Mayo Clinic Weighs in on Restrictive Diets for Autism

Elena Schweitzer

Recently, on a Q&A portion of its website, the Mayo Clinic weighed in on the gluten free, casein free (GFCF) diet for autism. Dr. Jay Hoecker, emeritus consultant for the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, stated that there was "no evidence that special diets are an effective autism treatment" and that "restrictive diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies."

Thanks in large part to a lack of autism awareness, there are many alternative treatments and therapies (including the GFCF diet) that desperate parents seek out and end up being more harmful than helpful.

Any home-brewed diet based on a lack of evidence, should not be used haphazardly. A professional nutritionist or doctor should be overseeing any type of diet being used on a child on a regular basis. Without these measures, a child’s health can be severely affected. Not many caregivers have access to the knowledge and diagnostic tools such as blood work, urine samples, blood pressure, vitals or are nutritionally savvy enough to keep a child’s well being properly monitored. 

I too, tried the gluten-fee, casein-free diet for my son and ironically enough, his healing began when I ended the diet and put him back on milks, yogurts, Happy Meals, Pediasure and Ensure. 

We’re spinning our wheels and are more interested in fads rather than facts. I have never read a single report stating that ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), floor time, complete dedication, or any other behavioral modification therapy was harmful. These are the things we should be focused on.

Temple Grandin’s mother did not use the GFCF diet. Neither did the majority of parents of the greatest known adults with autism who are now fully functional in our society. 

One can search any number of alleged "fixes" and find someone touting results. My son is my result. The parents I study with and blog with are real and the diet did not work for them either. The positive results in GFCF studies could have very well been brought on by other underlying factors.

Granted, there are instances when a gluten-free casein-free diet is warranted if a child with autism has been diagnosed with allergies related to certain foods. However, this is often the exception and not the rule.

The GFCF diet is expensive and often forces already strapped families to spend their last dime, leaving them discouraged and distraught when the results don’t come.

I, like many other parents, am witnessing first-hand the behavioral modification approach and a complete turnaround in my son’s life. It is remarkable, miraculous and above all, it does not cost us anything other than our time.

Early detection and intervention of autism is the best approach to help our children.  Let’s stay focused and base decisions on recommendations from organizations like the Mayo Clinic instead of jumping on bandwagons and treatments that have yet to be proven by research.


Flu Season Precautions for Children with Autism

Monkey Business Images

Winter has been particularly harsh this year and in some areas, weather conditions have made the flu season difficult to contend with as Influenza cases are continuing to spread rapidly. The University of Wyoming reports widespread cases throughout the state and the school’s Student Health Services has been treating several patients per day with flu-like symptoms. The state of Indiana has just been listed in the "wide-spread" outbreak category, and according to the CDC, this scenario is playing out in many states around the country.

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches. It can lead to severe illness and complications, particularly among older people, children and those with compromised immune systems. 

Practical ways to prevent the spread of the flu include thorough hand washing (for more than 20 seconds using a rubbing, friction action) and of course, covering one’s mouth when coughing with the inside of an elbow and not with the hands.

In addition to hygiene, another preventative measure for the flu is an annual vaccine, as recommended by the CDC for those 6 months or older.

Although mercury in vaccines has been proven to not cause autism, there are suggestions that heavy metals can certainly trigger or further complicate conditions in an already pre-disposed child. 

Thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) has allegedly been removed from all vaccines, with the exception of some brands of the flu shot and some plain tetanus and diphtheria-tetanus shots. For the 2010-2011 season, Agriflu, Fluarix, and Flumist are brands that do not contain mercury, while Afluria, FluLaval, Fluvirin, and the multi-dose version of Fluzone all contain at least some traces of mercury.

Dr. William Sears of L.E.A.N. reports that Fluzone is the only 100% mercury free brand for infants, but it needs to be the single-dose version of the shot.

