Mothers Taking Antidepressants 2x more Likely to Have Autistic Child, Study Says

Natural Society

Reported statistics vary, but about 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder. The condition can manifest itself as severe mental retardation or mild behavioral issues. But it’s the rate of autism and it’s steady increase over the past several decades that has researchers searching for a cause or even contributing factors. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Northen Caroline may have found one cause to add to the list – mom’s antidepressant use.

Their study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, looked at children who were diagnosed with autism and a random group of undiagnosed children. Then, they compared the mothers’ medical records.

What they found was that a pregnant mother’s anti-depressant use was linked to a higher incidence of autism. This is a correlation.

Mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy were twice as likely to give birth to a child with autism. The risk was significantly increased when the mother took anti-depressants in the first trimester. Then, the risk was three times higher.

“Our results suggests a possible, albeit small, risk to the unborn child associated with in utero exposure to SSRIs,” said Lisa Croen, lead researcher.

SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors represent the most commonly prescribed mental health drugs on the market. An estimated one-in-ten Americans take these anti-depressants. In other words, if all research pointed an accusing finger at anti-depressants, the pharmaceutical makers would take a major hit.

The researchers are cautious to put a dent in the profits of Big Pharma, telling people to carefully weigh the risks of anti-depressants with the benefits, saying that untreated depression has its own risks. (Maybe they aren’t aware of the evidence that says anti-depressants can actually make people more depressed and lead to suicidal thoughts.) What’s more, anti-depressants have been shown to hasten the thickening of arteries, contributing to heart disease.

What they fail to mention is that depression can often be successfully treated with diet, exercise, and natural solutions. Vitamin D, yoga, and acupuncture are just a few natural alternatives—ones that don’t come with unpleasant side effects like increased autism risk or suicidal tendencies. Choose holistic treatment for depression instead of harmful medication.

Vaccinated Children Develop the Disease Vaccinated Against

Natural Society
by Paul Fassa

This is not alternative health conspiratorial conjecture. This has been officially recorded but barely reported. So here is a sampling of recorded disease breakouts among children who were vaccinated for that disease. Enforcing or increasing vaccine schedules does not really prevent disease; it only increases the chances of worse health or gravely critical adverse reactions, ranging from autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) to decreased immunity and increased poor health.

Some Known Outbreaks of Vaccinated Kids

The most recent outbreak occurred in California. The disease was whooping cough, or pertussis. The vaccination that has become a regularly scheduled pediatric ritual is a combination of three vaccines known as DTaP or DTP, which stands for Diptheria – Tetenus – acellular Pertussis.

This three-in-one vaccine cocktail is supposed to prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, or whooping cough. The pediatric vaccination schedule calls for administering this cocktail at two, four, six, and 15-18 months of age. Four vaccinations of three vaccines each administered to children before one and one-half years of age.

Dr. David Witt initiated a study after an unusually large number of whooping cough cases were admitted to Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Rafael, California during 2010.

After examining the records of those stricken with pertussis over an eight month period, Dr. Witt and his team were surprised to learn that the vast majority, 81 percent, of the whooping cough kids had received their full four shot battery of DTaPs or pertussis vaccines alone.

Eleven percent of the pertussis victims received some less than four pertusssis vaccinations, while the remaining eight percent were never vaccinated for whooping cough at all.

Please pause and reflect. There’s something obviously wrong with this. Other recent pertussis outbreaks were blindly blamed on unvaccinated kids contaminating vaccinated children, without any investigation.

That, even if true, which Dr. Witt’s survey indicates is not, is something to think about. Vaccinations are supposed to confer immunity, right? This study implies that vaccinated children are infecting the unvaccinated.

The New York Times also reported on this overall trend with their headline “Vaccination Is Steady but Pertussis Is Surging.”

It wasn’t long ago that the New York and New Jersey area had a mumps outbreak. Eighty percent of those kids had been fully vaccinated with the MMR series (measles, mumps, rubella). (Natural News, source below)

In Canada, four studies conducted in 2009 suggested a link with the seasonal flu vaccines’ increasing swine flu or H1H1 infection by up to 250 percent. (Science Daily, source below)

Hiding the Vaccine Dirt Under the Media Rug

Realize that vaccines are inexpensive to produce and do not undergo long term testing. They are being promoted and enforced by state legislators and school districts at the behest of pharmaceutical lobbies. Sometimes money changes hands from Big Pharma to politicians.

