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02 Aug

Catlin family seeks more answers on causes of autism

Two days after he got two shots containing five vaccines, Tanner went running up to his dad and spoke his last sentence: “My name is Tanner, my name is Tanner.”

The diagnosis after he stopped speaking: autism.

By Debra Pressey, The News-Gazette.com, Sunday August 2, 2009

Article

CATLIN – When their only son, Tanner, got the last of his pre-kindergarten vaccines at age 4 1/2, Tim and Cheri Welsh held their breath.

The Catlin couple had delayed those immunizations a bit, worried about the rare, potential reactions they’d heard some children have. But they also knew vaccines protect kids from nasty diseases like measles and mumps, so they eventually decided to proceed.

Two days after he got two shots containing five vaccines, Tanner went running up to his dad and spoke his last sentence: “My name is Tanner, my name is Tanner.”

The diagnosis after he stopped speaking: autism.

Now 11, Tanner has emerged from his silence just once, to say hi to his dad. And Tim and Cheri Welsh have been left with frustrating questions nobody can answer.

Most pediatricians debunk the much-debated connection between vaccines and the onset of autism. But the Welshes think the timing between Tanner’s vaccinations and autism just couldn’t be a coincidence.

“We 100 percent believe his last vaccines precipitated his regression,” Tim Welsh says.

A former J.C. Penney store manager, Welsh has since become a full-time advocate for people with autism and their families. And he has a very long reform agenda.

Some of his issues:

– He wants doctors and scientists to take another look at a link between vaccines and autism.

– He wants health insurers to cover more autism care and for Illinois to become a better-funding state for the services needed by people with autism.

– And he wants the world to wake up and realize autism is on the rise – and there are reasons for that.

What happened to Tanner……………………………………………………………….

His sudden regression at age 4 1/2 was painful. Not only did he stop speaking, but Tanner began needing diapers and feeding assistance again, his parents say.

These days, he sleeps little and bounces on his bed a lot.

He loves music, especially old Beatles songs, and needs constant stimulation from a TV that is always left on for him. He likes to have reading materials – books, magazines or catalogs – in his hands all the time…………………………………………

“Nobody listens to the parents,” he writes in one of his blogs. “We are not hysterical radicals. We want the world to be free of bad diseases and our children to be healthy. … This is an epidemic that has been ignored by the medical community, education, insurance, religion, politicians and the government. Support, therapies and funding have been virtually nonexistent for these children. Come live at my house for a week, then give us your opinion.”

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