Search results for 'age of autism'

Age of Autism financial documents, are they taking in less money?

16 May

A few years back the Age of Autism converted from a business to a nonprofit. That means we get some information on their financial status. As a nonprofit, their tax forms become public. Nonprofits file IRS form 990’s and those are hosted by various providers online.

The most recent informaiton we can get is for tax year 2018, according to this IRS website, the Age of Autism blog filed a “e-Postcard” instead of a form. Per the IRS this means they are receiving less than $50k in a year:

Organizations who have filed a 990-N (e-Postcard) annual electronic notice. Most small organizations that receive less than $50,000 fall into this category.

Here’s a screenshot from the IRS (click to enlarge):

So we don’t know how much they brought in, but it appears to be less than $50k. The thing is, the tax forms available for 2015 (here) and 2016 (here) showed AoA bringing in about $100k a year.

The natural questions are: is this drop in revenue real and, if so, why did it happen?

If one checks the Age of Autism blog today, one finds that there are three sponsors listed in a sidebar for the website. My recollection is that in the past sponsors paid about $15k per year. Here’s a screenshot, for some reason the actual icons for two of them don’t come through on my browser. (click to enlarge):

When I click on the icons I find that the three sponsors are (a) HealthChoice.org, (b) The Canary Party and (c) The Holland Center. HealthChoice and The Canary Party are, in my view, basically the same people. One listed as a political party and the other is a nonprofit. Both are run by Jennifer Larson and Mark Blaxill (Blaxill has been associated with the Age of Autism for many years). The Holland Center is a nonprofit run by Jennifer Larson, if memory serves.

Which is to say, the Age of Autism has basically one group of people sponsoring them.

Years back I once did a calculation of how much the Age of Autism brought in a year, and it worked out to about $100k/year, or a bit more. I’ll try to find that article. Back then they had more sponsors and also had advertisements

I checked some dates in the wayback machine (internet archive) and found that for the date I checked in 2016, AoA had 5 sponsors:

In

In 2015, they had 7 (some had larger icons, which may have meant higher paying sponsorship?):

Assuming $15k/year per sponsor, going from 7 to 3 sponsors could mean a loss of $60k in annual revenue.

Checking the wayback machine again, the ads were a significant source of revenue with this one type being $200/week. That seems like a lot more than I’d think they could pull in with ads.

I clicked a date in 2015 by random and there were 3 ads going on that day. That would mean possibly $600/week, $31,200/year.

One thing I find interesting in the list of sponsors is the lack of Generation Rescue as a sponsor. I recall that AoA started as the “Rescue Post“, “brought to you by Generation Rescue”. Perhaps Generation Rescue is supporting AoA in another way?

The tax forms tell us that Dan Olmsted was paid $26k in tax year 2015, and $39K in tax year 2016. Kim Rossi (then Kim Stagliano) has stated that she was hired by JB Handley (if memory serves) to work at the blog. A salary for her is not listed. There are entries for “contract services” in the amounts of $36k (2015) and $37,422 (2016). Some or all of that might have been to pay her for her efforts at the blog.

These are not high incomes. They are, however, incomes. People paid to, well, put out a junk blog that spreads misinformation about vaccines and stigmatizes autistics. Compared to my income from blogging (zero), these incomes are significant.

One must speculate as to why the Age of Autism blog may be losing revenue. My own speculations include:

1) Ad revenue down as blog lose traffic to Facebook and other social media.
2) Ad revenue down as even the credulous advertisers on AoA want less exposure to the clearly anti-vaccine message
3) Dan Olmsted, who passed away a few years ago, may just have been better at the business end. He could have been better at keeping sponsors and advertisers.
4) Some factionalization in the anti-vaccine/autism community. The current sponsors are all tied to Mark Blaxill, who is still listed as an editor of the Age of Autism blog.

There are probably other reasons, and it’s entirely possible the above reasons are minor or not applicable at all.

By Matt Carey

Kim, the Age of Autism has gotten worse under your leadership

26 Mar

Kim Rossi runs the blog “the Age of Autism”. She’s a parent of three autistic kids. In the past, AoA was managed by someone without any real connection to the autism community: Dan Olmsted. Sadly, Mr. Olmsted passed away (I very much disagree with what Mr. Olmsted did but I never wished him personal ill). So now Kim is in charge.

