Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not The Point. Stop Being Ableist.

5 Feb

Here are some typical arguments put forward by parents who choose not to vaccinate their otherwise healthy child (by “healthy” I mean there are no medical reasons for the child to be exempted from vaccination).

For this example, I will pull quotes directly from a recent New York Times Article, Vaccine Critics Turn Defensive Over Measles:

‘“It’s the worst shot,” [Missy Foster, mother to an 18 month old daughter] said, with tears in her eyes. “Do you want to wake up one morning and the light is gone from her eyes with autism or something?”’

and

‘Kelly McMenimen, a Lagunitas parent, said she “meditated on it a lot” before deciding not to vaccinate her son Tobias, 8, against even “deadly or deforming diseases.” She said she did not want “so many toxins” entering the slender body of a bright-eyed boy who loves math and geography.’

You’ll notice a common theme in these defences – the brightness of or light in their children’s eyes. This is a direct reference to Jenny McCarthy’s narrative of the “light” leaving her son’s eyes after he was vaccinated. It’s used by parents who don’t want to say the word “autism” but want to imply that they’re scared their kid will become autistic (or something similar).

Here’s what McCarthy said to Oprah in 2007:

“Right before his MMR shot, I said to the doctor, ‘I have a very bad feeling about this shot. This is the autism shot, isn’t it?’ And he said, ‘No, that is ridiculous. It is a mother’s desperate attempt to blame something,’ and he swore at me, and then the nurse gave [Evan] the shot,” she says. “And I remember going, ‘Oh, God, I hope he’s right.’ And soon thereafter—boom—the soul’s gone from his eyes.”

Now consider the standard response from vaccine advocates to stuff like this – it’s always, without fail, “Vaccines don’t cause autism.”

Because they don’t, right? They absolutely, scientifically do not cause autism. That’s a solid fact.

But here’s what everyone gets wrong: regardless of whether or not vaccines cause autism, our entire conversation surrounding them is completely ableist.

When those in the anti-vaccination movement treat autism as a calamity far worse than a debilitating disease or death, that is ableism. What we also need to recognize is that every time we respond to fear-mongering about vaccines and autism with the words, “don’t worry, vaccines don’t cause autism,” that is also ableist. Because instead of pointing out that, hey, autism and neurodiversity are far from the worst things that could happen to a parent, “vaccines don’t cause autism” falls into the same narrative as “vaccines cause autism” – both suggest that autism is this boogeyman that lives under our kids’ beds that could strike at any time.

Even though telling people that vaccines don’t autism is factual, the way in which it’s said only validates people’s negative view of autism.

Says Allison Garber, an autism activist whose most recent claim to fame is being blocked by Jenny McCarthy on Twitter, “The language from both sides of the vaccine camps is definitively ableist. What’s even more jarring is that neither side seems to ever want to invite someone who is, you know, actually autistic to the party. I guess that’s because it would be awkward if they were actually in the room when we were all talking about how somebody’s neurological makeup is a tragedy to be feared and avoided at all costs.”

Instead of reassuring parents that vaccines don’t cause autism (which, again: factually true), why don’t we start refuting anti-vaccination advocates with the fact that autism isn’t a catastrophe. Why not start sending them links to blogs and articles written by people who actually have autism. Why not say something like, “it’s been proven that there’s no link between vaccines and autism, but I think it would be great for you to re-evaluate why you think so negatively of autism.”

And for the love of Pete can we please stop talking about how autistic people have no light in their eyes or no soul or whatever. First of all, you’re confusing vampirism with autism. Second of all, how can you talk about real, living people like that? Would you tell Temple Grandin to her face that the “light” (whatever that even means) is missing from her eyes? If you went to a book reading by John Robison, would you greet him afterwards with the words “So, what’s it like not having a soul? Do you still have a reflection? Can you eat garlic? Do you sleep in a coffin?”

Autistic people aren’t “gone.” Their brains function differently than neurotypical brains, which often leads to them becoming overwhelmed by outside stimuli in a way that other people might not. So, in a sense, they’re more present than many of us are – they’re bombarded by sights, sounds and smells that neurotypical people can ignore or dismiss. They are very much “here,” trying way harder than most to process what “here” is. So get out of here with your misinformed ideas about autistic people having no light in their eyes or no soul. Get out of here and maybe go meet an actual autistic person.

