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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The awful, ignorant things people say! I was told by one mum that I may as well keep vaxxing “the damage is done.”
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.
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.
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!
The fact is this blogger does not know anymore than I do whether it was the vaccine or not. How could my child be normal and talking and then almost overnight become autistic. It does not make sense. Mentally retarded people are born that way and it shows. There is no explanation and stamping a guarantee that it was not the vaccine is irresponsible. Check statistics of other countries as far as autism rates go. Something is to blame because 1 in 88 as opposed to 1 in 1000’s not so many years ago is a staggering truth.
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.
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
Thank you so much.
The Pwd seems to love the strangest of sensations and likes to get me to scratch his tongue!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😉
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.
Totally agree! I’m so sorry you had to go through that.
Thank you! 🙂
That’s terrible!I’m so sorry that that happened to you!It sounds like your mom was a hypocondriac.
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.
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…
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.
I appreciate how well you articulated the issues. Thank you!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cwtches right back and diolch yn fawr xx
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.
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! 🙂
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.
Thank you for this article and your positivity about autism – knowledge, patience and love is power when dealing with this!
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.
No vaccinations because, hey, being autistic, blind, deaf and/or brain damaged is soooo preferable to being just autistic…
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.
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!:
This is great. I’ll share on my fb page and twitter. Thank you for sharing!
That video was the worst. It has no evidence to support its claims.
Many children have died from not vaccinating against simple disease is that not enough proof for you? Would you rather your child dead than autistic but alive?
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)
Thank you so much!
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.
I’m confused, I thought the injections where given in the leg in young children, not the arm?
They are given into soft tissue. Some people prefer to give them in the thigh some in the arm. It makes no difference.
I had all mine in the arm, as did my daughter. My son had his in the leg (he has my thighs).
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.
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.
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
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.
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……”.
No, this is a story about the MMR being a non event. My son is autistic and would be with or without the MMR
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,
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!
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.
Congratulations! Llongyfarchiadau! Wishing you a safe and happy pregnancy and a healthy bouncing baby xx
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.
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
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Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It
is the little changes that produce the biggest changes.
Thanks for sharing!
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.
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!
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.
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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?
And what should a non medically trained parent make of it?
Youre a great mum supporting other concerned parents, please keep going!
Vaccines hurt the human race at a molecular level. Google it
You crack me up
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.
Sorry, I a meant to say I am NOT convince that vaccines are the cause of autism!!!
your son is the most beautiful baby boy ever. congratulations then and now.
Thank you! I think so too 😀
I don’t begin to understand the complexities of autism or autism spectral disorders, nor can I appreciate what parents with autistic children feel and live with. I have read that the GAPS diet, developed by Natasha McBride, a neurosurgeon whose son had autism (in the past tense), has been helpful in reversing autistic symptoms in some children. Again, I’m not implying there is one cause, or even that you would want anything different for your child – just putting it out there. If I were to throw out a theory, I would suggest that vaccines might trigger an autistic response based on conditions already present (such as an immature or compromised GI tract), but that they are not the only “cause” – if they would even be considered a cause at all. Nevertheless, a healthy GI tract may reverse some of the symptoms in some children and only improves the child’s overall health. GAPS stands for “gut and psychology syndrome.” Hope this helps.
Your post is wise. I agree entirely.
[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.
You are a wonderful mother for loving your son as much as you do and not falling for the garbage Jenny McCarthy spews. A lot of you seem like wonderful parents who should be proud of themselves.
I am autistic, though my autism is not as severe as your child’s. I was born in eastern Europe, so I was not vaccinated until I came to the United States at two-and-a-half. According to my family, I had my first autistic behaviors a full year before I had any vaccines other than the oral polio vaccine and the BCG (a TB vaccine not even given in the U.S.).
When I got my MMR, (OH NO!), the person who got a “vaccine injury” was my mother, who had not been vaccinated. I was fine, but she caught mumps from the live vaccine.
