Autismum

By day: mum of an autistic tot. By night: mum of an autistic tot.

MMR and Autism – Our Story

This is a story like ones that thousands upon thousands of mothers with autistic children could tell about what happened when their child had the MMR vaccine. It is one that, mostly, goes untold – even in the middle of a measles outbreak when parents are being strongly urged to vaccinate their children.

A sunny Wednesday afternoon in the Spring of 2009: a mother sits in a doctor’s office, a chubby-cheeked one year old on her lap. The family doctor looks at his notes and asks Mam to confirm the birth date of the wriggling baby boy. Mam replies. “Happy Birthday little man!” the doctor beams. “Now, if you’ll just roll up his sleeve, we can let him get back to his birthday cake.” Mam complies and the MMR vaccine is injected. To the surprise of mother and doctor, the child laughs.

Evening: birthday cake is brought to the birthday boy. He recoils, crying.

Ten days later: the tot wakes in the night, sobbing. His temperature is a little high so Mam administers paracetamol and cwtches (Welsh cuddles – our greatest export).

Age two years and four months: the boy, centre of his Mammy and Daddy’s world, is diagnosed as severely autistic.

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Coincidence..?

YES!

My son has autism. It is part of who he is. He never looked at or ate his birthday cake but then that’s more or less what Dad and I had expected when we got it. He was hot and grumpy some days after the jab but the next morning was fine. That’s what happens when the body mounts its immune response to the vaccine. He was giggly, happy and autistic before he got the MMR shot and, almost four years on, he still is.

I won’t go into the details of the 1998 Wakefield paper or how it was subsequently discredited and its odious author proved a fraudster – Brian Deer has done a far better job of that than I could ever do. Before the Wakefield paper, many people’s idea of autism came from the film Rain Man. Released in 1988 it starred Dustin Hoffman in the role of autistic Raymond, brother of the flashy and trashy Charlie, played by Tom Cruise. The very idea of the ‘idiot savant’ intrigued film goers and is greatly responsible for promulgating the fallacy that genius skill or talent and low IQ are characteristics of autism. Television did little around this time to educate the public otherwise. Depictions were also limited to savants such as artist, Stephen Wiltshire as in the 1987 BBC documentary series within a series, The Foolish Wise Ones (part of the much missed Q.E.D. programme) that focussed autistic savants.

Now, though, autistic children were labelled as poisoned, full of toxins that had to be removed. The very existence of autistic adults was being denied. Parents described their children, the once perfect repositories of their hopes and dreams, as “soul-less” and like “zombies.” Empty children, dead behind the eyes, a financial and emotional impediment to the rest of their family’s happiness and well being. As the parent activist’s voices grew louder, a few individuals used to public attention seized the chance to escape impending obscurity and become spokespeople for parents of autistic children. It was then the children themselves began to disappear and their mothers (usually) took centre stage.

Possibly the most famous anti-vaccine activist in the US  is Jenny McCarthy. She has a son possibly misdiagnosed with autism. She holds a degree in autism, its causes and treatments from “The University of Google.” In the UK, we have Polly Tommey, another actress whose biggest parts seem to have been as a body double. She is unapologetic in her support for swindler Andrew Wakefield and has recently moved to Texas to be at her hero’s side peddling their reality TV wares. She, too, has a son with autism. Aside from their out and out rejection of well conducted science, both women insist that vaccines can and do cause autism. The latest measles outbreak in South Wales attests just how damaging an idea this is for public health. Young children, more than most, are likely to suffer complications of this infection which include pneumonia, SSPE and death.

Another notion both these women seem to accept as true is that autism can be cured by “treatments” offered by groups with which they are closely associated. These range from the benign but useless, for example bathing in epsom salts to the equally ludicrous but potentially deadly chelation. In between these two extremes you’ll find restrictive diets, enzymes supplements, mega doses of vitamins,  chemical castration and bleach enemas. Frighteningly and frustratingly, it is these two purveyors of unproven and even fraudulent science who appear on TV, are interviewed on radio and profiled in papers and magazines every time a story about autism makes the news. Tommey has even had the ear of the UK’s former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. They claim to speak for the parents of autistic children even though parents who disagree with their causation theories of autism are berated.  As Dr Paul Offit puts it,

“A special kind of venom [is reserved for] parents of autistic children who do not believe vaccines are at fault.”

So, with long queues outside vaccination clinics in South Wales, could it be that parents are beginning to see the light and the error of their folly?  The WHO had  hoped  measles could be eradicated in Europe by 2015. The realisation of that hope would be an achievement indeed. While this will be of enormous benefit to public health, autistic children whose parents subscribe to Tommey and McCarthy’s way of thinking will still suffer not because of measles, mumps or rubella but from the effects of the ‘treatments’ and ‘therapies’ based on the flawed science of the vaccine-autism debate. They talk of battling autism. They are  battling their own children.

