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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Demonstration in Speculation

So you take your kid to see the doctor. Your kid is vaccinated. Within a week, they develop a fever and start losing language and showing signs of regressive autism. It must have been the vaccine, right? Not necessarily.

Here's a great example of that sort of thinking. Billy Mays. Here's how Fox News reported the story. (This isn't meant to pick on Fox. Other news sources speculated along the same lines.)
They report the timeline: Billy Mays flew in on Saturday. He hit his head in a rough landing. That night, he didn't feel well when he went to bed. He was dead by morning.

It must have been just like Natasha Richardson, right? She hit her head while skiing and didn't initially even appear to be that hurt, but she later died from a brain injury.

Well, wrong. The autopsy says Billy Mays died of heart disease. The rough plane landing was a coincidence.

So, now back to that regressive autism. Was it obvious cause and effect, or was it all a coincidence? After all, kids get sick and have fevers. Sometimes they have harmless fevers as a mild reaction to a vaccine, too. Kids get a lot of vaccinations. Kids typically show noticeable signs of autism around the time they're getting vaccines. I even read one article on *gasp* Huffpo, that says about 600 hundred kids a year would show signs of autism within one week of a vaccine just by random chance.

So when studies and scientists tell you that they can't find a connection between vaccines and autism, they're not doing it to piss you off or discount your personal experiences. Nor are they part of some vast conspiracy to poison children for money. Not that I expect this message to ever get through to the people who really need to hear it, but I'm going to keep saying it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

All my free time

What's been taking up my posting time? I've been working on the website for my local autism support group. Well, I've been overdoing it, but that's ok. I do that. It's going to have a forum, and individual blogs, and an events calendar, and a library system for checking out books, and, and, and ...yeah. 

Those are things that don't write themselves, so I've been spending all my spare time on it. But the cool thing is that I'm building skills I can use later if I wanted to build another social networking site. And I've got other projects in mind already. 

The time with my kiddo has been really rewarding, too. He's still obsessed with Blue's Clues. He's also picking things up from other areas. He sings with me more often. He gave me kisses today. He pointed at his Buzz Lightyear pajamas and labeled the face parts for me. 



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sudden onset of skills

These are my favorite posts. Mr Man put on his own pajamas, took off his own clothes, spontaneously got my attention by saying, "Mommy," and watered the plants. Um, not in that order. And he wandered into the bedroom and launched his favorite movie from iTunes.

So many of the things he does just happen when you're not looking, and then it's like he's been doing them for ages.

In possibly related news, he's become quite fond of Blue's Clues. He's started saying thank you for everything, and he occasionally "skidoos." I could think of worse shows. Blue's Clues overtly teaches self care skills and basic preschool concepts and even throws in some sign language.

I had no idea

Someone who's blog I'd been following for the last three and a half or four years turned out to be intentionally making her already medically fragile child sick. I had no idea. She's confessed, and they caught her on tape, so I guess the chances are good that she can get therapy and get help, but I doubt she'll ever be granted custody of her children. 

When I look at her blog now (or the archive of what she hastily tried to erase,) it's obvious she knew her daughter was going to keep taking turns for the worse. I don't know how long she was doing this, but there are so many chilling entries in retrospect. Things like this entry from last year:

Is there something I'm doing incorrectly? Why is it that one night she's fabulous, no problems at all and the next night we see numbers like that? I would love to be able to do another sleep study to see what is going on but as sure as we do she'll be having one of her good nights and probably never even need oxygen (we do have nights like this occasionally where I swear she'd be fine without it). Last night was fine, no problems, even when the cannula came out of her nose she didn't desat too terribly low. Tonight she's dropped to the 60's several times with the cannula in her nose! I swear as soon as her nurse walks through that door she'll totally change and start behaving

Yeah. Coincidence that she improves when the nurse shows, or maybe not. It makes me wonder how long she'd been doing this. And why. Her daughter had a very rough NICU experience that it would have been hard to fake. She was told multiple times that she probably wouldn't make it. Did the anticipatory grief finally drive her over the edge as her daughter improved until she worked to finally get the loss over with? Did she just get used to the constant level of attention with a sick baby and a blog? Did she want more presents to get sent to her by strangers reading along? I don't know. Whatever it is, she needs a lot of help. I hope she gets it, and I hope her children are kept safe.