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11-161 Autism: The Epidemic?

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    SAR Healing Autism: Schafer Autism Report No Finer a Cause on the Planet
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 18, 2007
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      SAR "Healing Autism:
      Schafer Autism Report No Finer a Cause on the Planet"
      Friday, November 9, 2007 Reader Supported Vol. 11 No. 161


      November 23 !

      Submit listing here: http://www.sarnet.org/frm/cal-frm.htm

      * Autism: The Epidemic?

      * Be Afraid Of What You're Made Of, Study Says

      * Start on Success: A Model Transition Program for High School Students
      With Disabilities

      * Imaginative NJ Girl Is 'Just Like You'

      * Parent's M-CHAT Screener For Autism

      * Free Autism Conference Set in San Antonio

      * Chickenpox Vaccine Is Bad For Children



      Autism: The Epidemic?

      By Kent Erdahl http://www.ksfy.com/news/local/11137101.html

      Watch The Video http://www.ksfy.com/news/local/11137101.html?video=YHI&t=a

      Autism is now the fastest growing childhood impairment in the country,
      affecting one in 150 children according to the latest CDC report. One Iowa
      mom has made it her mission to do something about it.
      Life has been full of appointments for Lin Wessels and her son Sam but
      each one has become a little easier since doctors made a dreaded diagnosis
      three and a half years ago.
      "(The doctor) said we have your diagnosis and it is autism," Lin says.
      "And I was choking back the tears and I said to her, 'So now what?' And she
      said, 'So now you need to go out and educate yourself on your son's
      Lin did just that, learning ways to work with Sam on his physical,
      sensory and social development. But despite Sam's progress, she grew
      frustrated with the lack of research and political attention paid to why
      autism cases are increasing. So like many other Iowans, she decided to take
      sam to meet some presidential candidates.
      "Sam posed the same question to each candidate," Lin says. "'How will
      you help me and all the others like me? I have autism.'"
      Lin is asking candidates to look into a connection between autism and
      a preservative in vaccines containing mercury. Sam tested positive for
      mercury poisoning this summer, but the connection has yet to be proven
      "I don't believe it's the only cause of Autism I believe it's a major
      factor," Lin says.
      Because of her belief, Lin asked other parents of autistic children to
      send her their mercury test results in hopes of sharing them all with
      Senator John McCain on a trip through her hometown of Rock Rapids.
      "Senator McCain promised to help all those with Autism," Lin says. "He
      promised to help find the cause. We are holding him to his word."
      The day after Lin put out a request she had 30 lab results from
      parents across the country, and within ten days time she had 208 from 35
      "They want their government to know this is my child and this happened
      to my child," Lin says. "So I became their spokesperson."
      On October 26th, Lin, the spokesperson, stood and asked Senator McCain
      for one more appointment.
      "Would you commit to meeting with a special task force of parents such
      as myself?" Lin asked. "Anywhere, any time, you name the place, we'll be
      "Yes ma'am and I will do it at your convenience either here or
      Washington D.C. or some other geographic location that is most convenient
      for the people that you want me to meet with," McCain responded.
      That appointment is now official, Lin Wessels and a group of parents
      are scheduled to meet with Senator McCain in Washington on November 20th.
      Seven states, including Iowa, have passed laws banning that mercury based
      preservative, known as thimerosal. It is not banned in Minnesota or South


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      Be Afraid Of What You're Made Of, Study Says

