Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Little Socialism is Good for You, as Long as I get What I Want

I happened across a snippy little column over at Pajamas Media by Robert Rummel-Hudson today on why his special-ed kid needs special treatment:

Yes, special education is expensive. Good education of any kind is, for that matter. But no matter what your politics, nor how extreme your position within those beliefs, a little socialism isn’t going to hurt you, and it’s going to help Schuyler and millions like her.

This is my opinion, but one in which I believe so strongly that as far as I’m concerned, it is a Big-F Fact: a society that doesn’t take care of its own least fortunate, whether that’s the poor or the disabled or whoever, is a society that does not deserve to survive. If we as a civilization can’t do better than “Public schools should be reserved for the ‘neurotypical’”, then we deserve nothing less than to implode on our own selfish appetites and our own primping narcissism. I’ll be the first one at the barricades when the revolution begins.


While I have no real problem with special education students getting an education in public schools, I am not a big fan of mainstreaming. But I have to chuckle at this guy's sense of entitlement when it comes to his own daughter who deserves special treatment at the cost of tax payers.

I wonder how he would respond to the predicament of gifted students. Many of them, my daughter included, are gifted but have no resources at schools for kids who are "special" in this way. The Talented and Gifted classes (TAG) were done away with "for budget reasons" in our county and many gifted students sit in classes that are taught for the average and below students. I wonder if this guy would be as concerned about the gifted kids who get no services as he is about those who are in need of special education for their deficits? If not, he really has no room to talk.

Apparently, some children's education is more important than others to this guy. Because here is a Big-F fact for you: we also need people whose talents are nurtured in the sciences, math and other areas. They are the future scientists, doctors, teachers and potential inventors that might help kids like your daughter in the future. Perhaps if Rummel-Hudson showed less of his own "primping narcissm" when stating his opinion, people might listen more to what he has to say.

97 Comments:

Blogger Cathy said...

Talented and gifted children are capable of thriving and growing on their own. Most of them will go to college and be happy, functional, positive contributors to society. If the disabled population is supported with a safety net of services while young, they reach their highest potential as adults. If not, they become very expensive burdens of the state in jails, hospitals and group homes.

4:17 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Cathy,

I disagree with you to some degree. I think left to their own devices, the gifted have problems of their own. If kids sit in class day after day bored and disgusted, they tune out and sometimes want no part of college. Look at how few boys these days want to go to college; some have had a negative school experiencea leading them to find other paths that may not make as much use of their talents. The gifted functioning to their highest level is just as, if not moreso, important to our society.

I am not saying that those with disabilities should not get help, they should. However, the flip side of that is that the gifted and above average kids should also be supported.

4:40 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger Jason said...

Now that genetic tests have made it hard to saddle another man with the burden of raising your children, I guess some cuckoos just like to get the tax man to leave their egg in another nest.

4:55 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger Major-General said...

I'm with Helen on this one. When I was in elementary school, gifted and talented meant more school work. Not anything different or challenging, just more problems from the same textbooks.

In highschool they had completely cut the program from my (very good) public school.

So by the time I got to college, I'm sitting in a room with a bunch of people who frankly were mentally beneath me, bored out of my mind.

5:22 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger Cris said...

Another reason people decide to homeschool instead of sending their kids to public school. The gifted child can be challenged; the special-needs child can get the help he needs.

And then there are the kids who are gifted in some areas, and need more help in others... kids for whom "grade level" makes no sense. They may be "neurotypical" but still flounder in the school system, because at age 10 they're in 5th grade, but their math skills are about grade 3 and their understanding of science is about grade 8. But nobody cares about them either.

5:34 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger dadvocate said...

Cathy is wrong, talented and gifted children need classes that meet their needs. My daughter (6th grade) and son (9th) make better grades in the harder, faster paced advanced classes.

My daughter especially complained about the slower kids in her classes holding everyone else back. Mainstreaming doesn't necessarily help those whom it is intended to help and often hurts the more gifted kids.

I'm fortunate that my kids attend schools where the administrators work very hard at getting grants, etc. plus the regular funding.

...our own selfish appetites and our own primping narcissism.
The writer certainly describes himself well.

5:40 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger DonSurber said...

Dadvocate, I'm sure your children are geniuses and this comment does not apply to you.
But here is how it works in West Virginia. You get X dollars per student. Special ed kids count three times. Gifted kids are considered sped-ed for funding purposes.
In the 1980s and 1990s, declining enrollments in Wood County, W.Va. (each county is a separate school district -- not a bad setup) were offset by reducing the IQ minimum for gifted students.
Eventually, it was limited so that only 1 of every 6 kids can be labeled gifted or sped ed.
I think you are onto something, doc.

6:25 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger TMink said...

Cathy wrote: "If the disabled population is supported with a safety net of services while young, they reach their highest potential as adults."

If you are suggesting that the net provides the support then we disagree. I think the net just minimizes injuries from falls. I think that folks with more or more difficult challenges thrive because of their will, personality, hard work, and the relationships that created and nurtured the success.

I appreciate a good safety net, but I think that the capacity to overcome is more personal and familial than governmental in origin.

Trey

6:48 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...

The 'no child left behind' environment is a lot like hiking. You can only go as fast as your slowest comrade. Not only do the gifted and talented suffer but so does the big middle. Funds go to special ed, and maybe the TAG, but then the rest of the kids get stuck in classes with 38-42 kids, the teachers are overwhelmed and nobody gets and education. When masses of kids drop out the schools breathe a huge sigh of relief because that leaves so many fewer kids taking those standardized tests and fewer kids that need to meet minimum requirements.

Beware the parents of special ed kids, they are very vocal.

7:39 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger MikeT said...

Cathy,

Most schools take up too much of their time to be able to do much on their own. Your forgot to factor that in when trying to rebut Dr. Helen's point.

8:04 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger GM Roper said...

Dr. Helen, an earlier post by the same author contained this tidbit:
"We’ve been in Plano for two years, and as we expected, Schuyler has thrived in her new environment. Unexpectedly, however, so have we. Our snotty liberal politics haven’t changed, but we’ve come to appreciate that the people in our community want the same things we do for our kids, and if they are bothered by our differences, they keep it to themselves."

So it seems he gravitated to Plano Texas from Conn. seeking other people's money to educate his child.

As a youth, I recall a neighbor family that all but bankrupted themselves to provide education for their DD child and they would NEVER have expected others to do for them what they felt they should be doing for themselves.

Perhaps the Liberal Rob feels differently. [/snark]

GM's Corner

8:22 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger Eric Blair said...

Hello, Dr. Helen:

Great article. The author made me pretty angry, I must admit.

The first hint was the hyphenated last name. Oh, I'm maybe not being fair, but it sure fits with the rest of the post. I'll bet cash money that the fellow has more than one "Che" shirt around the house, and lists "social justice" as a major concern....but who also drives an expensive car or has more than one iPod or...you get the picture.

Did you catch this bit about his daughter: "...both in my blog and in my upcoming memoir..." That would be two too many "my"s in a post about his daughter, in my opinion. And "memoir" is a bit ...well, pretentious, too.

First and foremost, I am deeply sorry that his daughter has learning disabilities/differences. But it is clear to me that this person has money and position; I'm much more concerned about poor people with kids in that position. They seldom have blogs and books and have time to agitate that their children deserve money. They don't prattle on about manning the barricades and half-suggesting revolution.

They do the best they can for their children.

Again, I may indeed be unfair.

I like how the author was upfront about his own societal selfishness...and if you disagree with him, you don't deserve to live (essentially). The barricades, indeed! Only if he has access to a designer kerchief to ward off the teargas, I'll venture.

My guess is that the author has strong opinions about how tax money should be spent. But he is happy to tell others how their money should be spent...and, again, suggest that people who don't share his belief are evil folk in an evil society.

It isn't socialism. It's narcissism. It's fine to lobby folks for more funds to support education for special needs children (although there are special needs and then there are special needs, as you rightly point out). What is nonoptimal is his labeling of people who don't agree with him as being "bad" and not worthy of almost anything.

Showing people that his daughter deserves the support. Giving her a voice. These are admirable goals. But they aren't about a "memoir." They would her story, not his.

His essay reminded me very much of the "kids" described in "Generation Me," which I recommend.

http://www.generationme.org/

That being said, the man has a difficult road to walk. I am hoping that he spends much more time with his daughter than he does on his book and website and such. I hope he does.

I want my sons to have the best education possible, too. But I don't think that people who don't like "gifted programs" are bad or evil or heartless.

But then, the topic of my kids, when I chat about my kids, is...my kids.

8:39 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger B. Durbin said...

I *was* a TAg student way back when it was a different acronym and just looking back on it, I can tell that if I had been in mainstream classes I would probably have been a handful to deal with. That might have been as simple as acting out because I felt I was more intelligent or it could have gone into full-grown "bored" rebellion.

I have to say, "They'll cope" is probably the best argument to forego public schooling for homeschooling that I've seen.

10:02 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

I was considered gifted in school. I was bored to tears and have as an adult, until my child got autism, been a chronic underachiever considering my potential.

That said, I think the point Cathy is making is that I have still been able to make my own way. Sure it's led to lower wage jobs, but I'm still capable of reading, doing math, social interaction (too much in those formative adult years!) Those with disabilities, without proper support may not be able to do functional math, read basic information on the job (how many illiterates have I seen unable to fill my fast food receipt properly) or fill out job applications, apply for apartment rentals, etc.

I would also like to add that special education doesn't have to be expensive. In looking for a program for my daughter, rarely have I ever asked for expensive gadgetry, curriculum that breaks the county budget, or teachers with training out the wazzoo. What I have repeatedly asked for are teachers who care, who want to see my daughter succeed, and value her right to contribute to society. I've met many a teacher's aid, making around 15k/year, who meet these standards far greater than "highly qualified" teachers.

Sure, some people require more advanced services, such as a student on a respiratory or feeding tube requiring medical personnel. However, those are the minority. Therefore, stating special education students are so expensive just isn't true, it's the school systems who would have the general public believe it to further the segregation.

That said, if we had voucher programs, those who are disabled, those who are gifted, and everyone in between could have more options toward finding a program that best fits the student's needs.

11:32 PM, December 09, 2007  
Blogger Susan said...

Ohh, la-di-da Mr. Eric Blair.

If you were to do your research about Mr. Rummel-Hudson, you would learn that the hyphenated name comes from his respect for his wife not wanting to give up her last name, and as a very romantic and chivalrous compromise, they both hyphenated their last names. I think it's awesome, and not at all pretentious.

Furthermore, in context, the line "in my blog and my upcoming memoir" is not at all making the post about him, but simply stating where he gets his feedback. Not to mention, the article is about mainstreaming, not about Rob or his daughter.