Whether an autistic child is deprived of the food they love, on a gluten and casein free diet or have their health and their lives put at risk being chelated, their suffering will continue long after the vaccine debate is finally over.

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78 comments on “MMR and Autism – Our Story

  1. Thank you so much. My son is autistic, and a dental hygienist examining him once asked me, “Do you feel guilty for getting him vaccinated?” She then went on to explain that her sister’s children are not autistic *because they hadn’t been vaccinated*. I left the office in tears, feeling like I should apologize for having a living child with autism, rather than a neurotypical child dead from whooping cough. I’m so tired of feeling like I have to apologize to other parents for being pro-vaccine.

    • Kristen
      10 April, 2013

      That was uncalled for by the hygienist. I’m in the US and would have filed a formal complaint with every board, regulatory agency and my insurance company. And I know what I would have said, “your job is to clean teeth, mine is to be his mother. You would obviously fail at my job so let’s see how well you do yours.” But I would be upset too.

    • Autismum
      10 April, 2013

      I’m really frustrated that every time an autism parent is asked to comment on the Swansea area measles outbreak that it’s always one who fell for Andrew Wakefield’s lies. It’s giving parents a bad name!

    • Utterly disgusting. That hygeinist should be sacked. What are her medical qualifications? None, I’m guessing.

    • Blobette
      10 April, 2013

      What’s with dental hygenists? Mine had a look at my file and asked me in disbelief: “you’re breastfeeding on Paxil???”
      – um, yes…
      – did someone prescribe you that?
      – yes. My GP.
      – do you realize you’ putting your baby at risk? I’ve seen something on TV, he could die you know, or remain brain-damaged. Please research it.
      – … Well, I’ll give it a thought.
      It was completely false, of course. And so exactly the thing to tell a new mother with PPD.

      • Autismum
        10 April, 2013

        The awful, ignorant things people say! I was told by one mum that I may as well keep vaxxing “the damage is done.”

    • Nigel Harris
      11 April, 2013

      I am an Autistic adult and the Dad of two Autistic children. You have absolutely *nothing* to apologize to other parents for, Jenny. The dental hygienist has every reason to apologize, as has *any* parent who has anything other than respect for you as a Mum of an Autistic child.

    • Laura
      14 April, 2013

      Jenny, I have had to lift my jaw off the ground reading this. I am truly gob smacked by this person’s remark. I have two boys, both on the spectrum and both had all their vaccines. May I just point out that these people that feel they have the right to “judge” you are the very ones that would be pounding down the doors for vaccines if they didn’t exist. Only for the fact the the majority do tend to vaccinate they have the luxury of choice. Disgusting! I hope you never went back and I’m sure a letter of complaint to the Dental board or who ever they are could be in order. There are an awful lot of folk out there making a bundle of money from Autism. I read my children and their needs, no one knows them better.

    • kerrie may
      6 January, 2014

      Don’t feel bad! A childhood friend of mine died 30 yrs ago from measles…his family was devastated. You can bet your bottom dollar that if the vaccines had been available then, our parents would have rushed out to get them!My older sister was born severely autistic….45 years ago…nope, can’t blame the vacccines for that one! Wasn’t around then! I had my child vaccinated because some of my older relatives caught rubella and went completely deaf!

  2. Kristen
    10 April, 2013

    My child was born with autism. No doubt in my mind. Long before an MMR she had some bizarro sensory issues. And she never once looked for our faces. And it certainly did not make it worse. And that quote, “A special kind of venom [is reserved for] parents of autistic children who do not believe vaccines are at fault.” is so correct. So painfully correct.

  3. Donna
    10 April, 2013

    What a fantastic piece, my son has Aspergers, ironically be was one of the last to have the 3 separate vaccines (as he is allergic to eggs) but was vaccinated in the middle of the media frenzy – lots of people ask me what I think and it’s pretty much the same as what I’ve just read, my thoughts are not so well articulated!
    Strangely as soon as I read that your son laughed during his jab I was fairly sure I knew what was coming, my own son does not react to pain at all and at a similar age had laughing fits whilst they removed his hernia operation stitches as ‘it tickled’!! Of course I didn’t learn till later what it meant but you have struck a cord. Thank you

    • Autismum
      10 April, 2013

      Thank you so much.
      The Pwd seems to love the strangest of sensations and likes to get me to scratch his tongue!

