Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘green

When your child’s given an autism diagnosis, there is most definitely a change in your life. There has to be, or, well, nothing changes. But what about changes beyond the ones that you think about firsthand? Beyond the way you discipline your child, what you may expect of him, and what you make him do, what else has changed?

I came across an article early about having a more natural, healthy home. It made me think about the things we’ve done to go ‘green.’ That led to thinking of the bigger picture, changing our lifestyle overall…but again, beyond the obvious.

In the last year, we’ve dropped some serious big bucks on these changes, mainly in the kitchen. We dumped every plastic storage item that had ever been nuked and gave the kids a lesson on how the only time food touches plastic is when we bring it home from the store or refrigerate it as a leftover. (Dh loves leftovers, and he didn’t want to go glass…but I did impress upon him, or I hope I did, that he should dump it on the glass plate before he nukes it.) On top of the plastic went all our teflon-coated cooking pots and pans, covering them with all our plastic utensils. Then with all that newly created room, we were able to organize, recycle a boatload of odd kitchen gadgets we’ll never use, and then we filled the space with stainless steel cookware with no coating or anything else unsafe. (And I’ll never cook on anything other than cast iron or stainless steel ever again.) We also bought all new stainless steel utensils, and glass bakeware. And because I don’t want to do good five days a week and blow it the other two, I even did the same with the RV.

Dh and I drink out of stainless steel refillable water bottles, aka canteens. Not only are they safer, but they keep our water colder much longer. And the money we save since we use filtered water. I pitched the Splenda packets and fake-sugar beverages and got really good at making really good tea. (Who knew there were so many flavors? I have yet to try the chocolate-infused tea that I bought at the new Fresh & Easy last week.) The kids don’t re-use their water bottles, and they don’t sit in a heated car or lunchbox. I’d get rid of water bottles altogether if I didn’t think the kids would lose them by day 3. And at $11 a pop, it’s not in keeping with the current economic climate.

We stopped using ‘regular’ store-bought cleaning supplies. I make homemade kitchen cleaner, window cleaner, and Lysol-type organic germ-killing cleaner. (The cost of the supplies to make a year’s worth of these cleaners cost about the same as two months worth of store-bought stuff…I even re-used a squirt bottle I already had and only had to buy one.) We watch the types of candles we burn, I bought cloth cleaning supplies to re-wash rather than throw away, and I use cheap washcloths on my Swiffer sweeper. We use only organic pesticides on our vegetable and fruit garden (and our flowers) and I’ve increased my veggie garden in the hopes that I’ll keep learning and eventually will have enough to seriously impact our grocery bill. Right now, it’s only saving us the cost of a few tomatoes and a heck of a lot of basil. (And basil isn’t like apples, it can’t be a meal no matter what you do to it, so I have a long way to go.)

One thing literally led to another. A quest to keep my son and other kids healthier led to a house that’s much better for our environment. Less toxins for the family, less waste and poison for the planet. I may not find a cure for autism, but I can at least keep the world safer for kids with autism now, or lessen the possibility that future babies will be exposed to toxins. There’s so much more we could do — if we were able to build a new house, we’d go with much greener supplies all around, and solar power would be a consideration, as it pays for itself in the long run.

Autism may have tossed our world upside down, but we’re much better people for it…inside and out.

Lately, in the firestorm of arguments about mercury contributing to vaccine, new vaccines being put on the schedule, states considering making vaccines mandatory, I’m seeing pro-vaccine parents becoming more and more vocal. So many thoughts on that, where to start. I undoubtedly will muddle my words and my thoughts, but here goes.

I often hear pro-vaccine parents saying that the risks of the vaccines are worth it, to protect their children from diseases. But what about that 1 in 150 children who IS the child who has the side-effect? As long as that 1 child in 150 vastly affected by the vaccines is not their own child, the risk is worth it? Does that make my child’s autism acceptable damage? Who is anyone to make that choice for someone else?

If someone wants to vaccinate, why the need to persuade the rest of us to do so? Why not just vaccinate without the need to defend it? We’re not taking your vaccines away. Those who us who don’t want to vaccinate have the number one goal of making vaccines safer and not injecting toxins into our children, not tell pro-vaccine parents what to do. Such a glaring difference between the sides.

