I have a confession to make; I used to like Jenny McCarthy. I found her sassy and sarcastic and actually laughed out loud when I read her book about pregnancy. Then, she turned the corner to crazy land and I lost any respect I had for her.
Yes, it is hard to have a child on the Autism Spectrum. Though I do not know the experience myself, I have worked with several children on the Spectrum, with varying levels of function.
The insistence of some high profile individuals, including Jenny McCarthy, that vaccinations are dangerous and directly cause Autism is not only dangerous, but has been proven to be scientifically inaccurate. The rise in Autism diagnoses more likely has to do with a better understanding of the disorder, a rise in the number of doctors willing to make referrals to appropriate sources, parents being more knowledgeable of resources and having a better understanding of Autism, as well as a rise in other diagnoses, for better or worse.
The number of cases recently of measles, mumps, and whooping cough should make individuals like Jenny McCarthy and Alicia Silverstone regret their so called advice and reverse their stance on immunizations.
I understand that as parents, we make decisions based on what we feel is best for our kids, but at what point does the safety of other children come into play? Our girls are preemies and are more susceptible to illness. I believe in vaccinations, and never questioned the hospital when they asked for permission to immunize the girls. In fact, I was shocked when the nurse told me that parents often don’t want their preemies vaccinated. With the odds already stacked against them, shouldn’t we be better protecting our kids?
When did the advice of doctors and other health care professionals get replaced by that of pseudo-celebrities more interested in pushing their own agenda than the safety of children?
Can we finally say that when it comes to immunizations, we’ve had enough of the advice and we are more interested in the health of all children beyond our own? Yes, for some a diagnosis of Autism can be heartbreaking, and many parents struggle to understand why, while others rejoice in finally having a name to a behaviour, finally gaining access to resources. The idea that parents may fruitlessly follow McCarthy’s advive hoping to cure their child’s Autism is heartbreaking, to say the least.
Enough is enough of the crazy theories, techniques, and advice. Parents should trust their gut, have a doctor they can talk to, and remember that we were all immunized, and no matter the path our kids end up on, it is our duty as parents to start them on the clearest, safest path so that they can hate us for it as teenagers.