And lastly, Schuyler may not have learning disabilities/differences. Non-verbal children are very difficult to evaluate for mental impairment. So as far as anybody knows, she is just like any other child, and simply lacks the ability to speak. Should she be punished with a life of special education classes with children much less intelligent than herself simply because she can't speak? Wouldn't we then be doing to her exactly what we don't want to do to the general public school populace?

2:50 AM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

GM Roper,

Yes, I saw that article also and noted the tone. Perhaps that is this guy's MO, to appear as a snotty liberal type getting his jollies out of taking money from those he politically disagrees with to provoke controversy. However, I think he fails to get his message across with this attitude--which is to get people to care about kids with disabilities. Once the condescenion starts, people tune out. I know I do.

5:00 AM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger ladysop said...

I am new to your sight, was actually led here by a link from Mr. Rummel-Hudson’s blog but after reading all of the comments I do feel I have to say something to you all. I am an older lady who still pays my school taxes even though I have not had children in any type of school for years.
With that said...
I have followed Mr. Hudson’s blog for several years and I suggest that each of you visit it before passing judgment on who this person is. I know personally of the struggle this man has gone through and is still going through. Am I a close friend? Member of his family? No. I just know him from afar and have for almost all his life.
Now let’s discuss schools and children of all types. Our school systems are a disgrace in general. I cringed when I read the lady write that her school district had removed the gifted and talented program due to budget cuts. How is the sports program doing? The drama dept.? Band, Choir? I think you can get my drift there.
Yes everyone is screaming about taxes and the way the money should be spent and yes everyone wants more money for what their child needs or is interested in. But being realistic we can’t take each individual child and develop a program just for them.
Our school system I believe is to educate children and mold them into productive responsible adults of our society to become the best they can be.
All children are “Special”, the “TAGers”, the “Typcialers” and the “Broken.” Each and every one of them has their on needs. If any one of you thinks that a “typical” child doesn’t have their own special needs to think again. Better yet, get to know your child. Look around you at the adults who were tagged as children as being one of the three above. Were all of their needs met when they went to school? Were yours?
Our society should be concerned about giving EACH child the best education they are capable of achieving. Each is just as important to our society as the next. Drains? There are no drains.. not in children at least.. the drains come later with people who become adults who have mental issues or emotional problems perhaps because of needs that were not met at a younger age.
What truly needs to happen to our system is to get back to the basics of education. Yes each child needs to be challenged according to their ability. The idea behind mainstreaming is to do just that. These children all must grow up to learn to live in a society that is full of people who are different from themselves. Different ages, different skin color, different religions, different education and the list goes on. The point is we are all different. Not better than, not less than but different.
I have found that children will learn at their own pace some fast, some average, some slower. Our job is to see that each child gets all we can provide to help them in their pace. Perhaps it is with challenging gifted classes but do teach these children to have patience with those slower than themselves and let them develop the compassion to help those struggling with a particular lesson. Perhaps it is special help for the slower child, teach the typical child compassion and good feeling which comes from helping someone less fortunate than themselves. Perhaps it is the gifted child who needs help with social adjustments.
My point is while our teachers are teaching all these children why not allow the children to learn a great lesson in life as well, by knowing others who are “different” and sharing their own differences with others. Can’t we have a classroom for math that teaches children who are at that level and another class for those at a different level, yet all of these children be in perhaps a reading class together because that is where their level lies in that subject? Why must we place a label that might be considered derogatory on any child? Just teach the children for goodness sakes. ALL of them! Do not take away the chance for any of them to get to know what differences are and how they can be shared. Great people come in all shapes and sizes.
What you can do as a tax paying citizen.... go look at your school districts budget and see exactly where your tax dollar is going, lobby for equal and fair education for all children, get education back to the basics and not a playground for extracurricular activities.
As far as Schuyler’s family moving to an area where their daughter can get the best education, this was done with great sacrifice both financially and emotionally. They are what society would call “blue collar workers (another label). As to his idea about the gifted and talented program... I cannot speak for him of course but I would not be surprised that to find that he supports any program that helps a child gain their full potential. I am sure he is thankful for the education received by the doctor/doctors who finally diagnosed his daughter’s disability. Once again I suggest you read his blog.
It is unfortunate that every school in the U.S. cannot meet the needs.. any needs.. that their child population requires. Perhaps, if parents, like yourselves, pulled together instead of fighting among the ranks of parenthood, one day all children will have their needs met.
Lets don’t raise another generation of prejudiced adults. Did I say prejudiced? Yes I did. Anyone who thinks they or theirs is better or deserves more than the next is prejudiced.
Do not complain because someone wants what is best for their child. Help them achieve that and more. In the process your child will benefit as well. You can make the difference in these children. All children and all of the education received.
These are all children, people. Think about it..... Children!!!

7:33 AM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Marbel said...

Ladysop - your ideas about every child getting an appropriate education regardless of their abilities are very nice. But in its present form, the US public school system cannot give an optimal education to each and every child. Gifted, special needs, autistic, and children with abilities across multiple grade levels can't be adequately served.

The current public education system needs to be completely dismantled and people allowed to keep that tax money. Then they can determine how best to educate their kids. Freed from the public school system's constraints, teachers will find ways to teach and parents will find ways to get their kids educated.

I'm waiting for this day. In my lifetime, probably not. But maybe for my kids' kids...

7:55 AM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Ladysop,

Thanks for your feedback. I do have a question, why do you and others keep referring to the disabled as "broken." This seems odd to me--makes the kid sound like damaged goods rather than just a disability of one sort or another.

As for Mr. Rummel-Hudson’s sacrifice etc. I am sure he has made some and I understand how hard it is to have a child with a disability. That said, you might pass on that if he wants people to be sympathetic to his cause which is a worthy one, he would do well to lose the bad attitude.

7:56 AM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

These are all children, people. Think about it..... Children!!!

ladysop -- My, that's pretentious. As if you were the only one to understand that. I have different views on raising children and exactly what I am willing to sacrifice to see that someone else's child gets support. That stops short of screwing my kid over, by the way.

"For the children!" is no more than a mantra and should be scorned and derided each time it is hoisted into view.

9:35 AM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger WomanOfAbomination said...

No child is really "mainstreamed". The mission of public school is to disengage children from society, and their parents. They are sorted by age and ability. In school, their intellectual and physical differences and disabilities are actually highlighted with all of these tolerance programs etc... the first effect is that gifted children (like my own) are made to be ashamed of their accomplishments. Their existence must not hurt the self esteem of the less "fortunate". The second effect is that the kids with special needs (like my own) come home crying from the stress of playing "normal", or get continually disciplined for acting "abnormal" and not properly socializing with the general school population.

My solution was to get both of my kids out of the "system" and teach them to find their own success in the real world without the daily lessons in Routine Discouragement 101 taught in public school.

I think my solution is true mainstreaming.

10:40 AM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Two Facts:
Perhaps if Rummel-Hudson showed less of his own "primping narcissism" when stating his opinion, people might listen more to what he has to say.

left to their own devices, the gifted have problems of their own.

I can vouch for both, much like the Major General. (And a modern model of one he is!) No, mainstreaming sounds very nice until you actually see its effects, where the Law of Unintended Consequences shows its potential for amazing variety.

Besides, I reject out of hand - and as before, with first-hand, regular and frequently-reinforced proof - that society does not take care of its disadvantaged. Where government keeps its well-meaning yet clumsy paws out of the mix, special education, homeless aid, and more happen very well indeed.

10:40 AM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger dadvocate said...

ladysop - I've known and know dozens of people who face similar challenges as Mr. Rummel-Hudson without the hostility, spinal bifida, autism, Downes syndrome, etc. My ex-wife is an occupational therapist and I watched her work with numerous handicapped and injured children.

Never has she mentioned nor I come across someone with Mr. Rummel-Hudson anger issues over a child's handicap. While he may be angry over his child's special challenges, never has their been a better time, and probably place, in history than now.

10:50 AM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Flash Gordon said...

Jason has it right...liberals like this fellow are the human cuckoos leaving their eggs in someone else's nest if they can get away with it. The cuckoo's strategy doesn't always work in the natural world. Some birds are wise to it and kick the cuckoo's egg out of their nest.

Cathy's "social burden" argument is a ruse to justify schemes for restricting freedom or fleecing the taxpayers.

12:31 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

That's interesting you think such. I happen to be a "right wing, Christian conservative" who believes government schools should teach the entire citizenry.

Let's look at it purely financially. The ASA has stated that the cost to the taxpayer for the lifelong care of one with autism, from contraction to death, is approximately 3.2 million dollars PER PERSON. Now I don't have the breakdown of this.

I'm assuming a big chunk of change will be from the 40-50 years of nursing home care, still the standard too many times here in the Volunteer State. Then there's the cost of chronic healthcare situations, such as the multiple viral/bacterial illnesses my daughter cannot fight off since her immune system was damaged at nine months of age, or the numerous EEGs, seizure meds that about 40% of those with autism will have by adulthood. That's gonna cost either government healthcare or private healthcare rates will rise. If the child doesn't get early intervention, which can cost $30-$60k/yr for 2-3 yrs, then the 50% rate of being indistinguishable by kindergarten is gone, which will cost the taxpayer a whole lot more throughout the educational experience, which lasts until age 22, I believe, for those receiving special education certificates. Let's not also forget the lack of a contributing, tax-paying citizen.

But, parents work hard to get their child all the help they can. We've ruined our credit in the short-term trying to get our daughter medical care. You see, when kids with autism have an "autism" label, they suddenly aren't worthy of medical care on the private end, but we believe in paying our own way. Because we do have modest jobs and no "rich uncle" to appeal to, that's about all we can do. We depend on the government school system to provide these services not because we want to milk the system, but because we have no choice. I'm currently back in college to get a degree so that we will be able to provide more for our daughter, rather than expecting everyone else.

But, back to cost. If the school system offers special ed services, like ABA (referenced above), and they are legally required to deliver such, it's been scientifically proven if given early intervention form, 50% will be indistinguishable, and another 40% will make varying degrees of progress, with it doing nothing for about 10% of those with autism. In KCS we have approximately 500 in the school system, not to mention those homeschooled. If we as taxpayers would provide the ABA, we'd be adding at least 250 to the workforce, adding that many more taxpayers, and relieving our future care burden by that much. Not to mention the other 40% would have varying levels of success.

For the 50% who aren't indistinguishable, it's been scientifically proven over and over again that those children with autism who are educated with nondisabled peers in an *appropriate* setting, meaning the kid isn't mistreated, given curriculum modified to her understanding, etc, the child with autism, AS WELL AS non-disabled peers, all perform better on testing, as well as have more compassion for others.