At the end of the day, words matter and how we talk about issues matters. And when those of us who believe it’s important for children to be vaccinated keep pulling out “but vaccines don’t cause autism” without following it up with some kind of explanation that also autism isn’t a tragedy, we need to consider the impact our words might have. Because of course the end goal is to vaccinate every child eligible for vaccination, but we don’t need to throw autistic people under the bus to accomplish that goal.

The debate about vaccination should be autism-inclusive, and that means re-evaluating the way we talk about autism and vaccines. Because while it’s great to raise a happy healthy kid, you can do that without turning them into an anti-autism bigot.

MMRvaccine

199 Responses to “Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not The Point. Stop Being Ableist.”

  1. eh February 8, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

    So I hear what you’re saying and autism isn’t the worst thing in the world but I also think it is reassuring for parents to hear the truth – vaccines don’t cause autism. Because while autism isn’t the end of the world, nor is blindness, poverty, deafness, etc…. It is not really fair to condemn a parent for wanting to shield their newborn children from life with a disability or challenge.

    • microraptor February 10, 2015 at 3:47 am #

      Being neurotypical doesn’t mean that you’ll have a life free of disability or challenge.

  2. trotterfayey February 9, 2015 at 12:54 am #

    I am a nurse, mother, grandmother and great grandmother and I fully believe in vaccinating all children and following up with Boosters later in life. This is for their protection as well as those others.

  3. Katrina February 9, 2015 at 4:38 am #

    I would much rather have measles and recover, than have a life long disorder that makes communicating with other people on a social level difficult and frustrating. Autism is not the worst thing that can happen to a child, you’re right, but its no picnic either. Autism has a spectrum that ranges from mild to severe. Having worked in a school with a special day class with non verbal autistic individuals, I would not wish that kind of life on anybody. The kids scream and writhe in what looks like pain/ inability to communicate. It is heart-wrenching to see.

    • bellejarblog February 10, 2015 at 2:58 am #

      A friend of mine who is autistic recently said, “I’m not angry about being autistic, but I am angry at the many ways in which the world refuses to accommodate my autism.”

    • Fabrisse February 10, 2015 at 3:17 am #

      You’re making the assumption you (or your child)) will survive. Measles. is often fatal. It can leave people with serious disabilities, including brain damage if the fever gets high enough. It’s like playing roulette. And assuming you’ll win.

    • Carmen February 10, 2015 at 5:57 am #

      The reason “these kids” as you put it do those things like wither and squirm and scream and say hit punch bite hide, the list goes on. It is simple, they are being forced by “us” “normal people” “society” to do things on a daily basis that make them act that way, because it is natural or normal. If you in fact did work with children with multiple disabilities I hope you have an education in their disorders before you go around voicing opinions that you really know nothing about!

    • gina February 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

      You realize the measles isnt the only vaccine you get and that if meningitis can cause serious damage right? It can leave people impaired

    • Benjamin February 10, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

      As someone who has autism, and has a relative who is permanently disabled because of measles, I am inclined to disagree with you.
      I would much rather live as is, than end up needing to live in a hospital, having seizures almost every day because of the neurological damage caused by complications due to a childhood case of measles.

    • Teresa Davis February 10, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

      Measles can cause brain damage, deafness, and other “life long disorders.” It is 100 % preventable. Currently, autism is not, but it is a scientific fact that it is not caused by vaccines. So don’t try to frame your refusal to adhere to public health standards as some sort of “either/or” choice.

      • roger February 13, 2015 at 1:23 am #

        In recent years, while the instances of acute diseases ie measles have dropped, the instance of chronic disease have increased substantially ie autism, ADHD etc. The reason for the increase in chronic disease remains largely unnoticed while people repeatedly panic over a dose of the measles. Why has our thinking shifted from chronic disease to focus solely on acute diseases. Surely both deserve to be addressed.

    • Carol Parker February 11, 2015 at 5:20 am #

      Did you actually read anything in the post Katrina or did you here just to spew ignorance? Because now I feel dirty and my IQ is dropping.

      • Linda December 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

        It seems to me that you are the ignorant one. Did you read Katrina’s post? You should feel dirty and ashamed.