  4. Robin
    10 April, 2013

    This, absolutely this. I have an autistic child and we were able to see the signs of autism from the time he was eight *months* old. Oh, and did I mention he didn’t get his first vaccine until he was three *years* old? There is NO way any vaccine could have caused his autism.

    It makes me livid when parents see their autistic kids as being less amazing, less worthy of love, or less worthwhile than neurotypical kids. I’ve lost friends by pointing out that if someone’s willing to try chelation (which has already killed one child), they’re willing to risk killing their child in hopes of getting a different kid. That isn’t love, and it’s sick.

    • Darwy
      10 April, 2013

      The really pathetic part is – even if the child was unvaccinated when they were diagnosed with autism, it must therefore be YOUR vaccines that you had during childhood (or pregnancy) which ’caused’ it.

      It’s always the vaccines. It’s never NOT the vaccines with those mental midgets.

      • nikki
        26 April, 2013

        Oh wow. I guess I hadn’t ventured deep enough into the jungle of absurdity that is the world of anti-vax parents. So even the parents’ vax are blamed?
        It appears to me that this One fateful study by quax Wakefield is the straw parents want to cling to because they just can’t live with the fact that They have actually produced an autistic child. I am myself not exactly embracing the “gift of Asperger’s”. Autism as a condition is a social handicap in a neuro-typical world. Our live evolves around the anxieties and obsessions of my son.
        But. As with anything, acceptance and adjustments go a long way. Not guilt, not blaming others, or submitting your child to medievial “therapies” or wasting time, energy and money on campaigns based on lies.

      • Nigel Harris
        26 April, 2013

        I am Autistic and I never had the MMR. My mother didn’t have the MMR. The parents of my two Autistic half cousins didn’t have the MMR. And I have two Autistic children both of whom were diagnosed *before* they had the MMR. Neither of my maternal or paternal Grandparents had the MMR.

  5. cannabisforautism
    10 April, 2013

    Recently, a lot of people have stopped thinking it’s possible for vaccines to cause autism because of this study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22926922

    Those lungs develop in week 4/5 of pregnancy, to save you looking it up ;)

  6. Zabster
    10 April, 2013

    My mother was very anxious about my health when I was a child for reasons to do with illness in her family of origin. She tried to improve my health with restrictive diets. An alternative medicine claim at the time was “You crave the foods you are allergic to.” She extended this to “If my daughter likes a food she must be allergic to it.” Any time she saw any sign of sickness–from a sore throat to sleep in my eyelashes when I woke up–she would run through a list of what I had eaten the day before and say, “You really liked the corn on the cob, you won’t be eating that again.” Did this solve any health or behavior problems? No. It profoundly damaged my relationship with my mother and resulted in my developing lasting problems in eating sensibly. This isn’t love, it is a need to control another.

    • Autismum
      10 April, 2013

      Totally agree! I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

      • Zabster
        11 April, 2013

        Thank you! :-)

  7. Katy
    11 April, 2013

    I delayed the MMR, son had his first shot at 5 yrs and the second a little while later. I thought by doing this I would have been able to tell that he had autism before the injection. However I didn’t pick up any signs so I often wonder did he get it afterwards? Looking back now I know a lot of the behaviours of toddlers with autism I realise that he probably did have autism at 2 or 3 but I didn’t spot the signs. So glad I delayed though, or I would be feeling guilty.

  8. Sonia Waterston
    11 April, 2013

    Thankyou for this. I am a nurse who vaccinates and also a mum of a 12 year old non ‘neurotypical child’ although not autism. I have two issues. Firstly ‘vaccine damage’. I love my son and love his quirks. Implicit in this title and relating to autism is that children who aren’t traditionally ‘normal’ are damaged. Erm no not the case at all. My second is on the debates I have with parents a common conversation is my “my child was highly intellegant and performing tasks infact he could sit for a long time on tasks and developing well prior to the mmr.” Ok so really your child is and was showing signs of high functioning autism prior to vaccine then. Sorry…

  9. Lucy Cox
    11 April, 2013

    Thanks for this. I have 2 kids, one is on the spectrum. They were both vaccinated. I am sick of people asking me about vaccines. I think it’s all part of the ‘Oh what a tragedy! Lets try to fix them’ mindset. Autism is much more complex than that and our kids are not broken.

  10. Elise Hokman
    11 April, 2013

    I appreciate how well you articulated the issues. Thank you!

  11. Tanis Sutter
    11 April, 2013

    Oh, thank you so much for this! I am so tired of people telling me it’s my fault my daughter has Autism. I vaccinated both my daughters. One came out ‘normal’, one came out not so normal. We go on with life without playing a blame game. What is is. We get the…why did you vaccinate your kids? Don’t you know you are poisoning them? Why not take her off gluten…it will cure her Autism. But why change my daughter? She is who she is and that’s all that matters!

