Vaccine, it seems to be like the grand canyon of the autism community. You find yourself on one side or the other and there is no middle ground. I will start by saying that I don’t subscribe to the vaccine theory nor does my wife for that matter. The reason I bring this up is because Gavin’s psychiatrist has suggested we consider withholding Emmett John’s MMR vaccine. Now before you grab your torch and pitch fork hear me out. He is one of the best in his field. We are very lucky to have him here.
What he said was that vaccines as a whole are absolutely a good thing. There is no research to show otherwise. Majority of kids handle vaccines without any problems (which is why you should have your kids vaccinated). He said that there is a subset of children that don’t handle the vaccines well. He has had patients that where high functioning autism, received an MMR vaccine, ran a high fever and then became non verbal. He said there is no proof one way or the other with these cases. Again he is not saying don’t vaccinate your kids but in Emmett John’s case for example there is a family history and pending diagnosis of autism. Also Elliott Richard was admitted to the hospital after his MMR. He said that we should weigh the risks and benefits of further vaccinating Emmett John and have a serious discussion with his pediatrician. That’s all.
I had never put any weight into this theory before but having someone like him say this (even if it’s for a different reason) to us makes you stand up and listen. Again he is not preaching don’t vaccinate your kids. I want to be very clear about that. In fact his kids are all vaccinated. He is saying that there is a subset of kids that are much more vulnerable for some reason maybe genetic defects that make them predisposed. Knowing that Emmett John is a high risk child and there is a family history of autism the vaccines (in combination with a potential genetic defect) may be enough to push him over the edge or flip the switch.
Does any of this make sense? I honestly never thought I would ever give this consideration. But faced with the choice what are you supposed to do? We completely trust our doctor. He is a big reason Gavin is doing as well as he is. He is simply sharing his personal experience. He recommended we talk to our pediatrician and decide what we want to do. As it stands anyway, our pediatrician wanted to hold off on the MMR until we figured out what was going on with Emmett John anyway because he didn’t want the vaccine to complicate things. Elliott Richard had a reaction when he was little. So there is a history.
How do you even begin to make that decision? You vaccinate most likely he handles it ok. On the other hand you could vaccinate and make things worse. How could we ever forgive ourselves? I wish I could look at Gavin’s psychiatrist and say “well he must be a quack” but I can’t. Again we aren’t talking about someone who is anti-vaccine because he isn’t. As a medical doctor he believes in them. We are talking about someone who has seen cases where this has happened. He said there is no proof but it’s hard to deny the connection.
We have time to decide right now but since yesterday all these things have been swirling around in my head. These are really BIG decisions to make in already bad situation.
I know the vaccine topic is touchy and I am not looking to start a heated debate but this is what we are faced with. My wife and I are pro-vaccine but in light of the information given to us we are at a loss as what to do.