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I have shadows that dance around,
In the walls of my brain.

They whisper about moments I
Sometimes allow to stir.

Conversations with doctors
Advising me before that final shot.

So many coincidences and uncertainties.
That last one changed our whole world.

No fear that he was too weak.
None realized he was allergic to ingredients.
Contraindications be damned –
Hospitalizations following vax coincidental.
The dots did not connect.

He was so sick, so weak and I thought I was protecting him.
Our duty for the greater good.

I don’t reminisce there often.
Those dark shadows still sting, too much.

#MINE – NO to #SB277 – #B1LESS

Image  —  Posted: June 14, 2015 in Autism, Parental Rights, Vaccine Injury
Tags: , , , , ,

Never

Posted: June 10, 2015 in Autism, Food allergies, Parental Rights

Something I don’t share very often is my love for creative writing and poetry. I’ve been so shaken after the California Assembly Committee voted “Yes” to SB277. Truthfully, I’m sad that so many lawmakers think it’s okay to ignore their constituents and eliminate basic constitutional rights.

There is enough evidence out there to prove vaccines are neither safe, nor effective. Don’t believe me? Consider just a few undeniable facts. 1) Doctors and pharmaceutical manufacturers are exempt from any liability to adverse reactions. Claims are tried in private court without true discovery or jury. 2) Whistleblower William Thompson, a key CDC scientist has come forward admitting CDC willfully manipulated data of safety research to skew intended results. Additional whistleblowers from Merck have come forward accusing company of fraud & “fixing” efficacy data for Mumps. 3) There have been no measles deaths in US in over 10 years, yet 108 deaths to adverse reaction to MMR vaccine.

In fact, vaccines can and do cause harm for some – it’s time that all of this collateral damage be respected and considered. Severe adverse reactions have rocked my family’s world. It’s all laid out in his medical history in stark black and white. And yet, despite the horrible history of life threatening hospitalizations resulting from vaccine adverse events…including intestinal bleeding…and the knowledge that milk proteins (ingredients my son is SEVERELY allergic to) are present within most of the recommended CDC vaccines; including DTaP, Hib, Hep A, IPV, MMR, Varicella, & Pneumococcal. I have to continuously remind his doctors that these ingredients are present…they are completely unaware. As was his first pediatrician in 2008.

Never

Never would I ask you

To set your own child ablaze

Giving warmth to my own.
Or, harbor fierce judgement

When you don’t understand

This life I have witnessed.
Lucky, you can afford

The willful ignorance

Like I once had before.
Never would I ask this if –

It might cause harm again.
You dare judge my choices

And never felt that fire

Burn your soul with dogma

Hot with lies forcing you

To face conflict every day?
Never would I expect

You to risk your child’s health

In exchange for my own.

All my best,

Muckraking Maven

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted an update on our NAET journey. Life has been full of twists and turns, as it often is, and time has been difficult to find for updates. For those that have been curious, we are now two years deep into NAET treatments for our son. We’ve had some financial struggles over the past year and a half, so treatments have not been as frequent as I’d like. However, we continue to eIMG_0315xperience vast benefits from each treatment, so we will continue along this path.

Today, my son is thriving. He’s mainstreaming in a general ed classroom full time and has an aid to help him. We are hopeful that his aid will successfully be phased out over the next year of school. Mr. W. has exceeded all academic expectations, made real friends, and gained improved social skills from his peers. It’s been a wonderful year and we’re very proud of all of his accomplishments.

W still struggles with gross motor coordination and fine motor strength. We will continue to work on this, we’re still trying to master riding a bicycle. However, the Big Wheel that his Gran just bought him is a really great start. It simplifies the process just enough that he can relax and simply have fun with it. Slowly, he’s building up the muscle memory that he will need to be better at riding his bicycle. He’s finally getting the hang of the concept that you have to steer and pedal simultaneously. (It’s those simultaneous gross motor tasks that become truly overwhelming.)

I’m grateful that we discovered NAET treatments and will continue to take my son to Dr. Chernoff for future care. With every step we take, we get to understand more underlying puzzles that conventional doctors could never resolve.

