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?”’


‘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.


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

  1. robinsetter February 6, 2015 at 12:01 am #


    • Dean February 6, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

      Sorry I appreciate your point and the need to rightfully point out that autism spectrum disorder in no way strips a person of the “Light in their eyes”. Autism does not strip a person of that intangible human quality. If anything it boils them down to something raw and often beautiful. Never the less this ablest rhetoric is just that. Autism is a disease it presents significant challenges to its sufferers and whilst some are blessed with other attributes that allow them to overcome and maybe even turn their unique viewpoint into an asset. I would not wish autism on anyone in the same way I would not wish any learning difficulty or disability on anyone. Those defending vaccination are right to point out that it does not cause autism. Vaccines defend against diseases and the argument that their use can cause autism must be challenged. The consequences of these disease can be death or disability of their own. The need to feel special is common to all of us, its a fundamental human need to feel valued. Its also entirely possible (as proven every day by loving families friends and communities) to value everyone regardless of their physical, mental or developmental state and to see their value. That does not mean we should romanticise conditions like autism. For every high functioning savant or individual with the intellect and opportunity to articulate and overcome the challenges of the condition there are many trapped within it, relying on those who care for them to help translate the world and their place in it.

      • liv February 6, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

        YES. Thank you.

      • PurplesShade February 6, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

        @Dean –
        Apology not accepted.
        Autism is not a disease and I am not diseased by it.

        It is in fact sensory processing disorder, which is frequently co-occurring, which causes the most distress for those with autism, but even that is not a disease. (though I guess it could be argued that straight up SPD is actually just an variation of autism, and I think that would not be an unfair sentiment)
        It can be hard to live as a disabled person of any sort in a world not built for us, not intending to be anything up hostile to our needs; but having diverse needs compared to abled people, and having more of them, that does not make us diseased.
        It does not make *us existing* the problem.

        There are things, not currently in existence, that could make living as an autistic much easier. For example, compensating for being auditorily overwhelmed I would love to have a hearing aid that instead of enhancing aspects of sound, dampened aspects of it, or fully filtered out most sounds, with that suddenly walking down the street would no longer be so overwhelming for me. That’s a deficit in technology to help me, it doesn’t make it wrong to exist as I am with auditory struggles.
        More importantly the aspects of my life which are more strife filled do not demonstrate that autism is a disease.
        That my brain is different, that I have this neurological difference, it is not about being special, it is just who I am. I have heard other autists say “I can not separate the parts of me which are autism from the parts which aren’t”, and this is true for me as well.
        If I can not separate myself from this so called “disease”,

        Bellejar is not romanticizing autism. They are simply not insulting us by implying that we are diseased or otherwise “defective” by merely existing as we are. If allistic people were ‘the only real way humans should exist, and every other state is just a broken variation’ that would be true, but I am no less human and to suggest otherwise, to suggest that I am broken, defective, and ‘diseased’ for being autistic is ableist. You are ableist. Stop that.

      • InvarVigandun February 7, 2015 at 1:20 am #

        We’re not “sufferers”. And before you realist that, there’s not even a conversation possible.

      • Bobbie February 7, 2015 at 11:31 am #

        Excellent and heartfelt response, thank you.

      • Elizabeth Moon February 7, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

        It is not “romanticizing” autism to state firmly and repeatedly that it is not the worst thing, the awful thing, the terrible tragedy of one’s life. It is a fact. It is a fact that not all autistic people are alike. It is a fact that many autistic people (including our adult son) enjoy life a lot, when not surrounded by people bemoaning their horrible autistic state. It is not “ablest” rhetoric to point out the increasing number of autists who–in a less negative environment than one that insists on looking for deficits rather than strengths–become happy, friendly, and productive adults. It may take longer. But they are doing it now, where they were once warehoused in institutions.

        Yes, autism places great challenges on both an infant and a family. So does blindness. So does deafness. So does being born with a limb defect. So also poverty, domestic violence in the home, a host of things parents and their children have to deal with. Parents have to pull up their big girl/big boy pants and get on with parenting the child they have, not the child they imagined. Some days are hard. (I would put 100+ degree days in an un-airconditioned house with yet another episode of fecal smearing as one that kind. Also the screaming. Been there, done that, wore the T-shirt to rags.) BUT: it is not the worst thing in the world. It’s just work.

        What “romanticizes” autism is treating it as the mysterious villain in a Gothic novel. Autism isn’t a villain. Autism isn’t a saint. It’s a challenge, yes, but challenges are part of life unless you want to live your life in a celebrity bubble like Jenny McCarthy. Kids with autism are kids first. They come in all races, all shapes, all sizes. Some are more social; some are less. Some have more trouble with auditory processing and some with visual processing, or tactile processing. But it’s not the scary monster madman hiding in the cellar unless society (and parents) make it so.

      • Venus Mahmood February 7, 2015 at 10:48 pm #

        Well said. 🙂

      • Eric February 9, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

        A 1000 times THIS. Just because we treat people with a condition with respect and compassion does not mean we should put on rose colored glasses and pretend it is something other than an illness with the potential to be extremely debilitating.

      • Karlie February 9, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

        Yes – thank you! I have a son with autism and while I appreciate him and value him and find there are things about him that are so amazingly unique and wonderful – I know he’d rather not be in pain all the time. I know he’d rather be able to eat wheat and not have to worry about every processed food. I know he’d like to be able to sleep on a regular schedule and make friends. Saying we should find the cause of autism and stop it doesn’t make me ableist – it makes me want all kids to have all the abilities they can have. If it’s so fabulous to have autism – how about we just continue what we’re doing and increase the numbers (now at somewhere like 1 in 50) – oh wait – we’re already doing that – and still we don’t know what is causing it.

