What do you tell your typical child about a special needs child?


     I understand the confusion about how to act when someone isn’t as typical as the people we are usually around. I remember myself before I was an autism mommy and I also had a hard time knowing the best way to act around someone who is different. Now I am on the receiving end, and I realize people simply don’t know how to act sometimes.

 Typical reactions we get once they realize he is “special” are:

  • That sweet, pitiful smile. You know the one I am talking about. It’s the same one you give to the guy in the wheelchair. I used to get the same smile from everyone when I had a broken foot and used the mechanical wheelchair in the grocery store.
  • The “look away he’s got something wrong with him” reaction. You know, when you look right at him and then you are scared we will think you are staring so you do the opposite of staring – you direct your eyes away so as not to seem like a looky-loo.
  • The audible “Awwwwwww” like the same sound you make when someone tells you their puppy died.

     But the reaction that has me the most irked lately is the way most parents respond when their typical child is trying to talk to my child with autism.

     Here’s a scenario to illustrate:

     My child is running back and forth on the playground. The other child approaches him and asks “You wanna race?”

    The mother comes over and gently nudges her child away from my child saying “It’s ok. Let’s go play over here. Let’s leave him alone.”

    The kid asks “Why?”

    The mom says “It’s ok. Shhhh. Come on.”

    And I look at her with the half-angry half-puzzled “Really?” look. And they walk away before I can turn it into a teaching moment like I usually do.

     She basically just dismissed my child. I also get the same reaction from my family. My son isn’t invited to family functions but my daughter is. They take my daughter with them to have fun and never once mention my son. Or me for that matter. It hurts because it feels like once he was diagnosed with autism he wasn’t really a “real” member of the family anymore. They don’t even try to get to know him. I know that they are the ones who are missing out. My son is so awesome! I am the lucky one. If they don’t want to spend time with us then it is their loss.

     I work with kids all day – either I am actually at work  – a job that involves lots of kids all the time – or I am at home with my two little dumplins. Either way, I have way more kid conversations than adult ones. WAAAY more.

     So if you ask me what that mom should have done, here is my answer:

     At the point when her son asked my son if he wanted to race she should have acknowledged my child as someone who is aware and who likes to have fun just as much as the next guy. Instead she did the opposite – she disregarded him and dismissed him. Luckily my son usually isn’t paying attention anyway, and I am sure he thinks people are totally strange so he isn’t phased by their dumb behavior. But I am.

     Usually my son stands out as the oddball since his behavior doesn’t fit into most people’s little cookie cutter idea of how kids behave. Though they can spot that he is different, most still cannot identify that he has autism. Usually I throw out  the “He has autism” as I run by chasing him since I can feel all the “Why can’t she control her kid?” looks.

     I am always happy to answer questions to help you better understand my son. Don’t forget – there are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

     So in this instance, if the boy’s mother can tell that my son is different but is not sure what his disability is she can ask me something like “Does your son want to race with my son?” Or better yet, ask my son directly “Do you want to race?” Or she could just quietly observe and listen since her son started this conversation, not her.  

     This does two wonderful things. It shows that she is not going to just disregard him and shoo her child away from him. And it shows that she is interested to know if he wants to play. It is also a nice veiled way of asking “So what exactly is wrong with your kid?”

     And now that she has opened up an opportunity for conversation instead of just avoiding us, I can chime in and explain my son to her child the way that she should have.

     I can say – “I don’t know if he wants to race. He might want to race with you. He doesn’t talk yet but he can still play with you. He has autism, and that means that his brain works a little differently than yours, but he is still the same as you in a lot of ways too. He just doesn’t talk and doesn’t listen very well yet either. But he loves to run and play just like you do.”

     Then my son isn’t treated like a poison on the playground to avoid. And the little boy understands autism a little bit now since it was actually explained to him instead of just being brushed off with an “It’s ok. Leave him alone.” And most parents are amazed at how much their kids know about autism, and how they often times have a kid in their class or a friend on the playground who has autism. Remember 1% of the kids have autism, so they are everywhere. 🙂

     For more info on how to be a good friend to someone with autism I recommend this book.

      

     It is written by Reno, an awesome kid who has autism and speaks publicly about understanding what it is like to have autism and how to be a friend to kids with autism.

