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Do The Amish Vaccinate? Indeed They Do, AND Their Autism Rates May be Lower

By April 23, 2008

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I just read, for the umpteenth time, a statement that "the Amish don't vaccinate, and that's why there are no Amish people with autism." This statement draws, in part, from claims by Age of Autism writer Dan Olmsted - and, at least in this case, Mr. Olmsted is wrong.

I got my first inkling that this myth was, in fact, a myth, when I read this piece in the Combatting Autism from Within website:

The idea that the Amish do not vaccinate their children is untrue," says Dr. Kevin Strauss, MD, a pediatrician at the CSC. "We run a weekly vaccination clinic and it's very busy." He says Amish vaccinations rates are lower than the general population's, but younger Amish are more likely to be vaccinated than older generations.

Strauss also sees plenty of Amish children showing symptoms of autism. "Autism isn't a diagnosis - it's a description of behavior. We see autistic behaviors along with seizure disorders or mental retardation or a genetic disorder, where the autism is part of a more complicated clinical spectrum." Fragile X syndrome and Retts is also common among the clinic's patients.

Strauss said the clinic treats "syndromic autism", where autism as part of a more complicated clinical spectrum that can include mental retardation, chromosomal abnormalities, unusual facial features, and short stature, as well as Fragile X syndrome. "We see quite a few Amish children with Fragile X," he said.

...Strauss says he doesn't see "idiopathic autism" at the clinic, which he defines as children with average or above average IQs who display autistic behavior. "My personal experience is we don't see a lot of Amish children with idiopathic autism. It doesn't mean they don't exist, only that we aren't seeing them at the clinic."

He says a child in the general population is more likely to have autism detected early and to receive a diagnosis than an Amish child. "Amish child may not be referred to an MD or psychologist because the child is managed in the community, where they have special teachers," he says. "We know autism when we see it, but we don't go actively into the Amish community and screen for ASD."

Strauss adds that the Amish have a high prevalence of genetic risk factors and are protected from others. The low rate of idiopathic autism "might have more to do what genetic structure of population than lifestyle, environment or diet."

Just to check for myself, I called Strauss's clinic and chatted with a community liaison named Rebecca. Rebecca, who grew up among the Amish, confirms that about 70% of the Amish in Lancaster County do, indeed, vaccinate. She also confirms that the rate of autism seems to be lower among the Amish than among the general population. Of course, she didn't have a true explanation for this, though she said:

There's more of an acceptance [among the Amish] of people for being what they are, as they are. We certainly have children with difficulty learning - and there are special education facilities for children who have Downs, MR, and other issues. Most families have many children, a high rate of communication, no television; and it's important to be able to read. Communication is very, very important. I guess I have wondered whether the autism out there is due to lack of personal attention and communication to that child.

I found Rebecca's insights intriguing. To my mind, they argue for the notion that at least some of the huge rise in autism diagnoses may be linked as much to culture as to symptoms. What's more, in recent months I've come to realize that a great many of the therapies developed for autism really have just one thing in common: when done correctly, they involve a great deal of high quality 1:1 communication with the child.

The Amish do vaccinate. But in other ways they live very differently from the rest of us. I can't help but wonder whether they have a great deal to teach us relative to our children with autism.

Comments
April 23, 2008 at 2:45 pm
(1) qchan63 says:

“There’s more of an acceptance [among the Amish] of people for being what they are, as they are.”

Now here’s something we actually can LEARN from the Amish, in lieu of Olmsted’s endless claptrap about vaccinations. As the parent of an autistic child (which makes me at least as much of an “expert” as Dr. Dan), that’s a sentiment i can get behind.

April 23, 2008 at 3:48 pm
(2) mmack says:

I have a son with Downs Syndrome. Very well said.

April 23, 2008 at 4:45 pm
(3) Autismville says:

Lisa,

Thank you so much for covering this. Very interesting indeed…

April 23, 2008 at 5:44 pm
(4) Kev says:

At least one piece of science has been done on this.

This study found:

“A total of 189 (84%) households with children reported that all of their children had received vaccinations; 28 (12%) reported that some of their children had received vaccinations; and 8 (4%) reported that none of their children had received vaccinations.”

Also that:

“Among all respondents who knew their own vaccination status, 281/313 (90%) reported that they had received vaccinations as children”

April 23, 2008 at 8:11 pm
(5) Les says:

One of the causes of “autism” is having an older father or a mother whose own father was older when she was born. I wonder if the Amish tend to have all their children earlier in life than others.

April 23, 2008 at 8:16 pm
(6) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

A total of 189 (84%) households with children reported that all of their children had received vaccinations

But only “225 (60%) of the 374 Amish households in the community with children aged

April 24, 2008 at 1:32 pm
(7) A@T says:

Back to blaming the parents? Are you kidding?
How intellectually vacant.

This statement- ” Most families have many children, a high rate of communication, no television; and it’s important to be able to read. Communication is very, very important. I guess I have wondered whether the autism out there is due to lack of personal attention and communication to that child.”

is offensive, disrespectful, insensative and inaccurate-and displays a basic lack of understanding of the subject.

The women validates olmsteads research in this statement!

“Rebecca, who grew up among the Amish, confirms that about 70% of the Amish in Lancaster County do, indeed, vaccinate.(which is much less than the general population) She also confirms that the rate of autism seems to be lower among the Amish than among the general population.”

Less vaccinations=less autism.

April 18, 2011 at 7:07 pm
(8) Aaron says:

Thank you! I thought I was the only one thinking this. She literally countered the idea that ahmish don’t have autism because they don’t vaccinate with the idea that ahmish have autism because they vaccinate. It should also be noted that vaccine companies no longer are financially responsible for injury or death resulting from their product, decided by the supreme court in March 2011.

April 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm
(9) Andrew says:

Wrong – vaccine companies still pay out for a large list of conditions that it has been shown can be attributed to vaccines. Why are you trying to discourage parents from getting the money that is due to their children?

April 24, 2008 at 1:38 pm
(10) JB Handley says:

Lisa Jo:

I’m hoping you just got your tongue tied up a bit on this one.

You are blaming parents jus tbelow the surface with your comments – I hope you re-think how this piece comes off.

JB

April 24, 2008 at 2:37 pm
(11) Jeanne says:

Lady, you have a lot of nerve. Do you think my son manifests his medical problems in order to retaliate for my lack of attention? What about my two older children, why didn’t they sh*& 12 times a day to show me what a bad job I was doing? And the ASSumption that everyone allows their children to sit in front of a television… are you kidding me? You’re kidding right? I have three children, my youngest has “autism” – he has many medical problems (all diagnosed by DOCTORS). Last time I checked you can’t manifest medical problems just to punish your parents.

