Autism Awareness

MMR and Autism

MMR and Autism

I’m sure you all know that dangerous and life threatening diseases (previously eradicated) like Measles are raising their deadly heads again. Its all comes down to an anti vaccination movement. I thought we were over it . But apparently not. It seems that thousands of new parents all over the world are more frightened of the risk of ‘Giving’ their child autism rather than protect their daughter from potentially catching Rubella when she goes on to have her own child. Leaving her child with severe birth defects. OK, that’s a bit extreme but you get the picture. So I’m here to dispel the myth that there is a link between the MMR and autism. Do I have a degree? No. Am I an expert? No. But what I do have is experience.

 

For a long time this myth has niggled away at me. Truth is I was one of those parents back in the 90’s that was taken in by it. I had watched my eldest react to all his jabs. He didn’t get his final Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Diphtheria and Polio vaccine until he was 16 because is caused such an awful reaction. Bless him, our practise nurse gave it to him as part of our vaccinations for a family holiday in Mexico. It was no holiday when your entire sons body swells up, feels like it’s on fire and is bright red. But that’s another story.

 

So anyway, when second RFW came along and the internet was more readily available I was all about due diligence. My aunt said to me to be careful about the MMR vaccine. That a link to autism had been found. Well obviously no one wants to give their child autism do they? I mean, god forbid! It’s like handing them a life sentence (NOT). So like a true keyboard warrior I set about proving to myself this was the case. You see the power of one persons words had convinced me. So much so that a quick google search backed up what they had said and then, hey presto, I was a convert. It’s like a cult but without the encampment somewhere in the dessert.

 

And that’s the problem with a myth like this. It starts as a rumour. A game of international Chinese whispers. Before long everyone is saying the same and no amount of scientific evidence stops people believing. The world wide web can be a place of information and joy. But equally there is a dark side. Because, well, there’s no one policing it. And anyway, we live in democratic times where we encourage free speech. The trouble is though that the first wave of internet users (like me) were not taught to question what we read. It was as though each web page was a newspaper. Therefore it must be true, right? And there we have it, the link for all to see between the MMR and autism.

 

Well I’m here to add my own little page to the many thousands out there, to help dispel that myth! You don’t catch autism, you are born with it. And this is why I know the truth about the MMR and autism. As I said earlier I was drawn in by this whole charade. I asked my GP to give middle RFW his MMR as separate jabs and they politely declined, rightly so too. So do you know what I did, I paid a private company to give them separately. At a cost of over £150 per jab. And a round trip each time of three hours! I remember saying to myself what a great mum I am. Look how I’m caring for my child. Definitely an inner smug moment.

 

Fast forward 17 months and youngest RFW arrived. This time around it wasn’t financially viable to pay for those individual jabs. Oh the anxiety and anguish I went though. I couldn’t provide for the third what I had for the second. But I also wasn’t about to risk him catching Measles or Mumps either. I had mumps as a child and I can tell you it was awful. I still remember the pain. Not to mention that it can in extreme cases cause a drop in fertility for teenage boys that catch it. So this time around, feeling not quite so smug the nurse gave the MMR as a whole.

 

Now my boys are like chalk and cheese as is the case with siblings. Born so close together they fill each others gaps, almost like twins. Where as middle RFW is quiet and thoughtful. Youngest RFW is loud and gregarious. Middle RFW is a thinker. Youngest RFW is a doer. I could go on and on, but you get the point. One is brunette and looks like his paternal grandmothers side of the family. And the other is a red head and looks like his maternal grandfathers side of the family. But the one thing they both have in common is that they are autistic.

 

You see I’m in the unique position where I have tried the MMR both ways. And guess what, both my boys are autistic. The one who had the combined jab. And also the one who had it separately. And whilst research still goes on I’m sure into what causes autism, the one thing I know is the link is not the MMR.  I’m not here to preach to you either. I promise I’m not telling you what to do. That would make me as bad as those who tell you not to have it. What I would like to do though is encourage you to do your own research. To read both sides of the argument.