    • isarose February 11, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

      1 in 1000 people die from measles. Assuming you or your young child would automatically recover….yeah no, not guaranteed.
      You are also phrasing it as an either or, implying that getting vaccinated WILL cause autism, which has been fully debunked over and over. Autism research is showing more and more that the genetic mutations happen before birth, naturally. Kids on the more “severe” end of the spectrum can still lead happy lives even if they need extra help, and there are a LOT of adults who are happy, successful, etc who you would not even know are autistic because WE(yes, myself included) don’t fit the mold perpetuated by stereotypes and ableism that autism is some kind of social death sentence.

      • Jackson Fine February 26, 2015 at 7:53 am #

        Actually, the statistic is 1 in 1000 people who get measles will develop encepholitis – Facts, Huh!

    • DB February 11, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

      “I would much rather have measles and recover, than have a life long disorder that makes communicating with other people on a social level difficult and frustrating.”

      LOGICAL FALLACY: The false dichotomy.

      You don’t get to choose between your child being protected from measles or being protected from autism. Protecting your child from measles will not raise their risk of developing autism. Likewise, refusing to get them vaccinated will not protect them from autism. The two issues have nothing to do with each other at all.

      By the way, measles can kill.

      • Linda December 30, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

        So can autism. It may not be listed on the death certificate as autism, but the person will be just as dead. The cause a lot of times is drowning, exposure, accidental.

    • joannegiacomini February 18, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

      I agree one hundred percent with what you are saying. My son has autism. He got all his vaccines, and I am happy that he is a healthy little boy today. Autism is definitively not the end of the world, rather it is the beginning of a new road and life. Raising my exceptional son has made me into an exceptional woman today. I am now blogging about how my son has changed my life for the better at: http://www.exceptionalmomchild.wordpress.com. Keep up the great writing!

    • reggaelizard March 19, 2015 at 11:20 pm #

      I wouldn’t wish a life of thinking disabled people’s existence isn’t worth it and dying of measles or meningitis is a preferrable fate on anyone.

    • Barbara Feick Gregory March 25, 2015 at 12:56 am #

      There are all kinds of degrees of autism. One kind, the kid wears a helmet because he is in pain and beats his head bloody. Some wear diapers as adults and can be dangerous to be around. If our medicine in this country is so good, why is there no straight answer to what causes autism from the medical community? Parents directly observe their children becoming autistic after being vaccinated, but it is dismissed as being a coincidence. There are far too many coincidences. I do believe there was a study using primates and they also developed autistic symptoms after vaccinations.

      People quote all kinds of studies. But most of the studies are all smoke and mirrors. We do know the cause of autism. We don’t need any more studies. We need to take the profit out medicine. Instead of the goal being to keep people healthy, the goal is making money by endless treatments.

      Childhood illnesses were one of God’s creations. We do our best to provide a good environment so our children will be healthy. If they get sick, it is wonderful to have medical treatments, and if a child dies, he died a natural death. If, on the other hand, we vaccinate a healthy child knowing that there is a risk however small and that child dies, we are guilty of murder. God did not make a mistake when he created us or disease. We make a mistake when we try to play God.

    • Stacey Alicia Hall August 24, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

      You assume a lot in the first 8 words of your statement, then follow it up with some pretty ignorant thoughts.
      1. Measles isn’t chicken pox and people have far reaching harm that may not be seen initially. You should probably check on that before you make your statement again.
      2. Autism doesn’t just “happen” it’s a genetic thing that you can usually visually see in a family line if you know what to look for – even for a layman.
      3. Please stop assuming what you see is pain or an inability to communicate – you are seeing their communication, you just didn’t bother to learn the language apparently, which was probably pretty painful for them come to think of it…

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  5. kecymai February 9, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

    Do you speak french? My name is Maïly.

  6. laughsatcrybabies February 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    You have no right to judge anyone for not wanting their kids to become autistic. The jury is still out on this, and if it were confirmed that its actually a possibility, I WOULD AABSOLUTELY AND WITHOUT A DOUBT AVOID HAVING MY KID DEVELOPE AUTISM. What the hell is wrong with you people?

    • Fabrisse February 10, 2015 at 3:21 am #

      No, the jury is not still out. The research, and I’m using the term in its loosest sense, not only was unable to be replicated, but was shown to have been falsified. Wakefield lost his medical license.

