The CDC released their new Autism incidence numbers a few days ago, and when I posted the news to FaceBook I received an interesting question. Do I believe the increase is related to vaccinations?
The short answer is maybe, the long answer... well here it goes.
The vaccine controversy began with a 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield M.D. There are a lot of people who say that he was biased, and that his results were skewed as a result of undisclosed financial ties to a pharmaceutical company. After hearing all of the hype I had to read the study myself and find out what was so controversial, and I found out that the study actually was not wrong.
The study said "We did not prove an
association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome
Can I prove that there wasn't some kind of bias? No. Can I prove that vaccines cause Autism? No.
I do, however, believe that vaccines are an important thing to look at with our children. I believe that Autism is a combination of genetics, and environmental triggers. Genetically you have to be predisposed to Autism before an environmental trigger pushes you beyond the threshold that causes you to begin showing a developmental delay.
With any child it is important to view the risks vs the benefits of vaccination. I fully believe that it is more important to ensure that my child remains healthy than to risk having them get an illness that could cause them to die. An important side effect of my child being vaccinated is that I don't have to worry about illnesses that are passed around by parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.
Do I mourn the "loss" of my child? No, and here is why, my child is the same loving child that they were before the diagnosis. I just have a word to explain their quirks now. Autism is not a disease that needs to be cured, it is not a mental disorder as some would have you believe, and it is not a tragedy. Autism is a way of explaining why my child would prefer a trampoline over a million dollars, why my child would prefer a night at home over a concert, why my child would prefer to flap instead of clap, but most importantly it is why my child is who they are.
So, back to the original question. Do I believe that vaccines cause Autism? At this point I don't know. All I do know is it doesn't matter to me, because I love my boys, and they love me.