… and vaccines don’t cause autism.
The last thing Jo Abi expected was to have to explain to her doctor’s receptionist that vaccines didn’t cause her son’s autism:
“Oh no, you poor thing. My daughter has two children with autism and she thinks it is vaccinations so she’s stopped vaccinating them. Have you?”
“But you work in a doctor’s office,” I began. “You’re in the perfect position to explain to her that there’s no link between vaccinations and autism.”
“I don’t know,” she said, sceptically. “Who knows if they do or they don’t.”
“Doctors,” I said. “Doctors know, like the many doctors who you work for here in this office. Haven’t you ever asked them to explain it to her?”
She looked at me blankly and I couldn’t help it. I was starring at her angrily. She then looked away but I wasn’t done. I was furious that she would say something so irresponsible to me, and I was there to begin treatment for my son’s autism, which hadn’t been caused by vaccinations, because vaccinations don’t cause autism.
Abi can’t understand why, despite mountains of scientific evidence, people still believe that vaccines cause autism. Maybe that’s because these same people — the ones who refuse vaccines for their children — don’t understand autism:
While I don’t have any medical training I can explain a few things about autism. My son Giovanni was born with a brain that works differently to others. He isn’t brain damaged. He hasn’t been harmed by anything. His mind understands things visually. He comprehends and communicates visually. He has other issues and looking back he displayed symptoms from birth.
The vaccinations did not cause his autism. Autism isn’t a disease or a disability. It’s a different way of being and the treatment is designed to unlock their communication so they can better interact with the world.
Abi says receiving vaccines is stressful to children with autism and that, like all things stressful, can affect their behavior:
There’s only one link I’ll ever draw between vaccinations and autism and this is it: Autistic kids experience high levels of anxiety, so the experience of receiving a vaccination can cause them to shut down like little robots, however that’s their stress reaction and there are lots of stress-filled situations that will cause the exact same reaction. It’s not the vaccination itself that is the problem. Vaccinations save lives!
Abi is as perplexed at the rest of us trying to understand why parents — especially those with autistic children — refuse to protect them by immunizing against deadly vaccine-preventable diseases:
Now that I am part of the autistic community I have lost count of the number of parents who are convinced their children’s autism was caused by vaccinations and have now just stopped vaccinating them. I’m always completely astounded. Because that’s exactly what we need. Autistic kids with measles and whooping cough. That’s better. Plus they are already autistic. If vaccinations did cause it (they didn’t) what further harm could vaccinations do, aside from the part where they save their lives?
The misinformation that still pervades is dangerous and mind-boggling. I just can’t make sense of it anymore.
Christopher Columbus was warned by many of his contemporaries that the earth was flat, even though the ancient Greeks settled the science two thousand years before. Sometimes news travels slow.