Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Our Toxic Children -- The Epidemic of Autism, ADHD etc.

Okay, yeah I'm mad!

In case anyone's wondering how I acquired such an eclectic knowledge of health issues, it wasn't initially for me, but for my kid. My poor kid who was diagnosed with cancer at 18 months and now has mercury poisoning (what "they" are calling autism)--and I'm not afraid to say it: primarily from the thimerosal (look it up, it's cute name for mercury) in his vaccines.

In Silent Spring, Rachel Carson talked about the ominous increase in pediatric cancer. Ominous all right--who has more fresh, healthy DNA than a baby? The environmental insult needed to trigger something like cancer must be the 2nd most toxic element on the periodic table (it's only #2 because it's not radioactive).

To add insult to injury, once we figured out what was wrong with our suffering child, it seems like the larger culture is bent on painting us as delusional wackos. First Bruno Bettleheim et al blamed it on "refrigerator mothers".

Continuing the tradition is The New York Times, which had the audacity to print an op-ed suggesting that some parents killed their autistic children because "Perhaps they were frustrated that their efforts [at treatment] did not lead to greater improvement."

Uhhh, may I suggest that having an autistic child really, really sucks? (Here's an article I did for Newsweek on how when my child has a neurological meltdown, people start yelling at me.) And the rage I feel at having willingly let my son be injected with many, many, many times the safe limit of mercury, a known neurotoxin, when he had inherited all of his mother's immunological vulnerabilities, is not particularly salutory to my mental health...

I even wrote a letter, although I knew the NY Times would be too chickenshit to print it. For some odd reason, whenever I have the word "vaccine" in a piece, it doesn't see the light of day. But when I take it out, the piece gets published pretty easily. I've also had op-eds and letter printed in there before....strange...

To the Editor:

re: Cammie's McGovern's "Autism's Parent Trap."

As a parent of an autistic child, I don't presume to know what other parents are thinking; but being in a biomedical support group where *four* children have recovered from autism due to intensive biomedical therapies completely outside of the standard purview of "autism is incurable," I have to ask why there isn't more support and research into these therapies and instead, the parents (including parents who are physicians and scientists) are being painted as delusional, if not murderous.

We were told that our son's screaming and head-banging was simply stereotypic of autism. Instead of resigning ourselves to being "realistic," we disagreed and found a doctor at Harvard, no less, who treated a genuine case of bowel pathology that he said is shared by many autistic children, who often scream with pain all day and self-injure as our son did--and no longer does.

Given the explosive rates of autism--50 new cases a day according to the author--it's incredible that no one in any official capacity seems particularly interested in searching for what must be at least partially an environmental cause. Perhaps because these environmental causes may lead back to some inconvenient vectors such as mercury in our air, water, and vaccines, and it's simply easier to put the focus back on, as Bettleheim did so well with his "refrigerator mother" theory, the parents. I take umbrage at the suggestion that we parents are the new "Medeas," ready to kill our children because we are trying "too hard" and not getting the results.

May I suggest that the "frustration" that Ms. McGovern describes might come not from doing too much, but from the helplessness of doing too little?

Marie Myung-Ok Lee
Visiting Lecturer
The Center for the Study of Race & Ethnicity in America
Brown University
Providence, RI

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