Sure, not all are created equal, in that not all people can be rocket scientists. Not all people can be President. But, God did design some people to be hands, God does design some people to be the legs, God will design some people to be the arms. When we don't recognize that all people have a right to be given opportunity to fulfill their destiny as the hands, feet, legs, arms, etc, then we are failing to do our duties as humans. That's not socialism or liberalism, that's conservatism at its best.

12:49 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Having children on both sides of special needs, it is, at best, a quagmire.

In an effort to be everything to every child, the public school system is not much to any child. Those who are "in the system", as in employed by it, will argue that point. My sister, for instance - who has no children. Boy, do we butt heads.

In the same elementary school, a few years ago, where my daughters excelled to boredom, a speech therapist told me (speaking about my son)that all children just can't be astronauts. I agreed, saying at least he could easily be a speech therapist in a TN elementary school. That didn't go over to well, and she could not understand how I could say such a thing.

Well, there are different ways that different children are capable of learning. Public schools are not capable of handling the various ways. The child has to match the curriculum, or it simply doesn't work. That means slowing down and crippling many, while many others are hopelessly lost, while others still breeze through on that particular level, rarely having to crack a book. And I am speaking only about the "spread" of the "average" IQ level. Not true special needs, where children are suffering with heart wrenching birth defects or massive amounts of intelligence that teachers can't cope with.

And some, like me, became so bored in school, that I became a trouble maker (I kept skipping school because I was bored to tears) and got thrown out.

But I'm not so smart, because I sure don't know where the answers lies, except that it is NOT in public education.

1:03 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

I agree with some of you that public education is failing. And, for the record, I have three children, two are typical and one has autism.

My oldest, typical, child was in private Christian school for kindergarten. We loved it. Smaller class, loving teacher, caring parents. But, as my second child, with autism, neared kindergarten, I asked the head of the school, "Is there a place for my daughter."

"No. We aren't geared for a child with special needs." On the one hand, I understand. But on the other, bigger hand I do not. He made this statement without having met my daughter, spent any time with her, or considered our goals for her. He continued, "Our mission is to prepare children for college..." What part of my daughter having autism means that we aren't seeking her preparation for college?

Furthermore, he didn't stop to consider just what our intentions were for our daughter. He didn't stop to consider we might not have been seeking a speech pathologist, occupational therapy, or cutting edge technology. What we were considering was a teacher understanding that our daughter might need to cut & paste wordbank answers rather than being able to physically write them, and I was very willing (still am) to get with the teacher to prepare any extra papers that might have needed to be prepared. What we were considering is that our daughter needed to be with children whose families teach them about loving people, all people and not making fun of a child who might flap her hands when she gets excited.

Christian educators are letting down the disabilities community all over Knoxville. Even co-op schools for homeschoolers were quick to tell me that they have no place for my daughter as soon as they saw "autism" in my email address, not taking the time to ask about her, or even consider I was looking into it for my typical child.

But do I want my typical children attending school where their sister isn't welcome? How do I explain to my daughter with autism, "You can't go where your sisters do, even though you are academically and behaviorally (with support) able to attend."

So, public school fails us. Private school won't let us in. If we as a family continue to survive off one income, we will eventually have to get government assistance. So just what is the answer on how to raise a disabled person to be a contributing member of society without burdening the taxpayer?

I know some school board members, such as Robert Bratton, prefer we "ship off" disabled people "like it used to be." Gee, what a wonderful thought. Should we start shipping off black people because they're black?

1:25 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

For the 50% who aren't indistinguishable, it's been scientifically proven over and over again that those children with autism who are educated with nondisabled peers in an *appropriate* setting, meaning the kid isn't mistreated, given curriculum modified to her understanding, etc, the child with autism, AS WELL AS non-disabled peers, all perform better on testing, as well as have more compassion for others.

Not buying it. Provide a cite or it's just your assertion.

They have the opportunity. That's not the same as ensuring they achieve their desires. Pursuit, not gift.

2:53 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

This is the original study in which I was referring:


Behavioral treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children.

Lovaas, O. I. (1987).

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,
55, 3-9.


Here are more citations supporting my statements:

"Cost-Benefit Estimates for Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism-General Model and Single State Case."

Jacobson, John W., Mulick, James A., & Green, Gina. (1998).

Behavioral Interventions, 13, 201-226

***

Long-term outcome for children with autism who received early intensive behavioral treatment.

McEachin, J. J., Smith, T., & Lovaas, O. I. (1993).

American Journal on Mental Retardation,
97 (4), 359-372.

Follow-up research in early adolescence showed that children in the 1987 study maintained their skills and could succeed in life without costly special education and residential services.

***

BEHAVIORAL AND
EDUCATIONAL
APPROACHES

http://www.health.state.ny.us/community/infants_children/early_intervention/autism/ch4_pt2.htm

Recommends a minimum of 20 hours per week of individualized behavioral interventions using ABA techniques, based on strong evidence in the research.

***


Intensive Behavioral Treatment at School for 4- to 7-Year-Old Children with Autism.

Eikeseth, Svein, Smith, Tristram, & Eldevik, Erik Jahr Sigmund. (2002).

Behavior Modification, 26, 49-68.

***


Intensive Behavioral Treatment for Children with Autism: Four-Year Outcome and Predictors.

Sallows, Glen O. & Graupner, Tamlynn D. (2005).

American Journal on Mental Retardation, 110 (6), 417-438.

Replication study of the Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis by an independent author. Dr. Sallows states, "We found that 48% of all children showed rapid learning, achieved average posttreatment scores, and at age 7, were succeeding in regular education classrooms. These results are consistent with those reported by Lovaas and colleagues (Lovaas, 1987; McEachin, Smith, & Lovaas, 1993)."

3:04 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

And no, most disabled children do not have the opportunity. Here in TN the Early Intervention is giving 1 hr/week of services. *IF* a parent convinces her pediatrician early enough that something is wrong with the child, *IF* the child is young enough to continue on through the six months or so of waiting on evaluations, and *IF* the parent is able to put aside the profound emotional impact of their child losing skills, then maybe the parent can fight for months to get 4-6 hrs/wk of ABA before the child turns 3.

Once the child is 3, *IF* the parents have learned enough then about the laws and *IF* the parents have enough money to hire an attorney in special education that does not exist in East TN, then maybe, just maybe, the child will get the 20 hrs minimum of ABA before age 5. However, those are a lot of BIG ifs. The Deal case in Chattanooga went on for over 8 years and reached the Supreme Court before they were able to get reimbursement for ABA that Hamilton Co Schools fought paying the $100,000 or so by paying over $2 million in legal bills. Were they less able to afford the program, less able to afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees on their end, the expert testimony, etc, their child would have received little/no ABA, just as most of our children have not.

That's not what I would call opportunity.

3:10 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Matthew said...

This is why socialism is so disgusting. It pits one group of people against another. Even if the socialist had total control and trashed the economy in their zeal to give everyone the education they "deserve", people would still fight over how much money each group received.

If schooling was privatized, people would want to help the disadvantaged out of love and charity. Instead they resent them. Socialism turns the disadvantaged into burdens because all the costs are socialized. Eugenics, embraced by socialists the world over, solves this problem by eliminating the burden. Maybe if the state spend more money to educate young Mr. Rummel, he would have learned that.

4:18 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger serket said...

When I was in elementary I felt way ahead of peers. During 6th grade math I would go around and help other students after finishing my work. Several adults tried to encourage me to skip a grade, but I didn't feel comfortable. When I got to Junior High, I felt the education level was more appropriate for my needs. I guess it makes sense - in secondary school there are more levels to choose from, but in elementary everyone is expected to be at the same level.

Eric Blair,
I don't think I've seen you for a while, welcome back!

5:06 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Skyler said...

Hmm. My wife is deaf and was mainstreamed in her schooling. It seemed to work well for her.

On the other hand, in my high school, many years earlier and in a different state, they put a boy who was not at all at full mental speed in my school. Norman was really a nice guy, and he was enrolled in band alongside the rest of us. As the section leader, I was responsible for him in many ways.

I have to say that even though he was a nice guy, his unique challenges were a bit much to put on me and the other students. We're not trained, or paid, to be his teacher and baby sitter. He suffered badly in that environment. I admit that I grew very weary of his needs and mistakes, and I felt great resentment towards him.

I never did anything bad to him, I'm not that type. But I know other kids did. The drum section, always out of control, ran him off the road with their car as he biked home, or smacked him on the back with a drum stick as they drove by among other daily acts of cruelty and pain.

The poor boy was way out of his league and living in what I can only imagine to be a terror-filled hell by being mainstreamed.

I don't think mainstreaming is for everyone. It certainly wasn't for Norman. I hope he's doing well today. He was quite harmless, and yet so unable to look out for himself against bullies.

I'm very much against public schools, but if we're going to have them, then it's hard to argue that some kids rate being educated and some don't. The government should not pay for anything to do with education, but since they do, they'd better educate them all. Such is the evils of socialism, if you're in for a penny, you're in for a pound. But hopefully they can do it wisely enough to keep some out of mainstream that simply don't belong there.

6:34 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Joe said...

A few years ago, for several years in a row, one of my children had a severely retarded child in their elementary school class. The teachers hated it--as one candidly told my wife; "I can either pay attention to the disabled student or the rest of class, not both."

Fortunately, in this latter case--the disabled child in question was a vegetable for all intents and purposes--the parents got together and moms would take turns babysitting this child in class. Even that was only partly successful since the child would suddenly start screaming or thrashing around in her combination wheel chair/baby carrier contraption.

9:09 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

I never cease to be amazed at the lack of any compassion toward the disabled. When I was in school, back when we had segregated schools in the 1970's & '80's, even I knew how to respect others. When we had a girl with CP enter high school for the first time ever, I didn't understand why she was there, it seemed stupid to me. Nonetheless, I respected her. When she stood from her wheelchair (not a contraption) and walked across the stage in leg braces and walker to get her diploma, it didn't matter that I didn't understand why she was there or why she was so different. What I saw, regardless of my ignorance, was someone who had been through more in her 18 years that most of us experience in a lifetime.

When I was in school and people made fun of hurt others, I stood up for them. I was part of my conservative, capitalist upbringing.

To state that socialism is why Christian private schools do not allow disabled to attend is a lie. It's not socialism, it's laziness and a lack of caring. It's this liberal, new age, communist idea among churches that only those perceived perfected enough have value as humans. Jesus didn't seek out the perfected, he sought and still seeks out the unique, the broken, those perceived by worldly standards as throw away people.

For those of you who find educating the disabled funny, stupid, or rediculous, may you be repaid 10 times over in your own lifetimes the grace you have denied others, who are equally valuable citizens and gifts from God. And in the moment you receive your payment, may you remember how you made others feel.

9:40 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger Skyler said...