 

I’m not sure what causes autism, surely there has to be a degree of genetics to it though I’m sure. I’m not the only family with more than one autistic child. I think external factors may also contribute but my boys are so different in every way even down to what they will and won’t eat that I’m unsure what those factors could be. Both myself and my husband have auto immune conditions and I often wonder if that is a contributing factor. Either way, one thing I do know is that I would never change them for the world. I love them to bits just as they are.

 

Do you have autistic children? What are your thoughts on the MMR and autism? Do you think there is a link? Or that it’s a load of baloney. I’d love to hear your thoughts? The more comments a piece gets, the more important Google thinks it is. And it moves up the rankings. I’d love for new parents to read both sides of the story and encourage them to make decisions based on both sides of the argument. So please do leave a comment to push this piece up the rankings so it’s not lost forever.

 

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8 Comments

  • Reply maureen swain July 7, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Rachel, Have a 42 year old son with autism. Yes, we had all . the hopes, thoughts you are experiencing. You do feel you are on your own by the social services, education, but through other parents we met through school, college and then placements. He found the world a foreign world, scared of setting foot outside the house, running everywhere when outside but then drawing more attention to himself. Wearing hoodies. But try to reach out to other families and you will get so much reassurance knowledge of helping groups who know what you are going through. Please try and reach out, perhaps invite other similiar parents with their offspring. The boys wont talk, just look at each other but a breakthrough will come. Lots has happened, now our son is married to another MLD person, living with support in their social housing flat, companions, battling the world still .but happy. Autistic, MLD. Now type 1 diabetic, hearing loss but works 2 days a week in a kitchen. Loves gardening, buses, music. We see him all the time, still annoying but everyone likes him for his smiles, work ethic. We cannot hope for anything better. Only now will go into shop on his own and buy something. X

    • Reply Rachel Edmonds July 8, 2019 at 9:27 am

      Hi Maureen, thank you for sharing your story with me. It has given me hope that things can improve. We used to have a mums monthly meet up when the boys were in school but as they stopped attending we all drifted off in different directions. The school they went to takes in pupils from all over Devon so geographically it was difficult for us all to keep meeting up anyway. I’ll have a look for some more local groups. I think the idea of having other teens over is such a great ideaa and something I’m definitely going to pursue. Thank you, you must be so proud of your son and you truly have given me hope x

  • Reply Christine Mckinnell July 10, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    I love your article, we parents often feel we are the only ones but we are not. I do now have a couple of friends who also have adult children with autism. I dread this time of year with Proms and exam results. Once my son was 18, all help ceased, and basically you just get on with it. My son is 23 and not so severely affected as Tom. He has qualifications but is often discriminated against in interviews and has been trying to get a job for four years. He has one friend although he does attend lots of theatre groups ( his ideal job would be working in a theatre) he never seems to make any friends he can go out with socially. On the positive side (well I think it is) he has appeared on the TV show The Undatables which has given him tremendous confidence and he was treated really well, so much so, that he is currently filming again. I hope every day that he will get a job and find a partner as I am a widow and I fear what will happen when I am no longer here. I spend a lot of time helping my son to be able to cope with the things he will need to when he is alone. God bless you for speaking out ❤️

    • Reply Rachel Edmonds August 4, 2019 at 12:34 pm

      Hi Christine, thank you for taking the time to write a comment and share your story with me. Your son sounds like my youngest who has much more tenacity and the ability to bounce back than my middle son. You must be so proud of what he has achieved and saddened too that even though he is trying his hardest he isn’t getting the break he needs. I will keep my fingers crossed that the perfect job comes along soon. I have probably seen him on TV too, I’m an avid watcher of The Undateables, it gives me hope. I’m sending you a huge hug, you sound like an amazing person and mother. Your son is very lucky to have you.