       So how do you talk to a typical child about a child with autism? Well, first don’t underestimate how much your kid can understand and how accepting they are of differences in people.

     I hope you teach them to accept people for who they are. Simply explain that they are different, we are all different, and they still are the same as you —  just different. 🙂

    How do you treat someone with special needs? The same way you treat anyone else. Look past their disability. Look at the person inside, the person in there that is just like you and me. No pitiful smile, no awwwwww, no looking away or brushing them off — just treat them like people. It’s really not that hard when you think about it. People feel awkward cause they are focusing on what makes them different instead of what makes us all the same.

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Autism isn’t as scary as the news wants you to think


     Are you afraid of autism?

     When I was pregnant I was afraid of being too stressed out because I heard stress causes autism. I stressed over not stressing.

      I know the main reason I get the same questions over and over again about autism is because people are afraid. They want to know how they can dodge this bullet.

     Fear not.

     Autism occurs in 1 in 100 children and 1 in 70 boys.

     Scientists have NO CLUE what causes it. No matter what the study you heard on the Today Show said — the fact remains, they have no idea what is causing autism.

     It is believed to be genetic. There is no test for the gene. So you have no way to know if you have the gene.

    So really, it’s a crapshoot.

    No matter how many things you avoid, no matter how much you worry about not worrying, no matter how close in age your babies are, or whatever the latest study is telling you to be afraid of, your odds are the same. And frankly, they aren’t that great as far as avoiding this thing you fear so much. If you have a kid, your kid has a 1 in 100 chance of having autism. If that child is a boy, he has a 1 in 70 chance of having autism.

     AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I’M FREAKING OUT!!! SCARY STUFF …. right?

     Nah. Autism isn’t scary and it is nothing to be afraid of. I think it is a gift – and so does Dr. Temple Grandin – she has autism and she wouldn’t change it for anything.

    And I wouldn’t change my son for anything. He is perfect and awesome just the way he is. (Yes, I really think that. I really wouldn’t take his autism away if I could – though I would definitely get rid of some of the not-so-fun behaviors.)

    So I think you should just take a nice deep breath (deep breath in …. deep breath out …… there …. doesn’t that feel better?) and stop worrying so much. Your kid will be fine, and no matter how much you worry and avoid things that may cause autism — he will still have the same odds of having autism. Sorry Charlie.

   Fear not. Everything is as it should be.

Yes, I have my kid on a leash. And I know what you are thinking. I used to think the same thing about people with their kids on a leash.


     Back when I was a know-it-all nanny/preschool teacher I had it all figured out. I knew that when I had kids of my own my child would not be sucking a pacifier after the age of 2. My kids would listen to me and respect me and would not whine. And I would never ever put my child on a leash. 
     I mean, who does that? It’s a child not a pet. I can understand a child with special needs benefiting from a harness, but this child is obviously fine. He doesn’t seem to be mentally disabled, I see no obvious disability. So the only reason I can think that this child is leashed is because the mom is obviously a weirdo. Just take the time to watch your kid, and teach them about danger — don’t put them on a LEASH! Seems inhumane if you ask me, the poor child being pulled around on a leash. What is wrong with that mother?
     And so here I am. Almost ten years have gone by since I was a nanny or worked in a preschool. My kids whine —  A LOT!  My daughter had an extreme pacifier addiction and sucked on one until she was well over the age of 3. Until I noticed that it was actually moving her teeth, then we finally had to get a visit from the “Binky Fairy”. The Binky Fairy took all the binkies (aka pacifiers) and replaced them with money, but it was still months before my daughter stopped crying for one. 
      And … my kid is on a leash.
 