April 24, 2008 at 2:41 pm
(12) Kev says:

Sadly Lisa Jo, this column has been targeted by Dan Olmsted who seems to be sulking about having his bluff called.

I am not sure where anyone gets the idea that you are blaming parents from this piece. I do feel that there are a number of people however who feel that questioning the vaccine hypotheses and its attendant ideas (such as the fallacious one regarding the Amish you tackle here) equates directly to attacking parents. they will rage at you, pretend faux outrage and horror and what it will be about is not ‘attacking parents’ but attacking Olmsted and exposing the truth behind the Amish fallacy.

Of course it doesn’t. You know that, I know that. Most reasonably intelligent people know that.

April 24, 2008 at 3:00 pm
(13) val says:

A@T and JB

Lisa isn’t just pulling out of thin air and she’s not blaming parents. But some children’s programs delay language. This has been studied.
I never let my daughter watch TV before two accept for a few minutes of home star runner once in a while. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1650352,00.html?cnn=yes
I don’t agree that it’s all TV shows but many children’s programs that are marked as educational are harmful to language. My daughter’s launguge improved a bit when I added baby Signing times.
Autistic children may gravitate to TV. There are parents who only keep 45 min a day but their autistic child wants to watch all day.
Amish are just more accepting. They also allowed genetic testing and that’s how they are finding specific genetic issues which is leading to better testing.

April 24, 2008 at 3:04 pm
(14) nhokkanen says:

What I learned from this piece:

1. Amish who vaccinate have slightly lower autism rates than the U.S. population at large.

2. Amish who don’t vaccinate have almost zero cases of autism.

3. Some backward-thinking reductionists still shy away from looking at the biological etiology of autism.

Once you’ve seen these children’s lab tests, everything else is sound and fury… and irrelevant.

I wish, I pray, that more parents and physicians start looking for biomarkers of mitochondrial dysfunction such as high lactic acid, high ammonia, and low carnitine.

Like Dr. Phil says, you can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. Look AT vaccine injury, not away from it. Otherwise you may as well spend the rest of your life with your head in a deep, dark hole.

April 24, 2008 at 3:44 pm
(15) Joseph says:

In the autism community, one has to be careful to even suggest that, you know, good parenting, reciprocity, etc., might be somewhat beneficial to autistic children, just as it presumably is when it comes to non-autistic children. You’ll immediately be accused of being just like Bettleheim, of blaming parents for causing autism, and so forth. You clearly didn’t do that, but that’s obviously how Dan Olmsted intended to frame you for criticizing his Amish “findings.”

BTW, we just don’t know to what extent the Amish have autism. I have not seen any whole-population screening there. For all we know, they could have a rate of 1%. It’s very speculative to infer a rate by asking around like Olmsted did.

April 24, 2008 at 3:45 pm
(16) Martha Binkley says:

This is an interesting subject to me because we are members of the Old Order River Brethren in the heart of Lancaster County and for all practical purposes most folks consider us to be “Amish”. Dr. Kevin Strauss saw our son at the Clinic for Special Children three years ago. He would not give Randall a diagnosis for autism because he said these problems are usually genetic and though we have not discovered all genetic disorders out there it was obvious he did not want to give a diagnosis based upon behavioral symptoms alone. He conducted a battery of genetic tests including Fragile X and nothing showed up. He further recommended us to Early Intervention. We followed his recommendation and he had an evaluation with EI and was diagnosed with classic autism by the psychologist. Dr. Strauss admitted that he had the symptoms of autism but would not give him this diagnosis. We did not go back to the clinic for Special Children because we felt like they did not have anything more to offer us. Our son is a low-functioning autistic six year old who lost language and is currently nonverbal. He presents perfectly normal so I would classify his case as ideopathic classic autism. There is no family history and we have four other children all of whom are NT. Vaccination rates vary among the plain people. In some groups the vaccination rate might be as low as 50% and in other groups as high as 70 or 80%. I would also affirm that classic autism by itself is relatively rare to our knowledge as insiders of the plain people. I am also only aware of one high functioning case of autism. This may be due in part to lack of diagnosing because as was mentioned we have a great acceptance for anyone who doesn’t quite fit the “norm” or is a little “quirky”. Everyone is valued and expected to be a contributing member to their community according to their ability. Our schools do not require children to be diagnosed in order to receive special services etc. We have great teachers who give their time and energy to help our handicapped children succeed and though most of them are not professionally trained they do have a significant impact on the children. As to the question about age of parents. Typically many of us are married around 20 – 21 years of age and start families immediately or shortly after. However, we continue to have children sometimes well past the age of 40 for women. This accounts for our large family sizes of 12 and sometimes as many as 16 children. It is not uncommon for older mothers to give birth to Down Syndrome children when they are older. However, in the few cases of autism that I am aware of among us this is definitely not the pattern. In fact, they are first borns or in the middle of the family and there are no affected siblings or close family members which is pretty significant considering that we have lots of uncles, aunts, cousins etc. because of our large family sizes. This makes me suspect that the autism that occurs among us — if it has a genetic basis — is purely a random mutation. On the issue of vaccines, our son was vaccinated at 4 and 7 months along with his twin sister. We then decided to discontinue vaccinating because we were uncomfortable with Randall’s response to the vaccines– pale skin, and lethargy. We did not know at that point that he had autism and were unaware till he was 2 1/2 yrs. old. At least two of the autistic children in plain families that we know of were never vaccinated. We think the possibility exists for a small minority of autism cases to actually be vaccine damage but I would doubt that it accounts for the vast majority of diagnosis of autism made. We wish for answers as well as you all. As a plain community we value our children and beleive strongly in mothers staying at home and caring for the little ones in a nurturing, warm, responsive way. We also beleive that a lot of external stimuli such as TV, videos etc. is of little value or detrimental particularly to little children. I think that science validates these values that we hold. This does not mean though that we have no handicapped children. God Bless!

April 24, 2008 at 3:46 pm
(17) Lisa says:

Just for the record, my point is NOT that TV or lack of attention cause autism!! In fact, I’ve written several articles on the benefits of TV and video to kids on the spectrum.

What I AM saying is that a life rich in 1:1 communication and social skills education emulates many of the therapies already in use for kids with autism. ABA (in its more naturalistic form), floortime, RDI, etc., all build on just that kind of interaction – which seem to be a built-in part of Amish life.

