Neon Nettle Chats Autism Advocate Tim Welsh aka Tanners Dad
Tim Autism, Vaccines, Government & Solutions
If you don't know Tim Welsh, he is an integral advocate of Autism and has become one of the most influential awareness campaigners on the web. His strong Twitter following - see @Tannersdad - has been a catalyst in bringing the autism community together, gaining insurance of coverage reform, advocate for services and a lot more.
He is also a featured blogger on the Jenny McCarthy's Generation Rescue and has also been featured in the documentary film “United States of Autism”.
Tim's tireless and work for the families in children of the autism community is unrivalled. He himself has suffered two heart attacks and also suffers from mild Aspergers. Neon Nettle chats to Tim about his work, his hopes for the future and of course his son, Tanner.
For those who don't know about you, can you give us a little bit of information about your back round?
My name is Timothy Welsh, I've been in management, sales and marketing for 30 years. I have a son who is 17 years old, at 4 and a half years old he regressed back to a 6 month old baby as a result of a vaccine injury. About thirteen years ago on July 4, he (Tanner) he walked into the living room and said "my name is Tanner, my name is Tanner" that was the last time he spoke.
He then has the regression where he just lost all the abilities he had. He was progressing normal, he also had a little bit of a speech delay that he was being treated for, they told us that was genetic. I ended up having two heart attacks at 38, and I started blogging just for therapy for myself but I didn't really think I was influencing anybody, but then I went to a conference in Chicago and the a lady got up to introduce a national speaker and then pointed out that Tanners dad was in the audience, at which point everyone got up and started clapping, I then kind of point my hand on my head and felt a little embarrassed.
But then half way into the national speakers speech who I'd never met before, she crossed the stage, walked towards me and said "you know something that you wrote on the internet stopped me from committing suicide".
Everyone stood up and clapped again and I cried, thats when I realised that my reality show on twitter was worth pursuing. From then I've been able to raise $2.5 million dollars for charity, 5 pepsi refresh grants, also Dan Marino who is an american football player who has a son with autism, I was able to coordinate with his team and get his topics trending worldwide and raise $100,000 for him in 72 hours. Then of course we have a full feature length documentary called the United States Of Autism that was funded through the pepsi refresh grant for $50,000.
You have a really healthy Twitter Following, would you say social media platforms where an integral part in what you do?
Absolutely. In the 6 years Ive been doing twitter, I've never seen a coordinated movement from the release of the information by Dr.hooker about Dr.Thompson and the recording, it looked like it was just going to fall flat with no mainstream media coverage. Then the families got together and decided to pursue that, and then we got over a billion impressions generated through the #CDCwhistleblower hash tag campaign, none of the discussion would have got this far without the social media impact.
Your the executive director of autism aid, can you tell me little more about that?
Autism aid is a venture where I've tried to form an umbrella group of service organisations and make that come to fruition where there was some sort of coordination of service. In America we still have to fight tooth and nail just to get services for people with autism. Autism aid was a lesson in struggling to put together a charity that really hasn't fulfilled its mission, at this point the individual groups I have coordinated with are holding their own but the charity is kind on hold until we actually are inline for getting resources from people who have passed away.
You have Aspergers yourself, how does that infringe on your every day life?
The advantages are is that my work product is at a level a lot people don't understand, I study autism and children's health 24 hours a day 7 days a week, so that's the positive. On the negative side, I'm gullible in the sense that some people have talked me into things over my life time that I shouldn't have got into, I have lost numerous jobs over the fact that that I don't gage social situations as well as i should have and I react somewhat explosively in the wrong situation, so if I'm cornered and a manager is using foul language, I might yell back in a certain situation.
What would you say to parents who are about give their children vaccines?
I am absolutely not anti vaccine, I am pro 'safe' vaccine. What we are looking at in the united states is that 54% of our children are sick. What we have done is traded acute disease for chronic illness, so if you add up autism, asthma, ADHD, obesity and so on, then 54% of our children are sick.
That's what I'm fighting for. When the polio vaccine was introduced, the only element of polio that was left was vaccine induced polio, when that happened, they went back and reworked the polio vaccine so they didn't have those polio induced vaccine injuries.
What i'm looking for, as the ever expanding vaccine schedule is going on, is to say something is happening in our environment when the United States is a first world country and it should have the healthiest population because it gives the most vaccines. In the United states we are down the scale as far as the general health of the public, so as far as a individual parent, my instructions to them is when your pregnant you don't have caffeine or smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol and do these things you are aware may damage your child.
When you go to get the vaccines make sure you know what each one is for and why they are giving it, when they are giving it and that your child is as healthy as they can be when they go in to get the vaccine. I am a firm believer that when you are given any medicine, you don;t give it all at the same time...you wouldn't go in and give yourself 10 shots at one time or 10 jabs at one time, so would you do that to the baby? The best thing is to space it out a little bit and see the reaction so you can understand what's happening with your child, thats a good thing to do in my mind.
If you go to tinyurl.com/htwvideos we've put together hundreds and hundreds of testimonies from parents.
In regards to mercury compounds, would you say that was a big culprit?
I really do believe mercury was a bigger issue, we fought to get the mercury out for the schedule for children in 2002 - 2003 of which most of it was removed from our schedule. The mercury issue is going to be very clouded because with the mercury taken out of the childhood schedule, the way we count people with autism in the united states is we look it 10 years after the fact, so our last really decent count was 8 year olds as of 2008. The next count that comes out would be very telling.
What they've done is, year ago in may they changed the DSM5, so they changed the diagnostic criteria for autism, they removed Aspergers from the DSM5 and moved it to social communication disorder so they could give more drugs for that disorder. But in total, from the diagnostic change we're predicting that the number dropping to 20 from 25 % - so cant compare apples to apples anymore because the diagnostic criteria is not the same, and so the next set of numbers that come out there will be a drop in the number of people in autism and they are going to say its because they did the diagnostic change, not because they took mercury out of the vaccines.
Why do you think the government is pushing so many vaccines all out once, especially when it has come to light it is an obvious danger?
I use this example, in America we had this bug gulf spill of oil and in the case of that we three distinct groups, we the culprits that spilled the oil, we had the general public and then we had the government. The government stepped in and said you did something to damage the people who need to set up a 20 billion dollar fund to help them, and then got them to clean up the environmental disaster.
In the case of autism and vaccines, the government is the organisation selling the vaccines - the government actually helps produce, fund and research the vaccines.
The pharmaceutical industry spends millions and millions of dollars each day lobbying to make something happen. What's happening right now in the united states is the US government can't figure out how to fund itself, we're on the verge of homeland security division not being funded at the federal level, but all of a sudden through the Ebola scare, thought the mumps scare, the measles scare - over 50 bills where introduced at a state level all containing similar language as far mandating vaccines.
So that couldn't have been done without the influence of some outside group coming and helping them with that legislation. The bottom line is, instead of having the separation between the people, the pharmaceutical industry and the government - instead the government and the pharmaceutical industry are one.