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New Study on Environmental Links to Autism Doesn't go far Enough

As scientists try to determine which environmental factors may lead to autism, they are paying closer attention to what happens to fetuses in utero, researchers say.

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Such factors play a larger role than genetics in causing the disorder, according to a new study from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and Stanford.

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Source: The Bay Citizen

Okay, so as a mother of children on the autism spectrum and professional working with families, I don’t even know how to respond to this.  I am grateful that scientists are finally getting on board with the fact that “bad moms” did not cause all of this; however, I am left mystified as to why it is taking so long to get to this point.  More importantly, I am wondering how long it will take the government to admit the findings and to go to the next step.

Parents all over the world know that bad genes did not all of a sudden wreak havoc on an entire generation of babies.   Something other than genetics had to be in the mix.

This article, in the Bay Citizen, goes on to quote,

“Autism had been thought to be the most heritable of all neurodevelopmental disorders, with a few small twin studies suggesting a 90 percent link,” said Neil Risch, a UCSF geneticist who is the director of the UCSF Institute for Human Genetics and one of the co-authors of the paper in a statement. “It turns out the genetic component still plays an important role, but in our study, it was overshadowed by the environmental factors shared by twins.”

I love that statement, “it turns out … it was overshadowed by the envirnmental factors…”

Meanwhile 1 in 91 children are now diagnosed on the autism spectrum and I did not see a new public statement made by the Federal Health Regulators based on this or any other study.  My reaction to this article may sound harsh; however, these finding are not new.  Organizations such as the Autism Research Institute have been doing research for decades showing that environmental toxins such as medications, heavy metals, ingredients in vaccines and other factors are playing a huge role in autism.  These organizations and their doctors have been labeled crazy.  In fact, doctors such as Andrew Wakefield in Great Britain have lost their careers over such research.  So what is the difference?  The only potentially controversial finding in this study says that anti-depressants MAY be a factor- with a big red flag not to go off your medications.  And, in their list of potential environmental factors, while they do stay that toxic exposures may be a factor, they fall short of acknowledging that those could come from vaccines- even vaccines moms are receiving during pregnancy.

I certainly applaud the University of California for doing this study and the Bay Citizen for printing the article; however, I am awaiting the next step to see how fast and how far they are willing to go, in their research, to protect our children.  For years the government has gone just far enough, even coming out in the past couple years with a study showing 1 in 91 children are on the spectrum… however, they are changing nothing in their recommendations for treatment or willingness to make public the research they have linking toxic exposure to mercury and other elements.  Research for the sake of research will no more help our children with autism than it will help any other epidemic.

Healing Autism… What do you mean?

Healing autism…. what do you mean? Some of you may laugh when you see this. Other people will cringe and yet others will say, “yeah, what do you mean?” And it is a very good question. While she was not the first to propose the idea that we could recover or heal children with autism,
Jenny McCarthy definitely took the media spotlight when she announced that she had found a way to recover her son from autism. Unfortunately, and maybe intentionally, most of the media got it wrong. Jenny McCarthy, like many of us who believe we can make significant progress in re-claiming our children, was not announcing a cure for autism, she was announcing hope with direction. She was explaining that she, through countless hours of therapy, anger, tears, biomedical approaches, family support, joy and pain, had gotten her son back to the point where he could move forward and enjoy a life filled with hope and promise. ( Because she started very early, her success has be amazing).

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I work with families, every day, who are working to heal and recover their children from autism. So what does it mean to heal or recover a child from autism? It means that while many say a child will NEVER speak, we know that there are treatments that are giving children their voice back. It means that a child who once was a danger to themselves and their siblings can become a calm and loving person who does not need to be removed from the home or to live on medications. It means that a child or adult who once was told they would never read, hold down a job or live outside a group home, can be a carpenter, doctor, mother, husband or store owner. We know first hand because our own daughter had to be taught to walk and talk and will now enter school, in the Fall, almost completely at grade level (she is 9 years old).

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Healing or recovering autism does not mean that we are curing autism. Do not misunderstand me, there are many children and adults who reach the point where they no longer qualify for the medical diagnosis or need school service. But, there are many stages of healing that simply bring our loved ones back to us…. and that is what we mean when we say we are healing and recovering our loved ones from autism.

We would love to hear your comments. If you or someone you know would like to schedule a consultation to learn more about this or any of the topics we discuss, please contact us.

A bit of odd information for Lucy's Readers

Closer to Lucy is giving away a copy of Healing Autism Naturally this week.  While we do not typically post odd information, we thought we would post this odd entry to make her smile…  Thanks Lucy.

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Kathy Ireland Book Presentation

Becky Cash with Kathy Ireland and Healing Autism Naturally Book

Becky Cash with Kathy Ireland

What an honor to meet Kathy Ireland this past weekend.   Many people know Kathy Ireland as a model from the past.  Perhaps you remember her workout videos or even own some of her household decor line.  But, many do not know what an amazing business woman, mother and giver she truly has become.  She even spent a couple minutes talking with me about our new book, Healing Autism Naturally.  With a line of people waiting for her, she stopped to look through the book.  She then shared that she knew a child in the process of possibly being diagnosed and was so appreciative to receive a copy.  This was really a reminder to me that EVERYONE knows someone with autism and most people truly LOVE someone with autism.