Many years ago I emailed Kim to propose that we start promoting some stories in parallel. That we find some stories that are important to all in the autism community and start getting some sort of unity in publicizing and advocating on those topics. Ms. Rossi was polite, but it was clear that this wasn’t going to happen. People told me that the primary (by far) focus of Ms. Rossi and the AoA blog was their vaccine stance (they are against vaccines. Yeah, Kim, I know you try to dance around that, but it’s true.). Then they promote bad “medical” approaches to “treating” autism. Yes, Kim, I’m thinking of the example where you sprinkled a novel, synthetic compound mislabeled and sold as a “supplement” on your kids’ food. Then comes attacking actual experts and expertise in areas like medicine, science and the like. Actual advocacy for autistic people is far down on your list.

But I look back on that and I think, you had at least enough advocacy that I thought you were actually interested in it.

No way in Hades I’d make that mistake now. I recently checked in on your blog and I was surprised to see how much worse it’s gotten. I decided to wait until I saw something that actually amounted to advocacy. It was a long wait.

Today you have two articles. One on the suicide of a Sandy Hook parent. It amounts to “Our lives as autism parents are so hard we might commit suicide too.”

The next one is about an autistic adult who was removed from his family in the UK. Actual autism advocacy. You copied the first 5 paragraphs of a news story and gave a link to the story. Your title? First focus “Secret Court”. Well, you tried. A little.

Below is a list of your recent articles. I went back until there was something like autism advocacy.

The world could be a little better for autistic people had you focused your advocacy on actual autism advocacy. Instead you became an anti-vaccine activist. You’ve failed your community. Hard.

Titles of recent AoA articles.

Father of Child Killed at Sandy Hook Commits Suicide in Newtown CT

Secret Court Hearing Takes Son with Autism Away from UK Mother

Women Demand Action from FDA About Breast Implant Danger

What Really Happened In Connecticut? Yale Bailed & Vaccine Knowledge Censorship Continues

Who Are the Anti-Vaxxers?

How Can Brown Injure You? UPS and Merck Want to Bring Vaxes to Your Door

Letter to the Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about Vaccination Choice

Common Sense in the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Governor’s Home: Chicken Pox Once and Done

Student Paper: Vaccinate by Choice, Not by Force

Free Speech YouTubers Noticing Crack Down on Vaccination Topic

The Aspirin a Day Science is Unsettled and on St. Joseph’s Day No Less!

Yale Bailed! Expert Panel Reneges on Vaccine Mandate Debate with Robert Kennedy Jr

An article giving away a book that was donated to your site: “Outsmarting Autism, Updated and Expanded Build Healthy Foundations for Communication, Socialization, and Behavior at All Ages” (almost actually advocacy).

If Teen Consents to Vaccination without Parental Approval Who is Liable in Case of Injury

Robert Kennedy Jr Hosts Press Conference in CT “Should Vaccines Be Mandated?”

Special Education Taking Over in England (nearly on topic. Except your focus is on using the story to support for your failed epidemic idea, rather than actually advocating for better special ed).

Laura Hayes on PRN Radio Monday 3/18

On Vaccines: Our Legislators Don’t Know Vaccines

“Protocol 007”: Merck Scientists Accuse Company of Mumps Vaccine Fraud that May Be Endangering Public Health Today

Lawsuit Claimed Merck Overstated Mumps Vaccine Effectiveness: US Military Preparedness Takes The Hit

You Say Paro-TIE-tis, I Say Paro-Tee-tis Let’s Call the Whole Thing Mumps

#UsToo Open Letter to Washington State Legislators About SB5841 Removal of Vaccine Exemptions

Tesla Uses Merck Whistleblower Punishment Playbook: “Destroy Them Where They Live”

GMOs, Vaccines, Choice, and Informed Consent

Vexed by the Vaxxed: How Measles Is Smarter Than Your Average Bear

Action Alert: CA Senator Schiff Attacking Internet Free Speech

The New Irish Famine: Help for Students with Autism and Their Schools


By Matt Carey

To all who use Paul Offit’s 10,000 vaccine paper to scare others–put up or shut up. And that means you, Age of Autism and all your team.

