About Us

Welcome to the Brookston family blog. We'll post updates here on what's going on in our part of the world, and especially with our son, Porter, who has been diagnosed with some form of autism. Our hope is that this blog will help us deal with all the issues we'll be facing and keep our friends and family informed as well.

Jay B.

Sarah J.

Porter Brookston
born September 10, 2001

Alice Brookston
born July 7, 2004

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June 30, 2005

Shaun & Nico

Categories: Photos, J, Beer — J @ 8:25 pm

I spent the afternoon at San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery near the ballpark in China Basin. I was there to interview founders Shaun & Nico for a profile which will be in the next issue of the Celebrator Beer News. 21st Amendment’s five year anniversary is in August of this year.

Shaun & Nico in the front of their brewpub.

• • •

June 29, 2005

View-Master Brings People Together

Categories: Info, J, View-Master, Autism, Opinion — J @ 9:11 pm

Many of you know about my obsession/hobby of collecting View-Master reels. I recently met through a mutual friend, a woman in the Netherlands, Bernadette, who not only collects View-Masters but also has a son who’s autistic. Her son Coen is now 21 and lives in a care facility. He also has Tourette’s Syndrome which is fairly common; or at least it’s common that ASD is accompanied by some other behavioral/biological difficulty. My editor at the Marin IJ has a friend, Rick (who I’ve also met), whose son has Asperger’s Syndrome (one of the disorders on the autism spectrum) along with Tourette’s. Rick and his son live near Sacramento and things have been difficult for them.

I bring this up not only to introduce you to people we’ve met and have become important to us as we struggle with Porter’s ASD, but also to highlight the fact that autism is everywhere these days. Ten, fifteen years ago it was something you rarely, if ever, heard about or you associated it only with Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man. Today virtually everyone I know or come in contact with knows or is related to at least one person who’s autistic. Many of you, upon finding out about Porter last year commented to me that you knew someone else similarly afflicted. When I was a kid, a teen, even a young adult I knew not one person who was autistic. Not one. Yet a large portion of the medical community continues to pretend that this is not an epidemic. I was just forwarded yet another story in a medical journal “proving” that there is no epidemic and that it’s simply that doctors are better at diagnosing autism now than they used to be. I find it infuriating that people who have been entrusted with the care of my child and your child appear to care more about saving their own skins, reputations, etc. than owning up to what’s happening to an entire generation of children.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has an article in Rolling Stone and Salon.com that talks about the mounting evidence for the mercury-autism link (much of it is the same info that’s in David Kirby’s “Evidence of Harm”). ABC News (who gets a lot of advertising revenue from pharmaceutical companies) just last week pulled two interview/news pieces with RFK jr. and then after an outcry ran watered down versions of them with “experts” debunking him with no supporting evidence and without allowing any rebuttal. This is going to be a long battle before the medical community owns up to their monumental mistake. This will be considered the worst health blunder in American history and we’re currently exporting it to the rest of the world. Millions of thimerosal (it’s the mercury, stupid) laden shots have been sent around the globe as part of the UN & US’s foreign goodwill vaccine program. China, to take one example, had virtually no reported cases of autism until a few years after we started sending them vaccines. Today there are over 1.8 million autistic children in China.

This new study released today, published by Blackwell Publishing, would likely explain that away by saying that suddenly doctors in China figured out what autism is and that’s the reason that going from zero to 1.8 million is not an epidemic. Their study, and the many before it that have said essentially the same thing, have been effectively refuted time and time again by the simplest of logic. If there is no epidemic and the number of cases is not going up but we are simply diagnosing the existent cases better, then where are all the adult autistic children who were not diagnosed when the diagnostic standards were, well sub-standard? By their logic, there should be thousands or even millions of undiagnosed autistic older children and young and even middle-age adults all over the place. Where are they? Every 150 people you meet should be autistic if the numbers have not gone up. Every football or baseball game you attend should have literally hundreds of autistic people watching alongside you. Have you seen them? I haven’t, because they’re not there. This is the medical community trying to reassure an increasingly worried public and pretend nothing is wrong.

I know I sound like a conspriacy nut, and many of you know I am often open to accepting a view different from the status quo. So I would encourage you to read Kennedy’s article or, even better, spend the time to read Evidence of Harm. It’s a fascinating portrait of what happens when the best of intentions go horribly wrong and those who caused it are either unwilling to or incapable of owning up to it. Read them and then make your own mind.

Anyway, back to the reason for this post. Sarah and I have met some wonderful people over the last year who are all struggling with a son or daughter with ASD (though it affects boys 4-1 over girls). Most have been warm, compassionate souls and the bond created between parents of autistic children remind me of some of my closest friends where a bond was created out of a difficult, shared experience (like Army buddies, bad jobs, and the like). And although I wish there was a way to undo the harm done to Porter so that I could wake up and he’d be exactly the same as other kids his age, I wouldn’t want to change what a delightful, happy person he’s become. Though there are challenges and setbacks, every day also brings new joys. It’s hard to express how fortunate I feel to be able to be here for him and Alice every day. And I especially wouldn’t want to change how it’s matured me (stop laughing), strengthened my marriage and created so many close friendships.

