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CBC News British Columbia: Mainstreaming special needs kids

Sep 15

Anyone might say that this is Canada and things are better in the U.S.  (Although a quick Google search will bring up lots of stories of these students being abused or neglected by teachers, aides, and bus drivers here.  So the problems  associated with the explosion in special needs kids are happening in our schools as well.)
What’s telling here are the numbers.  One out of every FOUR STUDENTS in her class is special needs.  Is that an exception?  Is this now the norm?   Are regular ed teachers currently being trained in special ed?  (I wasn’t back when I was in college.)   
Faith Bodnar, the executive director of Inclusion BC, still believes all the kids who can’t learn or behave aren’t really anything to worry about they just need more funding:
Bodnar says while special needs designations have expanded, funding hasn’t gone up. “We’re better at identifying the unique learning needs of children with special needs than we were 15 years ago,” she notes.
“[But] with that comes the fact that investment in our school system hasn’t kept pace with diversity in the school system.
So no one noticed the boy spinning “like a dervish up to the front of a class”  in past years. 
“Diversity in the school system” has got to be one of the most bizarre phrases to describe this nightmare that I’ve ever come across.  
Education Minister Peter Fassbender doesn’t want to place caps on spec ed students in reg. ed classrooms, thus making himself very fiscally responsible I’m sure.
The teacher, Willow Reichelt, is clearly the only rational person in this story.   
(And she’s also the mother of a child with autism.)  
CBC NEWS: Former teacher quit over special needs stress

A former teacher in Chilliwack says she quit her job after 14 years because she didn’t have the resources to help the special needs children in her classroom.

Willow Reichelt spent more than a decade as a teacher in B.C., before quitting her job in 2013. “I got to the point in teaching where it was taking my whole life,” she told CBC News.  “It does, honestly. If people think teachers work the hours of a school day, they are crazy.” The last class Reichelt taught, eight out of the 30 students were designated with special needs. Despite that, there was only one teaching assistant assigned to help, for just one and-a-half hours a day. “It was sort of okay. We tried our best,” she said. “But there were lots of disruptions. The kid who was later diagnosed with Tourette [syndrome] would spin like a dervish up to the front of a class while I’d be trying to teach, or sit in his desk and jump up and down and make loud noises. Then I did have a couple of kids [with] severe behaviour. It was pretty nuts.”

Sept 14, 2014, Q13 Fox: Mother accused of using lethal drug cocktail to murder son with autism

Sep 15

Gigi Jordan showed no emotion as a New York prosecutor described to a jury a “chilling and horrifying scenario” in which the businesswoman who made a fortune in pharmaceuticals allegedly concocted a lethal cocktail of painkillers and anti-inflammatories and forced her 8-year-old autistic son to swallow it.
The nightmare continues.  I have no words.

Louis Conte and his Autism War

Sep 15

When Fiction is Fact: Autism War and #CDCWhistleblower – AGE OF AUTISM
What do you do after spending  two and a half years investigating the federal government’s shadowy Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, having discovered that health officials, who adamantly deny that vaccines cause autism, had been quietly compensating children for vaccine induced brain damage with autism?

Whistleblower story: Twitter drowned out NOVA!

Sep 12

Risk Science Center MMR Vaccines and Autism: Bringing clarity to the CDC Whistleblower Story – Risk Science Center

Anyone following the Twitter #vaccinesNOVA hashtag on Wednesday evening would have seen their stream seemingly overwhelmed by the #CDCWhistleblower hashtag.

Wednesday was when NOVA’s documentary Vaccines – Calling The Shots aired, and the #vaccinesNOVA hashtag was intended to enable a national discussion between parents, medical professionals and others on the issues surrounding infectious diseases and vaccines.

Instead, those looking for a serious and informative conversation were all but drowned out as anti vaccination advocates co-opted the hashtag  along with their own: #CDCWhistleblower - a hashtag promoting an alleged cover-up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on MMR vaccine and autism research.

Despite being a topic of vigorous discussion amongst anti vaccine advocates, the CDC whistleblower story hasn’t hit the mainstream headlines in a big way, probably leaving a number of genuine #vaccinesNOVA followers somewhat mystified.

The story revolves around a 2004 paper examining associations between the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism in children, and William W Thompson – a researcher at the CDC, and co-author on the paper.  Thompson, it was recently revealed, had reservations about how the study data were analyzed, and the resulting conclusions drawn.

In August, vaccine critic Brian Hooker published a re-analysis of these data in a paper that has since been withdrawn, which claimed that there was “new evidence of a statistically significant relationship between the timing of the first MMR vaccine and autism incidence in African American males.”…

And the bottom line?

Despite much noise being made by the small, yet incredibly vocal, anti-vaccine community, there is no evidence of fraud on the part of the CDC, nor is there convincing evidence of any cover-up. Brian S. Hooker’s study contains a number of flaws leading to a spurious, and biologically implausible, conclusion. In fact, the quality of the study is such that the journal that published it withdrew it pending further investigation, citing serious concerns about the validity and potential conflicts of interest. This entire issue is, in reality, much ado about nothing. It is just another example of anti-vaccine activists doing bad science to put your children at greater risk of harm, all because they cannot accept their own children as they are.