      • Dean March 5, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

        Purple shade have you heard of a straw man argument? Much of your criticism of me seems to be an argument you have attributed to me that I have not made(that Autism means less of a person). My actual positions is thus Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. By its nature it poses challenges of greater and lesser extant. Recognizing that does not implicitly diminish those for whom it effects. I think you dislike the idea of having a handicap, that you are aware of the way some people will use that against you and suggest that you have less value as a person. I am not that person. In truth nearly every human being will be at some point in their life be disabled. Be it by old age, accident or disease. For some it will be temporary, for others a now lifelong condition. They do not cease to be a person, they do not cease to have value and neither do you. Its fantastic that you can find away to express how you feel, but many autistic people cannot even read these posts never mind reply. Understanding them is a journey those who care take the time to imperfectly do. Technical terms like autism give us a useful starting point and frame of reference. Like any term it has its limitations, and its right that the term “Autistic” is not misused as a slur. It is also important that those “most able” to express themselves do not speak for everyone. That in search of their (or in this case your) identity they don’t define everyone else’s. But then that applies to most of the human condition.

    • ThickSkinned February 7, 2015 at 3:22 am #

      Wow, now we are so sensitive that you can discriminate against the undiagnosed disable/abled.

  2. urbaneguerillia February 6, 2015 at 12:05 am #

    You are, of course, completely correct. But when someone is denying their child vaccines ‘because vaccines cause autism’ it is not the best answer to say ‘hey, autism’s not the worst than can happen.’ It does not persuade, if you know what I mean.

    • Bao February 8, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

      That particular sentence may not work, that’s true.

      But if you are in a situation in which somebody believes they only have to provide the ideal environment and with that they are entitled to the ideal outcome when raising a child, then assuring them that what they believe is ‘not ideal’ is in fact ‘ideal’ won’t change anything.
      The best outcome would be that they change their behaviour in that particular situation, but it’s been shown that in many cases even that doesn’t happen.

      That is because we are not talking about facts, we are talking about core beliefs people have about how the world works. And as long as people don’t have to confront this core belief – which is not only objectively wrong, but also harmful to others (and possibly yourself), they will not change their way of dealing with this issue as well as with others that relate to ableism, talent and socioeconomic background of others.

      And seriously, I don’t believe it’s the job of the majority of people who behave in pro-social ways to mollycoddle those who behave in anti-social ways without admitting to it.

    • microraptor February 8, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

      No, but it would still be nice if the debate wasn’t phrased in such a way that it made it sound like those of us who are on the autistic spectrum aren’t lesser people than neurotypicals.

      • microraptor February 9, 2015 at 5:49 am #

        Eh, it would be still be nice if the debate were phrased in such a way that didn’t make it sound like those of us on the autistic spectrum are lesser people than neurotypicals.

        Posting while distracted again.

    • Rico Enkdo February 10, 2015 at 2:05 am #

      Yes. So much of what you just said. Yes

  3. haddayr February 6, 2015 at 12:30 am #

    YES. It is. I’ve been writing a big long thing about this myself as the mom of an autistic kid. YES.

  4. lunalovebooks February 6, 2015 at 12:33 am #

    Reblogged this on Tea and Narrative Empathy.

  5. youngjamaican February 6, 2015 at 12:49 am #

    i am fully vaccinated and i have got no effects from getting vaccinated .that’s just my experience in my country Jamaica.

  6. StandAsOneUnited February 6, 2015 at 1:26 am #

    To say vaccines don’t cause autism, one hasn’t paid attention to the one group of people who refuse to vaccinate – the Amish.

    Not ever a single cause of autism exists among them; not Downs, not any illness of any kind that plague the mainstream.

    Don’t be so naive – closed minded, it’s a personal shackle.

    • Fabrisse February 6, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

      It took me one very quick Google search to find an article about neurological disorders linked the Amish population. The link is here:

      There are illnesses which plague isolated and “natural” populations.

      Having said all of that, I agree with the author’s statement that we’re being ableist in our discussion of vaccines. I will be monitoring my own responses to people in discussions.

    • welliswan February 6, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

      This is inaccurate on a lot of levels. The whole “Amish anomaly” stems from a series of columns by Dan Olmstead, who asserted first that Amish people don’t vaccinate their children, and second that there are only three Amish autistics (not none). Multiple studies have contradicted Olmstead’s assertions. First of all, 85% of Amish parents vaccinate their children. The Amish are not a semi-mythical magic bullet in these arguments, and are in fact healthcare pragmatists (they’re also not exactly Luddites–people have a lot of misconceptions about the Amish).

      Amish parents who refuse vaccination do so for basically the same reasons non-Amish parents do, not for religious reasons. There’s no evident basis for the “only three autistic Amish people” assertion–indeed, there are multiple clinics in Amish communities to serve autism spectrum disorders, which indicates a need.

      It’s also hard to argue that vaccines are the only lifestyle difference between Amish people and non-Amish people–even if the Amish anomaly were demonstrated to be true, which is far from the case, there are zero controls, making it a pretty useless population comparison.

      And also, AUTISM IS NOT A BOGEYMAN. It’s not. People with autism spectrum disorders routinely live full and happy lives, and for many, the principle vector of suffering is the massive misinformation and prejudice that exists surrounding their lives and humanity. Making autism the scaremongering central issue contributes to this and causes genuine human suffering. Stop.

    • Roy Gathercoal February 6, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

      This is simply untrue. Spend some time at the hospital in Lancaster county, PA.

      Even if it were, this would not be proof. Think of it like this: All people who are 20 years old are much taller than those 20 months old. So therefore Height must cause you to age. Thus, find a way to lower your height and you will avoid the effects of age!