All my best,

Muckraking Maven

Imagine if genetically engineered crops could contaminate conventional and organic fields through transfer of pollen or even virus.  Now consider the implications of random, unintended gene transfer crossing from the Plant Kingdom to the Animal Kingdom.  Finally, think about the after-effects of a transgene promoting resistance to toxic herbicides, like Glyphosate, the primary chemical applied to a growing number of crops throughout the United States – including residential lawns in the form of RoundUp.  This is not fiction. This is a runaway train fueled by profit-seeking and misdirection.  If we don’t stand up as a people and pull up the tracks right now – rail by tie across our nation – it will continue to pummel our legislators’ regulatory authority.

We have already discovered damning evidence of transgene contamination in a wide range of agriculture.  Researchers have also found proof that transgenes can cross from plant life to animal life harming the sensitive gut micro biome and resulting in disturbing health effects.  Know that despite the agriculture industry claims of GMO innovations being created to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides, the reality has instead amplified the application of such chemicals.  Recently, the EPA ruled in favor of increasing Glyphosate levels in edible crops as petitioned by Monsanto without regard to public disapproval or safety.  In fact, the EPA approved regulatory increases that were 15 to 25 times the previous levels without any independent safety research or queries!  They just took Monsanto’s word for it!

These lax policies continue to lay groundwork for increasing health problems from autism to Alzheimer’s, celiac disease and food intolerance, as well as other auto-immune disorders.  It’s true that correlation does not necessarily equal causation, but Nancy Swanson’s statistical graphs paint such a strong picture it’s hard to deny the potential.

Graph depicting rise of glyphosate use corresponding to autism prevalence.

The rise of GMO foods has resulted in the increasing use of Glyphosate herbicides. When this data is overlapped with autism prevalence rates the correlation is astonishing.  To see more of Nancy’s statistical analysis, access her full report as archived on Dr. Stephanie Seneff’s MIT page here.

Today, successful biotech companies are vying to launch GMO salmon, GE mosquitoes, and even genetically modified grass and trees.  I wish these truths scared more people.  I wish they rattled them in their core as deeply as a missed touchdown or unexpected sack during the Super Bowl does diehard football fans.  But alas, here I sit on Transgene Island wondering how any corporation could be trusted to maintain contamination control of unregulated “RoundUp Ready” Kentucky Bluegrass, genetically engineered mosquitoes to be released in the Florida Keys, or even innovative GE trees in the Pacific-Northwest. Can we escape the pre-emptive damages if the TPP gets congressional approval for Fast Track Authority?  Will our state leaders fighting for GMO labeling continue to stand up when corporate giants like Monsanto threaten states’ rights to mandate regulations by lawsuit?  Kauai is coming together and fighting to restrict GMO testing as well as the use of experimental pesticides and herbicides.  Perhaps they will inspire more of us to make the necessary calls to government leaders, file comments with the EPA and FDA for relevant rulings, and continue to share growing knowledge about the damages caused by the biotech industry’s blatant disregard for safety and health.

More information:8108_325330440886734_1767318387_n

Watch Dr. Stephanie Seneff’s Presentation on the harmful effects of Glyphosate, “Roundup: The Elephant in the Room.”  Fast-forward to 19:43 for an enlightening explanation of the adverse effects of this toxic chemical in plant life as well as the human body.

Get tested for Glyphosate in your water and body through a lab sourced by Moms Across America.

Learn more about GMO basics in my earlier post GMO 101.

Understand how labeling presents no hardship to food manufacturers – read Truth in Coding.

Many years ago, I was a marketing manager at a global manufacturer of industrial marking and coding products.  I also spent several years working with a bar code scanning manufacturer who was very involved in providing innovative automatic data capture solutions for a large number of challenging industries – including packaging. In my experiences working in these roles, I learned about how all manner of product was required to be marked or identified in some way.  Our clients needed to mark individual products with expiration dates or best buy codes.  They needed to identify entire lots or batches of products produced.  They not only needed to mark the products, they needed to track them through the manufacturing and distribution process.  Today, even the U.S. government tracks parts and assets used throughout the military with item unique identification codes (IUID) throughout their full life cycle of usage.  Whether for compliance to various regulations or conscientious safety reasons, these identification marks are made on parts and products from glass to metals to pharmaceuticals and even food products.  Today, you only need to look on the bottom of any can of soda to see a small inkjet print providing this identification.  Open your fridge and look at a container of milk or juice – you’ll likely find another inkjet or laser mark providing the product’s expiration date.  These marks are everywhere.  We rely on them to keep us safe.

Close-up view of actual existing identification marks on juice box.

