Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
On February 12, the federal "Vaccine Court" in Washington issued a sweeping ruling in three highly touted "test cases" against families who claimed that their childrens' autism had been caused by vaccines. The Special Masters in those three cases found that Petitioners failed to establish causation between MMR vaccines, the mercury-laced vaccine preservative thimerosal, and autism (the court decision, which is under appeal, deferred any finding on a thimerosal-only theory of causation). The rulings could have a significant precedential impact on some 5,000 families who opted to bring their cases in the Omnibus Autism Proceedings (OAP) hoping that the vaccine court would officially hold that the MMR vaccine or thimerosal had caused autism in their children.
The New York Times joined the government Health Agency (HRSA) and its big pharma allies hailing the decisions as proof that the scientific doubts about vaccine safety had finally been "demolished." The US Department of Health and Human services said the rulings should "help reassure parents that vaccines do not cause autism." The Times, which has made itself a blind mouthpiece for HRSA and a leading defender of vaccine safety, joined crowing government and vaccine industry flacks applauding the decisions like giddy cheerleaders, rooting for the same court that many of these same voices viscously derided just one year ago, after Hannah Poling won compensation for her vaccine induced autism.
But last week, the parents of yet another child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were awarded a lump sum of more than $810,000 (plus an estimated $30-40,000 per year for autism services and care) in compensation by the Court, which ruled that the measels-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine had caused acute brain damage that led to his autism spectrum disorder.
The family of 10-year-old Bailey Banks won their case quietly and without fanfare in June of 2007, but the ruling has only now come to public attention. In the remarkably clear and eloquent decision, Special Master Richard Abell ruled that the Banks had successfully demonstrated that "the MMR vaccine at issue actually caused the conditions from which Bailey suffered and continues to suffer."
Bailey's diagnosis is Pervasive Developmental Disorder -- Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) which has been recognized as an autism spectrum disorder by CDC, HRSA and the other federal health agencies since at least the 1990s.... READ MORE: http://tinyurl.com/ddo7kf.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Autism Is Treatable: Attend the DAN! Conference.
Why Atlanta? Why this one conference if you're new to biomedical treatment?
Because Defeat Autism Now! conferences are the most responsive to your follow-up evaluations -- we pay close attention to them when designing our programs.
Sixty-three percent of the people who attended Defeat Autism Now! in San Diego last fall had never been to an autism conference before, and many of them commented that they wanted even more basic information, especially on dietary treatment.
Nutrition is the cornerstone, and since it's always good to begin at the beginning, we're devoting Friday afternoon in Atlanta (April 17th) to nutrition. (Remember that higher-level treatments might not be as successful if the diet isn't sound.)
The Friday program is designed to provide the best solid foundation for the presentations on Saturday and Sunday, and it's a great refresher course as well for you "old-timers."
Registration is online at: https://www.defeatautismnow.com/Atlanta/atlanta.html
Director, Defeat Autism Now!
Monday, February 23, 2009
TEACH TOILETING BOOK FROM DEB BIALER FOR SPECIAL NEEDS & AUTISM!
Deborah Bialer is a consultant in Cleveland, Ohio with over thirty years' experience working with special needs children. She has created a toilet training program that works with kids on the spectrum. I'm giving away a copy of her book. Even better? Ms. Bialer is offering a free phone consultation to the winner!
The book is easy to read and the program is spelled out in detail for you. You can visit her website http://www.teachtoileting.com/ to order a copy and to learn more. Good luck!
Leave a comment to enter. I'll announce the winner in a week. The Baseball Book winner I'll announce later this week.
If you're a blogger and would like to share this book with your readers, I'll bet Deb will give you a free copy for a lucky winner too! Lord knows autism parents need toilet training assistance! You can reach her from her website. She's a doll - I've known her for many years.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Frank Nappi's The Legend of Mickey Tussler from St. Martin's Press: Baseball Novel with an Asperger's Curveball!
Leave a comment, and you'll be on deck to win! Frank was kind enough to tell us about his book:
Imagine what would happen if God combined the baseball prowess of Roy Hobbs from The Natural and the unique temperment and aspergers of Christopher Boone from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. This fictional experiment is the inspiration behind my novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, a story that chronicles the rise of 17 year old Mickey Tussler to local baseball stardom, despite his aspergers and a vocal faction of heartless critics.
The book, which highlights the remarkable achievements of this special young man, has been celebrated by many parents of autistic children as a "victory for special needs kids everywhere," for it portrays the boundless possibilities of these amazing individuals while indicting those ignorant people who would still like to ignore their very existence.
The book has done much to promote autism awareness, and it is my sincere hope that this awareness will engender understanding, and ultimately tolerance and acceptance. It is this idea that sparked the interest of Eye in the Sky Entertainment, a production company in LA that has just completed a screenplay based on the book. Look for The Legend of Mickey Tussler on Amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com and visit my site at www.franknappi.com. Each sale will allow me to continue to donate money and books to various autism groups. Happy reading!
