I know I said I probably wouldn't do this but it was just so easy, so tempting, and I am so very weak.
Some days I fear for the survival of humanity because we seem hell bent on self destruction. Since when did having an autistic kid entitle one to abandon sound reason and critical thinking in favour of conspiracy theories and instinct.
Holly Robinson: Amanda Peet is 'Fearmongering'
As a parent of an autistic child, Holly Robinson Peete has been a staunch advocate for children living with the disease and their parents.
You know autistic children grow up right? Some people seem to not be aware of that fact. Autism is not a disease. Call it a neurological disorder, call it a different way of being, call it extreme maleness, but please do not call it a disease. That doesn't even come close to describing autism properly.
Now, the actress, whose 11-year-old son developed autism after receiving vaccinations when he was just two-and-a-half years old, serves as the first African-American to sit on the board of Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to increasing awareness and prevention of the disease.
Don't you just love the uncritical acceptance of the claim that a vaccination caused her son's autism? I've had my suspicions about Autism Speaks for years but this is just one more piece of evidence that they are more interested in implicating vaccines as a cause for autism than they are in helping autistic individuals.
I had been beginning to wonder if autism related anti-vaccination belief was exclusively a white thing (how often do you see black folk at those anti-vaccination rallies with their kids' faces plastered on t-shirts and placards with captions like "poisoned" and "stolen"). With this appointment to the board of Autism Speaks I guess they're trying to go all equal opportunity now. I wonder if they will address the findings of this study, Racial/ethnic disparities in the identification of children with autism spectrum disorders. The study concludes,
Significant racial/ethnic disparities exist in the recognition of ASD. For some children in some racial/ethnic groups, the presence of intellectual disability may affect professionals' further assessment of developmental delay. Our findings suggest the need for continued professional education related to the heterogeneity of the presentation of ASD.
Speaking from my admittedly limited experience with the autism groups in my area this issue doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar.
Now back to Peete's response to Peet.
The activist and mother of four shares her thoughts with ESSENCE.com about comments made by actress Amanda Peet, the spokesperson for vaccinateyourbaby.org, who recently said that vaccinations don't cause autism:
You know it's more than just Amanda Peet saying that vaccines don't cause autism. There's also me but in case my word isn't good enough for you there is also 15 to 20 years worth of research that says the same thing.
I'm really disappointed to hear people like Amanda Peet -- who have never been affected by autism -- make public allegations like vaccinations don't cause autism.
I wonder how she feels about a mother of autistic individuals making "public allegations like vaccinations don't cause autism." When did a statement of fact, vaccines don't cause autism, become an "allegation"?
It makes me angry because it's so disingenuous to have this kind of public discussion, especially when World Autism Awareness Day is coming up on April 2.
Like Peete I too am angry. Angry that so much time and money has been spent trying to implicate vaccines as a cause for autism. Who knows how far we could have come in understanding autism had it not been for that boondoggle? I'm angry that people keep trying to turn the discussion about autism into a discussion about vaccines even though we have a growing body of research from around the world that shows that vaccines have nothing to do with autism, vaccines are safe for the overwhelming majority of the world's population and the mechanism (in the US) for detecting any cases where a vaccine may not be safe work.
But I know exactly what she is trying to do and that's to instill fear:
She's going around telling people that a vaccination made her child autistic and that vaccines are toxic but the people who say that vaccines do not cause autism, are not toxic, and are safe are the ones trying to instill fear? Right.
if your child doesn't get vaccinations, you're going to make every other child sick.
Not every other child. Just those who were too young to receive a vaccination or had not yet completed the full course of vaccines for a given disease when the outbreak starts. And those for whom the vaccines didn't quite take. Oh and those who have medical conditions that disallow vaccination. Perhaps the elderly and any one else with otherwise frail health (cancer patients under going chemo and the like) as well.
Believe me, I understand both sides of the argument because I have four children.
No I don't think I will believe you Mrs. Peete and I don't think you really understand either. Having children does not confer sudden and unreproachable insight into matters of neurology, immunology, and human biology (although one would think that a certain basic knowledge of human biology would be necessary to achieve parenthood). I have four children as well. I don't expect people to believe anything I have to say about parenting or autism because I've got autistic kids. I expect them to rely on the same body of evidence that I'm looking at and basing my own conclusions on.
Although I have total respect for what any mother feels is best for her child, you can't tell me what is right, because it's not necessarily going to work for my kid. I know because I've experienced it with my eldest son.
Being a mother doesn't make anyone's choice the right one. Being a parent does mean that right or wrong you get to call the shots but you don't suffer the consequences of those decisions alone. That's a heavy burden knowing that your children will have to endure the results of your decision making. For that reason alone I don't believe what every Tom, Dick, and Harry comes along to tell me about autism. You need some hefty, verifiable, credentials to be believable in that department. "I'm a mom and I know" just ain't gonna cut it with me.
Like Peete I am the mother of four children so you know I know what I'm talking about right?
When my son was two-and-a-half, he was just recovering from an ear infection and had been on antibiotics, therefore his immune system was suppressed.
Funny, back when I was in high school they taught that antibiotics killed bacteria (by doing things like compromising their cell walls). When did pharmaceutical companies start making immunosupressent antibiotics?
He had already missed several appointments for his vaccination so his pediatrician wanted to catch him up on all of them in the same day.
Mom and dad are responsible for getting their kids to the doctor for well child checks right? So who is responsible for the child needing to catch up on his shots? And when was it established that receiving a catch up dose at the same time as a scheduled dose of something else was a problem?
Although I asked if he'd consider waiting or breaking up the cocktail, which contains three viruses, he laughed me out of the office and belittled me. I firmly believe that it took my son to a place of no return and his body could not handle it.