Parents should be both educated and prepared when questioning their doctors about the injections given to their children with autism spectrum disorders. With the flu season now in high gear, consult with them about Fluzone and demand single doses for your child’s age and weight versus the cheaper method of drawing from the larger, multi-dose vial. If Fluzone is not an option, be sure to demand one of the three brands listed above that do not contain Thimerosal, assuming it is age-appropriate.

Heavy metals have been known to play a role in the neurological functions and seizures associated with autism spectrum disorders. And although autism is a pre-disposed condition, you certainly don’t want to add to the barrage of interruptions already present in the brain.

Be informed, get tough, stand your ground and continue advocating on your child’s behalf and your autism journey will turn into a very rewarding experience, even during the dreary flu season.


Hospital Preparedness Lacking for Children with Autism

Judy Lynn Barranco

Residents of the United States will be facing the peak of flu season (which runs from October through May) in the coming few weeks and it’s likely that a portion of children who get sick will require hospitalization during that time.

Every child is anxious when they have to stay in the hospital, but for a child on the autism spectrum, these stressors can expand exponentially. Like other services in our society, most hospitals are behind-the-curve in dealing with patients who have autism. This lack of preparedness in the medical setting can cause many problems and untold grief for children and families.

Fortunately, some hospitals are facing the problem head-on. The Hospitalist reports of a handful of medical facilities around the country that have autism consultants who are called in to help with arriving patients, providing an array of ideas for both parents and staff. While this is a good start, much more work is needed in this area.

When a child with autism arrives at the hospital, doctors and nurses need to make the child’s life as consistent as possible. Limiting the number of physicians and nurses interacting with them is extremely important. With the proliferation of teaching hospitals, this can often be difficult. ¨Grand Rounds¨ when doctors and their legions of interns crowd into the patient’s room is unduly stressful and should be avoided.  

Regardless of a child’s age, a family member in the room twenty-four hours a day is highly recommended.  I discovered the hard way that many children’s hospitals have twenty-four hour babysitting services, but don’t make it widely known to patients or their families. If you don’t have a family member who can stay with your child around the clock, ask the hospital to provide a companion when you can’t be there. 

Dimming lights, keeping noise levels low, touching children infrequently and letting them know what will be happening next are other ways to limit sensory overload. Doctors should turn off cell phones and pagers and be sure to have enough time to attend to the child.

Involving a child in activities such as wearing the same hat as a surgeon, having them touch and handle a wrist bracelet before putting it on, or being shown medical equipment before it is used can all help counteract the onslaught of foreign experiences. 

From personal experience, I highly recommend that every time a youngster has to contend with a shot or blood work, insist that Emla cream be applied first. Rubbed on the injection site thirty minutes or more in advance, Emla completely numbs the area so that the needle won’t even be felt.

Scary procedures usually done under local anesthesia can be performed under general anesthesia instead. When my son had to have an endoscopy, having him sleep through it spared him both the terror and stress.

If a staff member is speaking in a way that is inadvertently upsetting your child, take them aside and politely coach them. 

Also, don’t presume a medication is appropriate just because the doctor says so. Do your own research. A heartbreaking scenario unfolded in Seattle when a boy with autism was getting a tooth extracted in the dental clinic and died from a patch placed on his arm for pain. He couldn’t tolerate swallowing pills, but the patch carried a black box warning that it was only to be used for cancer patients with a high tolerance for opiates. Although the parents were awarded a multi-million dollar lawsuit settlement, it was no consolation for their grief and loss.

Statistically, your child will eventually find his or her way into the emergency room at some point in the future. In fact, according to the CDC, approximately 200,000 Americans require hospitalization each year from the flu virus alone, with a good portion of those patients being children and the elderly.  These numbers don’t even take into account the myriad of other reasons a child on the autism spectrum may require inpatient care.

Having a loved one in the hospital can be overwhelming, and at times, terrifying.  Don’t wait until it’s too late and don’t assume a hospital will be equipped to handle your child.  Make plans now and have a hospital plan in place so you’ll be fully prepared when that time comes.