Wow, not only does mamma debi not make much sense (socialism and private schools and segregation are getting mixed up a bit there, no?) and accuses everyone else of being less caring, but she also sees fit to put a super secret double whammy hex on us! Ohh, scary.

10:16 PM, December 10, 2007  
Blogger rwellor said...

Public schools are tools to create minimally qualified citizens out of the mass of children in the US. That is a semi-sensible goal for a publicly funded system.

They are not responsible for anything beyond that.

Got a genius, moron, idiot, sociopath, or any other kind of special needs kid?

That's why you are a parent.

Get busy..

1:02 AM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Marbel said...

Mama Debi, where do you see a lack of compassion?

In the posts here? People are just relating their experiences, or expressing their realistic expectations of the public school system.

In the schools? Maybe the school that said they could not serve a disabled child was being realistic, given their financial and human resources.

In church? (How did that get in there?) Sounds like you need to find a new one.

7:49 AM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...

Most people have compassion, but we aren't and can't be responsible for all people all the time. This business that society needs to pay for all the education for all the children regardless of time, money and effort is absurd. If you have a special needs kid whose needs aren't being met by the programs offered for free by the public school system then pull your kid out and find another way. Quit trying to dip into my pocket and trying to convince me that your kid is my burden.

8:07 AM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

Okay, then I have a deal for you. I want you to quit driving on our socialized roadways. You keep dipping into my pocket to convince me your driving is my burden -- it's not.

Quit using any government offices, ever. This includes using 9-1-1 for any emergency. Maybe you've never used it, great, don't. It's not my burden to deal with your emergency.

Stop any private health insurance coverage you may have. Any charges to this coverage inevitably affects my rates. It's not my job to carry your healthcare burden, so stop.

Stop using any phone/internet service. I pay taxes on that stuff, it's not my burden to ensure you have access to phone/cable.

Stop flying anywhere, ever. It's not my burden to help fund airport functioning, but I'm doing it & I don't fly. So do me a favor & stop dipping into my pockets.

Don't ever, ever go to any state/county parks. It's not my job to provide you with scenic beauty and I'm tired of you expecting me to.

Don't ever contact any political leader. After all, I pay their salaries and it's not a burden for me to carry your representative's salary.

12:01 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Bugs said...

The Hyphenated One is justly concerned about his daughter's welfare. However, if he's trying to persuade me to contribute to her education it would be better if he didn't wrap up his pitch by calling me a narcissist. Maybe try concentrating on his daughter rather than how hard it is for him to take care of her. Sympathy I got, but I don't take insults kindly.

12:31 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger serket said...

debi: When I was in school, back when we had segregated schools in the 1970's & '80's, even I knew how to respect others.

Perhaps I misunderstand you, but I graduated high school in 2002 and throughout all of my public schooling from elementary until the end, the disabled kids were all in the same classroom. If it's hard to take care of one disabled child, it must be a nightmare to have so many. My uncle even taught such a class in elementary for a few years. Even at the university I went to, there was a building that provided special treatment for disabled students. I'm not sure if I ever had anyone severly disabled in any of my college classes. I was friends with someone and don't remember the name of his condition (he didn't have control over his neck muscle), but he was a very smart, conservative and sarcastic guy. I think he took the same classes as the other students, but took tests in the disabilities department.

1:06 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

What is offputting is the sense of absolute entitlement the guy feels is owed him by the rest of us because his child is different.

2:37 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Sgt Ted,

Exactly--and self-entitlement to the point where if we have to put in a socialist government to make sure that he gets what he needs, that's okay too. Or start a revolution over special education. Huh? What about all of the people that would hurt? Or does he know that little about the history of socialism? Instead of a revolution, this guy would be better off spending his energy getting a second job to pay for extra treatments that are needed for his daughter. The school could provide some and so could he.

2:57 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

What second job would cover private therapy? Perhaps a doctor? You don't seem to understand the difference. ABA, for example, for autism. If I were to hire out privately, I'd have to fly in someone from another state. There are no ABA therapists here, save Parent-Child Services, who has no room. So there's a few thousand just to get a consultant. Then there's finding people who are able to be trained, then pay for the training. Then implementation, which is around $15/hr, 20 hr minimum. That's maybe possible for a time, but then what about the phase when the kid needs to do ABA with other students to help integrate?

Counter that with a school setting. There are articulation programs in place (and others could be easily created) where majors in psychology, sociology, sped, education, etc could come and perform ABA at the school in exchange for credit. Then you're talking one administrator (the equivalent of the out-of-state) overseeing multiple students serving multiple kids. Then there are aids who are paid $15/k yr (I believe they also get benefits, so we'll say $27k or so package) who can do group ABA with several students throughout the day.

So how is this milking the system or taking away from other students, when federal dollars are given to any student with an IEP? It's a myth. Kids educated in inclusive settings are cheaper than segregated settings, so obviously when my child is in an inclusive setting, her extra funding is going to other students. In other words, your typical kids are hurting my sped kid by taking dollars from her.

I say this without any sarcasm -- some of you who are offended by sped students just do not know what you're talking about. You're using darwinist propoganda that just doesn't match the facts. Go in, read the facts.

How many of you actually spend time in schools today? I'm in a government school every week. Politicians and other racists are using our kids' conditions as a means to excuse their failures to educate, and some of you appear to be falling for it.

3:25 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Mama debi,

Extra funding is provided for those who have an IEP who are in special education in most cases so I am not sure of how the "typical" students are taking money from one who is in special ed. Are you saying that because your child is mainstreamed that this is cheaper than being in a seperate facility?

My real point of this post was merely to say that 1) socialism is no answer to special education--it is an extreme form of anger to want to inflict a whole government program on others just to justify special education services for certain kids and 2) there are many services right now in schools that are not provided for those who are gifted and they have issues also as do those who are autistic etc. No one seems to care about the gifted however, it is fine to cut off services to them without a thought.

Does this mean I don't think that autistic and other special needs kids should be treated in the schools? Of course not. However, I do not think that throwing money at the problem is really the answer, we need better quality educators and accountability in the schools for all of our kids, not just those with special needs. Kids are getting special education dollars yet the results are still poor--the million dollar question is, why?

4:24 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

Misappropriation of funding is exactly why. Like with my example. I've been told, and no I cannot cite it I've been trying to find the exact source but cannot remember, that every sped kid is allotted $35k/yr federal dollars. If I remember correctly, a gened student gets around $7,500 yr/ but again, I may be off on my numbers.

I know autism is only one aspect of sped, but it's the only one I know lots about, so I use it to reference. If my daughter is in general ed all day, then the sped teacher oversees curriculum issues. For example, my daughter cried during language arts. When I looked over how it was being taught, it was clear to me that she couldn't physically write/understand the directions. Example, for second graders a worksheet was given to circle the person, underline the place, and draw a square around a thing. Well, my daughter understood the concept but couldn't draw those things because of motor skills issues. I pointed out that if she was given a worksheet with columns and the words listed for her to physically cut out & glue, then she could show competency of knowledge, participate in seat work, learn how to follow group directions, and all the other stuff kids get out of class.

The sped teacher, along with an aid that spends time in the classroom helping her AND OTHERS modify her worksheets. I have also volunteered numerous times to help prepare aspects such as that, but no one will allow me to, so there again, I'm not asking for more than I'm willing to do.

So, my child may take extra paper, a little extra teacher/aid time, but by no means has them all to herself. They also teach a couple dozen others throughout the day, in other classes. She also may spend 30min/1hr/wk getting group speech class, again, along with dozens others.

So where is the other $27,500 going? We know some of it is going to extra papers. But I've been told by KCS officials that the fed money allocated does not go toward teacher salaries. So where does it go? That official could not give me an answer. I'm assuming it's going to all the other students in the school.

I was also told by a former KCS staff person that school see IEP kids as dollar signs because they get so much more money. As to NCLB, they seek out having 44 or fewer sped students, because then they get maximum fed funding without having to account for them under NCLB.

So, where is the money going? I don't know.

Why isn't it working? because, at least KCS, will fight tool & nail NOT to provide services. When my daughter started kindergarten, they tried every dumb ass tactic they could to keep her out of general ed. I was told by I believe Missy Massie and others, "Don't you know one bad day could ruin her entire academic career? Why do you want to ruin her career by putting her in general ed?" IT was stupid! My daughter had been reading for over a year and was academically ready. They didn't want to made the effort to make any changes, near as I could tell.

Sped students aren't getting the services because the school systems fight tooth & nail against it. I tell you what, Helen, I would publicly invite you to attend my next IEP meeting, or better yet, the friend of a middle schooler, whose parents have BEGGED for different reading program; the school has refused for 6 years, despite their son making no progress. I'm sure she would welcome your attendance. If interested, I'll be glad to email with you about it. fightingautism@yahoo.com

As to gifted, like disabled, there are more attempts to provide additional work within the classroom. Many students are now going to higher grades during reading or math time, etc. My fifth grader is in advanced math where they use sixth grade textbooks.

Our school also has TAG, so I'm not sure why your school, if KCS, does not. I was in a gifted program in elementary school in the late '70s, early '80s. It did nothing for me, I was bored in there, too. However, my fifth grader loves her TAG class, they are going on a field trip in the morning to a space center.

5:06 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

mamma debi,

See how unaccountability and monopoly reduces competency? The schools don't have to spend the money they get to provide the services to your child, because no one is going to hold them accountable as to how it is spent. They can blow you off; you have no political muscle.

Your situation just cries out for school vouchers. I bet if motivated parents like you were able to put your childs special ed money where it would do your kid the most good, schools would be falling over themselves to attract and keep your school dollars by providing actual services for your child, knowing you could change schools at a whim and take your childs education dollars with you. Right now, they have no incentive to do so.

6:20 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger LissaKay said...

First off, I don't see why this even became an argument. Mr. Rummel-Hudson writes to advocate for the needs of his daughter. He does not propose to take anything away from anyone else, and, last I checked, to make a point for one cause, one is not required to advocate for any others. So he didn't include the needs of gifted children in his article. So what? That's not his point. His point is the needs of children with special challenges.

Secondly, as long as education is compulsory, then it IS the business of the schools to ensure that ALL students receive a basic education. Some kids will require a special effort just so they can achieve "average" and gain enough knowledge to be able to be self-supporting someday.

I have kids of both types ... two high achievers, and one special needs. Down here where us real people live, where family incomes are not 6 digits ... not even close, and probably less than the price of some of y'all's vehicles ... we don't have the luxury of private schools and special programs for our kids, gifted or special needs. For parents like me, single and no co-parent, homeschooling is not an option either. A second job to pay for tutors and special programs? Right ... sure. My first job took me away from my SpEd kid too much as it was. It also limited my ability to nuture the gifted kids.

