FARNINGHAM: Mum attends autistic rally
12:08pm Monday 6th April 2009
A MUM with an autistic son has attended a march to help raise awareness of the condition.
Elaine Butler of London Road, Farningham, attended the Open Your Eyes to Autism rally which took place on March 28 in London.
Mrs Butler’s 19-year-old son, Matthew, was diagnosed with the condition when he was just 18 months old.
Matthew developed autism after having an MMR jab.
Around 2,000 people attended the rally which aimed to improve services such as education, for autistic adults and children.
Mrs Butler said: “It was a truly memorable occasion, which energised so many people and raised an essential awareness to empower those whose lives have been blighted by a condition that now affects so many."
Local Mum takes to Trafalgar Square podium in support of World Autism Awareness Day
02 April 2009
Elaine Butler from Farningham supported an enormously successful Rally which took place in London last Saturday, 28th March 2009 and called for everyone to ‘Open Your Eyes to Autism’ .
In their thousands Marchers were led by traditional Bagpipers along the Victoria Embankment, Whitehall on route to Trafalgar Square, with road closures in place and a very supportive Police presence.
This demonstration of support of all children and adults with autism throughout the UK was a parents initiative and exceptionally well organised for the maximum impact it achieved.
The crowds paused twice along the way to deliver Mandates which were formally received by the Department of Health and Downing Street. A delegation of young suffers and their Carers were warmly greeted at Downing Street by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alastair Darling and his Wife Maggie.
On rejoining the March they were heartened by this interest and concern shown to the plight of so many, previously thought to be 1 in 100 but the latest study, by academics at Cambridge University’s respected Autism Research Centre confirms it to 1 in 60 children  and on the basis of a ratio of 4 boys to 1 girl that equates to 1 in every 38 boys affected.
The atmosphere was energised by the action that it is hoped will now come from the involvement of the Chancellor & his Wife, who listened carefully to how badly these sufferers had been let down by empty promises of politicians elected to represent what is becoming a significant proportion of the future electorate.
Numbers swelled as everyone congregated at Trafalgar Square where Speakers, who ranged from Experts to Parents covered a variety of topics to inspire active crowd participation, despite the coldness of the showery and windy weather.
Elaine was delighted to be asked to speak on the Transition from childhood to adulthood when life years dictate, regardless that this bears no resemblance to the mentality of sufferers or the fact that they remain a child in an adult’s body.
Sharing the experiences of herself and her husband, Elaine reflected on the last two years since they started on the transition path for their son Matthew who is now 19 years old. Although Matthew left school last July almost nine months ago, he has yet to be able to take up the placement that they found to be the most appropriate to suit his specific needs.
To their credit Connexions has very helpful throughout but unfortunately this has not been able to prevent the ping-ponging that KCC has ensured between themselves and the Learning & Skills Council, as to who will accept statutory responsibility for funding this placement.
Elaine recalls what she describes as the thirteen month nightmare that she and her husband endured as they pleaded with KCC to listen to them and to help them to avoid being forced into taking legal action. This was not unreasonable as all other learners at that same placement are funded by their Local Authorities, therefore KCC refusal to do this amounts to Matthew being another victim of a Postcode Lottery.
As they continued to be ignored and their please were rejected Elaine and her husband had no alternative but to pursue legal representation and with the use of Legal Aid they have been embroiled in this for the last twelve months, whilst continuing to lovingly care for their brain damaged son 24/7, who remains at home with them.
Matthew was diagnosed to have Pervasive Development Disorder, having suffered an immediate and extreme reaction to the MMR vaccine he was given over 18 years ago, when he was only 18 months old. Elaine and her husband are convinced that vaccine damage is being dismissed, as children like Matthew who had an adverse reaction are being denied investigation and that money is being wasted on studies that do not involve these children.
The World Autism Awareness Day on 02 April 2009 will focus attention on the ever increasing numbers now diagnosed to be on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is at epidemic proportions and far exceeds the numbers of children that suffer from all other learning disabilities put together.
Elaine and her husband are far from anti-vaccine, as this would contradict the responsible way in which they vaccinated Matthew, they do however believe that safer and single vaccines are far less likely to overload a vulnerable young body at a crucial stage of development. They also appeal for a more accurate and correct diagnosis for their son and others affected in this way, to not place them upon the Autism Spectrum Disorder for public friendly purposes, as this only overinflates those figures and ignores the true cause of this disability to prevent appropriate treatment.
The Rally served the purpose to bring people together and it was a lively and memorable event, which although attracted numbers in the thousands, it paid great respect to the thousands more unable to attend because of coping and caring for someone with Autism, the very heart of what this gathering was all about.