I received an Amber Alert message last week on my mobile phone. It startled me as the message was accompanied with a loud, blaring alarm. I was parked at Ronan’s school waiting for him to be dismissed when this happened. I looked my phone as a text message popped up containing more information. My heart sank. A young girl was missing, and authorities were quickly on the move to find her.
My network sends these sort of messages out as needed, which I welcome. What better way to get the word out to the masses: Hey, citizens! Someone’s life is in danger. A child, a national treasure, someone who matters, and who makes a difference in the world, has been snatched. Keep your eyes open, and call the police ASAP if you have any information.
Fortunately, for this abducted child, the ordeal was over quickly. She was found safe and returned to her family. I imagine many hugs, huge sighs of relief and several high fives were shared by those who assisted in the girl’s rescue. It’s reassuring that a person’s life was worth the intense effort and extra manpower required to find her.
Being so quickly notified of this young girl’s endangerment got me thinking. What if there was something similar for our children? I, for one, would have preferred an ear-piercing alarm rather than the quiet, don’t-be-so-worried responses and the wait-it-out suggestions I received.
In general, Ronan’s vaccine injury occurred over time. He was not one of those kids who immediately reacted physically to his shots. Looking back in time, he had more of a slow motion decline versus what some of my friend’s children experienced. Seizures, high fevers and losing consciousness immediately were alarm enough for them to know hey, this is not what’s supposed to happen! But for those of us who didn’t make or see the vaccine injury connection within hours could have definitely benefited with an alert.
Right away, or during the slow and steady tumble onto the spectrum, what if we’d received a warning before toxic levels reached critical mass? What if an alarm was sounded before severe neurological impairment transpired? What if someone else in a position to help pointed out calmly, while also successfully grabbing our attention, that our children were about to suffer irreversible damage? Sadly, it isn’t that way. Some professionals who can sound the alarm do not. And those who need to hear that alarm sometimes don’t want to listen.
It’s too late for parents like me to need one screeching in my own ears, but an alarm of what’s happened rings loudly and clearly. There is an alert. There is an alarm. That alarm sounds when someone asks me about the decline of my child’s health and development. It’s heard when my non-verbal child cries out for help with utterances because he is unable to form words. It’s seen and felt by the caregiver as they are swung at during a meltdown. It is seen and felt by my child when violent or self-injurious behavior has replaced verbal communication, communication that is no longer possible.
We do have a national alarm system. It’s existed longer than most realize. Not only that, the responses of that alarm have been documented. Those responses are found in our providers’ files, in our caregivers’ notes, in our children’s educational plans: seizures, meltdowns, growth issues, GI distress, OCD tendencies, speech delays and more. These signs may go unnoticed by some and blatantly ignored by others, but the alarm is blaring loudly for all.
At the rate we’re going, while toxins, GMOs, chemicals via pharmaceutical agents and agricultural ingredients not meant for human consumption are being pumped into our children, that alarm will only gain intensity, not relief. Deadly food allergies, environmental triggers, autism and the neurobehavioral responses are only the beginning. Those dealing with autism, allergies, attention and sensory issues are only a household or two away. Because of those issues, neighborhood parks have emptied while special education classrooms fill up instead. Communities will drastically change because of the toll these issues place on individuals. Before that happens, and before more hearts are broken, I, and many others, will reach out, sound off and pray we are heard.
I do believe an alarm could’ve helped. I believe it could’ve reduced some of the after effects of vaccine injury while also diminishing some of what are now thought of as “normal” childhood disorders. As we parents have picked up the responsibility to sound the alarm, some of our warnings are thankfully not falling on deaf ears. Others have a chance. They’ve appreciated our input. For them, the warning is active and they have taken notice. For others who need to open their eyes and their ears, I hope they do it soon. If they do, they’ll recognize that what they can gain from our experience is more than what some of our children may ever achieve.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.