He is staring at the stream going under the bridge. I bet he could watch that stream all day.
                                                          My kid on a leash enjoying the fireworks 🙂
      My 6-year-old son has autism. One of the most common things I hear after I tell people that is “He doesn’t look like he has autism.” And then I have to explain autism and all that stuff. So to explain why he doesn’t “look” like he has autism you can read my other post “He doesn’t look like he has autism” and to understand what autism is I have just the post for that too – it’s called What exactly is autism? How did you know he had autism?
       My son has no concept of danger. He will run in front of a car, he will run into a lake or a pool even though he can’t swim, he would probably jump off a balcony without a second thought. His receptive language skills are not that great yet. Receptive language is the ability to understand what you hear, to comprehend spoken words, follow directions, etc. He is getting better, but it is still like I am speaking another language sometimes. He just doesn’t understand what I am saying. So I can say “Watch out for cars, stay off the road, watch out for water, STOP!, don’t eat that, be careful” and all that stuff until I am blue in the face — and he will simply not understand what I am saying.
     I get invited to a party with a bonfire and all I can think is that there is a 97% chance my son will end up in the fire. When a car zooms by us I think of what would happen if I didn’t have him by the hand or if he got away from me and darted into their path. At the park I can’t take my eye off of him for a second because he will climb the fence and run away, into the road, into the lake, into an alligator’s mouth,  you name it – any dangerous scenario you can imagine is one my son would walk right into without a second thought.
     I can’t predict his behavior very well. When we get home he gets out of the car and walks to the front door. I usually hold his hand to make sure he doesn’t run, but usually he just walks to the door anyway since he is happy to be home. So one day I had my hands full. I let him out of the car and assumed he would walk to the front door like he always does. But nope. No luck. He ran as fast as he could right past me and into the road, then down the road three houses before I could catch him. I drive myself batty thinking of the what ifs …. what if there had been a car coming. I am consumed by the thought of something happening to him. And just when I think he is getting better, he runs away from me again. When I yell “STOP!” he runs faster.    
      He got away from me at the zoo once and I thought he was going to make it to the exit and into the road. I ran as fast as I could and tripped and fell. I bashed my head on an ice cream machine, threw my back out, skinned my knee, and still managed to catch my kid. It’s amazing how many thoughts I had when I hit my head.
     First I thought – “Man, I hope I don’t get knocked out” then I noticed I was still conscious so I thought “Gotta catch the kid” and I grabbed him by his shirt and then thought “Where’s my daughter?” then I saw her and thought “Oh man I am hurt!”  — all seemingly before I hit the ground. Then people crowded around me and asked if I was ok. I was just embarrassed and wanted to crawl into a hole. Of course the zoo staff went into action with the accident report etc. and offered me free passes but I said I was fine, and I am a zoo member so free passes do me no good. Though looking back I should have just taken them anyway and re-gifted them.
    Anyway, long story short — my kid needs to be on a leash. For his safety and mine.
 
    And he LOVES his harness. 🙂
 
     My children have taught me many things. I thought I was an accepting, open-minded person. But I was very judgemental. I assumed I knew things I didn’t. My son has taught me to never judge, because you never know what someone’s personal struggles are.
    So if you see a child on a leash, instead of assuming the parent is an idiot try to  assume that they have a very good reason for needing the kid on a leash. 😛
 
    If you need a harness, or know anyone who does, I recommend you get it from Children’s Harnesses by Elaine. I have no personal connection to her so this is not just a shameless plug. I am just really happy with the quality of the harness, and after searching the internet for days I feel I really did find the best harness out there. It is strong and durable but still nice and soft. She hand makes them specific to your child (or adult’s) size. My son loves wearing it, he loved it from the moment I put it on him because it gave him freedom he isn’t used to having. I always have to lead him by the hand since he could run off at any moment. He loves being able to walk “on his own”. 🙂

“He doesn’t look like he has autism.”


 

What do you think autism “looks like”?  Like Rain Man?

Doctor: Raymond, do you know what autistic is?
Raymond: Yeah.
Doctor: You know that word?
Raymond: Yeah.
Doctor: Are you autistic?
Raymond: I don’t think so. No. Definitely not.
                                                      —- From the movie Rain Man

     Autism can only be diagnosed by observing behavior. There is no blood test or brain scan that shows that they have autism. There are no characteristic facial traits or other physical signs of autism. They look just like anybody else. For more details on autism I recommend you read my other post: What exactly is autism? How did you know he had autism?

     They don’t all look and act like Rain Man.

     Though some are savants, they aren’t all human computers like the character in Rain Man. And actually, though the person they based the character on had autism like tendencies — his actual diagnosis wasn’t autism. 