American Idol Frontrunner Has Tourette Syndrome, Autism

James Durbin (Fox / 19 Entertainment)

Each year, American Idol produces a handful of contestants who give memorable performances during the audition rounds, immediately making them odds-on favorites to win. Last night, millions of American Idol viewers were introduced to just such a contestant in James Durbin. Durbin is a 21-year-old Santa Cruz, California resident and unemployed father who has faced some major challenges over his lifetime.

At the age of nine, Durbin’s father died of a drug overdose and the Idol singer has also been diagnosed with Tourette syndrome and Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of autism. 

James Durbin wowed the judges with an amazing vocal range, which included renditions of "You Shook Me" and "Dream On." Judge Steven Tyler was particularly impressed, saying, “Wow man, that was so, so good."

Comparisons are already being made to Season 8 American Idol runner-up, Adam Lambert. However, Durbin is actually much different and his unique story, coupled with an amazing voice, will surely make him a fan favorite and front-runner to win it all. If that were to happen, Durbin would join a growing list of individuals (i.e. Jason McElwain, Temple Grandin, etc.) who have shattered many of the stereotypes and misconceptions about what it means to have autism and what those who have it are capable of accomplishing.

After his performance, James Durbin admitted to the judges that when he sings, his Tourette’s "all goes away." Hopefully, Durbin doesn’t anytime soon and is eventually crowned the Season 10 winner.


Improvement Needed in Autism Inclusion Programs

Last year, autism rights activist Ari Ne’eman was appointed to the National Council on Disability as the first openly autistic presidential appointee in American history. Ne´eman points out that both the law and an overwhelming body of empirical evidence support the notion that children with autism benefit most from an inclusionary model of education:

"Research has repeatedly found that inclusion of autistic students in the general educational setting leads to significant gains in academic achievement and standardized test scores, adaptive behavior, communication, social relationships and interaction, and post-high school outcomes for those students.

In comparison, autistic students who are educated primarily in segregated or life-skills settings score lower on assessments, make less progress in reading and math, have fewer social interactions and positive peer relationships, communicate less, and have lower adult outcomes and more issues with generalizing skills and adaptive behaviors."

The law also dictates that when appropriate programs for children on the autism spectrum are not available, it’s incumbent upon that school district to adjust their programs rather than to send those children away to autism schools. In other words, the program must conform to the child rather than the child conforming to the program.

Given the fact that many schools are not up-to-par in regards to their autism inclusion programs, one wonders if this notion of building expensive and separate schools isn’t a cost-cutting move disguised as a gift horse. 

What lends more credence to this notion is a 2009 Supreme Court ruling decision (6-3), stated that parents can place their kids in private schools unilaterally and then ask public schools to pay. Parents used to be required to try out a program for their child first before seeking an out-of-school placement, but that is no longer the case.

Mr. Ne´eman prefers that money designated to build segregated schools should be used to offset cuts in special education and that a ¨race-to-the-top¨ should be ignited to see which schools can come up with the best inclusion programs that could serve as examples for other districts.

Controversies such as these invariably bring out some irate parents of neurotypical children who claim their children are suffering from having children with autism in their midst. 

Like nails on chalkboard, these voices of fear and disdain only prove the necessity of neurotypical and autism spectrum children growing in appreciation of one another through day-to-day interaction instead of opting for the segregation option that has been all-too-common in the past.

Transitioning to Adulthood Poses Challenges for those with Autism

Arkadi Bojaršinov

A group from Washington University in St. Louis reports that upon finishing high school, many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are left without the proper supportive or health services that they previous had access to. According to the report, nearly 40 percent of youths with ASDs from among the more than 400 surveyed participants enrolled in special education failed to receive any speech therapy, case management, mental health services or other health services after they turned 18.

There’s been little research as to what happens to adolescents with autism once they reach young adulthood. Because of their challenges with communication and social interaction, as well as their greater reliance on others for aid and high rates of co-morbid medical problems, youths are particularly vulnerable during this time. 

