The Truth About Vaccinations and Autism
Autism or ASD is on the rise, according to statistics from the CDC  as many as 1 in 64 children have been identified as on the spectrum. As awareness increases it's not clear whether autism is on the rise or professionals are becoming more adept at recognizing the multiple symptoms associated with the disorder leading to more people being diagnosed.
When it comes to a disorder like Autism there is much that is unknown, do vaccines cause Autism? Are children born autistic? Is Autism genetic?
The fact is, not enough is known and because it is such a broad spectrum the likelihood is that there is not one single cause of ASD's.
One of the most widely believed causes of Autism is the MMR and other childhood vaccinations. According to some parents, vaccines are to blame  , others believe it has nothing to do with their child's diagnosis. In some cases it is believed to be down to environmental factors and genetics.
Below we will look at the seeming connection between vaccines and Autism as well as what we do know about Autism, the facts, and what we don't know.
Autism and Vaccinations
When it comes to vaccinations or vaccines causing autism there are those who say there is no link, those who are on the fence and those who believe vaccines are to blame.
The WHO, CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics are all in agreement when it comes to autism and vaccinations. They all say that there is probably no link between childhood immunizations and the onset of ASD.
However it is apparent that many people still disagree, many parents can link the onset of autistic traits with a vaccination. This is often the case with children who were typically developing and regressed, losing the ability to speak and interact with others.
In fact there are many parents who say that their child lost all language skills within weeks of receiving the MMR.
Medical researchers put this down to the fact that the two often occur at around the same age. The MMR is usually administered at the age of 12 or 13 months which is when autistic traits generally start to emerge. While some people accept that it is merely a coincidence, others disagree.
A few years ago researchers suggested that an adverse reaction to the vaccine could possibly trigger something that could cause a child who was already genetically predisposed to autism to regress. This suggests that the disorder was already present but needed to be "triggered".
This fits with many parents experiences, in fact some parents have noticed regression in their children after a serious infection or illness that was not connected to a vaccine.
Why Vaccinations are Believed to Cause Autism
According to Safe Minds , there is plenty of evidence to suggest that autism is triggered by an overload of toxins in the body. Some of these toxins can be found in vaccines, these include ethylmercury and aluminum hydroxide.
However these toxins can also be found in organic pesticides, plastics and in some viruses.
What We Do Know About ASD
Because so little is known about ASD we will look at what we do know first.
- We do know that Autism is a developmental disorder or disability that can cause social and behavioral difficiulties.
- There are different types of ASD's which effect individuals to different degrees.
It's a short list, isn't it? Below we will look at what is unknown about Autism
What We Don't Know About ASD
As you can see from above, there is very little known about this neurological disorder. Here's what we don't know or hasn't been proven:
- We don't know what causes Autism
- We don't know how to treat it. There are many treatments and early interventions available and widely used but there is no known cure.
- We don't know what role genetics play, many scientists now believe genetics are, in part responsible for autism, but we do not know to what degree.
- It is suspected that environmental factors play a part too, but again it is not fully known to what degree.
- We do not know why some children seem to be born with the disorder and why some regress at an older age.
This is just some of the unknown factors about ASD's. It is a spectrum and as such there can be different or many causes.
Are Vaccines to Blame?
As a parent of a child with autism, I do not think, in my son's case that it was caused by a vaccination. His symptoms were obvious from a very early age. However I can see why other parents feel that vaccines played a part in their child's disorder.
Medical research shows that a link between autism and vaccines is unlikely.
Unfortunately this is not a debate that will be settled any time soon. The causes of autism are not clear and seem to differ for individuals. The different types of autism are also unclear. The symptoms of autism vary so much that few people on the spectrum will have the same traits.
The effect autism has on an individual also varies as does the results from therapy. Some children improve with therapy while others do not and the reason for that is also unknown.
Other Factors that have been Blamed
There are so many differing beliefs about what is to blame for autism. The biggest and most debated is vaccines, but there are many more including mercury, viruses and illnesses in either the child or during fetal development and genetics to name but a few.
If you search online you can find so many different opinions on causes of autism, everything from breastfeeding to bottle feeding has been blamed as well as difficulties during childbirth or exposure to infection during pregnancy.
With so many cases of ASD being diagnosed almost everyone has some experience or opinion on the cause. It's a hot topic in recent years with no conclusion in sight.
Do you think there is a link between vaccinations and autism?