Ms. Smith. Mr. Chairman and Members, I am Jeana Smith. I live in Denham Springs, LA with my husband Darrell and our four small children--5-year-old genetically identical twins, Jesse and Jacob, 3-year-old Garrett, and 16-month-old Julianna. Darrell and I have always loved children, and we tried for over 6 years to have a child. We simply gave up on the idea that it was possible, and then I discovered I was pregnant with not one but two babies. I was completely overwhelmed. Perhaps because I had tried so hard to have a child, I took especially good care of my body while I was pregnant with the twins. Our identical twins were born right on time and were completely healthy. We were absolutely thrilled. Our family was perfect. One month later, we found dark blood mixed in with Jacob's diarrhea. Jacob had never had diarrhea before. We immediately took him to the doctor, who assured us that there was no problem. He mentioned that in the chaos that generally follows the birth of twins, we had been released from the hospital without them receiving their hepatitis B vaccine and wanted to give it to Jacob that day. I questioned him, because it did not seem right to give a potentially ill child a vaccine, but he convinced me that it was routine and safe and not to worry. Two months later, Jacob received his second hepatitis B vaccine and Jesse his first. On the same day, Jacob and Jesse both received their first DPT, polio, and Hib vaccination. From that day on, Jacob was constantly coming down with one ear, respiratory, or sinus infection after another. Jacob was constantly on antibiotics. As his mother, I was heartbroken to see him sick or in pain practically all the time. As a new mom, I was embarrassed and frustrated to have a child who was always ill. I knew I was doing everything I could for him, and I could not understand why he was constantly ill. Jacob met every developmental milestone that first year, right along with Jesse. They were two little peas in a pod and went everywhere together. At only 16 months of age, Jacob and Jesse received their first MMR vaccine. On this same day, they also received their fourth DPT, their fourth Hib, and their third hepatitis B. The following 24 hours, both twins slept most of the time, with over 100-degree temperatures, in spite of receiving the recommended Tylenol dosage every 6 hours. Immediately following that, Jacob began exhibiting strange behaviors. He was no longer excited or responsive when Daddy would come home from work. He began to become preoccupied with certain toys. He would spend long periods of time studying the way their wheels would spin or whether or not they were lined up just right. Any attempt to interrupt or distract him was met with great resistance and an eventual fit. During this time, Jesse continued to progress, starting to talk and interact with all the children around him. Back to the doctor we went again, but this time with even bigger concerns about the growing developmental difference between Jesse and Jacob. And once again we were met with the ``dominant twin'' theory, that Jacob would probably be more quiet, Jacob would probably want to play by himself more often, and Jacob is fine, stop worrying. Finally, we would not stand the undeniable difference between their language and communication skills. Something was most definitely wrong with Jacob. He could not express even the most simplest needs or wants. He could not ask for juice or something to eat. Jesse was chattering constantly. And at times, Jacob was so withdrawn that we could absolutely not reach him. On days when Jacob is overloaded from sounds, colors, or lights, we cannot go anywhere. Autism not only isolates the individual whom it affects; it isolates the entire family. My husband and I have to go to the grocery store independently. When our other children have programs at school or birthday parties, one of us has to stay home, because Jacob cannot stand the outside stimulation. Our vacations have changed to only being able to go to the beach--no amusement parks, no baseball games, no family outings. Unlike most parents of an autistic child, I do not have to wonder what Jacob would have been like. I know what he would have been like. I see what he would have been like every day in Jesse's eyes. I see Jesse excelling in school and in social activities. I see Jesse excited about T-ball; I know that Jacob will probably never play T-ball and that he cannot attend birthday parties. For us, there is no denying that in Jacob's case of autism, the answer does not lie in genetics, but in a catalyst. The thousands of hours of research that we have spent searching and retracing his regression continue to point to the fact that the road of Jacob's autism began when his immune system was damaged by the hepatitis B vaccine he received when he was ill. The final blow was the adverse reaction to the host of vaccines he received 16 months later. We are certain that for Jacob, the catalyst was his vaccine. I cannot bear the thought that after waiting so long and being so careful carrying my twins, I was so easily persuaded to immunize Jacob without knowing all that I should. I should have taken the time to find out what his risk of contracting hepatitis B at only 1 month old was. I did not do that. I should have found out about all the toxic metals that are used to manufacture the vaccines. I did not do that. I should have known back then what I do today. I did not. I trusted his pediatrician. I trusted the CDC. I was persuaded to believe that I was doing the best thing I could to protect my child. No scientist, doctor, researcher or parent looking for answers or resources should never have to question where the funding will come from. It has to be here, and it has to be here now. I implore you to act now. Please--we do not have the time to wait for another hearing and another panel of parents and experts to advise us that this epidemic is waiting in the wings. We are swiftly and silently losing a generation of children to this disease that possibly could have been avoided. Please let this country be the leader in seeing the percentages of autism decrease and not increase. Every night, Darrell and I tuck two beautiful little boys into bed. On the outside, they look the same. Their pajamas are the same; their bed covers are the same. Everything on them is the same. They have the same ears, and they have matching toes. As Darrell and I sit in between their beds, we talk to Jesse about his day. He gives us all the details of his day at school and tells us everything he did with his friends. He talks about how excited he is for the next birthday party that will come this weekend. He talks to Darrell about working on his batting swing to prepare for T-ball in the summer. As he drifts off to sleep, we turn and look at Jacob. We know that even at only 5 years old, Jacob will never be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood the way Jesse does. He will never be on a sports team. He cannot enjoy the fulfillment of a birthday party or friends. This difference is real. We know that Jacob's autism will not go away. When they fall asleep, we once again see two beautiful, matching faces. We know what should have been. It is the only time that their faces match. Even though they are identical, Jacob's countenance left when he was 16 months old. The light behind his eyes was replaced with a blank, lost, bewildered stare. Thank you. Mr. Burton. Thank you, Ms. Smith.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.