      • Noneof Urbuisness February 15, 2015 at 6:28 am #

        Wakefield was exonerated you idiot, amazing how you dummy’s stick up for pharmaceutical company’s . There are plenty of study’s to back up the vaccine autism link. Sick of you morons pushing harmful vaccines on the rest of us, back off!

      • Fabrisse February 19, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

        Per several articles: Andrew Wakefield is barred from practicing in Great Britain and is unlicensed in the US. Here is a representative article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/health/policy/25autism.html?_r=0

      • Jackson Fine February 26, 2015 at 8:08 am #

        laughsatcrybabies is right; the jury IS still out- Literally. Merck, maker of the MMR triple vaccine, is being sued BIG for falsifying data. The CDC is under heavy scrutiny partly as a result of multiple whistle blowers – former longtime CDC scientists –
        http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/merck-whistleblowers_b_5881914.html

      • Jen March 16, 2015 at 6:18 am #

        Oh my gosh. Do you really have to repeat the same propaganda coming from a largely ignorant MEDIA? Really? The jury is not out, never has been out and is still very much in, examining ALL possible links to autism, including the link to vaccine induced damage that could trigger autism in some children. A closed mind is a terrible thing when it comes to helping people with autism. There is a vaccine damage reporting line for doctors for a reason. There are dangerous side effects associated with vaccines that must be listed, for a reason. There are children who have had seizures after receiving the Tetanus shot or MMR shot. These things can’t be swept under the table my friend. You don’t close the book on these reality because it’s uncomfortable to think about. Reality sucks. But that doesn’t mean you attack and villify those who speak about it. You can’t hide from the truth. The truth is there are thousands of parents who claim their children were not the same after vaccines. How insulting to simply dismiss their claims. It’s even irrelevant at this point that Andrew Wakefiled may have done a poor study. Do you realize how many poor studies are done all the time? That doesn’t mean you just dismiss a theory based on ONE study that people think was wrong. Do another study.

    • gina February 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

      And….you’re ignoring the fact that people are often BORN with autism. So how are parents with kids born autistic supposed to feel about the way you pass your judgment as if their kids are less? What if your next kid is born with autism and you never vaccinated? Is he less that your nonautistic child? There are a ton of creepy non-autisituc people you know! A person with autism can be just as wonderful as one without. And shame on Jenny McCarthy pining away for who she thinks her child was before. I would feel awful if I was her kid listening to her talk like that as if I wasn’t good enough.

      • Barbara Feick Gregory March 25, 2015 at 12:59 am #

        And pregnant women are being vaccinated. Babies are being vaccinated the day they are born. If the pregnant woman becomes ill during pregnancy, that can affect the baby. Please come up with real people who were never vaccinated, mother not vaccinated who have autism. How about even one?

      • microraptor March 25, 2015 at 4:28 am #

        Citation needed, Barb.

    • Carol Parker February 11, 2015 at 5:21 am #

      “laughsatcrybabies” spend a bit of time pointing and laughing in the mirror

    • DB February 11, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

      The jury is not still out. The verdict is in. You simply refuse to listen. Nothing will ever convince you, you are an ideologue.

    • emily February 23, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

      What is wrong with u more like! Vaccines don’t cause autism! Its a mutated gene which develops inside ur body before birth! If u don’t vaccinate u will end up catching a disease of some sort & could end up deaf, blind or worse. I cannot understand why people can’t comprehend this.

    • readthebloodybook June 2, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

      The jury is not still out. If you think jenny mccarthy has more credibility than the entire medical and scientific industry then there is no hope for you. You are supremely unintelligent. (if only there was a vaccine against that huh?) Pharmaceutical companies actually make very little money from vaccines compared to treatments (although diagnostics are where the real money is) because they PREVENT disease. And most vaccines aren’t developed by pharmaceutical companies either. They are developed by academics in universities that must licence them to pharmaceutical companies to pay for trials. This is because the funding for public medical research is utterly insufficient and theres no other way to get them through the necessary regulation (which is very expensive). So you would avoid you child developing autism? What is wrong with us? We would avoid having our children develop lethal diseases and die. And you think theres something wrong with us because we wouldn’t unnecessarily put our children at risk of deadly diseases? but you would because a guy who was trying to scam people made up some lie about vaccines. Okay. Sure. Were the monsters.