  12. Lauren @ the VEC
    11 April, 2013

    Thank you to the author and the commenters for sharing your stories; these are important messages to get out. If you are not familiar with our Q and A sheet that goes through the science of the autism and vaccines controversy, you can download it here: (http://bit.ly/VaccinesAndAutism). You are welcome to make photocopies or share the link. Hopefully, you will find it useful during those times when you are confronted with questions about your support of vaccines.

    • Autismum
      11 April, 2013

      Thank you for that! I was on a conference call with Dr Offit yesterday. He is so generous with his time and such a lovely man to talk to.

  13. Wicked
    12 April, 2013

    You’re all kind of wrong…but whatever. There is nothing wrong with a GFCF diet – it’s actually very healthful. Also, NO anti-depressant is safe for a child…so think about YOU before you JUDGE the rest.

    • Autismum
      12 April, 2013

      No one has said their child is on antidepressants. Restricted diets have not been shown to benefit anyone except those with medical conditions that prevent the proper breakdown of, say gluten. In fact, restricting the diet of children prone to self restricting can lead to malnutrition and food phobia/avoidance but thank you for your comment.

      • elburto
        25 April, 2013

        You deserve a medal for the patience you display with these creatures.

        Keep being one of the strongest voices against this kind of rubbish!

        Cwtches to you and Pwd for all of the work you do.

      • Autismum
        25 April, 2013

        Cwtches right back and diolch yn fawr xx

      • nikki
        26 April, 2013

        I agree with this. People mean well by proposing all kind of restrictive diet to me – I am glad we have worked our way to relative high food diversity (and away from severe constipation). I am rather blunt when they propose gluten-free etc as obviously, they know even less about it than me. And I don’t know much about it because my child has autism, not a gut disorder.

  14. Shannon
    12 April, 2013

    You are so much more gracious in dealing with this than I am. I don’t have any children on the autism spectrum (I’m due with my second this upcoming July), but I have every intention of vaccinating and the anti-vax movement infuriates me. Thank you for speaking out. It sounds like you have a precious little boy! :)

    • Autismum
      12 April, 2013

      My son is absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for your comment and the very best wishes to you and your bump! It’s such an exciting but exhausting time.

  15. caroline
    13 April, 2013

    Thank you for this article and your positivity about autism – knowledge, patience and love is power when dealing with this!

  16. SueC254
    14 April, 2013

    Your blog is beautifully written. Simply wonderful. I wish there was more of this calibre of thoughtful and intelligent writing on the Internet. All the best to you and your family.

  17. Dee Cee
    14 April, 2013

    No vaccinations because, hey, being autistic, blind, deaf and/or brain damaged is soooo preferable to being just autistic…

  18. Gingerheaddad
    15 April, 2013

    I enjoyed the content and commentary of this post. The use of humour is always a great antidote to bad judgement. I have never heard of Polly Tommey before and I am not going find out more about herr.

    • Autismum
      15 April, 2013

      Thanks!

  19. Meg
    16 April, 2013

    This post is beautifully written and there needs to be more like this out there! The anti-vaccine movement is hurting and even killing children every year and pro-vaccine people need to step forward and put the right information out there! I am a college student and I made a vaccine PSA for my immunology class. I would love it if you would watch it and share it with as many people as you can. We need to get this information out there so parents can protect their children. Here is my video, enjoy!:

    • Autismum
      16 April, 2013

      This is great. I’ll share on my fb page and twitter. Thank you for sharing!

    • Sue
      4 January, 2014

      That video was the worst. It has no evidence to support its claims.

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  21. nikkinikk
    26 April, 2013

    Great personal insight, still with lots of facts. Read and spread your excellent article on sceptoid – so powerful. My son was vaccinated double, as the Australian VAC plan did not acknowledge his initial French MMR ( pure 12 months) then. Yes, I was a bit concerned when I heard about “the debate”. But a clear head, serious research based on actual scientific markers, reassured me pretty soon. My son has Asperger’s and the first clear signs of his autism occurred by the time he was 4 – 5.
    After the vacc ? Yes. But actually, when the other kids’ social behaviour started to be more complex and harder to decode for him! He is still very comfortable with toddlers today, more than any NT 7 yo would be. It all makes sense.
    I know his autism is not caused by vaccins because I have done my homework and science does ONGOING research to correct the ONE fraudulent “study” that confuses so many parents. The anti-vax movement on the other hand is an insult to the intelligence of any thinking person at the least and a tremodous danger to the public health of ALL at it’s worst.
    (From Australia, where pockets of non-vax populations are growing and the first local epidemies of measles and whooping cough have been observed)

    • Autismum
      26 April, 2013

      Thank you so much!

