or maybe more correctly exposed my shortcomings) about faith, unconditional love, responsibility, critical thinking, friendship and patience. He holds the sweetest spirit and beautifully pure naive view of life.

It is doubtful that I’ll ever be able to adequately express my feelings to my son. I’m not sure how much understanding he will have about this part of his life or what lies ahead for him going forward. I have to accept doing my best for him and trying to minimize my failings of him.
Because maybe
You’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all
You’re my wonderwall"

12 Babies from Poor Families Die in Glaxo Vaccine Trials

"Buenos Aires, Jul 10, 2008 (EFE via COMTEX) -- At least 12 babies who were part of a clinical study to test the effectiveness of a vaccine against pneumonia have died over the past year in Argentina, the local press reported Thursday.

The study was sponsored by global drug giant GlaxoSmithKline and uses children from poor families, who are "pressured and forced into signing consent forms," the Argentine Federation of Health Professionals, or Fesprosa, said.
"This occurs without any type of state control" and "does not comply with minimum ethical requirements," Fesprosa said.

The vaccine trial is still ongoing despite the denunciations, and those in charge of the study were cited by the Critica newspaper as saying that the procedures are being carried out in a lawful manner."...

July 10, 2008

Glaxo Exec Resigns from Ofsted

From Pharmalot:

—– Original Message —–
From: enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk
To: fiddaman64
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 1:22 PM
Subject: Fw: Appointment of GSK Vice President to Ofsted

Dear Mr Fiddaman

Further to my email to you this morning, please be advised as follows:

Paul Blackburn resigned as a non executive member of the Ofsted Board on 5th July. His resignation follows public concerns about the activities of his employer GSK. Paul did not want any negative press interest to detract from the excellent work of Ofsted and therefore resigned. As far as Ofsted is concerned the matter is now concluded.

Should you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

Alan O’Neal
Customer Service Advisor
Ofsted - National Business Unit

Autism Speaks Supresses the Free Speech of People with Autism

Rather than listening to the legitimate criticism that Autism Speaks is being offered from the neurodiversity community (like the fact that people with autism are not allowed to speak at their events, even though their name is "Autism Speaks"), AS instead threatens to sue them.

Even for legal parodies, even for t-shirts that say, "Autism Speaks can go away. I have autism. I can speak for myself."

Pretty poor behavior for the org that refers to itself as Autism's "Big Tent".

(But really, if they don't listen to fellow parents like us who are looking for treatments and supposedly have the same goals as them, are we surprised that they don't listen to adults with autism who oppose "cures"?)

And its weird because, really, the point of all the of the stuff that we are doing to make our kids better is so that they CAN one day advocate for themselves, right?  I mean, I disagree whole heartedly with the idea that finding a "cure" for autism is wrong, and somehow devalues people with autism, but I earnestly pray that my son will be an adult who is healthy and functional enough to process complex abstract ideas like human value and have t-shirts printed up to espouse his thoughts on the matter should he get a hankerin' to do so.

I know this may sound odd, but the fact that there are people with autism out there that can use cogent arguments to tell me that they think that I am jerk is encouraging to me.  It means that it is possible that my son who wouldn't see danger coming if it was wearing a t-shirt that said, "I am danger" on it, might one day not only be able to comprehend and defend himself against concrete threats to his safety, but abstract, theoretical threats to his self image.

It gives me the hope that someday, Chandler could be a sixteen year old that borrows the car and stays out past curfew, yelling "I hate you, you have ruined my life" when he gets grounded and can't go to the foot ball game on Friday, just like most every other teen age boy has done at one time or another.  ... and the idea of loosing an arguement with him, and having to apologize to him, is just to beautiful a thought for me to hope for.

If AS first priority is squelching criticism of their organization by people with autism, there is a much cheaper way to do that.  Stop looking for a cure and don't teach people with autism how to talk.  That way, you save money on both ends, you don't have to spend it on research and speech therapy now, NOR do you have to spend it on lawyers to get them to shut up later!