Frank Nappi is a teacher/coach for twenty years at Oceanside High School. Mickey Tussler is his second novel. His website is www.franknappi.com.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
We're off to Massachusetts to see Family. On Saturday night, a group is meeting in the North End of Boston for dinner to celebrate a BEAUTIFUL GIRL with Asperger's who is getting a service dog! John Robison was sort of raffled off as a date. And we all won.
The event surrounds a fundraiser - in which many generous bloggers and blog readers contributed to the doggie fund. The dinner was organized by THIS wonderful woman in Massachusetts.
Friday, February 13, 2009
My parents gave my sister, brother and me the very best childhood you could ever imagine. We were well loved. Had enough money to do lovely things. Traveled (once to Toledo, I kid you not.) And generally had the kind of upbringing most people dream of. We lived near an amusement park called Jolly Cholly's. It was one of those 1950s family parks with mini golf, a pizza parlor and kiddie rides up to teen rides. Oh to grow up to ride the Music Express and maybe kiss a boy... My brother Rich found this YouTube of Cholly Jolly. Tomorrow is his birthday. 39. How is my little brother 39? Watching this video I am seven years old. Meet you on The Whip!
Here's what's left...
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Thank you to Christine Heeren of Lighthouse Studios of NY for permission to use the photo.
UPDATE: I just learned that the Sheriff's dept is trying very hard to treat Sky well and help him. That's great news. And his family is in touch with some of the best advocates in the country for Sky. (How'd that happen?) ;)
I wrote a piece for an online newspaper in NE Ohio (HERE) - there's a terrible case going on - an 18 year old boy with autism is accused of beating his mother to death. I wrote an opinion piece about it. And now more than 25,000 people have read it in a matter of oh, minutes. I hope millions read it.
I will never give up trying to help my girls. Today is a tough day - there were three major autism/vaccine cases that lost. I know the Mom of one of the girls. The child has life threatening seizures 24/7, can not walk, speak or feed herself. I ache for her.
Here's what the editor of the http://www.e-portage.us/ site wrote in a comment at Age of Autism.
"I wanted to take the time to thank Kim for the article. We just published it this morning and it has already seen over 25,000 page views, worldwide.
I can tell you that public officials in Portage County do read E-Portage.Us, so you may want to considering posting your thoughts under the article on the e-portage.us site. http://www.e-portage.us/newsgen/news_details.php?id=310
Thank you again,
Friday, February 06, 2009
(CBS) There are new concerns about Gardasil, the vaccine that prevents a virus that caused cervical cancer. It's approved for girls as young as nine. And five million have received it since it was approved two years ago. The FDA and its maker insist it's safe. But CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has exclusive information on some very serious side effects.
Watch CBS Videos Online
Monday, February 02, 2009
Blog Interview: Joshua Henkin Author of Matrimony
(Of course there's a contest! Enter your comment! Winner drawn on Thursday.)
Be sure to visit Joshua's site Joshua Henkin to learn how to invite him to speak with your book club. Here's the book on AMAZON so you can buy a copy for your best friend. It's out in paperback so you can buy TWO!
Hi, Joshua and welcome to my blog. My readers are authors, aspiring authors, parents and lots of autism Moms who are always looking for a moment of respite in a good book. Will you tell them how we "met?"
First of all, Kim, thanks for having me as a guest on your blog. I really appreciate it. We met as all good people meet these days—on the web! Specifically, Google Alerts sends me an email every day with the blogs that mention me/MATRIMONY, and one day, there your blog was. So I checked it out and contacted you. Google Alerts has been a great tool for helping me get in touch with people who are writing about MATRIMONY, and in the process I’ve been introduced to a number of fantastic blogs, such as your own.
How did you become a writer? Was it difficult to secure an agent and sell Matrimony?
I always wanted to be a writer, but then I also always wanted to be a basketball player, and at some point you realize you’re neither good enough nor tall enough. That’s kind of how it was with writing—it seemed to me like an unrealistic fantasy. I studied political theory in college and was planning to get a Ph.D. in political theory, but I took off what I thought would be a year before going to graduate school and moved out to Berkeley. I ended up working for a magazine, and one of the things I was doing was being the first reader of fiction submissions. And I saw how terrible most of them were, and I felt oddly inspired. It wasn’t that I thought I could do any better, but I thought if other people were willing to try and risk failure, I should be willing to try and risk failure too. And that’s a lesson I take with me to this day, because a writer is always risking failure; day in and day out, the page is just as blank and the fraud police is whispering in your ear. In any case, I started taking some workshops in Berkeley, got some encouragement, and ended up moving to Ann Arbor to pursue my MFA. I wrote short stories in graduate school and published a handful of them in literary journals, and then, shortly after I finished my MFA, I began my first novel, SWIMMING ACROSS THE HUDSON. It was a real good-luck story in that I found an excellent agent quite quickly, and a week later she sold the book to a good publisher based on the first fifty pages.
MATRIMONY was a longer and more drawn-out process. It took me ten years to write MATRIMONY and I threw out more than three thousand pages along the way. The novel got turned down by many publishers in a number of different incarnations. But in the end, I landed at Pantheon/Vintage, which was a real blessing—I had a great publisher, a great editor, great publicity and marketing people. I can’t say enough about Pantheon and Vintage. And in the end, the book has done very well—a good deal better, in fact, than SWIMMING ACROSS THE HUDSON, despite the fact that the journey to getting there was longer and more difficult. Go figure. With publishing, as with so many things, there’s a whole lot of luck involved.