     His name is Kim Peek:  “Kim Peek was born on November 11, 1951. He had an enlarged head, with an encephalocele, according to his doctors. An MRI shows, again according to his doctors, an absent corpus callosum – the connecting tissue between the left and right hemispheres; no anterior commissure and damage to the cerebellum. Only a thin layer of skull covers the area of the previous encephalocele.”  He had an ability to retain 95% of the information he received, most people remember more like 45%.  (I grabbed that info from this site)

     So you are right. My son doesn’t LOOK like he has autism.  But he sure does ACT like he has autism. 😛

“I don’t know how you do it.”


     Well first of all – I don’t have a choice. I guess I could just be a reject mom and neglect my kids or run away, but if I don’t choose that route the only other option is to “do it”. I do it because I have to, because I don’t have a choice, because this is my life – and these are my precious babies. I do it because I love them, and I love my son with autism even when he is covered with poop, and I do it because I am the mom and it is my job. But my son is definitely lucky he is so cute because if not then I might not put up with all the adventures in poop. (ok I promise I won’t talk about poop anymore in this post)

     But aside from that, I think what really helps me “do it” is my positive attitude. And also my husband’s positive attitude and his calm in crisis which I am not so good at. You know that is actually one of the positive aspects of my husband’s ADD – that he is calm in crisis situations.  I have a feeling there will be a few posts about the negatives of having an ADD spouse (sorry honey) but at least I have admitted there are positives too. 😉

     So I tried the negative, poor me, life sucks attitude. It didn’t get me very far.

     After my son was diagnosed there was a definite mourning period. I mourned the loss of the son I thought I had, the one who was going to grow up to play major league baseball, the one who was going to talk before the age of 5, the one who was going to understand what danger is and avoid dangerous situations. And I was sad for about a year. I was embarrassed of him at times, I thought “Why me? Why us?”, I cried when I thought about how detached he was and how I couldn’t communicate with him. And I think it is healthy and normal to have that mourning period. Just like mourning a death, mourning the loss of my “typical son” went through the same phases:

  • Shock  (Autism? Really? But the pediatrician said he was fine, “a walker not a talker”)
  • Denial (He is very high functioning and should be able to be in a regular kindergarten class by the time he is 5)
  • Bargaining (Maybe it’s his diet. If we just change his diet then he won’t have autism)
  • Guilt  (If only I didn’t eat McDonald’s or lobster when I was pregnant. I should have known more about the vaccines before I let them inject him. I was under too much stress when I was pregnant and that is why he has autism. I had too many ultrasounds.  — I could go on all day talking about the guilt I felt.)
  • Anger (Why do I have to have a kid with autism? Why can’t I have the typical little boy that I thought I had!?! It is so hard – I can’t handle this!! He is so difficult – MAKE IT ALL STOP!!!!)
  • Depression (<sob>My son can’t communicate with me and pushes me away. <sob> I feel so alone, no one understands what I am going through. I am a bad mom, I should be able to do better. <sob>)
  • Resignation (The diet isn’t going to help. He is just different and he always will be different. We are not a typical family – we will not blend in, we are not “normal” and we will be stared at when we are in public.)
  • Acceptance and Hope (My boy is awesome just the way he is! He is so sweet and smart. He is such a joy. I am so blessed with my two beautiful and healthy babies. He is making great progress and can maybe even lead an independent life one day.)

     So that took about a year, and once I was at the acceptance and hope part I realized that a positive attitude makes such a big difference. Like the poster said in my 3rd grade classroom “Attitude is Everything”.

     I could go on and on about positive thinking and how our thoughts determine our reality – and I probably will – but that is for another post. For now, I leave you with a song 🙂

“What exactly is autism? How did you know he had autism?”


Short answer:  Autism is a disorder characterized by social deficits, communication deficits, and repetitive behavior. It is a spectrum disorder so these symptoms can present themselves in many different ways, from the mild to the quite severe. I always knew my son was different. And when he didn’t talk by age 2 I knew his development wasn’t on track.

Long answer:  As he got closer to age 2 the things that made him “different” started to become more noticeable and I started to worry. I had a lot of experience with kids. I worked as a nanny and in preschools before having children of my own so I knew that his development wasn’t on track. Plus his sister is two years older than him so I had her to compare him to. But those around me assured me he was fine and quieted my worries.