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iPads helping Children with Autism Communicate

Speech Pathologists all over America are applying for grants to put iPad in there classrooms.  Sounds a bit like a gimmick until you realize that children, who have never or barely ever communicated are now breaking through.  I first became aware of this in a newsletter from TACA (Talk About Curing Autism).  The newsletter features an amazing story about an 11 year old boy who had barely been able to talk and was growing more frustrated by the day.  Today he is also using his an iTouch at school (with much work from his parents).  His parents did site a manageable issue, though.  Recently, their son figure out how to re-program the writing app so that he could use icons and not have to work so hard, an issue I am rather certian his parents are happy to manage.

But this boy is not isolated in his success.  In February of 2010, Fox 11 News highlighted a speach pathologist who was also using the devices in her classrooms.  Many schools are even receiving grants to make this technology available.

We are very blessed in that, through early intervention, speech therapy and nutritional supplements, our daughter was able to learn to talk on her own; however, for many families, devices such as this may be the first time they see their childrens’ potential, watch their children come into our world or even see the words, “I love You” for the first time.  More importantly, for the older children who have been screaming out to be heard for so long, this may just be the saving grace that allows them to finally be heard.

Dr. Oz on Autism

by Becky Cash

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As the mother of children on the autism spectrum, an advocate and a professional working within the autism community, I applaud Dr. Oz for his effort at taking a stab at autism.  Having said that, it appears to me that he is attempting to hit a hot button topic, without making any waves. 

Earlier this month, he aired a show on autism.  I applaud him for bringing in such guests as Dr. Bob Sears; however, his panel was more than heavily weighted with the traditional medical community.  Though he personally noted spreading out his own childrens’ vaccines (throwing a bone to the hesitant crowd of parents), he was quick to side with traditional pediatricians in saying that most parents could not keep track of such a schedule, and thus, should go with the traditional vaccine schedule.

On March 4,2011, Dr. Oz wrote a blog for a popular moms’ community entitled A Dr. Oz Primer .  Once again I am left saying, “Thank you Dr. Oz for throwing a bone…” but you are dodging the topic.  We need serious discussion that will lead to serious research and findings, not speculation that will lead moms to simply fear the air they breathe and the age of conception.    It is all too easy to talk about what may cause autism and leave families in fear, but without solid fact, it is at best worthless and possibly dangerous.

Until the research community can come together and work together to find real answers, perhaps we are best left discussing treatments and solutions to helping our children reach their God-Given potential.  Action, not-defense may be the best solution for now.

Wretches and Jabberers- Autism Movie in local theatres

The Indiana Resource Center for Autism (IRCA) at Indiana University and the Autism Society of Indiana have been selected by the Autism Society of America (ASA) to host two screenings of the film Wretches & Jabberers, on April 16 in Bloomington and April 23 in Indianapolis, to commemorate National Autism Awareness Month.  Here’s the link to the Press Release:  http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/17641.html

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Title:  Wretches & Jabberers Dates:  4/16 – Bloomington @ Showcase 12 (Third Street); 4/23 – Indianapolis @ Showcase 17 (Meridian Street)

Time:  12 Noon– both locations; doors open at 11:30

Cost:  Tickets $7.50 ea. – available to purchase online or at theater in advance (click on link above to theatre box office)

This is a Sensory Friendly Film Event!
About the movie:Wretches & Jabberers, directed by Academy Award winner Gerardine Wurzburg, follows two men with autism, Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette, who embark on a global quest to change attitudes about disability, intelligence and communication. The movie is the latest documentary by Wurzburg, who won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject for her film Educating Peter and was again nominated in 2005 for Autism is a World. To view the movie trailer, visit:  http://www.wretchesandjabberers.org/

Speaking at Inspiring Abilities Expo- Greenfield, Indiana

FUSE (Families United for Support and Encouragement) will once again host its annual Inspiring Abilities Expo, on March 12, 2011.  This year, we at ASDPerspectives are proud to not only sponsor the event, but will be speaking on nutrition and bio-medical approaches to healing.  Last year we attended as sponsors and were very impressed with the array of services, compassion of all involved and professionalism of the organization. 

Speakers at the Event will include the following topics:

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Equine Therapy, Health Care Reform and Special Needs Children, Financial Planning,

Nutrition and BioMedical Approaches (by ASD Perspectives and Becky Cash)

and Applied Behavior Therapy. 

Becky Cash and Sandra Nardoni will also be available onsite to offer free 25 minute consultations to families wishing to start a supplementation program.  To pre-sign up for a time slot, contact us via the contact section of ASDPerspectives.com. 

To register for this FREE event at Greenfield High School in Indiana, go to www.fuseinc.org.

International Asperger’s Awareness Day

February 18, 2011 – International Asperger’s Day
In honor of Hans Asperger’s birthday, February 18th has been declared International Asperger’s Day. Hans Asperger (February 18, 1906 – October 21, 1980) was an Austrian pediatrician, after whom Asperger syndrome (AS) was named. He wrote over 300 publications, mostly concerning autism in children. Asperger published the first definition of Asperger syndrome in 1944.

“We are convinced, then, that autistic people have their place in the organism of the social community. They fulfill their role well, perhaps better than anyone else could, and we are talking of people who as children had the greatest difficulties and caused untold worries to their care-givers.”

Asperger’s birthday, February 18, was declared International Asperger’s Day and is observed by various autism-related organizations.

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Autism on the Doctor OZ Show Fenruary 17th

Autism on The Dr. Oz Show
 
ASF President Alison Singer and Dr. Ari Brown of the American Acadamy of Pediatrics recently taped an episode of the Dr. Oz Show called “What Causes Autism” with Dr. Bob Sears and a studio audience of predominantly vaccine-hesitant parents. This was a challenging show to do but in the end, we decided that was exactly the reason to do it. The show is scheduled to run on Thursday February 17. Check your local listings.

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