      By William Hathaway for the Courant. http://tinyurl.com/37skp6

      A mother of two daughters and certified school psychologist, Laura
      Anderson has long suspected there is an environmental cause to the learning
      disabilities, childhood cancers and autism that she sees at schools and in
      her own neighborhood.
      Thursday, the 45-year old Wethersfield woman's own body gave her a
      couple of potential culprits.
      Anderson was one of 35 people from seven states whose lab tests
      revealed numerous potentially toxic chemicals in their blood and urine. All
      35 participants in the "Is It In Us?" project were found to have such
      chemicals in their bodies.
      Previous government tests have shown that most Americans on any given
      day are carrying around chemicals contained in a host of everyday items such
      as the plastic of water bottles or the cans of tuna.
      The press conference held by a coalition of Connecticut environmental
      groups on Thursday gave chemical names and local faces to the vague fears of
      millions of Americans like Anderson
      "I lead a health-conscious life," said Nancy Simcox, 42, of
      Middlefield who has worked as an environmental health researcher and was one
      of five Connecticut women who found they had been exposed to the chemicals.
      "They don't belong in my body."
      The biomonitoring project, sponsored by a variety of environmental
      groups across the country, tested the subjects for 20 toxic substances in
      three classes of chemicals: phthalates, bisphenol A, and polybrominated
      diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs. The chemicals are found in products such as
      shower curtains, baby bottles, children's toys, cosmetics, couch cushions
      and computers.
      Simcox and Anderson, as well as state Sen. Toni Harp, D-New Haven -
      herself a test subject - attended the press conference organized by the
      Coalition for a Safe & Healthy Connecticut and revealed that tests showed
      they had most of the chemicals in their bodies.
      There is scientific debate about whether exposure to these chemicals
      in the quantities found in common products poses a health risk for
      Americans. A definitive answer won't be available soon, experts say.
      "In order to answer that question, we need long-term and large-scale
      toxicity studies, and those are hugely expensive," said James Kapin, who
      sits on the health and safety executive committee of the American Chemical
      Society, which represents chemists. "We depend upon laboratory studies, but
      those do not always give us good data on human toxicity."
      However, research leaves little doubt that chemicals at least have the
      potential to cause significant harm to living organisms, and many
      environmentalists say they should be banned. Most of the chemicals act on
      hormones and can be particularly dangerous during early development. They
      have been linked to birth defects, infertility and learning disabilities.
      Other studies have suggested they may be associated with some forms of
      cancer and even asthma. And although the body tends to rid itself of
      bisphenol A and the phthalates, PBDEs, which are commonly found in fire
      retardant materials, accumulate in tissue over time.
      Anderson is generally healthy but sometimes wonders whether her bouts
      with endometriosis, or growth of the tissue that lines the uterus in
      abnormal locations, was caused by the chemicals.
      "My mother says, `Your grandmother had the same problem and she wasn't
      exposed to any of these things,'" Anderson said.
      + Read more: http://tinyurl.com/37skp6

      . . .


      Start on Success: A Model Transition Program for High School Students With

      By Sabbatino, Eileen D Macrine, Sheila L., excerpts.

      ABSTRACT: Employers provide jobs to people with disabilities at a much
      lower rate than the general population. Federal legislation requires schools
      to (a) work with students and parents to develop transition plans and (b)
      plan for students' employment after graduation. It is unfortunate that
      transition plans do not necessarily translate into successful employment.
      Students with disabilities need community-based education to learn the
      academic, social, and vocational skills necessary for success in today's
      society. In this article, the authors describe the Start on Success program
      as a model transition program that provides students with a community-based
      transition from school to work in a supported environment with support from
      the school district, mentors, parents, and a local university.