But much social enforcement occurs by guilt from the media and medical profession. The mantra of avoiding vaccinations furthers epidemics because “herd immunity” is only granted by vaccinating at least 90 percent of a population is nonsense.

Meanwhile, the vaccine manufacturers are protected from liability by the government’s federal National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) established after a rash of lawsuits from extreme neurological side effects caused by 1980s swine flu vaccines.

This “Vaccine Court” compensates the vaccine injured directly with federal funds and small taxes collected from vaccine manufacturers. It also hides actual cases by not releasing press releases to the lamestream media.

VAERS (vaccine adverse effect reporting system) is another bad joke. It’s estimated that less than five percent of vaccine adverse events get reported, and very few of those hit the MSM. This one did once years ago – CBS 60 Minutes Documentary.

Big Chem, Big Harm?

NYTimes
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

NEW research is demonstrating that some common chemicals all around us may be even more harmful than previously thought. It seems that they may damage us in ways that are transmitted generation after generation, imperiling not only us but also our descendants.

Yet following the script of Big Tobacco a generation ago, Big Chem has, so far, blocked any serious regulation of these endocrine disruptors, so called because they play havoc with hormones in the body’s endocrine system.

One of the most common and alarming is bisphenol-A, better known as BPA. The failure to regulate it means that it is unavoidable. BPA is found in everything from plastics to canned food to A.T.M. receipts. More than 90 percent of Americans have it in their urine.

Even before the latest research showing multigeneration effects, studies had linked BPA to breast cancer and diabetes, as well as to hyperactivity, aggression and depression in children.

Maybe it seems surprising to read a newspaper column about chemical safety because this isn’t an issue in the presidential campaign or even firmly on the national agenda. It’s not the kind of thing that we in the news media cover much.

Yet the evidence is growing that these are significant threats of a kind that Washington continually fails to protect Americans from. The challenge is that they involve complex science and considerable uncertainty, and the chemical companies — like the tobacco companies before them — create financial incentives to encourage politicians to sit on the fence. So nothing happens.

Yet although industry has, so far, been able to block broad national curbs on BPA, new findings on transgenerational effects may finally put a dent in Big Chem’s lobbying efforts.

One good sign: In late July, a Senate committee, for the first, time passed the Safe Chemicals Act, landmark legislation sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, that would begin to regulate the safety of chemicals.

Evidence of transgenerational effects of endocrine disruptors has been growing for a half-dozen years, but it mostly involved higher doses than humans would typically encounter.

Now Endocrinology, a peer-reviewed journal, has published a study measuring the impact of low doses of BPA. The study is devastating for the chemical industry.

Pregnant mice were exposed to BPA at dosages analogous to those humans typically receive. The offspring were less sociable than control mice (using metrics often used to assess an aspect of autism in humans), and various effects were also evident for the next three generations of mice.

The BPA seemed to interfere with the way the animals processed hormones like oxytocin and vasopressin, which affect trust and warm feelings. And while mice are not humans, research on mouse behavior is a standard way to evaluate new drugs or to measure the impact of chemicals.

“It’s scary,” said Jennifer T. Wolstenholme, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia and the lead author of the report. She said that the researchers found behaviors in BPA-exposed mice and their descendants that may parallel autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit disorder in humans.

Emilie Rissman, a co-author who is professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at University of Virginia Medical School, noted that BPA doesn’t cause mutations in DNA. Rather, the impact is “epigenetic” — one of the hot concepts in biology these days — meaning that changes are transmitted not in DNA but by affecting the way genes are turned on and off.

In effect, this is a bit like evolution through transmission of acquired characteristics — the theory of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, the 19th-century scientist whom high school science classes make fun of as a foil to Charles Darwin. In epigenetics, Lamarck lives.

“These results at low doses add profoundly to concerns about endocrine disruptors,” said John Peterson Myers, chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences. “It’s going to be harder than just eliminating exposure to one generation.”

