Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Why I Don't Think My Children Were Vaccine-Injured

This morning I have definitely got my Ranty-pants on, so I have decided it's time for This post.

I am a Mum.  I am an Autism Mum.  I am a Warrior Mum.

I am not a subscriber of Vaccine Injury theory in the specific context of autism.

Let me clarify.

I believe everyone has the right to their own opinion with regards as to whether or not they vaccinate their child/ children.  I believe that vaccines will undoubtedly have a percentage of cases where they fail, and where side effects may sadly be catastrophic.  This is the case with all medicines.  We are all playing a game of chance, and my heart breaks for those whose loved ones are harmed by side effects. Truly.

However, I do not believe vaccines categorically cause autism. 

I don't believe there is an autism epidemic. 

It is not a disease. 

It doesn't spread.

It isn't 'caused'. 

It is not environmental (although there are many similar 'looking' things that can be). 

It is neurological. 

And it is as genetic as the colour of your hair.

What upsets me - is some anti-vacciners and their scare mongering. 

By all means raise awareness. By all means share your personal view.  But don't tout it as proven scientific fact. And don't vilify autism families with it.  Please.  Just don't.

For me it has been a long and arduous journey to get my High Functioning (shudder - HATE that term!) children diagnosed with Autism.  I KNOW there is so much more to the story - there are a number of other elements and conditions in their mix, as well as Autism itself being an almost unquanterfiably large spectrum.  I also know the diagnostic tool in this country is sadly lacking - it is reliant on human opinion, which is inherently flawed.  I have had 2 very different experiences of the ADOS experience - one was heavily led and prompted, which I feel obviously had an impact on the result as a child with high functioning ASD is going to respond better in an environment where they receive prompting than if they don't (pretty much my whole life is spent prompting! That's kinda the point, y'know?  Without prompting they wouldn't get it, ever....)

Anyway, I digress.  The point is, it's a long hard battle.  You face ignorance, disbelief and discrimination.  It is frustrating, desperate and, at times, very, very lonely.

What we don't need is blame.  What we don't need is fear surrounding our children.  What we don't need is naïve, well-meaning parents telling us "we're so thankful our child didn't turn out like yours. That's why we didn't vaccinate."


Double ouch!

You get the idea, yes?  And people DO say this to us, all the time. In very real and unsolicited ways.  And it's not ok. 

By all means have your opinion. By all means share it, sensitively.  By all means research and find actual facts to support what you believe (very few people actually do.  Mostly their research consists of someone's Facebook page or someone they follow on Twitter.... so it must be true, sigh!)

But don't approach me and ask what I think CAUSED my children's autism.  Or if you do, know you may potentially be met with the counter question of what do YOU think caused YOUR a) stupidity b) ignorance c) rudeness d) lack of boundaries e) all of the above  (delete as appropriate).

And PLEASE do not assume that because my child is autistic that I want to hear your views about vaccination.  I don't.   I would love to hear what your child likes to do, your favourite places to go, what music you like or what you have been watching on TV.  I would even be happy to talk about the weather, queues or anything else terminally English.  We can even talk politics and religion! But I do not want to discuss the intricacies of my child's neurological pathways with you as small talk.  It isn't small talk. It's Great BIG talk.  And I reserve it for discussion with fellow Warrior Mums (and Dads) and the autism community.  Because, honestly, they are the ones that are going to understand.

So, if you are outside that community, by all means get involved. Further your knowledge. Join hands to raise awareness (or maybe just stand near us but without touching because, y'know, autism..), but don't stand in judgement and tell us what you think we did wrong.  You haven't walked in our shoes. You really, Really don't know.  And just because your Mum's friend's, neighbour's, hairdresser 'had an autistic' - you still REALLY don't know.

And it's ok that you don't know.  Just don't come and sit at my table and tell me you do.

The End x


  1. Excellent post! It needed saying! You're so right - only those who've walked in your shoes really know. So thank you for helping the rest of us to understand. x

  2. Thank you rossmountney :-) xx