    • Stacey Alicia Hall August 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

      Science.
      Science is what the hell is wrong with us people.
      The jury is in, and parents that are okay with their kids losing limbs, living in a bed with a feeding tube up their nose, and worse have been judged and found guilty of bad parenting.

  7. JEN February 10, 2015 at 7:42 am #

    NO reason that a child not be medically exempt? REALLY? 1978 child was born (child was my brother) and he had a severe reaction in the doctors office immediately after having his shots. It ended up causing him to have a seizure, the pediatric doctor said it must be from the DVP in the vaccine. After that, my brother showed signs of autism. Of course back then my mom just thought he was different, because she didn’t know what autism was. The doctor suggested the child was given a medical exemption. I was born 2 years later and the same doctor signed me as medically exempt and did not give me my immunizations. So I didn’t and don’t have any. Fast forward 16 years ( my little brother was born 2001, sixteen years apart from me) my pediatrician had retired by then, so my mother takes my baby brother to a new different pediatrician. She explains that she did not want his immunizations. The doctor swears up and down that she MUST vaccinate him, saying the “new” shots where safer and absolutely caused no harm. Well after much debate, threats, and badgering, she agrees. My younger brother gets his first shots and within 2 hours had such a severe reaction, he was hospitalized in the ICU. The pediatrician was so so sorry and felt awful, barely able to believe what just happened. After that, of course my brother received no further shots. A couple years later I have my first child and take her to the same pediatrician my baby brother went to. She explained to me, that she flat out refused to give any of my children shots.I have two now, and they both have medically exempt cards. The doctor kept in close contact with my family, and actually became a close family friend. The experience changed the doctors mind, and she NO longer pushes immunizations, she respects the parent’s choice.

    • nelizadrew February 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

      Amoxicillin gives me hives. Therefore, we should ban it from use for everyone. Oh, wait. No. One allergic or bad reaction to a medication should not prevent other people from being helped or saved by it.
      My sister is allergic to codeine. So, doctors always recommended that I never take codeine either in case the allergy ran in the family.
      Codeine is not a vaccine, though. And by not vaccinating yourself or your children, you’re relying on the herd immunity of others to keep from coming down with dangerous or deadly diseases. Encouraging others not to vaccinate because of fears of autism (which, I’ve known several people on the spectrum and they live full lives, much better than they’d have had if they’d died of measles as children) is hurting your family (and disregarding people with autism).

    • Pmyrtle February 10, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

      So if there are no gorillas in your yard when it rains, do you credit the rain with keeping away the gorillas? “I wasn’t vaccinated and I’m not autistic, therefore vaccines cause autism” is just as specious of reasoning. People have bad medical reactions to things all the time. It doesn’t mean those things are harmful to everyone.

      • Jenny February 12, 2015 at 1:23 am #

        Nothing of merit to contribute to your argument here, but “if there are no gorillas in your yard when it rains, do you credit the rain with keeping away the gorillas?” Is one of the best things I’ve heard in a while.

    • Clarissa February 11, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

      My brother too can’t have a certain shot as well because it causes seizures for him. However does that mean my mother didn’t vaccinate him? No! It’s a good thing there are still some knowledgeable doctors in this world! He just takes a different from of that shot so that it doesn’t triggers his seizures.

    • DB February 11, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

      Who said there’s no reason for medical exemptions? Certainly not the author.

      An allergy to the ingredients in the vaccine would be a valid reason for a medical exemption. And that’s precisely why you should be demanding that anybody who doesn’t have such an exemption should be getting their kids vaccinated, because there are people who CAN’T get vaccinated and their lives depend on “herd immunity.”

    • Mike September 21, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

      It actually seems like what you’re saying is that your family genetically has a bad reaction to vaccines. That’s normal and that is listed in the vaccine warning. Your first brother who later got autism, the vaccine had nothing to do with the autism.

  8. fxsinfo February 11, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    There is conclusive evidence that current vaccines may be harmful. Please see my post at http://infodomini.com/2015/02/08/posts/vaccines-mother-bullshit-jones/

  9. BJ Smith February 11, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

  10. DB February 11, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    Is this a joke?

  11. RockHardMom February 11, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

    Reblogged this on RockHardMom.

