The Autism Act, And Why My Autistic Son Made Me Cry On My Birthday

On Friday I received a 'phone call from the local newspaper asking my views on the new Adult Autism Strategy, which had been given legal force by the Autism Act.

I said I was pleased.

Anything, which tackles the ignorance surrounding autism can only be a good thing, and this new strategy aims to introduce major improvements in health, social care and other services.

Despite the rapid increase in the rise of people being diagnosed with autism and autistic spectrum disorders, there is still very little awareness about the needs of people with autism, or the problems faced by those who support and care for them.

It has to change, because whether we like it or not, we all know someone whose life has been affected by this lifelong disability.

Autism doesn't just affect the sufferer - the ripples are far reaching.

My youngest son has autism. He will be twenty-one this year, on 2nd April, which is National Autism Awareness Day.

Ironic, don't you think?

Anyway, he's one of the lucky ones.

He was diagnosed with the disability when it was quite "rare", and got into the "system" when he was very young. Now, it’s incredibly difficult to even get a proper diagnosis, and without one you cannot access the appropriate help.

Jodi currently has a placement at a residential college for young adults with various special needs. I see him regularly and 'phone the college at least twice a week for updates.

Rarely do I chat to him on the telephone because he doesn't really speak. He NEVER phones me.

Like so many other autistic individuals, Jodi uses echolalia, which means he'll repeat the last word you say.

He communicates well via other means though. Sometimes he'll point, other times he'll gesture or mime, and other times he just does it.

Jodi likes to know what's happening, and in his room he has a calendar on which are marked important dates like birthdays, holidays, etc.

On Saturday, he'd written, "Mums Birthday"

Whenever Jodi comes home he checks the calendar to see what's going on and a few weeks ago, it was a relation's birthday.

He was 87 years old and is now a shadow of the large, overweight, jolly farmer, he used to be. Diabetes has taken its toll and he's just had his toes removed. They wanted to remove his entire leg but he said "No"

On his birthday, I rang my relation up and told Jodi to sing Happy Birthday to him. He did so – beautifully.

It made HIS day.

Now, on Saturday, when he was at college, Jodi pointed to the calendar in his room and indicated to his support worker it was my birthday. He then went to the telephone and indicated he wanted to 'phone me, so our number was dialled and when I answered the call, Jodi burst into a rendition of Happy Birthday.

It made MY day.

I cried, but it was the best birthday present ever!

Yes, I welcome the Adult Autism Strategy. These individuals have a lot to offer and like all of us, deserve a chance.

Jean Shaw

For more information on autism visit http://www.JeanShaw.com


Why Jean Shaw Is Technologically Challenged

I am not renowned for my skills with a mobile phone. Infact, I can honestly say I don't really know how to use one, apart from making and receiving calls. You notice I said "calls" and not texts. I still don't know how to do without help.

Now you might find this strange, and it is, unless you know why I have an aversion to mobile phones. Basically, they make me feel strange and I only ever use them in an emergency. I don't even know my number.

I had mercury poisoning you see caused by my dental amalgam fillings and often people who suffer mercury poisoning become very sensitive to chemicals and electromagnetic fields. I can't spend too much time on the computer either without feeling weird, although I am considerably better now we've got rid of our WiFi internet connection.

If you are interested in learning more you might want to visit my site or watch my video on YouTube, but in the meantime, here is a joke, which I thought, was appropriate for me as I am so technologically challenged!

I have no idea who wrote it, but "thankyou" - it made my day.

Three women, two younger and one senior citizen were sitting naked in a sauna. Suddenly there was a beeping sound.

The young woman pressed her forearm and the beep stopped. The others looked at her questioningly.

"That was my pager", she said. "I have a microchip under the skin of my arm".

A few minutes later, a phone rang.

The second young woman lifted her palm to her ear and when she'd finished, explained –

"That was my mobile phone. I have a microchip in my hand".

The older woman felt very low tech. Not to be out done she decided she had to do something just as impressive. She stepped out of the sauna, went to the bathroom and returned with a piece of toilet paper hanging from her rear end.

The others raised their eyebrows and smiled at her.

The older woman finally said –

"Well, will you look at that. I'm getting a fax!"


Jean Shaw


Support A Charity - Buy Online

It's pretty obvious from the lack of people in shops these days several of us buy "online". Whether it's from e-bay, amazon or other retailers, travel companies and insurers, shopping online is quick, easy and usually hassle free.

