Did Vaccines Cause My Son’s Autism? ~ Part One

Wondering about Vaccines and Autism? I am too - Here is what happened to my son after getting his vaccines. Do you think there is a link between autism and vaccines?

We’ve tried many natural methods to heal our son’s autism and anxiety, and we’ve seen some natural healing from our efforts, but one of the puzzles that I wonder about is the relationship between vaccines and autism.

Vaccines and autism are two hot topics today.

I personally used to think nothing about vaccines.  Every kid just gets ‘em, right?

I used to think nothing about a lot of things.

All that changed with the birth of my first son.  And it didn’t stop there.

Now, I don’t purport to know everything about vaccines, nor everything about autism.

But I will share with you the truth about what happened to our son as it related to his vaccines and his autism so you can learn a little more about us.  About one part of our health journey – and it might get you thinking about vaccines yourself.


My oldest son was born 11 years ago at home, under the care of a very special doctor in Illinois, Dr. George Elvove.

I didn’t seek out a home birth doctor – but I ended up with one.  That’s the topic of another post :-).

Dr. Elvove was special in many ways.  He was one of only two doctors whom I found in Illinois who would deliver a baby at home.

And I think he saved us untold misery in our son’s life.

My son was a pretty big baby and his delivery was nothing short of very difficult horrible.  Almost impossible, in fact.

But I we did it.  (This is also a topic for another post–home birth and all that…)

At first, after he was born, things were pretty smooth.  My baby nursed well, and he was the highlight of my life–but things soon changed.

He started sleeping horribly, waking every 30 minutes, and after 10 of those 30 minute stretches (think total of 5 hours of sleep :-(), he was up.

Then, he was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies.

Our pediatrician wisely told us that we had a very sensitive child and that we should proceed slowly with vaccinations.

So we did.

He got the HIB.  And that was about it.  Maybe one or two more.  But nothing else.

Our son grew, but gradually his peculiarities became evident.

He was described as:

  • a very intense baby
  • having an “other worldliness” about him
  • seeming to be “wise beyond his years

Those things were endearing, (except for the “intense” part at times), but there were other things that seemed “out of sorts.”

He:

  • liked to memorize (he memorized children’s books and hymns at age 2)
  • had OCD tendencies and repetitive behaviors
  • didn’t play with other children well, if at all

I brought all of these things up to several physicians, but no one thought we were dealing with autism.

Then at 6 years of age, everything changed.

Around our son’s fifth birthday, we started getting pressure from our new pediatrician (in Michigan) to move ahead with the vaccinations.  (This was the same physician who didn’t want to give me a referral to on oral surgeon when it seemed apparent that my son had a recurrent near fatal condition from a mercury filling.  See why I switched doctors?)  My husband and I read different articles and talked with friends at church and came to the conclusion that perhaps we were being scared for no reason and that we should move forward with the recommended vaccine schedule.

(See, a lot of the literature out there on autism and vaccines states that there really isn’t a link.  Most people who think that there is a link between vaccines and autism blame the MMR vaccine, which is given around 2 years of age.  The typical diagnosis of autism comes around age 2.  So a lot of parents [and some doctors] think that something is going on between vaccines [particularly the MMR] and autism.)

The mainstream medical community just thinks that it’s a coincidence.

I wasn’t sure.

I’d read a lot of books and articles about the supposed links between autism and vaccines, but I felt that perhaps I was worrying about nothing.

Surely all of these new autism diagnoses were just doctors over-diagnosing, right?  Surely they just wanted to prescribe drugs and make money somehow.

Right?

But then again, Dr. Elvove’s partner said that she thought there might be something to it.  She had been a vaccine / autism link skeptic, but said that she wasn’t so sure anymore.  Just too many parents had seen their children take a dramatic turn for the worse after an onslaught of vaccines – particularly the MMR.

Well, anyway, since we were well passed age 2, we thought that surely our son was old enough to handle a few shots now, right?

Maybe not.

Tomorrow, I will share with you Part Two of Did Vaccines Cause My Son’s Autism.

It’ll get you thinking – Just like it did me.

In the meantime, if you’d like to read more about our journey with autism, you might wish to read:

And here’s a good book to consider regarding autism, etc.: (Please note there are affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase after clicking on them I might make a commission – your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.

Healing the New Childhood Epidemics

Dr. Bock presents his hypothesis of the relation between a number of pervasive childhood disorders.  The end of the book includes a suggested “scaled back” vaccine schedule for those wishing to vaccinate, but wanting to be cautious in their approach to vaccinations.

Another that is lauded in the “natural autism community” is:

Evidence of Harm
I personally think that the vaccines were too much for him and that they “threw him over the edge”.

UPDATE:  See this new study showing how monkeys given our vaccine schedule developed autism symptoms.  

What do you think about the vaccine / autism link?

{Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/europedistrict/6263270500/}

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  1. Thank you for this very important
    post. I’m a grandma now and find
    all the shots the kids are getting
    to be a bit much. My daughter has
    been able to stall most of the
    vaccines since she homeschools
    and is not forced to give them
    to her children as public
    schools request… she too is
    afraid of what can happen.
    I’m afraid autism might really be
    from some of the new vaccines
    we did not get as kids….?
    She wants her kids to get chicken
    pox and not autism…the risk is too
    much..
    Wanted to wish you and your
    family all the best.
    Sandy

  2. Thanks for this fascinating post! We don’t have any autism in my family, but I’m still hesitant about vaccines in general. My son is two and hasn’t had his MMR. We were doing the alternative schedule from Dr. Sears’s book, but we weren’t able to get separate vaccines for the MMR. I saw you had mentioned in an earlier comment that when you lived in Illinois you could have gotten them, but now you can’t. I live in Illinois, and it’s not available here anymore either because the manufacturer has stopped making the separate vaccines. So now if you want any part of the MMR, you have to get the whole thing. Dr. Sears has some information about that on his website. I don’t know at this point what I will decide. :/

    • Hi Luci. You could check w/ Dr. George Elvove in Libertyville, IL. I don’t know what options are available due to what you have told me, but it’s worth asking. I know – this is all a problem. Blessings as you try to decide.

  3. Interesting. The more kids we have, the fewer vaccines we get! Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday! Hope to see you back tomorrow! :)

  4. I love your “other worldly, wise and intense” observations. I work with 2 autistic little girls at my volunteer job every weekend and those girls are SMART! But, unfortunately, not in a way that will lead to their success in school. They are observant and super clever……
    I worked in the veterinary field for years and the vaccinated puppies were the ones to survive the annual parvo outbreaks that sickened and killed so many puppies. However, I do believe that yearly vaccinations are overkill and I won’t do it to my pets. My (late) horse was extremely sensitive and reacted to vaccines and was permanently injured by one vaccine in particular. I quit giving them to her also. Although I never had any problems with vaccines in my human children I did see both the positive and negative sides of vaccines in my animals. As parents we HAVE to trust our gut. I have also “fired” my pediatrician in the past. Oh, that was good riddance…..

    • Thanks for sharing, Christine. Interesting to have vaccine observations from a veterinarian as well. My “firing” was good riddance too. I should probably go back and share my post with him now. Both of them–the one on vaccines and the one on mercury.

  5. Adrienne check out Infowars, they have some exclusive interviews with him, where he discusses what happened and where he is now, in terms of fighting the huge arsenal of government officals and doctors who claim he committed fraud. The sad, sad thing is that they literally framed him, left out important facts ( such as an additional expert brought in to confirm the findings, etc). Such as sad story.

  6. My son is 25 and was 23 when he was diagnosed with PDD/Aspergers Syndrome. I found your blog on Lolly Jane Boutique and I am a new subscriber. Come by and visit. I really don’t know what to think. He was diagnosed at 8 as having ADHD, so all of these years that’s what we thought he had and it wasn’t until recently that I found an article on preemies being diagnosed with Autism. He was a preemie at 2lbs. 1oz. So I started reading about it and realized some of the things that he does sounded like high functioning Autism and had him diagnosed. His dad is the same way(I am no longer married to him)so over the years I thought well he’s different just like his dad. My son loves, eats, breaths, lives music. I never understood why the passion was so strong for it, like obsessed but when I was reading that article on high functioning I finally understood and was relieved. Thank you for the info.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Marisa. It’s fascinating, isn’t it? My husband is “different” as well, but not as profoundly so. And we all are “different”, but the autistic ones are real outliers.

      You’re welcome and I hope to see you around again. Blessings….

  7. Hi Adrienne, thanks for your personal experiences and perceptions.
    I have 3 children (3.5yr girl, 2yr boy, & 3mo boy) and my oldest has ASD. She receives funding and goes to a special preschool 5 mornings a week. She is doing amazingly well! My husbands brother and niece also have ASD.
    We are a pretty “crunchy” family and tend to be natural in our lifestyle choices. I had home births (one was an accidental unassisted birth) with my 2 younger children and we parent much along those lines (question the norm, objectively look at motives of those who create the “norm”, weigh the pros and cons, etc). I have a degree in dietetics and my husband is has a masters in aerospace and a PhD in biomedical engineering (computer diagnosis of strokes). I say all of this so you know where I’m coming from.
    Autism is such a broad spectrum disorder I find it hard to believe that there is one cause. I do believe that vaccines can be a catalyst. I think the causes are multifactorial – a bunch a small things occur at once creating a different outcome – it’s like dominos. This is also the common explanation to facial clefts. My 2yr old has a complete bilateral cleft lip and palate. So I fully believe in the multifactorial concept.
    My first two kids have been immunized so far and I still immunize my children after weighing the pros and cons. The schedule for immunization is different in Canada and we have the option of a different schedule and separation of vaccines. From an early age I think my daughter was different. Not in obvious ways, but looking back I can see it. She had a very sensitive system from the beginning. Waters mineral content bothered her stomach and she could only have special bottled water. The GFCF diet has done wonders for her. From what I’ve read, some children with autism have very sensitive systems. It would make sense that an injection of harsh chemicals would bother them more than others – their bodies are less able to process the vaccine. Children who may already be predisposed to autism my display more symptoms after receiving them.