The National Institutes of Health is concerned enough that it expects to make transgenerational impacts of endocrine disruptors a priority for research funding, according to a spokeswoman, Robin Mackar.

Like a lot of Americans, I used to be skeptical of risks from chemicals like endocrine disruptors that are all around us. What could be safer than canned food? I figured that opposition came from tree-hugging Luddites prone to conspiracy theories.

Yet, a few years ago, I began to read the peer-reviewed journal articles, and it became obvious that the opposition to endocrine disruptors is led by toxicologists, endocrinologists, urologists and pediatricians. These are serious scientists, yet they don’t often have the ear of politicians or journalists.

Related: EVEN BPA-FREE PLASTIC NOT ALWAYS SAFE

Autism: A Conspiracy of Silence

Gaia Health
by Jagannath Chatterjee

April was Autism Awareness Month and yet autism is virtually unknown outside of the circle of families that harbour those unfortunate children who have been afflicted with this strange disorder. Strange, because these children are rarely affected from birth; they proceed normally and then suddenly change in front of their hapless parents’ eyes to become a shadow of their former selves. Then begins a struggle the magnitude of which can be appreciated only by those touched by the disorder; be they victims, their parents or caregivers. The doctors generally shrug their shoulders and refer these children to various therapists who ignore the extensive physical damage lurking in them.

Autism, dubbed a neuro-behavioral development disorder, is a painful condition involving the body, mind and emotions. It is an epidemic today. From roughly 1 in 10,000 when first discovered by psychiatrist Leo Kanner in 1943, who remarked that it was a novel disorder not previously known, it has steadily climbed to 1 in 88—1 in 54 among boys. Doctors in the USA following the condition put the unofficial figure, based on more recent data, at 1 in 25. In South Korea, a recent Autism Speaks study pegged the figure at 1 in 38. Going by the official figure in India, it is admitted that there are upwards of 13,500,000 children who are autistic in India.

This epidemic that is raging across countries, across continents, crossing all barriers religious, ethnic, and social, is a “silent epidemic” signifying the deafening silence that has greeted its spread. As we shall see, autism is not only a silent epidemic; it is also a conspiracy of silence.

Autism is a complex disorder, the likes of which has been seen earlier on three occasions. A similar disorder appeared in children when they were treated with Calomel, a mercury-containing compound used to de-worm children until 1954. It was seen in Japan during the Minamata Bay Poisoning episode in 1956, which was caused by a chemical factory’s mercury spill into the Bay, and in Iraq in 1971 when villagers fed on a consignment of mercury-treated wheat that was meant for sowing and not for consumption.

Mercury, the second most dangerous neurotoxin known to humanity, is a part of our toxic environment. Its ubiquitous presence in hospital settings, its emission from coal based power plants, its use as an amalgam in dental fillings, its presence in mercury vapour lamps, and its use as a preservative in various vaccines have always been a source of concern. While the other uses carry environmental risks and therefore are protested by environmental groups, the mercury used in vaccines is overlooked.

Per official spokesmen, mercury injected into children and not released into the atmosphere poses no problem. Moreover, as the mercury used in vaccines is ethyl mercury, and not methyl mercury as experts point out, it is perceived to be less toxic. This is despite an American Academy of Pediatrics study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, Vol 108 in July 2001, stating very clearly that “Mercury in all of its forms is toxic to the fetus and children, and efforts must be made to reduce exposure to the extent possible to the pregnant women and children as well as the general population”.

The intense toxicity of ethyl mercury has been borne out by many significant scientific studies conducted by independent scientists. The 1985 Magos et al study clearly points to the fact that this form of mercury caused extensive damage to organs it pervades, particularly the kidneys and brain. A 2005 study by Burbacher et al revealed the ethyl mercury converted to inorganic mercury more readily than methyl mercury and is thus effectively trapped in the brain causing steady damage. The Bernard et al study of 2001 titled “Autism: a novel form of mercury poisoning” cited more than 200 similarities between mercury poisoning and autism.

