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Sunday

The fear of autism

I have a story to share, that I am not sure anyone aside from my family knows the details of.

Back in the day (heee! I've waited years to say that!), in 1990, I WAS one of those parents who were scared to vaccinate.  I thought autism meant living in an institution, that vaccines, more so if given before the age of two, were dangerous-causing SIDS, autism, death, siezures etc.

I was pregnant with my oldest child when my mother started to take classes on herbology.  I was still young, 19, and living with her.

I did vaccinate my oldest, but not until he was 2.

Then, in 1997, when my daughter was born, I fought bitterly with my then husband, over vaccinations.  I had read this book my mother had given me, that detailed how in Japan vaccinations were not given until babies were over 2.  This book (no clue now which woo book) stated that Japan's SIDS rate dropped to nearly zero after choosing this over two schedule.  We went to talk to my mom's chiropractor, who assured us that there was little to no risk, providing I breast fed, if we chose not to vaccinate.

The next year, when my youngest was born, we still agreed to not vaccinate.  By then there were many other books and news stories out that detailed how the MMR vaccine may be linked to autism. 
When my youngest was less than a year old, I knew something was up.  As the oldest of four children, and with three of my own, I had enough experience to know the general behaviours associated with the various ages of development, and my precious baby was not meeting any of those milestones.

He walked, but he had no babble.  He rarely made noises, aside from crying. He pitched fits that we couldn't figure out the reason for. Fits that looked like siezures and went on for ridiculous amounts of time. He didn't seem to notice if I was in the room, never mind crying if I left.  He did not respond to his name. He didn't play with toys, really, but instead would wander around the house shutting things (doors, cabinets, curtains) and hanging the teatowel on its hanger.  If it wasn't for my daughter, Princess, he would have just happily wandered around closing cabinets or standing underneath the kitchen fan light. 

At the age of two it was obvious that things were becoming more noticable.  Feeling stupider than I have ever felt before or since, I arranged to have my children vaccinated.  I have, many times since, felt nearly sick over the 'what could have happened' train of thought-that goodness my children did not catch any diseases.  The cloak of guilt is heavy enough as it is-I am certain I NEVER would have forgiven myself had one of them become ill because of my fears.

Now, when NSLM first began to teach us what autism is, people in public areas would stare, tell me or him off, snub us, or act as if we were contagious.  The teachers seemed to be uncertain as to what, exactly, to do with him.

For the first four years of NSLM's schooling, I sat in class with him.  I had to-the teachers and 'aids' just wanted to argue with him or force him to participate, rather than to communicate his way or to learn WHY he was 'being difficult'.

It was a battle.

That is what I remember of dealing with people outside the home.

Now, I see my community responding. I see teachers with training.  I see people in public, when NSLM has an 'autistic' outward behaviour, will ASK and do so with RESPECT and interest, rather than with fear and judgement.

As a side note concerning vaccination.... I am currently in college and just wrote a paper on Jenny McCarthy and vaccination.  Vaccination rates have been climbing dramatically last year and more so this year.  HURRAH! if anyone wants the resources for that info, let me know.

5 comments:

  1. Found you on Twitter! :) Nice to meet you here! My blog (although I don't keep up with it right now very much) is: www.AutismLoveHope.blogspot.com -- and our site is www.AutismLoveHope.com -- glad I found you! ;) Take care!!!

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  2. Nice to meet you Lola! I have bookmarked your blog :)
    My husband is from Ohio and was all smiley over your post.

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  3. Very great to know about that.
    Those who try to justify the "vaccines" theory of autism usualy makes it by talking about personnal experience of autistic symptoms being visible a short time after vaccination.
    But that is probably because the first very noticeable signs often happens arround "three" which is often the time where the MMR is done.
    But I was vaccinated long before three... and the first noticeable symptoms appeared around three.
    I suppose that an explaination of the first noticeable symptoms appearing around three is the fact that it's often in this period that children begins to be massively confronted with the outside world without the parents being always around (kindergarten and so on).
    Of course I suppose all this will not convince all those who still believe in the vaccination causation.

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