The Autism-Vaccine Controversy: Special Needs Living

Sheri Reed
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mother child hands

This week, CafeMom aurorabunny talks about the vaccination debate and how it can divide the special needs and parenting communities.

Each week in Special Needs Living, aurorabunny, mom to 3-year old Brody, who has autism, shares her ongoing parenting triumphs and struggles.

The Autism-Vaccine Controversy

by aurorabunny

Set down your weapons, ladies. I'm not going where you think I am with this. I think that most of us are aware that vaccines are a very hot topic right now, especially when coupled with the mention of autism.

But even before I was educated on vaccines and formed my own opinions on their relation to autism, I used to grow weary of not being able to hear or discuss autism without the "V" word playing a major part in the conversation. Vaccine education has become very important to me and while I do enjoy discussing it with others at times, I've come to hate the fact that it seems to dominate and often overshadow autism-related information. When the "V debate" takes over our conversations and discussions about autism and other disabilities, it sometimes feels like we are losing ground, losing learning opportunities, and even worse, dividing ourselves into teams when we should be doing the exact opposite.

It can definitely be a hard topic on which to find a middle ground. I've seen many a mom trying to warn others about the possible negatives of vaccinating because they don't want to see others endure the pain that they may have endured with a disabled child. I've seen just as many moms on the other side of the argument who feel that they must warn others about the potential risks of NOT vaccinating. In most cases, I genuinely believe that both sides are trying to help. Unfortunately, information that may be intended to help or inform can easily be twisted into some pretty heinous arguments. I can't say that I haven't been guilty of this myself, but it always bums me out to see moms of kids with special needs fighting over what may or may not have caused their child's issues.

So many of us already have the odds stacked against us and our children; it's so important to try our best not to let these things divide us. As the mom of a little guy with autism and also as someone who has strong beliefs in regards to vaccines, I'm trying to do my part by keeping my thoughts to myself more often unless I am directly asked for advice. It's okay by me if someone tells me that they are 100% sure that vaccines had no part in their child's disability, and if another person wants to tell me that their child's disability was caused by Twinkies or blue cheese or whatever else, I'm not going to argue with them either. What's the point? It's details at that point, and I definitely don't have anything to prove. One thing that I believe with all of my heart is that telling someone what did or did not cause their child's disability is totally tacky, no matter how wrong you may be thinking that they are in your head.

Schematics aside, those of us in this ever-growing boat are in it together, no matter how we got here or how we THINK we got here. In light of realizing that we fail our kids when we let ourselves be bogged down by pointless arguing, being more accepting of others' opinions (even in relation to something I feel so strongly about) is something I'm definitely trying to work on. We can accomplish so much more together; corny but always true. 

How do you think moms should or shouldn't talk about the hot topic of vaccinations?

 

Previous Special Needs Living posts from aurorabunny:

The Holidays & Autism: Special Needs Living

Sick Special Needs Kid Woe

Announcing Autism

What NOT to Say About Autism

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