Autism - It May Not Be A Living Nightmare But Is A Reason To Worry

If you've read my previous articles you will know the other day on breakfast television, autism was described as a "living nightmare". That really made my day as my son is autistic.

Certainly autism is a lifelong disability and for parents it's a real worry.

My son is eighteen and autistic. He bears no resemblance now to the "child from hell" whom I wrote about in my first book.

I make that statement just incase anyone reading this has just had their child diagnosed with autism and is filled with despair. Take it from someone who's been there, done that and got the tee-shirt - it can get better.

However, the problems don't go away. They just change.

Whilst I am no expert, my best advice would be to accept the autism diagnosis and do whatever you can, as quickly as you can to help your child be the best he or she can be.

The real "experts" and just about everyone involved with autism all agree the earlier the intervention, the better.

Still, the reality is autism is a lifelong disability and whilst your child can, and most probably will improve in many areas, he or she will always be vulnerable and most likely need some sort of support.

It's a worry.

My son will soon have to leave the security blanket afforded by the children's service and enter the world of the "adults". Unfortunately the help provided there is sparse and frequently inappropriate. Often it is centred on what the person can't do rather than what he or she can.

As I said my son has improved tremendously and with the right support is capable of all sorts of things.

He seldom speaks and academically is a very young child but when it comes to routine household and domestic chores I have more confidence in him than in my "normal" son who is almost two years older. (Sorry son, but you know it's true).

I have no qualms about him cooking, ironing, cleaning, decorating, gardening or any such tasks provided he is supervised. He is careful with tools and is very tidy, is observant, has an eye for detail and a great memory.

Most autistic individuals like routine so if you show them how to do something properly from the start then they are likely to do it that way forever.

You just have to make sure they don't get too rigid about routines. If I explain things to my son he's now happy to accept and make changes. It wasn't always so but the current happy state of affairs has evolved over the years.

It just takes endless patience and persistence.

However, there's one area I can't explain to him and that is emotions and empathy for other people. He is much better than he used to be but I'm sure he'll never understand the concept of love and that's a concern for me at the moment.


Well, it's really to do with a teenage girl he regularly comes into contact with. I think she has Asperger's Syndrome, or at least she is on the autistic spectrum somewhere and her hormones have kicked into overdrive.

She is sociable to say the least.

Having kissed most of the boys in the school and scared half of them (and their parents) by declaring she wants to have their babies, she now appears to have set her sights on my son.

Maybe she sees him as a challenge because he is so totally disinterested. That's the major difference between Asperger's and Autism. One desperately wants to fit in and be liked whilst the other doesn't care.

Anyway, they were apparently seen having a full kiss the other evening at the youth club and when questioned, this young temptress smiled and with a twinkle in her eye declared that since my son doesn't speak it was just his way of saying "Hello".

However, he doesn't greet anyone else in that manner so I suspect the lip lock wasn't instigated by my son.

It worries me.

You see whilst he doesn't express emotions he does have feelings. His brain may not function correctly but the rest of him certainly does. Since that kiss I've begun to wonder what will happen if he should decide he likes the feeling he gets when he kisses (or is kissed by) a girl.

My son learns by example and is vulnerable. Hopefully he'll never be left alone with a member of the opposite sex because although at the moment he prefers to watch Thomas the Tank Engine and Disney videos to Desperate Housewives, it could just be a matter of time before he is exposed to such programmes and what these days his more liberated peers consider "normal".

Remember he learns by example.

It would only take a few minutes with a learning disabled hormonal Lolita with little or no understanding of the consequences of unprotected sex and my son could find himself a father. He wouldn't even know how or why.

Autism is a lifelong disability and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It may or may not be a "living nightmare" but it certainly is a worry.

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

Leptospirosis (Weil's Disease) And Why You Should NEVER Drink From Cans

I am always annoying my family by insisting they don't drink from cans or bottles. Unless I "nag" them when we are out they will happily just purchase one from a shop somewhere and raise it to their mouths.

Maybe they feel drinking from a straw or glass isn't macho or cool. At home they have no such qualms and always use glasses, usually so many I complain about the washing up.

There is a very good reason for my insistence however and relates to an incident which happened several years ago when I lived in Brunei.

One Friday afternoon a fit young family man who played football for a local team bought a can of drink from a restaurant situated close to the river. He drank directly from the can and died soon after. It was said he died of Weil’s (pronounced Viles) disease. It caused quit a stir at the time and I've never forgotten it.