Apart from these, experiments on monkeys have shown that vaccinations can induce autism-like symptoms. What is more important is that 83 cases of vaccine induced autism-like symptoms have been admitted by the Vaccine Courts in the USA and these cases have been awarded compensation. Despite tough laws virtually denying parents of vaccine damaged children their right to file court cases demanding compensation, more than 5000 such cases are pending before the courts.

There have, however, been studies that have sought to exonerate vaccines. Of particular interest are two groups of studies conducted by the CDC of the USA, considered to be the final authority on the subject of vaccines.

The first one was by Dr Thomas Verstraeten of the CDC, who found a very strong association between mercury-containing vaccines and autism after analysing available data through computerised hospital databases. He sought “help” from other scientists and effectively watered down the study but “the association would not go away”. So in 2000 an invitation-only conference was arranged by the CDC in Simpsonwood, USA, where a decision was taken by medical scientists, industry representatives and doctors to further dilute the study and destroy the link between vaccines and autism before its publication in the Journal Pediatrics in 2003.

There were then the “Danish Studies” which were conducted under the aegis of Dr Poul Thorsen, and which “effectively proved” that vaccines do not cause autism. These studies were extensively quoted by the authorities to quell the growing furor against vaccines worldwide. The euphoria did not last however, as the US police went after Dr Poul Thorsen when it was found that he had not conducted a portion of the studies, but had produced false documents to siphon off a major chunk of CDC funds meant to finance the studies. Dr Thorsen has since been indicted on 13 counts of fraud and nine counts of money laundering that could put him behind bars for life.

If the above is not a conspiracy then what is? Angry parents have described their children as “poisoned for profit”. In fact a US Government investigation categorically stated that those who ought to have monitored the entire situation have been “asleep at the switch”. It is still more shameful that in this entire sordid episode it is the public who have educated themselves to become investigative scientists. Those qualified experts who ought to have blown the whistle on the entire murky episode have preferred to stay mum and instead have chosen to attack those heretics who dared point out the truth.

Caltech Finds Link Between Immune Irregularities and Autism

Science Blog

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) pioneered the study of the link between irregularities in the immune system and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism a decade ago. Since then, studies of postmortem brains and of individuals with autism, as well as epidemiological studies, have supported the correlation between alterations in the immune system and autism spectrum disorder.

What has remained unanswered, however, is whether the immune changes play a causative role in the development of the disease or are merely a side effect. Now a new Caltech study suggests that specific changes in an overactive immune system can indeed contribute to autism-like behaviors in mice, and that in some cases, this activation can be related to what a developing fetus experiences in the womb.

The results appear in a paper this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“We have long suspected that the immune system plays a role in the development of autism spectrum disorder,” says Paul Patterson, the Anne P. and Benjamin F. Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences at Caltech, who led the work. “In our studies of a mouse model based on an environmental risk factor for autism, we find that the immune system of the mother is a key factor in the eventual abnormal behaviors in the offspring.”

The first step in the work was establishing a mouse model that tied the autism-related behaviors together with immune changes. Several large epidemiological studies—including one that involved tracking the medical history of every person born in Denmark between 1980 and 2005—have found a correlation between viral infection during the first trimester of a mother’s pregnancy and a higher risk for autism spectrum disorder in her child. To model this in mice, the researchers injected pregnant mothers with a viral mimic that triggered the same type of immune response a viral infection would.

“In mice, this single insult to the mother translates into autism-related behavioral abnormalities and neuropathologies in the offspring,” says Elaine Hsiao, a graduate student in Patterson’s lab and lead author of the PNAS paper.

The team found that the offspring exhibit the core behavioral symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder—repetitive or stereotyped behaviors, decreased social interactions, and impaired communication. In mice, this translates to such behaviors as compulsively burying marbles placed in their cage, excessively self grooming, choosing to spend time alone or with a toy rather than interacting with a new mouse, or vocalizing ultrasonically less often or in an altered way compared to typical mice.

Next, the researchers characterized the immune system of the offspring of mothers that had been infected and found that the offspring display a number of immune changes. Some of those changes parallel those seen in people with autism, including decreased levels of regulatory T cells, which play a key role in suppressing the immune response. Taken together, the observed immune alterations add up to an immune system in overdrive—one that promotes inflammation.