6 Oct

I’ve generally stopped countering the misinformation by the Age of Autism blog. They are pretty much irrelevant now that they lost their star power, now that Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey have dropped out of the picture. They still cause harm, but on a much smaller scale than in the past.

That said, I recently saw one of the Age of Autism contributors in an online discussion. And as is typical, the conversation devolved into throwing around the usual tired arguments. For example–

The notorious Offit 10,000 vaccine paper (we might add 10,000 vaccine doctrine) was written to be re-assuring to parents. The reality is that 1 vaccine might kill an infant. But what is the rhetorical effect of saying 10,000 vaccines (or 100,000 vaccines originally) are “theoretically safe”. It really says that if we give them 10 at time and hundreds over a childhood it is no big deal. What we are really on to here is the hit and run strategy. It doesn’t matter egregious the effects of the ever extended and mandated schedule are you can always insist that it wasn’t vaccines (which are theoretically safe). And you can flood the media with people like you deriding the experience of actual rather than theoretical families who have found that products are not necessarily that safe after all. And you can claim that everything you say is thoroughly scientific (hoho).

Now, this is a new way to misrepresent what Dr. Offit wrote. So far off that one wonders if the author of the comment (one John Stone) has actually read the original. He claims that the Offit paper’s claim is ” It really says that if we give them 10 at time and hundreds over a childhood it is no big deal.”

Really?

Nope. Not even close.

Here’s the section of the paper that that is being referred to:

Studies on the diversity of antigen receptors indicate that the immune system has the capacity to respond to extremely large numbers of antigens. Current data suggest that the theoretical capacity determined by diversity of antibody variable gene regions would allow for as many as 109 to 1011 different antibody specificities.38 But this prediction is limited by the number of circulating B cells and the likely redundancy of antibodies generated by an individual.

A more practical way to determine the diversity of the immune response would be to estimate the number of vaccines to which a child could respond at one time. If we assume that 1) approximately 10 ng/mL of antibody is likely to be an effective concentration of antibody per epitope (an immunologically distinct region of a protein or polysaccharide),39 2) generation of 10 ng/mL requires approximately 103 B-cells per mL,39 3) a single B-cell clone takes about 1 week to reach the 103 progeny B-cells required to secrete 10 ng/mL of antibody39 (therefore, vaccine-epitope-specific immune responses found about 1 week after immunization can be generated initially from a single B-cell clone per mL), 4) each vaccine contains approximately 100 antigens and 10 epitopes per antigen (ie, 103 epitopes), and 5) approximately 107 B cells are present per mL of circulating blood,39 then each infant would have the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10 000 vaccines at any one time (obtained by dividing 107 B cells per mL by 103 epitopes per vaccine).

The paper merely states that an infant’s immune system can respond to the antigens in 10,000 vaccines.

So here is the challenge to Mr. John Stone (who wrote the above comment), the Age of Autism blog (where he writes, but not the above comment.) and everyone else who claims that the 10,000 number is wrong.

Prove it.

Prove the claim is wrong.

What in the above calculation is wrong? Is it the biology? The assumptions? The math? State clearly what is inaccurate in that calculation.

The answer is that many who cry out about “10,000 vaccines” haven’t read the paper. Or they have and they don’t understand it. Or, in rare cases, they understand it and are willfully trying to use it to scare people.

I have posted this challenge before on various internet discussions. And it is always, and I mean always, met with silence.

Notice that Dr. Offit doesn’t say that an infant can take 10,000 injections. But that “each infant would have the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10 000 vaccines at any one time (obtained by dividing 107 B cells per mL by 103 epitopes per vaccine).” I.e. that an infant can respond to the challenge posed by the antigens in 10,000 vaccines.

But that’s not scary. And fear and doubt is what people are trying to create when they claim that Paul Offit’s 10,000 vaccine paper is “notorious”.