Example identification mark as printed on typical juice box with batch, expiry, country of manufacture, and other information. This article proposes that the food industry could easily add three additional characters to identify various products as “GMO,” for far less than one penny. In fact, a typical industrial small character inkjet printer may print up to 85 million marks per single liter of ink – with one liter of ink priced at only $90 on today’s market. Most food manufacturers and distributors already have this type of equipment in place on their production lines.

Time and time again, pro-GMO food manufacturers present the suggestion that requiring labeling on GMO-containing foods is too cumbersome, expensive, and unproductive.  They suggest there are a great many hardships that must be overcome before the adoption of GMO labeling could be fully implemented – that the cost of food would soar, small producers would be overtaken with burdensome cost, and some retailers may be unable to accommodate mandated regulations.  The real truth to the cost myth associated with labeling GMO foods is that the biotech and food industry have been feeding us lies designed to emotionally impact voting participants.  They know that we are all affected by the fears associated with rising prices or economic hardship.  They know that these lies influence voters and have been effective in defeating both Prop 37 in California and I-522 in Washington in the past two years.

I am here to share some of the truth behind these labeling lies.  I have worked in the identification industry for well over a decade and the most constant thing I’ve learned in this time is that just about every company has a need to produce some kind of identification for tracking every product they manufacture.  The framework for this level of identification is already in place for most manufacturers – especially those within the food industry.  Regulations and industry quality standards require most foods to be tracked by production batch, provide an expiration date, and more, so that safety concerns can be controlled quickly and thoroughly in the event a recall becomes necessary.  Most of these manufacturers, and even many distributors, already possess the identification equipment to make these marks on products and packages within their facilities.

There is absolutely no hardship in requiring such manufacturers or distributors to add three characters to their existing identification mark.  In fact, we’re talking far less than a single penny to produce millions of such markings.  In this industry, our customers often look at a metric defined as the cost per mark.  This takes into account the actual cost of the proportion of ink, or other necessary material, required to produce actual marks on a customer’s packages.  Of course, we also consider the cost of maintenance and other important factors, but remember, these guys already have this type of equipment sitting in their production/distribution facilities, right now.  They don’t have to go and buy a new machine – it’s likely already there and has been printing batch, expiry or best buy date codes for years.  They just need to update the equipment’s existing programs to include three little letters, “G-M-O.”  I asked for estimated “cost per mark” figures from a number of companies on LinkedIn.  I would like to quote one leading manufacturer’s quoted cost per mark metric to ensure you understand how minuscule this labeling cost really is, “85 million marks per liter of ink with one liter of ink approx. $90.”  This cost is projected for small character inkjet marking, however another marking manufacturer suggested laser might be the best method of coding such information because these marks are impossible to tamper with after printing.  Either way a company might chose to go, the cost is not a factor.  Laser doesn’t use ink and the cost of ink to produce three additional characters alongside existing individual product coding is a non-issue!  Take 85 million marks and divide this number by three and you’ll agree we’re talking well under a penny for basic GMO labeling per item.

So how is it that representatives from the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association and big biotech corporations continue to threaten voters with increased cost myths?  How do these distributors or manufacturers suffer from any hardship in adding three additional small characters to their existing coding process?  They only get away with this ruse because most people have no way to know or understand the actual cost of such things.  Why would an individual even care about the story behind the tiny marks on packages they encounter every day?  I didn’t until I entered the identification industry many, many years ago.  Seriously, think about these facts and share this article so that others may also understand the issue of cost is a myth and what’s worse, I believe this is a well known truth throughout the packaging industry by its biggest stakeholders.

These companies don’t need to incur costs redesigning packages or producing fancy new labels.  They don’t even need to provide extensive information, because for most consumers it only matters if a product contains GMO ingredients – not what percentage is present or specifically what ingredients are classified as GMO.  Three little characters printed by existing manufacturing equipment on individual product packages solves the debacle completely and without additional cost.

The real cost is the perception and recognition that these foods may not be “substantially equivalent” as the industry would like us to believe.  Ultimately, they are afraid that more of us will stop buying these products if such a label is enforced and mandated.  If it becomes even easier for us to avoid it because it’s clearly labeled.  If this “hyped up” issue becomes a reality that is spelled out on packages where consumers notice – if it’s mandated by state-level or federal government – then it must not be just a bunch of hullabaloo!