In short, it seems conceivable that Amish life serves as a form of therapy for anyone with issues in delayed speech and/or social skills. I don’t say this is so, but that it’s an interesting thought.

Lisa (autism guide)

April 24, 2008 at 3:54 pm
(18) Val says:

nhokkanen
Mild autism is just ignored and accepted in Amish country unless violent behavior is exhibited. There is a community for disturbed Amish. Those rates will found to be higher.
60% vaccinate yet more severe autism that is not good numbers to prove it’s vaccination. Much of the reading I’ve done shown no difference between un and vaccinated children with autism rates. It’s been shown to be only genetic among the Amish
But biomarkers exist are more likely smog than immunization. Carcngins found in smog can in theory damage chromosomes in pregnancy. They also can be loaded with heavy metals.
The higher smog the higher autism rates unless it’s NJ. They have high autism rates because people move there for better programs.
Also as stated before Autistics might gravitate to more TV. My daughter would watch videos all day if I let her. I don’t think TV is all bad though. But there some educational programs
that I don’t want in my home because they are more marketing than anything.

April 24, 2008 at 4:18 pm
(19) A@T says:

Sadly Lisa Jo, this column has been targeted by the neurodiversity kooks like Kev(mercury is good for you) Leitch. As usual he has nothing to add except to insinuate people that disagree with him are of limited intelligence.
Rebecca statements clearly indicate she thinks lack of communication and interaction may cause autism in the non Amish community. It’s in plain enough english yet Kev can’t understand how a parent of an autistic parent would take offense, talk about limited intelligence! Can you?

April 24, 2008 at 5:33 pm
(20) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

Sorry, but my post got cut off…

A total of 189 (84%) households with children reported that all of their children had received vaccinations

But in that study, only “225 (60%) of the 374 Amish households in the community with children aged less than 15 years old” responded. So it isn’t 84% that received vaccines – only 84% of the people who responded to the survey. And it could very well be that people who were more likely to vaccinate their children could be more likely to participate in a survey like that.

Plus, the study doesn’t clarify how many vaccines they got. So they could have had only one or all of the vaccines in the current immunization schedule.

My only point really is that it is important to read studies carefully…

April 24, 2008 at 7:26 pm
(21) Kev says:

A@T. Intelligence huh? You say:

“Rebecca statements clearly indicate she thinks lack of communication and interaction may cause autism in the non Amish community”

Thats correct A@T – Rebecca’s. Not Lisa Jo Rudy’s. And yet at least three of the people commenting thus far have blamed Lisa Jo Rudy and said that she is blaming parents. My comment on the subject was that Lisa Jo Rudy had said nothing in this piece to merit the distasteful headline written by Olmsted or the mock horror and faux outrage thus far displayed.

And Kev(mercury is good for you) Leitch? Please. Grow up. Can you?

April 24, 2008 at 7:28 pm
(22) Kev says:

Thanks Dr Vincent. Do you suppose that’s what ‘Among all respondents’ meant huh?

April 24, 2008 at 9:54 pm
(23) Worried about JB's Soy Sales says:

JB Handley is making money off of selling soy foods that make kids autistic as well as feminizing them and he’s got the guts to criticize anyone? Hey Handley-san still telling people on your website that soy is a bad food for children? Have you gotten out of the soy food selling business? Does the company know that you bash soy on your website?

April 24, 2008 at 10:16 pm
(24) Ms. Clark says:

Hey guys from the AoA blog, did I miss the part where Dan (Oh how the mighty have fallen) Olmsted said, “Gee, how ridiculous am I for starting this rumor that the Amish don’t vaccinate and that they don’t have autistic children? Ooops. I’ll do better next time.”

DAN!O what ever happened to the “go for the gold” heavy metal cure for autism?

April 24, 2008 at 10:33 pm
(25) Jenny says:

Culture? That’s why all the “autism”. You ought to quit your day job. But hey, I understand how it is, my public library only has autism books from the 50′s too…

As for Amish vaccinating, I used to work in a rural hospital in PA, one used by many amish. And those who did vaccinate were pressured into it by being told lies. And those who did certainly do not do it on todays vaccine schedule.

You are giving parents bad information. Your post should be tagged with a disclaimer that it is merely your ridiculous opinion.

April 24, 2008 at 11:01 pm
(26) Soy Lady says:

How much soy do the Amish eat? Any of you seen a plain folk with a Genisoy bar in hand? I haven’t. I guess JB’s not making a lot of money off selling to the Amish market. Soy causes autism and JB Handley is making money off of selling it. How do you spell hypocrite? JB Handley.

April 25, 2008 at 7:40 am
(27) RJ says:

These Amish don’t vaccinate, and a vaccine gave them polio!

http://health.dailynewscentral.com/content/view/0001776/36/

April 25, 2008 at 10:00 am
(28) A@T says:

Yes-good old Minnasota. They have a very high vaccination rate-and the highest rate of autism in the country to show for it.

April 25, 2008 at 10:19 am
(29) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

Thanks Dr Vincent. Do you suppose that’s what ‘Among all respondents’ meant huh?

Yes, but there were two quotes and only one was clarified with by ‘Among all respondents’ so it made it sound like it was 84 percent of the Amish and not 84% of responders.

The study is also limited in that it relies on their personal responses and not immunization or health records.

April 25, 2008 at 10:49 am
(30) aravir says:

My son, who is a “low-functioning” autistic, and I have spent much time travelling to Lancaster County. He likes the trains, and he enjoys the Amish. One place we have been to several times is an Amish home which holds a quilt store. (I will not be more specific, since I don’t wish to disturb a family’s privacy.)
The first time we went there, I noticed that the family was always very comfortable with my son, even when he was stimming or otherwise engaged in non-typical behavior. A young daughter of the family, who was the only one in the store when we arrive, when I apologized when my son got a bit rambunctious, simply said “He’s one of God’s special children.” I nearly cried.
The second time we visited, the mother, who clearly remembered us from months earlier, ran upstairs, and then came back down. She handed me a book on diet strategies for dealing with autism. “My husband’s brother’s son has autism. They found this to be useful.” I thanked her, and asked how much money she wanted for the book. “Just bring it back when you’re done with it.” I did bring it back the next time we visited, which was the next year.
What is my point? The Amish community is Lancaster County is clearly aware of autism. And it is certainly unsurprising that they would look at a natural strategy to deal with it. But what I saw directly was that my son’s autism was not considered any kind of burden or difficulty. If anything, it made him more special and deserving of love. When, later, I was the Amish community’s reaction to the killing of their children, I was completely unsurprised.
Instead of focussing on a flawed study, which clearly, whatever one’s opinion on the subject of vaccination itself, Olmstead’s study is, we should be focussing on the attitude of love and acceptance that the Amish bring to their non-typical children. I agree with that young Amish girl. My son is one of God’s special children.