So, go ahead anyone and everyone that uses the 10,000 vaccine statement to scare people about vaccines. Back up your complaint. I’ve been waiting for years and expect to continue waiting.


by Matt Carey

The Age of Autism hits another low: excusing shaken baby syndrome

17 Jun

The Age of Autism blog has been an embarrassment to the autism communities since it was founded. They take a very vaccine antagonistic stance, promote unproven and sometimes harmful fake “therapies” and attack those whom they disagree with. In their attacks on vaccines they have until now avoided one of the most ugly claims: that shaken baby syndrome is actually vaccine injury. It’s an excuse for child abuse, a way to build a smoke screen to try to excuse someone who has harmed a child.

They have avoided this claim. Until now.

Today I was informed that they had crossed that line with an article: When is ‘Shaken Baby’ Syndrome Possibly Vaccine Injury Instead?

Besides being a new low for Dan Olmsted’s team, what does this have to do with autism? Nothing.

If you want to read about the shaken baby syndrome as vaccine injury lie, here’s

Science Based Medicine: The antivaccine lie that just won’t die: The claim that shaken baby syndrome is really due to “vaccine injury”

The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome: The Role of Irresponsible Medical Expert Testimony in Creating a False Causal Connection

I long ago gave up on the so-called “editors” at the Age of Autism for demonstrating any ability to keep absolute nonsense off their blog. They lack leadership, they lack courage, they lack integrity.

They are an embarrassment to our communities. The autism communities stand apart from the ugly lie that shaken baby syndrome is vaccine injury.

By Matt Carey

The Age of Autism wants people to donate to Congressman Bill Posey…because “money=influence”

30 Jul

Here’s a screenshot from the Age of Autism Facebook page:

AoAInfluenceBuying

click to enlarge.

I was going to make some comments, but it says a lot just on it’s own.


By Matt Carey

Age of Autism expresses concern over “acting in the best interests of the child”

27 Oct

A while back I stopped reading the blog “age of autism”. It’s repetitive, degrades people with disabilities and, in general, is applying 99% of their effort to counterproductive aims. My google news searches for “autism” are “autism -“ageofautism.com””. But, once in a while, something sneaks through. Such is the case today.

Consider the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It’s an international agreement, up for ratification in the U.S.. From the U.N.’s FAQ on the Convention:

What are the principles of the Convention?

Article 3 sets out the General Principles that apply to the enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities. These are:

• Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one’s own choices and independence of persons
• Non-discrimination
• Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
• Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
• Equality of opportunity
• Accessibility
• Equality between men and women
• Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.

Most countries have ratified the Convention. Here is an analysis by the U.S. National Council on Disability.

Why is AoA concerned? “The fundamental concern with this document is its adoption of the “best interests of the child” standard.”

Yes. Let’s shoot down an international agreement that gives people with disabilities accessibility, opportunity, equality, inclusion and the rest. Because we wouldn’t want to act in the best interests of children.

Many states in the U.S. already use the “best interests of the child” standard in many aspects. In fact,

All States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have statutes requiring that the child’s best interests be considered whenever specified types of decisions are made regarding a child’s custody, placement, or other critical life issues.

Why would AoA be afraid of putting the child’s best interests as paramount?

As you know Michael Bloomberg is now pushing for universal vaccinations for all preschoolers. This requirement will be mandated nationally with ratification of the UN CRPD and, ultimately with the ratification of the UN CRC.

Yes. Fear vaccines. Fear the government. The author of the AoA article makes huge leaps of logic (nothing new for AoA, I know) to claim that if we ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, children will be vaccinated.

The woman who wrote this article may not even have a direct connection to the autism community or the disability community. She’s using the fear government+vaccine angle to try to get support for her cause at AoA. Here are her reasons for disliking the Convention. The CRPD would somehow give rights to homosexuals. Can’t have that here in America, can we? Well, except for here in California where we once again have marriage equality…or many other places in the U.S….

If we believe her, the U.N. will tell the U.S. how to spend it’s money, including making us help poorer countries (oh, no, let’s not help poor countries). It isn’t going to happen, but let’s fear it.

Also,

According to Article 23, the disabled have a right to make reproductive health and family planning decisions and a right to be educated about those decisions and given the means to carry out those decisions.

