||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (August 2010)|
Rick Rollens (born 1950) is an American lobbyist with a client list including ARCA (Association of Regional Center Agencies/California Department of Developmental Services), Autism Speaks, and Applied Behavior Consultants. He is also a political consultant and identifies as an internationally known advocate for autism research. His specific focus in terms of research and advocacy is for those "full syndrome" autistic individuals. Prior to his son Russell's autism diagnosis, Rollens was the secretary of the California State Senate. Rollens resides in Granite Bay, California where he runs a lobbying/consulting business.
Rollens assisted in raising over $70 million to fund research efforts aimed at finding the causes and treatments for autism spectrum disorders. Rollens was instrumental in the founding of Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT) and the University of California, Davis M.I.N.D. Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders). Rollens is also a former board member of the Autism Society of America.
Rollens graduated from California State University, Northridge.
During a 23-year career working within the California State Legislature, Rollens served as a senator's chief of staff, as the chief consultant to the Senate Rules Committee, and as the director and creator of the state's Office of Senate Floor Analyses.
Rollens suspects his son Russell's autism was vaccine injury induced: "He had a physical reaction to those vaccines, including a high-pitched scream and days of high pitched crying and listlessness." After Russell's diagnosis in 1996, Rollens' life changed completely: his 23-year tenure with the Senate came to an end and he began to devote his working hours to the investigation of vaccine injuries and autism. In 2000, Russell's picture graced the cover of Time magazine. Russell and his parents were also featured in a Newsweek cover story on autism that year.
Prompted by his son's condition, Rollens testified before the California Legislature, "The system is a sham. When it comes to examining the question of the link between autism and vaccines, this same conflict ridden group continues to produce junk science [...] studies produced not to seek the truth, but to contain damage control over the growing concern that vaccines may in fact be causing autism. Even our own Department of Health Services, Immunization Branch is guilty of this deception."
Rollens is a co-founder of the M.I.N.D. Institute, founded in 1998. The center is a collaboration—between the parents of children with autism spectrum disorders and UC Davis researchers—who have united in a quest to find the causes of autism and treatment for neurodevelopmental disorders.
Rollens says just pouring money into traditional autism research would not get them very far, "If we were going to wait for mainstream medicine to get around to finding a cure for our kids, we would all be old and gray and our kids would outlive us in their condition." Rollens also says the mass vaccine system is "riddled with conflicts of interest, and driven by profits."
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- Dornin, Rusty (November 21, 2002). "California's autism mystery deepens". CNN. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
- "Russell's story, one child every three hours, the ultimate betrayal". VaccinationNews.com. January 23, 2002. Retrieved 2007-11-15. Rick Rollens testimony before the California State Senate Committee on Health and Human Services
- "Four Dads' Passion Leads to New University-Based Institute for Treating Autism and other Disorders: Team effort and relentless drive makes parents' vision a reality". UC Davis (Press release). California State Council on Developmental Disabilities. March 19, 1999. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
- Hamilton, Jon. "A New Approach to Autism: MIND Institute Sees Parents as Essential to a Cure". NPR.org. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
- Whitney, David (November 21, 2003). "Rapid spread of autism baffling: Increase creates a big financial burden for state, summit is told". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
- Rollens, Rick (October 13, 2005). "California Reports: New Autism Cases Continue To Decline - Decline coincides with the phasing out of mercury from childhood vaccines". VoiceOfTheEnvironment.org.