      Start on Success (SOS; 2003) is an urban model that National
      Organization of Disability funded in 1995. The educators designed it to
      provide early training and paid- work experiences for young people with
      physical, mental, or sensory disabilities. NOD's objective is a high school
      and university partnership that helps low-income, inner-city, minority
      students with disabilities receive payment for their work during their
      transition period in high school. The educators also designed the model for
      students with disabilities to (a) discover that they have abilities that are
      necessary to the workplace, (b) help employers and their nondisabled
      employees understand the realities and advantages of hiring young people who
      are disadvantaged, and (c) demonstrate what employers, educators, and
      students with disabilities can accomplish through voluntary partnerships at
      the local level with close collaboration among students, teachers, parents,
      administrators, service providers, and employers and with a social component
      throughout the program.
      According to the NOD (2003), the SOS urban model consists of a
      partnership between city high schools and a nearby university. The high
      school identifies the participating students and special education teachers.
      The university provides work sites and undergraduate mentors. Educators and
      administrators have developed a number of versions of SOS across the United
      States, each appropriate to their local circumstances. Although flexibility
      is one of the strengths of the program, administrators expect each site to
      operate within certain SOS core guidelines: (a) the urban community must
      demonstrate the need for such a program; (b) each SOS program must have a
      clearly identified local coordinator, typically a member of the city school
      administration; and (c) the program coordinator is assisted by an intern
      coordinator who manages day-to-day details and supports the special
      education teachers, undergraduate mentors, and job-site supervisors (NOD,
      Careful selection of high schools, university partners, and students
      is vital to the success of the programs. Administrators choose each SOS
      urban high school because it is located in a low- income neighborhood and
      has a predominantly minority student population of which significant numbers
      of students have special needs. According to NOD (2003), students selected
      for the SOS program are called gap kids. These are young people with
      disabilities who-if not given workplace training and experience before they
      leave high school-are likely to suffer from social isolation, enroll in
      welfare, or be incarcerated. Administrators choose only prospective
      participants who have interest, aptitude, and need and who are educable and
      employable. Administrators make the final selection of participating
      students through a collaboration of professionals, parents, and the students
      at the local school-district level. In selecting university partners, SOS
      officials seek a commitment at the senior administrative level that is
      consistent with mutual interests and a willingness to make in- kind
      contributions. Wherever possible, they try to build on existing
      In addition, SOS officials place great importance on parental
      involvement, not only in the decision to have a child participate but also
      in program orientation, periodic conferences, and the annual end-of-year
      recognition ceremonies. Throughout the planning, implementation, and
      follow-up phases of the program, administrators try to coordinate parents'
      expectations and participants' academic preparation with job realities and
      One SOS Chapter's Story In the fall of 2000, through a partnership
      between a Philadelphia high school and a local university, 20 students were
      selected for the first program. The students (a) were between the ages of 17
      and 20 years, (b) were African American, (c) were from families
      characterized by lowto- middle socioeconomic status, and (d) had been
      identified as having a learning disability or mental retardation. Before the
      students entered SOS, the school administrators identified these students as
      at risk, having failing grades, and exhibiting inappropriate behaviors, low
      self-esteem, or inconsistent school attendance.

      . . .


      Imaginative NJ Girl Is 'Just Like You'
      Fighting spirit of 5-year-old thrills parents, doctors

      By Mary Anne Ross.

      'Thomas the Monster" is an imaginary friend of 5- year-old Naiya
      Newton. He is also the title character in a children's book she and her
      mother Nikki have written.
      Many children have helped their parents write stories, but Naiya has
      autism, which makes her involvement in the creation of "Thomas the Monster"
      more extraordinary.
      Three short years ago, doctors warned her parents, of the Parlin
      section of Sayreville, that it was unlikely that Naiya would ever live a
      normal life. At 2, she was nonverbal and at times seemed lost in her own
      little world.
      Today, she is a sociable, outgoing little girl who attends preschool
      classes at Sacred Heart School in South Amboy.
      Nikki attributes the changes to Naiya's fighting spirit.
      "She stopped breathing twice the day she was born," Nikki said, "and
      today she still struggles to do the things that come easily to other
      Nikki and Donald were thrilled the day Naiya was born.
      "She was everything we hoped for," Nikki recalled. "She was such an
      angel, always smiling."
      Around 18 months though, Nikki noticed that Naiya wasn't trying to
      talk the way her friends' toddlers were.
      "She didn't babble. She didn't coo. She didn't try to say mama or
      The Newtons realized something was wrong. They began to think their
      daughter was deaf.
      "She would sit in front of the TV set and I could bang pots behind her
      head and she wouldn't flinch," Nikki recalled.
      Naiya Newton puts her imagination on paper.
      When a hearing specialist determined that wasn't the issue, their
      pediatrician recommended they contact the New Jersey Early Intervention
      System, a program funded by the state Department of Health and Senior
      Services and designed to help families meet the special needs of children
      with developmental disabilities until the age of 3.
      A team came to Nikki's home to meet and evaluate Naiya, and
      recommended a neurologist see her.
      "They said she is going to be diagnosed, and I said, 'Diagnosed with
      what?' They said autism," Nikki said.
      Nikki and Donald were stunned. No one in either of their families had
      autism, and they knew little about the disorder. A visit to a neurologist
      confirmed their worst fears. She was diagnosed with moderate to severe
      "He said, 'Don't get your hopes up. She will probably never have a
      normal life,'" Nikki said.
      But the two could not give up hope on their smiling little girl with
      big blue eyes.
      "We just decided she needed us, and we would do whatever we could for
      her. We had faith that she could do more then they thought," Nikki said.
      The couple began by learning all they could about the condition.
      According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke,
      autism is the most common condition in a spectrum of developmental disorders
      called autism spectrum disorder. It is characterized by problems with
      communication, social skills and repetitive behaviors.
      At first, the family was involved with the state program, but as soon
      as Naiya turned 3, she became eligible for services from the local school
      district. Nikki started Naiya in the district program, but didn't feel it
      was best for her daughter.
      "Now they do things differently, but at the time she would have been
      in a classroom with other nonverbal children. I couldn't see how she would
      learn how to talk that way," Nikki said.
      She began looking around for other options and came across an
      organization called Parents of Autistic Children (POAC), a nonprofit that
      advocates for families of autistic children.
      + Read more:
      + http://suburban.gmnews.com/news/2007/1108/front_page/001.html


