Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘vaccination

Did you know that there’s no such thing as a penicillin allergy? Or a peanut allergy? Isn’t it amazing?

I know, you’re thinking, what? She’s cracked..the move has pushed her over the edge. But I assure you, I’m not.

After all, if we follow the “vaccines are fine, you anti-vaccine people are bringing back diseases and you’re harming society” theory of late, if vaccines are safe for everyone, penicillin, peanuts, you name it,  must be okay for everyone, right?

If vaccines can’t cause adverse reactions in anyone — you know, that conglomeration of preservatives, aluminum and aborted fetal cells — then penicillin, peanuts and anything else that results in rashes, hives or anaphylactic shock can’t cause adverse reactions either. I mean, really, if they’re good for ‘most’ people, then they must be okay for everyone, right?

Now we know this isn’t true. We know allergies exist — some mild, some deathly. We don’t go around telling them that the side-effects of ingesting an allergen are really something else. No, of course not. Instead, we created epi-pens and we adapt our environments. Most importantly, we don’t scoff at those who suffer and tell them they’re wrong, that peanut really didn’t just make them swell up to the point of needing an injection or an ER trip. We don’t tell the person covered in itchy hives that he’s wrong, after all, that penicillin doesn’t make everyone sick, so therefore it can’t make anyone sick.

Not everyone who gets vaccinated has autism; not every person who takes penicillin breaks out in hives or has to be hospitalized. One’s accepted, the other isn’t.

Someday, a study will be done that compares the physical attributes of babies/small children about to be injected with a long list of things that are illegal in mascara and dog vaccines and food. It will take into consideration their immune system and the possibility that their bodies have something wrong genetically that doesn’t allow the vaccine ingredients to be processed properly. You know, like those with allergies experience when they ingest an allergen. It won’t just study the vaccines, but the effect those vaccines have on compromised immune systems or otherwise physically-strained young bodies. There’s a vast difference between studying the effects of vaccines and the effects of vaccines in conjunction with the bodies in which they’re being injected.

Someday this will make sense to those who are willing to listen. In the meantime, if you don’t believe vaccines are a problem, you’re welcome to your opinion, as long as I’m welcome to mine. I just want no more children and families to have to go through the nightmare of an autism diagnosis.

And if this is your first time reading my blog, I’m not a reactionary who talks about nothing but vaccines. I usually focus on the day-to-day life of dealing with a disorder that’s vastly misunderstood, and my amazing child who is a gift to my husband and I, a blessing that words can’t describe. I don’t go on rants a lot, but the “anti-vaccine” commentary gets on your nerves after a while. They just need to get the terms right — we aren’t “anti-vaccine,” we are “pro-safe vaccine.” Vast difference. (I don’t know a single “anti-vaccine” person, just people who want vaccines that we feel safe putting in our kids’ bodies.)

I belong to a couple of groups where I interact with a lot of other parents of autistic children. While my son would be called “high functioning,” if we used the term, we mix together because so many of the basic elements of autism are there. The difference is severity and level of improvement. Some parents struggle to potty-train their children and get them to eat, while others struggle to get their child to stop using potty language when mad or to eat more than just a boxful of waffles cut a specific way with a certain kind of peanut butter, then syrup, on them. At times, our worlds couldn’t be more opposite.

We began to get our son help at an early age, as soon as we knew that we were facing an actual problem as opposed to just being different due to a premature birth after a difficult pregnancy. We’ve tried a litany of things since then, and each day, we work on more specific issues: not expecting immediate gratification, not melting down over little things, not having to control every conversation, eye contact, remaining verbal when upset, etc. Our son has shown such vast improvement in the last four years, I wonder at times if I took him to a new doctor and said “not sure, something’s just different,” would he still be diagnosed autistic?

A friend of mine told me a few weeks ago that she doesn’t believe autism can be cured. Well, neither do I. The word “cure” is pretty strong stuff. I think a child with autism can definitely be recovered though. And to do so doesn’t mean he/she was never autistic. Dh and I had a long talk about this, and we came up with our new terminology for BB — he has “Induced Autism.” To us, it’s different from the classic/severe autism that results in non-verbal children who are not able to function at an independent level and who see so much less improvement from the daily treatments.