Some early things I noticed and brought up to the pediatrician were: He didn’t respond to his name, he didn’t seem to pay attention to me or have any sort of attachment to me, he had weird “rituals” (like rolling french fries on his cheeks before he ate them, and dancing in circles around his toys), and he didn’t follow any commands – he seemed deaf but I knew he could hear.

But every time I voiced my concerns to his pediatrician she assured me he was fine, a “walker not a talker”, etc. This is a common story, I have met many people who had the same experience with their pediatrician. Autism is hard to diagnose before age 2 since diagnosis is based on observation of behavior, and some of the behaviors (like speech) don’t really develop until that age anyway.

Looking back there were lots of signs that he had autism, but I overlooked them. One obvious way I could have known is that he never pointed. He didn’t make his needs known with gestures. Babies are supposed to point when they want something, it is one of the first ways they learn to communicate.

I always thought autism had something to do with lack of eye contact. My son always made plenty of eye contact, so of course I figured that meant he didn’t have autism.

Autism is a spectrum disorder. That means that individuals with autism demonstrate similar traits that fall under the diagnosis of  “autism spectrum disorder” but they are also very different. Since it is a spectrum those with autism can be really high functioning and you may not even notice that they are different, and others are low functioning and may have very limited or no verbal skills and may seem very absorbed in their own world. And others are somewhere in between high functioning and low functioning. That is where my son is on the spectrum – somewhere in the middle.

So I am trying to make this short and sweet and to the point the best I can.  But it is hard to sum autism up in a short blog that people actually want to read. So here is an excerpt from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – it’s not short but it’s thorough 🙂 :

Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder

A.      Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive, see text):

1.       Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.

2.       Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.

3.       Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative paly or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.

Specify current severity:

Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted repetitive patterns of behavior (see Table 2).

B.      Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):

1.       Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypies, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).

2.       Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns or verbal nonverbal behavior (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat food every day).

3.       Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g, strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interest).

4.       Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).

Specify current severity:

Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior (see Table 2).

C.      Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).

D.      Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.

E.       These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay. Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder frequently co-occur; to make comorbid diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, social communication should be below that expected for general developmental level.

Note: Individuals with a well-established DSM-IV diagnosis of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified should be given the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Individuals who have marked deficits in social communication, but whose symptoms do not otherwise meet criteria for autism spectrum disorder, should be evaluated for social (pragmatic) communication disorder.

Specify if:
With or without accompanying intellectual impairment
With or without accompanying language impairment
Associated with a known medical or genetic condition or environmental factor
(Coding note: Use additional code to identify the associated medical or genetic condition.)
Associated with another neurodevelopmental, mental, or behavioral disorder
(Coding note: Use additional code[s] to identify the associated neurodevelopmental, mental, or behavioral disorder[s].)
With catatonia (refer to the criteria for catatonia associated with another mental disorder, pp. 119-120, for definition) (Coding note: Use additional code 293.89 [F06.1] catatonia associated with autism spectrum disorder to indicate the presence of the comorbid catatonia.)

Table 2  Severity levels for autism spectrum disorder

Severity level Social communication Restricted, repetitive behaviors
Level 3
“Requiring very substantial support”
Severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills cause severe impairments in functioning, very limited initiation of social interactions, and minimal response to social overtures from others. For example, a person with few words of intelligible speech who rarely initiates interaction and, when he or she does, makes unusual approaches to meet needs only and responds to only very direct social approaches
Inflexibility of behavior, extreme difficulty coping with change, or other restricted/repetitive behaviors markedly interfere with functioning in all spheres. Great distress/difficulty changing focus or action.
Level 2
“Requiring substantial support”
Marked deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills; social impairments apparent even with supports in place; limited initiation of social interactions; and reduced or  abnormal responses to social overtures from others. For example, a person who speaks simple sentences, whose interaction is limited  to narrow special interests, and how has markedly odd nonverbal communication.
Inflexibility of behavior, difficulty coping with change, or other restricted/repetitive behaviors appear frequently enough to be obvious to the casual observer and interfere with functioning in  a variety of contexts. Distress and/or difficulty changing focus or action.
Level 1
“Requiring support”
Without supports in place, deficits in social communication cause noticeable impairments. Difficulty initiating social interactions, and clear examples of atypical or unsuccessful response to social overtures of others. May appear to have decreased interest in social interactions. For example, a person who is able to speak in full sentences and engages in communication but whose to- and-fro conversation with others fails, and whose attempts to make friends are odd and typically unsuccessful.
Inflexibility of behavior causes significant interference with functioning in one or more contexts. Difficulty switching between activities. Problems of organization and planning hamper independence.