When reaching your goals for autism means stepping on people with autism, it is time for you to get out of the autism game and just go back to being a corporation that just steps on the regular ol'e consumer.

UPDATE:  So it appears that in the case of the t-shirt, they did not threaten to sue over that specifically, but since they had contacted the tshirt company before about shirts with their name on it, said company decided to nix the one in qestion pre-emptively.

He jumped to the conclusion that AS did it.

But they still bullied a 14 year old over a parody site.

Amanda Peet Thinks Parents Who Don't Vaccinate Are "Parasites"

Vaccine patent holder Paul Offit, whose Rotateq vaccine has already generated more adverse reactions than the last Rota virus vaccines that was pulled from the market, whose Rotateq vaccine has already killed a child, who believes that it is safe to inject a baby with 100,000 vaccines at once, and who was reprimanded by congress for his ethics problems, has personally schooled Ms. Peet in vaccine safety.

From Cookie Magazine:
"...Peet's analytical urges are comical when she's talking about kids' gear, but not when she's discussing a subject she feels is among today's most pressing public-health issues: infant vaccinations. "As soon as I was pregnant, the neuroses kicked in," says Peet, 36, who is married to screenwriter David Benioff. She began calling her older sister's husband, a Philadelphia pediatrician, "every five minutes" with all kinds of questions, especially about shots. "I asked him, 'Why are all of these necessary? Why are some people staggering them?'?" Eventually her brother-in-law arranged a series of phone calls between Peet and his own mentor, Paul Offit, M.D., who is chief of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, a co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, and a board member of Every Child by Two, a pro-vaccine organization cofounded in 1991 by former first lady Rosalynn Carter.

"Once we had spoken, I was shocked at the amount of misinformation floating around, particularly in Hollywood," says Peet, who quickly boned up on the hot-button controversies surrounding the topic, including the unproven link between certain vaccines and autism; the safety of preservatives like mercury-based thimerosal; and the fear that the relatively high number of shots kids receive today can overwhelm young immune systems. Her conclusion? Well, not only is Frankie up-to-date on her vaccines (with no staggering), but her mom will soon appear in public-service announcements for Every Child by Two. "I buy 99 percent organic food for Frankie, and I don't like to give her medicine or put sunscreen on her," says Peet. "But now that I've done my research, vaccines do not concern me." What does concern her is the growing number of unvaccinated children who are benefiting from the "shield" created by the inoculated—we are protected from viruses only if everyone, or most everyone, is immunized: "Frankly, I feel that parents who don't vaccinate their children are parasites."
I am assume that when she makes her PSA, they will ask her to leave out the part where she calls non vaxing parents, "parasites".

Aluminum in Vaccines

AOA has a piece on Dr. Sears Mothering article.  He assumed aluminum had been safety tested before putting in vaccines.

Never assume that just because a toxin is being injected into babies at high levels, that it has been safety tested.

It appears that we have removed mercury, an adjuvant that causes autoimmune disorders, mitochondrial disorders and kills brain cells, and we have replaced it with aluminum, an adjuvant that causes autoimmune disorders, mitochondrial disorders and kills brain cells.

I should add that Heath Advocacy in the Public Interest randomly tested vaccines and found that one had 1,117 mcg of aluminum in it. (their site seems to be down right now)

UPDATE:  I stand corrected by Quantumerik and Boyd Haley.  I sent the question to Dr. Haley and this was his response:

"Thimerosal is not an adjuvant, it does not enhance the immune response to an antigen as does aluminum.  It is only added as a preservative.  The pharmaceutical companies and their supporters would like for thimerosal to be an adjuvant, then they could not be sued for adulterating their vaccines and all costs would have to fall on the government programs for vaccine injury.  -boyd"

July 9, 2008

Congressmen and 9/11 Responders Pissed at Bush/Gerberding for Firing John Howard

Congress Members, Responders Decry NIOSH Director’s Firing

... and if our Julie responds like usual, she will just ignore them.

"Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), accompanied by World Trade Center responders gathered Tuesday at Ground Zero to demand that the Bush administration reverse its decision to fire Dr. John Howard, Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. As NIOSH director, Howard administered federally funded health care programs for 9/11 first responders exposed to Ground Zero toxins.

Also yesterday, Maloney, Nadler, and Reps. Eliot Engel and Edolphus Towns sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Julie Gerberding demanding a meeting this week to discuss Howard’s firing. In a related effort, New York Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer also on Tuesday sent a letter to Leavitt urging him to reconsider the termination of Howard and calling for a detailed account of the reasons he was removed from his position.

“Only the Bush Administration would fire a respected public servant who has received near-universal praise for doing a good job,” Maloney said. “Dr. Howard is out of a job because he wanted to help the heroes of 9/11 and his superiors didn’t. We demand that the administration take back this outrageous slap at sick 9/11 responders and reappoint Dr. Howard to a well-deserved second term.”..."

Gerberding should have been fired years ago. I have lost track of all the things people have wanted her fired for.

Why does she still have a job?

Oh... because she does whatever the administration tells her to, even if it is completely unethical, constitutes lying to the American Public and endangers the health of those it is her job to protect.

Cheney's staff censored EPA, ex-official alleges

Has anyone noticed that there is a thread running through all her malfeasance?

All of it is in defense of toxins in one form or another.

July 8, 2008

The New Autism Dictionary

Last month and the Green Our Vaccines Rally, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. mentioned a new term in his description of Paul Offit:
Biostitute - (by.AWS.tuh.toot) n. A biologist who supports a company or activity that is harmful to people, living creatures or the environment in exchange for pay, fame or career advancement.
Today, in a comment on the Age of Autism site Kim Stagliano found the term for Offit's religion.  I have taken the liberty of defining it:
Vaccinianity - (Vax.e.an.eh.te) n. The worship of Vaccination.  The belief that Vaccine is inherently Good and therefore cannot cause damage.  If damage does occur, it is not because Vaccine was bad, but because the injured party was a poor receptacle for the inherently Good Vaccine.  (ie.  hanna poling was hurt when she came into contact with Vaccine, not because the Vaccine was harmful, but because her DNA was not to par or because her mitochondrial disorder was to blame.)  Vaccine is presumed to have rights that supersede the rights of the individual, while the human person's rights must defer to Vaccine.
 That Paul Offit is one inspirational man.

The CDC to Study Vaccine Induced Encephalopathy!

Finally! The CDC's Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Network is currently looking for subjects to "evaluate the association between viral vaccines and encephalopathy/encephalitis through a detailed evaluation of children with encephalopathy/encephalitis as well as control children".

Their message to doctors:

"If you have a patient who you think might be eligible for the study, please complete the following two questions and provide your contact information. We thank you for your help in this important study."

This is a HUGELY important subject, one we have been waiting for them to examine, and we want to make sure that they have all the subjects they need for this study, so please take a moment to see if your child might be a candidate.

Does your child have an encephalopathy?

According to HHS's Vaccine Injury Compensation Table symptoms are:

Loss of eye contact
Not responding to external stimuli
Seems disconnected from the world around them

And the Merck Manual notes that these symptoms can be preceded by:

Nonspecific Gastrointestinal disorders.

If this sounds like your child, because boy howdy it sounds just like mine, call your pediatrician and let him know about the study to see if your child indeed has an encephalopathy and should be enrolled!

Oh wait... hold on a second... there are some exclusion criteria... Let me check them out...

Ok... so if your child has the above, but DOESN'T have:

A history of medical disease
A history of congenital problems
A history of developmental delay
Any immune system dysfunction
Any family history of immune dysfunction
Fevers and Seizures with in 72 hours

THEN they want to study them to see if their encephalopathy might have anything to do with their vaccines. You know, the HEALTHY kids with encephalitis.