      Open minded should not be a shield for laziness of thought. So much of our health system has been based on coincidence and we are less healthy because of this. The whole nutritional supplement business is draining our middle-class savings dry with no more than a handful of anecdotes and advertising jargon. Snake oil is still snake oil. People who take megadoses of Vitamin C do get the flu. They also get liver failure. Not every time, of course. But we have documented cases. Which do not exist for the vaccination thing.

      My immune system is compromised because of long-term illness. I cannot go out into public precisely because of your “open-minded” thinking. Because your kid could kill me. So sorry if that vaccination is inconvenient for you or your fact-impoverished life world.

      PS. No matter how many black cats you see run across your path, and no matter how much bad luck you have, the first does not cause the second. Okay?

    • Shaun February 6, 2015 at 6:12 pm #


    • John Donahue February 7, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

      More facts easily found via Google.
      MacArthur Fellows Program – D. Holmes Morton – Country Doctor and Research Physician –

      There is little to no evidence the Amish are immune from anything, but there is an abundance of evidence to the contrary.

    • Katie February 7, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

      You can’t just say, “Since the Amish don’t vaccinate, and they don’t have autism, then vaccinations cause autism.” You need a control group. There are too many variables. The fact that autism doesn’t exist in their community could be correlated to something else entirely: their inbreeding, their non-GMO foods, their fresh clean air… Also, what if there are cases of Autism in the Amish community, but they are just not noticeable because of the lack of overwhelming stimuli?

      • jack February 8, 2015 at 7:45 am #

        Read some of the comments above yours – there are multiple pointing out that that argument is incorrect. The Amish DO vaccinate and they DO have cases of autism just like the rest of the world.

    • Pete February 8, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

      Amish community’s have more than their share of birth defects and children with issues. They parent differently and live differently that a child with autism in a Amish community would thrive better in their slower pace, village raising family and less technology and stimulation. Amish are close knit quiet people and wouldn’t be publicizing their child’s issues, or the struggles raising their children like alot of our society does. They don’t go to public schools or Doctors where this diagnosis would be given.

      • bellejarblog February 10, 2015 at 3:00 am #

        I don’t think that’s true! I’ve lived in Mennonite country and they for sure go to the hospitals there to have babies and get procedures done! Even the old order Mennonites!

  7. StandAsOneUnited February 6, 2015 at 1:32 am #

    Don’t be shackled by a naive, closed mind. To not open your mind and look beyond the tip of your nose only sends you down the wrong path of discovery.

    There is one group of people, a society that never ever vaccinate – and not a single case of autism; not a single case of Downs…no mental nor physical ailments/disability that plagues the vaccinated mainstream….the Amish.

    That’s not coincidence, it’s a very real fact.

    • IndependentThinker February 6, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

      That is the most ridiculous argument I have ever heard. Use your freaking brain. Do some critical thinking. Here, I’ll lay out just a few of the grievous fallacies you’ve made:

      Number 1–The Amish are an almost completely isolated genetic population (ie they tend not to procreate outside of their own group). Therefore it is very possible that the genetic predispositions for many diseases have not penetrated into their allelic pool. Furthermore, because of this genetic isolation it is well-known that the Amish are plagued by the founder effect. Inbreeding amongst this relatively small population leads to a disproportionately vast number of congenital defects and neurologic disorders. This directly contradicts your bold and spurious claim that there has “never been a case of such conditions.”

      Number 2–They have very primitive medical care (which typically does not extend to psychological evaluation) so it is dubious that many neurologic conditions, especially the more subtle ones, would be diagnosed even if they existed. Also it is unlikely that many families would admit to having such conditions in their family, especially to those of us in the developed society.

      Number 3– “The Amish don’t vaccinate so __________ must be true.”
      This is one of the most horrendous and widespread logical fallacies that pseudoscientists use to propagate their ignorant agendas. Correlation does NOT equal causation. Know what else most Amish don’t do? They don’t use cell phones. They don’t eat processed foods. They don’t use artificial dyes and preservatives. They tend not to watch TV or use computers. They don’t take multivitamins. They don’t wear polyester clothes. They don’t use microwaves. They don’t wear contacts. They don’t chew gum. The list goes on and on. And using your argument, every single one of these things MUST cause autism. Because the “Amish don’t do them and the Amish don’t have autism because of it” (which is still a groundless assumption).

      Number 4–Mental and physical defects have plagued humanity for far longer than either the Amish or vaccines have even existed. So your entire argument is invalid right from the start.

      The only naive person here is you. Educate yourself before opening your mouth. And work on your grammar and spelling. And also look up the definition of the word “fact” as you apparently don’t understand what it means. You can find it in this book called the “dictionary” under the section labelled as “F”.

    • IndependentThinker February 6, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

      And if that weren’t enough, I just did a quick research of legitimate sources of information and found that vaccination rates in the Amish are actually as high as 85%. And thus your assertion completely falls apart in the light of actual evidence.

    • John February 6, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

      Just because you’ve said it twice now, doesn’t make what you said true…

    • sickofthestupidity February 8, 2015 at 1:04 am #

      NOT TRUE! JUST TAKE A STEP INTO A SHRINER’S HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN! as i have MANY times (my son was a patient,too). because the unit that we went to was the only one within hundreds of miles, amish families coordinated their appointments to be able to come as a group. i saw amish families with children with profound disabilities in the most up-to-date,modern power wheelchairs.meaning-they acknowledged and made use of the best medical technology available for their children. i don’t know where you got this false idea,but it’s not true

      • Corina Lynn Becker February 8, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

        Thank you; I come from a Mennonite family (Amish and Mennonites are cousin groups and often get confused for one another) and I don’t know how many times I have to explain that yes, we use technology, yes even the Old Order uses modern medicine. There’s this weird idea that because of the “simple people” and “simple living” aspect of Amish/Mennonite communities, that we’ve given up modern technology, which, as I’m typing on a computer while waiting for my delivery food, is plainly not true.