If I was nervy enough, I’d say it was “Vaccine-Induced Autism,” but I’m not sure if that’ll result in getting the blind eye turned on me whenever I say it. So, I’ll stick with “Induced Autism,” meaning it was caused by something other than genetics. Some toxin, vaccine or other thing injected/put into his system that his body can’t handle. To me, that isn’t negating the heartbreak that the family of a severely autistic child faces by way of not dealing with the same types of daily living issues we do — I can’t fathom that, and I feel bad sometimes saying “autism” about my child who so clearly speaks well and looks ‘normal,’ whatever that is, a lot of the time. (The good thing? Almost anyone that’s had a little time with us, long enough to say he looks ‘normal’ is around us long enough to later see one of the meltdowns or issues and agree ‘ayep, something going on there. Definitely.’)

I do hope that one day, classic/severe autism and high-functioning autism are separated more clearly. My son, four years ago, was a checklist for autism, tick, tick, tick, going down the list, checking off things that fit. Now though, with so many years of learning, therapies, supplements, you name it, behind him, not so much. To see him in a class with other autistic children is like seeing two extremes, and I’m not sure it’s fair to either.

So from now on, it’s Induced Autism. I really believe his autism was caused by something that his little premature body just couldn’t deal with. What, who knows..a vaccine, probably, but I’m not sure that’ll ever be proven. I just know that he fit the autism criteria to a T four years ago, and with a ton of help, he’s way better than he was. We’re extremely fortunate, I know that, but I do believe it’s not just because we’re lucky. I think his autism isn’t going to be found necessarily in a gene but in his immune system, his intestines, and the way his body all handles the intrusion of something unwanted into his body as a fetus/infant/toddler. We’re just dealing with a different kind of autism, and it requires different help.

I read a lot about vaccines and autism. It’s unavoidable anymore. Because it’s my job as a mom of a child with autism to stay on top of research, trends in autism, autism politics and the autism community. (It’s not a choice in my eyes; everyone can do what I do, it’s a matter of priority.) I have my feelings on vaccines, and that is plainly that there are too many parents out there who have seen their child literally change within hours of receiving a vaccine. People can say that correlation isn’t causation or that there’s no ‘proof,’ (though reading about Simpsonwood or RFK Jr’s Rolling Stone article might really be an eye opening experience….though I’m sure there’s some ‘proof’ or excuse as to why that won’t count) but the thousands upon thousands of parents who see change has to count for something. (And why go to the expense/time/effort to make pharmaceutical companies immune from lawsuits due to vaccine injuries? Any other industry protected from lawsuits for a product they manufacture, much less a ‘mandatory’ product?)

But, to get to my point. There is a contingency out there who is anti-vaccine, and probably won’t get them no matter how safe they’re made or what changes occur in their ingredients/schedule. And many of them will do so for reasons entirely unrelated to autism. The rest of us are pretty much pro-vaccine — we just want safe vaccines. That means safer ingredients — and we’re not talking necessarily about the ingredients that prevent whooping cough, polio, etc., but the other ingredients, the things that can easily be changed. It makes no sense that there’s opposition to removing aluminum, formaldehyde, and other nasties from vaccines if it won’t decrease the efficacy. (Oh, that’s right, money!) Instead, people would rather focus on calling us names and trying to argue our point than actually looking at the ingredients and looking at ways to appease both sides of the vaccine controversy. We also want to break up the schedule a bit so our children’s bodies and immune systems aren’t expected to handle so much at once. There are ways to do this, and the fact it’s being so hotly argued should make people wonder. It’s an easy request, why not consider it?

In my reading, I see where a lot of people write about us as though we’re some small fringe group of people providing misinformation. Fact is, there are such vast amounts of people who are behind this, it’s not going to just go away. And if misleading information is a concern, there should be equal concern about why the real facts about vaccine side effects aren’t more readily available — bigger print, not buried in medical jargon, or not omitted from commercials. The Gardasil vaccine in particular comes to mind. Oh, and that ‘necessary’ flu shot that still contains thimerasol.

And now Amanda Peet has jumped into the fray. Why? She’s just like any other parent who chooses to vaccinate, except she’s got some celebrity status and is using it to tell us to ignore celebrities. So what do people do? Listen to her? What a paradox, so hypocritical yet really clever! It’s amazing that, like other celebrities who speak up with absolutely no experience about what they speak, suddenly they are experts who attempt tell us what to do…when their real career is in pretending to be someone. Hmmmmmm. Too bad when she says to listen to doctors that those shows that air her ridiculous commentary don’t name some other reknown doctors who believe that vaccines need to be changed, that toxins in our environment contribute to autism, and that the “1 in 10,000” children at risk for side-effects or whatever is simply too much. 