So as long as the swelling in your child's brain that was caused by vaccines didn't cause or was not related to any of the above symptoms, CDC wants to get to know your child.

But that pretty much counts our all our kids... now doesn't it.

Never mind.

UPDATE:   The day this post went up, the site with the study on it went down.  Quite a coincidence.

I check the wayback machine and found that the call out for this study, which can be found here, was posted at the end of 2004.  Was it ever undertaken? 

Since the study has been there for almost four years, and went down the day that I wrote about it, I am just going to go ahead and assume that the correlation of these two events is likely more than just a temporal association.

Head's Up Everybody

The direction of all that CAA money is now at steak.  If we want it not to be wasted on the same old crap that does nothing for our kids, then we have to engage:


July 7, 2008

Teaching Police How To Deal With Those With Autism

PoliceOne.com has a great article by the father of an older child with autism instructing law enforcement officials on how to handle people with ASD. 

Print it out, do a write up on your child with their picture, and walk it into your local police station!  We need to help first responders lean how to recognize and effectively help our loved ones.

Joel Lashley Treatment, Care & Custody
with Joel Lashley

The 'Autism tsunami'

'Autism tsunami': 1 in 150 births are currently on the autism spectrum; 3 out of 4 are male; half are nonverbal or profoundly verbally limited. They are seven times more likely to encounter the police than a person who is not diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Driven by the natural desire to connect with their sons and daughters with autism, parents work tirelessly to communicate, mostly through trial and error. When my autistic son was growing up, this trial and error was just about all we had to rely on. But now things are swiftly approaching a critical mass. Parents of "the first wave" are trying to pass on what we've learned to the next generation of mothers and fathers — as well as the police and corrections officers who will undoubtedly come into contact with autistic people, and for whom mental health and autism training is increasingly critical.

Autism is a Greek derivation meaning "state of being alone." (Pat Rogers, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin)

By "first wave" I am referring to the massive increase of young adults with autism; a statistical wave created by what appears to be a perfect storm scenario of concurrent contributing factors, including increased diagnoses, increased incidence of autism, over-taxed and drying up community resources and a maturing front-line demographic of individuals with autism.

Just last May, I was invited by NEMRT (North East Multi-Regional Training) to attend a police instructor certification training seminar called "Autism Awareness and Roll Call Briefing Trainer" in Chicago. The State of Illinois has wisely joined Indiana and Kentucky in requiring autism awareness and related subject control training for its sworn law enforcement personnel. The conference was well attended by academy instructors and police crisis intervention team members, of the Chicago Police Department and various other police instructors from throughout Illinois. The autism tsunami
The class was led by Dennis Debbaudt, the premier autism and law enforcement issues expert who authored the book, Autism, Advocates, and Law Enforcement Professionals; Recognizing and Reducing Risk Situations for People with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In my opinion, all first responders, parents of children with autism, and persons on the autism spectrum, should read his book. (For more information on classes, please visit Autism Risk & Safety Managment.)

Mr. Debbaudt’s co-presenter, Dr. Stephen Shore, is author of the book, Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, and co-author of the Dummies series book, Understanding Autism for Dummies. (Also visit www.autismasperger.net.) During his presentation, Dr. Shore referred to the first wave phenomenon as the "autism tsunami." He estimates the average age of these autism-boomers at somewhere between 17 and 19 years of age.

Consider this: the Center for Disease Control estimates 1 in 150 births currently are on the autism spectrum and possibly still rising. 3 out of 4 are male. Half are nonverbal or profoundly verbally limited. They are seven times more likely to encounter the police and at least three times more likely to be victims of violent and/or sexual crimes. 4 out of 5 police calls will involve unusual or dangerous, not criminal, behaviors that will often be difficult to manage or interpret. Two out of 5 will be prone to seizures, and a good deal of them will be hypotonic (low-muscle-tone), making them prone to positional asphyxia and musculoskeletal injuries. To top it all off, many of them will appear to be oblivious to pain, while others will shrink, as if in pain (perhaps real pain), to your slightest touch.
28 principles to guide you