April 25, 2008 at 12:00 pm
(31) A@T says:

Arivars story is a nice story but in all honesty I don’t see anything about the story as being unique to the Amish. That is how millions and millions across America treat and view disabled people.

Yeah-there are the jerks, out of 300 million your going to have some jerks.

Accepting and celebrating your children does not mean you don’t treat their medical conditions

April 25, 2008 at 2:13 pm
(32) Bob says:

Martha Binkley — Wow! Thank you for sharing that information. Very enlightening and interesting. God’s blessings to you!

Best regards,
-Bob

April 25, 2008 at 3:58 pm
(33) val says:

aravir what a lovely story thanks for sharing.

April 25, 2008 at 5:24 pm
(34) Val says:

A@T
California has higher rates of autism than Minnesota.
Minnesota does not have higher vaccination rates than the rest of the country.
Minnesota just has broader criteria of what autism is. Minnesota also makes insurance companies pay part of autism costs.
Autism rates higher because more families wanting a better chance for their children are moving to Minnesota. Many families on the spectrum have to pick up and move.

April 25, 2008 at 5:25 pm
(35) val says:

California has higher rates of autism than Minnesota and less vaccinations then the rest of the country.
CA also have higher levels of toxins in the air Actually Minnesota does not have higher vaccination rates than the rest of the country Minnesota just has broader criteria of what autism is. They also have better services than some states. Minnesota also makes insurance companies pay part of autism costs.
It’s only higher because more families wanting a better chance for their children are moving to Minnesota.

April 25, 2008 at 5:27 pm
(36) Val says:

Hate double postings geshh

April 25, 2008 at 11:45 pm
(37) Sandy says:

Val~ actually, depending on where you read, Minnesota’s autism rates of the school year 2006- 2007 is 1:81. California’s rates is 1:154. These rates come from http://www.thoughtfulhouse.org/index.html and I myself question where they obtained the info and it’s accuracy- Minnesota according to this site has the highest autism rates but again, they’re basing this on school year which means IEP’s, not an obtained medical diagnosis.

I also do not think the USA gives oral Polio vaccines, that oral vaccine came from another country but the fact still is there: if the child had the vaccine, they’d of had the immunities against Polio if they were exposed to it.

Minnesota has always been known for good public educational system, but it’s not without the same budget issues any other state has for the past few years. Special Ed is no better or worse than any other state. They do have many private therapy providers in this state- waiting lists are very long.

April 26, 2008 at 3:41 pm
(38) val says:

Sandy thank you for the comment it was kind of you to source your data.
Thoughtful house has some issues with the correct data in the past. But to be honest I found out both mine and thoughtful house data is old. CA and Minnesota have both been pushed off the number one spot by NJ according to the CDC, the NY Times and USA today.
I found this both on the NY times
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-05-21-331720086_x.htm
NJ does not have higher immunization rates but they have better services. People are moving there to make a life better for their children. I think we can’t really find true rates until we find which people moved from what state and when. This could help figure out which states really have a high rate and does pollution play any factor on genetics of autism. While my case is clearly genetic.
I do feel genetics plays a major part but
what does smog do to fetus, what does polluted water? Smaller studies link not immunization but a specific pesticide to the increase but there needs to be a bigger sample done. These things need to be looked into.

April 28, 2008 at 5:31 pm
(39) A@T says:

ah yes-New Jersey. The land where they proposed jailing people for failure to vaccinate as ordered by our idiotic government.

April 28, 2008 at 10:26 pm
(40) Sandy says:

Actually, jail was in response to truancy from school, not actually going to jail for not vaccinating your child.

Yes, the government has truancy laws, regardless if your child is sick for many days, has no absent excuse or due to not being able to enter a school for their vaccines laws (day cares have these laws too).

Ways parents can avoid this? Vaccines waivers-home schooling. But it’s way better media news to state going to jail for not vaccinating their children, isn’t it?

April 29, 2008 at 10:18 am
(41) A@T says:

This is part of the article I read “White said students still continue to show up at school without having received the shots or providing proof of an appointment. The parents were also asked to sign a consent form allowing the schools to provide the necessary vaccinations, White said.

“This shows you how redundant our attempts have been. In many cases kids still have to come to school, and when they come to pick their child up, they are asked if they could sign the consent, and in some cases they don’t sign it,” said White. end.

The article states the children were attending school.
The parents were threatened with jail for not vaccinating thier kids, not for the kids being truant.

April 29, 2008 at 11:09 am
(42) Sandy says:

A@T~ articles often get things incorrect and some news articles retracted such statements recently but since you didn’t care to share a link to what you’re reading, I’ll assume that to be the case. I read no where the treat of jail in the portion you gave, however a school at a point will not let the child enter if they had not had vaccines or a waiver. This has been a fact for eon’s. And once that happens, it does become a truancy issue.

No one goes to jail due to not vaccinating. That is a myth. Parents who home school or have waivers do not go to jail when they choose not to vaccinate.

April 29, 2008 at 11:37 am
(43) autism says:

Actually, A@T is correct: parents certainly have been threatened with jail time for not vaccinating their public school children. I’m not aware, though, of any case in which it actually happened.

Here’s a link to Washington Post article on the subject (forced vaccinations in Maryland): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/13/AR2007111301408.html

and another article on the Scholastic.com website: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3749091

IMHO, this is a real and complicated Constitutional issue. It’s right up there with other bioethics questions: does the state have the right to mandate vaccines in the interest of public health? Or do individuals have the right to decide what’s in the medical best interest of their children?

Lisa (autism guide)

April 29, 2008 at 1:04 pm
(44) Sandy says:

Number one, this is Maryland, not New Jersey and two, the article presented states:

“More than 2,300 students have not been immunized and have been barred from attending schools, almost two months after a Sept. 20 deadline for meeting the requirement.”

So yes, these parents were trying to make a statement and at the expense of their children’s education. Their children were truant, by 2 months.

Maryland’s exemptions are Medical & Religious, and do not have Philosophical of which it seems to me these parent’s were trying to exercise.