As of this year, I am finally fully vaccinated, having received my last varicella shot (I am one of those unlucky people who did not develop immunity after having the disease). Do I have certain medical conditions? Sure. I have allergies, asthma, autism, OCD. Some may be genetic- my mom has some symptoms of high functioning autism, and as I said, she was not vaccinated until she was almost thirty. Some can be attributed to a change in environment (the whole moving countries thing).
Even if there was any concrete evidence- research studies for example, not anecdotes or correlations that may or may not equal causation- I would not trade any of them for tetanus, polio, or rubella. I do not understand the parents who refuse to give the kids the whooping cough vaccine, because it might cause asthma- what, are you worried they’ll get a disease that will cause them to have trouble breathing? I do not understand the parents that would risk their kid dying so that they don’t get autism. Autism, ADHD, asthma- these are not death sentences, but tetanus sure as hell is.
I am the autism and the autism is me. Yes, it’s a struggle sometimes, but I am happy that I was not born to an anti-vax parent as I have been able to struggle, as I am alive, not dead from a preventable illness.
The human genome was only sequenced in 2003 and it is taking time for science to grasp the implications of our genetic code. It turns out that many individuals are severely challenged in detoxifying metals, and in many critical biochemical processes than others. Dr Amy Yasko has done ground-breaking work treating autism and linking those treatments to the individual genetics of the patient.
Everybody is not the same and the vulnerability to Autism is not the same either. It’s not just vaccines for sure but it’s plain that vaccines do harm people, that’s statistically inarguable. The question is why are some people harmed by vaccines, and all the toxins of modern life and others thrive anyway, it’s genetics
Check out http://www.dramyyasko.com and her book
Our son is fairly high functioning, so once he was diagnosed and we realized that some of his strange behaviors was because of the autism, it was easy to figure out when he was naughty and to allow for that. Other than that we treat him like any normal child, when he is naughty he is being told off. He doesn’t get away with much!
As far as his diet is concerned, I have enough trouble to get him to eat anything healthy as it is. I am not tinkering with his diet, he eat whatever I fancy dishing up and often have to hand feed him to get him to eat at all. He is a healthy, happy and growing boy.
He has come a long way, developed quite a bit and a week ago his speech therapist discharged him! Some of the sensory issues he’s had seems to have resolved itself, others he seems to be able to cope with better.
All we ever want for him, is to be able to one day be a happy and independent adult. Yes, he will always have some issues, but with time, patience and love, he will be able to compensate and compromise and learn to live with his limitations.
He has friends at his special needs school and except for one kiddie who is autistic aswell, all his friends living in our neighbourhood goes to main stream schools. They except him with all his little eccentricities.
His autism is not the end of the world. As long as he knows he is loved and accepted he can get on with growing and developing and learning.
I blame Dr. Simpson for my autism because he gave me vaccines.
My son changed after his MMR vaccine. He got a fever and his leg got red and swollen, then he started drifting away from us mentally. He could say more words before the MMR than he can now, and he is 19 years old now, That is all I am going to say about that. He can’t read or write or talk. He is very frustrated and sometimes gets very angry because he can’t communicate. Would I change him if I could? You bet! He is a good kid and does not deserve to have to go through life not being able to communicate with others. If I have done something wrong, I wish I could take the blame all on my self, he does not deserve this at all.
I’m sorry to hear this, Char. It really was not anything at all that you did (including vaccination)… it is just how things often go with Autism. Autism is from birth, but it is seldom identifiable or apparent back in such early years. Plus sometimes Autism is regressive just as part of its natural course… the trouble is, often regression happens at the same time as MMR tends to get done and so, whilst there is no causality, there may be correlation.
The fraudulent research carried out to suggest an MMR and Autism link has done so very much harm and anguish and continues to do so. Rather like drawing conclusions from behaviour and the full moon (which a lot of people do), there is no causality and even correlation may be affected by being pre-triggered to watch for effects and conclude causality.
I am sorry for your situation. We have a difficult situation with our daughter who is severely affected… my son is moderate and I am mild (though there is nothing mild about mild – mild is surface and the pain runs deep – it is easier on those around me because I communicate and respond reasonably well unless distressed).