  22. Fiona Summers
    28 April, 2013

    Great blog. As a respite carer I’m sick of the anti vaccine crowd calling the children I work with damaged.
    I’ve seen the issues caused by restrictive diets ( one of my kids ended up with serious behaviours because that when he was younger, he ended up putting his arm through a window due to frustration) and overly optimistic and dubious therapies.
    The time and money wasted on the debunking could have been spent on proper programs to assist the families.

  23. chrisw
    28 April, 2013

    I’m confused, I thought the injections where given in the leg in young children, not the arm?

    • Autismum
      28 April, 2013

      They are given into soft tissue. Some people prefer to give them in the thigh some in the arm. It makes no difference.

    • Darwy
      1 May, 2013

      I had all mine in the arm, as did my daughter. My son had his in the leg (he has my thighs).

  24. Louisa
    28 May, 2013

    When our little boy, Daniel, were diagnosed with autism just after his fouth birthday, it came right out of the blue! We knew his speech was impaired, but we are both South Africans, living in the UK, so Afrikaans is what we speak at home. Everybody else speaks English, so we thought it was just language confusion. Though I am a qualified nurse and we have touched on autism during my training, I too thought about autism more in relation to the movie ‘Rainman’. Daniel would also have panic attacks when we went anywhere near automatic car washes. One time our car was in for a service and we were given a courtesy car!!!! He would not get into that car. He was kicking and screaming, we thought he was just naughty. After the diagnoses, we understood that it was part of his being autistic. I knew about the Wakefield report, but was not convinced that vaccinations had anything to do with children having autism, so Daniel has had all his vaccinations on time. After he was diagnosed, everything I read about autism, suggested to me that it was a genetic disorder. Looking back, and talking it over with my Mum, I have a suspicion that my Dad was autistic and I think my older brother has it as well. Daniel is 7 years old now and he is going to a special school now. He is doing really well and we are really proud of him. It is good to know that I am not alone in my believes that vaccinations have nothing to do with autism.

  25. Monkfish
    16 July, 2013

    Sadly, the attitude of a lot of people is that ASD are something “wrong” with the person, not a simple case of their brains being wired a bit different. While some of my Asperger’s son’s behaviours may be difficult at times, he’s a loving, sweet little boy and I could never pretend there was anything “wrong” with him at all. He is himself, unique and wonderful, if he didn’t have his little eccentricities he wouldn’t be him. But because there’s this “they’re broken” attitude in our society, there’s that guilt a lot of parents feel. And guilty people search for scapegoats. “It was this vaccine, this food, they have this imbalance” clutching at straws for a way to “fix” their “broken” child. It’s a dangerous attitude and one that I believe really does your child a massive disservice. How horrible to grow up believing you’re damaged and imperfect? Life is hard enough without feeling like your parents think you’re broken.

    My mother constantly searches for “cures”, my sister is big on the alternative therapies and while they work for her and her kids, such restrictions feel like a lot of work and an unnecessary step for my son. I don’t believe restricting his diet will do anything other than make his eating habits WORSE. Only thing i’ve seen any difference in him with is Omega 3 supplements which seem to increase his appetite but that’s likely totally unrelated to his asd. When he’s on them, he eats better but whether that’s because he believes he should or because i’m so desperate to see any solution to his eating (which concerns me more than any other of his “issues” because he’s SO thin and I get concerned for his heath) that i’m seeing something that isn’t even there.
    My mother keeps trying to suggest mega doses of vitamins and I can’t help but get uncomfortable with the idea. A fair few of these bottles have warnings about not exceeding the stated dose and she’s talking triple what the bottles say is safe!?? I’m not taking that risk. Kidney and liver damage isn’t worth it for what’s most likely a placebo effect anyway. My concession to shut her the hell up was a 1 and a half dose of omega and the dietician suggested single iron supplement. But even the dietician is peeving me off by refusing to do any tests into WHY my son is so thin. Aspergers is not a explanation for his weight! But they see “asd” on his chart and suddenly it’s the explanation for every single thing. “Oh he’s not sleeping well? Asd.” “oh not gaining weight? Asd.” it’s really annoying. Do some blood tests, run some scans, find out if it’s just genetic or if there’s an underlying medical issue!

