Government must be forced to help forgotten children

THE Hope Project is a group of parents and children suffering from a disability. We formed in 1996 to help other parents by sharing information about various disabilities and about getting the services appropriate to their children’s disability.

Since our formation the Hope Project has been inundated by requests for help from parents of children and adults suffering from autism or other autistic spectrum disorder like asperges syndrome, ADD, dyslexia. Every day new parents are ringing us. They all have the same tragic story. Healthy baby, child, teenager, usually a boy, given the DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) or DT (diphtheria and tetanus), MMR or MMR booster followed by a sudden fall or slow, but steady decline into autism or other spectrums disorder.

Initially, we were being contacted by a new parent a week. By 1998, we were trying to help on average three new suffers a week. Such is the increase in contacts this year, that now we could give up everything else we do and just talk to parents all day. There is an epidemic out there and authorities are refusing to acknowledge it. Other districts are beginning to admit there is a problem. The State of California has officially recognised autism as a crisis and have recently allocated millions of dollars to find out what is causing the escalating numbers of suffers in that state.

Britain, in a recent study admitted to a 1,750% increase in autism in the last 12 years. Yet, our Minister for Health has just issued a head count for all but three health boards of confirmed cases of autism which would claim that Ireland has autism rates lower than any other developed country since the early 1960s. The Hope Project are only around three years. We are not yet well known and yet we have as many autistic contacts in our address book from Cork as the Minister is claiming for the whole Southern Health Board. Parents tell us that if they suggest to the medical/psychological professionals that they suspect a vaccine involvement, they are immediately told that this is impossible. That it is just a coincidence that autism manifests itself at the same age as the particular vaccination being questioned is administered. This line is handed out equally to parents of ASD children vaccinated and affected at four months, six months, 15 months, 18 months, 19 months, two years, four years and 12 years. Come on doctors, you can’t have it all ways.

Researchers in the field of autism have discovered what parents knew, autism is a medical condition. An autoimmune disease. Austisic children are ill. They need medical and dietary intervention. Yet, in Ireland, autism is still the domain of the psychiatrist. These children are sick not crazy. They need medical help, dietary intervention, effective intensive appropriate education and therapy. They are not getting these. As a father put it: “nobody wants them, nobody is prepared to help.”

Of course, no one wants to help. Autism is an embarrassment and a threat to the medical establishment’s glorious war against disease. The wounded are always the undesirable underbelly of a conflict to be ignored and silenced.

The victims are also very expensive to help, and this is another reason government departments do not want to help our children or even count them properly. One gets the impression the State does not like to spend on people who are not going to make them lots of money in return. Or that having damaged these people, they consider rehabilitating them is just throwing good money after bad. Yet, a significant degree of rehabilitation is possible for every ASD sufferer. With education and diet, their quality of life can be improved. Young children recently derailed can in some cases be normalised.

The Hope Project recently submitted a strategy to the Department of Health to meet the autistic spectrum disorder crisis. Will they act? Willing or unwilling, the State is going to be forced to help these children. The parents are determined. They are increasingly resorting to the courts for appropriate education, and medical litigation for vaccine damage is being prepared.

Parents have their children vaccinated because they love them and they will refrain from vaccination for the same reason. Parents will sue because in Ireland in 1999 it seems to be the only way that they can get what their child needs.

For further information tel: Hope Project: 021 888503, 021 885922, 021 372425. • Kathy Sinnott is a founding member of the Hope Project.

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The Examiner, 1999