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

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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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

      • Kate & Zena says:

        Well, independence is kind of in the eye of the beholder. I have a younger brother (almost 22 months younger) who is gifted. He is a big ol’ smart butt (insert profanity that belongs there); he would consider me VERY dependent. I am, according to the law, independent as my IQ is too high for SSI but I do get SNAP benefits. My parents consider me a hybrid. I am independent enough to do shopping, movies, go to my appointments and chores on my own. I can drive. I can attend school and do my homework without being told if I’m doing school. I can go to a store with my SNAP card and actually get healthy food and not go over my limit. All good, independent things.

        However, I don’t have enough social skills to get a job. Since I also have Lupus and a migraine disorder, even if I got a job, keeping it would be difficult as they both are unpredictable disorders. I can’t tolerate a lot of noise making apartment living difficult unless we found a place that had extremely strict noise restrictions. I physically need a dog and a human (that I know and trust) with me in order to feel safe. No parents for a few days and I start going literally insane. And I have serious issues with handling my own money. If I see yarn I love….forget about me saving for bills if I ever had to pay bills. I’ll buy yarn. Or makeup. Or art. I am HORRIBLE with money.

        Not every autistic is like me. I know plenty in my bowling group who live on their own or have jobs or both. Some are married or have relationships. Some have completely normal lives and some live at Lamb’s Farm, which is a community for people with disabilities.

        What I would really look into for your son is a a non-profit group that does activities or groups for people with developmental disabilities. They will be able to give you the help you need on the independence front and getting him into social groups and they’ll probably have activities for him. My bowling group is through a non-profit for developmental disabilities. I REALLY didn’t want to go at first, but I’ve been doing it for about four years now (I even own my own bowling gear now.) During the summer, along with bowling, I go to the water park through them so I can go down the water slides all day (I seriously love water slides.)

        Also, if you are allergic to dogs, there are dogs that aren’t as triggering (think of poodles, bichon frise or coton de touliers. Dogs with HAIR, not fur.) If dogs are fully out, think of a cat. Siberians are the best if you have allergies as they lack the triggering chemical for those who are allergic to cats and dogs. Most people who are allergic to cats can own a Siberian. I’m rather obsessed with dogs. I’m not a cat person (they tend to be a little too shy for me) but dogs…I know all about dogs!

        • Hi there. I can see what you are talking about. Have you by chance looked at the Autoimmune Paleo diet for Lupus? I have a friend who has been completely cured with a very similar eating regimen. Also, I find that interesting that you mention Lamb’s Farm as we used to live by there so I wonder if it’s the same place :).

          We have tried some social groups but he is so high functioning that they don’t work well for him. Maybe we could try again. We’ve done many activities with 2 local autism groups but the mixing with others has been very hard for him due to his functioning being so far advanced. A dog would be better for us and I was thinking miniature schnauzer as I had 2 when I was young and they were no trouble. We’ll see….thanks !

          • Kate & Zena says:

            I have looked at that diet. I have a very sensitive digestive system (thank you Autism) and it’s not feasible as I’m too picky. I eat organic, grass fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free for the most part now and I’ve cut out most junk food except for my favorites (York Peppermint Patties and Cheez-its..I love them to death.) Lupus is a non-curable disorder, so while you can go into a sort of “remission,” you can’t ever be cured from it; you’ll always have it just like you’ll always have Epilepsy, even if you haven’t had a seizure in years (I’ve been seizure-free for four years now.)

            I am considered very high functioning and groups are not the most helpful for me either, but activities like bowling and going to the pool have been helpful. It was hard for me at first because I did consider myself “too high functioning” for them, but really I was just like them and had my own issues to work on. It’s not an issue of being on one end of the spectrum or the other, but it’s what your child takes out of it. I’ve had to learn patience, how to talk to people other than people just like me (which is HARD because I am non-verbal in new situations), come out of my shell and just generally be more tolerant. It took me a few years, but I get better every year. I’m able to confront others and tell them I don’t like it when they take my bowling ball now. I used to have to go to my mom for that. I’m able to tolerate a larger sound range too from doing these activities. When my grandma died this summer, I didn’t hide behind my mom or dad like I normally do, but I talked to people and I waved hi as I don’t liked being touched still.

            I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes you have to give them a chance. Give it more than one or two times. My mom literally dragged me the first three bowling weeks before I got into it. It takes some time to see progress.

            And if you still don’t see it, maybe try “neurotypical” activities! You never know, I did both! I did ballet, cheerleading (for a year), figure skating, karate and choir (for over 10 years!) He’ll find something where he fits in!

            • Nice – very nice. We haven’t done much w/ those groups for awhile now – but we did do a fun park over the summer. And he took bowling lessons and he plays hockey and we’re involved at church. So we are doing those things.

              Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. 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

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. Thanks, Adrienne.