My friend Bernie’s son Coen when he graduated from high school, talking to his favorite musician, who called to congratulate him.

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My Greaser Uncle

Categories: Photos, Family — J @ 7:40 pm

Hard to believe, but my Uncle Jim is a normal person. At least I thought he was. He’s an elementary school teacher. But apparently he’s also the Fonz.

In costume for a faculty play.

• • •

Paying the Piper

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 3:42 pm

After school, Porter still wanted to ride the yellow spaceship and I remembered there was a kids spaceship ride at the mall. When I suggested going in the black car (which is what he calls our station wagon) he became very excited. So we loaded up the car and headed for Cape Canaveral (a.k.a. the Mall). But as soon as we got to the parking lot, Porter’s focus shifted from yellow rockets to purple airplanes. I thought perhaps there was another ride I didn’t know about since his grandparents take him to the mall far more often than I do, but that wasn’t it. He made a beeline for the toy store and a shelf containing … you guessed it, a purple airplane.

Playing with the Southwest Airlines purple plane while enjoying some pizza.

Alice helping us finish our pizza crust.

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Do You Have a Dirty Mind?

Categories: Humor — J @ 2:33 pm

Do You Have a Dirty Mind? Check out this picture and post what you actually saw (no fibbing) using the comments feature of this post.

I confess that I never saw anything other than what I wasn’t supposed to.

• • •

Yellow Spaceship

Categories: News, Porter — J @ 8:33 am

Porter slept in this morning (why is always on weekdays and never weekends?) and I had to wake him up for school. He was none too thrilled by the prospect and the only way I was able to pique his interest was to tell him he was going for a ride on a yellow spaceship. This excited him at once and he became energized about his perceived journey to the stars. Did I mention he’s been watching Toy Story and Toy Story 2 a lot these days? Once he realized the deception as the school bus lumbered up the hill, Porter turned on the waterworks. Reluctantly he got on the bus, but was still crying as I waved goodbye. Damn, that didn’t work.

• • •

June 28, 2005

Afternoon Delights

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 2:19 pm

Afternoon was spent out on the deck playing in the sandbox.

Porter put his construction crew through its paces building a mountain and then a road.

Alice helps.

• • •

Playtime, Planetime

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 1:22 am

Tuesday was once again time for play-based learning with Joanne.

Joanne and Porter talk airplanes.

• • •

June 27, 2005

Summer School

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 8:00 am

Summer break is over (that was fast) and today Porter starts summer school.

Not terribly happy about returning to school.

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June 26, 2005


Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice, J, Sarah — J @ 5:29 pm

In the late afternoon we asked Porter if he’d like to go for a swim. We obviously touched a nerve because he immediately stripped right there in the living room. And once upstairs to get on our suits, we could not move fast enought to suit Porter. But eventually we made it across the street to the swimming pool.

Porter and me in the swimming pool.

Porter, Sarah and Alice enjoy the hot tub.

• • •

Kangaroo Brown

Categories: Photos, Porter, Art — J @ 4:39 pm

After Uncle Tuck and Debbie left, Porter asked to paint so we got out his art supplies. He asked Sarah to whip up a new color for him; kangaroo brown.

Porter paints a kangroo.

• • •

Uncle Tuck & Debbie

Categories: Photos, Porter, Family — J @ 2:21 pm

Porter’s favorite Uncle Tuck and his girlfriend, Debbie, stopped by today for a quick visit. Although it was hard to wrest Porter’s attention away from Toy Story 2, he was very happy to see everybody.

Debbie, Tucker & Porter.

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Cheerios Fiend

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 12:18 pm

Our little Alice has become a Cheerio fiend, gobbling them up by the ton. Drop some on the floor? No problem, then she’ll become a vacuum and eat them all up.

Mmmmm, Cheerios.

• • •

Greetings from Potatoland

Categories: Photos, Friends — J @ 11:58 am

I got an e-mail today from our friend Kristine, who lives in Boise, Idaho. Our other friends Nikki & Corey recently visited her in Idaho and she sent out some pictures from their trip.

Nikki and Kristine in front of the state capitol.

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June 25, 2005

Airplanes & Rocketships

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 4:22 pm

While Sarah started cleaning the kitchen in preparation for putting everything back, I played with the kids in Porter’s room and the three of us actually played together. Porter had a rocketship puppet and I had a red airplane puppet. We flew them around the room flying them into Alice and each other, to the delight of all.

Alice tries to wrest control of the rocketship from Porter as she assumes a commanding spot on top of him.

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