One thing to consider is that those who speak out so adamantly in favor of vaccines, many of them are heavily involved with the vaccine industry, so if conflict of interest is a concern, look in that direction. If I’m selling a product, of course I’m going to try and make it sound good or it’ll affect my bank balance. (And those of us who want safer vaccines get nothing from it other than safer vaccines, so it’s important to keep in mind the motivation.) Some people who hang out with the celebrities or doctors who encourage vaccines as they stand today have close relationships with the pharmaceutical people. Check it out, it’s rather surprising.

In the end, safer vaccines aren’t going to help our kids that already have autism. For some reason, that fact is frequently overlooked. We want our grandchildren’s generation to experience only decreasing cases of autism. We want babies soon to come to be protected against deadly diseases but not to also have to deal with learning disabilities, autism, seizures, or whatever else can happen from too much garbage injected into small undeveloped bodies.

If vaccines work, unvaccinated people aren’t going to hurt the vaccinated at all. Another important thing to remember. This “herd immunity” thing is thrown around like some big league word when in reality, following along with the herd means doing what everyone else does. No, thanks.

Lately, in the firestorm of arguments about mercury contributing to vaccine, new vaccines being put on the schedule, states considering making vaccines mandatory, I’m seeing pro-vaccine parents becoming more and more vocal. So many thoughts on that, where to start. I undoubtedly will muddle my words and my thoughts, but here goes.

I often hear pro-vaccine parents saying that the risks of the vaccines are worth it, to protect their children from diseases. But what about that 1 in 150 children who IS the child who has the side-effect? As long as that 1 child in 150 vastly affected by the vaccines is not their own child, the risk is worth it? Does that make my child’s autism acceptable damage? Who is anyone to make that choice for someone else?

If someone wants to vaccinate, why the need to persuade the rest of us to do so? Why not just vaccinate without the need to defend it? We’re not taking your vaccines away. Those who us who don’t want to vaccinate have the number one goal of making vaccines safer and not injecting toxins into our children, not tell pro-vaccine parents what to do. Such a glaring difference between the sides.

I’ve heard the words ‘collateral damage’ a lot lately in regards to the children who are affected by vaccines. When is damaging any child, any human, in the name of saving others acceptable? Shouldn’t we be aiming for no collateral damage, instead of accepting the numbers and being glad it’s someone else’s child? If we know that we can make vaccines without the garbage that’s toxic, why isn’t that a priority? Is your money better spent on Starbucks than paying a few more dollars for a safer version of a vaccine?

Greening our vaccines is a goal that will help all of us. No child/human should be injected with formaldehyde, ether, antifreeze, mercury, or anything else that’s toxic. If a product can’t be in our food, in our makeup, or in pet vaccines, should it be in a vaccine? Greening our vaccines will still give all the pro-vaccine parents the choice to vaccinate. Nothing we ‘green vaccine’ parents wants is going to hurt anyone else, yet the potential for harm if the vaccines aren’t changed is vast and WILL hurt people. It HAS hurt people. It’s CONTINUING to hurt people.

Pro-vaccine parents need to understand that those of us who don’t want to vaccinate with the current vaccines are not anti-vaccine. We are pro-SAFE-vaccine. There is a huge difference between the two. HUGE. We want to continue to eradicate disease; we want to keep people safe and healthy; we want to offer immunity (as much as is possible) from diseases that could maim and kill. We don’t want our children to be collateral damage to that cause. Our children didn’t sign up to be the poster children for vaccines so the collective “we” can say “Yeah, but at least less people have measles this year. Phew, glad my child dodged the autism bullet.”

Everyone needs to realize that any time they give their child a vaccine, they are potentially going to cause their child to be THE one in 150 who will get autism or some other illness. Not all our children are genetically pre-disposed to have that happen, but it’s like playing Russian Roulette. Who knows if their child will be THE one? Is it worth that risk? Those who usually say it is don’t have a child with seizures, or with autism, or with some other illness/injury that has negatively impacted their life, and may never go away. Things change, irreversibly, when your child isn’t potty-trained, bites himself, can’t talk, has to wear headphones to leave the house…the list goes on.

My favorite comment of all: “Unvaccinated children put mine <vaccinated children> at risk.” Hmmm, this one’s so easy, I really don’t get why people still say that anymore. IF vaccines worked, why would an unvaccinated child be of any risk to a vaccinated person? Yeah, I know, I puzzle over that, too.