I was reminded of the incident today when I opened my e-mail and read this:-

"A woman went boating one Sunday taking with her some cans of coke which she put into the refrigerator of the boat.

On Monday she was taken to the hospital and placed in the Intensive Care Unit.

She died on Wednesday.

The autopsy concluded she died of leptospirosis. This was traced to the can of coke she drank from as she hadn't used a glass.

Tests showed the can was infected by dried rat urine and hence the disease Leptospirosis."

Rat urine contains toxic and deadly substances. They are all around us and it is estimated no-one lives within a few feet of one these days, especially with the amount of food waste and rubbish left lying around.

They live anywhere where there is food and are not fussy about what they class as food. Rats often live in sewers and drains.

Rats can swim and with unusual weather conditions and unprecedented rain fall in many areas, flooding has left several areas not as clean as they should be.

If you must drink from cans or bottles I strongly recommended you thoroughly wash them first – at least the upper parts.

Cans are typically stocked in warehouses and transported straight to shops without being cleaned. Even if they have that plastic wrapping over the trays of cans when they reach the stores you need to consider that someone will stack them on the display shelves.

Do you know what is on their hands? Have they washed them?

A study at NYCU showed that the tops of soda cans are more contaminated than Public toilets i.e., full of germs and bacteria.

My husband often complains of the amount of men who walk straight out of the public toilets without first washing their hands. I'm sure it's the same for many women and that thought usually crosses my mind if I shake hands with anyone.

I have no such worries with my autistic son who is an "expert" hand washer. He has been known to almost hold up planes and stage performances because of it.

However, with so many infections seemingly resistant to treatment these days we need to take as much care of our health as possible.

Antibiotics and antibacterial products are no longer the answer.

What many people do not realise is that these kill ALL bacteria and many are really very useful and necessary.

Instead of using "anti" products you need to use "pro" products and they certainly are available.

I use all natural, general purpose, probiotic cleaning products and certified organic, probiotic health products.

Now instead of having my house full of toxic chemical laced cleaners, I have a powerful army of beneficial bacteria who regenerate, repopulate and dominate over the harmful, disease causing pathogenic bacteria, which are causing such concern both in homes and in our hospitals.

Please take care of your health, and if you must drink from bottles and cans PLEASE wash them with water BEFORE putting them to your mouth.

Leptospirosis or Weil’s disease can be fatal.

Certified Organic Probiotics


Autism - One Reason I Wish Time Would Stand Still

On the television the other morning someone described autism as a "living nightmare". I'm not sure I'd personally go that far yet but it certainly is a major concern - at least for the parents.

My son is autistic and is eighteen. Until now he has been very lucky. He has been able to access support via childrens' services, but I realise many people aren't as fortunate. I've heard numerous tales of parents who've had to really fight for what little help they've had and many get none at all.

I do, but that will soon change. Although my son can already legally drive, drink and vote, he is considered a child until he is nineteen and can remain at his special needs school and go to respite once a month until then. However, as soon as he hits that age he becomes an adult.

Whilst his needs will still be the same, the help to which he will be entitled will be reduced - considerably. Suddenly everything, which has become so familiar to him over the years, will stop.

I wish for his sake and mine time would stand still.

We are currently in the "transition" period where we are exploring the options available to him. They are limited to say the least but we are fortunate in as much as he is not physically disabled which must make things far more difficult.

However, nothing we have seen so far even comes close to what we aspire. The local options aren't really suitable and aren't conducive to his continued improvement. It's depressing and I often wish I could go to sleep and wake up to find the whole autism thing was just a bad dream.

Having said that I realise I am actually one of the lucky ones for my son has got options. Other autistic children/adults don't. It's no wonder parents despair and either accept anything offered, or send their children miles away to some form of residential unit simply because there is nothing appropriate closer to home.

The National Autistic Society now suggests 1 in 100 children suffer from some form of autistic spectrum disorder. In 1993 when my son was diagnosed it was 1 in 2500.

The problem is that all these autistic children will grow up to be autistic adults, and the big question is what will they do?

Apparently only 15% of adults with autism manage to hold down employment and 49% never leave home. That means in many cases elderly parents are effectively looking after their age 40 plus children and it's a worry. What happens if they get ill? Who then will look after their children and how will they adapt?

It's a frightening scenario and one that many parents currently face. Since autism is a problem that isn't going away there needs to be more co-ordinated planning and services put in place before it is too late.

Families need help to enable their adults with autism to be more independent otherwise the cost to the community will be immense. If there is no-where for the people with autism to work then their carers can't work either.