    Anyway, Eldest son showed signs of being a bit unusual well before his MMR and I knew the MMR would make no difference. There was never any doubt in my mind it was fine and when he finally got a diagnosis my only thought was “Well that’s ironic given my staunch support of the MMR”. I recall getting into a massive fight with a science teacher over the subject in college. she was very anti the MMR, I had done my damn research and told her precisely what I thought. This was at the height of the scare and even back then it was obvious to me that it was just scaremongering under the guise of science. The general public are, unfortunately, pretty damn stupid (no offence, but we are) and searching for someone or something to blame for anything they perceive as “wrong” with their kids. Allergies, autism, depression… you look, you can find all sorts of psudoscientific claims that it’s “an allergy to blah” or “heavy metals in your body” etc etc. Hell even the whole “they put toxins in the drinking water!” scares. The science simply doesn’t support these wild theories. If autism and MMR were linked, we’d have seen a drop in Autism when MMR uptake dropped. We never did, in fact, Autism cases rose because we got better at diagnosing those with particular needs. 10 years ago my son would have just been “Hyperactive and inattentive” and labelled as “difficult”. He’d have had no support and for that i’m rather thankful he does have a statement. The problem is, as soon as a kid has a statement they get all the stigma that comes with it.

    How many of us have had that same pitying look from other parents when you say “oh yeah, he has aspergers/autism”?
    How many have heard “oh have you tried….?”

    I admit, i was in denial for quite some time. At nursery they started talking “autism” around 2 or 3 years and I thought “no, he doesn’t show those severe traits!” and he doesn’t. I took him to meetings with other children on the spectrum and felt validated in seeing how much higher functioning he was, hearing the other parents talk about being unable to leave the house and so on made me think “My kid is fine” but I think I just didn’t want to be told he was anything but the perfect little baby I saw at home. In a class environment (read: Artificial environment bah) his difficulties come to the forefront. At home the only real sign he’s anything but a train obsessed happy little boy is his running back and forward banging things when he’s overwhelmed/tired. So I never saw the things his teachers saw, I had parent blinders on. I still don’t believe he’s as “terrible” as his school likes to make out anyway. His class teacher and his one on one support seem to have a very different attitude toward his behaviour and progress than his head teacher does. I dislike the head immensely, she’s got a real attitude about how he should be in a specialist provision and my feeling is that’s simply because he’s “too much work” for them and they want rid of him.

    But my point I suppose is, as parents we don’t want to admit our kid is anything but amazing and perfect and fantastic. Any suggestion otherwise scares us and causes a knee jerk reaction. Be it “how dare you suggest my asd kid is anything but awesome!” to guilt because you feel like there was something you could do to change it. We either accept and support, or we look for blame and cures. I’m more the former group, as it seems a lot of people here are. There’s nothing wrong with my child, it’s the world that’s wrong for him. But I take comfort in knowing he’s happy. His happiness is paramount to me. The moment he tells me he doesn’t like school anymore because he’s finding it too hard, is the point we look into specialist provisions. Until that point, he’s staying where his friends are and where he’s happy to skip to school every morning. I admit it breaks my heart when he tells me he “can’t control his brain” because i can see it causes him distress. And I do wish I could help him, but I know subjecting him to restrictive diets and crackpot procedures would just further his anxiety and his feelings of being “wrong”. I don’t want to mess with his self worth like that, it isn’t fair on him.

    • Autismum
      17 July, 2013

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. It seems you and I think pretty similarly.
      The Pwd doesn’t eat but he has a prescription supplement called paediasure. It has fibre in it and contains all the nutrients he needs and his weight is good and steady (a little light for his height but not far off). Maybe that is worth looking into.
      The three of us, Pwd, hubby and I were in a car accident a few years ago and though he wasn’t hurt, the Pwd was separated from us for two weeks because we really were broken. His behaviour changed from clingy with me to totally obsessed. No one has taken my suggestion that this is PTSD seriously and just writes it off as “just autism”. I feel your frustration.
      You sound like a fantastic parent and one that your child is able to confide his feelings in. He is lucky to have you xx

    • Louisa
      23 September, 2013

      Daniel too has some eating issues. It is very difficult to get him to eat anything but bread and cheese and yogurts and pasta. If it looks like it may be healthy, he won’t have anything to do with it! Recently he has added tuna mayo and pizza to what he will eat voluntarily, but supper is always a time of stress for him. He usually refuse to eat, but will often eat a little if I feed him, though he is perfectly capable of feeding himself. Cereal in the morning is not a problem at all, he feeds himself happily, but come supper time it is a nightmare and often his dad gets a bit irate which upsets Daniel and then he won’t eat at all.