This period  is known as “Transition."

Transition is the process that takes young people with special needs from childhood to adulthood, usually occurs between the ages of 14 and 22 and must promote movement from school to post-school activities.

All children, whether or not they have a disability, have rights, talents and dreams. For students with special needs, the key to a smooth transition to adulthood lies in recognizing their unique gifts, abilities and goals. Transition can be much more successful if a student has access to all the supports and services that permit him or her to live as independently as possible.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act, students with disabilities have the right to substantial assistance in making the most of their transition years. Students covered by IDEA are required to begin transition planning at age 14, with at least a statement in their education plan (IEP) of the supports and services that they’ll need during their high school years. By age 16, students covered by IDEA are legally required to have a transition services plan (TIEP) covering all their needs to move toward successful adulthood. 

However, they don’t always get the services they’re entitled to. That can be because the law and regulations are not well understood, because providers are short on money or time or because the student’s transition team lacks an energetic, knowledgeable and determined leader.

The student and his or her team select goals for adulthood. The activities and services in the plan are designed to reach those goals. The outcome must be based on the student’s needs, preferences and interests. 

Some goals and services to be considered during the transition are:

• vocational rehabilitation
• vocational counseling
• vocational training
• college
• career, trade or profession
• integrated employment (alongside non-disabled colleagues)
• supported employment
• self employment
• continuing and adult education
• adult services
• assistive technology
• independent living
• community participation (experiences such as attending church, taking public transportation, using the library)

Because not a lot of emphasis is placed on meeting the needs of individuals with special needs once they finish high school, families can turn to The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) for assistance and advocacy.

The National Disability Rights Network is a federally mandated, non-profit membership organization created to protect and advocate for basic rights for individuals with a wide range of disabilities, including, but not limited to, those with cognitive, mental, sensory and physical disabilities. The NDRN members ensure accountability in education, health care, employment, housing, transportation and within the juvenile and criminal justice systems. They also investigate reports of abuse and neglect, and seek systemic change to prevent further incidents.

Well-managed transition years can be a time to prepare for adulthood, make workable living arrangements and line up the services and technology that can supply freedom, competence and mastery of life for a young adult with autism..

For more resources about Transition and Transition Planning, visit http://www.WrightsLaw.com .

Temple Grandin: Changing the Face of Autism

Temple Grandin was thrust into the national spotlight nearly one year ago year after the release of HBO’s critically acclaimed movie, Temple Grandin. She then became a near-household name last month after Claire Danes, who portrayed her in the film, took home a Golden Globe award for her performance.

However, few are aware that prior to the hit HBO film, Temple Grandin was featured in a 2006 BBC Horizon documentary, giving a fascinating glimpse into her life and mind.

The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow tells the true-life story of Dr. Grandin, who has autism and is a professor at Colorado State University, specializing in the field of animal science.  

In addition to the Golden Globes award, Grandin’s HBO movie was also nominated in 15 Emmy categories and received 5 awards, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie and Best Actress in a Drama for Danes. 

Grandin’s story has single-handedly shattered the misconceptions and expectations of what people with autism can achieve in their lives and has become an inspiration to many.

The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow, differs from its HBO counterpart because it shows the real Temple Grandin at work and in her element.  As a result, the viewer feels like they are getting a glimpse into what the world is like from the vantage point of someone who grew up with and conquered autism.

Temple Grandin has a highly controversial and groundbreaking theory that the autistic mind is closer to the animal mind when it comes to perceptions of the world around us.  She describes these minds like that of a prey animal, frightened and highly sensitive to outside stimuli. This includes being easily startled by strange sights and sounds and constantly feeling alert and anxious.  

Temple uses her intuition to understand the animal mind and associates it with her own struggles with constant anxiety. This has enabled her to make a major impact on animal welfare, in particular, the treatment of cows. She has been instrumental in modifying the ways these animals are held, moved and slaughtered and has developed numerous innovations in the humane treatment of beef cattle.  In fact, it has been reported that nearly half of the cattle in the United States now go to slaughter in humane equipment designed by Temple Grandin.