Instead, I fought the school systems tooth and nail for ALL my kids to get the education each of them deserved and was capable of. I had to fight the hardest for the kid that needed SpEd ... why? Because no one wants to deal with them ... well, no one but the SpEd teachers, who often fought for the kids right alongside the parents.

So then take away the compulsory part of education, and with it any special programs for kids that lie to either end of the bell-shaped curve. Then what? My two gifted kids would do just fine, maybe not reaching their "full potential" but still getting the benefit of an education. But what of the challenging kids? My SpEd kid was smart enough ... heck, he passed the Gateway exams, with no studying, with scores in the 90s ... but his issues with bipolar disorder caused massive behavioral problems. It was only with specially trained and prepared teachers, and an enviroment ready to handle his special needs that he was able to get an education at all.

I'm with Debi and Cathy ... we are not saying that only our SpEd kids need special attention, Lord knows that they school systems as they are currently are pretty much failing all our kids, but it is hardly narcissistic to expect the compulsory education required of them should accomodate their needs.

6:20 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

also, mamma debi,

Its not the "rest of the kids' taking the dollars away from your child. They have zero say in where the money goes. Why would you attack your childs fellow students?

It's the unaccountable government monopoly called public education that is stealing from your child, Go after them.

6:23 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

I'm not attacking fellow students any more than those saying my sped kid, who is bringing extra funding into the school, is taking from their kids.

And, for the record, I HIGHLY support vouchers. But in East TN, again, what is the alternative? Again, no private schools that I know of, save perhaps CAK, allow any students with disabilities to attend. As another poster pointed out, the single parents cannot homeschool; the divorce rate in the autism community is approximately 80%. How many of those single parents, whether men or women, have to chase down child support, how then are they going to get enough alimony to support them staying at home.

The point is, there are no easy answers. Instead of this rediculous, "my kid deserves more than you" the truth is "all kids need basic education." I'm for competition and accountability all the way.

And, regarding holding politicians accountable, I would argue you're unlikely to find many who advocate more than myself. Just last week I laid out of anatomy class to meet with a US Congressman. I've protested the CDC, been to Nashville multiple times to push for legislation, write/fax/email many. I'm one of Dr. McCook's (KCS outgoing sped director) thorns and consider him to be one of the greatest problems with KCS. I'm in college to seek out a degree that would enable to me to become an autism practitioner because I'm tired of my daughter's chronic hospitalizations with no answers and hearing thousands of other parents have not one competent autism provider in East TN.

I have personally told McCook in public groups that I would be happy to search for grants, come volunteer to help, what ever I can to help with funding; he declined. He also did not offer any explanation as to why the state of TN has returned, at least twice, unused federal dollars earmarked for sped amounting to millions of dollars. Nor will he allow LRE for Life, a state program, to participate in any KCS programming. When I was a board member of ASA-ETC we repeatedly asked what ASA could do to help; with the exception of teaming up for a fall conference last month, KCS has largely ignored those requests.

When you have people like Dr. McCook, who reportedly told a family when their son was in first grade, "I don't know what you're worried about, your son is never going to graduate high school, much less go to college..." what do you expect the morale to be regarding ensuring an education? BTW, this boy is now in eight grade and doing near grade level work, despite the parents having to seek mediation I believe 5 times.

I say vouchers, yes. Accountability yes. But there's only so much us sped parents can do when we have a divorce rate of 80%, we're driving out of state to get medical treatment our region denies us, and we're going in debt a little more every day to do it, all to give our child a shot at a half-way normal life. Instead of everyone resenting our childrens' existence, which was thrust upon at least my child at nine months of age by an incompetent medical professional, why not stand with us and push for competitive, accountable programming? I'm doing all I can.

What are you all doing, besides complaining on the internet? I'd welcome people joining me any time.

8:14 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Marbel said...

80% divorce rate? In a situation where both parents are so needed by the child, and the parents need each other so badly... that is just heartbreaking. I'm sure it's a stressful life, but how unbelievably selfish of the spouse(s) who can't hold it together.

8:54 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Sid said...

Because it is an expensive waste of money that should be spent educating all children. After viewing special education up close, that is the most salient reason to oppose it in the current form.

We have shifted drastically from accomodating children in wheelchairs who could otherwise learn to accomodating children who have a pulse. We send children to specialists for swallow tests. Yes, that is a test to see if the child can swallow. We would ask but the children are not able to respond through voice or head motion or even blinking.

We spend vasts sums of money on precious few children. In some rural communities in this area, families are given a voucher for applicable services and the child is transferred to a more urban community. The cost of having available the numerous specialists that would be required to adequately address a child's needs is simply prohibitive.

When we spend all education dollars on children with no education goals whatsoever, we have to deny the children with mild disabilities the services needed so that they may attain a standard education. We also deny the rest of the students needed supplies, curriculum, textbooks, etc...

I am not unkind. I want a balance. We have slipped too far to the side of entitlement without end. We need to have some balance and that must start by curtailing services without end for children with profound disabilities and no hope of education.

I sincerely care for children. I have devoted my career to young children. I ask only that you take a hard look at what has become of special education. The parent in the linked article does not a false sense of entitlement. He has a state-approved, taxpayer-supported, rob-your-child-to-pay-for-my-child sense of entitlement.

Ask yourself these two questions: If special education teachers are truly educating children with moderate to profound disabilities, then how are they able to gain all the necessary skills in a 4-year degree? Second question: what is magical about 1 hour a week with a specialist?

10:00 PM, December 11, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

I agree that we need to take back a feeling of entitlement to a feeling of responsibility. That's why I offer to do things to help the school, and I also try not to request non-school related goals. I get very offended that sped students in school are not taught academics. There is a great disabilities group in Nashville, I think it's called "PATH" that teaches not to use government assistance unless it's necessary. They teach against feelings of entitlement and instead feelings of contribution.

Do you all realize that special olympics is held during school hours throughout the school year? I know a middle schooler whose sped teacher is always trying to get the mom to sign permission slips for him to be gone to events, and in between the events, that happen I believe once/mo, they want him to miss class for practice. Now I think Special Olympics is a wonderful program, but why does it take students out of the classroom? Yet another example of the idea, that even Special Olympians, do not support the idea of academic ability.

Yes, 80% divorce rate is horrible. Here's the thing though, at least with autism. You have a child that oftentimes appears to be "normal" or may seem to have some problems, but you don't know what. In my case, my daughter was meeting all her milestones, though slightly less than big sis. At nine months of age she was scabbed over from chicken pox & I took her in for her well-visit. While there the doc wanted to give her a heb B shot that had temporarily been suspended. I mentioned the "safety data sheet" mentioned not to give if the child has been sick. The doc reassured me she was fine, gave her the shot. Within two wks she stopped nursing, stopped babbling, stopped pulling up, stopped looking at us, and began having these staring off incidents. For another six months I complained about each of these problems. He kept blowing me off as a psychotic mother. Eventually I got him to refer me for a hearing test, by then she was 18 mos. Two weeks before her 2nd birthday she had an autism diagnosis.

Since then there have been trips to pediatric neurologist, allergist, urologist, gastroenterologist, psychologist, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, audiologists, opthamologist, geneticist (nope, no funky genes here) and probably a few more "ologists" I've forgotten about. Insurance has paid some, more often that not, no payment. We applied through the vaccine compensation fund 4 years ago, still no court date. Had we received a ruling to help, there would be no issue. That fund you all pay into any time you get a shot, it's like $.50/shot or something like that out of the cost, so when it screws up someone they are supposed to pay for damages. It's got billions sitting in it because the average pay out is like 12 yrs or something crazy. Years we could have helped our child, the younger they get treatments, the better the outcome.

My hubby has no degree, but has a pretty good job and also has a second one. We decided after the third hospitalization with everyone scratching their head I would return to college so at least I could have prescriptive authority to run labs while they all keep their thumbs up their @$$#$, but that's 4 yrs away, and running up the student loans in the meanwhile. still, we're not asking for much except my kid to have an education. She keeps changing her career choices from a doctor, nurse, and now a vet. Sounds like any 8 yr old, huh?

This is how it goes for dads. They are the protectors and providers. They see their child get sick and are told it will take hours & hours of therapy, and probably their child will get better to some degree. Then dad realizes the health insurance he works so hard to provide won't cover any of it. He's told the school system may cover some of it, but not nearly enough. Then he has to deal with the emotional state of his child being sick, him being unable to provide a way to fix it. Feelings of inadequacy out the wazzoo.

Meanwhile, mom's sitting home researching all she can about the child's condition. As nurturer, she wants to fix it. She greets hubby at the door each night with more and more stuff that can help their child, hubby hears more and more things his child needs but cannot provide. The wedge continues to build. Mom can't shut up about the excitement of helping child, dad can't listen because of frustration of not being able to provide.

Meanwhile, both parents are torn as to how to help their sick child while keeping life semi-normal for the typical kids. Anger about their child being harmed and absolutely no acknowledgement from the vaccine mfg, the doctors, the government, no one. You meet thousands more with stories so eerily similar, yet nothing is getting done, the wedge builds. Things such as going bankrupt to give sick child a life vs. taking from the quality of life of all of them hover. Grandparents often dis us because they can't deal with the grief, friends stop calling, family grows more & more isolated.

This isn't how it always is, but in general, this is the scenario I hear over & over. I'm sure it's not limited to just autism, but again, that's what I know so it's my reference. I'm not sharing all this to get sympathy, but to show how it is. Before my daughter, I was the biggest "get that disabled person away from me and my family" you'll ever meet. Now, similar to the bumper sticker about dogs, the more I get to know NTs, the more I prefer those with autism.

12:12 AM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Marbel said...

I know this if off-topic now, though single-parenthood surely complicates the educational situation too. Still, even with your explanation, Mamma Debi, it is incomprehensible to me that any parent could see splitting up the family as a good solution to the stresses. Isolation from family and friends? Financial difficulties? Not gonna be alleviated by one parent going off and setting up a 2nd household.

8:41 AM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Sid said...

Mama Debi,

I will pray for you, you daughter, and your family.

Has any professional taken the time to explain that your daughter's condition (autism) has nothing to do with vaccination? I only ask because there ae still many segments of our society that have read and believe the vaccine-autism link. The research was found lacking after peer-review and was pure correlation. The ingredient that was suspected to be link to autism was removed yet the number of children diagnosed with autism continued to rise.

Your child's pediatrician is liable here (if all is as you posted). Disregard for simple usage instructions is not understandable when lives are at stake.

8:42 AM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Mama Debi,

Sounds like you have been through so much but the lesson to learn is not to dislike all "NT's." That's just a silly solution and one full of misdirected anger that leads nowhere. Focus on what you can do, take care of yourself and your child and do the best that you can. Autism is so very difficult in its extreme form but kids can learn and many of those with autism are productive and okay. I agree that focusing on academics is important but this is often a quality issue, not necessarily a monetary one in the school system. I wish you well and hope that you find the type of help that your child needs. I assume you have contacted the UT Genetic Center and gone that route?

http://www.utmedicalcenter.org/cms/Departments/Medical+Genetics/Clinical+Genetic+Services/1421.html

9:57 AM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Swen said...