  12. Al February 12, 2015 at 12:09 am #

    Autism is a spectrum, a broad one. On the higher end yes people function OK, many are gifted with specific skills. All have social issues. Let’s talk about the “lower” end of that spectrum, like my son, not only is his life extremely challenging as he tries to navigate his world, his life is DRAMATICAALLY impacted. Also, our lives are dramatically impacted. We never go anywhere as a family, I can no longer take him into a store……..think about that… I cannot take my son with me to run an errand. I’m still changing diapers at age 8, he cannot speak not any words. I most certainly will not be able to leave him at home ever. Does the writer of this article even know what it’s like to have a child with severe autism? To even glean the slightest knowledge you would need to live with a family for several weeks. Has the author done this??????? Autism can be a very severe disorder, with no cure, no real treatments and very little known about it at all – other than it is very complex, genetics and ENVIRONMENTAL factors play into it. Autism isn’t a tragedy?????? I guess it’s fine as long as it’s not in your back yard, right? This type of opinion undermining the severity of autism, the impact it has on the child, the whole family and eventually the tax payer (as many will need life-time care). This amateur article saying – it’s fine if your kid has autism, they are just a kid – is naïve on one level and just plain irritating to me on many levels

    • Jasmine February 15, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

      Both of my sons have ASD and my oldest is quite severe (also still in diapers, also still non verbal, and I too, can’t take him anywhere for fear of the repercussions of sensory overload. He also still wakes in the middle of the night for several hours at a time consistently causing an extreme case of sleep deprivation for me) There are days when I turtle into a ball and sob because my days are so long and exhausting, and there is no end in sight to the difficulties we face because of the challenges of living with ASD. HOWEVER, when I see the purity and innocence of my beautiful Son, and his perfect spirit shining through, it reminds me that I would rather have him here, than not. Autism is NOT the tragedy. Ignorance, lack of compassion, and almost non existent help for those living with this disorder is the tragedy.

      • Baldrz December 31, 2015 at 2:19 am #

        Like any parent, of course you’d rather have your child here and autistic than not here at all, but that isn’t the issue. You don’t have to like autism to love your child.

    • Dean Pye March 29, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

      Al have you had any support with managing his challenging behavior and helping him with some more positive outcomes? It also sounds like you might need access to the like of respite services. I dont know were you live and if they are available. If not thats a REAL tragedy.

  13. ajai February 12, 2015 at 1:48 am #

    There are many autisms. It is extremely disingenuous to troop out the Mensa club variation to make any point about quality-of-life issues ( for self and families) with regard to autism. “He likes his coffee at 67 deg centigrade” is a cute comment when talking of some quirkiness that autism brings – the meltdown that ensues if it 69 or 65 degrees is not fully captured in that sentence.
    When you talk about autism, please stick to the garden-variety; their struggles to communicate, the mountain of stress they go through just to get through the day, and the unconditional love of their caregivers and their struggles to get by without being judged.

    • educationcomboplatter August 24, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

      ajai: Those numbers Autism Speaks keeps fearmongering about are the Autism SPECTRUM, it’s not our fault they started calling all of that ‘Autism’ for their ‘epidemic’ claims.

      It includes EVERYBODY. Aspergers, PDD-NOS, High-functioning Autism.

      The rate is 1 in 58 diagnosed on the spectrum, 1 in 400 for 299.0 Autism, like it always has been.. Face it: Those kids have greater challenges than the average Autistic.

      Autism + Intellectual disability for one (This is all that LFA Autism is.)

      “When you talk about autism, please stick to the garden-variety; their struggles to communicate, the mountain of stress they go through just to get through the day, and the unconditional love of their caregivers and their struggles to get by without being judged.”

      Mild Autism doesn’t mean I am affected mildly. It means my Autism affects you mildly. Struggles are there, mountains of stress are there regardless. And unconditional love of their caregivers and their struggles to get by…..if they stopped sounding like parents who believed that something (Elves, Autism) stole their child… (You can’t seperate the brain from the person), we might be willing to believe that.

      I know what happened to changelings.

