Shelley Hendrix Reynolds
the Government Reform Committee
Present Challenges, Future Needs Why the Increased Rates?
and members, my name is Shelley Reynolds. I
reside in Baton Rouge, LA with my husband of eight years, Aidan, and my children, Liam,
who is 4 and Mairin, who is 2. I would like
to thank you for both holding this hearing
and allowing me to testify before you today.
Aidan in the tenth grade. We were in love
with each other from day one. We dated all
through college and got married as soon as we graduated.
We had our own
house, two cars, two careers. We were living
the American Dream. Right after we were
married, Hurricane Andrew, one of the most destructive hurricanes to ever hit the United
States, slammed through Baton Rouge. Sustained
winds of 100 mph ripped up our roof. Eight
days without electricity left us with very little food and water. We promised each other we would never again be
unprepared for such a disaster.
years, later hurricane force winds blew into our home again, this time the disaster was
the diagnosis of autism for our first born son, Liam.
It completely tore our home apart. The
effects have lasted much longer than eight days. And
no amount of preparedness can ready you for a
storm such as this.
a normally developing baby until June 27, 1997, when he received his MMR and Hib vaccines. Developmentally, everything was progressing
completely normally. He cooed, rolled over,
crept, crawled, pulled up and walked on time. He
said all the things that parents crave to hear like Momma, Daddy
and Love you. His expressive
language increased to around 75 words. He was
very social and had a completely infectious laugh. He
liked music and learned the hand motions to little songs like "Itsy Bitsy
Spider." He loved to interact and show
off in front of his grandparents and our friends.
baby check-ups were kept on time. I breast-fed him until he was 8 months old. I didn't start solid foods until 4 months old. We did everything completely by the book and more.
When he was 17
months old, Liam started exhibiting some different behaviors. He was constantly taking off his shoes and
screaming when we dressed and un-dressed him. He wouldn't let us brush his teeth anymore. He started staring into space when he watched a
video on television and wouldn't move if you stood in front of the television. He couldn't tolerate playing in the sandbox
anymore. He didn't want to sing favorite
songs anymore and would just scream "No! No! No!"
assumed he was just asserting his independence since he was almost 2.
along the way he developed chronic, non-specific diarrhea ...sometimes 8 to 10 times a
A month before
Liam turned two, visited my parents who live in Tennessee who had not seen Liam since the
first week of July, 1997. They were shocked
by the changes in him. My mother was alarmed
at his lack of response when we tried to speak to him.
She urged me to have his hearing tested. I
had his hearing tested. It was normal.
of 1998 I realized Liam was no longer saying Momma or Daddy so I took him in for a speech
and language evaluation. They told me that my
27 month old child had the language capacity of an 8 month old. This was a child that only months before would
chime in EIEIO at the appropriate moment when singing Old
We saw a
pediatric neurologist, because that was on the list of things that you do with a suspected
case of autism, and found that he had no seizure activity.
His 12 hour EEG and MRI were normal. We
continued doing blood work, stool and urine samples to determine his body chemistry, which
was a complete disaster. His immune system was hardly operating. He had a host of bacterial, parasitic and fungal
infections. The blood work also confirmed that he had suffered heavy metal exposure which
had stippled his blood cells. Generally this
type of the change in the blood is only seen when someone has been acutely exposed to a
toxic metal. Liam had amounts of aluminum,
mercury, tin, lead, and antimony that were off the charts.
Liam was sick and in pain. We were
scared and distraught. What had happened to
our beautiful baby boy? How could we help
decided to become advocates and work for increased funding for autism research and for
awareness. The answers may not come in time to help our son, but we are hopeful that we
can persuade you to see the need for intensive research regarding this disorder which
affects more and more children every year. In California, only one of the 50 states, at
least one child is diagnosed with autism every four hours, twenty-four hours a day, seven
days a week. How many children have to slip
through your fingers before you take notice that there is a serious problem here and that
something other than genetics is causing it?
are those who will argue that we are better at diagnosing autism today than in the past
and that these children were once considered mentally retarded. However, according to a recent study, the mentally
retarded have followed normal population increases and remained a steady constant while
the autistic population has exploded. Is
autism just the diagnosis du jour? Hardly. I
would truly like to know where the parents of
these autistic children were that did not recognize that their children were not talking,
were spinning constantly in circles, doing odd things, abusing themselves, not making eye
contact, having serious gastrointestinal disturbances, eating and sleeping problems,
experiencing a failure to thrive due to malabsorption and suffering from excessive
allergies. You cannot miss these children.
Liam's case, we have no doubt that he developed his autism as the direct result of an
adverse vaccine reaction. Personally, if I
could strike the belief that my son's autism sprang from a routine childhood vaccination
that I held him down on the table for, and had to go back to the Russian roulette of
genetics, I would take it in a heartbeat. Because
the pain knowing that I inadvertently caused him harm, due to a blind trust in the medical
community or a matter of the inconvenience of yet another office visit is nearly
Many in the medical community continue
to dismiss this as a mere happenstance because autism often coincides with the time of
vaccination and state that there is no scientific evidence to back this up. My question to you is, how long does it take for a
coincidence to surface time and again, case after case after case before it can become a
viable hypothesis, especially, when the solution to solving the problem seems so apparent? How can pharmaceutical companies concoct
substances with mercury, formaldehyde, antifreeze, lead, aluminum and live viruses not
expect that as they continue to pour these highly toxic and reactive substances into
children, increasing dose after dose, all on the same day even, that it WON'T alter their
developing minds and bodies? Why would it be so completely impossible for a child to
actually contract a chronic form of the disease rather than have a "proper
immunological response," especially when their immune systems may not be up to par? And where is THEIR scientific evidence to back up
the claim that this cannot happen, when it is published in the very package inserts, in
their writing, that they have not studied the effects of vaccines for more than a few
weeks? Or longer than the incubation period of the disease itself? Or what happens when you give multiple doses in one
day or combine different diseases into one hypodermic needle?
please explain to me why it is acceptable to have products on the market that exposed my
child to 37.5 micrograms of mercury in one day when at that time he should not have been
exposed to more than .59 micrograms of mercury given his body weight? Even a body as big
as mine shouldnt be exposed to more than 5 micrograms of mercury in one day. That is completely unacceptable. One size does not fit all when it comes to
organization, Unlocking Autism, we have talked to thousands and thousands of parents from
across the country and their story is the same. Child
is normal, child gets a vaccine, child disappears within days or weeks into the abyss of
autism. If you doubt me, I invite you to
attend the Hear Their Silence Rally on April 8th on the mall where our Open Your Eyes
project will be displayed. View the thousands
of pictures we have collected and realize that 47% of those who participated believe that
vaccines contributed to the development of their child's autism.
like me are relying on you to demand that the pharmaceutical companies retrace their steps
once again and that the public health community look at the possibility that these things
might indeed not be just a coincidence. They obviously have no incentive to do so
themselves. They are immune from liability
and they have a forced market. They
manufacture products that are required for every child in this country. We fear that it is possible that while seeking
greater monetary profits there may be some who have lost sight of the medical community's
original goal regarding vaccinations---to protect children from harm.
my children. I know what happened to my son. As far as I am concerned, the needle that silently
slipped into my babys leg that day became the shot heard round the world.
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