MarketWatch: Thompson was removed from IOM speaker schedule in 2004

Sep 12

I just saw this story and noticed that Thompson was supposed to speak in 2004 at the IOM meeting on vaccine safety, but after contacting Gerberding about his concerns regarding the MMR study—he wasn’t allowed to speak. 

CDC Epidemiologist Whistleblower Confirms New Review Showing Vaccine Autism Link

“Ten years ago (February 2, 2004), Dr. Thompson expressed concerns about the [MMR] study’s findings in an urgent letter to CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding,” said Dr. Hooker. [Thompson] wrote: ‘I will have to present several problematic results relating to statistical associations between the receipt of the MMR vaccine and autism.’ Referring to the upcoming Institute of Medicine (IOM) meeting on immunizations and autism.

Dr. Thompson received no reply from Dr. Gerberding but was removed from the IOM speaker schedule just days before the meeting. The 2004 IOM report, which omitted his findings, was cited in the Omnibus Autism decision that denied 5,000 families compensation for vaccine injury claims. The report continues to be widely cited for its position of exonerating vaccines’ role in causing autism.

Dr. Gerberding subsequently left the CDC in 2008 and in 2009 became president of Merck’s multi-billion dollar vaccine division, a position she still holds today.

Calling Out NOVA Calling the Shots – AGE OF AUTISM

Sep 11

I watched the hour long documentary, Calling the Shots, on PBS.  My first reaction was, why?  Why was this so hyped?  There was nothing new here.  The first half of the show was all about the history of vaccines and outbreaks of diseases that were called, “vaccine preventable.” 

Vaccines were extolled.  We heard about smallpox, whooping cough, cowpox, polio, and measles.  NOVA was out to convince us that vaccines are our only defense against communicable disease.  Prevention is dependent on a 95 percent vaccination rate for “herd immunity

Medical Daily: PBS Documentary On Vaccinations Hopes To Unravel The Truth For Americans

Sep 10

New PBS documentary carefully delivers transparent vaccine message to viewers. …  

NOVA viewers transition into a segment of the documentary that addresses one of the greatest medical fallacies of them all: vaccinations and its misleading link to autism. The film introduces an insightfully well-spoken Alison Singer, president and co-founder of the Autism Science Foundation, along with her daughter Jodie, who has autism and is severely impaired because of it. Singer cites the overwhelming scientific evidence refuting a link between vaccines and autism and discusses the lingering effects of public perception from a long-discredited study.   

Saying it over and over: “Vaccines are safe, vaccines save lives,” just isn’t cutting it.  Doing an entire documentary with that message won’t really matter.  There are just too many sick and disabled children that no one can explain. Questions Surrounding Review of Challenged Vaccine-Autism Study

Sep 10

When asked for details about its review process and why Thompson wasn’t consulted, the Pediatrics spokeswoman would only say, “The journal takes allegations of the use of fraudulent data seriously” and that it “investigated the allegations in accordance with the Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines and has decided that a retraction is not warranted.”

I remember a number of times over the last 10 years when I actually heard back from a reporter I’d written to and they would tell me why they didn’t accept any of the information I’d sent on vaccines.  It didn’t matter what studies I provided or experts I cited, they still supported all the official claims.  My favorite line, which I heard from several reporters, was “I stand by what I wrote,” as if those noble sounding words settled the issue.  This reminds me of that.

Pediatrics has a “Committee on Publication Ethics”?   Too bad they don’t have one on “Criminal Cover-Up,”  I think this is a little more serious than violating rules of conduct.


Orlando Sentinel: U.S. Rep. Bill Posey looking at immunization-autism

Sep 10

U.S. Rep. Bill Posey has been curious for a while about whether there’s been enough research into alleged links between childhood immunizations and autism, and now his office has a cache of documents from a CDC scientist who said his research was tainted. Posey’s Congressional office is reviewing somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 documents, including research statistics, it obtained from Dr. William Thompson, who has complained that the CDC withheld some of his data that may have suggested a link.

This is brief.  They use cautious words like “curious” and “tainted,” and this is news about an elected official from Florida, so it’s local interest. BUT…THIS IS MAINSTREAM MEDIA and there’s no dismissal of what the whistleblower had to say.  I posted a comment.

**Sept 9, 2014, Pittsburgh Post Gazette: NOVA documentary tackles debate over vaccines

Sep 09


Enter what are called the “anti-vaxxers” - Jenny McCarthy and a growing minority of parents – who question vaccine safety and feed enough fear to cause a worrisome decline in immunization rates nationwide. 

NOVA addresses this controversy in “Vaccines — Calling the Shots,” which airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday on PBS. The balanced look at the importance of vaccines gently but clearly concludes that vaccines are safe and effective, but without dodging or downplaying the mild, occasional serious and rare deadly risks vaccines can pose….

But the anti-vaxxers are a vocal group and they have made an ever-growing minority of parents wary of vaccines….

Autism spectrum disorders are a key concern of anti-vaxxers, despite 30 studies that have debunked any link between vaccines and autism. Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation, encourages parents to have their children with autism immunized while saying she understands why pained parents embrace such explanations. 

NOVA is a promoting the tired dogma…”vaccines are safe, vaccines save lives.”  The whistleblower exposed the truth that WE DON’T KNOW IF VACCINES ARE REALLY SAFE.  We now know about study results that were faked.   And that’s just ONE STUDY.  Imagine what else is yet to be revealed.  I posted two comments.



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