There also some where is an article that came out after this article about jail and vaccines to clarify the meaning. When I find it I can post it.

April 30, 2008 at 8:56 pm
(45) Matt says:

Lisa,

it appears that Mr. Olmsted is getting a little touchy about people noting that his initial reports on the Amish were wrong. He has another blog post.

I find that post rather strange. He makes statements that totally contradict what he said before. No apologies or anything.

If you check the old posts by Mr. Olmsted, you will find that he has been sitting on this story for about two months. Sorry, but that makes it look like he was waiting to put it in someone’s face.

He quotes some of the people who commented here. I’m glad he read those comments. What I don’t see here is a post by him here saying, “Hey [blank], I’m really interested in the subject of the Amish and autism. Please contact me”.

Frankly, I think a person really interested in the subject would be following all leads, and there are a couple of good ones here.

Just as Frankly, my advice to the people who have posted here would be to avoid Mr. Olmsted if he does approach you. He has a big axe to grind, and your families will be the stone.

Mr Olmsted didn’t do his homework, plain and simple. He based his opinions on the impression or stereotype of the Amish avoiding technology (in this case vaccines). It took very little time for me to confirm that he was wrong, I don’t see how he could have missed it. It isn’t like they just started vaccinating in the last couple of years.

The Amish have autism. Interesting how Mr. Olmsted twists the words of one of the reponses here. Mr Olmsted, re-read the comment about the Clinic for Special Children: they may be avoiding diagnosing idiopathic autism.

There may be even more autistic Amish. There are certainly more than you found and reported on. Finding some now and using them to promote your vaccine-causes-autism agenda is painful to watch. All the more so as you avoid those who may not play into your predetermined story.

Lisa, I appreciate that you try to show both sides of this discussion. The Age of Autism crowd was sent here to fawn on you when you agreed with them. They were sent to be mean when you didn’t.

Mr Olmsted owes Lisa a BIG apology, and instead he writes hit-pieces.

September 21, 2008 at 10:57 pm
(46) Carol Race says:

I live in MN. I live among many Amish families and I have a son with autism. I am not Amish. Most Amish do not vaccinate their kids, though the number who do is growing. I asked an Amish friend about autism among the amish. He did not know a single person who had it. so, thinking he did not know exactly what autism was or that it was not diagnosed, I asked him about behavioral issues, inattentiveness at school, speech issues, etc. Again, he repeated he knew of no child with these kind of problems.
The family who had “polio” in their baby lives a stone’s throw from me. In fact, their baby had no symptoms of polio, but was sick with other problems. My questions are these: “why test a baby for a disease that the baby has no symptoms for?” Second,”since the child had the strain of polio that is found in oral polio vaccine, isn’t it a logical conclusion that the child received that vaccine?” If as they said the child came into contact with a “foreignor” who was recently vaccinated with OPV, wouldn’t they know who it was? The amish are not “worldly” people being exposed to foreingors, particularly in Central MN, being located many miles from any international airport. In the hospital in the Cities, is it likely that their baby was actually handled by a foreigner??? NO. Babies are carefully guarded from strangers. So, where did this baby get the OPV virus?? IMO someone set this whole thing up. Some caregiver of this child gave the child the OPV (since it is placed on the tongue it would be easy to do with out permission and sneakily out of sight), then decided some time later to “test” for it, to show how the Amish are “at risk” for polio!!! How clever! I have been very vocal in our local area about vaccine injury. I wonder if some medical professional was upset enough about my campaignings that they did this to create a local scare?…

October 17, 2008 at 10:42 pm
(47) joe the plummer says:

So the Amish do vaccinate. That still does not explain Homefirst Health Services in metropolitan Chicago.

“We have a fairly large practice. We have about 30,000 or 35,000 children that we’ve taken care of over the years, and I don’t think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines,” said Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, Homefirst’s medical director who founded the practice in 1973. Homefirst doctors have delivered more than 15,000 babies at home, and thousands of them have never been vaccinated.

November 22, 2008 at 10:43 am
(48) AutismNewsBeat says:

There’s nothing to explain. Eisenstein has been vague in his statements regarding his patients. If he wants to be taken seriously then he needs data to confirm what so far are only suspicions.

December 8, 2008 at 3:04 pm
(49) themandj says:

This article is very misleading. I live in a very heavy amish area of Indiana. I have never met an Amish who took their kids to get shots anywhere!(my wife was mennonite) There is of course exceptions to every rule but I can tell you factually that amish chidren are generally not vaccinanted!They are born at home! duh! the fact that a few young amish here and there are changing their ways does not mean anything. They drink “raw” milk and dont get “shots” and they look at lot healthier than the kids I see in town!!

January 2, 2009 at 11:07 pm
(50) KnowAThingOr2 says:

Autism is a diagnosis. The ICD-9 code is 299.00.

January 3, 2009 at 9:51 am
(51) Dad Fourkids says:

What I find interesting about the About.com blog on this topic is the intellectual disconnect that is occurring. In her zeal to discredit Olmstead, Lisa Jo presents “evidence” which surprisingly enough is actually consistant with Dan’s supposition.

Specifically, Dan claimed that persons he spoke with in Lancaster PA who are very familiar with the Amish living there told him that A) the Amish do not use vaccinations and B) they have almost no autism, although he did note they have other developmental disorders that are common in overall US. From this he asserts that autism is caused (at least in part) by vaccinations.

Lisa Jo then trots our her expert, Dr. Kevin Strauss, who in his practice in Strassburg PA (near Lancaster) says that many Amish do vaccinate, and they have autistic children (although he claims at a lower rate of fgrequency). He also notes that the Amish who do vaccinate do so at a lower rate than the general population, and that they tend to be younger Amish.

Following a link provided by Lisa to yet another blog on this topic, I found a link to a study coauthored by Strauss and a Dr. Morton published in NEJM in March 06. In it, they chronicle a type of seizure diwsorder which has its onset between 14 and 16 mos. of age following normal development, which subsequently led to “language regression, aberrant social interactions, and a restricted behavioral repertoire”.

http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/Seizures/2954

This is entirely consitant with regressivbe autism following the MMR, and the landmnark case just decided by the NVICP shows that the MMR can indeed cause the onset of seizure disorder leading to lifelong neurological disorder causing disability.

We owe a dedication of thanks to Drs. Strauss and Morton for showing that the theory that the MMR can lead to autism does indeed have credible scientific evidence. And thank you Lisa Jo for providing the links, though you misconstrued what you were seeing.