Pro-vaccine parents often say ‘but there’s no definitive proof it causes autism.’ Newsflash, there is definitive proof that mercury is unhealthy. There is definitive proof that ether, formaldehyde, and antifreeze are unhealthy. The bottom line is, even if these things don’t cause autism on their own, they have no place in vaccines. If mercury is not safe in fish…in mascara…in pet vaccines…it is not safe in a flu shot. The fact remains that the autism rates have risen exponentially, and so have the number of ‘mandatory’ vaccines. It doesn’t take a genius to say that it deserves further consideration. Studies done 10 years ago don’t relate to today, as today’s world, the generation of children born in 1999-2001, the children who got 500x the number of mercury deemed safe for a 300 lb adult, who are newly diagnosed, or not yet diagnosed got a lot more shots than when studies were done. And the list is continuing to grow if agencies have their way.

We want a cleaner environment. We use less-toxic cleaning products in our home, vehicles with less emissions, we recycle and do any number of other things to green our homes and conserve the environment. Our children, born/unborn, diagnosed/undiagnosed, deserve no less. If you shop for anything safer for your home, your car, your life, why not consider greener/safer vaccines? And if not, don’t bash my choice. Just don’t imply my child is acceptable collateral damage. There is no such thing.

I’ve got some strong feelings on vaccines — I’m one of “those” people, you know, the people who don’t want anti-freeze components, formaldehyde (yes, the stuff used to preserve dead bodies) and thimerasol (a form of mercury, known to cause mercury poisoning symptoms) injected into my body or my children’s bodies. I also feel that, hold onto your seats, we parents know our children best, and — still sitting down? — should have the right to determine what our children are exposed to, taught, administered, fed, etc. Silly me, I know, I live in a ‘free’ society, yet I expect that freedom to extend to my parental rights when the government insists that it knows better about vaccines. For now, I still have the freedom to say yes or no to vaccines, so I use that right. I also educate myself about all vaccines, not just the ‘mandatory’ (not) school vaccines, but those that continue to crop in and make big money for pharmaceutical companies. The HPV vaccine won’t come near my girls (unless they decide when they’re adults that they want it, and so far, my 19 year old daughter has read enough of the fine print to know that possible death or severe illness is less preferable than being smart with her body) and no one in my house has gotten the flu vaccine in years.

Interesting thing about the flu shot that many people don’t know is that it only protects against the strain(s) of flu that the manufacturer thinks will be the strain(s) to worry about that season. Check out this article (2007-2008 Flu Vaccine a Failure, Worst Flu Season in 4 Years, WiredPRNews.com) for some details on what an awesome (cough) job this most recent flu vaccine did. Was it really worth the dose of thimerasol that came along with it?

While thimerasol may have been taken out of regular childhood vaccines, there’s a common misconception that children stopped getting vaccines containing thimerasol back in 2000 or so, when in reality, manufacturers stopped putting it into newly manufactured vaccines, but the vaccines that had thimerasol were still used until they expired. In some cases, they were used years later. So if you think your child wasn’t exposed, you still might want to review their records. Lot numbers on vaccines are tracked, and you can research to find out exactly how much mercury your child was exposed to. It’s rather scary, and honestly, I have yet to research it on either my autistic son  born in 2000 or my epileptic (but no brain damage/injury — in other words, no reason found) daughter born in 1995. I already know I should have said no to vaccines. Maybe one day I’ll do the math.

However, let me be clear. I am not anti-vaccine. I am pro-vaccine. However, I am pro-SAFE-vaccine. The unnecessary garbage in the current vaccines needs to be removed before they are safe though. Sure, it might cost a little more to manufacture safe vaccines, but aren’t our kids worth it? Current vaccine schedules expose our children to something like 36 vaccines in the first three or so years.

I believe autism is caused by a child being genetically pre-disposed to autism, and when they are exposed to some toxin, they then have autism. (This would be why not all children who get vaccinated get autism, a common question I get.) Obviously, I’ve simplified that but you get my drift. For some kids, this could show from birth onwards. I know people who feel that their child’s autism wasn’t caused by any toxin or environmental issue because they were ‘different’ from birth. (And I’m there with you, my son was different from birth.) However, a lot of those people forget that their child is given a bunch of shots there in the hospital, and within days of birth, then weeks, and then months. In our case, my son was easily irritated, wanted to be tightly wrapped, stared at ceiling fans, didn’t look at us much, and flailed at startling sounds from birth, but at around 18 mths or so, things worsened. Does that mean the autism ‘began’ at 18 mths, or just that his developmental delays started to become more evident? Hard to say, but I fully believe that had I not given him the vaccinations that I did (and we didn’t even do them all) that he wouldn’t be in the same situation he is today. Who knows, maybe some other toxin or medicine or whatnot would have contributed towards autism, but we’ll never know, and therefore I can’t rule out the vaccines.