  14. jen February 12, 2015 at 7:39 am #

    A person’s body should be their own, not the goverment. They should have a right to choose if they are going to vaccinate or not. The risk are real if you vaccinate, and there are risk if you don’t. It should remain the persons right to decide for themselves. I didn’t say ban them, I said let people decide what’s right for them.

    http://www.nvic.org/injury-compensation.aspx

    • microraptor February 13, 2015 at 3:54 am #

      That would be an acceptable argument if your decision to vaccinate or not was something that only affected you. But it doesn’t unless you live in a bubble away from human contact (in which case there wouldn’t be a need to vaccinate in the first place). But your decision to vaccinate does affect other people. Some people can’t vaccinate because they have an allergy to the vaccine or a weak immune system. If you don’t get a vaccine, you increase their risk of getting sick because you could transfer the disease to them.

      So stop being so freaking selfish.

      • Jen March 16, 2015 at 6:21 am #

        Your decision to get an abortion affects someone else. Your baby, but this country has decided it’s the woman’s “choice”. Remember? Her body. Her baby. Her choice. Ditto should be the same for whether or not to vaccine your child. Your baby. Put injections into their bodies. Get it?

      • microraptor March 16, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

        No Jen, if you want to make medical decisions because of what you saw in your tea leaves or whatever, you can do that. But kids don’t have the option of choosing the best available medical science, which firmly says that vaccines work at preventing very serious diseases, you don’t deserve to be a parent in the first place.

  15. Alex February 13, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

    I don’t think it is ableist to accept that Autism, when considering the entire spectrum, can be a very good thing, in the case of savants, or a bad thing, like severe SPD. However, the argument is not over what happens more often as a type of scale for whether it is a negative characteristic. It should be about finding the cause, perhaps we could then learn the difference in causes between the savants and the more physically impaired on the spectrum. Consider the benefits of such an exploration, before picking a side. Some people think there is sufficient evidence to discredit the role of vaccines. I personally believe in a genetic predisposition, as Asperger’s syndrome is very prominent in the males on my mom’s side of my family. However, I do believe that the combination of the vaccine recipe changes, namely thimerosal, and countless testimonials, at least points to reasonable doubt of the pharmaceutical companies’ credibility, while at the same time speaking for the need for parents to take interest. Don’t be so hateful towards the opposing side. Also, I personally believe in a delayed vaccination schedule. I understand that this may not be practical in some respects, but if paired with breast feeding and your natural immunities given to your baby, should be enough to help protect them for the longer duration of immunization schedules. Something in me just cannot commit to 5 shots in my one month old baby, and I know this from experience. Those of you who do not have kids, firstly, have no right to comment because until that moment in the doctor’s office is before you, you will not know how you feel. The doctor was very angry and tried hard to talk us out of it, but I knew my son’s risk was higher for developing autism, albeit high-functioning. We chose to wait until my little one was 6 month’s old, then started the recommended vaccine schedule. There is a fourth trimester out of the womb which is very sensitive. Messing with it really in any way, besides medical necessity, seems unjustified without extensive research backing it up. What I have found so far is unsatisfactory. Anyway, environmental and genetic factors should be taken into consideration, which is backed by recent research. Genetics is the key to autism, but certain environmental factors can intensify it. http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/research-initiatives/environmental-factors-autism-initiative

  16. JF February 15, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    dont’ want to add fuel to the fire but… here’s some scientific work from a reputable peer-reviewed journal…

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18445737

  17. dennis February 16, 2015 at 1:32 am #

    When one hears sentiments of the flavor “to be autistic is worse than death,” one should consider carefully both the mindset and the motivation of the person speaking such (rubbish).

    While the motivation can often be reduced to ‘achieve greater levels of social dominance by any means possible’, the mindset issuing such lies is potentially a good deal darker in tone. The thought occurred to me recently (within perhaps a month or so) is that while many such may well be so cynical as to say lies knowingly (with the goal of getting social brownie points) there is likely to be an equal-or-greater group that actually *believes* such nonsense.

    In speaking of this second group – I wonder: 1) what is the most important thing to someone who sees being autistic as a fate worse than death? 2) What would they do to achieve that thing? and 3) what would they do to people like me if they were give a free hand?

    (shudder…)

  18. Thr33wishes February 16, 2015 at 4:20 am #

    Reblogged this on Thr33Wishes.

