A few days ago a page I follow on Facebook posted the following :
Admittedly, I haven't read all of the studies, but neither do I put much credence into studies that are funded by the vaccine industry or anyone connected to them in any way. And I certainly don't need studies to know that my son was affected by vaccines. But before attacks me with how safe or unsafe shots are, that one is for another day. Today I want to bring up a different aspect. Bear with me.
I happened to glance at the some of the comments below the photo. Being that the page speaks much about the harm that can be done with vaccines, most following are going to comment positively. However, like anything there are those who oppose and like to have their voices heard as well. In most cases, not a problem. I believe in free speech.
Then I read a gentleman's flippant answer: "Better 1 in 50 than 100% dying of smallpox, just sayin."
Excuse me? My child having autism is the key to keeping everyone from dying of a disease that has been eradicated since 1980? You can read more about smallpox here.
Smallpox was a horrible disease that did a lot of damage, especially to Native Americans who had never before been exposed to the disease. But it never once completely eradicated 100% of the people exposed to it. The young man who commented (tried to) used emotionalism and scare tactics to try and prove a point. Those are used almost on a daily basis in our society for one reason or another. My point? Become educated. Don't simply accept what is being said at face value. Do the research. Learn all you can. And then educate others. Put the message out there, regardless of how you feel, but do not belittle others for their beliefs and decisions.
At any rate, I feel we are going in the wrong direction with shots. Mass vaccinations regardless of circumstances is not the answer. Especially when no one is paying attention to what is in those syringes. We need to take a closer look at all this, not just allowing them to happen without question because we've been told over and over again "it's the right thing to do".
Regardless of my stance on shots (for the record I allowed vaccinations, disregarding my gut feeling about it and that was before people were discussing possible connections between MMR and autism before J's diagnosis and even a few after, but will no longer allow them as a matter of course) I am not here to tell you what to believe about them. All I want to do is encourage further study and wish to stop the hatred. Things get heated on both sides of the debate but one thing sticks in my mind, and this was in the autism community itself. One woman stated in the heat of the moment "If you don't vaccinate you deserve for your child to contract some horrible disease and die from it. In fact, I hope they do." Seriously? How can anyone have that much hatred in their hearts for someone that they hope that a child dies?
In case you're wondering, autism is not the only harm that can potentially come from vaccinations. Again, do the research. Autism and brain damage are what my son deals with, and yes, I believe that vaccines were a part of what caused it.
But wouldn't you rather he have autism than the measles or the chicken pox? No. Those two diseases last a week or two in most cases. They are largely uncomfortable but once gone, they're gone and the body's immune system is stronger. Autism is with my son for the rest of his life. Although I and anyone else who cares to get to know J know that he is intelligent, his functional age is supposedly that of a toddler--around 14 months--according to the doctors who tested him.
As an adult he still isn't fully potty trained, although we work on it a lot. He can dress and feed himself and otherwise take care of his needs but in some areas he still needs help. He won't understand you if you speak full paragraphs in one fell swoop but he does understand more clearly if you speak two or three word sentences to him. He can't be left alone for long periods of time because he can't cook for himself and in case of an emergency he might get agitated and not know what to do.
When J was younger he had no fear. He had no worries of stepping out of a window onto a fiberglass roof or jumping out of a window (Yes, we had serious locks put on all the windows so that he could not open them and he was unharmed in both situations.). He could figure out how to unlock doors or in one case remove a (basement) window from its tracks so he could go into the back yard and swing. He was a runner between the ages of 2 and 9 and although he never got past the block we lived on at the time, my heart goes out to parents whose children go missing. I've dealt with well meaning and even a few not so well meaning social workers who thought to help but in many cases just added to my frustration as a young mom trying to figure all this out.
Now that J is considered an adult he no longer is a runner. He would much rather stay home. But although he would never jump out of a window (he no longer has a chance, we live in a one level ranch now), he does have frustrations that he sometimes takes out on my walls. Not often, but enough so that The Hubs has a wall to fix in J's room already.
His communication skills are emerging more and more, slowly but surely. He still cannot speak very much and sometimes when he can't get his needs or wants known, he cries. It's devastating, not knowing what is upsetting your child.
And while most parents look forward to the proud moment when Susie or Johnny graduates from college and moves out on their own although they shed a tear or two, I stay awake wondering who will care for my son should the day come when The Hubs and I no longer can or are not here anymore.
So no, young man with the flip attitude. No, it is not "better 1 in 50". I will not say it is better to have a disease no matter what it is, but honestly, I much rather would have dealt with measles, mumps or chicken pox than deal with autism. That's my thoughts on after 19 years after the diagnosis.
I welcome comments and I know what I spoke of here can cause heated discussions. I ask that any remarks be kept civil and family friendly. I believe in free speech but foul language or hurtful attacks will be deleted immediately. I also would love to hear your autism stories, whether here or through my email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Just please put "autism" in the subject bar so I know.