Can’t give those rights to the disabled, can we?

Many countries have ratified the CRPD. Years ago. Does she give examples of other countries, say England, France, Inda, China, where her predictions have come true? No. They are just fear mongering.

The ironic tagline for the AoA piece? “Ignore your rights and they will go away”. So when we as a nation see abuses in another country, abuses of the rights of the disabled, we can complain. And wait for the response, “but you won’t even ratify the CRPD”. Yes, let’s not ratify an agreement on rights for people with disabilities. Let’s not affirm that our own citizens have rights irrespective of disability. AoA is supposedly a community of parents of autistic kids. Let’s not protect the rights of those children. Fear of a parent losing his/her rights to not vaccinate (which is only that, fear, not a real prediction of what might actually happen) should stand in the way.

And, let’s not forget the unspoken fear. That parents might lose their rights to try anything and everything as a “therapy”. It’s a parent’s right, after all, to give a disabled child bleach containing enemas. Or make the kid drink a bleach solution. Or to ingest a drug which shuts down sex hormone production during puberty. Or be subjected to chelation without being appropriately diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning. Subjected to chelation often for years, when a standard course of chelation is very limited in time. Or to take one’s child to another country for infusions of what may or may not be stem cells, without any good science to back up the practice. Or to use an industrial chelator, designed for treating mining waste, untested for safety on humans, as a “supplement”.

Let’s not consider what is “best for the child”. No, parent rights are at stake.

When were we parents given the right to do things which are not in the best interests of our children? And, if we had that right, why would we put protecting that right in front of a chance to improve the rights of the disabled?

I gave up on reading AoA. Good idea that.


By Matt Carey

LeftBrain/RightBrain shame Age of Autism into half-hearted apology for gun violence

14 Mar

Via Facebook of course, not on their actual site:

Funny thing though, I would’ve thought that to be included in an image archive entitled ‘Fan pics _from_ Age of Autism’ it would’ve had to have been approved _by_ Age of Autism..?

Also note the lack of apology for the rampant anti-vaccine part of the image – just the gun violence. Age of Autism fail to see that by promoting an anti-vaccine message they are still condoning violence – just a different kind of violence.

Age of Autism threaten doctors and also make clear how anti-vaccine they are

12 Mar

On a Facebook page entitled ‘Fan photos from Age of Autism‘ you will find this (click for bigger):

Lets not kid around here, this is a direct threat of violence towards people carrying ‘syringes’ i.e. people who might want to vaccinate children. I have no idea if Jenny McCarthy has any knowledge of this photo but its clear from the title ‘fan photos _from_ the Age of Autism, that Age of Autism clearly do.

Lets also be clear about the utterly anti-vaccine message of this image. The editors continually describe themselves as ‘pro-vaccine safety’. Let me suggest to them that creating a picture of Jenny McCarthy threatening people carrying syringes in a medical setting isn’t pro-vaccine safety. Its anti-vaccine pure and simple.

Age of Autism have a good old cry on Twitter

22 Feb

Back story: as Sully blogged the other day an American political cartoon strip had a bit of a dig at the anti-vaccine brigade. This provoked the following response from Age of Autism:

Yeah, thats right, Age of Autism truly see themselves as a victimised minority group. No really. They do. They’re putting themselves on the same footing as every Suffragette, every victim of Apartheid, every disabled activist and every poverty stricken member of a developing country thats ever lived.

Age of Autism have a slogan ‘the bull stops here’

and they’re absolutely right – thats exactly where the bull stops. In fact, it not only stops, it takes its slippers off, puts its feet up and stays for ever.

Age of Autism, you really need to get a grip. Maybe a name change might help (click for bigger).

Fact checking the Age of Autism’s defense of Andrew Wakefield

11 Jan

The BMJ article, How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed, has had a lot of media coverage in the United States. With that coverage has come the defense of Andrew Wakefield, by himself and a few others. As a part of the defense (arguably the bulk of the defense) has been an attack on Brian Deer, the investigative reporter who wrote the article. I say attack because the main accusation, as you will read below, is false. Easily verified as false.