Did you know though, that shopping online can be beneficial to certain registered charities?

I didn't, but the whole reason I am here on the internet is because of my youngest son who has autism. He is fortunate enough to attend a residential college for students with learning difficulties. He's there during term time for three years, but after that I have no idea what he'll do. I've given myself until July 2011 to make my business successful, so I can hopefully employ him in some way.

The college he attends is called Linkage Community Trust, and is a wonderful place with a fantastic ethos. All the students are encouraged to be the best they can inspite of their difficulties and everyone supports each other. It's how life should be.

Anyway, there is a search engine called www.easyfundraising.org.uk, which has hundreds of charities registered with them. If you register LINKAGE COMMUNITY TRUST as your supported charity, every time you shop online through their search engine, over 800 participating companies will automatically make charitable donations to my son's college.

Isn't that cool?

It won't cost you anything other than the time it takes to register, BUT it will help enable people with learning disabilities realise their dreams!

Please consider going to www.easyfundraising.org.uk to check it out. Simply shopping through that search engine for the items you are going to buy anyway could really make a difference to a lot if people!

It's worth a look even if you'd rather support a different charity other than Linkage Community College.



See what I'm up to


Alzheimer's, Dementia and the Flu Shot

Every year certain individuals are advised to have the flu shot. I know it contains thimerosal and aluminium, which I feel are partly to blame for my son's autism (and most likely my mother-in-law's Alzheimer's) so I refuse to allow anyone in my family to have it.

According to reputable sources, a study has indicated people who have the flu vaccine four years in a row are ten times more likely to get Alzheimer's than those who don't. Dementia and Alzheimer's are on the increase and with people living longer it is estimated rates will triple by the year 2050. That's very worrying, and a recent survey revealed people are more concerned about losing their mind than they are of getting Cancer.

However, whilst I am not here to tell you not to have the jab there are other sensible precautions you can take to prevent yourself getting the flu. For instance, you can -

Eat right and make sure you get your daily dose of fruit and vegetables
Take your vitamins and bump up your Vitamin C
Get plenty of exercise because it helps build up your immune system
Walk for an hour a day
Go for a swim
Take the stairs instead of the elevator
Wash your hands often and if you can't use soap and water apply the antibacterial cleaner
Get lots of fresh air and open the windows when possible
Eliminate as much stress as possible
Get lots of rest

OR you can take the doctor's approach.

When you go for a flu shot, they clean your arm with alcohol first. Why? Because alcohol kills germs.

Bearing that in mind, why not –

Walk to the liquor store – (exercise)
Put lime in your Corona – (fruit)
Put celery in your Bloody Mary – (veggies)
Drink outdoors on the bar patio – (fresh air)
Tell jokes, laugh – (eliminate stress)
Then pass out - (rest)

The way I see it, if you keep your alcohol levels up, Flu germs have no chance!

What's that saying? – " a shot in the glass is better than one in the a…".

Live Well - Laugh Often - Love Much

Jean Shaw


P.S. Thanks to whoever wrote the original version of this which was forwarded to me by e-mail.


Health – What Are Antioxidants and Free Radicals And Why Should You Care?

I don't know about you but I've always been a bit confused about anti-oxidants and free radicals. They are those things you hear about but never really quite get to grips with unless you are concerned about your health.

What are they anyway?

Well, the free radicals are the baddies and the anti-oxidants are the good guys.

We all know the human body is an amazing machine. Millions of processes take place all the time and we never even think about them. As long as the body gets oxygen, food and water, it just gets on with things.

However, as much as oxygen is an essential part of life, it can also create some harmful side effects in the body when it's carrying out its work. It produces oxidant substances and just as metal rusts because of oxidation, these oxidant substances cause cell damage, which ultimately lead to varying health symptoms.

Sun, pollution, stress, alcohol, cigarettes and unhealthy food also produce oxidants, commonly known as free radicals. If your body is exposed to these, and it's highly likely it will be; they attack healthy cells. Your immune system gets weakened and you are more susceptible to things like cataracts, cancer, arthritis and heart disease, to name a few.

So where do the anti-oxidants come in?

Well, "anti" means against, so anti-oxidants reduce the effects of oxidants and also help repair damaged cells. Antioxidant power has the ability to neutralise oxygen free radicals.

As most of us live in a nutritionally devoid fast food society, in polluted atmospheres, it's hardly surprising we suffer so many health complaints.

