Grand Junction, CO Colorado

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January 1, 2009
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Grand Junction attorney joins state autism panel

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. " A Grand Junction grandfather on a new statewide autism commission wants to hear from people affected by the syndrome " people whose children have autism, people who teach children with autism, and people living with autism.

Larry Beckner, an attorney practicing in Grand Junction, is on the autism commission, the single member from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

Beckner volunteered for the spot because his grandson has autism.

"We have been living with autism nine years," Beckner said.

Beckner and others on the 24-member autism commission will hold two hearings in western Colorado in February to hear those stories. The dates, times and venues for the hearings will be announced.

"We want to find out what people in Colorado are experiencing. What services are available. What they need," Beckner said.

The goal is to prepare a 10-year plan for how to help people affected by autism. The commission has until October to prepare the report for the state.

"We have distinct problems over here," on the Western Slope, specifically less expertise than the Front Range, Beckner said.

Beckner cited "significant discoveries" in the last six months that show autism is preventable and curable.

"Most people know autism by 'Rain Man,' the Dustin Hoffman movie," Beckner said.

"But that doesn't really show what these kids go through."

It's a disorder with symptoms across the spectrum, from kids so severe they don't get out of bed to high-functioning children with few symptoms.

Many autistic children are unable to speak, some have gastrointestinal problems, are allergic to wheat, eggs and soy, have vision and speaking problems, and some are very withdrawn, Beckner said.

Some have "what we call meltdowns, where he goes into extraordinary fits of crying, very uncontrollable. They are just inconsolable. It is just absolute hell for the child and family," Beckner said.

Beckner and others believe the syndrome's cause is tied to heavy metals that are injected into the children from vaccinations they receive before their second birthday.

Children often get vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, hepatitis A and B, flu, pneumonia, and others. The vaccines had been preserved in solutions containing mercury, Beckner said, and now those vaccines are suspected in helping cause autism.

Flu shots also were preserved in a mercury solution, and when expectant mothers were given the shots, that exposed the babies to the metal, Beckner said.

Compounding the chances of getting autism, the child can have the MTFHR gene, which is defective in 5 to 10 percent of the population. The gene gives the body the ability to easily remove heavy metals from the system, so if it's defective, heavy metals can remain in the system, Beckner said.

Other genetic and environmental factors can affect autism, he said.

A protocol of special injections can help kids recover by lowering the level of metals and testosterone, Beckner said. That, added with a special diet can lead to "dramatic improvement."

Rather than two to three meltdowns every day, the child experiencing those, after treatment, is "virtually exempt," from them, experiencing two in the past three months, Beckner said.

After his treatment, another child with autism no longer required an individualized education program, or IEP, at the school he attended.

"We believe autism is preventable and recoverable," Beckner said.

One population that has "virtually no autism" is the Amish, which do not vaccinate their children, Beckner said.

Science still shows no connection between autism and vaccinations, Beckner said, but he believes there is. He does not oppose vaccinations. Instead, he advocates for preservatives containing metal to be removed from the vaccines.

Also, vaccines shouldn't all be given on one day.

People with questions about the hearings can call Beckner at 241-3049.

Reach Marija B. Vader at

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 1, 2009 01:20PM Published Jan 1, 2009 01:20PM Copyright 2009 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.