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Cindy Facteau
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I came upon this blog by chance, doing a search for Kim Stagliano's name on Google. I stopped by to read, because I am always intrigued when people use their power of free speech to spread unnecessary negativity (and if this was written by a fellow special needs parent...shame on you - do we not have enough to endure in life without ridiculous infighting, mudslinging, and the spread of toxicity? Seems a bit counterproductive to me). Unlike many who may come across this blog (perhaps even the author as well), I have had the good fortune to meet Kim Stagliano, and have since spoken with her on several occasions. What I find most refreshing about her is the uncanny ability she possesses to take what most people would find unendurable circumstances, and keep a positive, upbeat perspectve about the cards that she has been dealt. The "vulgar" humor that has been referenced has, in fact, been one of the things that endears people most to her. She is not a politically correct mouthpiece, regurgitating talking points that will earn her brownie points within the mainstream media. She is a mother of three beautiful, incredible girls that has not retreated into the depths of self pity and complacence...she has put on her boots and waded out into the muck, giving the world a much-needed dose of reality. Raising one child with special needs is no easy task. Raising 3 is downright grueling. The fact tat she is successfully doing so while championing the rights of our community shows a depth of character that I find truly admirable. If she wants to drop an F-bomb every so often, I think that should be the very least of everyone's concerns...unless we've suddenly become so thin-skinned that we'd allow occasional profanity to cause such widespread distress. We're not exactly a Puritan society folks. I think the problem with society as a whole is that we tend to dismiss those ideas, beliefs, or life experiences that we do not completely understand. Unless you live in Kim's mind, how can you speak to what her motives (or morals) are? What would you do if your child were impacted by a devastating disability that there was no known cure for, the only future offered for that child being institutionalzation? Imagine finding that not only one, but ALL of your children had this future to look forward to...and when you began speaking to other parents, looking for support, you found that they too, shared many of your struggles and experiences. Let's take Autism out of the equation. We'll use brain cancer as an example (because the "A word" seems to evoke such polarization). Let's say you had three children with brain cancer, and you found that when you tried to get treatment for your children's headache pain, you were shuffled off, told that all children with brain cancer get headaches, and there was no cure for it. They know a solid chemotherapy regimen might have a chance at putting the brain cancer into remission, but insurance does not cover chemo, and if it does, they will only pay for chemo if you have some other type of cancer. You watch your children get sicker and sicker, while the doctors throw their hands in the air and claim they can do nothing. You begin researching, and find that there may be a genetic component to your children's affliction...maybe your family is more prone to cancer than others...but you also find that you've lived a mile away from a nuclear reactor since your children were born...and that reactor has a slow leak. The government comes in, does an investigation, and reports that there is nothing to report. The leak couldn't have possibly contributed to your children getting sick...because they had run "safety studies" themselves, year after year. Then you start talking to your neighbors, and learn that many of their children have brain cancer too. You bring this to the government's attention, and they tell you that people where you live have always had brain cancer...they've just never reported it. Case closed...end of story. You go home, and try to make your children as comfortable as possible. Maybe try some alternative treatments to stave off the worst of the symptoms. Then you find out that most children who have never lived by a nuclear reactor never develop brain cancer. Suddenly, you begin to question everything you have been told. And you get angry. VERY angry...because there is a sense that you have been intentionally misled...and your children have paid the ultimate price. Kim is doing what any good mother would do. She is fighting for her girls. She is also doing what any good HUMAN would do...she is trying to prevent what has happened to her own children (and so many others) from happening to more. Incidentally, she doesn't claim that all of her children were vaccine injured (you'd know that if you ever read her blog, book, or spoke to her in person). What she does say is that we need to be more careful with what we are doing with regard to our children's health...and that the government should definitely be taking more notice than the passive apathy we've seen thus far. When Polio reached 1 in 3000 it was declared an epidemic. When the swine flu hit, the government made a huge ordeal over what proved to be "not so huge of an ordeal." Autism now affects at least 1% of all children being born in the U.S., with rates higher in other countries. There has been no epidemic declared...no emergency bells have been rung. I'd say that some frustation and a modicum of anger is understandable...and Kim manages to pull it off with a sense of humor. As the mother of 2 boys with Autism, I can appreciate that. Some days, humor is all that gets me by. One more point before I get off of my soap box...there has never been ONE solely genetic based disorder that has seen the sharp increase that we've seen in Autism. Even if you take better diagnostic criteria into consideration, it would still fall flat on that argument. Show me ONE other "genetic-only" developmental disorder that has gone from an incidence of 1 in 10,000 (which published studies from the 1970's report) to 1 in 110 (by conservative CDC figures, taken from studies performed years ago) within the scope of thirty years, and I will take my boys down to the clinic now and get them both up to date on their immunizations. Kim has never put it out in the universe that she is some high-profile journalist. At her core, she is a mother first...and has a caring and passion for the children in this community that isn't often seen in mainstream society. We take care of our own...and Kim has reached beyond herself and her own life's circumstances to give of herself to others. She IS the change she wants to see in the world. But I'm sure that may be difficult to see from your Ivory Tower vantage point, wouldn't it?
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Jun 25, 2011