Ever since the GMC confirmed to the world that Dr Wakefield wasn't quite as honest as he would have us believe, the anti vaccination lobby seems to have gone into overdrive with their support for him and his ilk. Unfortunately they are also becoming somewhat shrill and a little prone to exaggeration, but that is to be expected, at the back of their minds they must surly realise that they are being duped into false expectations of cures and 'recoveries' with dubious treatments and therapies. I notice that there seems to be a line drawn by some, a very feint line, but a line nonetheless, between autism and vaccine damage and I suppose it has to be said that the symptoms do appear the same.
When I was a child I caught measles, I was lucky to get through it with my life and eyesight intact, I had to spend months in a darkened room, I was very ill and lost almost 6 months of schooling, missing school was alright until I got my eyesight back and they kept sending me books! My best friend didn't survive measles.
I don't remember much about the whooping cough, and what I do remember is too horrible to talk about, it's making me feel a bit queasy just thinking about it. I do know that my family didn't think I was going to survive. I lost two class mates to pertussis that year.
There were four kids in my class with leg braces due to polio.
I didn't get the mumps, quite pleased about that, but I did have scarlet fever which is probably why I get sinusitis to this day, and this will make you laugh, I had a bad reaction to the smallpox jab, had a fever and a very sore arm. A small price to pay for the eradication of a killer disease.
German measles was a breeze, just had to stay at home for a couple of weeks, I was too young to know about Congenital Rubella Syndrome, all I had was a mild rash which had gone in a few days, no other symptoms, I had no idea of the risk of major defects in babies born to mothers infected early in their pregnancy, CRS is the main reason a vaccine for rubella was developed. Many mothers back in the 50's who contracted rubella had suffered miscarriage or still birth, and if the baby survived the infection it could be born with severe heart disorders, blindness, deafness and goodness knows what other organ defects. My Mum and one of my aunts both had babies born with heart defects, my little brother, Keith, died after two days, my cousin was stillborn. Sound grim doesn't it? You'd think I was bought up in the third world, not a South London suburb in the 50's.
But that is what is facing the next generation if the wishes of the anti vaccine lobby are granted. And it is not as if there wasn't autism around back then, off the top of my head I can think of half a dozen contemporaries that would be candidates for the autistic spectrum these days. You will have to excuse the language here but we didn't have political correctness back then, there was the special school that all the spastics, mongols and retards went to, tucked away on a quiet street behind a dense hedge so as not to upset anyone. Back then the 'handicapped' were kept out of the public eye, hidden away so as not to offend or upset anyone.
Don't get me wrong, I know that children have suffered vaccine damage, I have a cousin who must be almost in her 40's by now who suffered brain damage after a whooping cough jab, these things happen, and it is worth bearing in mind that the diseases we vaccinate against can cause brain damage in a previously healthy child if it doesn't kill them first.
I can't help thinking that the children of the people who are expending so much time and effort disrupting vaccination programmes and looking for cures would be served so much better if their parents were to calm down, take a breath and consider guiding their children into adulthood. Autism doesn't have to be a disaster, look hard at yourself and I guarantee you will find a bit of autism tucked away in some corner of your mind, we all have that potential.
Perhaps that single mindedness is what prevents people from seeing the broader picture. Who knows.
I'm going to leave it at that, I've probably upset enough of you now, but we are all entitled to our own opinions and the one you just read is mine. After all this time, as long as my daughter is happy, and she is most of the time, I am happy. Like every autistic person I know, she can be infuriating, confusing, confused and downright irritating, but then so can my husband and one or two people I know who work for social services and don't get me started on that prat who lives round the corner and complains about our poor long suffering old dog! I'm leaving you with a picture of Sarah I took a couple of days ago, who'd want to change this?