  26. Martin C
    1 August, 2013

    I am confused. This is a story about the MMR vaccine causing Autism? Why would the Mother put, ” ….he was giggly, happy and autistic before he got the MMR shot……”.

    • Autismum
      1 August, 2013

      No, this is a story about the MMR being a non event. My son is autistic and would be with or without the MMR

  27. Heather
    22 September, 2013

    Hi there,
    I really enjoyed your story. My son is almost three and recently diagnosed with ASD. Like you, we were lucky enough to see symptoms before the MMR shot was ever given. At 11 mos, our son would sit for hours repeatedly putting blocks through the slots on his crib, with absolutely no interest in the world around him. I say ‘lucky’ because I feel it must be so hard for parents that see no warnings until they willingly have an MMR shot injected into their kids arms – and blame themselves for allowing it to happen.
    All that said, I’m not sure the rubella and autism connection should be dismissed quite yet. Just out of curiousity, did you have full immunity to rubella when you were pregnant with your son. If not did you get a post-partumn MMR booster? I know these are personal questions, but I’m trying to determine if they is a connection with other autistic moms that may warrent further study.
    I apologize if these are far too invasive questions, I’m just a mom who is testing a thought that I’ve been thinking about way too much.

    All the best,
    Heather

    • Autismum
      23 September, 2013

      I don’t mind answering. I had both measles and mumps as a child. I remember my twin sis and I whining because our mum wouldn’t let us have the telly on in case it damaged our eyes. We were 6.
      I think I had rubella at 8 but it was very mild. I got the rubella vaccine as all girls did at 12.
      I was not offered the flu shot during pregnancy and got flu which then turned into pneumonia at 33 (I think) weeks. I was in hospital for days and it was horrendous. I don’t remember too much about it apart from crazy fever dreams!

      • Heather
        23 September, 2013

        Thanks for the quick reply. Sounds like you would have likely had immunity to Rubella, but I guess you wouldn’t know for sure unless tested. In my province, it seems all first time pregnant women are tested for immunity as part of the basic blood work. During my first pregnancy with my autistic son, I was tested and had no protection, so at my son’s 4 month immunization appointment, I also got an MMR shot. There didn’t seem to be any concern about the fact I was breastfeeding.

        I am once again pregnant, and by mistake, my doctor had me tested again for Rubella immunity and once again despite getting a shot 2 1/2 years ago, I still don’t have immunity. I guess normally they wouldn’t test again, because they assume you have immunity if you received a shot.

        I don’t know, I think its weird, that there have been studies about elevated levels of rubella antibodies in a higher portion of children with autism than without and that I seem to have some weird issue with my bodies not producing rubella antibodies even after a shot.

        Anyway, I am in no way I scientist, and fully admit that I don’t even know 100% what antibodies are, so I’m likely guilty of trying to find an explanation for my son’s autism where there isn’t one. My next child will of course be vaccinated, although I will likely skip the recommendation to vaccinate myself again. Not that I think the shot had anything to do with the autism, just that I don’t see a point for myself.

      • Autismum
        23 September, 2013

        Congratulations! Llongyfarchiadau! Wishing you a safe and happy pregnancy and a healthy bouncing baby xx

  28. talyllyn
    8 October, 2013

    Thank you for writing this my daughter is due to have her mmr jab on Thursday, she is also due to have two booster jabs one for HIB/men c and one for pneumococal. I have thought long and hard about her having the jabs not so much as a not getting her vaccinated at all sense but the combination of 6 viruses between the 3 jabs makes me nervous. I have a lively sociable little girl who seems bright as a button who I am thankul for every day. I also work part time at a school for young people the majority of whom have ASD so whilst I know how loved these people are I also have the teeniest tiniest miniscule insight into some of the difficulties.

    • Autismum
      11 October, 2013

      Sorry for taking so long to approve your comment – my spam filters are over sensitive!
      When you compare the amount of weakened virus there is in a vaccine to just what lives on and in our own bodies – there is no comparison really. A thinmble of water in a swimming pool! I hope her shots go well. We had our flu jabs yesterday and we’re all grand as my hubby would say xx

  29. Tatiana
    18 October, 2013

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    by accident, while I was looking on Digg for something else, Anyhow I am
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  30. Luann
    18 October, 2013

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It
    is the little changes that produce the biggest changes.
    Thanks for sharing!

  31. Baerchen
    2 November, 2013

    I am writing on behalf of a boy I am working with. Of course I will not mention his name, but his mother is happy to have his story shared anonymously. His story is not the only one and you will have heard it many, many times.

    J was a happy, healthy child, on cue or even ahead with milestones. Saying his first words, singing Postman Pat. Cuddling, making eye-contact.