    I think that the changes in the DSM may help group those with autism better so that research can be more targeted. Maybe vaccines affect a certain group of those with autism. Right now the umbrella term of “autism” is too broad to assign it one cause. Saying autism is caused by vaccines is just as much a scare tactic as saying that your child will die of measles if they don’t get vaccinated. Parents really need to asses the research presented and make an educated decision. I don’t doubt that vaccines affect some children more than others. Its hard to tell if the relationship is causation or correlation.
    Also – I read an interesting article connecting autism and the use of pitocin. With my daughter I had buckets of pitocin during my inducement so it’s interesting to look at that connection. — sorry this turned into a novel. I could write a whole book on my experiences and views :)

    • Thanks, Kate. Very interesting observations. The pitocin thing is interesting as well but I would see that as an extra toxin. I had an all natural home birth. I so hope to write more on this later. Take care.

  8. Thanks for your stories, I do not have children but hope to try soon and working in schools with severely autistic children led me to look into it. I wondered why some children affected so severely and others I knew not. I can understand the environmental toxicity argument as I had my own experience with illness that could not be diagnosed which led to tests for a mixture of things heavy metals/intolerances/gut problems. Everyone around me was skeptical but I had no option but to consider it as the mainstream doctors and specialists and their tests had no answers for me and I had deteriorated so much I could not work. So I followed the program of diet, minerals and vitamins and in a year or so I did improve. As much as people like to be skeptical as a society we need to be more open to how our environment might affect our health. If vaccines/gluten/enviromental toxins are exacerbating or causing any symptoms in any of our kids let’s do whatever we can to make it better for them. Parents know their children the best your anecdotal evidence is enough for me.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Although it would be nice to have “official studies” to “prove” this to all those who so forcefully deny vaccines to be dangerous… In reality, what more STUDIES do they need than the thousands of personal experiences from families who actually go through it for themselves…? Including 2 of my children, one of which ended up with Aspergers after his shots. :/

  10. To the Parents that had have kids in public school, it is not true that you need a shot records.That’s what my husband and I thoughts before our baby was diagnosed of low platelet. Hub’s found Kent Hovind DVD, we bought and watched it and there is a lot of TRUE information. That’s where we found out that parents have right to sign a waver that you do not want a shot for your kids and we did since 4-5 yrs ago. You ask the school front desk for a waver.

  11. HI, there is still some confusion around this.. the research that led to people blaming MMR was in 2011/2012 withdrawn by the original authors,they apologised for getting it so wrong ….and for what they had put parents through…unfortunately the signs of autism often start to show around the same age as the injection…so it got blamed…any Dr who still pushes that old propaganda is way out of date…
    There is some new research linking autistic add adhd behaviour around that age to bisphenol A plastics…I think that is the right word…but further research is needed…they looked at exposure while in utero to that plastic…found in bottles and in lining tin cans…hope it helps…

    • I have not looked into this in great detail, as my aim has not been to prove a link but only to share my experience. At times, and with certain things, I am willing to state that I believe something unequivocally, but not typically. In this case, I will share that there is some interesting info on Mercola’s site about this that I would love to know your thoughts on.

      I do know that I personally have spoken with Temple Grandin and asked her about the link b/t autism and vaccines and she thinks that the research to this day is flawed and that the proper research hasn’t been done yet. I think she is a genius and is likely right.

      I think there are tons of factors and I don’t mean to be harsh about this but BPA is for sure not the only thing going on here. Environmental toxins, genetic tendencies, assaults to the immune system (like vaccines), diet….all of these, in my mind are causes. I hope to write more on this soon. That being said, I don’t like BPA :). I’d be interested in seeing the research but I do think that the pharma companies don’t want to admit a link of vaccines. Just like a lot of folks don’t want to admit the link b/t celiac disease and mental disease. I hope to write on that as well.

  12. Thanks for this post, Adrienne. I want to introduce the idea of NOT vaccinating to a few couples close to me who have babies/young children. Would you recommend a particular website, article, or book? I don’t know if they would read a whole book at this time, but it would be good to know too what are trustworthy resources in the sea of information/opinions out there. Thanks!

