Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Great Vaccine Debate

As an autism parent, you are either pro- or anti-vaccinations. There's no middle ground. There just isn't. Either you believe the MMR vaccine caused your child's autism or you think those who believe that are crazy. As autism parents, we have enough on our plates without worrying who's going to open the flood gates and start WWIII over vaccines.

But here's the truth: y'all are equally crazy.

When I was a few weeks old, after a severe bout of jaundice left me "untouchable" and in a box for three days, I developed a bout of pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough. I almost died. Now, more than 20 years later, most mothers and babies are vaccinated for whooping cough, saving roughly 200,000 children each year.

However, with the anti-vaccination movement gaining momentum, more and more cases of vaccine preventable illnesses are cropping up. It begs the question, if vaccines cause autism, and more and more people are refusing vaccinations, how come the autism rate is still increasing? Shouldn't it be going down, or at least stabilizing?

The answer is, neither group is correct.

The debate doesn't have to be black and white. If parents would put aside their guilt and their god complexes, we could all get along nicely and support each other like we should.

In Caiden's case, his autism wasnt caused by a vaccine. He was delayed before he received his MMR vaccine and regressed six months after he received any vaccine at all. We never noticed any problems with him around the time he got any of his vaccinations.

However, he's just one child. This doesn't mean another child didn't have adverse effects to their vaccines just because mine didn't. People are different. They react differently to everything around them. Some people can't handle dairy, some its nuts, or gluten, or penicillin, or codine.
Pick your poison.

With anything we take into our bodies, we run the chance of having an adverse reaction to it. Some do, some don't. This can be why we often see identical twins, one with autism, and one without. Or one with an allergy, one without.

If the pro-vaxer could say to the anti-vaxer, and the anti-vaxer to the pro-vaxer, "I'm sorry your child developed autism," instead of fighting over the "why" we could do more to help each other.

There is absolutely no need to force your opinions down someone else's throat. You CAN have a civilized discussion without fighting, and not one side has to be 100% correct.

Yes, the why is important, but there's no sense in fighting over it. As autism parents, we have a hell of a lot more to worry about than something we can't change. None of our personal opinions on the matter are going to help find the answer.

Now here's my opinion because you're reading this and I'm choosing to share it with you

Autism doesn't have to be a result of just one thing. The final answer, the "why" doesn't have to be just one thing. You don't have to pick between vaccine's causing it or genetics causing it. You don't have to pick pollutants or GMOs causing it. It could be a combination of many. The key thing is, we don't know yet, but at least we can be thankful that it's being worked on.

In the end, you have to make a decision though. As a special needs parent, and someone who almost died of a vaccine preventable illness, autism isn't the worst thing that can happen to your child. Sure it isn't what any parent wants for their kid, and it's a fucking difficult path to walk, but the end of the day, having an autistic kid is better than having a dead one [from a preventable illness].

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