If all of the stories I have read and heard about disrespectful, dismissive, borderline abuse medical professionals were true we'd be up to our necks in weeping patients who all had their feelings hurt by those mean nasty doctor people. I always wonder though, if these doctors are so awful why go back? And if doctor after doctor is so awful at what point do you stop to consider that the problem may be you rather than the doctors?
And to think that today there are more than 30 vaccines that children are required to receive is scary.
Here's a link to (among other things) the recommended vaccine schedules put together by the CDC for 0 to 6 years, 7 to 18 years, and the catch up schedule for 4 months to 18 years. Individual states set their own recommendations and requirements based on the public health needs of the state. Now I count 16 diseases covered in those schedules with multiple doses (2 to 5) given over a period of months and years. Six of those diseases are covered by 2 vaccines MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and DTaP (diptheria, tetnus, pertussis). You don't get the number 30 from that information unless you are counting each dose as a separate vaccine which I think is at best misleading.
I don't know why boys are five times more likely to become autism, but they are.
The most often quoted male to female ratio is 4:1. I've read at least one abstract that suggests the actual ratio may be more like 3:1 because so many assume that women don't have autism and fail to evaluate or diagnosis women.
If I could talk to Amanda Peet, I would say that, I'm glad your child was able to tolerate that level of toxicity, but don't expect me -- after witnessing what vaccinations did to my son -- to inoculate my other children under the same circumstances.
When was it established that vaccines are toxic? By someone who wasn't looking to then sell you a cure for said toxicity I mean.
So who's to blame?
I understand that it is important for some people to find someone or something to blame for autism. I'm not one of them. The resources spent so far in trying to pin the blame on vaccines boggle the mind. Time to move on.
Is there some pre-genetic predisposition? Do genetic and environmental factors load the proverbial gun and the vaccines pull the trigger?
Pre-genetic? Perhaps she meant epigenetic? Epigenetic predisposition don't entirely make sense either.
Since you claim all the studies and conclusions have been drawn, how do you explain the thousands of families that have received millions of dollars from the Vaccine Injury Court? So clearly, the jury is not in and the independent studies on susceptibility and genetic predisposition have not been done.
Millions of dollars? Really? Paid to people who managed to prove that vaccines caused autism? That would be news to these folks who lost their cases. By the way, I have recently discovered that "independent" is the new code word for, "Everyone who disagrees with me has been bought by an evil money grubbing pharmaceutical company and is part of the immoral and unethical government, pharmaceutical company, and medical community axis of evil conspiracy so nothing they say can be trusted. Only those who agree with me are to be trusted." Just so you know. As for research into the genetic origins of autism check this out. I've lost count of the number of genes that have been identified as being partly responsible for autism. None of them have anything to do with the body's response to vaccination.
Knowing all this, do you think it's okay to make a judgment about me based on what I know about my son and the rest of my children physiologically
Based on what I know about, vaccines, the human body, and autism? Yes. Knowing something that is false doesn't immunize you from being judged based on what others know to be true.
If your mission is to gain the public's trust, then you're not going to get parents to do it by fearmongering.
Ain't that the truth! For this reason I don't trust any group that claims vaccines cause autism. And I don't trust any group or anyone who talks about autistic individuals being stolen, lost, poisoned, damaged, locked away or any other such thing.
Until you've experienced the physical, emotional and financial toll you simply can't make such public statements.
Here we see a fine specimen of the argument if you are not X then you can't comment on any subject relating to X. Other fine examples are if you are not a woman then you can't comment on any subject relating to women, if you're not black you can't comment on any subject relating to blacks, if you're not poor you can't comment on any subject relating to the poor, if you're not a child you can't comment on any subject relating to children. Clearly this argument is false but I'll be nice and play by this silly rule. I am a mother of not one but two autistic individuals. That should give my opinion more weight by this standard of argumentation. I am well aware of what life with autism is like for the average American. I think claims that vaccines are somehow responsible for autism or are toxic are themselves toxic bunk. So there.
Despite what happened to my son, I'm not anti-vaccine.Really? Let's try this on for size, I'm not anti-vaccine. I just think that they are toxic and gave my son a neurological disorder. May be I'm missing something but that sounds anti-vaccine to me. Is there some nuance that I'm missing?
However, if the government wants to make me and other parents who have autistic children feel comfortable with vaccinations then there needs to be some independent studies done regarding these treatments.
There's that new code word again, "independent." Remember what the new meaning of "independent" is? Claiming that there need to be new "independent" studies done implies that the last 15 to 20 years worth of research is some how tainted. If that is the stance you're going to take that doesn't give one much confidence that you will accept as "independent" anything that doesn't agree with your preconceived notions on the matter. Which gives lie to this next statement.
Not only would it make me feel comfortable, but it'd make me feel like I'm being listened to and heard.
Only if they told you what you wanted to hear.
Lastly, to Amanda Peet: I would never ever wish what we've gone through in our family on her and her family or anybody. I would just ask her to give the respect she has on her position to mine. It's not about reading so-called studies online; it's about living and learning.
Amanda Peet will have to speak for herself but as far as I am concerned I can't really give any credence to what Holly Robinson Peete believes about vaccines and autism because it is simply not true. If you're not going to read the available scientific research, online or other wise, why bother calling for more? You're not going to accept it unless it says what you want it to.
My study is my son.
No your son is not your study. You owe him, and the rest of your children, more than that stupid throw away line from Jenny McCarthy. Ethical peer reviewed research that has been replicated by other researchers is my science, my study. Much more reliable but not nearly as much of a tear jerker.
autism, vaccines, Holly Robinson Peete, Amanda Peete