When Will We Be Willing to Actually Do Something About Autism?
Each year in the US, April is designated as Autism Awareness Month. And each year the prevalence of autism continues to grow. While the world is certainly more aware of autism, are we really any more willing to face what’s going on and actually do something about it?
The problem of autism is huge and fed by financial and societal forces that are hard to overcome. I believe that only the brute force willpower and efforts of families affected by autism will make the difference. Unfortunately, that will probably take time. The autism epidemic may need to become so bad that the majority of families are affected by it. A portion of this article is devoted to analyzing when this may occur.
Even in a world where most families have been touched by autism, however, we face another obstacle: the creeping normalization of the epidemic. The fact is, autism and a host of other mental and physical problems among our children have become the new normal. For example, in the Palo Alto (California) schools that my children attended, teachers I have spoken to report that 50% or more of students are now on some kind of psychotropic medication. Depression, suicidal behavior, learning disabilities, eating disorders, OCD, ASD, ADHD, food intolerances and allergies — these problems (and more) have now become the norm. There are even TV shows and movies being released these days that incorporate autistic characters, usually portrayed as gifted, unique, and high-functioning. While these media offerings are perhaps well-intentioned, I believe they also serve to white-wash a problem that most parents, at least in their hearts, realize is no blessing for their children.
Given this situation, it may now be up to elders (like me — age 62) to remind today’s parents that this state of affairs is not normal. The tendency to accept a high rate of autism as “normal” is a very dangerous trend because, while it might make autism parents feel better day-to-day, it keeps them from realizing that anything bad is actually occurring and thus from doing anything about it. Similarly, we should not accept that our now nutrient-depleted and pesticide-poisoned food is normal or that growing extremes in weather are normal. We, as a society, should expect true health as the norm — especially in our children! Widespread childhood sickness is definitely not “normal,” no matter how prevalent it is.
Over ten years ago, I began collecting data about the incidence of autism and projecting its growth, which I estimated to be approximately 10% a year. I’m sad to report that the CDC statistics have borne this rate out, though it may actually be even worse. I distinctly remember when the rate of autism was 1 in 150 children, and it wasn’t that long ago — at about the time my book Impossible Cure came out in 2003. Now the media commonly cites a 2010 statistic of 1 in 68, sweeping newer and higher rates under the media rug.
A 2015 CDC report cited a rate of 1 in 45 children for 2014, which broke the threshold of 2% of children with autism. In 2017, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and CDC again released updated numbers for 2016, which can be downloaded here. 1 in 35 children (8-12 years of age) now have autism – 2.76%. Since the rate in boys is higher than in girls (four times as high), that means that 1 in 28 boys (3-17 years of age) have autism – 3.6%. Moreover, more than 6% of US children (1 in 16) and 8% of boys (1 in 12) have a developmental disability.
Amazingly (but perhaps not surprisingly), the report also states that the increase in autism from 2014 until 2016 is not very significant because it’s “only” up from 2.24% to 2.76%. But do the math. That’s actually a 23% increase between 2014 and 2016! It also means that on average, there is now one autistic child per average classroom.
Where is this all taking us? At what point will the media stop saying that the increase in autism is nothing to be alarmed about — that it is illusory and simply due to an increased awareness of the condition and improved diagnosis? (Perhaps they are reaching that point now, which is why they are no longer reporting the latest statistics.)
At what point will the media stop implying that autism is a genetic disease that has nothing to do with environmental causes? (Although genetics may make some people more susceptible to these causes, as environmental factors increase in intensity, more and more people are clearly falling prey to them.)
Consider this. What will our society be like when 1 in 10 children (10%) are autistic? 1 in 5 children? Half of all children? Don’t forget: most autistic children grow up and become autistic adults who will be dependent on society for help. We are only now beginning to experience the consequences of an increased adult autistic population, as the “statistics” of the 1990s enter their 20s. These are all interesting questions, and my guess is, we will all be finding out the answers in our lifetimes.
Right now, the only people shouting and screaming about autism are the families that have autistic children. I believe that the latest point at which meaningful action will begin to take place in the US is when more than 50% of families are in this boat. Assuming that a family will become active when a grandparent has an autistic grandchild, and assuming a birth rate of 2 children per couple, this point will be reached when the autism rate is 12.5% (1 in 8 children). Now comes the even scarier graph.
Over the past 10 years or so, the rate of increase in autism has been fairly linear. The yellow line projects this rate of increase, which would put us at an autism rate of 10% (1 in 10 children) in about 40 years and 12.5% (1 in 8 children) in a little over 50 years.
A more alarming trend line is the green curve, which more accurately fits all the existing CDC data. This would put us at a rate of 10% (1 in 10 children) in 2030 (less than 12 years from now), and 12.5% (1 in 8 children) just 2 or 3 years after that. If the exponential curve is correct, then the next 20 years will see autism slowly becoming personal to most Americans. Which trajectory are we actually on? The yellow line or green curve? That will become more obvious 5 years from now, when the two rates diverge. By 2020, the incidence of autism will either clearly begin to match the yellow line or the green curve, and by 2025, it will be even more obvious. The statistic for 2016 already seems to be following the green curve, though it’s a bit too early to say for sure.
What are the causes of the autism epidemic?