Consider this, on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Mr. Wakefield made the accusation:

WAKEFIELD: Well, that’s interesting you should say that, because he was supported in his investigation by the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries, which is funded directly and exclusively by the pharmaceutical industry. So…

On CNN with Ali Valshi, Generation Rescue founder J.B. Handley made the following statement:

“The British Medical Journal is only publishing allegations from a single investigative journalist named Brian Deer, who was funded by a pharma front group for four years to investigate Andy Wakefield.”

He later states that Brian Deer was “…funded by pharmaceutical groups from the getgo”.

Where did this accusation come from?

In a blog post, Mr. Handley let’s us know how he came to this conclusion:

In fact, Deer was originally funded to investigate Andy by a front group for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industries, just as Andy Wakefield said. From a confidential source:

“Deer was provided with free assistance by Medico-Legal Investigations a company owned and controlled by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry – I have documentation on this. MLI specialise in getting medical doctors prosecuted by the General Medical Council. And that was done before he published in The Sunday Times in Feb 2004.”

We also see the story shifting we also see the story shifting. Instead of “funded from the getgo” or “funded by a pharma front group for four years” we find that he was given “free assistance” We don’t even know how much free assistance.

An unsupported assertion is made that the company is “owned and controlled by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry”.

At least we have something we can verify. A claim like this should be verified, one way or the other. So I did. I contacted Medico-Legal Investigations. I posed a simple question:

You may be aware that Brian Deer has recently published the findings of his investigations showing that Andrew Wakefield committed research fraud in his investigations into MMR and autism. In retaliation, Mr. Wakefield and his supporters are claiming that Mr. Deer is conflicted himself. As part of this, they claim:

“When Brian Deer began his investigation of Andy Wakefield, he was supported by a pharmaceutical front group”

To support this, they claim:

“Deer was provided with free assistance by Medico-Legal Investigations a company owned and controlled by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry – I have documentation on this. MLI specialise in getting medical doctors prosecuted by the General Medical Council. And that was done before he published in The Sunday Times in Feb 2004.”

Can you confirm whether this statement is, in fact, true?

The response?

The statement in bold lettering is totally false. We had no idea he was undertaking this investigation until he was about halfway through. At that point, and knowing that we were the only people in Europe experienced in the investigation of research fraud and misconduct, he contacted us to seek advice on a general issue related to Ethics Committees. We had a one off meeting with him and were able to offer guidance without knowing the details of the confidential investigation. I would like to know how anyone can say we are a pharmaceutical front group – we have always retained our independence.

We have never been owned or controlled by the ABPI – that is complete and utter nonsense. We have been supported by the ABPI and, indeed, the medical Royal Colleges. In order to ease our cashflow crises (there is never enough work to cover the costs of running a business) a few pharma companies paid an annual subscription to us in return for reduced rates for training and investigations. That does not mean that we were controlled by them. I pay annual subscriptions to magazines and get cheaper copies but I do not have editorial control!

Finally we specialise in the investigation of possible fraud/misconduct in research. When we are 70% certain that we have enough evidence to prove serious professional misconduct we report the facts to the GMC who conduct an Inquiry into the allegations. We also investigate other health sector matters and if a criminal offence is disclosed we report to the police or embark upon a private prosecution through the lawyers of our clients (other statutory bodies). The protection of patients is primarily our concern.

I hope this helps

Shall we count the errors in Mr. Handley’s attack?

1) Medico-Legal Investigations had no part in the investigation. They only offered a one-off meeting on medical ethics. Medico-Legal Investigations was unaware of the specifics of Mr. Deer’s investigations.

2) Medico-Legal Investigations is not “owned and controlled by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry”. Thus it is not a “front group”.

3) On top of all that, Mr. Deer was not even funded by Medico-Legal Investigations.

4) The association with Medico-Legal Investigations was a simple meeting, as Mr. Deer was over half way through his investigation. The association was not “from the get go” and was not “four years” (funded or not).

In essence, we see what Mr. Wakefield and his supporters are reduced to: a publicity campaign. Get their message out, accurate or not. Attack the source rather than address the allegations.