        And yes, autism exists in Mennonite communities. Both sides of my family is Russian Mennonite, and soooooooo many autistics. Just because I’m the only one formally diagnosed doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    • Eric February 9, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

      Patently untrue.

  8. reviewgrrrl February 6, 2015 at 2:13 am #

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have been saying the same thing many times to my TV over the past week. Another point that’s been mentioned before is that vaccines prevent life threatening illnesses. The side effect they’re most worried about is Autism or a similar mental disorder and not the death of their own child or another basically saying Autism and mental disability is a fate worse than death.

  9. Alyssa February 6, 2015 at 2:57 am #

    Thank you so, so, so much for writing this. I am not a parent and so do not always feel like I should jump into the vaccination debate, but as a neurodiverse person and a disability activist, the constant “causes autism” thing has come up again and again and again in the vaccination argument and it breaks my heart and my head every time. I had been thinking about posting something on Facebook about it but I’m so happy to have a more comprehensive resource to post.

  10. Lindsay Morrison February 6, 2015 at 3:34 am #

    Great article.

  11. nadiainherownworld February 6, 2015 at 3:47 am #

    This is also relevant to all the “Putin has Aspergers” speculation coming out now. Yes, the “that’s not sufficient evidence” response is valid, but it doesn’t address why it’s wrong to use an oversimplified, dehumanizing image of Aspergers as a tool to discredit a politician’s decisions.

    • Ciara Raven Blaze February 6, 2015 at 5:15 am #

      not to mention, being an Aspie is no excuse for treating your citizens and the citizens of other countries like shit.

  12. Lauren February 6, 2015 at 4:14 am #

    I really, REALLY started reading this thinking: “ah crap, and I used to really like her too…” thinking I was going to disagree and be all judgey about anyone saying anything even marginally against the vaccine argument- which you arn’t, it turns out-and still… you rocked me with this one. I’m totally changed about the way I think about this now. Thank you… really and truly thank you for this.

    • StandAsOneUnited February 6, 2015 at 9:39 am #

      The Amish contradict every pro-vaccinator. They alone invalidate every reason why vaccinators claim everyone MUST be vaccinated.

      Intelligent people look for objective evidence, rather than favorable reports. The Amish are living proof that children don’t need vaccinated, as it is against all that they are and all that they stand for.

      In the entire Amish community across the globe, not a single historical case of autism, not any kind of mental disability – ever. The living proof the Amish provide makes your argument, and any other pro-vaccinations invalid.

      • ItalianHurricane February 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

        The Amish community is not a PROOF as long as we find an actual PROOF that the reason they don’t display disabilities is that they use vaccinations. Also, they are very isolated and closed communities, so it’s hard that genetical problems get among them.

        Plus, by saying “intelligent people…” you imply that all the people pro-vaccinations are stupid, so maybe you could express your opinion with a bit more of respect.

      • StandAsOneUnited February 6, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

        The Amish don’t vaccinate, and no autism exists among them, proof! People who do, have autism among them. You don’t see the coincidence? Stupid!

      • ItalianHurricane February 6, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

        That’s called coincidence, not proof, and it’s even e very easy coincidence to happen. (So rich people graduate from Harvard and poor people don’t, this means poor people are stupid! No, it can also mean that they don’t have the means to go to Harvard). Maybe YOU are stupid because you don’t see it, and you are also very arrogant to keep calling other people stupid. Of course I won’t bother answer you anymore.

      • cadaver kid February 6, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

        This isn’t proof at all and you should really consider what you are saying in your argument and how you are wording it before coming to conslusions. There may not be a single REPORTED historical case of autism or mental disability but that does not mean there have been no cases. You cannot infer that there have never been cases of any condition, illness, or the likes simply because a community does not report on it. Furthermore, would members of the Amish community who have not been educated in modern medicine and sciences even know how to identify these conditions? Probably not. Even if they did, based on your own argument re: “all that they stand for,” I strongly doubt they’d be willing to subject themselves and their children to medical testing and diagnosis.
        You should also know that there are change-oriented Amish communities who do in fact believe in modern medicine (including vaccination) and even deliver their children in hospitals.

      • StandAsOneUnited February 6, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

        You don’t know very much, do you? You especially don’t know what I know. I have a healthy relationship with many Amish, as my father lives among their heavily populated area.

        Much research has been conducted.
        So until you know what I know, don’t pretend to know more.

      • welliswan February 6, 2015 at 6:52 pm #

        “In the entire Amish community across the globe, not a single historical case of autism, not any kind of mental disability – ever.”

        You’re going to need to source this, because as noted above, literally *everything* in available research, even the spurious nonsense that sparked the whole Amish anomaly thing, contradicts you.

        And to focus on this, even if it were remotely accurate, is to profoundly miss the point. Autism is not worse that death. Autism is not the unthinkable end of a soul and a life. Behaving as if any risk is acceptable so long as it decreases the risk of autism is misguided and damaging to the dignity and well-being of people with autism spectrum disorders.

      • John February 6, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

        A third time! Why not provide some evidence of your point?

      • Maggie February 8, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

        The Amish vaccinate. A 2011 study found that vaccination rates among the Amish are around 85%. Therefore, your argument is completely invalid from the get-go.