I’ve heard the words ‘collateral damage’ a lot lately in regards to the children who are affected by vaccines. When is damaging any child, any human, in the name of saving others acceptable? Shouldn’t we be aiming for no collateral damage, instead of accepting the numbers and being glad it’s someone else’s child? If we know that we can make vaccines without the garbage that’s toxic, why isn’t that a priority? Is your money better spent on Starbucks than paying a few more dollars for a safer version of a vaccine?

Greening our vaccines is a goal that will help all of us. No child/human should be injected with formaldehyde, ether, antifreeze, mercury, or anything else that’s toxic. If a product can’t be in our food, in our makeup, or in pet vaccines, should it be in a vaccine? Greening our vaccines will still give all the pro-vaccine parents the choice to vaccinate. Nothing we ‘green vaccine’ parents wants is going to hurt anyone else, yet the potential for harm if the vaccines aren’t changed is vast and WILL hurt people. It HAS hurt people. It’s CONTINUING to hurt people.

Pro-vaccine parents need to understand that those of us who don’t want to vaccinate with the current vaccines are not anti-vaccine. We are pro-SAFE-vaccine. There is a huge difference between the two. HUGE. We want to continue to eradicate disease; we want to keep people safe and healthy; we want to offer immunity (as much as is possible) from diseases that could maim and kill. We don’t want our children to be collateral damage to that cause. Our children didn’t sign up to be the poster children for vaccines so the collective “we” can say “Yeah, but at least less people have measles this year. Phew, glad my child dodged the autism bullet.”

Everyone needs to realize that any time they give their child a vaccine, they are potentially going to cause their child to be THE one in 150 who will get autism or some other illness. Not all our children are genetically pre-disposed to have that happen, but it’s like playing Russian Roulette. Who knows if their child will be THE one? Is it worth that risk? Those who usually say it is don’t have a child with seizures, or with autism, or with some other illness/injury that has negatively impacted their life, and may never go away. Things change, irreversibly, when your child isn’t potty-trained, bites himself, can’t talk, has to wear headphones to leave the house…the list goes on.

My favorite comment of all: “Unvaccinated children put mine <vaccinated children> at risk.” Hmmm, this one’s so easy, I really don’t get why people still say that anymore. IF vaccines worked, why would an unvaccinated child be of any risk to a vaccinated person? Yeah, I know, I puzzle over that, too.

Pro-vaccine parents often say ‘but there’s no definitive proof it causes autism.’ Newsflash, there is definitive proof that mercury is unhealthy. There is definitive proof that ether, formaldehyde, and antifreeze are unhealthy. The bottom line is, even if these things don’t cause autism on their own, they have no place in vaccines. If mercury is not safe in fish…in mascara…in pet vaccines…it is not safe in a flu shot. The fact remains that the autism rates have risen exponentially, and so have the number of ‘mandatory’ vaccines. It doesn’t take a genius to say that it deserves further consideration. Studies done 10 years ago don’t relate to today, as today’s world, the generation of children born in 1999-2001, the children who got 500x the number of mercury deemed safe for a 300 lb adult, who are newly diagnosed, or not yet diagnosed got a lot more shots than when studies were done. And the list is continuing to grow if agencies have their way.

We want a cleaner environment. We use less-toxic cleaning products in our home, vehicles with less emissions, we recycle and do any number of other things to green our homes and conserve the environment. Our children, born/unborn, diagnosed/undiagnosed, deserve no less. If you shop for anything safer for your home, your car, your life, why not consider greener/safer vaccines? And if not, don’t bash my choice. Just don’t imply my child is acceptable collateral damage. There is no such thing.

Does anyone see the contradiction here that mercury in amalgams is bad, but putting it in shots is okay? (It was also removed from mascara too — apparently it’s bad near your eyes.)

When is this going to start making sense?  Thimerosal wasn’t taken out of vaccines back in 2000; new shots with that same amount of thimerosal were just no longer manufactured. Doctors were allowed to continue to use up their stock until they expired so children born/vaccinated years later still received thimerosal. It’s also still in the flu shot that pregnant women, children, and elderly are given.