      An email discussion list has been created in
      response to the growing interest in the
      environmental causes of autism -- now almost
      2,000 subscribers. Here is where to subscribe
      (no cost): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EOHarm/

      . . .


      Parent's M-CHAT Screener For Autism


      For more information on the M-CHAT screen for autism visit

      Watch For Early Signs of Autism
      Signs of autism almost always develop before a child is three yeas
      old, yet, it has become apparent that many children are not diagnosed until
      much later, creating more problems for the child and family. Children with
      autism respond better to treatment if it begins by preschool. Early
      diagnoses is so crucial that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has
      recently issued a news release calling for pediatricians to do early autism
      screening on all children.
      Treatment cannot make autism must go away, but early intervention and
      treatment can help the child cope in regular environments. "Red Flags" for
      needed immediate evaluation include: . no babbling or pointing by 12 months
      . no single words by 16 months . no two-word spontaneous phrases by 24
      months . loss or social skills at any age
      Additional signs for parents to observe: . Not turning to look when
      parents point for a child to observe an object . Smiling late . Failure to
      make eye contact . Less likely to form attachments with blankets, stuffed
      animal and may prefer hard items such as flashlights, keys, action figures,
      flashlights, etc, dolls
      Autism impacts the individuals in various degrees and ways, but will
      likely include some or all of the following
      1.Social interaction: - Impaired nonverbal behaviors, such as eye
      contact, facial expression, body posture - Lack of spontaneous seeking to
      share enjoyment; social and emotional reciprocity, 2. Communication: -Delay
      or total lack of development of spoken language -Repetitive use of language
      or idiosyncratic language -lack of varied, spontaneous make believe play or
      social imitative play 3. Restrictive repetitive and stereotyped patterns of
      behavior, interests or activities -Preoccupation with one or more patterns
      of interest -Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.
      Resources: Valley Mental Health's Carmen B. Center for Children with
      Autism (801)581-0194

      . . .


      Free Autism Conference Set in San Antonio

      The South Texas Autism Summit 2007
      Saturday, November 10

      Don Finley for Express-New. http://tinyurl.com/yojd8o

      The co-author of a new set of guidelines from the American Academy of
      Pediatrics that recommends all children be screened for autism at routine
      exams will be among the speakers at a free, daylong symposium on autism
      aimed both at parents and professionals.
      The South Texas Autism Summit 2007 will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
      Saturday in the Pestana Lecture Hall, Room 3.104A at the University of Texas
      Health Science Center. Call (210) 590-2107 to register.
      Dr. Chris Plauche-Johnson, a San Antonio pediatrician and
      co-chairwoman of the academy's autism panel, will discuss the guidelines
      that recommend all children be screened during 18- and 24-month well-baby
      visits, as well as new tools that help pediatricians identify autism.
      "She'll talk about the fact that if you catch it early and do
      treatment, you can mitigate the symptoms of autism," said Alonzo Andrews,
      director of the Autism Treatment Center in San Antonio, which is sponsoring
      the conference.
      Topics will cover research advances, environmental and behavioral
      factors, available services and screening.
      Other invited speakers include Dr. Martha Herbert, assistant professor
      of neurology at Harvard Medical School; Dr. Claudia Miller, professor of
      family and community medicine at the University of Texas Health Science
      Center; Kenneth Olden, former director of the National Institute of
      Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program; Mark
      O'Reilly, professor of special education at UT-Austin; and many others.