 

 

 

This is  a great movie and really helps explain what autism is – and also how much of a gift it is. It is about Dr. Temple Grandin, a very accomplished woman with autism. She has authored many books, she revolutionized the cattle industry, and she is a college professor. Click here for more info about the movie.

Let’s celebrate what makes us different and accept people for who they are. And always remember the great words of Eustacia Cutler, Dr. Temple Grandin’s mom: “Different … But Not Less.”

For more info about Dr. Temple Grandin click here 🙂

Are you a polluter?


When I asked someone if they know where I take the batteries to be recycled she looked puzzled and said “I always just throw mine away.”

So I realized it isn’t common knowledge that batteries shouldn’t be thrown away, and that they are contributing to the pollution in our food and our water. This is stuff I learned in my endless hours of autism research, and I just assumed everyone knew. So in case you don’t here is the info:

Batteries contain all kinds of toxic ingredients including mercury, cadmium, nickel, and lithium.

While some manufacturers have reduced or eliminated their use of mercury in consumer and commercial or industrial products, there are still many existing items in the marketplace that contain mercury.  Click here to find out which common household items contain mercury: http://www.epa.gov/hg/consumer.htm 

And so what’s the problem with throwing away a little mercury?

Mercury, an element naturally found in the environment, is also a very serious toxin. Mercury can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system of people of all ages. It has been demonstrated that high levels of methylmercury in the bloodstream of unborn babies and young children may harm the nervous system and delay cognitive development.

The mercury goes into the environment and then into the food chain. How?  The mercury enters the environment and it eventually settles in the water. While in the water, microorganisms transform mercury to methylmercury, a highly toxic form of mercury that can build up into high concentration in an organism. Every time the fish eat the microorganisms, they build up their methylmercury concentrations. Every organism that eats these fish is also building up their methylmercury levels.  So the cycle goes on and on, and essentially you are eating the batteries – see how I did that there?

Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries are full of all types of toxic heavy metals, etc.  Luckily, the battery industry sponsors the operations of the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Center (RBRC), which facilitates the collection of used rechargeable batteries collected in an industry-wide “take back” program for recycling.

And so you ask: Where do I recycle my batteries?

Call2Recycle® is the only free rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in North America. Since 1994, Call2Recycle has diverted over 60 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from the solid waste stream and established a network of 30,000 collection sites. Advancing green business practices and environmental sustainability, Call2Recycle is the most active voice promoting eco-safe reclamation and recycling of rechargeable batteries and cell phones. Call2Recycle is operated by RBRC, a non-profit organization. http://environment.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=environment&cdn=newsissues&tm=123&gps=416_180_630_493&f=10&su=p1037.1.155.ip_p504.1.336.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.rbrc.org/

Recycling of non rechargeable batteries is becoming more commonplace, but it can still be a challenge to find a local drop-off location.  If you type your zipcode into the drop off center locator on this website you can  find the nearest spot to recycle your alkaline batteries: http://earth911.com/recycling/hazardous/single-use-batteries/

Older Batteries Should Always Be Recycled
Old batteries that were made before 1997—when Congress mandated a widespread mercury phase-out in batteries of all types—should most surely be recycled and not discarded with the trash, as they may contain as much as 10 times the mercury of newer versions.

Every little bit helps. I hope you will do your part in trying to clean up our environment and preventing further pollution 🙂

“Do you think his autism was caused by the shots?”


Short answer: Maybe.