Now maybe insurance companies will start covering porcelain fillings 100% instead of 60-80% because amalgams are cheaper and therefore 100% covered. If amalgams are bad, it makes sense, right? Then again, what makes sense (removing mercury from shots if it can’t be in your mouth, your mascara, or even your dog vaccines) isn’t always what’s done.

Yesterday’s rally was amazing. I wasn’t there, but I keep reading about it and the 4 minute video on CNN is nothing short of fantastic. Jim Carrey’s words about ‘too many, too soon,’ and clarifying, repeatedly, that we aren’t anti-vaccine, we just want safe vaccines, had to get some serious attention.

It’s great that finally the fact that mercury is BAD is getting mainstream focus from a major agency like the FDA. It’s a shame it took so long, and so many of us exposed our children to this. We have choices though — we know mercury is bad, and we need to stand up for our kids and not expose them to questionable toxins. (And by questionable, formaldehyde, ether and antifreeze are still in current vaccines, so if those aren’t questionable by way of being poisonous, what is?)

 

 

The cause of autism is constantly being researched — part of me is glad, but part of me thinks they’re not spending enough time on what is already known, that vaccines and other toxins are contributing in some form. Still, I’m interested in reading about how “Autism Linked to Low Birth Weight, Preterm Birth” is being studied. Two out of my four kids were pre-term, one 5.5 weeks, and my autistic son was 3.5 weeks early. Neither is significantly pre-term in today’s age where 24 weekers live, but I wonder if it’s not more to do with the meds/vaccines assaulting their little bodies rather than just the birth weight/prematurity.

No updates on the Alex Barton case other than that the teacher was ‘reassigned.’ Who knows what that means. IMO, she should be placed on unpaid leave, or released entirely, but maybe ‘reassigned’ means she was given some filing job, hopefully at a lot less pay than her teaching position paid.

Autism: Searching for a Cause is a wonderful non-biased piece about the necessity of finding a cause, with rates what they are today. Worth a read, no matter what side of the vaccine/autism fence you fall on.

Does your autistic child like to use the computer? Great article here, short one, worth the read: The Associated Press: Grandfather builds web browser for autistic boy.

And my favorite news? Well, it’s not new, but since it’s about to occur tomorrow, read up: Green Our Vaccines rally. (I wish I’d been able to order this t-shirt. I SO want one. Know where I can still find one? I can’t make it to the rally myself, but I’ll be in DC in a few weeks…traveling from my little guy is not only difficult and hard on the family, taking him with me and then doing it again in a few weeks is completely not possible…oh, and I left him for 4 days last month already. Hard to do!) If they have to do this again, I will make it a mission to be there. I just hope this rally is televised on CNN. Visit the site at the link I shared. They aren’t anti-vaccine — they are SAFE vaccine. Our current vaccines are not safe. Formaldehyde and anti-freeze don’t belong in our childrens’ bodies, and too many at once could negate the positives of vaccination. Please read up on it without assuming we’re anti-vaccines. There IS a difference.

 

I’ve talked a lot about vaccines and thimerasol/mercury, and you’ve probably seen a lot of about it in the media lately. But, the latest is that the emissions from mercury can contribute to autism — makes sense, right? Makes you wonder, too, where else this has happened.

Risk of Autism Linked With Mercury Emission (MSN Health)

Doing a little more research, I found that this has been a concern for approximately three years now. (Mercury Pollution/Autism Link Found: U.S. Study — from CommonDreams Newscenter) Ever wonder why the general public isn’t told about this?

Yet, there’s mercury in CFLs, the wave of the future for energy saving lightbulbs, touted all over as THE way to go. Think twice, and at least read the disposal directions for those lightbulbs..and what’s involved in the cleanup should you break one.

My house is not a green house. We’re working on it, small steps at a time. But, I do know that we have to carefully consider anything brought into our home. Do yourself and your family a favor, and do the same. Even things touted as green, safe, environmentally-friendly, etc., aren’t always as safe as you may think.