  • Reply Alan Butterworth July 14, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Hi Rachel,
    I left you a message on Facebook after reading your article in ‘You’ magazine. My name’s Al (Alan Butterworth).
    I’m afraid after the research I’ve done over the last 17 years I can catagorically say I believe vaccinations caused the ‘vaccine induced autism’ we see in my son Tom. The research is too vast to go into here, but it’s not just the MMR vaccine that caused his autism…..it’s every single one he received from the first at 2 months to the last one, the MMR itself. He never received the booster at 3.5 years of age because he screamed the place down before going in. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my son, it’s that he somehow has a deeper spiritual connection with the universe than anyone I’ve ever met and is unable to explain that to us. I should add to all this that if we were sat across the kitchen table having a coffee, after half an hour you would either think me a ‘crank’ or go away witha thirst to do more investigating yourself. Did we go to the moon? No….Did terrorists bring down three steel framed buildings on the 11th September 2001? …..No……Did Saddam Hussein have Weapons of Mass Destruction that caused the 2nd Middle East Invasion in 2003?…….No……Were David Kelly and Robin Cook assassinated for what they knew about it?….Probably, along with thousands of other whistleblowers who don’t make the newspapers or the evening television news……..Do all vaccines have an inherent risk to health to everyone that has them administered? Of course they do…..The problem is ascertaining what the risk is. For example, if the NHS came out and said most childhood vaccines are fairly safe and gave a figure of between 1 in 10,000 children going on to develop asthma, autism ADHD, depression or a myriad of other lifelong debilitating conditions, do you really think people would still go ahead and have the vaccinations? The whole charade is run by gangster organisations (look up the histories of companies like Smithklein Beecham, Glaxo) who are only interested in the bottom line. The more you look, the more you find. That’s why, there will be no reduction in autism numbers until what’s being injected into children is water…..which may well come one day and be the ultimate Emperor’s New Clothes. I wish the world was different….and BTW that doesn’t mean to say I dwell on this stuff everyday, but the computer has provided me with access to medical papers we could only dream of pre-internet days. And there in the papers, you’ll find the skewed reports and all the evidence needed of a smoking gun. Thomas Verstraeten, William Thompson of the CDC……two names that should be on the tip of every parent with an autistic child. Best of luck, Al

    • Reply Rachel Edmonds August 4, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Hi Alan, thank you for taking the time to leave such a detailed and well thought out reply. I think I would thoroughly enjoy sitting and having a coffee with you to talk about this further. Although I’m not totally convinced by what you have written I would thoroughly love to debate the idea further with you. I spent 5 years working as a medical rep for a large German pharmaceutical company prior to having my boys so know the industry reasonably well. My first thoughts are that yes, if I was given 1 in 10000 odds for the vaccines I would still go ahead. I’d weigh it up against the risks of catching the deceases themselves. What I would ask though is if it is the vaccine that causes autism then why are only certain children predisposed to it? Also my middle son showed all the classic symptoms of autism in the vaccination time frame, yet my youngest showed no symptoms at all. Maybe there is a genetic marker that is altered in some way in some children?? For me genetics have to come into play somehow. Maybe there is also an auto immune response coming into play? Both myself and my husband have auto immune conditions. For now though whilst having a reason why would be nice I would much rather change the society our children live in. More understanding, empathy and support for those on the spectrum can only be a good thing. I hope that unlike us you are getting the help and support that your son needs.

  • Reply Ella July 16, 2019 at 4:26 am

    My son and daughter have autism and neither have ever been vaccinated. Not because I thought it caused autism but due to their father having extreme reactions to his vaccines and not wanting that for his children. My husband also had mumps, and measles very badly in primary school (hospitalised for weeks) and rubella at 28 (when I was pregnant), despite being fully vaccinated. Our third child is NT. I have autism and ADHD, as does my mother, an aunt, and a cousin. My maternal grandfather’s side have ADHD and maternal grandmother and great grandmother clearly had autism.

    • Reply Rachel Edmonds August 4, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Thank you for your comment Ella. My eldest son who is NT also reacted very badly to his jabs as I mentioned in the post so like you I have no belief that vaccination is linked with autism. I think it would be so simple to explain away autism and other nephropathys as a direct result to the MMR but it just doesn’t hold water for me. Even if it were the case this doesn’t answer why then does it only affect a small percentage of those that are given it. I’m also not sure if I want to know the real reason anyway. If it were a case of genetics and screening became available and the ability to manipulate those genes then our children would no longer be our children. I would much rather the money be put into raising awareness that diversity includes neuro diversity and a more open approach to inclusiveness would solve so many problems especially in educational settings.

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