“Remarkably, we saw these immune abnormalities in both young and adult offspring of immune-activated mothers,” Hsiao says. “This tells us that a prenatal challenge can result in long-term consequences for health and development.”

With the mouse model established, the group was then able to test whether the offspring’s immune problems contribute to their autism-related behaviors. In the most revealing test of this hypothesis, the researchers were able to correct many of the autism-like behaviors in the offspring of immune-activated mothers by giving the offspring a bone-marrow transplant from typical mice. The normal stem cells in the transplanted bone marrow not only replenished the immune system of the host animals but altered their autism-like behavioral impairments.

The researchers emphasize that because the work was conducted in mice, the results cannot be readily extrapolated to humans, and they certainly do not suggest that bone-marrow transplants should be considered as a treatment for autism. They also have yet to establish whether it was the infusion of stem cells or the bone-marrow transplant procedure itself—complete with irradiation—that corrected the behaviors.

However, Patterson says, the results do suggest that immune irregularities in children could be an important target for innovative immune manipulations in addressing the behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorder. By correcting these immune problems, he says, it might be possible to ameliorate some of the classic developmental delays seen in autism.
In future studies, the researchers plan to examine the effects of highly targeted anti-inflammatory treatments on mice that display autism-related behaviors and immune changes. They are also interested in considering the gastrointestinal (GI) bacteria, or microbiota, of such mice. Coauthor Sarkis Mazmanian, a professor of biology at Caltech, has shown that gut bacteria are intimately tied to the function of the immune system. He and Patterson are investigating whether changes to the microbiota of these mice might also influence their autism-related behaviors.

Along with Patterson, Hsiao, and Mazmanian, additional Caltech coauthors on the PNAS paper, “Modeling an autism risk factor in mice leads to permanent immune dysregulation,” are Mazmanian lab manager Sara McBride and former graduate student Janet Chow. The work was supported by an Autism Speaks Weatherstone Fellowship, National Institutes of Health Graduate Training Grants, a Weston Havens Foundation grant, a Gregory O. and Jennifer W. Johnson Caltech Innovation Fellowship, a Caltech Innovation grant, and a Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program Idea Development Award.

Autism Grows Up: Adult Autistic Man Asks of Autistic Boy, ‘Will He Be Violent Like Me?’

Gaia Health

Autistic children grow up into autistic adults. The implications, on both society and the adults these children are becoming, are enormous. Lisa Joyce Goes gives us a taste of what’s coming.

If you read Lisa Joyce Goes’ first piece, Two Minutes in the Life of an Autism Mom Vs Normalization of Autismization, then you know what a day in the life of the mother of an autistic child can be. Now, Lisa has produced something powerful and explosive.

Autistic children grow into autistic adults. There are thousands—millions?—of them, and there are some hard truths that must be faced about them, their nature, and how we’re going to deal with it. This is an epidemic the likes of which has never before been seen, and the implications are very nearly incomprehensible. Read of Lisa’s experience with an adult autistic man, and wonder what the lives of autistic children will become when they’re grown:

Three years ago I was thrown into the world of autism parenting thoroughly unprepared for the politics that came with it. At the time I didn’t know that my son’s school would fight me when I asked them to give him an enzyme with his lunch, despite the MD’s note that accompanied my request (it wasn’t listed in the FDA’s 2007 book of approved drugs). I didn’t know that dietary limitations are really “suggestions” unless I provided those feeding him with copious amounts of medical proof of his sensitivities. My word as his mom was simply not enough. At the time, I didn’t know that we could have our younger son taken away from us for choosing not to vaccinate him. The medical reality of autism and his older brother’s descent into neurological illness, bowel disease, iatrogenic central nervous system and mitochondrial damage after every “well-baby” (pharma-happy) visit–is entirely lost on government officials.

After several months of research and doctor visits we were literally drowning in contradictions. Autism, yes, no cure, metals are frightfully high, nothing to do with vaccinations, speech came after starting a gluten-free/casein-free diet, off the charts titres, clostridia, yeast, not immune to polio despite full vaccination, rubella causing sight problems. Thoroughly overwhelmed I decided to make a documentary to help myself track (what I hoped would be) the process of recovery. In hindsight this was a rather foolish endeavor as I was terribly naive about the film business. Still it’s hard to regret the experience because I interviewed many parents, kids and adults with autism, doctors, industry experts and prominent members of autism non-profits. I might not have a film to show for it, but I got one hell of an education.