      • sescrows February 8, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

        Stand Alone, did you not see the above response by Independent Thinker? “Correlation does NOT equal causation. Know what else most Amish don’t do? They don’t use cell phones. They don’t eat processed foods. They don’t use artificial dyes and preservatives. They tend not to watch TV or use computers. They don’t take multivitamins. They don’t wear polyester clothes. They don’t use microwaves. They don’t wear contacts. They don’t chew gum. The list goes on and on. And using your argument, every single one of these things MUST cause autism. Because the “Amish don’t do them and the Amish don’t have autism because of it” (which is still a groundless assumption)”
        Do you know anything about the first part of that statement- “CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION”? Even if your argument about them not having a single case of autism is true (I don’t know about this or care to research this), your argument is still scientifically invalid. There are things called “variables” and in your example, there are far too many of them. This has nothing to do with whether or not someone is for or against vaccination, it’s just how science works.

      • Naheta February 9, 2015 at 2:26 am #

        The Amish have the same rates as the rest of the country how do I know this? I had to write a paper on genetic disorders and the Amish are looked at frequently as they don’t out breed much. And you saying you know it’s true because your dad lives with them is like me saying I can drive a ship because my dad was in the Navy. Pointless and likely untrue.

      • Eric February 9, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

        85% of Amish vaccinate.

  13. balletandboxing February 6, 2015 at 4:45 am #

    As always, you point out nuances I had never noticed.

    Thanks for helping improve the tone of this ridiculous public conversation!

  14. Ciara Raven Blaze February 6, 2015 at 5:14 am #

    speaking as an autistic person, I am so very thankful to see this post. I wish everyone on both sides of the “debate” would read this.

  15. Malavi February 6, 2015 at 7:58 am #

    Also, many childhood diseases are FATAL. Not vaccinating basically means you’d prefer a dead child over a neuroatypical child. And that’s some shit. In my opinion, that’s enough to qualify as a terrible parent.

  16. Tyler February 6, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    I have not been vaccinated and I am just fine. My kids haven’t either, and they are fine. You guys can argue all you want about what’s right and what’s wrong, but in the end it’s the parents right to vaccinate or not. Bunch of fucking idiots. Who cares if someone chooses not to vaccinate their child, IT’S THEIR FUCKING CHILD!

    • Vivek February 6, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

      If everyone thought like this there would be A LOT of dead children. You’re essentially shielded from the diseases by people who have been vaccinated. The less people that get vaccinated the weaker the shield and the higher the chance of an outbreak or resurgence.

      A child is not your property. If you abuse your child he/she is taken away from you.

      On the other hand if you wanted to essentially have genetic selection wherein children whose immune systems aren’t strong enough simply die to the diseases then yeah we could do that. Build a race of disease immune humans ON THE CORPSES OF ENDLESS MILLIONS.

      I seriously hope your dogma doesn’t affect your kids and when they grow up they have their children vaccinated.

    • mgpcoe February 6, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

      But it’s not only their child, unless they raise their child in a bubble. Your decision to not vaccinate your kids puts other kids at risk as herd immunity declines. Not all immune system respond equally to vaccinations–I know of a woman whose immune system effectively “forgot” her rabies vaccine from a year earlier–so kids, and adults, with weaker, or completely compromised, immune systems, are relying on immunised people to keep them from dying of an easily preventable disease.

      It’s called a social contract.

    • welliswan February 6, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

      *MY* fucking child nearly died when he contracted a vaccine-preventable disease when he was too young to have been vaccinated himself. You will get literally nowhere basing your argument on the idea that your kids are somehow more important than everyone else’s kids to anyone but you personally.

      But that’s only part of the thing, because obviously I’m not going to sway you by talking about my kid, or hundreds of thousands, even millions, of other kids. The big problem is that you seem to have a shaky understanding of disease transmission and the purpose of vaccination.

      As noted by others, you’re “fine” because you enjoy the benefits of living in a largely vaccinated community and are protected by herd immunity, the same thing that’s supposed to protect very young children and people with vaccine allergies and immune disorders. The problem is that as more and more people make the same poorly informed choices that you’re making, the less well protected the people who *can’t* be vaccinated are. Vaccines are also not universally protective; they are *mostly* effective, and again, the people for whom vaccines are not fully effective are only protected so long as herd immunity is intact.

      It’s a parent’s right to make some health decisions for their family (though not all–parents are not permitted to skip carseats and seatbelts and life-saving medical care for their kids), but it’s also a child’s right to receive adequate medical care, and the right of *everyone else* to walk around without willfully negligent people actively endangering their lives.

      I think that you do your own children a disservice by not vaccinating, but fine, make that choice. Just don’t presume to make similar choices about the health of other children (and adults, for that matter), which is what you’re doing every time you or your children go out among the general population. We don’t want your 19th century diseases. They kill people.

    • Shain February 6, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

      And here I’d always believed that children were human beings with their own interests and lives worth preserving, not extensions or property of their parents. Silly me.

    • sickofthestupidity February 8, 2015 at 1:18 am #

      really? really? just because you’ve been playing russian roulette with your ability to avoid contracting an illness that could make you seriously ill does NOT make you correct-just damned lucky. go live in your own bubble-we don’t want you out here-carrier. and don’t go running to the emergency room looking for treatment when you could’ve done some preventative maintenance in advance,you’re just contaminating everyone else. you do not have the right to harm others.period

  17. Petal&Mortar February 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    Yes, yes, yes. You write the words I wish I could.

  18. betterfailling February 6, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    Thank you for this!

  19. Amy February 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm #


  20. Kristine W. February 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    I love everything about your message and this message needs to get out there loud and clear. I would like to nicely point out that your article has a few typos that you may want to fix: “my parents” instead of “by parents” and a “recent” instead of recently. These are little things but I don’t want them to detract from an otherwise flawless message.