      . . .


      Chickenpox Vaccine Is Bad For Children

      By Richard Halvorsen
      News that doctors are calling for all children to be inoculated
      against chickenpox causes me concern. During the first half of the
      20th-century it made sense to be introducing vaccines against whooping
      cough, diphtheria and tuberculosis, all of which were killing thousands of
      children every year. But nowadays, the vogue is to recommend immunisation
      for diseases that are either relatively harmless, or serious but rare.
      Chickenpox falls firmly into the former category; most children suffer
      only a few uncomfortable days. Yet we are being told that it is a serious
      disease against which we need to vaccinate. These recommendations are based
      on research that actively looked for serious complications of chickenpox in
      all children admitted to hospitals in the UK and Ireland over a 13-month
      period. The researchers found 112 children who had serious complications of
      chickenpox, most often a secondary infection treatable with antibiotics. Six
      deaths were reported. Excluding one baby that died in the womb, four had a
      chronic health problem, such as HIV or cerebral palsy. Only one previously
      healthy child died, out of a total population of over 10 million. Chickenpox
      causes serious complications in less than 1 in 10,000 children.
      We now give our children 25 different vaccines, in various
      combinations, before the age of 15 months. We are in danger of becoming
      dependent on immunisation, rather than on our immune systems, for our future
      health. This may appeal to vaccine manufacturers, which operate in an
      increasingly profitable market, but should concern the rest of us.
      Vaccines have contributed to the eradication of smallpox and to the
      fall in deaths from diphtheria and polio; though probably rather less to the
      decline in the mortality rate of measles and whooping cough - which was
      largely a result of improved hygiene and nutrition. There must be an
      overwhelming case before a decision is made to vaccinate the whole
      population. Not only has the case not been made for chickenpox, but
      inoculation will pose particular problems. It will push the disease into
      older age groups, who will catch the illness as their vaccine-induced
      immunity wears off, as we have seen happen with mumps. The complications of
      chickenpox are much greater in older people: an adult over 15 years of age
      is 10 times, and an adult over 50 is 100 times, more likely to die from the
      illness than a child.
      A second problem is that vaccination is likely to increase the number
      of people getting shingles, more serious than chickenpox, that already
      causes 60 deaths a year, mainly among older people. A review in 2003 by
      government doctors concluded, "Routine infant varicella [chickenpox]
      vaccination is unlikely to be cost-effective and may produce an overall rise
      in morbidity [illness]". What has changed since then? A further problem is
      that the vaccine consists of a live virus, like the measles, mumps and
      rubella vaccines. However, uniquely, a recipient of the chickenpox vaccine
      can be infectious; though not common, there have been numerous reports from
      the US of people catching chickenpox from vaccinated children.
      We are introducing vaccines too readily and without regard to the
      long-term consequences. There has been a huge rise over recent years in
      immune-related diseases, such as diabetes, asthma and eczema; the possible
      link to vaccines, though controversial, is plausible. Vaccines, by their
      nature, are designed to affect the immune system and it is widely accepted
      that most shift the system in an "allergic" direction. This is not the time
      to introduce mass vaccination against chickenpox.

      Dr Richard Halvorsen is a GP and author of 'The Truth About Vaccines'
      (Gibson Square Books)

      Note: The opinions expressed in COMMENTARY are those of the author and
      do not necessarily represent those of the Schafer Autism Report. .
      .disclaimer blah, blah, blah. . . -Ed.

      Today's SAR is provided through the support of paid subscription readers

      - THANK YOU -

      Public Service Announcement to the Reader:

      AUTISM IS TREATABLE. Consult these sources:

      . Autism Research Institute http://www.autism.com
      ARI's Toll-free Autism Resource Call Center: 1-866-366-3361

      . Generation Rescue http://www.generationrescue.org

      . UK - Autism Treatment Trust http://www.autismtrust.org.uk

      . UK - Treating Autism http://www.treatingautism.com

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