I understand perfectly well why talented and gifted children don't receive special schooling. It's a public school, who would teach the class?

10:31 AM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Bugs said...

Call me naive, but it seems like this argument would resolve itself if people concentrated on helping this little girl instead of trying to reform society from the top down. Rather than asking "why doesn't the government do something," wouldn't it make more sense to ask "why doesn't somebody do something?"

I think that's a bi-partisan question with a bi-partisan answer.

12:45 PM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

ounds like you have been through so much but the lesson to learn is not to dislike all "NT's." That's just a silly solution and one full of misdirected anger that leads nowhere. Focus on what you can do, take care of yourself and your child and do the best that you can. Autism is so very difficult in its extreme form but kids can learn and many of those with autism are productive and okay. I agree that focusing on academics is important but this is often a quality issue, not necessarily a monetary one in the school system. I wish you well and hope that you find the type of help that your child needs. I assume you have contacted the UT Genetic Center and gone that route?

http://www.utmedicalcenter.org/cms/Departments/Medic

My comment about preferring to be around people with autism was a bit tongue-in-cheek, to show that once I allowed myself to experience people with disabilities, I discovered a world of people with incredible value.

Yes, been to UT Genetics Center, done that. With the exception of Rett & Fragile X, which a very small percentage of those with autism actually have, there is no known "autism gene." From UT Genetics Center, "everything was normal..." It's a very big myth that autism is some proven genetic condition; while there appears to be certain families that have more autism than others that would lead one to speculate genes, there is no gene that has been discovered.

When my daughter was born we happened to have stored her stem cells. They did over 100 metabolic tests as a perk, according to them, she looked perfect.

As to the vaccine-autism connection, there has never been a scientific dismissal; to the contrary, I could at this moment list hundreds of studies showing multiple correlations. It is another myth that vaccines have no connection. obviously most people are fine with immunizations, but if immunizations don't cause any problems, why is there a federal vaccine compensation fund? Why do the package inserts of vaccines contain a list of contraindications? It's not just because of a litigious society, it's because, like any medical procedure, not 100% of people can take without adverse affect.

And no, no medical professional can look me in the eye and tell me the hep B shot did not cause my daughter's autism; if they do, they're liars and stupid. And, I would tell you, you have not seen the binder of lab tests showing elevated ---phils, low ---phils, abnormal creatinine, abnormal epithelial esophogial & duodenum findings, high levels of lead, mercury, and aluminum many times off the charts in her urine.

And, for the record, thimerosal remains in a number of vaccines. It's in trace levels in some, and full dose in others, such as some tetanus, diphtheria/tetanus, meningococcal, flu, hep A, hep B,and some others.

http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm#t3

Furthermore, there is no independent group testing this vaccines to know for sure if what they say is true. One group got some vials, had them tested, and mercury was in several that claimed to have none.

Furthermore, the tests, such as the "Danish study" that was used in I think 3 of the 5 big studies, were all scientifically flawed. I would be happy to share how, but it would be a long post and I've posted a ton already.

I've spent hours per week for over 6 years researching this, I can go there if desired.

1:02 PM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Sid said...

Mama Debi,

Again, I will pray for you and your family.

I do not have time to go into this in depth, but I did teach Child Development at several colleges as well as work in an Early Intervention preschool as a special needs coordinator. I am not relying on MSM sources.

The vaccine-autism link has been challenged and found lacking. There is no discernable medical mechanism that causes autism. Further, the element that was suspected in vaccinations was removed voluntarily by the producers and there was no decline in autism rates.

There is a vaccine fund because there a statistically valid number of individuals who will have a medical reaction to the vaccine. It is in large print on the vaccine information sheet that your health provider gave you when you signed the permission form to have your child vaccinated. Reads along the lines of "There exists a 1 in ***** chance of contracting the disease from this vaccine. Other known complications are ******"

Seriously, best of luck to you and your family. I wish you well and will pray for your child.

Sincerely,

3:20 PM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

The vaccine-autism link has been challenged and found lacking. There is no discernable medical mechanism that causes autism. Further, the element that was suspected in vaccinations was removed voluntarily by the producers and there was no decline in autism rates.


I don't know what "MSM sources" means, sorry. Have you ever attended any autism medical conferences?

I've already posted the FDA website showing just how many vaccines contain trace/full amounts; unless their own website is a lie, it's still in quite a few. Furthermore, the autism rates DID decline, around 2002-2004 or so, according to CA data, considered to be among the most reliable. Considering time, the children in the 2002-2004 or so ages would have been the 2-4 yr olds receiving less thimerosal; then the flu shot was added to the schedule, bumping mercury back up, then, accounting for ages of children, the autism rates began to go back up. Now I may not have quoted the dates exactly, but I can find citation.

And no, according the vaccine sheets I still have from that time, there was no large print statement of the statistical likelihood of my daughter being injured. Furthermore, since science refuses to acknowledge a large cohort of vaccine injured children, there's no way any statistical offering is accurate.

Impaired transsulfuration and oxidative stress in autistic children: Improvement with targeted nutritional intervention

S. Jill James, PhD

My paraphrasing: Children with autism show decreased methionine, increased homocysteine, decreased free glutathione, and increased oxidized glutathione. These issues *can* lead to: reduced ability to detoxify environmental toxicants/heavy metals, oxidation of cysteine thiol groups, decreased liver GSH synthesis, degeneration of gut epithelium, increased Th2, reduced S-adenosylmethionine synthesis and increased SAH accumulation...


Baskin David S, Ngo Hop, Didenko Vladimir V. Thimerosal Induces DNA Breaks, Caspase-3 Activation, Membrane Damage, and Cell Death in Cultured Human Neurons and Fibroblasts. Toxicological Sciences. 2003.
-- Thimerosal-induced changes in membrane permeability and cell viability.

Ben-Ozer EY, Rosenspire AJ, McCabe MJ Jr, Worth RG, Kindzelskii AL, Warra NS, Petty HR. Mercuric chloride damages cellular DNA by a non-apoptotic mechanism. Mutation Research. 2000 Oct 10;470(1):19-27.
-- Suggests low concentrations of ionic mercury may be mutagenic.

Bradstreet Jeff MD, Geier David A BA, Kartzinel Jerold J MD, Adams James B MD, Geier Mark R MD PhD. A Case-Control Study of Mercury Burden in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. 2003;8(3):76-79.
--Shows a link between increasing mercury doses from childhood vaccines and increases likelihood of mercury being one of main factors to large increase in rate of autism.

Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T. Comparison of blood and brain mercury levels in infant monkeys exposed to methylmercury or vaccines containing thimerosal. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005 Aug;113(8):1015-21.
--A higher level of inorganic mercury in the brain from thimerosal exposed-monkeys compared to methylmercury-exposed monkeys.

Chastanger P, Morali A, Trechot JP, May I, Vidailhet M. Allergy to mercurothiolate in an infant during a heaprinization of an intracaval catheter. Presse Medicale. 1988 Apr 30;17(16):795-6.
--Four month-old developed immediate and systemic allergic reaction to mercurothiolate.

Clarkson Thomas W. The Three Modern Faces of Mercury. Evironmental Health Perspectives. 2002 Feb;110(1)11-23.
--discusses multiple toxicity aspects of mercury, including thimerosal.

Coenen F, Tolboom JT, Frijlink HW. Stability of influenze sub-unit vaccine. Does a couple of days outside the refrigerator matter? Vaccine. 2006 Jan 23;24(4)525-31.
--Showed the presence of thimerosal in influenza solution has no effect on stability of the vaccine.

Cohly HH. Panja A. Immunological findings in autism. Internal Review of Neurobiology. 2005;71:317-41.
--MMR vaccination may increast risk for autism via an autoimmune mechanism in autism, and occupational hazard exposure to mercury causes activation of astrocytes and microglial cells, seen in autism. “The possibility of its involvement in autism cannot be ruled out.”

Deth Richard C PhD. Molecular Aspects of Thimerosal-induced Autism. Testimony before the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives. Sept 8, 2004.
--Has found thimerosal to be an “exceptionally potent inhibitor of biochemical pathways” that transfers single carbon atoms between molecules, and that thimerosal has a toxic effect on methylation.

Geier DA, Geier MR. An assessment of the impact of thimerosal on childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. Pediatric Rehabilitation. 2003 Apr-Jun;6(2):97-102.
--The occurance of neurodevelopmental disorders following thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines does not appear to be coincidental.

Geier Mark R MD, PhD, Geier David A. Thimerosal in Childhood Vaccines, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and Heart Disease in the United States. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. 2003;8(1)6-11.
--Strong epidemiological evidence of link between increasing mercury from vaccines and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Goth SR, Chu RA, Gregg JP, Cherednichenko G, Pessah IN. Uncoupling of ATP-mediated calcium signaling and dysregulated interlukin-6 secretion in dendritic cells by nanomolar thimerosal. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2006 Jul;114(7):1083-91.
--Thimerosal altered adenosine triphosphate-mediated interleukin-6 secretion, and dendritic cells are “exquisitely” sensitive to thimerosal.

Harry GJ, Harris MW, Burka LT. Mercury concentrations in brain and kidney following ethylmercury, methylmercury, and thimerosal administration to neonatal mice. Toxicology Letters. 2004 Dec 30;154(3):183-9.
--By 7 days after thimerosal injected, brain levels did not decrease, though blood levels did in mice, and methyl mercury guidelines do not appear to be a good model for ethylmercury-containing compounds.

Havarinasab S, Lambertsson L, Qvarnstrom J, Hultman P. Dose-response study of thimerosal-induced murine systemic autoimmunity. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2004 Jan 15;194(2):169-79.
--Mice fed thimerosal drinking water induces systemic autoimmune reaction more severe than autoimmune reaction with equipotent methylmercury.

Havarinasab S, Hultman P. Alteration of the spontaneous systemic autoimmune disease in (NZB xNZW)F1 mice by treatment with thimerosal. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2006 Jul 1;214(1):43-54.
--Mice given thimerosal-laced water develop age-dependent spontaneous systemic autoimmune disease with high mortality primarily due to immune-complex glomerulonephritis.

Havarinasab S, Hultman P. Organic mercury compounds and autoimmunity. Autoimmun Rev. 2005 Jun;4(5):270-5.
--Mercury (including ethylmercury) is a potent immunosuppressor, more potent than inorganic mercury.

