Consider the just-won't-go-away proposed connection between routine childhood vaccinations and autism.
The diagnosis of childhood autism is on the rise and we are not sure why. Since the 1990s, autism rates have increased dramatically. As a parent, I have experienced a good deal of anxiety about this. I have a niece and nephew who have each been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and my wife has repeatedly agonized about the immunization process for our own children. But as a medical professional, I have unabashedly preached that routine immunization programs are critically important for the public's health. After all, vaccination efforts have a proven track record: they eradicated smallpox and made polio a disease only seen in paranoid communities. Nonetheless, the belief that routine shots could permanently alter the neurochemistry of children is frightening.
Fortunately, there exists an overwhelming preponderance of medical research against the "vaccines-cause-autism hypothesis." Vaccination efforts during the past century have made certain childhood diseases so rare that they seem like remnants of an uncivilized past. Few of us have actually seen a new case of polio or measles, so it's easy to be lulled into thinking that they couldn't possibly cause trouble again. In contrast, the primary scientific evidence supporting a link between vaccines and autism was a small study published in the medical journal Lancet in 1998 - a study that has been thoroughly discredited. Since its publication, it has come to light that there was a conflict of interest (the research was secretly funded by plaintiff lawyers) and that the data was falsified. Its findings (linking intestinal inflammation with the MMR immunization and subsequent autism) have not been replicated in larger studies and have been repudiated by the coauthors and retracted by the journal.
Dr. Ballard sees nothing wrong with the horrific number of kids with autism that no one in mainstream medicine can reasonably explain. He has a niece and a nephew with autism and his wife was worried about vaccinating their kids. No matter---vaccines are safe, vaccines save lives, studies show no link, non-vaccinating parents threaten us all.
There's no comment section here or I'd let loose my usual overflow of information to challenge the blanket denials of this doctor. Nothing ever changes for these people. Most of all, I'd like to tell Ballard that unless he can show us a comparison study of vaccinated and unvaccinated children---he doesn't have any evidence that disproves a link.
Marklund, an organization that serves children and adults with profound developmental disabilities, announced today plans to expand its Day School with a $4 million state-of-the-art building and program that focuses specifically on children on the autism spectrum.
Thanks in large part to a $3.5 million donation bestowed on Marklund by the Ann Haskins Foundation, the school will expand its Life Skills program which provides specialized education and training to students ages three to 22 who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The new 12,000-square-foot two-story building will be built adjacent to the current school building and feature seven classrooms, therapy rooms, a multi-purpose room, offices, and observation areas and will be named the Ann Haskins Center.
"We are very excited to announce the receipt of this grant which will allow us to expand our school's Life Skills program for students on the autism spectrum," said Gilbert Fonger, president and CEO of Marklund. "Thanks to the generosity and foresight of a St. Charles woman whose own daughter had special needs, we will be able to design and build a state-of-the-art facility from the ground up with the needs of children with autism in mind." The height of every window, curvature of the walls and placement of benches in the hallways will be determined with the assistance of an autism consultant, he added. . . . .
"We are so pleased to be able to serve more students who need our specialized program," said Karen Gill, Marklund's director of education. "We currently partner with 23 public school districts to give them a place to send those students whose needs cannot be met at their own school." According to Gill, students may need to be transported to the Marklund Day School for any of a variety of reasons ranging from space or financial limitations to inability to manage the severity of the student's disabilities. "Special education directors at our partner districts are looking forward to our expansion and being able to observe best-practice techniques in the hope that they may be able to duplicate teaching methods back at their own campuses. It is always our goal to eventually be able to transition the students back into their home districts."
Why do they have to expand on a school for kids with autism? Why aren't we told about the exponential increase in the autism rate to the point where it now affects one in every 50 U.S. children, one in 31 among boys alone?
The truth is, we never read about anyone who's worried about autism---the disorder that officially has no known cause, prevention or cure. Instead we read about people being "very excited" and "so pleased" about a $4 million expansion on a school for students with autism.
This is the up side of autism--more specialized classrooms and more jobs for those who work with these kids. The down side is that autism is an epidemic consuming our children with no end in sight.
This was the 1970s. Autism - a spectrum of disorders with a range of effects on brain development - was poorly understood and rarely diagnosed. Many child development specialists still blamed what had been labeled "refrigerator mothers" or "refrigerator parents" for failing to nurture the emotional and verbal skills missing in many autistic children.
Awareness of the disorder's true genetic and neurological causes was only beginning to emerge.
So Tom Hogan was peering into a barren world on the day, when Danny was 2, that Tom realized something was wrong.
He was baby-sitting a child near the same age as Danny, and he saw a vast difference in their abilities to communicate and interact. He didn't understand it and he didn't know where he could turn for help.
They walked alone out in the woods a couple of days later, Tom Hogan said. And he determined then that he would accept whatever life was preparing to deal them.
"I told him, 'I'm always going to be there for you.' ". . . .
The number began to grow, and it exploded in the 1990s and 2000s, to the point that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The rapid growth alarmed the research community, which is still struggling to determine how much of it is the result of greater awareness and how much is the result of underlying causes. . . .
This is more phony press coverage intended to convince the public that having an autistic child is just the way it is. It's always been like this. We may not know the cause, but officials are working on it. The research community has been "alarmed" about the autism numbers.......and they're "STILL" trying to figure out what's real ("the result of underlying causes") and how much is "greater awareness."
I posted three comments. We all need greater awareness of the fact that no one in power is ever going to be worried about autism or honestly address what's happening to our children. We're just going to have to learn with live with all the autism. Eventually when we have an autism rate of two percent of forty year olds, we won't be able to remember a time when autism wasn't everywhere.
A mother of an 8-year-old child with autism drives the streets of Kokomo, desperate for help because her son is uncontrollably violent.
A senior citizen, incarcerated for a mental health crisis, attacks a corrections officer without warning and bashes his head into a concrete wall.
A person with a history of mental illness is released from the Westville Correctional Center with a bag of medication and few dollars. It is midnight, and there is no one there to pick him up.
In a county with no mental health services, a sheriff's deputy drives a mentally ill person to the Howard County line and tells him to start walking until someone helps him.
These are the nasty realities of mental illness. Families cannot cope. The jails and prisons cannot treat patients appropriately. And not every community has the resources necessary to provide care.
More than two dozen mental health professionals, law enforcement officials, public officials, and social service providers gathered at Bona Vista last week in a summit to discuss the growing problem of treating the mentally ill in Howard County. The overriding theme of the discussion was funding. There isn't enough money to meet the needs.
Excuse me, but no one here even acknowledges that autism is INCREASING. IT AFFECTS CHILDREN AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN FELT THE IMPACT OF WHAT THE ADULT POPULATION IS GOING TO COST.