A close family friend once said to me in jest, “Well my kids haven’t started glowing yet, so I’m not really worried about it.”  But, I guarantee that the presence of such labeling would give validation and credibility to growing consumer concern surrounding GMO foods and may give more shoppers, like my good friend, some pause within the store aisles.  These are the REAL truths behind the industry’s myths.  Many corporations have spent millions of dollars repeatedly to keep consumers in the dark – not because the actual labeling process is costly or burdensome, but because it may be the death of their profits and they know it.

Yours truly,

Muckraking Maven

Learn more:

  • Want to understand more basics on the potential hazards of GMO foods?  Read GMO 101 here.
  • Are you coping with food allergies, Celiac, or other health concerns?  Did you know GMOs may be hidden these specialty foods too? Get information here.

Yesterday, the McClain Special Needs Advocacy Group issued a press release holding Disney Parks accountable for a poorly implemented and inadequate Disability Access Service policy.  Many throughout the disabled community are hopeful that this catches the attention of Disney executives sparking the initiative for adjusting this new program to include the accommodations that were present in the previous GAC system.  At the end of the day, they haven’t really removed the ability for individuals to commit fraud in the new program, instead they’ve removed accommodations that thousands of families relied upon for decades – making the DAS less appealing to anyone with unethical intentions.  Many people express the willingness to share medical or educational records ahead of time in order to truly reduce fraud.  This could be easily achieved with the implementation of a pre-registration database.  However, Disney has maintained a stance that they are prohibited by law to review such official documents.  These families feel as though Disney does not care to listen or consider their needs.  Where Disney was once a place of magic and sheer joy, the name now resounds with a harsh reminder that another part of our world no longer recognizes the unique needs of the physically and cognitively disabled.  It’s very sad.

You can read the press release here.  (Don’t forget to share it, like it, post it – everywhere for maximum impact!  If you’re able to attend the protest in Anaheim this Saturday, get full details on Kim McClain’s Facebook page.

atragickingdom.com

Have you visited http://www.atragickingdom.com yet? Try it out!
You can learn more about recent experiences with the new DAS and voice your own opinion too!

I have read the new web page featuring the policy and services for guests with cognitive disabilities – new since October 9, 2013 – several times now.  Each time, there are parts of this page that get my heart pumping, my blood boiling, and literally result in trembling hands due to the sheer indifference of the real struggles for individuals with cognitive disabilities.  In my case, the journey has been focused on autism, but our entire community recognizes that there are many variables and deserving people that share similar needs for accommodations.  We exclude no one, perhaps, because our entire journey has become a lesson in patience, endurance, compassion, and admiration for the differences present in our communities.  This does not seem to be the case for Disney; as so many of us truly have a Disney disability grievance since the GAC changes took effect last week.

Now we have a petition that Kim McClain is trying to deliver.  She’s made multiple attempts and no one at Disney HQ wants to accept the printed signatures.  We have big media reporting commentary from Disney staff members that emphasizes they are working to provide the necessary accommodations, yet individuals report throughout all platforms of social media that they have been met by opposition, split-second judgments, and unwavering policy adherence – despite parent pleas for help and improved accommodations.  Whom should an individual believe – the vague PR-speak of this seemingly cold corporation or the resounding anecdotal evidence alive & thriving on the internet today?

I decided that I could probably demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the new DAS by sidelong commentary to their newly published Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.  I’m focusing primarily on the “Trip Planning Strategies for Families of Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities,” portion of their guide.  Here goes nothing…

Key Disney Suggestion, Create or Review a Visual Schedule

FYI, most of us special needs parents are all too familiar with visual schedules as a strategy.  I’d like to know how we can predict the development of a reliable routine without the ability to schedule times at multiple rides?  Your provided example #7 “Have some fun!” simply won’t cut it with children used to an itemized and predictable list of specific events.  #8 “Get your favorite snack,” doesn’t necessarily bring the greatest vibes either – especially if your kiddo is on a strict diet due to milk protein, gluten, and food dye allergies like mine.  Oh, and please never show a photo of a park food that any child with photo allergies may be restricted from. You’d be better off showing a photo of plain fruits or vegetables – for something as simple as this photo reminder of an appealing food that an individual can’t have may become a trigger for anyone struggling with both cognitive disabilities and allergies.  There are A LOT of children on the autism spectrum that also possess food allergies to a wide range of foods!