Herdman ML, Marcelo A, Huang Y, Niles RM, Dhar S, Kiningham KK. Thimerosal induces apoptosis in a neuroblastoma model via the cJun N-terminal kinase pathway. Toxicological Sciences. 2006 Jul;92(1):246-53.
-Indicates thimerosal-induced neurotoxicity occurring through the JNK-signlaing pathway, independent of cJun activation, leading ultimately to apoptotic cell death.

Holmes AS, Blaxill MF, Haley BE. Reduced levels of mercury in first baby haircuts of autistic children. International Journal of Toxicology. 2003 Jul-Aug;22(4):277-85.
--Hair excretion patterns in infants with autism were significantly reduced, relative to the control groups.

Hornig M, Chian D, Lipkin WI. Neurotoxic effects of postnatal thimerosal are mouse strain dependent. Molecular Psychiatry. 2004 Sep;9(9):833-45.
--Autoimmune disease-sensitive mice showed growth delay, reduced locomotion, exaggerated response to novelty, and densely packed, hyperchromic hoppocampal neurons with altered glutamate receptors and transporters when given thimerosal challenges that mimic routin childhood immunizations.

Humphrey ML, Cole MP, Pendergrass JC, Kiningham KK. Mitochondrial mediated thimerosal-induced apoptosis in a human neuroblastoma cell line (SK-N-SH). Neurotoxicology. 2005 June;26(3):407-16.
--Findings suggest deleterious effects on the cytoarchitecture by thimerosal and initiation of mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis.

James SJ, Siikker W 3rd, Mylnyk S, New E, Pogribna M, Jernigan S. Thimerosal neurotoxicity is associated with glutathione depletion: protection with glutathione precursors. Neurotoxicology. 2005 Jan;26(1):1-8.
--Cultured neuroblastoma cells wer found ot have lower levels of glutathione, a intracellular defense against mercury-induced neurotoxicity. Giving GSH or NAC could be a possible adjunct therapy to individuals receiving thimerosal-containing vaccines. (If there is no harm in thimerosal, why would anyone need GSH or NAC?)

Kidd PM. Autism, an extreme challenge to integrative medicine. Part 1: The knowledge base. Alternative Medicine Review. 2002 Aug;7(4):292-316.
--Frequent thimerosal-containing vaccines and live virus are a plausible etiologic factor, and autistic children frequently have negative sulfur metabolism impairments on detoxification, skewing of T cell subsets, and aberrant cytokine profiles.

Makani S, Gollapudi S, Yel L, Chiplunkar S, Gupta S. Biochemical and molecular basis of thimerosal-induced apoptosis in T cells: a major role of mitochondrial pathway. Genes and Immunity. 2002 Aug;3(5):270-8.
--Data suggests thimerosal induces apoptosis in T cells via mitochondrial pathway by inducing oxidative stress and depletion of glutathione.

Marn-Pernat A, Butorovic-Ponikvar J, Logar M, Horvat M, Ponikvar R. Increased ethyl mercury load in protein a immunoadsorption. Therapeutic Apheresis and Dialysis. 2005 Jun;9(3):254-7.
--Showed an increase of blood mercury and ethyl mercury levels during immunoadsorption treatments

Mutkus L, Aschner JL, Syversen T, Shanker G, Sonnewald U, Aschner M. In vitro uptake of glutamate in GLAST- and GLT-1-transfected mutant CHO-K1 cells is inhibited by the ethylmercury-containing preservative thimerosal. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2005 Summer;105(1-3):17-86.
-- Thimerosal accumulation in the central nervous system might contribute to dysregulation of glutamate homeostasis.

Mutter J, Naumann J, Schneider R, Walach H, Haley B. Mercury and autism: accelerating evidence? Neuro Endocrinology Letters. 2005 Oct;26(5):439-46.
--Stated that promising treatment of autism involve detoxification of mercury and supplementation of deficient metabolites.

Parran DK, Barker A, Ehrich M. Effects of thimerosal on NGF signal transduction and cell death in neuroblastoma cells. Toxicology Science. 2005 Jul;86(1):132-40.
-- Thimerosal could alter nerve growth factor –induced signaling in neurotrophin-treated cells in concentrations below those responsible for cell death.

Schumm WR, Reppert EJ, Jurich AP, Bollman SR, Webb FJ, Castelo CS, Stever JC, Sanders D, Bonjour GN, Crow JR, Fink CJ, Lash JF, Brown BF, Hall CA, Owens BL, Krehbiel M, Deng LY, Kaufman M. Self-reported changes in subjective health and anthrax vaccination as reported by over 900 Persian Gulf War era veterans. Psychology Reports. 2002 Apr;90(2):639-53.
--Veterans from Ohio who received anthrax vaccine were likely to report vaccine reaction and deteriorating health, compared to those who did not serve in the Persian Gulf War and did not receive the anthrax vaccine.

Singh Vijendra K PhD, Jensen Ryan L BS. Elevated levels of measles antibodies in children with autism. Pediatric Neurology. 2003;28(4).
-- Antibodies to measles was significantly higher in children with autism, but mumps and rubella antibodies were not significantly higher.

Slodownik D, Ingber A. Thimerosal—is it really irrelevant? Contact Dermatitis. 2005 Dec;53(6):324-6.
--“…our daily experience being supported by the above data indicates that positive reactions to thimerosal could be relevant for many patients.”

Ueha-Ishibashi T, Oyama Y, Nakao H, Umebyashi C, Nishizaki Y, Tatsuishi T, Iwas K, Murao K, Seo H. Effect of thimerosal, a preservative in vaccines, on intracellular Ca2+ concentration of rat cerebellar neurons. Toxicology. 2004 Jan 15;195(1):77-84.
-- Thimerosal seems to exert some cytotoxic actions on cerebellar granule neurons.

Vojdani A, Pangborn JB, Vojdani E, Cooper EL. Infections, toxic chemicals, and dietary peptides binding to lymphocyte receptors and tissue enzymes are major instigators of autoimmunity in autism. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmocology. 2003 Sep-Dec;16(3):189-99.
-- Found thimerosal binds to lymphocyte receptors and/or tissue enzymes, resulting in autoimmune reaction in children with autism.

Walker SJ, Segal J, Aschner M. Cultured lyphocytes from autistic children and non-autistic siblings up-regulated heat shock protein RNA in response to thimerosal challenge. Neurotoxicology. 2006 Jun 16;Epub ahead of print.
--shows an up-regulated heat shock protein RNA in response to thimerosal challenge.

Waly M, Olteanu H, Banerjee R, Choi SW, Mason JB, Parker BS, Sukumar S, Shim S, Sharma A, Benzecry JM, Power-Charnitsky VA, Deth RC. Activation of methionine synthase by insulin—like growth factor-1 and dopamine: a target for neurodevelopmental toxins and thimerosal. Molecular Psychiatry. 2004;9:358-70.
--Ethanol, lead, mercury, aluminum, and thimerosal inhibits growth factor signaling pathway regulating methionine synthase activity and methylation reactions.

Weibel Robert E, Caserta Vito, Benor David E., Evans Geoffrey. Acute Encephalopahty Followed by Permanent Brain Injury or Death Associated with Further Attenuated Measles Vaccines: A Review of Claims Submitted to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Pediatrics. 1998. Mar;101(3):383-387.
--A causal relationship between measles vaccine and encephalopahty may exist as a complication of measles immunization.

Westphal GA, Asgari S, Schulz TG, Bunger J, Muller M, Hallier E. Thimerosal induces micrconuclei in the cytochalasin B block micronucleus test with human lymphocytes. Archives of Toxicology. 2003 Jan;77(1):50-5.
--Thimerosal is genotoxic in the cytochalasin B block of micronucleus test, marked individual and intraindividual variations in the invitro respont among different blood donors.

Yel L, Brown LE, Su K, Gollapudi S, Gupta S. Thimerosal induces neuronal cell apoptosis by causing cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor release from mitochondria. International Jouranl of Molecular Medicine. 2005 Dec;16(6):971-7.
--Suggests thimerosal causes apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells by changing the mitochondrial microenvironment.

4:56 PM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

Debi,

Sorry, but most of those studies are totally irrelevant, and the rest of them are either anecdotal and/or not peer reviewed. If you want to show us statistical studies where the level of autism went down after discontinuing this sort of immunizations, then fine, fire away. But what is missing in those studies you cite is any causal link, and that is because no one yet knows why autism occurs. What you have mostly is a list of articles pointing out horribles that occur because of the immunization or mercury, etc., but no real tie to autism, except for wishful thinking.

BTW, what appears to have better statistics behind it is a possible genetic link. In certain quarters, autism (and AS) is called "geek syndrome" for a reason. Baron-Cohen (not Borat, but Simon) has theorized that those with autism and AS have extreme male, systematizing, minds, and thus those who can function are often exceptionally good at mathematics, physics, etc. So, at least to him, it is not surprising that combining genetically the DNA of two people gifted in this area seems more likely to result in autistic and AS kids.

But, of course, there may ultimately be any number of causes, and likely some are interrelated. This doesn't help those, like you, who are looking at someone or something to blame. But ultimately, likely in our lifetimes, we really will know some, if not many, of the causes.

10:08 PM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

I think that it is a mistake to minimize the problem that the Reynolds (or should I call it the Smith family?) faces with a G&T daughter. At a certain level, their graduation rate from college, and even high school, starts to drop off. A kid with an IQ two standard deviations above the norm is likely to ultimately do well in society, regardless, but the one with an IQ three or more standard deviations above is not nearly as likely. Yet, these are the brightest minds in our society, and often, they are going to waste. And in our technology and intelligence based economy, that will ultimately cost us far more than the cost of properly schooling and motivating them.

10:16 PM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

Final thoughts here. Home schooling is nice, but I have seen some bad results from untrained parents attempting to home school their developmentally disabled kids. And, in one situation I know of, it backfired because the kid compensated socially for its inability to compete scholastically. The home schooling cut off this avenue of coping and accomplishment.

On a different tact, for the relatively gifted, I am a firm believer in private schooling. 5280 magazine had an article recently of the top high schools in the Denver area. Most of the best were private. But one of the biggest differences between them and even the best public schools was class size, running about half the size for the private schools. This doesn't seem to matter as much in the sciences, but one of the big differences is in the classes that require writing. The teachers at the better private schools have the time and energy to work with each student through the year developing their writing ability individually throughout the high school careers for all their students. Of course, the other thing that they have are more AP classes, often having more than the best public schools with 10x the student body size.

So, if you can afford it, I see private schooling as far preferable for many kids to public school, and esp. for the higher performers.

10:29 PM, December 12, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

BTW, what appears to have better statistics behind it is a possible genetic link. In certain quarters, autism (and AS) is called "geek syndrome" for a reason. Baron-Cohen (not Borat, but Simon) has theorized that those with autism and AS have extreme male, systematizing, minds, and thus those who can function are often exceptionally good at mathematics, physics, etc. So, at least to him, it is not surprising that combining genetically the DNA of two people gifted in this area seems more likely to result in autistic and AS kids.