January 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm
(52) just concerned says:

To Sandy:

I’m not sure of the last time I felt so offended.

“…these parents were trying to make a statement at the expense of their children’s education…”

I have never participated in any online discussion like this before. However, I’ve been reading all of this back and forth arguing for a while now and would just like to say that no one really knows what has caused this terrible epidemic among our precious children. Everyone has an opinion. I, for one, do not vaccinate. However, I would never condemn a parent that does. Aren’t we all just trying to do what we feel is best for our child?

Just to let you know, Sandy, I, nor any other parent I know who does not vaccinate, do not regard our decision as making a statement. For you to even imply such a ridiculous notion should negate everything else you have to say! My husband and I have made this decision based off of much research (from both sides), discussion with healthcare professionals, and prayer. You can’t even imagine the sleepless nights I have sat at the computer looking up every piece of information I can get my hands on. I have sat and cried with my husband when our child had to go for special bloodtests because he had an unexplained high fever with no history of immunization. A statement is something you are sure of. I question daily my decison not to vaccinate. I pray every night for God to cover any of our mistakes (especially with vaccination, if we are in fact making one). Does this sound like a statement to you, Sandy?

I research this subject on a constant basis. In fact, I probably know nearly as much about Autism as a parent with an Autistic child. I am always open to new findings. Not vaccinating my son is not some kind of political or social band wagon I’ve hopped onto. It’s simply a decision every parent must make. My only advice to any other parent out there is to realize that it is, in fact, your decision. God did not give your child to the doctors, the government, the public school system, etc., He gave your child to you! That is all that matters.

Yes, I have prayed about my decision. But that does not mean it is a religious one. Probably 90% of the people in my church affiliation do vaccinate. I see nothing morally wrong with the practice. Also, I have no medical proof that a vaccine will hurt my child. So it cannot be classified as a medical exemption. If that means it’s a philosophical decision, so be it. However, that does not make it a statement!

Sandy, I hope next time you will do a little more research into why parents decide to forego immunizations before you judge us. Would you put your child’s wellbeing on the line for the sake of making a statement? Why then would you assume any of us would either?

January 29, 2009 at 4:56 am
(53) Thomas Besteder says:

This is a study talking about ingestion of flavinoids and antithyroid substances during pregnancy. If this sounds true, then it is my belief that the mercury based innoculations could actually trigger the response of Autism.

Of course, what does it really matter anyway, they’ll call it environment and nobody is at fault that these children don’t have a childhood. I’m not sure anyone person or company is going to stand up and admit they did something wrong.

We know as people that heavy metals are toxic to the human system and hard on the body, so why would we make a mixture and shoot it into people? I’m not sure either.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17651757

http://www.rense.com/general62/inno.htm

January 29, 2009 at 5:09 am
(54) Thomas Besteder says:

This is from an article about how innoculations will be the end of us. Well, kind of.

I put the link in the last post but this is the information.

Mercury (also in dental amalgam fillings) is a highly toxic heavy metal, has been documented to cause cancer, and can be absorbed through the digestive track, skin, and respiratory track. Mercury is 1,000 times more toxic than lead, and is second only to uranium as the most toxic metal. If children receive all recommended vaccines, they will receive 2,370 times the “allowable safe limit” for mercury in the first two years of life (as if there is such a thing as a “safe” amount of a toxic poison). Yet, even after Congressional hearings instigated by Congressman Dan Burton (whose own grandchild became autistic after receiving vaccines) resulted in the FDA requesting (not ordering) vaccine manufacturers to remove this toxic heavy metal from their products, mercury is still present in many vaccines.

Although the symptoms of mercury poisoning are identical to the symptoms of autism, it should be noted that most children who descend into the hellish state known as autism do so after the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is one of the few vaccines that do not contain mercury. Thus, it is self-evident that the removal of mercury will not make vaccines “safe”. (This is why the mercury is the only thing being addressed at all; because when the people reading this paper realize that the very mechanism by which vaccines corrupt the immune system means that NO vaccine is safe and effective; there will be an evolution of consciousness where the structure of lies telling us vaccines are safe and effective disintegrates.) In the autistic community, this will lead to an exodus from the multiple autism groups saying it is all about the mercury or worse yet, that autism genes are “inherited”, to the only group which has their focus on the actual problem. This group is named TAAP (the Autism Autoimmunity Project at http://www.taap.info/), and is led by April Oakes. In this author’s opinion, it will be TAAP in alliance with the vaccine damaged soldiers and vets of the American Gulf War Veterans Association at http://www.agwva.org led by Peter Kawaja which, working together, will stop this holocaust on humanity called VIDS. The good news is that these VIDS can be reversed using natural remedies contained in the Hippocrates Protocol (www.drcarley.com). This “surgical strike” detoxification approach which has the potential to reverse ALL of the aforementioned conditions under the VIDS umbrella as long as detoxification is started early enough (before age 10 for neurological VIDS) will be the one truth put on top of the mountain of lies (that vaccines are safe and effective) that will cause the entire mountain of vaccine lies to crumble. Combined with a massive outpouring of public support to these two organizations, the root of the tree of vaccine evil will be exposed. Thus, the holocaust on humanity (where instead of people being put in concentration camps, the concentration camps are being put into the people) will finally be put to an end.

http://www.rense.com/general62/inno.htm

February 12, 2009 at 4:01 pm
(55) Mike says:

It’s very important to remember that doctors are just people, most trying very hard to do good. It’s also important to remember that there are more countries in the world than the US working this problem, and most of them have public healthcare systems that don’t allow for a “big pharma” conspiracy. Vaccinations, and have been a part of our society for over a hundred years, and the “autism spike” is less than 15 years old.

And speaking of doctors being just people, to the last poster, please read up on your sources before you scare the pants of the people reading this site.

“Dr.” Carley…

http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/carley1.html

February 12, 2009 at 11:42 pm
(56) Franklin says:

I’m sorry some of you guys have autistic kids, I really am. But you have to stop blaming vaccines and “big pharma.” I think the phrase “correlation != causation” comes into play. I mean, if correlation did mean causation, that would mean ice cream causes murders!

April 10, 2009 at 7:40 am
(57) E says:
May 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm
(58) Isaiah says:

I find this article interesting as well. Mostly because of the author’s bias. First you claim that Amish communities vaccinate their children, yet you have no statistics only annedotal evidence.

Next, the author infers that Amish communities have similar rates of Autism based the observation of a single doctor.

