Friday, February 6, 2015

Dear Anti-Vaxer

You do not vaccinate your children.

You say you choose not to immunize your children against the measles and other highly-contagious diseases because, even though not a single valid scientific study backs you up, you believe that vaccines cause autism.

I could quote source after source to prove to you that vaccines do not cause autism, but I'll let other people do that.

I could rattle off facts about herd immunity and how you're endangering babies too young to be vaccinated, but I'll let other people do that.

I could even show you examples of unvaccinated children with autism. But I don't have time to spell all that out. 

What I need to tell you is what your decision says to my autistic son.

You are telling my son that you would rather risk your own child dying than have her turn out like him.

You are telling my son that you would brazenly risk the lives of countless babies in your community than have your own child be like him.

By your actions you are showing my son that he is unacceptable. That he is not human. That the world would be better off without him.

From the bottom of my heart: go to hell.

My son is a real live person; he's probably a lot like your own children. His name is Ryan - named after his great-grandmother. He's nine years old. He is funny and sweet and charming. He has friends, and he cares about them deeply - especially his bestie. He likes rollerblading and watching cartoons and baking and reading comic books and coloring and playing Angry Birds. He likes mac and cheese, and he will eat a whole pizza by himself if you let him. He sings and dances badly but with great passion. There's a girl in his musical theater class who has a crush on him, and he's as clueless as you'd expect a boy to be. His favorite shirt is the red one with the stripes; his second-favorite has Darth Vader on it. His room is always a mess. 

And I love him.

And I would do anything to keep him safe and healthy. I would never knowingly put him at risk of catching measles or polio or any of the other diseases modern science has managed to all-but-eradicate.

Because he is more than acceptable - he is awesome. And he is human. And the world is a better place because he's in it.

So please show some more respect for him and for all individuals with autism spectrum disorders - they are not the terrifying boogeymen you make them out to be.

3 comments:

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  2. Not all those who are against vaccines are scared of Autism. Many are worried about the lack of testing of vaccines (that aren't performed by the drug companies that made them), or by the ingredients that are scientifically proven neurotoxins. But you don't care about their concerns, that's clear.

    I have an Autistic son whom I love dearly. He was completely developmentally normal until his 18-month shots when he suffered a severe reaction in the community health clinic. His eyes rolled back in his head. He had seizures, he vomited, and when he came to he screamed, and screamed, and screamed while clutching his head. The nurses insisted it wasn't a vaccine reaction, they swarmed around him, called 911, all the while telling me this was a coincidence. My son never recovered. The doctor at the hospital diagnosed him with cardiac-respiratory event and brain edema brought on my a vaccine reaction. He's 8 now. He's completely non-verbal. He soils himself. He screams bloody murder if anyone touches him. He barely moves all day except to flutter his hands across his face. He needs a feeding tube to eat. His quality of life is near zero. Do I love my son? Of course. Would I rather he got measles or chicken pox or whooping cough instead of having this life? Damn right I do.

    My two children are not vaccinated and they never will be unless they make the decision later in life. I won't go though this again and I won't subject them to the something that has the chance to make their lives as miserable as their big brothers. I refuse to take that chance.

    So to you who tells me to go to hell because you believe my choices are a way of telling you that your son is worthless, to you who would blindly attack anyone who is fearful or has questions about vaccines, the next time you look at your sweet, caring, joyful son, remember there are people who are far worse off than you, people are HAVE been injured by these vaccines, who aren't taking musical theater class, who don't have a favourite red striped shirt, who have no friends, no future, and no hope for the life your son is so blessed to have.

    Go to hell? No thanks. My family and I already live there.

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    Replies
    1. You're right: I did not address this open letter to the small sliver of the population who is prone to adverse reactions to vaccines or their component parts. Honestly, if I had been in your position, I may have made the same choice. As it is, after dealing with my son's challenges, I opted not to have more kids, because I didn't think I could handle it if my next child's needs were more severe.

      I often say in this blog that I'm grateful we swim in the shallow end of the spectrum. I can only write from my perspective, though I'm keenly aware that there are families who have it rougher than we do.

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Keep it civil, people.