The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow is more than just the story of Temple Grandin.  This short film also tries to address how our understanding of autism has progressed.  For many years, during the fifties and sixties, many psychologists and doctors were of the opinion that autism was an emotional disorder, brought on by a disturbed childhood.  Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim believed that children developed autism because their mothers had consciously or subconsciously rejected them as babies, and he consequently believed that children with autism could be cured with psychotherapy. 

When Temple Grandin was a baby, autism research was in its infancy and many doctors didn’t even have a name for her condition.  In her own words, as a young child Temple demonstrated “all the full-blown symptoms of autism.”  Many children like her were even institutionalized.  

With intensive tutoring and special care, it still took her many years to learn basic skills.  To this day, social situations are still a struggle for her.  But approximately twenty years ago, Temple did something no one with autism had ever done before — she wrote an autobiography entitled, "Emergence: Labeled Autistic," which was her story of what it was like to grow up with autism.  Since then, she has written several other books on autism and her life has been a revelation for parents and scientists, providing much-needed understanding and insight into the inner workings of the autistic mind.

Labeled "mentally retarded" when she was just three years old, Temple is now an associate professor of animal science, a best-selling author and now arguably the most famous person with autism in the world.

The much-overlooked 2006 BBC documentary is available for viewing below and is highly recommended:

PART I


PART II


PART III


PART IV

PART V


Autism Sunday and Autism Twitter Storm on February 13th

Autism Sunday

The International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome aka "Autism Sunday," will be observed this Sunday, February 13, 2011. The annual event, which was originally started in 2002 by UK residents Ivan and Charika Corea, has since grown into a worldwide phenomena and is observed on the second Sunday in February. Churches of all denominations around the world have been asked to pray for the autism community and others affected by the disorder.

Additionally, autism advocates have called others to participate in an "Autism Sunday Twitter Storm," which will be held on the same day.  Everyone with a Twitter account has been asked to tweet as much as possible about autism, using the hash tags #Autism and #AutismSunday.

If your church does not have plans to participate in Autism Sunday, we encourage you to send an email or make a phone call asking them to mention Sunday’s event during service or directly participate in it. Additionally, a note in your church’s weekly newsletter or bulletin would also help a great deal in raising awareness about this important event.

Meaningful, heartfelt prayer is a powerful way to establish intimacy with God. More importantly, corporate prayer (collective prayers from a group) can go a long way in making an impact in other people’s lives.

Please spread the word about this Sunday and help make an eternal difference for those with autism, which is estimated to directly affect 67 million people around the globe.

Autism and the Diet Connection

The University of Rochester Medical School recently published a report entitled, ¨Popular Autism Diet Does Not Demonstrate Behavioral Improvement." The small, tightly controlled study on the effects of a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet found that it made no appreciable difference in the behavior, sleeping, or digestive habits of twenty-two children aged two-and-a-half to five-years-old. Results of this study were presented in the tone that desperate parents of children with autism will believe anything when it comes to cures. 

A significant aside was that the study did not address a subset of children with autism – those with gastrointestinal problems. But a 2010 study conducted by the Autism Treatment Network shows that GI symptoms occur in nearly one-half of children with autism spectrum disorders and the prevalence increases as children get older (calling into question the age group of the study’s subjects). Children with GI problems suffer from more stomach problems, sleep disorders, behavior disturbances, and generally have a poorer quality of life.

Researchers are focusing more and more on the gastrointestinal symptoms specific to children with autism. The Autism Network For Dietary Intervention features an array of scientific studies on the topic and Dr. Arthur Krigsman, GI specialist and autism expert, has testified before Congress on the prevalence of this phenomenon known as ¨autistic enterocolitis" (This is the area that the much-maligned Dr. Andrew Wakefield focused on and an issue that should not be cast aside with his study).