In the previous article, I tried to build a picture of recognition for subjects who may have an intellectual or developmental disorder, including autism. Once you've encountered a subject who you think might have a cognitive impairment, here are a few principles to help you out.
  1. First be safe. Use your Verbal Judo principles of SAFER® and make sure they are unarmed.
  2. Persons with ASD are as diverse as neurotypical people are. People with autism are as varied in levels of intelligence, language ability, and personality as anyone else. Start out simple. Then find out how well they can communicate and adapt to that level.
  3. Manage your back-up. Make sure you have back-up because you may need them just like on any other call. Have your back-up stay back a few extra feet and stay quiet. Their presence is added stimulation you don’t need right then! They should be alert, out of direct sight, and out of mind.
  4. Don't interfere with "self-stimming." Everyone self-stimulates — we drum our fingers, tap our feet, and other quirky things when under stress or just bored. Since their sense of nonverbal communication is not like ours, persons with autism will exhibit what looks like bizarre self-stimulating behaviors, like hand flapping, twirling their body, rocking, jumping in place, handling an object and other things.

    Persons with autism and/or persons in crisis abhor strange voices and sounds. Only one responder should do the talking and don’t allow unnecessary talking around the subject. (Pat Rogers, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin)

    Stimming can also be auditory in the form of humming or other sounds by mouth, or repeating a single work in rapid succession, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes."  Stimming is a natural behavior we all do to calm ourselves down or focus our concentration. Let it go and keep talking. It's helping you out more than you know.
  5. Move them away from the scene, or move the scene away from them. The point is to reduce outside stimulation. Give them less of everything — less sound, less light, fewer words, fewer voices, fewer people, fewer distractions. Radios, sirens, pagers, beeping medical equipment, flashing lights and all the trappings of public safety and emergency medicine are exactly what will send your subject with autism into crisis.
  6. Allow for acclimation. Once you've moved them, allow them to acclimate. Everyone "acclimates" to new surroundings. We simply look around the room. People with autism will often walk around the room touching things. Just watch and make sure they are safe.
  7. Don’t expect eye contact or other appropriate body language. Their lack of, or some might argue "unique" sense of, instinctive nonverbal communication will be unnerving. They usually won't look at you or wear an appropriate expression. They may spontaneously smile, frown, scowl, or wear a blank expression. Don’t look for too much meaning in what you see on the face.
  8. Don't equate the inability to speak with deafness or illiteracy. Even if your subject is nonverbal, they are likely to hear and understand some or all of their own primary language (English/ Spanish/ etc.). In the case of nonverbal subjects with autism, your spoken commands may be your only means of communication. Most of them can probably read. Try short written notes if your spoken words aren't "getting through."
  9. Don't read meaning into words alone. Gauge your success by their physical responses to your commands, not their words. If you ask them to sit, they might say the word "sit" before or after they physically comply. They might say, "Starbucks" because their mother always tells them to sit down during their daily trip to Starbucks. They may talk about something seemingly way off topic, like a TV show or their favorite restaurant.

    They may repeat what you say back to them. Immediate repetition of what another person has said or is saying — a behavior called "echolalia" — is a common autistic trait. Repeating is thought to be their way of attempting communication with others from behind the curtain of the profound loneliness many of them feel.