Health professionals recommend we eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day BUT nutritionalists say you need to eat at least 10 servings a day to get the recommended ORAC units.

ORAC is short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and is a standardised measurement of the total antioxidant power of a substance. These ORAC's mop up the damage caused by free radicals in your body, and Nutritionists recommend we consume around 5000 ORAC units per day.

That's a lot of units, and bearing in mind most people don't even eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day it's not hard to see why these free radicals have such a bad effect on our health.

If you want to significantly impact antioxidant activity in the body and reduce free radical damage you need to take action. There are some foods, which are considered "antioxidant superfoods", such as Raw Cacao (Chocolate), Coffee Berries, Acai Berries, Goji Berries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Pomegranates, Noni berries, Olives, Mangosteens, and Dunauella Salina, but you need to eat an awful lot of them to do any good.

As I have concerns over my health due to the mercury poisoning caused by my dental amalgam, I was delighted to find an antioxidant product, which provides 7000 ORAC units in just one serving. It makes life so much easier.

It's also apparently rich in anti-aging antioxidants so guess what I have in my breakfast smoothie?

Jean Shaw

To learn more about this revolutionary certified organic, superfood designed to assist the body in attaining vibrant health, wellbeing and longevity view the Berry Radical antioxidant video.


Working For Yourself - Why You Should Choose To Climb The Mountain

Every day something happens to make me appreciate how lucky I am. Today it was sitting in the audience watching my son's school performance of The Sound Of Music, or at least a very small part of it.

So why am I so lucky? Well, there are many reasons.

My son has autism and will be leaving his current school this summer. Whilst his disability often gives me sleepless nights, I realised my troubles are nothing compared to those of many parents. The diversity of problems faced by the other children who attend the same wonderful Special Needs School; make my son's autism seem a blessing. That's something I never thought I'd ever say.

Another reason I am so lucky is I discovered a way to work from home, which gives me total freedom. I chose to be my own boss and as such I set my own hours. I never feel guilty about taking time out to visit the doctor or dentist, or attend something as important (to me at least) as a school play. I don't have to ask permission from anyone, which is just as well as this year I went twice.

The play was excellent and every child put so much effort and enthusiasm into his or her performance. It was enough to make me weep, especially when they sang Climb Every Mountain. I guess it really hit me the size of the mountains those children have face, although during the performance they all looked so incredibly happy you'd never guess their lives were anything other than a bed of roses.

Anyway, back to the advantages of working from home.

Working from home saves so much expense and time. Only last week, my eldest son, who travels to work each day by train was extremely late home. He wasn't working extra hours or going anywhere after he'd left his office, but his train had no conductor so was cancelled. It meant he had to wait on a cold, draughty and crowded railway station until the next train appeared.

Commuting is no fun at the best of times, which probably explains why I never see anyone smiling in the mornings. I heard the other day the average worker spends five and a half years of his life travelling backwards and forwards to work. Thankfully, I don't.

Apart from the time element, just think of the expense. Fuel prices are spiralling out of control and everyone is experiencing the knock on effect. Where once I used to be able to fill my car up with petrol for £30, I now have to double that.

For those who commute to work by car it's a major consideration, and in many places you have to pay to drive your car on certain roads, through cities at certain times, and to park. It all adds up, and for some people, the cost of getting to work is almost as much as they earn.

Then, of course, there's the weather. It's so unpredictable. You can set out in the morning with it being sunny and warm and by the return journey it is cold, wet and miserable. You really have to take two sets of clothing with you to work, or wear lots of layers so you can strip off, or add on as necessary. If you work from home it's no problem, and depending on when you choose to work, you can even do it in your nightclothes. That solves the problem of having to own a "suitable" work wardrobe or having to wear an unflattering uniform.

Also, if you work from home, you don't have to worry about colleagues whom you might possibly not get on with, or get involved in office politics. You can take a toilet or coffee break when you wish, and even have an afternoon power nap if necessary. Apparently, 10 or 20 minutes in the afternoon boosts production by about 20%, because we are naturally bi-phasic, meaning we need to sleep twice each day. The experts say we require a long sleep at night and a short one in the afternoon, but if you have a job what you need and what you get are two very different things.

Life should be fun. Work should be fun and it's so sad that's not the case for most people with jobs who spend most of their working hours wishing they were somewhere else.