Key Disney Suggestion, Watch Videos

I have an idea, why doesn’t Disney provide some realistic videos about the whole City Hall experience?  This is where so many of us are met with judgmental opposition, long wait times, crowded spaces, and high frustrations!  How about a video that features some judgmental park visitors muttering a stream of negative statements about your child’s non-obvious disability with total lack of regard for how their misunderstanding further elevates an individual’s sensory overload?  Oh, let’s also see a video that shows rude cast members expressing doubt or attitude for your child’s disability since autism can’t always be seen, or diagnosed, at a glance.  It generally takes several professionals of various medical disciplines to officially diagnose an individual with cognitive disabilities.  These types of videos would be much more meaningful for our children than your standard issue Meet the Cast Members and Disney Characters.

Key Disney Suggestion, Study Location Maps

My question on this suggestion is where can I find a map that’s been updated with the official kiosk locations?  Many of us would like full details before we even considered a trip and far too many rumors online suggest there are only three kiosks throughout both Disneyland parks.  If this is true, it is not nearly enough to help those individuals that also cope with co-morbid disorders affecting mobility and endurance for physical exertion.  How are we to manage the additional physical stress of returning to far away kiosks between every ride?!  Why must these individuals, who once had the ability to wait at alternate entrances that were away from the overwhelming line crowds, now return to the regular line queue.  This new process is very difficult and distressing for our cognitively disabled family members!

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Key Disney Suggestion, Practice Waiting in Line

Wait, are you kidding me?!  Now I gotta say that this one got me really riled up.  Where does one go to practice waiting in line with the same potential for sensory overload as a Disney Park?  Our entire journey has been a lesson in waiting – waiting for words and skills and focus and medical diagnoses and therapies and sometimes even compassion.  A successful trip to the grocery store took two years of practice.  We’re still working on tolerating warehouse-style stores like CostCo – despite our constant hard work and PRACTICE our son still struggles with wait times beyond 15 minutes for an exciting activity as well as crowded spaces.  Despite our hard work practicing a Stay with Me program for the past four and a half years, our son still has a tendency to bolt and run when he becomes overwhelmed.  Disney needs to recognize that there is only so much preparation and tolerance that can be managed ahead of time.  

Disney Suggests What to Bring

Safety bracelets, nametags, and ear plugs/headphones are standard issue for many of us.  Some of us even have GPS locators for extra safety from elopement.  Here are some thoughts on the suggestions within this segment of Disney’s guide.

Keep the Guest Occupied with a Favorite Device

Do you realize that many parents must spend thousands and thousands of dollars on out-of-pocket medical and therapeutic services?  This makes a device, like an iPad, a little too precious to risk losing or breaking just to pacify an individual that must now endure and indifferent and unfair policy that does not accommodate their needs.

Reinforcers for Good Behavior & A Sensory Toy

Many of us are reinforcement and distraction ninjas and most of us come to the parks with a full arsenal of preferred activities, comfort items, and sensory manipulatives.  I’ve even brought GAK and I’ll tell you right now that no simple sensory toy, like your suggested, “stress ball,” is going to avert a meltdown triggered by sensory overload!  The new policy does not permit the needed accommodations to reduce the likelihood of sensory overload – brought on by crowded spaces, long waits, traveling through crowds to return to your special kiosks – time and time again.  Seriously, whoever wrote this part of the guide needs to spend some extended time with a professional Occupational Therapist to learn how devastating sensory dysfunction can be for so many with cognitive disabilities.  This suggestion is pure insult!

I’ll close with the following thoughts on the new DAS.  I think that for the time being, Disney is broken, will be the best explanation I can offer my five year old.  It will buy a bit of time for our family while we await Disney Headquarter’s final response to the overwhelming negative criticism of their new policy.  We will await the day, when The Happiest Place on Earth is no longer broken, for these vacations were pure magic – despite the social & sensory hardships – when the proper accommodations were in place.  It was a small window of time each year, where our family could experience the joy of Disneyland and see the happiness bloom on our son’s face.  It was respite from his 40+ hours each week of special tutoring, extra schooling, and necessary therapies that push him to become as high functioning as possible for a more independent future.  He works so very hard and has since he was a mere toddler – does Disney really think the new system is fair?  Do they really think our cognitively disabled children will reason with their logic?  I can only hope that Disney management has a change of heart on this matter…

Muckraking Maven