    They also might answer yes then no to the same question. Higher functioning individuals might quote the law to you when you are interfering, in their mind, with their right to move freely. Be prepared to read between, over, and under, the lines.
  10. Use a normal volume of voice until you gauge their reaction. If your voice appears to startle or frighten them then decrease your volume. If your first attempts to communicate have failed, you can try increasing your volume slightly. Sensory input is often impaired. A low volume may be expectable, while a "normal" volume might hurt their ears. Or they might be hearing impaired, like my son, Colin. You’ll have to be adaptable until you get things rolling.
  11. Keep your tone of voice soft and unthreatening. They will likely not be able to interpret emotion from your voice, but in case they can, you want to sound unthreatening. Slow your pace and speak clearly.
  12. Use an economy of words. Keep your commands brief, clear, and literal (no figures of speech). Speech is a form of stimulus. Persons with autism and/or persons in crisis abhor strange voices and sound. Only one responder should do the talking and don’t allow unnecessary talking around the subject.
  13. Give them extra time. The persons with autism will usually need more time to process your words and react to them. Silently give them up to 11 seconds to act or respond to your commands or questions. You can go onto the next thing once they’ve answered you.
  14.  Dispel their fear. They don’t know what you want from them. All they know is that you are in their face. Tell them, "I am here to help you," "I will take care of you," or "I will take you home," depending on the situation. Anticipate the problem and alleviate their anxiety.
  15. Say "good job" to kids and adults alike. This is something I learned from Clinical Nurse Specialist Norah Johnson, RN, in Education Services at, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, with whom I’ve partnered in developing behavior challenges training related to patients with autism spectrum disorders. It may sound odd to say “good job” to an adult, but it represents praise they likely to be familiar with from childhood and perhaps even in their current living situation. By praising them with the phrase “good job” you're building rapport and validating for them that they are doing what you want.
  16. Use unthreatening body language. If they are able to interpret body language, and most will not be able too, they will not respond to your command presence. Most will not understand it and some will only feel threatened by it. Remember, you were trained to use a command presence as a means to gain compliance. Your command presence, or alpha posture, is not appropriate to use for persons with autism or anyone in crisis. It will most likely only backfire on you.

    Instead of a command presence, keep your hands at belt level, gesture slowly, and move slowly. Be relaxed but alert.
  17. Model the behaviors you want to see. Persons with developmental disabilities may not understand the subtleties of most nonverbal communication, but they usually will respond to your mood and the gross-motor movements of your body — either negatively or positively.

    So, if you want them to be still, then be still. If you want them to be calm, then be calm. Want them to stay back then maintain an appropriate space from them and from your partners. If you want them to sit then try modeling sitting. Just as they might echo your words, they might echo your behaviors.
  18. Personal space is relative. Stay out of tip-off or kicking range as trained. Proxemics is a form of nonverbal communication like any other body language. Since persons with autism spectrum disorders often do not have an instinctive sense of personal space, they might invade yours. Be ready for it. Guard your weapons. They can be attracted to shiny or otherwise interesting objects. If you have foreknowledge of what you’re getting into, then leave your badge, name tags, pens, and other non-essential items in your squad. Keep your hands empty — there will be time for notes later.
  19. Look for a cause. In my experience I’ve met kids with autism who did things like put their head through a bus window because they couldn’t tell anyone they had a bad ear infection. I’ve met some who severely slapped their own bare skin, probably just because they were cold. When I covered them with a blanket the behavior stopped. I’ve seen kids who were combative just because they were hungry. A cup of applesauce can make acting-out behaviors disappear magically.

    Persons with ASD are as diverse as neurotypical people are. People with autism are as varied in levels of intelligence, language ability, and personality as anyone else. (Pat Rogers, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin)