Long answer: I think my son was born with autism. I even think he had autism while in the womb. I think autism is a part of who my son is, and I think he has always had autism. In the womb he didn’t kick very much. He moved so little that twice I checked myself into the hospital because I was afraid he had died in there since he never moved.  Also, anytime I would rub my pregnant belly and try to picture who my son was and what type of person he would be I would always picture him at a table with a tutor. I envisioned that he would need extra help, that he would have trouble learning. And at the same time I knew he would be fine, and that we was smart – just different. I don’t know why I had these thoughts – and now I see that I must be psychic.  I will add that to my to do list: work on harnessing my psychic power. 🙂

He was always different. If I had known the early signs of autism it would have been obvious that he had autism. But I had no clue what autism was. And so he wasn’t diagnosed until he was 2 1/2 even though I always knew he was different. So I don’t think my son was born typical then changed, or got a shot and suddenly had autism. I have heard many first hand accounts of that happening though, so I believe it is true and it happens. They basically break it into two categories – early onset and late onset autism.

“There are two types of autism—an early-onset type and a later-onset regressive type—retrospective studies have suggested. When infants have the former, their level of complex babbling, word production, and declarative pointing are lower than those produced by typically developing children at a year or so of age. When infants have the latter, they behave essentially like normally developing infants during the first year or so of life, but by age 2, use significantly fewer words, respond to their names much less often, and look at people much less often than typically developing children do (Psychiatric News, October 7, 2005).” http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/42/15/28.1.full

So is it the shots or not?

Well I think you should definitely be educated on what is in the shots. And be aware of how many toxins are in there, the fact that formaldehyde is in the shots. On the CDC website you can read about the ingredients: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-1.pdf

and on another government website you can read about how formaldehyde is classified as a known carcinogen: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/formaldehyde

So yeah, I would then think that most rational folk would ask “So why are you injecting us with it?”

So is it the shots or not?

I think it has something to do with toxins in our environment.  And those toxins enter our bodies through the water we drink , the air we breathe, the food we eat, the shots we get, the paint, the plastic, the aluminum, the mercury, etc. I believe what the scientists have found in their research.  I think genetics comes into play because we don’t all react the same to these toxins.  Kind of  like how smoking causes cancer but some people can smoke their whole lives and never get cancer.

Here are some notes I took at an autism conference about this:

“It is believed that autism is 90% genetic. These genes aren’t all bad – sometimes they create genius!

Autism seems to be caused by a group of genes all acting together to create autism. These genes are called the “Broader Autistic Phenotype”. Evidence of this can be found in family members of the affected child. They tend to have ADHD, social deficits, and depression. So autism is the collaboration of all of these genes working together to create autism.”

So basically I think, and science seems to be proving, that autism is genetic and those with autism have a predisposition to being affected by these toxins. So in a roundabout way – yes, the shots can be causing autism. Just as much as the water, and the food, and the plastics, and the bug spray, and the fertilizers, etc.

Do I vaccinate my kids? Not anymore. They’ve already had all of the shots that I was required to have. They both have the “religious exemption” and I know what all the nay sayers say — but look at the vaccine requirements when we were kids vs today– why do they have to get so many compared to when we were kids? Requiring two chickenpox (varicella) shots in order to start kindergarten is where I drew the line.

Comparison of CDC Mandatory Vaccine Schedule
Children birth to six years (recommended month)

USA 1983

DTP (2)
OPV (2)
DTP (4)
OPV (4)
DTP (6)
MMR (15)
DTP (18)
OPV (18)
DTP (48)
OPV (48)

USA 2008

Influenza
(prenatal)
Hep B (birth)
Hep B (1)
DTaP (2)
Hib (2)
IPV (2)
PCV (2)
Rotavrus (2)
Hep B (4)
DTaP (4)
Hib (4)
IPV (4)
PCV (4)
Rotavirus (4)
Hep B (6)
DTaP (6)
Hib (6)
IPV (6)
PCV (6)
Influenza (6)
Rotavirus (6)
Hib (12)
MMR (12)
Varicella (12)
PCV (12)
Hep A (12)
DTaP (15)
Hep A (18)
Influenza (18)
Influenza (30)
Influenza (42)
MMR (48)
DTaP (48)
IPV (48)
Influenza (54)
Influenza (66)

Too many, too soon?

I am officially a blogger


whether or not I will actually write anything worth reading is still to be determined.

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