  19. Tracy February 17, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

    Autism is not the only potential side effect of vaccination. There is a wide spectrum of disorders resulting from the perfect storm of genetics, toxins, and timing. My daughter has a primary immune deficiency, a diagnosis we did not receive until 13 months of age (2 months ago), when I finally demanded the lab work. One pediatrician will tell you she should not get any vaccinations, and another will say she should get them all because she’s so ‘vulnerable’. Those same pediatricians did not witness the immediate and awful side effects vaccines had on her, first hand. She’s fully recovered now, an effort I fought hard for. Doing so does not make me an Ableist anymore than choosing a lucrative career makes me discriminate against the poor. But we can always ask her how she feels about the choices I made, when she’s old enough to understand.

  20. joannegiacomini February 18, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    Great blog! My son has autism and has received all his vaccines. I don’t blame the vaccines for anything. And I agree that having autism is not the end of the world, rather, it is the beginning of a new world or way of life. The way my son has taught me to see life is amazing. I am blogging about it now at;: http://www.exceptionalmomchild.wordpress.com. Keep up the terrific writing!

  21. Neil Shenvi February 23, 2015 at 11:34 am #

    I agree that it’s wrong to claim that autistic children are ‘soulless’ or that autism is a ‘fate worse than death.’ But I’m curious how you’re using the term ‘ableism’.

    If it’s ableist to say “Don’t worry; vaccines don’t cause autism”, is it ableist to say “Don’t worry; vaccines don’t cause spina bifida”? And if we did discover that a simple vitamin supplement (like folic acid) would prevent autism, would it be ableist to recommend that mothers take it?
    -Neil

  22. jcmindset March 6, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

    Great message. Autism is certainly not the end of the world

  23. shakesperoine June 2, 2015 at 7:01 pm #

    Reblogged this on Bright lights, blank pages and commented:
    Exactly.

  24. readthebloodybook June 2, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

    I guess the hard part is that ableist people have kids, and we need to do whatever it takes to protect those kids from deadly diseases. And let’s face it, if you actually believe that vaccines do cause autism, your rational thinking skills aren’t up to scratch. They will just turn anyone saying ‘autism isn’t the worst thing’ into an admission that vaccines cause autism because ‘if they don’t why would they be telling us that autism is fine’. They aren’t going to see the logic. I’m pretty convinced that a lot of what drives anti-vaxxers is a need to be part of a conspiracy. To feel special. Its all about them and they don’t care who gets hurt (or dies) And if autism isn’t some big bad disaster, it doesn’t fit that narrative. I just don’t see a solution to this issue without giving damn anti-vaxxers turning it around into an admission. Putting someone with autism into the debate will immediately be seen to validate the anti-vaxxers claim. And at this point they are clinging to anything they can hold onto to validate themselves. The issue is that anti-vaxxers are unreasonable people, and you cant expect unreasonable people to be reasonable. I just don’t see a solution that doesn’t make it worse on the vaccine front.

    • educationcomboplatter August 24, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

      The rhetoric is strikingly similar to the tales of changelings.

      Point that out and expose it for what it is for the benefit of the lurkers.

  25. Baldrz December 31, 2015 at 2:49 am #

    Nice straw dog you’ve got there. No parent in the real world talks about “light going out of their child’s eyes.” They’re far more concerned about the ability to speak, go to school, or live an independent life. When you make the ridiculous claim that autism is not a debilitating disease, you’re every bit as dishonest and ignorant as McCarthy. By painting autism as nothing more than a delightful sprinkling of Silicon Valley quirkiness, you deny the very existence of millions of severely disabled people. THAT’s ableist.

  26. Garrett Winters Âû April 7, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

    Reblogged this on Never Less Than Everything and commented:
    Somehow this became relevant in class…please read, it’s a part that’s missing from the vaccine debate that is still somehow raging on and costing lives

  27. rgemom April 7, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

    Reblogged this on Three's a Herd and commented:
    Re-blogging, because this is just too awesome to not share. Autism is not worse than getting a debilitating, deadly disease. And vaccines do not cause autism.

  28. dalecooper57 April 8, 2016 at 8:02 am #

    I’ve always thought this was the case; that the way adherents to both side of the argument disrespect autistic people and use alienating language to get their points across, so thank you for articulating it so well.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  11. Dr. Mark Hyman Falls Short on Autism | The Rationality Unleashed Project - July 10, 2015

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