  21. onehundredtwentythreedays February 6, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

    My brother-in-law is severly autistic and I grew-up babysitting an autistic child, so I am familiar with autism, it’s spectrum and you are right, it is not the end of the world to have a special needs child. I do have to admit, while I am vaccinating my own infant, I still worry and worry and worry about weather or not it is the *healthy* thing to do. This post challenges me on many levels as a mother. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Lisa February 6, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    I’m getting the adult MMR booster later this afternoon, but the light has already left my eyes from reading the “BUT THE AMISH!!!!1” comments here,

  23. Virginia February 6, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

    I’m getting the adult MMR booster later this afternoon, but the light has *already* left my eyes from reading the “BUT THE AMISH!!!1” comments.

  24. D.T. Nova February 6, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    I’ve used both the fact that vaccines don’t cause autism and the question “why are you acting like autism is worse than a life-threatening disease?” in the same argument before.
    But I don’t think it’s fair to assume that everyone who says “that’s not true” without explicitly pointing out that the people they are arguing against are also wrong about their priorities anyway necessarily shares those misplaced priorities.

  25. InvarVigandun February 7, 2015 at 2:30 am #

    Recently, on a dating platform, I got this message:

    “Your eyes can tear into a man’s heart like a knife cuts into an ice cream tart!”

    I had believed it to be a compliment, but now I’m wondering. Maybe the darkness in my soulless autistic eyes scared that poor guy. I probably should wear sunglasses to prevent this from happening.

    On a more serious note, though, thank you for blogging about this. I don’t have the patience, it’s so ridiculous.

  26. littledinobug February 7, 2015 at 3:32 am #

    Reblogged this on Before Change, Comes Chaos. and commented:
    My daughter is Autistic and I wouldn’t trade her for the world

  27. elfkat February 7, 2015 at 5:18 am #

    Reblogged this on Adventures and Musings of an Arch Druidess.

  28. Cassie February 7, 2015 at 5:58 am #

    Ok so Autism can’t be from vaccines due to it being impossible to conclude in scientific measurable evidence that it does exist on a “disease” level…. it isn’t a disease- it’s a behavioral disorder. But what vaccines have shown proof of are autistic similar behaviors- similar symptoms. As well as seizures, emsephalitis, skin rashes, sensitivities, fever, etc.
    But Let’s face It vaccines come with real aparent danger- listed on the warning label as side effects! Vaccines are made by criminal Billion dollar profiting companies creating more diseases to further treat- these companies aren’t accountable or liable his dknt gve a rats ass about safety! Real wealthy people vaccinate with 100% SAFE vaccines! Proof is in the pudding. Even popular Dr Oz did NOT vaccinate HIS children… Let’s just pretend for a moment that we don’t really NEED these vaccines anymore because our hygiene and healthcare has come full circle from when said dangerously infectious disease run rampant. Give peace in science and medicine a try and make today’s vaccines a choice!

    • Maggie February 8, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

      You act like no one has died of measles since the Dark Ages. Like polio wasn’t killing children (or leaving them severely disabled–I’d rather have a disabled child than a dead child, definitely, by a factor of a billion billion–but when the disability is easily avoidable, why not avoid it?) until the middle of last century.

      Yes, our healthcare has improved in the last century. One of the ways it has improved is that there are now vaccines to protect children against many of the most common dangerous diseases that used to infect–and disable, and kill–children.

  29. Miss Goodwitch February 7, 2015 at 7:20 am #

    Reblogged this on MISS GOODWITCH and commented:
    My son has Autism. So this is near and dear to my heart. Thank you for sharing, yes there is much fear out there. It has been discovered by Harvard University that diet has a profound effect on those with Autism.

  30. Katie February 7, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    Reblogged this on Coffee is for Clover only.

  31. Danika Maia February 7, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    I think it’s sad when a child is not physically able to be vaccinated because of chemo or other disease and depends on the safety of the children around him is put at serious risk because parents decide that it’s just “not for them.” Marin county in California has a huge population of unvaccinated children and it puts everyone at risk.

  32. j February 7, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    As someone who has chosen not to vaccinate for reasons other than the autism debate (primarily a family history of severe allergies to pharmaceuticals and vaccines, in addition to other things), thank you for this article. I don’t love that you clump us all together with the Jenny McCarthy s of the world, but I do love that you are advocating for autistic people. You will hopefully help many people to stop focusing on autism, and start focusing on things that matter more.

  33. Kay February 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    My best friend has autism, as well as dyslexia and dyspraxia. He is 30, works full time in construction, has his own apartment and has too many friends to count. He lives a very fulfilling life, better than many ‘healthy’ people. To imply that he has no ‘light’ in his eyes is incredibly insulting! Autism won’t kill or harm your child, and with the right support they can go on to live normal adult lives. When people think their child is lost due to autism, they deny them a full life.

  34. AMM February 7, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    I’d never heard of the “Amish Anomaly”, so I did a quick Google search, which lead me to the Wikipedia article on the subject. Which (a) describes the meme and (b) debunks it. Every “fact” in the meme is demonstrably false. I had heard of the “study” linking certain vaccines and autism — in the context of it having been proven to be greed-driven fraud. Are all the anti-vax “facts” as blatantly bogus as these?

    As for autism: my older son is diagnosed with Asperger disorder, which is an autistic-spectrum disorder. It’s definitely not been easy, but then, from what I can see, “easy” children are very much in the minority — if it’s not one thing, it’s another. He’s always had a “light in his eyes;” sometimes maybe a bit too much, if you ask me. I’ve known a number of autistic people (no severely autistic ones, though), and they come across as pretty much just people. The main difference I’ve noticed is that you have to recalibrate how you pick up on what’s going on inside them, but that’s not all that different from dealing with people from a different culture.