    Many teachers have talked about the "terrible hour" meaning that time in the afternoon when some kids with autism will act-up. Often when a brief nap was introduced, the behaviors ceased. First see to basic needs: pain, cold, heat, thirst, hunger, and fatigue, and then see what happens.
  20. Striking out is communication. Facial expressions and other body language have limited or no meaning to persons with an ASD. If we get to close, or come up behind a person, we can expect to get a dirty look over the shoulder. The dirty look means “stay back” and is often an unconscious and instinctive, rather than learned, behavior. For persons with autism, that instinct will often translate into a backhand or choking movement. They can’t say it with their mouth, or show it on their face, so their instinct is to physically strike out with their hands.
  21. Tell them the "rules." This is a tip I got from Dr. Steve and Dennis Debbaudt — when I did, it was like a light bulb went off over my head. People with autism are all about routine and the "rules." Law-abiding neurotypicals, like you and me, fear and/ or respect the law. Persons with ASD rely on and respect the rules. So for example, say, "Sir, the rules say I have to put these handcuffs on you."
  22. Quiet hands and feet. "Quiet hands" is a common command used to manage children with ASD in the home and school setting. Its one many children and adults will be familiar with. If one is striking out or kicking, try the "quiet hands" or "quiet feet" command in a stern moderate tone.
  23. Biting is a common defensive behavior — don't get bitten!  Biting is a common defensive behavior — don't get bitten! Biting is probably the most basic mammalian defensive reaction. When attempting to physically control persons on the autism spectrum, stay clear of the mouth. The human bite is very dangerous and I’ve seen persons with autism severely bite their own loved ones. The best defense against a bite is to prevent it by stabilizing the subject’s head before the subject’s teeth can make contact with your body. If you do get bitten, mandibular or hypoglossal pressure points are worth a try, but I’ve seen them fail on a subject with autism. In the event that they are severely biting someone, there are other passive techniques for breaking off a bite that are beyond the scope of this article. But considering that biting is a common behavior for autistic persons in crisis, it may be time for public safety people to learn additional passive bite releases.
  24. They have an alternative sense of fear. People with autism may exhibit an irrational fear of, or be attracted to, glass. They are often attracted to bodies of water and have no fear of drowning (I taught my son to swim at a young age, and I suggest it to everyone. Work with his or her doctors and learn how to proceed).

    Certain sounds and sights may frighten them, perhaps even some odors or textures, but at the same time they might have no fear of opening a door in a moving car or darting into heavy traffic. Wandering off is a big problem with ASD kids and some adults. A lack of fear of strangers, places them in all sorts of dangerous situations.
  25. They have an altered sense of pain. Many persons on the autism spectrum can be repulsed by certain textures and calmed by others. Irritation from certain fabrics has been described, by some persons with autism, as painful. They might have a broken arm or other severe wound and not exhibit a pain response, such as screaming, crying, or guarding. Some may be comforted by a bear hug, but the same person might shriek at a soft touch on the shoulder, as if in pain.
  26. Pain compliance will not work reliably, either because they can’t feel it, or because they can’t make the causal connection between your actions and the pain. For instance, they likely won’t get the connection between their action (biting) and your action (pressure point). Rapid Multiple Officer Stabilization involving the manual control of the limbs, e.g., Star Tactic (biting caution) and the blanket-escort hold, is your best method of controlling the actively violent unarmed subject that you suspect might have autism. Wrist compression come-along tactics may injure the subject without ever achieving the desired result of compliance. When you “crank down” on the wrist, they might not wince or cry-out even if you break their wrist! They are also hypotonic making them more susceptible to injury from wrist compression. Children and elderly subjects are also very susceptible to this type of injury.
    A baton strike may be useful as a means of disarming or creating dysfunction, should such a level of force become necessary. Be prepared for a baton strike to fail as a method of pain compliance or psychological control. Be ready to change your method and/or level of force quickly, depending on the circumstances.
    An initial TASER® Probe Deployment will likely cause momentary incapacitation, creating a short window of opportunity in which officers can quickly move in and stabilize an autistic subject armed with an edged or blunt force weapon. Remember, one must presume that pain compliance resulting from a drive stun with the cartridge removed will be unsuccessful. Again, persons with autism may even feel the pain intensely without making the causal connection between his action (holding a weapon or potential weapon) and the pain created by your drive stun without the cartridge. They also may not understand that a TASER® is a weapon. If the subject with ASD fails to comply when you point a gun, TAZER®, OC canister or other weapon at them it could be for several reasons, such as: A.) They don’t understand what the weapon can do or even recognize it as a weapon. B.) They need several seconds (up to 11 or even 15 on average) for them to understand that you are pointing a weapon at them, C.) They don’t care that you are pointing a weapon at them because they are in crisis.
    If your subject has an altered sense of pain, OC Spray will also likely fail as a means of control. Remember that they are likely to be hypotonic and have respiratory problems already. Consider that before using pepper spray. As one firefighter/paramedic put it too me recently, “Once the cops pepper spray an autistic guy or maybe someone with a diabetic reaction, and nothing happens, they usually call us to handle it. No big deal.” Pardon me if I prefer that officers not use their pepper spray as an assessment tool. Take your time and be ready to “change gears” when you think you have a subject with special needs.
    An officer must always do what they must to protect themselves or others. By having a thorough knowledge of what you’re up against, your actions will have a better chance of a successful outcome for both you and your subject with autism. When responding to calls involving subjects with autism, 4 out of 5 times you’ll be handling a subject in crisis who is scared and/or lost, not a criminal. Questions regarding the use of pain compliance techniques, control devices like OC Spray, Electronic Control Devices, and impact weapons on special needs subjects should be discussed with your department experts on the use of force and the individual weapon systems involved.
  27. Support and constantly monitor breathing. Because they are often hypotonic, they often have difficulty breathing under stress. Also, their chest muscles may be weak and have difficulty supporting even their own weight, in some positions. Position your handcuffed subject on their side in the lateral recumbent (low-level fetal) position, meaning slightly bent at the waist and knees. If it’s safe, sit them up.