I run into more and more people questioning vaccines. I respect those who don’t agree, but that doesn’t mean that vaccines can’t be improved upon to make everyone happy. The weird thing is that most of the people I know who believe vaccines are innocent don’t have a child on the spectrum. Hmmmmmm.

And for people that think that an unvaccinated child could endanger their life or that of their child’s? If your or your child’s vaccines work, an unvaccinated person poses no threat. Another hmmmmmm.

With 1 in 150 children being diagnosed with some form of autism, people need to realize this is an epidemic, and there’s no such thing as a genetic epidemic. Something out there is causing it, and we need to figure out what it is. It’s Autism Awareness Month. Wherever you are on the topic of vaccines and autism, public awareness is key to getting the funding out there for the so-needed education and advocacy. My mantra? “Educate, advocate, and love.”

 

 

It’s amazing to me today that the vast numbers of children who are not the same after the vaccines are simply ignored by the CDC and doctors who say there is no credible reason proof that vaccines contribute to autism. WHAT IN THE WORLD IS IT GOING TO TAKE??

I watched Dr. Jerry Kartzinel on TV this morning — I wish I could have a transcript of his explanation about vaccines and just repeat it to anyone who refuses to at least look at stats and educate themselves on the real ingredients in vaccines, or to at least be on board with understanding why other parents want vaccines redone. His words explain it like no other, and makes sense. It makes SENSE.

 We parents know our children. We can tell when they’re one way on one day, and then an entirely different child from a vaccine (or vaccines) and beyond. How is that not proof that there is something going on? Why are we not credible enough to believe? If it was just a few of us, that’d be one thing, but we’re talking thousands upon thousands upon thousands. Numbers like that can’t be ignored…yet we are.

One child out of 150 children — 1 out of 94 boys — is on the autism spectrum. Something is causing that. There’s no such thing as a genetic epidemic, and these are kids that for the most part, were developing normally (maybe with some eccentricities) until a certain age. With these numbers, it IS an epidemic. If these kids were dying, something would be done. The public outcry would be horrible. But because they’re simply dealing with communication, behavioral, sensory and social issues, it’s not worth it. (I say that with much, much sarcasm.)

I don’t need something else to get upset about. It’s been a rough day already — but how can I not? What’s it going to take? How can these doctors stand up there on tv or say anywhere publicly that vaccines are safe, all kids should get them all, and we need to do them to prevent mass illnesses..that’s saying that my son, and any other child out there with autism, is an acceptable casualty. Who is willing for their child to be the acceptable casualty?

I’m not, and I will join the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of other parents who know that our children being fine before a vaccine, but never the same after, is not okay. It’s not a coincidence. Stats this high aren’t coincidence. It’s not paranoia. It’s not trying to blame something. It’s fact — toxins are not good for our children, and there are toxins in vaccines. Fact is also that vaccines can be made safely, and given on a better schedule. Why wouldn’t everyone be okay with that? Oh, yeah, money. It’s all about the dollar…and we’ll just leave us parents to foot the bill for their vaccine-damaged children.

I almost can’t watch the news on it anymore. Few newscasts are unbiased, and there’s always one doctor who has to refute it….yet there is no definitive proof that it doesn’t contribute to autism either. You don’t hear that on the news, do you?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten really caught up in the news of the day re: autism. I’ve spent too much time reading about the court case and which politician is going to do something for the cause of autism. Not that it’s not good reading, but I have to remind myself, it’s not the big picture. Technically, for the world at large, it is the big picture. But for parents of autistic kids, the big picture is daily life with our child; it’s keeping our child safe and happy each day. It’s attending therapy appointments, IEPs, going to the school or answering school phonecalls. It’s buying and making special food. It’s researching what supplement does what, or what new equipment we can buy to help supplement occupational therapy at home. It’s cuddling our child when he gets upset, or tending to a boo-boo without overwhelming him. It’s bathing and brushing teeth in the regular routine, getting haircuts without sending him over the edge, and paving the path for shopping trips and other unknowns. That’s the big picture.

I’ll continue to read the news, to state my opinion that vaccines contribute to autism (in a way that will eventually come to light more than now) and I’ll keep researching who to vote until election day is over with. But, I won’t let it overtake the big picture, my focus, my priority. I think sometimes we tend to get so caught up in fixing our kids, we forget to enjoy them and handle them as they are.


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