Sheri Marino MA, CCC-SLP

Sheri Marino MA, CCC-SLP

Director, Pediatric Health Initiatives | BIO

Part 4-The Special Ed Epidemic: Uncovering the Answers

At Focus for Health, our mission is to empower families with evidence-based knowledge to help them make the best medical decisions for themselves and their children.  Taking into account the latest research, FFH provides access to information that will enable readers to consider health risks related to environmental factors, nutrition, genetics, personal choices, and how they influence the development of chronic disease.

In this 4 part series, FFH has examined the special education epidemic, its crippling effects on the US economy, as well as housing and employment issues for individuals with disabilities once they age out of school. Now, let’s look at what could be causing this epidemic, and unlike the broken regulatory agencies and healthcare system, put an end to this crisis by  empowering the public with the knowledge to help make informed decisions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just announced that autism prevalence is up 16% with new data showing that 1 in 59 US children have autism.  Autism, developmental delays, and chronic illnesses including allergies and asthma are at an all-time high, affecting 1 in 6 children across the US. The CDC reports that disability costs our nation $400 billion annually in healthcare expenditures.  Autism alone is on track to cost the US $460 billion dollars annually by 2025. Genetic studies have failed to turn up genes responsible for allergies, asthma, autism, or ADHD, yet funding for research identifying environmental causes pales in comparison to funding for genetic studies.

Although genetics plays a role in many disease processes, environmental influences can be triggers that turn on those genes.  Known as epigenetics,  gene expression can be altered from exposures to environmental toxins which can lead to negative health outcomes.

While we may not be able to control our genetic make-up, knowing how certain genetic conditions may affect us and our offspring allows us to take every precaution possible to manage those conditions. Likewise, we may not be able to avoid all environmental toxins, however, if given essential information, individuals can make choices about what environmental risks they are willing to take to keep their total toxic load at a minimum.

A combination of genetic vulnerability and environmental exposures creates susceptibilities for oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, endocrine disruption, and chronic inflammation ultimately leading to immune dysregulation.

Toxins are found in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the products we use, and the vaccines we inject.

If manufacturers like Monsanto (being purchased by Bayer for $62.5 billion) monopolize the food industry, our right to make healthy food choices free of toxins such as pesticides and herbicides is significantly reduced.

If the pharmaceutical industry is not effectively managed by regulatory agencies, we will continue to be manipulated by advertisements for those very same medications which are responsible for poor health outcomes in our children.

If our state governments continue on the path of mandating vaccines, we lose our choice to say no to medical procedures which contain neurotoxins such as mercury and aluminum.

Taking control of our health and the destinies of our offspring starts with having the basic human right to do so. That begins with having essential information which empowers us to make the best decisions for ourselves and our children, and that ends when our basic human rights are taken from us. For all medical procedures, this is the basis of informed consent.

WHAT DOES THE SCIENCE SAY?

Through an extensive review of the research, FFH presents a collection of science-based theories on the causation of chronic disease and developmental disability. Individuals are not always informed of their risks by the medical community. While some risks are unavoidable, FFH believes knowledge is power and with access to information, individuals can learn what their risks are to make better healthcare decisions to potentiate positive outcomes, and ultimately protect vulnerable children.

Many theories below are controversial because scientific studies sometimes contradict each other. This could be due to many factors including sample size, bias, and sometimes interpretation. When studies continue to show evidence supporting both sides, the science is not settled.  When it comes to protecting our children’s health, minimizing risks should be the only thing that is mandatory.

CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO REVIEW THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE THEORIES:

  • environmental

    Environmental Exposures

    Toxins exist naturally in the environment, however, toxin exposure has increased in developed countries due to…
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  • diet

    Diet:

    According to the CDC, more than half of children worldwide ages 6 months to 5 years suffer from one or more micronutrient deficiencies…

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  • EMF

    Electromagnetic Fields (EMF):

    Electromagnetic radiation exists naturally in the environment.However, the expansion of technology in the 20th Century has introduced an increasing number of manmade..

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  • aluminum

    Aluminum

    Aluminum is neurotoxic. Aluminum exposure has been associated with disorders including Alzheimer’s and autism.

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  • mercury

    Mercury

    Dental amalgams have been used for the past 150 years by the dental industry to fill cavities.

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  • MIA

    Maternal Immune Activation (MIA)

    During pregnancy, the developing fetus is vulnerable to the mother’s normal biological response to immune challenge.

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  • autoimmune

    Autoimmune Disease

    Autoimmunity occurs when the immune system mistakenly targets the body’s own cells, tissues, or organs as opposed to foreign antigens invading the body.

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  • MTHFR

    MTHFR Mutations

    Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is a gene that is responsible for producing an enzyme that converts folic acid to methylfolate, a bioavailable form of vitamin B9.

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  • meds

    Medication Use During Pregnancy

    Prescription drugs may impact the fetus through several mechanisms.

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  • ear infections

    Chronic Ear Infections

    Ear infections are bacterial or viral infections that occur in the middle ear.

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  • csections

    Cesarean Deliveries

    Cesarean deliveries (CD’s) have risen by 48% since 1996, and now account for 32% of all births in the U.S.

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  • breastfeeding

    Breast Feeding

    Breastfeeding is important for a baby’s health. It provides the baby with necessary nutrients, helps to strengthen the baby’s immune system, and promotes growth.

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  • LBW

    Low Birth Weight

    The average baby weighs 8 pounds. Any baby born less than 5 pounds and 8 ounces is considered low birth weight.

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  • stress

    Chronic Stress During Pregnancy

    Since maternal immune response, absent of infection in the fetus, can cause harm to the fetal brain, maternal stress therefore creates vulnerability.

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  • testosterone

    High Testosterone

    Hormones play a central role in body functions and processes, including growth and development, behavior, metabolism, reproduction, and fetal development.

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  • advancedage

    Advanced Parental Age

    Researchers believe there are many associations with parental age at the time of conception and its deleterious effects on children’s health.

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Sheri Marino MA, CCC-SLP

Director, Pediatric Health Initiatives

Sheri is a pediatric speech and language pathologist with over 25 years of clinical experience specializing in autism. As the Director of Pediatric Health Initiatives for the Focus for Health Foundation, Sheri contributes her clinical expertise authoring articles on autism and other chronic health issues and also manages the pediatric health grantees. Sheri’s professional experiences help guide the Foundation’s mission addressing chronic health issues related to environmental causes. Sheri also serves as the Executive Director of The Autism Think Tank, NJ, a non-profit organization which offers medical videoconferences with a team of renowned medical experts who collaborate on medically complex cases of autism around the globe. She is the founder of Rocking Horse Rehab, a pediatric rehabilitation and family wellness center specializing in therapy services for children with various disabilities including, autism, cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, brain tumors, and rare syndromes, neuromuscular and psychiatric disorders. Sheri has been featured on CBS News, NBC News, NJN and multiple cable networks.

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