Yeah, the "old, lazy, geek-marrying-geek (and promiscuous at that) watching-too-much-tele, pot smoking, drunken-while-pregnant arguments for the cause of autism make sense, but the rise in autism correlating to increased vaccinations must me crazy. BTW, 28 when gave birth, married my first love, never drank while pregnant or months prior, tried pot a couple of times about a decade prior, maybe slightly geeky -- but again, were's the gene?

And, when you know the physiology of autism, that small sampling of relevant studies says mounds.

I can't find the charts in which I was referring, but I'm sure if you do a search for it, it can be found. As someone pointed out, this blog Dr. Helen wrote is not about vaccines causing autism, and I'm quite confident in the amount of science I've read, so I'm done with the topic on this posting.

Remember, it took what, 20 years to admit to Minamata Disease? Where was the definitive scientific study on that? Hmm, what about the Tuskegee Men who deliberately were withheld treatment for syphilis? And let's not forget Semmelweis who was blackballed for daring to suggest one should wash hands between doing autopsies and delivering babies. Yet hundreds and hundreds of studies have been doing showing the dangers of mercury, the physiological identical effects of mercury vs. the pathophysiology of autism (remember the recent brain inflammation study by Zimmerman & his crew just released last week?), but we have no proof. And, the thousands and thousands of parents whose children suddenly lost skills after immunization, that's no proof. And, what about the statistically significant differences in immunized vs. nonimmunized groups? That's just a coincidence, too.

Well, remember when you're complaining about all those sped kids mythologically sucking all the money out of the school system (and where's the study proving that?) when more and more and more kids keep entering the system with autism -- we shouldn't look at vaccines, there have been the five flawed studies using the same data that mysteriously disappeared & cannot be replicated disproving all the other. Yes, we're in the midst of a genetic outbreak, despite little science to prove the existence of an autism gene. And, we all know how common those genetic outbreaks are...

1:15 AM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

All I know about genes is it appears to be a crap shoot.

One of my kids was in AP classes her entire public school tenure. She graduated a triple major in four years from a pretty damned good school, and is currently pursuing PhD's in the same three subjects she majored in at her four year. My daughter spent untold hours in local city and college libraries and on the Internet doing research, as the high school libraries didn't have what she needed to research.

My son has aspberger's, is agoraphobic, and severely depressed. But he is a great kid.

Being a single white guy, I was never offered much help for any of my kids, even when eventually jumping up and down with frustration. Along with other "things" that have occurred, I'm played out financially.

I can see and agree with almost every point of view that has been discussed on this thread. I do not have enough arms and legs to straddle all the opinions I can agree with.

There are many people who have breezed through life with little problem. They need to understand that simply, and no matter how bright they believe they are - are really just lucky - period.

And I can tell you that although both my children (of the three) that I spoke about above could have benefited greatly from specialized attention, my daughter has the better shot in life.

7:22 AM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Sid said...

Mama Debi,

MSM is a short term for main stream media. Typically, we distinquish between scholarly journals and publications for consumers. There is value in MSM publications, but the content is not scrutinized.

No one (myself or Bruce Hayden) blamed you or your lifestyle for your child's condition. He pointed to a specific line of research that has been peer-reviewed and vetted that shows that children of individuals with greater abilities to focus on tasks have a tendency to have autism or a related condition.

In layman terms, two smart people have a child. That child may be really smart to the point that it causes problems. In the really pointed end, it could be autism.

I have read the body of work. I agree with many that the medical mechanism for a vaccine trigger in autism has not been shown. Autism existed before widespread immunization. Autism did not decrease when the mercury compenent in vaccines was removed. Mercury has been linked to other birth defects and is the reason for the food prohibition during pregnancy. But autism is not. It appears to be polygenetic and is a random inheritance set within a cluster of risks factors.

Now. Get down off the cross and put the wood to better use.

9:30 AM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

I find comments that some have depended on peer-reviewed journals and the assertion that I have not laughable, especially considering I just posted a *small sampling* of hundreds of peer-reviewed journals. It's clear you have no desire to research with eyes wide open. The erroneous statements such as "thimerosal is out of vaccines" is one "MSM" touts all the time; as I have shown per FDA, it isn't true. Decreased, for some, still in for many others.

Per Congressman Burton from 12/11/07, statement given to Congress, quoting a PEER-REVIEWED article showing the ERROR of P value in a SCIENTIFIC STUDY:

In any event, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund has about $3 billion in it, and the people who's children have been adversely affected by mercury and have autism have not been able to get anything out of that. They have to go through a process and see a special master, and he has to judge whether or not the information that he has and the information they have lead them to believe that the mercury in the vaccines caused autism. And so far the special masters have not been able to ascertain, according to them, that the mercury in the vaccines does cause autism.

Well, last week, 2 years ago, let's see, 4 years ago there was a report, 2004, that said that there was definitely no connection between the mercury and the vaccinations and the children getting autism. Well, this past November, just last month, two doctors, Dr. Catherine DeSoto and Dr. Robert T. Hitlan, both very renowned doctors across this country, they have Ph.D.s in medicine, they wrote an article in the Journal of Child Neurology. And you can't discount this. What they're saying is fact. I want to read to you the summary of what they said. They said: ``The question of what is leading to the apparent increase in autism is of great importance. Like the link between aspirin and heart attack, even a small effect can have a major health implication. If there is any link between autism and mercury, it is absolutely crucial that the first reports of the question are not falsely stated and that no link occurs.''

Now, get this: ``We have reanalyzed the data set forth originally reported in 2004 and have found that the original P value was in error and that a significant relation does exist between the blood levels of mercury and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Moreover, the hair sample analysis results offer some support for the idea that persons with autism may be less efficient and more variable at eliminating mercury from the blood.''

The fact of the matter is the mercury in the vaccines causes autism. It's not the only cause of autism. But now we have scientific evidence by two leading doctors in the Journal of Child Neurology that says without doubt, the mercury in the vaccines does cause autism, is a major contributing factor.

As to "getting off the cross" I cannot be on it; my Lord unfortunately was on it because of you and me. That sort of personal attack is commonplace for those who cannot reasonably debate an issue based on facts.

3:47 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Mamma Debi said...

One other thought. I have repeatedly, with the exception of the graph showing correlation between vaccines added and increases in autism, shown citations every time. Then I'm told autism in genetic, without one citation of such. I'm told autism is the result of "geek syndrome" without one citation of a peer-reviewed journal.

So, where is the citation of any studies showing the finding of "autism gene?" Where is the citation showing the peer-reviewed study that autism in the result of "geeks marrying?" And, where are the citations of studies showing mercury/vaccines do not cause autism that have not had major holes in the methodology of the study?

Hmm, I'm beginning to see a trend here.

3:56 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Bugs said...

br - Sounds like you've been fighting a good fight. At the end of the day, you can say you've done your best for your kids. I hope they all turn out great.

8:00 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Sid said...

Mamma Debi,

Mercury and Vaccines (Thimerosal)
Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines and other products since the 1930s. There is no convincing scientific evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. However, in July 1999, the Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure.

Since 2001, with the exception of some influenza (flu) vaccines, thimerosal is not used as a preservative in routinely recommended childhood vaccines.


Recent estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring network found that about 1 in 150 children have an ASD. This estimate is higher than estimates from the early 1990s. Some people believe increased exposure to thimerosal (from the addition of important new vaccines recommended for children) explains the higher prevalence in recent years. However, evidence from several studies examining trends in vaccine use and changes in autism frequency does not support such an association. Furthermore, a scientific review by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that "the evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism." CDC supports the IOM conclusion.

Straight from the Center for Disease Control.

Now, we can continue to disagree. You can cite your sources and I will cite mine. I doubt you will be open-minded from the manner in your comments.

But you should apologize for your mischaracterizations of others' responses.

10:22 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger br549 said...

Thank you, bugs. Good to see you posting. Been a while, and I have missed your humor and insight.

I have found there are many with lots of problems of one sort or another, their children or spouses have problems of one sort or another. In those instances, one just has to be tougher than those problems, and find a way to plow through it all. But there always has been, and I presume always will be, problems that for some are insuperable.

For reasons that can load up this thread with words, some get more help than others. Science isn't perfect and mankind isn't as smart as it may lull itself into believing at times. So far, there's always been a tomorrow. I look forward to that.

6:29 AM, December 14, 2007  
Blogger Blake said...

Actually, the tragedy of public special ed is that it's actually less effective than the regular variety of ed.

It's like fighting over dog food.

5:22 AM, December 16, 2007  
Blogger Galen said...

wow, what a bunch of retards. As a high school science teacher, i can tell you that the "gifted" (and I use that term loosely; as very few of the "gifted" are) have a bunch of resources in high school and lower. at the high school level, it is called "AP". ever hear of that? thought not. Those that are supposedly "gifted" take the AP classes, and those that aren't, don't. I teach AP Chemistry and I know from what I speak.

I can't speak to special ed classes because i don't teach it or teach those students (none would be able to take my chem/ap chem/physics/ap physics classes, but what i have seen of their tests/scores, they are doing just fine.

11:52 AM, December 16, 2007  
Blogger Ti-Guy said...

Many of them, my daughter included, are gifted...

Obviously adopted.

2:13 PM, December 16, 2007  
Blogger CaptainIdiot said...

Helena you are so right. Why should handicap get all that help that genius should be getting. What makes those handicap children so special that they need assistance with their education or think they can perform in classes with regular children. Why can't they just settle be in a small classroom that offers subpar education.

In fact, why do minorities (Black, Chinese, Latino, etc.) need special need and rights too. Why couldn't they just settle for segregation and below average education. Why do rich White people have to waste their tax dollars on educating disadvantage people. I'm with Helena on the whole Social Darwinism thing.

2:25 PM, December 18, 2007  
Blogger lilbug said...

I find this debate rather quaint. To each their own in philosophy and as to where the land on the political spectrum... but you could fund special education across the country, in every state, without raising taxes if you'd just stop bombing third world countries. Seriously, a j-dam goes for a couple million... I seriously doubt educating this girl would even broach that number, over the course of the next twelve years.

Bombs or butter, the money is there and it's just a matter of priorities. Additionally, the guy has a right to be cheesed off... Blackwater gets more money than special needs education does.

3:24 PM, December 19, 2007  
Blogger bob.west said...

My child has spent most of his life in a wheelchair with Cerebral Palsy. He is also a 4.26 grade average and is in "TAG" classes for most subjects. the question I have is, are the accommodations the school has to make for my son to be able to be in the classroom worth anything to our society as a whole?

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3:40 AM, June 08, 2009  

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