I was wondering how long it would take

My friend Ren told me about a mother who started blogging about autism up in the town where he lives. I told him that it wouldn’t take long for her to go the anti-vaccine route, given how angry she seemed in all of her “rants” and “raves” about autism. I even confronted her on it in one of her first blog posts:

“Mrs. [redacted], I really, truly hope that you’re not going to turn this blog into yet another anti-vaccine “rant” blog like AgeofAutism.com, “Adventures In Autism”, and many others. If there is one thing that is very much settled, it is that vaccines do not cause autism. The Wakefield “study” was not a study, it was a case series, it was flawed, it was fraudulent, and it didn’t make any scientific sense. Time after time, case control studies looking at neurotypical children versus autistic children have failed to find any difference in the odds of being vaccinated between those two groups.

As for the increase in prevalence (and not incidence), it has been explained as consisting of increased awareness, diagnoses, diagnostic tools, and systematic reviews of the data. An increase in prevalence does not indicate an increase in incidence. For example, the number of new cases of HIV/AIDS is declining, but the number of existing people with HIV/AIDS is increasing. The former was incidence, and the latter was prevalence.”

That explanation of mine seems to have fallen on deaf ears. She recently wrote this (with my emphasis in bold):

“Just recently, someone asked me what the autism rates in Pennsylvania were and I told them I had no idea, but would look into it and get back with them.  Unfortunately, the information I found was very discouraging.  According to anarticle by the Associated Press, Pennsylvania autism rates are 1 in 75; the national average was 1 in 88.  However, according to a new article by medicalnewstoday.com, the CDC is now reporting 1 in 50 kids in the U.S. have autism.  But wait, it gets even better; according to vaxtruth.org, this “1 in 50″ is actually “1 in 29″ and that “…the CDC failed to make it clear that the numbers they reported on March 29, 2012 were from data collected in 2008. The numbers are four years old. ””

That’s right. She went to an anti-vaccine site to validate her suspicions, it seems. Confirmation bias, much? She goes on:

“The “vaccination debate” seems to really cause an uproar similar to that of gun control.  My son had 25 vaccinations in the first year of his life.  25 vaccinations?  Wow, I think my mom said I had 4 in my first year.  Does anyone think maybe, just maybe, 25 shots is a “bit much” for an 8-15 lb baby in their first year?  Again, the vaccination theory, is just my opinion, not trying to force my opinion on anyone else.”

“Don’t look at me, I’m not anti-vaccine. It’s just an opinion,” she seems to say. It’s not an opinion. You’re writing it as a fact, a fact you think is validated by that anti-vaccine site.

To make matters worse, she later goes on a rant about who the “real” autism experts are. Shockingly, it’s not the people with advanced degrees in behavioral health, neurobiology, etc. No. It’s the parents of children with autism. Yet another play from the anti-vaccine book, where no one knows children like their parents and anecdotal information given by parents must be taken as gospel by anyone else, especially anyone who doesn’t have to “go through the hell” that parents of children with autism go through.

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7 thoughts on “I was wondering how long it would take

  1. You make very valid points. I don’t dispute the “vaccine theory” but it’s just that, a theory. But if you say you feel your child’s Autism was perhaps genetic (another theory) you get blasted by the vax moms. It gets ridiculous!!! I personally do not believe my sons autism was caused by vaccines. I do think the amount of vaccines given to children these days is excessive. 4-5 vaccines at one time for an infant is crazy, stagger the doses. Pediatricians will work with parents on this. As for the rant about “experts” I often say I hate that word, the autism world is ever changing, constantly evolving. And sometimes it does get on my nerves when people who do not have first hand experience weigh in ass of they know what it’s like as a parent to have to deal with set backs and meltdowns, etc. I have had positive and negative experiences with “experts” but i choose to focus on the positives. Example, a local cognitive behavior therapist, gave me permission to just be mom, told me to stop being, mom/nurse/therapist/teacher/case worker, etc. Just be mom, everything else will take care of its self. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted. Keep making your arguments, there needs to be balance and you’re probably saying what others would like to post but don’t for fear they’ll become the next rant.

    • First of all “vaccine” is not a “theory” and I am somewhat confused about your statement … “But if you say you feel your child’s Autism was perhaps genetic (another theory) you get blasted by the vax moms.”

      My child’s autistic-like behaviors were part of the rare genetic disorder he was born with, along with with his multiple, profound physical, intellectual and medical impairments and his immune- compromising blood disorder (neutropenia). When you rely on mommy intuition or “gut feelings” about the spacing of vaccines, you put your child and other children like my son, at risk for serious sometimes deadly, childhood diseases:

      http://www2.aap.org/immunization/families/faq/vaccinestudies.pdf

      Why not put your energies toward assuring that special services such as your child receives…and the services and support your child will need in the future, are assured and fully funded? We’ve already seen how the Federal government “sequester” has negatively impacted programs for the disabled at the Federal, State and local levels. There are finite resources and an infinite number of taxpayers and elected officials who don’t believe that developmentally disabled children and adults are “deserving” of our care and concern.

  2. I think that advice was a little late. I hope you get her thinking a bit. It is sad that this is where bitterness and frustration leads. I do wonder if we are giving these parents enough support.

  3. I concur with Ren on this. I’m very careful to only post on blogs, where my anonymity is assured; especially since I’ve observed the lengths these nasty ignorant bloggers will go to, to silence those who question their “truth”, as they see their child’s disability.

    I will also go after them on popular media outlets because I’ve cared for my own profoundly multiply disabled child, (been there and done that).

    I sincerely appreciate your posts, specifically because don’t have children on the “Spectrum”. When the angry ignorant “mom” ventures off her own blog to post on a science blog…I’ll be waiting for her.

    O/T: Any update on “the kid”, whose MPH class graduated this past weekend?

  4. She also seems to me to be a very angry person. Most of her “rants” are about the bad things that have happened in her life, and she will make sure she’s heard. I wouldn’t poke her too much if I were you.

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