 

Most autistic children end up with some kind of occupational therapy as they’re growing up, be it in school or via a private provider. One big thing about O.T. is that the parents are also taught what works and doesn’t work in order to keep their child calm(er) and to maintain a sensory diet. Each kid’s ‘diet’ is unique, but most involve some sort of physical movement. Our occupational therapist suggested we take ds to Disneyland frequently — ds had/has rotary nystagmus (abnormal reaction to spinning/movement) and he needs a lot of physical input to keep his system level, and the heavy-duty rides at Disneyland (Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Matterhorn, etc.) give him a lot of input. She also suggested a class in some sport (gymnastics, karate, etc.) that would work on physical input while helping with social skills and learning how to behave in a classroom environment. We knew a team sport wouldn’t work; ds has low muscle tone (functional hypotonia) so we weren’t sure what he would contribute to a team, but even more importantly, we knew he’d have tantrums or meltdowns if he was teased, bumped/roughed up, didn’t get to play the part he wanted or as often as he wanted, and a multitude of other things. So, we went for karate. Ds likes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and he thought their skills were cool. We knew of a couple of good studios, but we also didn’t want to sink a huge amount of money into a uniform and classes in a formal studio setting without testing his interest level. We enrolled him in a less formal (e.g. less costly) course and were pleased to see that he took the rules very seriously: be quiet, don’t disrupt the class, and try the moves. The sensei is a wonderful teacher, and pretty strict with those who disrupt. On week two, ds was trying a side-kick, while laying on the ground, and saw a ponytail from a girl next to him. He loves soft things, so he was running his toes through her ponytail. Yes, we wanted him to stop but the sensei is in charge, and sure enough, he saw it. We feared a major meltdown, but ds took the instruction and never once did anything even the slightest bit questionable again. But that doesn’t mean he always paid attention. There were times where we saw the sarcasm/funny/sarcasm talk of the sensei go right over his head, and he’d pay more attention to his belt, his toes, his belly button, you name it, than the sensei’s instruction. This last week, we knew after two or three minutes that it was going to be a long class. Ds had no focus whatsoever, spinning, playing with his hands, and tilting his head the entire time. The sensei must have picked up on it, and decided it was better to let it go, but it never improved. He barely tried what they were instructed to do, and he was always backwards. His eyes were so vacant, and he seemed so out of it, for lack of a better word. If only I’d had a videocamera, it would have been an enlightening movie. I am taking one next time, as that behavior was scary and it displayed a lot of things we really need help with.

On that same note, Christmas shopping. Autistic child. Do you see where I’m going with this? Today I took my son to Target, just for an hour or less, to buy some gifts for his siblings and his dad. I was concerned with how he’d do in such a busy place, but figured with Target, we could find something for everyone on our list. Off we went. First we almost got hit by another car in the parking lot, someone in a hurry, not paying attention, pulling out into oncoming traffic. Then we get into the store, only to find there are no carts. Shopping with ds requires a cart. We wait until someone leaves one, and ds decides that there were cute things in the dollar aisle for everyone, including a book, “Ducky’s Rainbow Delight,” for my 19 yo daughter. After I talked him out of that, the Icee requests started. For the next 45 minutes, “Can I get an Icee? Why can’t I get an Icee? Why is the Icee line so long? Can I get an Icee now? When can I get my Icee? Is the Icee line shorter yet? Why can’t I shop with my Icee? How long is the Icee line now? Is the Icee line shorter yet? Can I get my Icee NOW?” We’d head to one section, look for a minute, and get one or three Icee questions. Section after section, question after question. We finally chose the gifts (easier if you finally say “If you want that Icee, choose. Now.”) and got things I think everyone will really like, and dd headed for the Icee line while ds and I went through the long checkout line. We finished simultaneously, and then the “What kind of Icee should I get? What flavor is green? Why is that one always broken?” questions started. Solve one question, another just pops up. But, I don’t think I’ll need to go back into a store until the day after Christmas, when we just have to go and see what Christmas decorations we can buy at half-price. Maybe.

So other than Christmas shopping, what else changes during the holidays when your child (or your grandchild, niece, nephew, sibling, etc.) is autistic? I’ve got a list of things, but that’s for another blog. I also want to share our story about removing all the toxins from our home in an effort to have a more green, healthier home for our children. If you’ve got children, it’s something you need to consider, even if on a small scale, as every little bit helps. (Mercury isn’t the only thing that doesn’t belong in your home or child.)

The next couple of days are busy. We leave in 30 minutes for a party, then after church tomorrow, another party, so I may not get back on my blog until after Christmas. In case, I want to take some time now to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a joyous celebration with loved ones.


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