The topic of vaccines has come up….

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.

LT

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    • Kristina on March 31, 2010 at 9:13 am
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    Interesting that your doctor laid out only the fever from vaccination concern, and not fever in general from typical childhood illness. While fever is unfortunately a common side effect (and higher grade fever), it's odd that his concern wasn't related to any other possible situations. Certainly, if there is past history of negative reaction, you have to tread lightly, and leaves the both of you stuck between a rock and a hard place. It's interesting as well, that he didn't give you any examples of what he has seen with regard to fever in neurotypical children, and subsequent loss of skills? I would look at your counties data for recent trends in mmr illness, to help you better determine what your risk level is at, and go from there.

    1. I was nervous even writing about that. He talked about high grade fever. He also talk about parents that brought their kids in after it happened where all you have to go on is medical records. He was beating the drum by any means. He has just seen cases over the years where it really looks to be connected. There is no proof because this doesn’t happen to most kids.
      I think the point he was trying to make was that autism has a genetic link. At some point something happens and the switch gets flipped. Whether it’s the vaccine itself, the stress the body incurs processing the vaccine or some other environmental catalyst (other illness) something happens. Some kids are predisposed do to genetics. So when a child like Emmett John comes along with a family history and pending diagnosis the suggestion to at least hold off really makes sense.

      As an example say 99% of kids get sleeping after taking a certain allergy pill. Still there is that 1% that maybe get hyper or has some other a-typical reaction. The pill is still safe but there is still that 1% to worry about. Until we know exactly what triggers autism if we see a pattern with certain kids with a certain genetic background it’s reasonable to reevaluate vaccines or any other type of major stress on the body and brain. That is what he was saying. As I stated in the post our kids do have reactions to certain vaccines. Elliott Richard ended up in the hospital for a couple of days after his mmr.
      I wasn’t as clear as I should have been in the op but I hope it clarifies what I meant to say but maybe didn’t so well.

      Thanks for commenting.

      LT

      1. Sorry I made a typo. He WASN'T beating thedrum by any means. WASN'T

        Thanks

        • Kristina on March 31, 2010 at 4:09 pm
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        You shouldn't be nervous at all! Your situation is certainly much different then say the staunch Anti-vaxxer out there. *Most* rational people would understand your situation (even those who believe a 100% in vaccination always being the right answer). I just thought it odd if his concern was solely the fever aspect, that he wouldn't advise you to be concerned in all situations where a high grade fever could occur (say a lovely case of flu). He may have been treading lightly himself, not knowing how you would react to such a suggestion, and wasn't through in his explanation of fever concern. People who believe too strongly in one side or the other aren't necessarily people's opinion you should concern yourself with; they lack a little balance and rational thought.

  1. Just out of curiousity – can’t they vaccinate for each (mumps, measels, rubella) seperately? (to avoid overloading his system?) Or perhaps that is a question for your peditrician. I understand your reluctance to continue vaccinating at the advice of your doctor – because I know how much he’s done for you guys. Honestly it sounds as if your Ped was on the same train of thought. Either way, I hope some difinitive (or as difinitive as you can get with the circumstances) answers soon.

  2. if you hold off with the shot you risk cps or social service type agency rearing their ugly head claiming that you are causing more harm or neglect then good for all it's worth. If you don't get them their shots in some areas of the USA there are outbreaks like in CT measles are running rampid. So with no black and white proof that is what is causing Autism, I've yet to meet a doctor that will say without a doubt this is what causes Autism or Asperger's. It's kind of hard to stick with the theory that shots due this or don't do this to them. You can argue about seperate shots but most states won't break them up. Cheaper as one shot as multiple shots. It's more preference if you want the harder road as parents you could not get the shot. The easier road is to get the shot and pray like heck that it's not connected. It's still a very who knows what causes what when dealing with Autism. I've had some of my kids not get the shot til they hit their milestones and they still show the signs of Autism, more importantly the 'learned behavior' portion of it. They play with the Autistic twins and show big signs of it. But that could be from playing together. As kids we mimic other kids when learning how to play. There are so many little theories on Autism I really wish they had bigger ones or atleast some direction they were headed in.

    • Mary on March 30, 2010 at 5:24 pm
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    Is there any increased risk in holding off until after testing? I guess it would just be a measure of risk judging by what you write. Is that correct?

    1. Not really. Correct it would be a measure of risk. But it now feels alittle more like Russian roulette.

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