A job is something where you trade your time or expertise for money, and when I left school the normal working hours for jobs were between 9.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. How times have changed.

The hours have certainly got longer and there's no job security. Everyone is replaceable, and there's always someone waiting to wear your shoes. It makes for a very unsettling experience, which is another reason why, if you possibly can, you need to work for yourself.

I blog and of course blogging won't work for everyone and the prospect of being your own boss may seem daunting. It's a huge mountain to climb, but it's nothing compared to the mountains the children at my son's school are climbing. The difference is, like me, you have a choice and as in the song you might just end up finding your dream!

Jean Shaw


Dental Amalgam Poisoning - Now Do You Believe Me?

The FDA, the world's major health regulator announced on 5th June 2008, something thousands of us have known for years, - dental amalgam fillings are toxic.

Amalgam means a mixture of mercury and another metal (or metals). In the early 1800's it was originally developed as a cheaper alternative to gold, and consisted of a paste made from the filings of silver coins and mercury. However, the impurities in the coins caused it to expand and crack the teeth, so a different composition was devised.

This new mixture, a combination of 50% liquid mercury and other metals such as silver, tin, copper and zinc in different proportions has always caused safety concerns. In America there were even Amalgam Wars between those in the gold camp who said the amalgam was poisonous, and those in the amalgam camp who accused their adversaries of being too greedy and denying the majority of the population access to dental fillings.

Indeed, in 1845 there was a resolution passed pronouncing the use of amalgams as "malpractice". Unfortunately, the ban wasn't very effective, and whilst dentists disputed its safety, it became the filling of choice because of financial reasons.

Unquestionably, amalgam is inexpensive, easy to use and durable. However, what has always been questionable is whether the mercury is permanently trapped in the amalgam. Until relatively recently most dentists maintained it is, although they couldn't prove it. On the other hand, there has been much evidence to the contrary.

We now have visible proof mercury vapour leaks from amalgam fillings at room temperature, and confirmation that chewing, brushing your teeth and drinking hot liquids releases it even faster.

Still, even with this evidence, and the statement by the World Health Organisation that there is no safe level of mercury in humans; dentists and governments have maintained mercury vapour does not present a problem. They theorised it was quickly passed through the system and passed out via the urine or faeces.

That may be so for people with good immune systems but for anyone whose immunity is compromised in some way, mercury is particularly dangerous. I should know. I had mercury poisoning caused by my dental amalgams and make no secret I believe it was dental work carried out whilst I was pregnant, combined with the mercury preservative (thimerosal) in childhood vaccines which contributed to my youngest son's autism.

Clearly, I am not alone as it was the lawsuit brought by advocacy group, Moms Against Mercury, (who are seeking to ban the use of mercury in amalgam fillings and children’s vaccinations), which resulted in an official statement appearing on the FDA website, admitting mercury-containing dental fillings 'may have neuro-toxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses.'

Mercury is a fat binding toxin and if it can't be excreted for whatever reason, it will attach itself to various organs of the body. Depending on which one (or ones) it attaches itself to, different symptoms will be experienced and no two people will present with the same problems. Also, the symptoms may not appear for days, weeks, months or even years after the amalgam fillings have been placed so often there is no connection made between dental work and ill health. This makes mercury poisoning very difficult for health professionals to recognise, and unfortunately, in many cases has resulted in either misdiagnosis, or the misplaced belief the patient is a hypochondriac.

One general indication mercury poisoning may be a problem is if a person suddenly gets a lot of inexplicable symptoms, which don't fit into any of the classic boxes., i.e. Parkinsons, Alzheimers, ME.

Some countries already ban the use of mercury fillings in pregnant women and now the FDA are calling for further research, and may eventually announce a complete ban. It's long overdue in my opinion.

Dental amalgam may be easy to place but is difficult to remove. It has to be carried out SAFELY using correct procedures. It is not something to be undertaken lightly. If you are already suffering the effects of mercury, the last thing you want is for your body to flooded with more.

If you suspect mercury poisoning seek professional help immediately. The problem will not go away. As long as you have dental amalgams in your mouth, they will release mercury vapour twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year., and if you cannot get rid of the mercury, your symptoms will get worse.

Also you need to bear in mind if you have your amalgam fillings removed, whilst it will prevent them creating more mercury, you will still need to get rid of the mercury inside you by using some form of chelation. This can also be a dangerous process so take care especially if you have any renal problems.

Good Luck!

Jean Shaw