My very best wishes to you.
Thank you so much I have a 4 year old autistic son who just received his four-year mmr2 vaccination as a parent you will always second guess your decisions I have tried to inform myself as best as I can and chose to vaccinate it is my belief my son was autistic before his first MMR vaccination of course he was my first child and I didn’t see it then but I can see it now my son was born autistic what caused it I don’t know I just want to make sure that he has a happy and HEALTHY life
My eldest son would get sick after every vaccination, and had continuous ear infections with high fevers that responded poorly to antibiotics. He finally had to have tubes surgically placed in both ears at 18 months which dramatically improved his hearing. About the same time he began to receive allergy desensitization injections every 2 weeks, but 1 year later was diagnosed with severe ADHD, which at age 17 was re-assessed as Asperger’s. My 2nd son I had vaccinated at 6 weeks, thinking I was setting a good public example as a new RN grad. Within 36 hours of the 2nd vaccination, I witnessed him have seizures, but didn’t make the connection. He was slow to acquire language, beginning at 12 mos, then began to lose it at 18 months, and by 24 months had inconsolable tantrums and complete language loss. He was diagnosed and began therapy at home by age 36 months, then on to double sessions at the early intervention preschool for discreet trial with a 1 on 1 aide, all of which we had to fight for. By the time he enrolled in the preschool I was 6 months pregnant with his younger brother. His father and I decided to vaccinate this younger brother as minimally as possible. My 3rd son has no neurological issues whatsoever. He has been tested for allergies, and has zero, not even allergic to dust. I have been hounded, attacked, mocked, scorned, and villified for the decision not to vaccinate my youngest which I truly believe has spared him so much of the heartache and lonliness his brothers have known and to varying degrees continue with. I’ll not regret the choice, and it seems soon parents won’t be allowed one, even though if vaccines all that effective, the few unvaccinated children would pose no threat to the large majority of the population who are. I personally do not get Flu vaccinated because not only is the vaccine made from last year’s organism which has likely mutated to be affected anymore by the vaccine, I just can’t be sure that it isn’t manufactured using aborted fetal cells, and I am one of those mum’s who’s silly enough to believe injecting murdered baby parts into our bodies will bring tragic results also, though it certainly must profit some entity.
Hi and thank you for your story. These stories make me sad when I read how Autism affects so many kids today. I am a college student and have been doing quite a lot of research on this subject and have found numerous studies on the effects of vaccinations and their relation to Autism. I find it sad that people choose to put their children at risk for all these diseases by not vaccinating when there is no evidence that vaccinations cause Autism. I think we need to be active on public awareness and I Think sharing your story is one of the best ways this is done. Blessings to you as you care for your son.
Good reply, Jason.
I am an Autistic adult and both my children are Autistic – my daughter is most seriously affected.
If your college studies can be helped by me, please feel free to approach me 🙂
My son is adult autistic and when he was little a doctor said to me was my husband a close relative to me.. I was totally disgusted by this comment and upset me so much. How can people be so cruel, to point the finger at us the mother the fault.. I look at my son and to me he is beautiful and i am proud of him.
My son was 2 months old when he had MMR vaccine at Grady memorial hospital in 1985. Two weeks after that day he was a changed child. Ike was very healthy and developing well. After the short he became very sick with high fever of up t0 103-104 temp to the point that he will be placed in a tub with ice cubes to bring his temperature down. After he was discharged he regressed to doing things that he had learned like potty and diaper trained. His behavior also changed , could not make eye contact, became hyperactive, running away from noises when vacuuming and blending.The next year with all the test, and evaluation he was diagnosed autistic. My son is 33 years old. I worked hard with him in his struggle to be like his younger sibling. He graduated this year at SUNO with BS degree in Computer networking. he could not get a job. He has been to many interviews because his resume is very good but his communication skills are poor. I know that if he is given a chance he will be ok. I am a registered Nurse and I know that MMR caused my son’s autism.