Autism and Childhood Vaccines – Put Yourself in the Shoes of Someone with Autism

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...

If you read the news, scroll through social media or turn on a television, chances are you’ve been bombarded recently with a controversial topic – childhood vaccines and their suspected link to Autism.

Newly published studies discounting the belief that the two are related make the issue impossible to elude.

You can’t escape the often heated, attacking opinions from both sides of this debate.

News stories have begun surfacing of children going against their parent’s “anti-vaxxing” beliefs and making the decision to have themselves vaccinated.

While I believe this is a personal choice, I also believe in keeping my own children as healthy as I possibly can. It’s my duty.

The fear of a measles outbreak scares me; I have a daughter with an immune system that isn’t as strong as that of others.

When illness hits her, she’s easily compromised and it hits her hard.

She has more to contend with than typical eight-year-olds. With arguments on this topic surrounding us and with the media’s constant coverage, our children are hearing what the world is saying.

The wisest and profound perspective I’ve heard on the topic came from the mouth of my fourteen-year-old son.

He happens to be on the Autism Spectrum.

This conversation recently arose in my home and a defining moment occurred that solidified my stance.  I’m not a scientist or a medical professional.

I’m a mother.  Protecting my children from harm is my top priority.

I’ve always kept my children’s vaccinations up to date, despite my own fears of medication side effects.

I’m not naïve; I know that medicines are not perfect.  In recent years, I’ve even taken the holistic approach in treating my child’s ADHD and Anxiety.

Natural medicine to supplement my child’s seizure medication has been life-changing.

What my son brought up and said to me made me grateful for the position we hold on this topic and the path we’ve taken as a family.

“I’m glad you’re not one of those Moms who didn’t vaccinate us because you were afraid of us having Autism. I’d rather have Autism than get a deadly disease; So what if I’m different?”

And there it was.  The statement that stopped me in my tracks.

His words resonated with me and made me sad at how society is making individuals with Autism feel over this.  I had to take a moment to let it sink in.

I’m not suggesting that Autism is an easy road; it is quite the contrary, for individuals and their families.

However, as one of my heroes, Temple Grandin proclaimed: individuals with Autism are “Different, Not Less.”

I’m proud of my son; he is incredibly bright, funny, and gifted in very special ways.

Autism doesn’t define him; it’s just a part of him.

It’s a vital part that helps make up the unique soul that he is. The wisdom in his words impressed me tremendously and made a great impact.

What an excellent advocate I think he’s going to grow up to be...for himself and for others with Autism.

We need to take a step back and think of how our words and actions affect others.  We are inflicting feelings that people with Autism are less; they don’t deserve that.

In our family, we’ve learned to celebrate our differences and our ABILITIES.  No matter what the cause of Autism truly is, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

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