  13. im not discounting the vaccine shot. you should question stuff.
    i saw something on bill mayer show. it said that 90% of fish are mislabeled. meaning they can come from anywhere. also meaning if you eat it there is a possiblity it has mercury in it. maybe its the vaccine, maybe its the fish and maybe its both.
    on a not so good topic, point of the vaccine is to prevent major sickness. we do those thing so we dont windup like 3rd world countries being wipeout by sickness. we take for granted what medicene has done for us. one day it will come down to this one kid who didnt get his shot and causes a uncontroled small pox epidemic. you should not aviod getting shots, its better to have autims then be death.
    sorry for your pain and i wish you well. sorry if this is insensitive.

    • Thanks for your comment. I am not saying all autism is caused by vaccines and I am not saying that vaccines are what cause it. I am saying that vaccines are full of things that they ought not to contain and that they give too many of them. I am “on the fence” about what vaccines are truly useful and necessary. Clearly things are out of control as far as the amount, how many we give at one time and what is in them. Thanks.

  14. Kate & Zena says:

    Hi,

    I know you posted this a long time ago, but I found you via Pinterest and I wanted to express my thoughts. I am Autistic like your son. In fact, my story is much like your son’s. My birth was, in my mom’s words, “traumatic.” I actually got stuck coming out and they had to use the big spoon forceps to get my shoulders out, so a horrible birth was had (we won’t mention the whole “being born blue” thing. That’s a whole different story.) I was also a BIG BABY, especially since I was three weeks premature (8 pounds 6 ounces.) I was described a lot like your son too except I plainly could not soothe myself EVER. I was not a self-soother. I would cry for hours (my mom can recount many a story of trying to shut me up. The swing became a life saver.)

    I, in fact, am a lot like your son. If you move something, I know exactly what you moved and I will throw a fit. Everything has a place. I like memorizing where things are so I don’t lose my mind. I have a crazy memory. I still don’t play well with people my own age most of the time…or younger and I’m 26. I get along fine with people older than me ironically enough. I prefer one-person only activities. And I love animals more than people.

    I regressed younger than your boy; I was about 2. I lost all of the speech I had learned in speech therapy; I learned sign language instead and relearn what I had again. I screamed at any tiny sound louder than a whisper because it hurt my ears. Boar bristle brushes hurt my head because the texture irritated me. My mom had to use her fingers instead.

    When my mom looks back on everything and looks at all of the new research on Autism, she realizes all of the struggles I ever had wasn’t ever due to a wrong vaccine or some other disorder like Cerebral Palsy (which I’ve also been diagnosed with), but really due to Autism. Your son has probably been Autistic since birth and didn’t get it from some vaccine. I don’t know who I would be if I weren’t Autistic, and I hope you can teach your boy that being Autistic is no different than being normal. We see the world through a different lens, but we really aren’t that different in the end.

    • HI and thanks for commenting. My son was larger than you, but not a preemie. He was 9 6. He couldn’t self soothe at all and gets along w/ those older and younger than him. Peers not so much. I consider getting a dog but we have allergies so that is going to take some thinking :).

      I suspect he had the autistic issues at birth but that possibly the vaccines exacerbated it. I might be wrong, but I still think so. I do appreciate your words about not seeing himself as “different” but there are for sure some real differences that we have to figure out how to help him navigate so he can more easily live independently. That is the hard thing right now. I wonder how that has been for you? Thanks so much!

  15. You are right, Daisy. There is strength in “meeting” each other and sorting through the info and sharing success stories. And failures. I look forward to sharing more tomorrow – hope I can get the post done. Otherwise it may be Monday :). Blessings ~Adrienne

  16. That’s strange when a post hits a nerve like that, isn’t it? Hope to hear your thoughts tomorrow.

  17. I think the issue is really complicated, Eryn, but I think it’s crucial to read the comments here, do digging around and then you just have to do what you think is best. This for sure isn’t a perfect world and after a point we’re left with what we are left with. There is some compelling info out there about a link to autism from vaccines. I think it’s crucial to look at that.

  18. Thanks, Adrienne. I did read the comments here, and it does give me pause. I wish I felt like we had more of a choice as far as vaccines go where we live. If you don’t want to homeschool your kids or change religions, it seems like your only choice here is vaccination.

    I also wish the separate measles, mumps and rubella vaccines were still available. The last time I checked, they had stopped manufacturing it. It would make me more comfortable if we could give them one at a time.

    Are you aware of any scientific studies that have shown a link between autism and MMR?

  19. Eryn, I am not aware of any studies. If you do an internet search, you come up with a bunch of links about it being true and then about that claim being debunked. I am not sure what to make of all of it but I have a reader who is working on a vaccine awareness program in KY so I will email her. Also, I think just common sense says that immune assaults on children with damaged systems are not wise. I hope to write more soon. There is a little more that I would like to share.

  20. Thanks, Adrienne.