    Finally, there’s an assumption in all the “vaccines cause autism” stuff: that autism is something that can be acquired. Is there any real evidence that anything after birth can turn a neurotypical into an ASD person? The kids I’ve known who were autistic showed signs of it from the day they were born (even if the parents didn’t realize it at the time.)

    • cmcfau February 8, 2015 at 12:50 am #

      +1. My younger son has Aspergers, diagnosed at 6 yo. But he showed noticeable differences from his twin sister and older brother pretty much since he was born, certainly by 3 months. My wife & I became aware very early that he was different emotionally, behaviourally, and developmentally to other children his age.

      And I don’t know if I need to say this but in case it helps someone I will: he’s nine now, and we couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s bright, funny, and on his own terms very loving. To say that he can be challenging would be an understatement but raising any child is hard. We don’t get to pick our children. All we can do is love them and struggle to identify and then provide what they’ll need for the life ahead of them. The blessing is that the rewards are even greater than the work.

  35. Kronisk February 7, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    “Why not start sending them links to blogs and articles written by people who actually have autism”

    1) For all of the moaning about “ableist” wordings that attempt to mould and reshape our language into something that does not properly describe _what is_, I find it very vexatious that people do not check their articles enough for separationist language. Or worse still, think separationist language acceptable. More on this anon.

    2) We do send them links to journals and articles and even scientific treatises written by autistic people. The reaction is always the same, a basic “la la la not listening”. There is no point trying to reason with a person who is determined to make you see yourself as vermin. And by none, I mean less than.

    Now, let me get this out of the way. When I read “with autism”, “have autism”, or worst of all “suffer from autism”, I get real physical reactions. My adrenal and neurochemical systems go bananas. Reactions that are associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. You had me going along with this article until you put those very words into it. I do not have autism, I am autistic. I have diabetes. I have a gene that makes it more likely for my blood to clot inappropriately. I have a history of skin cancer. I am autistic. Read these phrases out loud to yourself repeatedly and see a tiny sliver of why even thinking “with autism” around me is not a good idea.

    Further to that, “with autism” encourages the tragedy rhetoric far more than a sound scientific refutation ever will. The intellectually deficient folk who write what Jenny Mc____ write think of autism as something that has somehow “latched on” and is external. That is another reason why language that reflects such an idea is wrong.

    Another point you are not considering in this article is that being polite, being gentle, avails us nothing. You might think this argument of “autismz is baaaaad mmmmkay?” followed by “science, experience, actual data says you are wrong and you are a stupid asshole idiot-head” is something recent, or only post-dating YouChoob, or something along those lines. It had already been going on for years when I joined it, and when I joined it was around ten years ago now. I have a video challenging the curebie crowd to imagine themselves living with all that I live with, which I posted in three parts. YouChoob says it is seven years old. The place where it was originally published, the AutTV project, is years older than that.

    Throughout all of this time, curebies have proven to us that the only argument they will listen to is force. Surround them on their marches with men who average at 6’4″ and tell them “not one more step”. And so forth.

    That is what curebies will respond properly to. Every day, they declare a war on autism, thus upon us, and every day an increasingly passive mainstream movement lets it go by. People who are spoken of first in the mainstream press, Grandin and the like, continuously beg and plead and drown out our voices in doing so.

    As Assata Shakur put it, nobody won their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of those who were oppressing them.

    That is why I do not bother to address curebies in a gentle, “hey take a look at this address” fashion. They only hear what they want to hear, and having grown up in an environment where everyone plays a game of You Automatically Wrong Us Automatically Right Even When You Can Prove The Opposite To Court Standards, I am tired of it. The only answer in person a curebie deserves is a boot in the butt or a push into the path of a bus, so far as I am concerned.

    And I am not alone.

  36. Cory February 7, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

    And all of these parents are just wrong because “science” says vaccines can’t cause autism?

    • andi1235 February 9, 2015 at 1:42 am #

      Yes. A tiny number of kids have side effects from vaccines, but vaccines don’t cause autism. All of these parents are mistaken.

      • microraptor February 10, 2015 at 3:42 am #

        Yeah, autism is a lifelong condition that you’re born with. Anyone who thinks that there’s a moment when the “light goes out of your eyes” has confused it with zombie fever.

    • andi1235 February 9, 2015 at 1:44 am #


    • Jeff Simpson February 9, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

      Yes, and you are wrong for thinking that link proves anything.

  37. Bobby February 7, 2015 at 6:01 pm #


    Being autistic isn’t EVEN ANYTHING LIKE MEASLES OR any of the other super possible things that can happen if kids don’t get vaccinated. I feel like this bizarre unscientific scenario of parents shouting out “my child will get autism, the light will leave their eyes!” is freakin’ ridiculous and yeah if you have autism and suddenly everyone around you is shouting OH GOOD LORD MY CHILD COULD BECOME AUTISTIC I’D RATHER MY CHILD GET POLIO — I think it’s hurtful and privileged!

    but reassuring people, “No vaccinations do not cause autism” is just educational. I don’t think it’s the not able-ist AT ALL because let’s be honest, isn’t everything in the world able-ist? So many things! And I think you’re idea of saying “but let’s think about why you perceive autism so negatively” is also a good addition to that teaching against ignorance but not medical ignorance but ignorance about peoples’ ableism.

  38. Afour February 7, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    We experienced the beginning of this debate regarding vaccines with my older son (who has autism) and unfortunately have been in the middle of the debates ever since. My son is a beautiful, kind, frequently challenging young man now. Frankly, the attributes that have been most challenging are the same attributes that are enabling him to work toward a high school diploma, an achievement we were told would never be in his reach. He has never lacked a light in his eyes. I have been offended for years by Jenny McCarthy and her followers, all of whom have not only implied that my son is broken, but also that I am an inadequate mother for not “curing” him of his autism. This is simply a variation on the old “refrigerator mother” theory of autism.

