I have to disagree with you, too, athenivanidx. The diseases you mentioned (malaria, AIDS, Ebola) are considered pandemic (if you look in the dictionary you’ll see the various definitions of epidemic). And, I think your comment about obesity is insulting. Obesity is a disease and it is not necessarily an acquired condition. For someone who wants to be treated a certain way and referred to in a certain way you should be more sensitive to those types of things.
Oh, and you said you didn’t think autism was a disease like those other things. Here’s the definition of a disease:
“A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, esp. one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.”
Autism IS a disease.
I believe the number of children being diagnosed with autism nowadays IS an epidemic. And, regardless of the word used (I’m not going to get into a battle of semantics) this is a major concern for our country and for the world.
I’m the parent of a three-year-old boy diagnosed with autism more than a year a half ago. My wife and I are of the group of people who believe that vaccines played a big part in our son being autistic. If we had the choice to do it again there’s no way we would have let him get the shots at 18-months-old. We have refused any further vaccinations for our son and don’t feel like we are doing a disservice to him. Until the drug companies, the government, and the CDC show honest efforts to make vaccines safe–and are completely transparent about what’s in them– I will live in doubt.
The way they try to force vaccines on us seems to be less about concern for our health and more about profits, control, and other motives. I was forced into getting a booster MMR shot so that I could take a couple classes at a local college. My MMR from when I was a child apparently weakened. At least that’s what they told me. I researched the possible side effects of this shot on an adult and saw that one was a rare chance at sterility. This was at the same time my wife and I were trying to start our family. I took the risk and got the shot but if I would have become sterile would anyone in the drug companies, government, or college have cared? I was an adult and able to speak up for myself…children get no say in these issues and if they don’t have strong, well-informed parents they can be harmed very easily.
I have to make another comment about how you said that people with autism wanted to be referred to as an autistic person and that you were proud of being autistic. I don’t think you should be speaking for all people who are autistic (plus that’s just a label–I have asthma or I’m an asthmatic…I don’t care even way). Also, it’s important to be proud of who you are but not because of an affliction you have. Be proud of being a human being and of being a good person. I’m proud of my son regardless of him being autistic or if he were “typical.” And my son is proud of himself (yes I can tell) and he knows nothing of being autistic.
I’ve read many things written or said by people with autism and they mention “neurodiversity” and “don’t try to cure us” and they often seemed very angry with parents who are trying to help their autistic children. I realize there are probably parents out there who, when told their child is autistic, don’t know how to react to that. They don’t know how to raise them, or treat them, or communicate with them. Some may even be so mentally unstable that they stop loving their child or do harm to their child. I think those are rare but they seem to be the types of people/parents that are talked about most (the public likes to hear bad things and ignore the good). Every one of the parents at my son’s developmental disabilities school are dedicated and loving to their children and their needs as autistics.
I believe it is every parent’s responsibility to do whatever they can to help their child when they are ill or when they face a challenge. The minute my son was diagnosed with autism I knew I would do whatever it took to help him get past it. He has been getting ABA therapy since January of 2007 and he has made much progress. His teachers are optimistic about his chances to go to kindergarten with other kids his age. That is our goal for now. We’ve had only person so far make a negative comment about my son’s prospects for the future (”He’ll never be a lawyer but there are a lot of good trade schools.” and my reaction to that was $&&@*@# that! Never, ever tell me or my son what he can’t do. I believe he can be whatever he wants to be. I love him with all my heart regardless of what he does.
I think it’s a joke that I should be looked at poorly by some autistic people because I want to “cure” my son. As I mentioned, I have asthma. Should my parents have not wanted a cure for me? Should I not take my asthma medicine because it changes “who I really am?” Bull! I’m a well-informed, loving parent and whatever I feel is safe and productive to help my son (and yes, cure him) I will do in a second.
My son has a great personality. He’s fun and smart and loving. I believe he would be that way even if he weren’t autistic and, if anything, his autism holds him back from being those things even moreso. We treat him no differently than if he were “typical.” Communicating with him is obviously our biggest challenge and understanding his stims can be heartbreaking. If he could talk to us I believe he would thank us for helping him get the ABA therapy.
I’m sorry if this comes off as confrontational or angry (or a little off-topic) but I’m tired of a) not getting truthful answers about the vaccination connection to autism and b) being told how to treat my son’s autism.
ETA: another relic from a few years ago. We’d be interested to know what others have to say about this.
all of us