How did you come up with the premise for Matrimony?
I didn’t. I just tied myself to my chair (figuratively, mind you) and started to write. Day after day for ten years. That’s how you write a novel—at least that’s how I write a novel. You don’t plan things out; you don’t think about themes or premises. To me, fiction is first and foremost about character, and the way to make characters come to life is not to go into the book with any preconceived notions. You have to give your characters autonomy; you have to let them surprise you. When I started MATRIMONY, I thought it was about a love relationship and that it was taking place at a college reunion. Well, it is about a love relationship, but it’s about a lot of other things too—friendship, class, career ambition, maturing over the years. And though there’s a college reunion in MATRIMONY, it doesn’t take place till around page 260 and it lasts for all of seven pages. So pretty early on in the writing process it became clear to me that I didn’t have a clue. Which is a good thing. I think it’s dangerous for a novelist to have too much of a clue—at least during the first draft. There’s a time for having a clue, but that comes later, when you’re rewriting, when you have this huge mess in front of you and you have to make sense of it.
It's so refreshing to read a novel about dating, family, friendship and marriage from the male perspective. And yet, you never made Matrimony feel like a frat house frolic. How did you avoid the male clichés while maintaining a masculine voice?
Thank god about the frat-house frolic! I wouldn’t know how to write something like that. It’s a very good question, and I wish I could give you a better answer that that it’s the voice that came to me over the course of many years. The writing process is such a mystery, even to (perhaps especially to) the writer himself. And though it’s true that I write from Julian’s point of view, almost as much of the book is written from Mia’s point of view, and I know that for some readers, at least, Mia was their favorite character. In any event, I think writing from both the female and the male points of view ended up keeping the book balanced in the way you’re referring to.
As I've told you, I'm head of heels in love with the idea of authors attending book clubs via cyberspace. Can you share some stories about your forays into readers' homes via the cyber book club? The good, the bad and the ugly??
It’s a lot more good than it’s bad or ugly. I’ve done it all in terms of book groups—in person, by phone, online, and now I’ve even done one by video, through Skype. I’ve now talked to close to 100 book groups. Prior to the rise of book groups, the only people writers ever heard from were their friends and book reviewers. Now there’s the opportunity for a writer to talk to readers, most of whom are really smart and who have very interesting things to say about your book. And for a lot of book group members, their book group is their one opportunity to read and think about literature—it’s a real break from the rest of their lives, and so they take it really seriously. I’ve learned more than I can say from book groups, and I’m incredibly grateful to them. And they keep you on your toes because most of them have just finished your book, so they know it better than you do. There can be an occasional awkward moment (I once had someone say to me, “I hate to say it, but I really just didn’t like your book!”), but for the most part people have been incredibly generous and gracious, and I’m OK with the criticism; you learn to develop a thick skin. You probably make more of a connection when you talk to a group in person, but I’ve had great conversations with book groups both on the phone and online, and I’m continuing to do more and more of those.
How does an author find the book clubs to secure dates? Can you do it yourself?
It’s a combination of hard work on the author’s part and hard work on the publisher’s part. I have a long email list and I’ve connected with book groups that way, and through my website. And my publisher has connected me to book groups as well. And eventually word spreads. As with so many things, word-of-mouth is key. Book groups talk to each other, and every time I talk to a book group, members let other book groups know. And it’s helped that I’ve gotten some publicity for talking to so many book groups. There was an article about my book group visits that appeared several weeks back in the Philadelphia Inquirer (HERE) , and another one recently appeared in the Brooklyn Paper (HERE.)
What are you working on now?
I’m a couple hundred pages into my next novel, which is tentatively titled THE WORLD WITHOUT YOU. It’s a very different book from MATRIMONY, in that MATRIMONY takes place over twenty years, whereas the new novel takes place over a single July 4th weekend. Three adult sisters (mid-late-thirties) and their spouses/significant others return, along with their parents, to the family’s country house in the Berkshires, the occasion for which is the fourth anniversary of the brother’s death; he was a journalist killed in Iraq. When he died, he left a pregnant wife, who subsequently gave birth to a son, who’s now three. The wife is now a graduate student at Berkeley, and she’s fallen in love and is living with another man. She may very well marry him, and even if she doesn’t, she’ll likely marry someone else at some point, and that person could end up adopting the son. The late son’s wife and the son come to the reunion as well. As you can imagine, a lot happens, but in the broadest sense the book is about the struggle over this son. To the parents and the sisters, he is their grandson and nephew, respectively, and the embodiment of the dead brother. To his mother, he’s that too, but he’s principally her son and she’s moving on. In a sense, then, the book is in part about the different ways spouses and parents cope with grief.
So, can we wangle a signed copy from you for one lucky winner??
I’ll do you one better, since I’m feeling generous and February brings us Valentine’s Day, a good day and a good month for a book called MATRIMONY. How about I make it two signed copies?
Thanks, Joshua! I'm sure my readers will love Matrimony as much I did.