The prevailing wisdom is that some people with autism spectrum disorders cannot properly digest gluten and casein, which form peptides or substances that act like opiates in their bodies. The peptides then alter the person’s behavior, perceptions, and responses to his or her environment. Some scientists now believe that these peptides trigger an unusual immune system response in a significant number of children with autism.

Additionally, a large number of children on the autism spectrum also have underlying allergy issues, which can be exacerbated by certain foods, including those containing dairy, wheat, and soy. 

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains, including oats, rye, barley, bulgar, and spelt. It’s also found in food starches, semolina, couscous, malt, some vinegars, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, flavorings, artificial colors, and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.

Casein is a protein found in milk and foods containing milk. It also may be added to non-milk products such as soy cheese and hot dogs in the form of caseinate.

Eliminating these proteins from the diet of a child with autism has been reported by many parents to show mild to even dramatic results.

Before starting a GFCF diet, it is essential to consult a doctor who should screen your child with an IgG Elisa food allergy test. A blood sample sent to a lab will reveal what foods your child should limit and what foods your child should avoid altogether. 

For some children, the GFCF diet isn’t enough. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) eliminates all starch and has an exhaustive list of permissible and non-permissible foods. 

Augmenting these diets with doctor recommended vitamins and supplements ensures your child’s nutritional well being and lays the foundation for their improvement.

It’s amazing that the scientific community will often make sweeping assertions based upon a single study and as a result, end up throwing the baby out with the bath water.

An appropriate diet for a child on the autism spectrum is something that should at least be considered as a potential treatment option, assuming it is done with the consultation and oversight of a licensed medical physician.

Embracing the Label of Autism

With the autism rate now "officially" at 1 in 110 (the unofficial rate is much higher), many find it surprising that so many around us are affected. Autism is a "spectrum disorder," meaning there are varying degrees and severity to the condition, with a number of cases going undetected. Awareness and screening have greatly improved in the last ten years, but we still have a long way to go.

I have often used Daryl Hannah as an example to battle those who stand on the platform that autism is not "curable." I contend that by "cure," I mean a functional and happy life, without requiring institutions or drugs, while still needing protection and support from family, friends, and caregivers. There are MANY "typical" persons in our society that need protection and support, but who are completely dysfunctional. They are called typical only because they are undiagnosed.

I would use Temple Grandin to prove my case, but unfortunately, many of those same persons who are self-proclaimed autism experts aren’t even familiar with who Dr. Temple Grandin is or what her achievements are. 

There is the argument that Temple Grandin has high functioning autism. High functioning means an IQ of 80 or above. This supports the notion that most of the people diagnosed with ASD (which includes Asperger’s Syndrome), are in fact, high functioning. The bottom line is that great results should be expected of, and provided for, all of those on the autism spectrum. 

In past generations, people often kept journals or diaries so it’s easy to compare their characteristics with those that would be diagnosed with autism today. The dark label of autism and the stigma that goes with it are devastating to the healing process. Once we embrace the beauty and innocence of autism so that people no longer fear the label, we will all begin to look objectively through the branches of our own family trees. We should recognize the idiosyncrasies in our own genetics are directly tied to the titles our children now have.

With a significant amount of research under my belt, I now find myself wondering about three of my own immediate family members, as well as myself. It would certainly justify the issues in all of our lives.

It would also connect the misunderstandings, relationship patterns, and eccentric histories of a large number of my ancestors. My family tree encompasses members of the Magna Charta, various different countries’ royalty (both well remembered and notorious), religious crusaders, and many more who led anything but typical lifestyles.

Finding someone to sit down to hash all of this through who possesses the credentials to give appropriate labels to my colorful ancestors is another story. I would feel selfish in knowing I took up anyone’s time while a tremendous portion of our population remains undiagnosed and falling through the cracks on waiting lists for proper services.

Even if we were all diagnosed with autism, is our culture ready for the tsunami of mental, emotional, and neurological accommodations?

