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July, 2010:

Alternative Vaccine Schedule

Update: On his February 2011 show on the causes of autism, Dr Oz admitted that he personally used an alternative vaccine schedule with his children!  Dr. Sears also said that recommends an alternative vaccine schedule with some of his patients.

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Vaccinations are a somewhat controversial topic, in the autism world.  Each person must do their own research and determine what is best for their child.  Obviously there are three perspectives.  Some choose to completely stop vaccinating their children when they learn of a possible autism link.  Others continue as they previously vaccinated while many are choosing to spread out their vaccine schedules.  This topic was recently posed on one of our homeschool blogs, so I thought I would post a spread out vaccine schedule.  This is just one option, but a place to begin.

“Those who question the benefit of mass immunisation are not all irrational non-believers. Most support vaccination but are concerned at – and question the necessity for – the large number of vaccines and the early ages at which these are given. Many have studied the research, only to find – as I have – contradiction and uncertainty. They deserve to be treated with respect and given the opportunity for an open and honest debate.”

– Dr. Richard Halverson, letter to the British Medical Journal

Dr. Donald Miller, in his 2004 article, suggests this as one proposed vaccine schedule:

This is a vaccination schedule that I would recommend:

    1. No vaccinations until a child is two years old.
    2. No vaccines that contain thimerosal (mercury).
    3. No live virus vaccines (except for smallpox, should it recur).
    4. These vaccines, to be given one at a time, every six months, beginning at age 2:
      1. Pertussis (acellular, not whole cell)
      2. Diphtheria
      3. Tetanus
      4. Polio (the Salk vaccine, cultured in human cells)
    5. To read his entire article, click here.

We hope this is helpful and would love to hear what topics you want to hear more about.

A siblings perspective on autism….

Despite my earlier observations on post- vacation adjustment…. we have ventured out on another family excursion.  This one has become our annual trip to Family Land, a Catholic family camp, that our children do really love.  They spend a week on swimming, pony and horse back riding, sliding on the St. John the Baptist water slide, smores, and kids camp programs.  We, the adults, with our littlest ones in tow, get to enjoy all the fun with our children, while also enjoying the adult programs in the morning.

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Our family, being the least likely to really rough it, stay in the air conditioned cabins in St. James field and use the luxury bath house :).  So last night, in the middle of the night, our 8 year old wakes up screaming (not uncommon when out of her surroundings).  After waking up most of the cabin, we finally conclude that she has to use the restroom.  In one of my not so great moments, I proceed to lecture her about her need to scream and wake everyone up.  At this point, our oldest is also in tow to the restroom and gently chides me, “She can’t help it mom, she has autism.”  While processing the reality of the statement, I try to mentally fight back with a “Well, she is high functioning,” thought.

As I sit here writing, I still ponder the statement…. “she can’t help it…” and wonder if that is true.  That is a topic in and of itself…equally impotant to me is the question of how her siblings are processing the situation.  As a mom, I know that I often teach my children to have compassion for their siblings, whether it be Catherine with her diabetes, Gabriel with his sleep disorder
or even the baby in her littleness.  But, this statement, “she can’t help it,” leaves me with so many questions. Can she help it?  Is her sister correct?  How do we teach one child to handle another?  In the end, we would probably all do alot better to have compassion, whether it be towards our own children or the children of others.  And just perhaps, they will have compassion and empathy towards us in the end.

Easier said that done!  How do you teach siblings about their siblings differences?  We would love to hear.

A day in the life of PDDnos

So as the conversation always is, when in the car with my 8 year old…  this was another interesting one.  “Mom, there are two new kids in our class….. (Jack) says he is only there (at the Autism Center) because his sister is there.  He says his dad told him he does not have autism.”  “Really, do you think he has autism?”  She relies candidly, “i don’t know.”  I ask, “Do you think you have autism?”  She pauses, thinks about the question and says, “I really do not know.” and proceeds with the daily report.

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“Mom, Miss Ann had to add ‘meditating’ to the list of free time options so (Bill) would know he could meditate during free time if he wanted,” she chuckles and explains that he woul dnot know he could do that if it was not on the list.  “Really?” I question pretending to not be questioning of this interest of Bills.”  “Yep- he puts his fingers together and makes a funny sound.”  She is still amused and I am glad she is not taking much of an interest in meditating.

The conversation goes on for quite some time as she tells me that another child is lower functioning and another is higher functioning and I wonder- Is my child even on the spectrum?  Alas the memories of her struggles to talk and walk and assimilate to the sounds and lights around her flood my mind.  I am reminded that she had a melt down when her class size increased to 5 children (too loud… to hectic for her) and I remember that every child is different…  As the mother of 5 beautiful child, one with aspergers, one with PDDnos, one with type 1 diabetes and one with other medical issues….  I settle into enjoying this very intelligent recounting of a day in the life of PDDnos.

Finally regrouping

It seems like it gets harder and harder for my sensory sensitive children to regroup after a trip.  In May, all 7 of us traversed to DisneyLand for a much anticipated vacation.  Yes, that means that my husband and I flew accross the country with 5 children- ages 15 months to 10 years-  complete with our 5 year olds diabetic needles and insulin in one hand and our stress relief complex and supplements in the other.  Insanity, I know but Mickey Mouse and sunshine were waiting.  Did I mention our 5 year old was gifted poison ivy by her brother before we left? 

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The trip itself was busy and crazy, but the memories were well worth the adventure.  We defiantely recommend checking out the Disney Autism Blogs to gain much needed advise on making the trip easier.  Having said that, our biggest shock was upon returning….  we returned on a Friday.  By Saturday our 8 year old daughter with PDDnos was breaking.  By Sunday night, she was crying for Miss Jenny- her therapist.  In the 4 years since she started therapy programs, never had she cried for a therapist.  We know her cry was also for stability.

So, this 4th of July weekend we traveled again… for my sisters wedding.  My kids love hotels and the wedding was great.  But by the time we returned home- I was close to crying for a therapist- and I am not even joking.  My 3 sensory sensitive children were screaming, our 5 year old with type 1 diabetes was out of control and even our perfectly content 16 month old was screaming…  Friday we leave for family camp-  just enough time to regroup!

Do you have tips you can share for smooth travels?  We woud love to share them with our readers….