I’m Very Frustrated Today

Because swirl of discussion surrounding the Frontline program on the vaccine wars, I’ve unwittingly seen several clips of Jenny McCarthy.  I usually do my best to avoid her – she makes me crazy.  She sounds so sincere in her interviews when she leans forward and says, “We just don’t know, so lets study it.”  It seems so reasonable – lets just study how vaccines cause autism.  How, not if, as if every thinking person knows vaccines are evil, which is the first of many assumptions I disagree with.

The reason I get so incredibly frustrated, is that it has been studied.  Over and over and over.  Vaccines are the most studied potential cause of … well, everything but autism in particular.  They’ve done small studies, they’ve done large studies, they’ve done epidemiological comparisons of children before and after thimerisol, before and after mmr, before and after the modern vaccine schedule and have found no difference in autism diagnosis between the two groups.  She never talks about that, she makes it sound like there is some vast government/big pharma conspiracy to keep scientists from even looking at vaccines.

Money for research is a finite resource.  We have public attention and sympathy (pity?) now, but what happens when the next cause captures public attention and money starts flowing that direction?  Every dollar spent on redundant vaccine studies is a dollar that isn’t spent on more promising research.  I have a personal interest in investigating the genetic links to autism.  But what about issues beyond cause and cure?  What about education for our kids today?  More paraprofessionals in the classroom.  Targeted, individual educations tailored to the needs of the child.  Research into how best to communicate with our autistic children instead of assuming they aren’t capable of complex thought because they can’t speak.  Lets design and research programs for higher education that can support the needs of autistics with brilliant, but atypical minds.  What about support for adults with autism?  Lets research what kinds of housing and employment programs work best so each person can live the most independent, most dignified, most fulfilling life of their choosing. 

That’s why I’m so frustrated today.  The Frontline program was good, but I don’t feel it has changed any minds on either side of the debate.  I feel like we’re stuck in an endless loop where the same discussions, the same research, the same debates just get recycled.  It’s why I haven’t been able to jump into the larger role of autism advocate.  I can’t stand the utter futility.  It seems more productive to me to focus on my G, making sure he has the best education he can get and focusing on identifying and teaching the skills he’ll need as an adult. 

Who knows, maybe one day he’ll be a global example of the potential every human has if they’re supported properly.  Or maybe he’ll just be happy – that would be good too.

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 9:38 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well said! I do feel confident that science and money is starting to shift away from vaccines. Jenny has beat a dead horse and I have noticed more poeple in the autism community have come to terms with it now then they did 4 yrs ago. I think now, when Jenny talks, most of us just hear “blah blah blah blah”. The credibility is gone and she will probably go on to write more books but she’s convincing less people.

    I totally agree with putting more research in the genetic factor and educational needs. You know how much quality help people with asd could have received with the money going towards the vaccine research?? It makes me ill. Now that Wakefield has been discredited, time to move on. I liked your post.


    • “I do feel confident that science and money is starting to shift away from vaccines”

      I really hope so!

  2. This is so well said. I agree completely!

  3. I just read this, and I have to say, I agree with you completely. I have had people ask me “why do you hate Jenny so much?” I tell them “I don’t hate Jenny, I don’t like her message, I think her message shifts focus away from the REAL issues for the Autism community, like education, adult support, housing, work programs, etc. etc.”

    I do the same as you. I make sure I do everything that Andrew needs me to do for him. Very well written post!

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