    Consider transporting them in the lateral recumbent position in an ambulance. Every cop knows about positional asphyxia. Consider all your subjects with developmental disabilities to be at risk.
  28. Adrenaline stays up. Whether for organic or behavioral reasons (and I’ve been told by experts that it’s one, the other, or both) persons with autism need lots of extra time to cool down. It’s just like any other person in crisis. If you’re sick of waiting, then get ready to fight. Then get ready to explain yourself.

    As public safety professionals, the academic evidence is against us. What we do next at the scene of a person in crisis, or potential crisis, will usually determine if the situation is resolved peacefully or not — not the subject.
The good news is, as a parent of a child with autism, and someone who’s worked and trained with street cops for most of my professional life, I know that cops are very good at sizing up these situations. Give them the tools and they’ll know what to do with them! If the pros can provide police, corrections, and healthcare security officers with the necessary tools to recognize and communicate with subjects likely to have ASD, then the situation will have a fighting chance to resolve peacefully.

A police and corrections officers' ability to influence the lives of others is enormous. Your proper handling and reporting of persons with ASD could have the power determine their destiny for the better — just as the improper handling will have the equal ability to injure them — even ruin their lives and your career. That, officers, is a tremendous responsibility. It is a responsibility as great as the responsibility for the proper execution of force, perhaps even lethal force. The power of a single police encounter has the ability to change a life forever. At no time is this more the case, then when dealing with persons in crisis, whether they have autism or not.
Special thanks to Lt. Dave Nickels awith the Appleton, WI Police Department and a TASER Senior Master Instructor.

How to 'speak' autism, Part 1

Senior Officer Joel Lashley is a a Crisis Intervention and Defensive Tactics Instructor who has worked as a public safety professional for 25 years, including 17 years of service in the healthcare setting. Joel leads the training program for hospital, clinical, and social outreach staff in Violence Awareness, Prevention, and Management at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, the only level-one pediatric trauma center in the region, serving critically injured and ill patients throughout the mid-west. He has trained hundreds of nursing, clinical, social work, psychiatric, and public safety professionals in the management and prevention of violence. He is a certified instructor for Interventions for Patients with Challenging Behaviors and Principles of Subject Control (POSC®) – Security Personnel, and Non-violent Crisis Intervention®, from the Crisis Prevention Institute. He is a member of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety and the International Association of Non-violent Crisis Intervention Certified Instructors. Joel has developed a program for managing the care of children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other cognitive disabilites. The fact that his son has autism has made him concerned about how this segment of our population is managed in the medical, security, and law enforcement arenas. Future articles deal with this and other issues facing our medical and mental health facilities as we search for ways to best treat their patients.