I once heard someone exclaim the world would be destroyed by the three A's - anger, avarice and autism. Maybe that's true.

We are already seeing wars and violence created by anger and greed. Now think about all the autistic children you know. They are the adults of the future.

Frightening isn't it?

Now you know one reason I wish time would stand still.

For mor information on autism visit http://www.jeanshaw.com


MMR, Autism, And Who Should Really Be On Trial

Unless you have been living on a different planet for the past ten years or so you will have heard of autism and the possible connection with the MMR vaccine. It’s a debate, which won’t go away.

Thousands of parents, myself included, are convinced our children were fine until given the triple measles, mumps and rubella injection.

Whilst we all agree it doesn’t affect everyone, we all know deep down it was the reason our normally developing children took a totally devastating and irreversible path. The problem is proving it. Within the health authorities there appears to be a gagging order in place.

Autism was described on the news the other day as a “living nightmare” and certainly it does affect everyone concerned, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks a year until eternity.

Not surprisingly, therefore, we would like to ensure other families don’t have to suffer in the same way.

Another person who felt the same concern was Doctor Andrew Wakefield who first highlighted the possible connection back in 1998 when he published an article in the Lancet. It was based on the research he and his fellow researchers Professors John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch had carried out at the Royal Free Hospital in London and suggested a link between the MMR, autism and bowel disease.

However, far from being pleased the reason for the autism pandemic (which has shot up from 1:2500 in 1993 to 1:100 in 2007) might have been discovered, the powers that be took umbrage and not only discredited and belittled his findings but hounded him out of UK.

So why were they so annoyed?

The establishment does not like anyone who stands up against them and dares to suggest their policies do not suit everyone. As a consequence of the Lancet report the uptake of the MMR vaccine plummeted.

Since you can no longer get single jabs in most areas parents were not having their children vaccinated. However, when I was a child they didn’t exist anyway and it was an accepted part of life that at some stage we would catch measles, mumps and chickenpox .

No-one I’ve ever heard of caught all three at the same time.

Vaccines have been developed to eradicate preventable, communicable diseases and the single jabs for measles, mumps and rubella had worked perfectly well up until 1988 when the triple was introduced.

However, someone somewhere decided rather than ask parents to take their young children for three different injections they would just combine the three live viruses and save time, money and stress.

The problem is the safety of the triple was never properly tested and several senior clinicians felt the decision to license it was premature. Just because they worked well separately did not mean combining the three live viruses would be a wise move.

Even if the safety data tests for the MMR were carried out for up to 63 days as we are led to believe that is still not long enough to establish autism, as often the symptoms form part of a gradual process.

The few people involved in the trials were asked to report "significant illness". Since autism is a multi-factorial disorder it affects each unique individual differently and we know it doesn’t affect everyone. Also, back then autism was quite rare so people would not have been looking for the same symptoms which are so common today.

The safety trials were flawed and the whole thing smacks a bit of not what you know but who you know. An article in the Sunday Times in 2001 revealed one third of the government committee advising on the safety of the MMR had financial interests in the drug companies making the vaccine so it’s not surprising the MMR was licensed.

Since then the autism rate has rocketed and now Dr. Andrew Wakefield is on trial by the General Medical Council. He may be struck off if found guilty.

And what is he guilty of exactly?

Well, it’s not for challenging the health authorities to get their heads out of the sand and admit the possibility there could be a connection between MMR and autism for some children. Instead it’s for being “irresponsible and unethical” in the way he carried out his research.

It seems to me the case for being “irresponsible and unethical” is being targeted at the wrong person although I don’t suppose the 1988 British Committee on Safety of Medicines would agree, do you?

Read Autism, Amalgam and Me - Jodi's Journey Continues to see why I think MMR contributed to my son's autism.


Goodbye Wi-Fi

Until recently whenever I used my computer I felt really "weird".

I'd get a pain in my left temple and the left side of my face would burn. My lips and tongue would tingle, I'd get pins and needles in my toes and fingers, my chest would feel tight as though I couldn't breathe properly and I'd feel sick and disorientated. Also I felt the blood was rushing round my body much too fast.

As I said I felt really "weird" despite wearing two bio guard pendants around my neck to protect me from the electrosensitivity emitted from electro magnetic fields. I'm not sure if wearing two is really necessary but being surrounded by so many electrical gadgets I felt I needed all the help I could get.

So what's changed?

I got rid of the Wi-Fi internet connection in my house.

To read more of this Wi-Fi article