    Parenting a child with special needs can be hard enough without people judging your choices as a parent because he hasn’t been “cured.” It is painful and ableist and it must stop.

    Finally, one additional word on this issue of the Amish, vaccinations, and autism: as with many who are anti-vaccine, clearly the commentator will persist in her or his beliefs. But this argument is a simply a red herring that allows people to avoid the real point here – the language used in the debate is insulting to people with autism, to their families and to the community at large.

  39. Kristine February 7, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this.this has been something I have wanted to say for the longest time and didn’t know how to vocalize it without letting emotions overcome me.
    Thank you! I could share this on my time line everyday.


  40. Elaine February 7, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

    I don’t think I agree with your point. If there were a group of people who believed that vaccinating would make their childs leg fall off, telling them that their child’s legs would remain attached would not in any way imply that having no legs is the worse thing in the world, just something you would hope to avoid if possible.

  41. David Fischer February 8, 2015 at 1:30 am #

    Yeah, and operating a bandsaw without gloves is ableist too. What, are you like prejudice against people without thumbs or something? And wearing safety goggles is totally ableist. Why would you want to deny yourself the opportunity to experience what the blind go through?

    Seriously, this is the most retarded thing I’ve read all week. Not wanting to contract a disability doesn’t mean you discriminate against those who already have one. I’m sure most disabled people wouldn’t wish their particular afflictions on anyone else either.

    • Jeff Simpson February 9, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

      Except that vaccines are the goggles in your metaphor.

    • Cere February 10, 2015 at 5:27 am #

      Anyone who uses the r-word has nothing – NOTHING – of value to add to ANY conversation. EVER. The world is lousy with places where people like you can get together and gleefully dehumanize children and adults – pick one and leave. Your hate speech is unacceptable and you are abhorrent.

    • Kronisk February 10, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

      1) Autism is not “contracted”.

      2) There are disabilities and disabilities. Autism is the best example of what I like to refer to as a “reversion disability”. That is, if the ratio between the disabled and the “able” were reversed, the “able” would become the ones considered disabled.

      If one person was an ignorant, stupid normie like you who uses words like “contract” in context of autism for every 150 people who are autistic, you would be the ones considered disabled.

      That is a critical point that I do not expect idiots like yourself to understand, but when people who are reasonably intelligent hear it and think about it, it tends to change how they think about it.

      If the ratio of people who are blind or missing thumbs to people who do not deal with these things were reversed, those people would still be disabled. If the ratio of autistic people to not-autistic people (in your case, ignorant little normies who talk a lot and say very little) were reversed, not-autistic people would be deprived of their position of power.

      It is people who write comments like yours that make me wish I could snap my fingers and reverse that ratio, just so you can grok and be horrified by how wrong you really are.

  42. Cute Or Funny Videos February 8, 2015 at 1:39 am #

    Thanks for bringing this up. Couldn’t agree more. Wish we could figure out what causes people to be idiots when it comes to vaccinations (and everything else). Hopefully they’ll find a cure for that, perhaps even find a vaccine?

  43. 740TAO February 8, 2015 at 2:22 am #

    Reblogged this on LMGTFY.

  44. Jenn February 8, 2015 at 2:56 am #

    I still can’t believe there are clueless people out there that believe vaccinations cause autism! Wake the fuck up you idiots!!!! My son is high functioning autism and he is the light of my life!!! Autism spectrum disorder is not the end of the world for your child! It makes them unique in their own way AND they are very intelligent!!! Far more intelligent than you idiots who won’t vaccinate their children for fear they may get autism! You treat it like it’s the plague! You should all be ashamed of yourselves!!!

  45. Auster February 8, 2015 at 4:17 am #

    I don’t understand this argument. There’s seems to be a sense that wanting your children to avoid getting autism means that you’re bigotted toward people who have autism.

    If a vaccine or some drug could immunize people from autism, wouldn’t we want that? Or are we saying that people with autism, and their families, prefer they have that they have condition bec curing it denies who thry are?

    What am I missing?

    • microraptor February 10, 2015 at 3:55 am #

      Well, to begin with, you’re missing that autism doesn’t work like that.

  46. JoJo February 8, 2015 at 4:42 am #

    Great post. And I will try to remember to incorporate the ‘you need to review why autism bothers you so much’ into my ‘vaccines don’t cause autism’. But what do I say to an anti vaxxer whose son is autistic and she thinks Jenny McCarthy is a brilliant woman and hero?

  47. Toshit February 8, 2015 at 6:06 am #

    good post please visit

  48. Andy February 8, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    I don’t know much about Autism, so I’m not going to talk about that.

    But as someone who has a livelong severe chronic illness that was triggered less than a few weeks after a vaccine I received as an adolescent, I must say I feel angry when people treat me as some sort of rare statistic that doesn’t really exist, as if I won the anti-lottery or something.

    My treatment by medical practitioners has been extremely poor. Disbelief, lack of sympathy and victim blaming. Sadly this is an experience that is shared by others in my predicament.

    Some sympathy and acknowledgement would be appreciated in these discussions.

    Not your ablesplaining to tell us that we don’t exist or that I should be happy to live a life of constant pain.


  1. Ableism, Disability, and The Conversation About Vaccines: An Autistic Perspective | Raygender - February 6, 2015

    […] Vaccines don’t cause autism, but that’s not the point. Stop being ableist. […]

  2. Weekend Links | Gerry Canavan - February 7, 2015

    […] * Ableism, neurotypicality, and the vaccine debate. […]

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