Awareness, acceptance, treatment, funding, education, compassion, understanding, laws, facilities, accommodating school programs, and transportation services all need quick re-evaluations and autism must be a top priority. Our children are here now and deserve a higher quality of life.

Perhaps if we would all seek out our own diagnosis, when our children are labeled, they would not be alone. I consider myself fortunate to be a part of an autistic child’s world. Life is enhanced, miracles are witnessed and I learn about my own abilities and disabilities each day. I am a much better person for being a part of autism and I am thankful for it.

My son is part of a pivotal influence group that has already changed the course of history for the better. I am teaching him to have pride in his autism label and demonstrating that there is no shame in it.

By no means do I intend to marginalize or dimish the challenges of autism, particularly those associated with “lower-functioning” individuals. However, autism is autism and those who have it are all in the hurricane. Some just happen to be in the eye-wall, while others experience the outer feeder bands.

It’s important to note that until the 1940s, autism was mistakenly categorized as various other disorders such as schizophrenia. Dr. Leo Kanner noted the uniquely distinct patterns of behaviors, while at the same time, Dr. Hans Asperger came up with the name of “Autism.” 

I have compiled a list of my own, comprised of those who have, or are suspected of having some form of ASD. My hope is that the negative stigma associated with our children’s diagnoses would be lifted once and for all and those who are still here would come forward and speak out until our kids are able to. In no particular order, here they are:

Daryl Hannah, Peter Howson, Luke Jackson, Heather Kuzmich, Virginia Woolf, William Shakespeare, Hans Christian Anderson, Goethe, Isaac Asimov, Craig Nicholls, Alexander Graham Bell, Gary Numan, Tim Page, Dawn Prince-Hughes, Vernon L. Smith, Satoshi Tajiri, Raymond Thompson, Liane Holliday Willey, Michelle Dawson, Temple Grandin, Caiseal Mor, Hikari Oe, Dylan Scott Pierce, Jim Sinclair, Amanda Baggs, Lucy Blackman, Alonzo Clemons, Tony DeBlois, Christopher Knowles, Leslie Lemke, Jonathan Lerman, Jason McElwain, Thristan Mendoza, Tito Mukhopadhyay, Derek Paravicini, Kim Peek, James Henry Pullen, Matt Savage, Birger Sellin, Henriett Seth, Daniel Tammet, Richard Wawro, Stephen Wiltshire, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, Harry Truman, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Elvis Presley, Peter the Great, Wilhelm II, Alexander the Great, Isaac Newton, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jeremy Bentham, Socrates, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Robin Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Charles Dickinson, Jane Austen, Béla Bartók, Ludwig von Beethoven, Anton Bruckner, Henry Cavendish, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Kaspar Hauser, Oliver Heaviside, Thomas Jefferson, Carl Jung, Franz Kafka, Wasily Kandinsky, H P Lovecraft, Ludwig II, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Gustav Mahler, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Richard Strauss, Nikola Tesla, Henry Thoreau, Alan Turing, Mark Twain, Vincent Van Gogh, Matthew Laborteaux, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Isaac Asimov, Hans Asperger, John Denver, Glenn Gould, Jim Henson, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hughes, Andy Kaufman, L S Lowry, Charles Schulz, Andy Warhol, Woody Allen, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan, Joseph Erber, Bobby Fischer, Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jeff Greenfield. David Helfgott, Garrison Keillor, John Motson, John Nash, Michael Palin, Keanu Reeves, Oliver Sacks, James Taylor, Dezi Carden, Dan Aykroyd, Shannon Bull, Louis IV of France, Catherine the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, and Peter Tork.

If being diagnosed with autism would put me in such great company, PLEASE, label me autistic!

 
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Did You Know?

  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
  • * Autism now affects 1 out of 88 children
  • * Autism affects 1 in 54 boys
  • * 1.7 million Americans have some form of autism
  • * 4 out of 5 autistic children are boys

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