"Today Show" Talks Exemptions & Autism Cases

"Today Show" Talks Law & Autism Cases Skyrocket

by Barbara Loe Fisher

On Friday, Oct. 19, 2007 NBC's "Today Show" featured a 6 minute segment about the rising numbers of parents who are taking exemptions to vaccination for their children. In the live debate, which was moderated by "Today Show" co-host, Meredith Vieira, I faced off with California pediatrician Tanya Remer Altmann, M.D.

In my opening statement, I said:

"I have been a vaccine safety activist for 25 years and I have never seen the public debate about the right of parents to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions be more intense than it is today. And I think that is because the states are requiring twice as many vaccines as were required in the 1980's and 90's when my children - my three children - were getting vaccinated. And, we are seeing with this increased vaccination 1 in 6 child now learning disabled, 1 in 9 asthmatic, 1 in 150 becoming autistic. We are seeing a child public health crisis that is unlike any crisis we have ever seen, including the epidemics of infectious disease we have experienced in the past."

To view the "Today Show" segment go to

Today, California autism activist Rick Rollens has released another new report on the skyrocking autism cases among young children living in California, all of whom got twice as many vaccines as my children got when they were young. Rick's son developed autism after suffering vaccine reactions and Rick went on to co- found the M.I.N.D. Institute - UC Davis after first warning America about the autism epidemic in 1997. His work with the California legislature to address the autism epidemic has included issuing periodic reports since 1997 about the never-ending increases in the numbers of children developing autism in California.

Rick reports that a record 1,060 new intakes of professionally diagnosed full syndrome DSM IV autism were added to California's developmental services system from July 3, 2007 to October 3, 2007. Children eligible for DDS services are between 3 and 21 years old. Three year old children entering the system today would have been born in 2004.

"According to the most recent report released this past week by California's Department of Developmental Services (DDS) (www.dds.ca.gov), California's developmental services system added a record 1,060 new intakes of professionally diagnosed full syndrome DSM IV autism during the 87 day period from July 3, 2007 to October 3, 2007....a rate of 12 new children a day, seven days a week..... or one new child every two hours.

Never in the 40 year history of California's developmental services system have 1000 or more new children been added in any one three month period to it's system. During the past 9 months alone California has added over 2900 new children with full syndrome autism (as always, the numbers of new intakes ONLY includes professionally diagnosed cases of full syndrome DSM IV autism and DOES NOT include any other autism spectrum disorders like PDD, NOS, or Asperger's Syndrome). Keep in mind that it took 16 years (from 1971 to 1987) for California's DD system to see a total population of 2700 persons with autism...during the past 9 MONTHS alone California has added 2900 new cases.

Autism is not only the fastest growing condition in California's DD system, now accounting for over 60% of all the new intakes (the remaining less then 40% being the COMBINED numbers of new intakes with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and conditions that have as part of the condition mental retardation such as genetic diseases Fragile X and Down's), but; now there are more persons in California's DD system with a primary diagnosis of autism than with cerebral palsy.

Unlike any other of the conditions served by California's DD system where you see between 55- 60% of those populations over the age of 22 years old, with autism only 16% of the population is over the age of 22 years old, 84% between 3 and 21, and eight out of ten between 3 and 18 years old."

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