    At 18 months old, he got his MMR jab and within days, he was very unwell, he stopped talking and stared rocking back and forth and stimming with his hands, stopped eye-contact.

    His mother blamed the jag for the sudden deterioration of her child. J is now 14, has a very limited vocabulary is very anxious and severely disabled child.

    The mother then had another boy. Again, happy, healthy, on cue with everything.

    She did NOT have him vaccinated and she did NOT take a flu jag or anything, but the same thing happened to her younger boy. Just that her younger boy is even more severely affected, non-verbal and displays self-injurious behaviour for most of the day. His symptoms were an onset after a severe virus, nothing to do with a vaccination.

    She had twins a few years later, her son is healthy, her girl also autistic. Neither of them are vaccinated though. Her husband diagnosed himself with Asperger’s, it seems to be genetic.

    I would not blame this woman for thinking the vaccination caused it, but in her case, it is probably more likely that the rapid onset of whatever encephalopathy caused this is a virus that her oldest boy caught in the surgery and her younger children caught because viruses are around us all the time.

    • Autismum
      2 November, 2013

      Progress isn’t uniform in any children and even less so in autistic kids. Just as the Pwd has had huge regressions he has had massive leaps in development. He had no suckle reflex at birth. The first time he latched on the breast was right after his first set of vaccinations at 8 weeks. I think the two are related inasmuch as the injections hurt and he needed to be super close. I’ve noticed regressions in feeding following illness, that is not to say that bugs have caused that regression.
      The Pwd is autistic and will continue to skip forward and back. I just hope I can keep up!

  32. Baerchen
    2 November, 2013

    Those kids might possibly be misdiagnosed with autism. Well, they do show severe autistic “symptoms” (stimming, no eye-contact, non or limited vocabulary, SIB, extreme dependence on a strict routine, developmental delay) but I suspect some form of progressive illness, as they are not making progress in any way. Regressing in all aspects, intellectually, physically and emotionally. I also wonder how many kids have picked up something in the Dr surgery when vaccinating and that is what made their kids sick. Here, it is atrocious. Small room full of people who are sick, mixed with those who want a jab. No hand sanitiser in sight.

  33. Greetings! I’ve been following your website for some time
    now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out
    from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the good
    work!

    • Autismum
      6 November, 2013

      Thank you xx

  34. Amy Els
    11 December, 2013

    Thanks for your firm non quack stance but do the articles by adamant non vaxxers ever go away? Are they truly hurting parents who want to find a way to help their children or people who just want to try to prove something science has refuted?! I dont get it. Just as im settling my mind and accepting no link w mmr at all, i find articles like this and dont know what to do w them as i dont hve a medical background!! So i get nervous again. Have you seen this one?

    http://www.undergroundhealth.com/courts-quietly-confirm-mmr-vaccine-causes-autism/

    And what should a non medically trained parent make of it?
    Youre a great mum supporting other concerned parents, please keep going!

  35. Sue
    4 January, 2014

    Vaccines hurt the human race at a molecular level. Google it

    • Autismum
      6 January, 2014

      You crack me up

    • Louisa
      6 January, 2014

      Sue, on ‘Quick Meme’ there is an interesting post of an immunologist in response to someone who is an anti vax campaigner. It is worth a read. Google is no substitute for years of training and experience. From all I have read, I am unconvinced that vaccines is the cause of autism. What I Am convinced of is that is a genetic condition. It is irresponsible not to vaccinate children,not only for their own protection, but also for the protection of those around us.

  36. Louisa
    6 January, 2014

    Sorry, I a meant to say I am NOT convince that vaccines are the cause of autism!!!

  37. Pingback: Stuff to look at – January 2014 | On Becoming Free

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  39. melissa
    6 April, 2014

    your son is the most beautiful baby boy ever. congratulations then and now.

    • Autismum
      6 April, 2014

      Thank you! I think so too :D

  40. Sheogorath
    19 June, 2014

    [Jenny McCarthy], too, has a son with autism.
    May I correct you there? Jenny McCarthy claims that Evan is Autistic and even got a doctor to diagnose him as such, but the pattern of his symptoms point more firmly to Landau-Kleffner Syndrome.
    Having said that, I agree with you about the MMR. In the place where I have respite, there are Autistic adults of all ages up to sixty, and around two thirds of them were of sufficient age where the MMR wouldn’t have been available when it came to their measles vaccinations. Which proves your case far more effectively than it does that of Mr. Wakefield and Ms. McCarthy.

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This entry was posted on 10 April, 2013 by in aetiology, Autism, media, Science, Vaccines and tagged , , , , , , , .

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