Meanwhile, you throw out the conclusions made by Age of Autism writer Dan Olmsted. What passes as science these days amazes me.

June 26, 2009 at 4:03 pm
(59) Kathryn says:

Every article I read from this woman is justification for her lack of action to help her child. It’s just sad.

July 7, 2009 at 4:18 pm
(60) JaN says:

I believe that if that Amish really do have lower rates of Autism it is bc their lack of technology.

What is everyones thoughts on that?

July 27, 2009 at 7:41 pm
(61) ehswan says:

Can youall say “systemic corruption for the love of money”? That’s what I see. It’s all about money. Simplistic? Yes it is! Years, no decades ago (1920′s) we were told leaded gasoline was not a problem, turns out there were other additives that would have been just as good, but there was no money to be made from them, so leaded gasoline it was, until it became clear that spewing lead throughout the envirornment was poisoning all of life, then in this, my country, it stopped. Now mercury in vaccines, in my country has stopped, but not before a huge number of innocents have been irreparably damaged. Why? Well it turns out that the addition of compounds containing mercury allowed the vaccine makers to market vials for multiple use saving them 50 cents per vial. Why? Because mercury is extremely toxic to all life forms, like moulds and other contaminats that would be introduced into the vials by multiple needle pricks. The love of money is the root of all evil.

August 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm
(62) C says:

Who the Hell is Rebbecca??? and is she an expert???
This Article is a waste of time a Joke… Just a bunch of Lies…

September 22, 2009 at 7:31 am
(63) mother of 3 non-vaxed says:

I have a shock-a-roo for you all: TELEVISION causes autism.

Much like the Amish, my children have never had TV in our home, and none of them are autistic. None of my children are vaccinated, either, and therefore are sick an average of once a year, but that’s another story.

Show me a child WITH autism who has no TV exposure and you’ll have my attention.

October 5, 2009 at 10:02 am
(64) jon says:

You made a real mistake talking before doing your research. Then you also manipulated the information you’re presenting to make it appear something is true that isn’t. Yes SOME but very very few amish communities vaccinate to an extent. However what you decided to leave out is that MOST amish communities do not vaccinate. You really make yourself look like you’re hiding an agenda when you distort the information presented and try to sway the public into believing things that are proven false.

October 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm
(65) The real deal says:

Blaming autism on JUST vaccinations is silly. Think about all the other chemicals and such children are subject to. Fact: Amish get autism. They are not 100% autism-free. In regards to the Mercury: if you compare the amount of mercury in vaccines to the amount in the drinking water, soil, etc. you can see the preposterousness of the whole supposition. Talk to a doctor, or someone who has and continues to study these things. Sounds like A@T simply googles things he/she wants to find results on. I am sure you can google anything to back up any theory you want. Fact is, don’t listen to the guy who can’t spell and has awful grammar, cough cough A@T cough cough. His/her online bachelor’s degree in marketing doesn’t size up to the people that actually STUDY this and have EXPERIENCE

October 8, 2009 at 4:25 pm
(66) Cricket says:

The Amish are farmers that grow their own food. They are not consuming the high levels of D3 that the rest of the USA population consumes. Across the world increase in consumption of D3 is directly proportional to increases in the rates of autism and other TH1 diseases. http://bacteriality.com/2009/04/04/milk/

October 27, 2009 at 6:56 pm
(67) Talitha Mitchell says:

If you actually read the 2 part article Olmsted wrote, The Age of Autism, he states SEVERAL times that many Amish are beginning to vaccinate, esp. due to pressure by public health officials, and therefore the younger generation of Amish are vaccinated. Olmsted wasn’t trying to mislead you by making it out like vaccinations don’t occur. He was stating that it is difficult (possibly impossible) to find a case of Autism amongst the Old Order Amish who still DO NOT vaccinate. People should actually READ the author’s work before they start berating it’s lack of factual evidence…

October 31, 2009 at 3:49 am
(68) Proscera says:

Who is the one so passionate to get involved and do the study. Vaccinated Families vs. Non Vaccinated Families .. Amish or not. Lets not only find out who has more autism. But deaths, hospitalizations and other outcomes. And if we can divide vaccination/autism rates with and without mercury vaccines, would be telling as well. One day .. but with the H1N1 being so concerning, who wouldn’t want to vaccinate?

December 9, 2009 at 10:18 am
(69) Barbara says:

Olmstead never said that all Amish did not vaccinate. He noted that in the population he observed, ( I think it was about 3,000 people the first time) the only children with Autism had been vaccinated.
The question is: How does the unvaccinated population compare to the vaccinated population? This author argues an irrelevant point which have nothing to do with Olmstead’s assertions. Very misleading.

December 19, 2009 at 3:05 am
(70) Robert says:

Dr. Strauss contradicts himself. How is it possible for his clinic to see and treat “autistic behaviors along with seizure disorders or mental retardation or a genetic disorder, where the autism is part of a more complicated clinical spectrum.” and “syndromic autism” – when at the same time he says “Amish child may not be referred to an MD or psychologist because the child is managed in the community, where they have special teachers,” he says. “We know autism when we see it, but we don’t go actively into the Amish community and screen for ASD.” So idiopathic autism is underdiagnosed because the parents don’t visit him, while at the same time he sees plenty of autistic behavior from the other typical seizure or genetically caused mental retardations? Typical idiot pediatrician. Before I went to medical school and settled in Sweden as a radiologist I was a salesman for AstraZeneca in the US. You could tell a doctor to jump off a bridge and they would do it, if you showed them official guidelines from whatever association, which of course would be run by drug company paid academic doctors whom we called “thought leaders.”

March 5, 2010 at 12:41 am
(71) Holly says:

the argument against this article seems to suggest that autism could be caused by simply ignoring children, and television. Most children before age of three do not watch television, and i don’t think blaming the parents is right. It is silly. Autism is caused by vacines, and pollution. There is Thimerosal in vacines which is mercury, mercury is proven to be bad for the human brain. Don’t take my word for it, look into it. Google the inserts of the flu vacine or MMR. They contain Thimerosal still which is essentially mercury.

May 17, 2010 at 5:58 am
(72) lcd reviews says:

I’ve been visiting your blog for a while now and I always find a gem in your new posts. Thanks for sharing.

June 2, 2010 at 10:45 am
(73) Wycieczki says:

I just sent this post to a bunch of my friends as I agree with most of what you’re saying here and the way you’ve presented it is awesome.