I recently caught up with a young man, we’ll call him Carlton, who was one of the first adults with Autism I’ve had the privilege of interviewing. His dad is a hard-working man of humble means, who has always tried to do right by him and his neurotypical older sister. When we first met he could not believe I thought I could cure Noah of Autism. It wasn’t that he found it foolish, he considered it confounding. As he puts it, “In the early 90’s there was nothing. Nothing. We just walked away with a diagnosis and nothing else. We had no idea what to do for him. We just brought him home. “A lot of them grow up to be real bright,” they said. We just always had real problems though. It was always hard.” He and Carlton’s mom divorced soon after the diagnosis. Carlton is now in his mid-twenties and his father is re-married. His second wife was under the impression that as he aged he would be less present in their lives. “This was not part of the deal” she told me. Carlton’s sister, who has always been a big part of his life, recently married and started her own family. Carlton spends most of his time in a residential facility where he is medicated. Below is a snippet of our latest discourse. He met my son with Autism, Noah, only twice before this encounter.

Carlton: Hi Lisa. People call you LJ. How is Noah?

Me: Wow Carlton! You have a great memory. He is doing well. Thanks for asking.

Carlton: Will he be here today?

Me: No, he’s working with his therapist today.

Carlton: You got him a therapist? Hmmm. Okay. What does the therapist do with him?

Me: Well, today she is helping him hold a pencil the right way, helping him write his name. Then she will take him to the park and teach him to follow her instructions and play on the playground equipment. She’s helping him learn to go to the bathroom, too.

Carlton: That’s nice. So you love Noah.

Me: Oh my gosh, yes Carlton. I love him with my whole heart and soul.

Carlton: Yeah, you love him a lot. Hmmm. That’s nice. Even though he has Autism? Do you think he has emotional problems? Like me.

Me: He loves me even though I don’t have Autism, so why wouldn’t I love him because he does? It would be pretty awful if we had to not love people for being different. If that were true I wouldn’t have anyone to love. Just thinking about it makes me sad. I don’t think Noah has emotional problems. Why do you think you have emotional problems?

Carlton: Is he violent like me?

Me: What do you mean?

Carlton: Sometimes I can be bad. I hope I don’t have to go to prison. If I do have to go to prison would you visit me? Because I would call you up and ask you to come because I don’t think anyone would visit me. But I would still call all my friends and tell them where I was and say that I would like for them to come visit.

Me: You are not bad Carlton. I think sometimes it’s just hard for you to make the right decisions. It’s hard for all of us to make right decisions, sometimes. I would visit you in prison but I hope you never have to go there. It’s not a nice place.

Carlton: Yeah, but you know that one time, with the cops…by the cops…I almost got tasered by the cops. Would you love him still if he got tasered by the cops and had to go to prison? That’s really bad.

Me: I love Noah, no matter what–even if he had to go to prison. I am trying to get him better so we don’t have to worry about that happening. Noah is not a bad boy and you are not a bad man.

Carlton: Yeah. You think you can get him better from autism?

Me: I hope so. Noah is really sick. He’s got lots of viruses in his body and he doesn’t feel very good a lot of the time. If you could get better and not have Autism would you want that?

Carlton: I do not want to have Autism. No. I don’t.

Me: Can you tell me what it feels like to have Autism, Carlton?

Carlton: I don’t know. It’s hard. (He looks down, starts to fidget. I overhear his dad tell the friend I have with me that his meds don’t seem to be working today. Carlton takes a step towards me, grabs my wrist and yanks off a few of my bracelets. He starts shaking them and staring at the bigger silver balls connecting the longer strands of beads) Does Noah hit you sometimes?

Me: Yes, he does. I hope when Noah can control his body better he won’t hit so much. I know he knows that hitting is wrong.

Carlton: Hitting is wrong. Does it hurt?

Me: Yeah. Sometimes it hurts.

