For many of us who have a loved one with autism or work with children with autism, the vaccine debate is not something new. It is one that has been on my mind more over the last couple of years as I have done research to help me make decisions about how and when to vaccinate my daughter. It comes up frequently with parents of some of the children that I work with as they recount their stories and I have also treated children with “medically accepted” vaccination injuries.
Right now the mainstream media is focussing on this topic because of the Wakefield controversy. Many state that the allegedly falsified study closes the door on the controversy. I am not going to get into the research, as that is not my area of expertise and and it has been done all over the internet. My expertise is in dealing with the movement problems that some children with autism and many children with other disabilities experience. In doing so I interact with many families and am told their stories, which brings me to why I need to share my two cents on the matter.
You will never convince parents of something that goes against their life experience. Research will not trump someone’s experience. This is not just a bandwagon for many, this is not “listening to Oprah”, as my pediatrician called it, this is listening to the experience of an endless numbers of parents. As long as parents have the experience of: my child had a vaccine, and the next day/week/etc, they “were covered in hives with a high fever and started flapping his arms”, “had seizures”, “was in a coma”, “couldn’t stand anymore and would just fall over”, “stopped talking”, professionals can never convince them otherwise.
I don’t believe the answer is black and white. Are there tests to determine children who are at risk prior to vaccinating? Would spreading out and prioritizing vaccinations decrease the risk? I don’t have the answers, I haven’t sufficiently studied the research like many of you out there have. I do think the rhetoric of those that have determined “the case is closed” is not going to get us anywhere.