July 23, 2010 at 9:51 pm
(74) jon says:

This article just lies up and down. I live near an amish community, my family sells farmed goods with them. None of them vaccinate for anything, it is against their beliefs. This article seems like nothing more than an attempt to discredit someone else that bothered to publish the truth and actually do some solid research. Notice how this article references no facts, no statistics, but just states opinions and lies.

September 29, 2010 at 11:49 am
(75) Manny says:

Well I’m no expert on vaccinations or autism, but I AM somewhat of an expert on the Amish. Not exactly by choice, but only because I was born and raised in an Old Order Amish family.

The bottom line is, some do and some don’t, it’s entirely up to the individual families. We all went to a private school which didn’t have any vaccination requirements like public schools do.

We had a cousin who was disfigured by polio, and had a long battle with it, so… our parents took us in for a polio vaccination, and I got one other shot, for a total of 2 vaccinations, instead of the ridiculous 30 or 40 they make you get these days.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! :-)

October 24, 2010 at 5:44 pm
(76) Andy says:

This article has defeated itself. The myth’s premise: Amish don’t vaccinate and therefore don’t have autism. Yet this states that they do vaccinate and they do have autism. This does not disprove the premise that vaccines lead to autism, therefore.

November 4, 2010 at 9:17 am
(77) R Jensen says:

“…Amish vaccinations rates are lower than the general population’s, but younger Amish are more likely to be vaccinated than older generations. Strauss also sees plenty of Amish children showing symptoms of autism. ”

You discredit your argument that there is no link between autism and vaccines with these two sentences.

November 24, 2010 at 1:57 am
(78) veronique says:

Thank you Manny and all the others who are part of the amish community for sharing your experiences with all of us…it is very helpful to me since i have 3 girls whom i have chosen to not vaccinate.
I’ve been taught that if it troubles my conscience than i should stay away from it….and vaccines trouble me a lot….esp since i have a niece who has autism. ultimately i feel just like the “just concerned” person, and others who have mentioned mercury…i know we live in a very imperfect world and that these bad things are everywhere….but wouldn’t you want to avoid as much of it as possible? not purposely holding down your own child and forcing it into their little bodies? I have seen and heard of too many cases of kids shutting down after having the MMR shot…i don’t want that for my kids personally…i’d rather take my chances with the diseases everyones fighting than with autism … my heart goes out to all the parents out there who do have a special needs child…i pay they get the help they need to grow and enjoy life as any child should have the right….i hope also that no one twists my words. as i have seen many lashing out at each other.

February 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm
(79) MotherOf2Children1withAutism says:

Lady don’t get on here and discredit others, I see from your article you don’t know what you are talking about! The Amish don’t have as high as rates of Autism as the general poplulation. And if you discredit that where is your proof…I want to see facts….numbers….statisics not your own personal beliefs. Also explain why Autism is happing around the world in high numbers, today its 1 out of 100, and 1 out of 80 boys explain that Ms. hotshot. Also there are countries that don’t vaccinate their children or don’t go by the same vaccine schedule and they don’t have Autism in their country…why don’t you research that!!! My husband has an 18 year old healthy daughter without Autism and I have a healthy 13 year old healthy without Autism then we have our daughter together she is 5 and was diagnosed with Autism around 3 years of age PDD/NOS And what’s up with this dx? You never heard of it before now its more common. Why? Cause its mercury poisoning do your research…mercury poisioning has the same signs symptoms as Autism..DUH lady! Don’t come on here and make it about genetics its our own country doing this to our children…Oh and I’m pregnant now with my third and do not plan on vaccinating I bet my child will be healthier then my 5 year old and no Autism!

February 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm
(80) MotherOf2and1withautism says:

Also the Hep. B vaccine they want your child to get at birth is a bunch of bull. To many babies are having reactions to the shot and some die when they were born healthy. Got to Iansvoice.org and you will see for yourself what the vaccine did to a precious little boy after hours of the vaccination! The hep. B vaccine is made with yeast…how do you know if your baby will have an allergy to it or not….YOU DON’T…so why risk it! They want all babies vaccinated with this vacccine at birth to make money! Your child isn’t at risk for this unless the parents have it, if the parents are drug users, or by sexual contact. So why do they need this? They don’t!

March 1, 2011 at 8:58 am
(81) Rich says:

I love that she uses this article as a basis for debunking the vaccination connection, yet the follow excerpt clearly states there are more cases of autism with Amish, and the Amish are vaccinating more. Yeah, just gloss over that.

“He says Amish vaccinations rates are lower than the general population’s, but younger Amish are more likely to be vaccinated than older generations.

Strauss also sees plenty of Amish children showing symptoms of autism.”

April 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm
(82) Andrew says:

Yes – it is great that she reports the facts about the Amish; it’s too bad previous reporters did such a bad job of it.

March 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm
(83) gina says:

All of you that do not know what you are pumping into your children please go to K.N.O.W. vaccines. Please educate yourself on what the ingredients are in the vaccines that you are pumping into your children. Anti freeze and Fermaldyhyde are just a few of the dangerous stuff in vaccines.

April 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm
(84) Gabrielle says:

Blaming parents for their child’s diagnosis, does nothing but put us back into the 70′s when it was common practice to blame parents. Parents are not the issue here, neither are our vaccinations.. As many of us who are well versed in Autism know it is a complex neurological disorder that stems from a mutation of a chromosome. While our autism rate is 1 in about 1 in 100, the Amish are seeing autism at a rate of 1 in 1,000. About half of their population vaccinate their children. There is something in their genes that protects them, but what that is is still unknown. The only thing I agree with in this article is that we can learn something from the Amish relative to raising our children with Autism- I mean that mostly from an outsiders view. I know I except me Autistic son for who he is, but the people in the supermarket, department store and pharmacy love to look at you funny because your child has a meltdown.

April 19, 2011 at 7:56 am
(85) rich says:

No one is blaming the parents. Look. You wouldn’t smoke and drink while you’re pregnant right? Why not? Because it’s been proven to cause birth defects and dependence issues, but it was common practice prior to the 80′s. Only through statistical correlation was evidence found linking them to birth defects, thus the well known recommendations now. A similar correlation has been found between vaccinations and autism. No one knew. The drug companies sure as hell won’t tell you. Think of the lawsuits and the billions they’d lose in vaccine sales. I’m sorry your kid got a bad hand dealt to him early on in life, but what if a drug company is responsible for his condition? Wouldn’t you want it identified, stopped, and held responsible?

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