Carlton: Oh. Do you get mad?

Me: Yes, I do. I try not to get too upset though. It just makes it worse.

Carlton: Yeah, do you think Noah would like me? Since I have Autism too.

Me: I think he would think you are great. You would like him too. He can talk now. He couldn’t talk the last time you saw him.

Carlton: You don’t think he would want to hold me down when I get upset?

Me: I don’t think so. You are so much bigger than him though–he couldn’t hold you down.

Carlton: No, he probably couldn’t. Okay tell him I said “hi.” It would be funny if we went to prison together. Wouldn’t that be funny?

Carlton is a big man. Not fat, but tall and broad. He probably would have made an outstanding football player. He has had multiple run-ins with the law. He has hurt his family members during his meltdowns. I suppose many people in Carlton’s life regard him as a mental health bomb. A “bad” bomb that is programmed to go off at anytime, because of his “emotional problems”. Even Carlton is scared of Carlton. I would be lying if I said I was not startled when he grabbed my wrist. I had my daughter nearby when he stepped toward me and I felt an instant compulsion to shield her. It feels terribly hypocritical being frightened of someone I believe I am ultimately trying to protect.

I thought of this discussion with Carlton when someone who’d read an old article of mine suggested I “…just love Noah and everything will be okay.” I wonder how Carlton’s father, after years of watching Carlton get bullied and abused would have responded to that statement. After years of bolting upright every time the phone rang in the middle of the night fearing the unthinkable, “I’m sorry sir but Carlton seems to have wandered away.”

The truth that no one with a small child with autism wants to hear, is that someday, our precious children could very well be in Carlton’s shoes. My precious little boy could grow into Carlton’s llife. Carlton is someone’s precious boy. Carlton is someone’s loved, precious boy. Despite the two decades separating Noah and Carlton, many similarities exist. They both possess a charming innocence, an observant demeanor, and beguiling smiles. Except, Carlton’s visage reveals a mouth full of teeth someone stopped caring for long ago. Brown spots, pits and cavities mar his otherwise perfectly straight teeth, set in a beautifully aligned jaw. I can’t help but think somewhere along the lines someone stopped caring. What does it matter, anyway? Why does he need to have beautiful teeth? What is he going to do with them?

I’m sorry, but no. No. Just loving Noah will not make everything okay. It is not okay to put a great big feel good, happy-face heart stamp on the horrific tragedy that is Autism. Like the horrendously wasteful campaign for “awareness”, the “love is enough” notion is a master disguise for the “avoid conflict, avoid the truth, and keep the peace at all costs” agenda. Love, awareness, and peace are simply words that feel good but are meaningless without real world application. Real peace, like recovery, has a price, and it is not paid by everyone sitting around talking about what a blessing the Autism epidemic is. It takes time, energy, resources, work, education, tireless investigation, review, and correction!

I sit in the waiting rooms of my son’s therapy centers, doctors’ offices and educational facilities along side countless parents of beautiful little zombies with dark circles under their eyes and gaping eczema wounds on their arms and legs who bump into walls, furniture, and each other with no regard for their own safety or surroundings. Their moms, as they affectionately dole out sips of coke and bites of Doritos, have no idea what is happening in their own country, their own doctor’s offices, their own pantries…to their own children. They love their kids, as I love Noah, as you love your children. This is not nor has it ever been called into question.

Love will only make everything okay if we are afforded the opportunity to teach it as a guiding principle to OUR GOVERNMENT, whose policies favor pharmaceutical companies over damaged children. Love will make everything okay if those who refuse to accept, acknowledge, and investigate the autism epidemic will stop harming, judging, blackballing, suing, threatening, and destroying those who do. And vice versa, our community is not without fault. Our children’s victimization does not exempt us from standing up for others or conducting our own investigations–quite the opposite—it compels us. Ultimately, and I guess the commentator was right on this: Love will indeed make everything okay if it provokes us to action, to set aside our differences and join together to fight for our children’s lives, their health and their future. For Carlton, Noah, and all our children we must, at the very least, try.

Related stories: CDC to Announce New Autism Rate of 1 in 88, and Likely to Declare “No Public Health Emergency” and “No Epidemic”