How can we begin taking action earlier than 20-50 years from now? I think that depends on a variety of factors, all of which pertain to the underlying causes of autism. Looking back at the first graph, we can see that the rate of autism really started going up in the late 1980s and 1990s. Our answer to the autism puzzle will come from looking at environmental factors that began to accelerate at that time. Clearly, it’s not changes to our genetics!
Personally, I believe that autism is the end result of several factors that, together, create a perfect storm that weakens and twists the immune systems of our children, creating a tidal wave of autoimmunity and systemic poisoning (especially of the brain and gut). The more and more these environmental factors increase, the greater the number of children who cannot defend themselves and thus fall prey to autism and a host of other disabilities and weaknesses that are increasing at an alarming rate. Three of the most obvious factors that meet our criteria are the following:
1) The ever-increasing vaccine schedule, which overstimulates the immune system and causes toxic metals such as mercury and aluminum to be injected directly into the blood stream. Consider this. During my own childhood in the late 1950s, children were given 7 doses of vaccine antigens. In 1983, the total number of doses given to children (ages 1–18) was 11. Today American children are subjected to 69 doses of vaccine antigens.
Interestingly, this alarming increase in the vaccine schedule began in 1986 (also the time at which the autism rate really began taking off), when the vaccine manufacturers and doctors were indemnified from any legal consequences due to vaccine injuries. Since that time, the drug companies have been developing more and more vaccines to sell us. There are hundreds more in the development pipeline, with the media and government well-funded by the pharmaceutical industry to promote and protect them, usually by instilling panic about disease and urging public mockery of those who don’t comply. They have created the perfect storm of fear and greed!
2) The worsening of our food supply, and in particular, the growing prevalence of GMO and other foods bathed in glyphosate — Monsanto’s “Roundup.” Please note: the genetic modification of foods like corn, which are increasingly a part of every bite we take, was done primarily to boost sales of glyphosate.
3) The increasing amount of electromagnetic radiation (EMFs) all around us, due to cell phones, WIFI, cordless phones, smart meters, and other “smart” home devices, some of which are now wearable on our bodies. As the “internet of things” takes hold, every item in our homes will be communicating in a giant and toxic stew. Some people are even beginning to implant such devices inside their bodies.
Whether or not these three things are the key factors in creating the autism epidemic could easily be discovered if we examined the rate of autism in populations that do not partake in vaccines, eat only organic foods, and are not highly exposed to EMFs. There are even such populations here in the US. For example, many have cited the low incidence of autism among the Amish.
Unfortunately, I know of only one formal study (released in April 2017) that was done to make this kind of comparison – a study that examined the health of fully-vaccinated, partially-vaccinated, and unvaccinated children. Although all of these children were raised in a somewhat similar home-schooled environment, the researchers found that the unvaccinated children were generally the healthiest. Moreover, the autism rate was four times as high among the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated! Despite the fact that the study was conducted at an American university, these results were completely ignored by the media and lambasted by the usual cast of skeptics. The sad fact is that the financial powers behind all of the many environmental factors that contribute to autism do not want us to think too deeply about it. But the time is coming. When your child or grandchild has autism, you will want to know why!
So what can be done?
I believe that it is highly unlikely that we’re going to see a slowdown in EMF-generating technology, though it could possibly be made safer through technological fixes or more circumspection about keeping such devices near or inside our bodies. There is also a growing awareness of the dangers of cellphones and WIFI in European countries and they are beginning to take action, at least with respect to children’s exposure.
Awareness is also growing in Europe of the dangers of glyphosate and GMOs. With food, at least, we do have an alternative — organic food and a return to regenerative farming practices. The big food companies are fighting GMO labeling with all their might, but they only have greed on their side, not fear. (Note: Canada and the US are two of the few countries that don’t already do labeling.) Once parents can better control their children’s food intake, it will be interesting to see if it has any slowing effect on the autism rate. And it will certainly be interesting to see if the improved food supply and reduction in child exposure to EMFs in Europe results in a lowering of the autism rate there.
The hardest nut to crack, and in my view the biggest factor, is vaccines. The media and politicians are bought and sold on this one (including the most liberal ones), so awareness has only been able to creep in through the back door of the internet and the activism of autism families. But there must be desperation afoot in the pharmaceutical industry, because they are vigorously creating and pushing forced vaccination mandates all over the US. If you check out the legislators who have proposed these mandates, they are invariably the ones most highly funded and advised by Big Pharma. The vaccine manufacturers may simply see the writing on the wall, and so are trying to make as much money on the vaccine cash cow while they can. Unfortunately, they may be hastening their own demise by accelerating the increase in autism, as more and more vaccines are added to the mandated schedule. This too will be interesting to see.
Only time will tell the full story of the autism epidemic. My only hope is that practitioners and remedies will always be available to treat the autistic children whose families turn to our beloved Homeopathy. More and more families are doing so, and successes are happening, though autism is one of the hardest conditions to treat and becoming even harder with the increasingly toxic environmental load placed upon our children. However, it was because homeopathy healed my son of autism many years ago that I became inspired to write my book Impossible Cure. You will not find a more devoted and tenacious group of parents than those who seek a cure for their autistic children! So perhaps it will be homeopathy’s victories in treating autism that will propel homeopathy into more general awareness, just its successes in treating other disease epidemics did in the 1800s. Once again, only time will tell!
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